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Old 05-28-2013, 02:19 PM
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Default 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

Yes i know most of you will try to talk me out of serving pizza to guests when its my first time (and i agree), but what can i do, my parents, in-laws, siblings and friends know that im going to fire up the oven, and there is no way they wont come over....


So im estimating around 12-16 people. Im kinda nervous, mostly to get the dough right and put out some tasty pie's. I would really appreciate any advice you guys can give me. Mostly how much dough? flour, indigence etc.

Thanks for all the help.
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:54 PM
stonecutter's Avatar
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Default Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

Quote:
Originally Posted by V-wiz View Post
Yes i know most of you will try to talk me out of serving pizza to guests when its my first time (and i agree), but what can i do, my parents, in-laws, siblings and friends know that im going to fire up the oven, and there is no way they wont come over....


So im estimating around 12-16 people. Im kinda nervous, mostly to get the dough right and put out some tasty pie's. I would really appreciate any advice you guys can give me. Mostly how much dough? flour, indigence etc.

Thanks for all the help.
When we hosted smaller gatherings we used about 8-10 lbs of dough. The larger parties we used 15-20+...I don't remember exactly, those nights were a blur. We had so many great bakeries close by us in CT, and getting dough was easy if I didn't have time to make a lot. I use a no-knead recipe that was handed down from my great-grandmother, but it still takes time, so plan ahead if you make your own.You won't be able to do everything yourself...stick to oven management and get people involved in the process of making the pies...they will have fun and takes some of the pressure off.

Don't sweat it..everyone will be oh'ing and ahh'ing the oven, so unless you flop the pie upside down every time you shoot one in, catch one on fire or constantly slide them off the peel onto the ground, you will do just fine.
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  #3  
Old 05-28-2013, 04:32 PM
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Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 408
Default Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

V-wiz, I recently had a chance to use a WFO for the first time (follow the link for the whole story). It helped to be able to observe the caterer work the oven the day before. Still, where he and his helper carter for 40+ people without any apparent effort, I can't quite say the same for myself.

1. Firing the oven.
The two times I initially fired the oven I moved the fire to the side a bit too early and the hearth temp was lower then I had planned. Pizzas still came out pretty good, but the next time I get the chance, I will wait longer and more fully saturate the brick.

2. Dough Prep.
I tried a few different dough preparations and they all worked pretty well. I think you might get a bit more help in this area if you let us know your experience level in preparing dough.

3. Assembling the pies.
Again, previous experience helps here. Have your toppings laid out for so once your dough ball is stretched out, it can be ready for the oven as quickly as possible. Be sure the ball is well floured before forming the round. I used the same technique the caterer used. The dough was stretched on a floured plastic prep board and a metal peel slid underneath. This worked fairly well, but I ended up with a few calzones.

4. Placing in the oven.
This turned out much easier then I expected. I simply laid the peel flat on the floor, and pulled back and forth until the front of the pie was on the hearth and the peel could simply be pulled back. I would do one at a time.

5. Finishing the cook.
If you got this far the rest is easy. Let the crust set and then begin rotating the pie so it cooks evenly. Lift the edge and check for the level of char or browning you like. If the bottom cooks quicker then the top, lift the pie on the peel and hold it up near the top of the dome.

For the first pies I would aim for 12" rounds. When I have pizza parties, I generally plan about 1/2 a pie each for my crowd. In general, 1/3 pie each would likely be enough. I would also make a bit thicker crust, about a 300 gram dough weight. It will be more forgiving on the peel and easier to work into a the round. Also, you might want to wait on the 90 sec cook until you have more experience. A little lower temp, say 600 f on the hearth and 700-800 f for the dome leaves you more margin. If you really want to be on the safe side, make a few parbaked shells or have some pizza screens you can use if have too much problem going from peel to oven.

Hope some of this helps. I look forward to seeing what some of the more accomplished pizza makers on this site have to say. Have fun.
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  #4  
Old 05-28-2013, 04:35 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 724
Default Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

Quote:
Originally Posted by stonecutter View Post
When we hosted smaller gatherings we used about 8-10 lbs of dough. The larger parties we used 15-20+...I don't remember exactly, those nights were a blur. We had so many great bakeries close by us in CT, and getting dough was easy if I didn't have time to make a lot. I use a no-knead recipe that was handed down from my great-grandmother, but it still takes time, so plan ahead if you make your own.You won't be able to do everything yourself...stick to oven management and get people involved in the process of making the pies...they will have fun and takes some of the pressure off.

Don't sweat it..everyone will be oh'ing and ahh'ing the oven, so unless you flop the pie upside down every time you shoot one in, catch one on fire or constantly slide them off the peel onto the ground, you will do just fine.



Thanks man, so how many pounds of flour will i need? or bags of King Arthur. I really want to make my own dough. I do plan on allowing others make the pies, i will just man handle the fire.
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  #5  
Old 05-28-2013, 05:56 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Ausitn
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Default Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

Since you are new to it, your pies will (should) be smaller (11-12"). Shoot for a finished doughball in the 250-280 gram range. I normally figure one small pizza per adult, this allows for mistakes and oops.

Using my most basic high temp dough, this works out to about .375 pounds of raw flour per pizza, or 1.5 pounds for my normal (handmixed) batch of 4ea 280 gram balls.

Pizza Anarchy - High Temp Dough

If you have a recipe you are comfortable with, I would suggest using it, and adjust the doughball size in the 250-280 range when you ball them, and make enough for about 12 pizzas.

I wouldn't worry about doing your first bake with friends and family, the worst that can happen is that you are ridiculed for the rest of your life. Just kidding, even a crappy WFO pizza is better than they have probably had from any commercial pizza joint.

Do your prep, burn it long, and take your time.
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  #6  
Old 05-28-2013, 11:57 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 724
Default Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bec1208 View Post
V-wiz, I recently had a chance to use a WFO for the first time (follow the link for the whole story). It helped to be able to observe the caterer work the oven the day before. Still, where he and his helper carter for 40+ people without any apparent effort, I can't quite say the same for myself.

1. Firing the oven.
The two times I initially fired the oven I moved the fire to the side a bit too early and the hearth temp was lower then I had planned. Pizzas still came out pretty good, but the next time I get the chance, I will wait longer and more fully saturate the brick.

2. Dough Prep.
I tried a few different dough preparations and they all worked pretty well. I think you might get a bit more help in this area if you let us know your experience level in preparing dough.

3. Assembling the pies.
Again, previous experience helps here. Have your toppings laid out for so once your dough ball is stretched out, it can be ready for the oven as quickly as possible. Be sure the ball is well floured before forming the round. I used the same technique the caterer used. The dough was stretched on a floured plastic prep board and a metal peel slid underneath. This worked fairly well, but I ended up with a few calzones.

4. Placing in the oven.
This turned out much easier then I expected. I simply laid the peel flat on the floor, and pulled back and forth until the front of the pie was on the hearth and the peel could simply be pulled back. I would do one at a time.

5. Finishing the cook.
If you got this far the rest is easy. Let the crust set and then begin rotating the pie so it cooks evenly. Lift the edge and check for the level of char or browning you like. If the bottom cooks quicker then the top, lift the pie on the peel and hold it up near the top of the dome.

For the first pies I would aim for 12" rounds. When I have pizza parties, I generally plan about 1/2 a pie each for my crowd. In general, 1/3 pie each would likely be enough. I would also make a bit thicker crust, about a 300 gram dough weight. It will be more forgiving on the peel and easier to work into a the round. Also, you might want to wait on the 90 sec cook until you have more experience. A little lower temp, say 600 f on the hearth and 700-800 f for the dome leaves you more margin. If you really want to be on the safe side, make a few parbaked shells or have some pizza screens you can use if have too much problem going from peel to oven.

Hope some of this helps. I look forward to seeing what some of the more accomplished pizza makers on this site have to say. Have fun.


Thanks alot for the help. You make a good point about the fire, a smaller fire will give me more flexability and time to experiment. Thanks
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  #7  
Old 05-29-2013, 12:06 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 724
Default Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tscarborough View Post
Since you are new to it, your pies will (should) be smaller (11-12"). Shoot for a finished doughball in the 250-280 gram range. I normally figure one small pizza per adult, this allows for mistakes and oops.

Using my most basic high temp dough, this works out to about .375 pounds of raw flour per pizza, or 1.5 pounds for my normal (handmixed) batch of 4ea 280 gram balls.

Pizza Anarchy - High Temp Dough

If you have a recipe you are comfortable with, I would suggest using it, and adjust the doughball size in the 250-280 range when you ball them, and make enough for about 12 pizzas.

I wouldn't worry about doing your first bake with friends and family, the worst that can happen is that you are ridiculed for the rest of your life. Just kidding, even a crappy WFO pizza is better than they have probably had from any commercial pizza joint.

Do your prep, burn it long, and take your time.
Thanks for the advice, so if i use that chart i would make 16 pies if i were to multiply that formula X4 right? So ill need about 7 pounds of flour right?
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  #8  
Old 05-29-2013, 05:29 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Minneapolis, MN USA
Posts: 1,261
Default Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

No one has talked here about hydration level on the dough, I would recommend about a 60 percent because I think the higher hydration doughs are more difficult to work with for someone new to the game.

Assuming 60percent hydration 7 pounds of flour would yield a little over 11 pounds of dough, assuming 250 g (slightly over .5 pounds) dough balls this should give you about 20 pies.

I think having a few par baked crusts available is a great idea. It would take the edge off if you get a rush of people all at once. If you are doing them just before your party, so they are fresh, cook them at a low 600 degree oven and brush them with olive oil before par baking so they do not balloon up all over.

Screens or perforated pizza disks I prefer the disks, are a good idea because almost anyone can stretch a dough on one of them. I find that people with little or no experience stretching dough push the dough into the tiny holes of a screen and it can be difficult to get the pizza off the screen.

You will be able to slide the pizza off of a perforated disk after 30 seconds in the oven and if your floor is to hot you can just leave the pizza on the disk for the full cooking cycle.

Also, only attempt one pie at a time for this first party, two or three in the oven can be difficult to master.

It would be good to have a practice session even without a hot oven, dough and tomato sauce is really cheap and practicing placing it on a peel saucing it with tomato sauce and then waiting a short period of time (30-60 seconds) to account for the time required to put on the ingredients, and then sliding it into the oven.

Btw slide the dough/sauce simulated pizza on to a piece of scrap plywood or cardboard so you protect the oven floor and can slide the whole mess out. You will not be able to pick up an uncooked pizza once it is placed in a cold oven. Slide out the cardboard shield and toss the simulated pies in the trash. If you use cardboard as your shield, weight it down so it does not move when placing the pie.

If your peel gets anything on it, clean it as soon as possible and dust with flour to dry the wet spot. Sauce, oil and cheese are not friends of the peel.

I always start my parties with a real simple cheesy dough pie, grated sharp white cheddar, roasted garlic, a little sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil. It is a real crowd pleaser, and kids keep coming back and asking for more.

The trick is to not overdo the cheese, and have a short cooking cycle, idealy the pie is just done, like warm rolls just out of the oven. Not brown and crispy but tan and bubbly
Chip
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Last edited by mrchipster; 05-29-2013 at 06:00 AM.
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  #9  
Old 05-29-2013, 11:14 AM
Peasant
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 36
Default Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

Hi , I finished my oven and two weeks later made pizza for over 60 people. That was four years ago , about. Was it my best pizza , not even close. But people had a great time and still talk about it.

I would suggest having too much flour as it wont go bad , will continue to make pizza. Same with tomatoes. Just have fun and dont be overly critical as your still new. No one will be as tough on the pizza as you are.

good luck.
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  #10  
Old 05-29-2013, 12:24 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 93
Default Re: 1st Pizza, 1st Pizza party & its going to be a big one...

Some great suggestions and instruction in these posts! A few more thoughts that I will add..

1. Hopefully your oven has been fully cured and you have done a full heat saturation to temp at least once so (a) you know it will get to temp, and (b) you know how long it will take.

2. If you are making multiple batches of dough, do 1 at a time even if your mixer can handle a double batch.

3. Whatever dough recipe you use, I would absolutely make dough 24hrs before and let it rest in the fridge for a day.

4. dont play with the dough too much. It needs to be room temp and it should stretch out with very little spring back. If it is springing back and wont stay stretched out, you have either overkneaded it and/or not let it rest long enough.

5. Strongly consider getting your dough from Bertucci's....they will roll them out and put them in pizza boxes. Chances are if you have never done dough before, you arent going to get it right the first time.....there is a reason why there are thousands of posts on this forum discussing dough....it isnt rocket science but until you do it a few times and start to get it, it can be a beast....

6. Make sure you have some other food besides pizza! If things dont go well, you still need to be able to feed people.


7. Preparation/Tools. Hopefully you have the right tools to aid rather than hinder you....the GI Metal perforated anodized aluminum pizza peel is the only way to fly IMO...it will allow you to scoop up a pizza off nearly any surface with ease and pop it in the oven. It is worth every penny....seriously watch this video.... 2009 perforated pizza peel test - YouTube.

a simple stainless shaker filled with AP is not crucial but so much better than grabbing handfuls of AP or covering the work surface with piles of AP.

8. Ingredients/KISS. Do use quality ingredients. No pizza sauce. Search here on tomatos/sauces and use quality italian plum tomatoes. Fresh mozz and/or a quality shredded mozz. Keep the topping selection down to 2 or 3. And MAKE sure folks dont overload the pizzas. Less is more. Hopefully you have seen a Neopolitano WFO pizza before it went in the oven to see how little sauce, cheese and toppings are on it....the dough ideally will be paper thin...it cannot hold much.

9. Have fun. Drink beer. Take a breath. Dont get frustrated if it doesnt go well. It will get better and if you invest time/energy (and money) eventually it can go really really well...


10. Learn what works and what doesnt. Take pics. Report back with the good and the bad.
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