Old 08-10-2008, 10:49 AM
james's Avatar
Brick Oven Merchant
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pebble Beach, CA
Posts: 4,648
Default Pizza party strategy

We had neighbors over last night and tried a new pizza strategy.

Mike (one of our guests) is a pizza fanatic, so he was ready to man the oven. I made the pizzas and set them in the oven and Mike turned the pizzas and took them out. After we had some appetizers flatbreads, we banged out eight pizzas really fast. We cut them into eighths, put them on a dinner plate and put the plates on the table.

That way, everyone got to taste every type of pizza and all the pizzas were hot when we started eating. We were passing the plates around and talking about the different ingredients.

With the help, I was able to talk with our friends and didn't feel like I spent the evening cooking.

Not bad.

We made 280gr dough balls -- I'm becoming partial to that size. Not too big, not too small. Just right.

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Old 08-10-2008, 04:18 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: North Providence RI USA
Posts: 175
Default Re: Pizza party strategy


That is what we have been doing one makes, one turns. At the next big party we are going to try to implement one more thing, we bought used pizza trays (serving trays not cooking pans)from a resturant supply company. Phil will prep the dough and put them on the pizza tray, when ready he will transfer to the wooded peel dress them an into the oven they go. He says the dough should be good for 1 hour. This is what they would do during rush times at the WFO resturant where he was a chef for many years.

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Old 08-29-2008, 09:02 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Lompoc, CA
Posts: 10
Default Re: Pizza party strategy

I had two different parties.

Party dinner. People showed up, wandered around, and were casual about eating. I developed a "drop table". When your pizza came out, I dropped it on the table and it was "fair game."

Lunch party- everyone showed up on time (I am the owner of the company). No one early. All were hungry. We had a line of 40. No worry about casual eaters. In 45 minutes, all were served. One person rolled out the pizza next to the oven. Then the consumer walked away to the ingredient table. They would come back give the pizza and wait for the product. I just turned the pizza.

Question: what is the best way to make that much dough? I figures (liberally) that 500 gm equals 4 people. (not hungry teenagers). In this situation, I rounded down, but still a few Kgs of caputo. I did the mixer, but that is 7 or 8 batches. Ouch.
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Old 09-01-2008, 07:03 AM
tgm tgm is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Erie PA
Posts: 42
Default Re: Pizza party strategy

We just finished up our annual family reunion a few weeks ago and we made apprx. 50 pizzas throughout the day also using 275g dough ball and then cut into eighths. I was making the pizza and my son-in-law was cooking. Once we got three or four different ones out for the start we kept up no problem as everyone wanted to try the 'next' one, as each tended to be different.
One tricked we used was to buy some 12inch waxed cardboard cake rounds and I could pre-prep a few pizzes ahead and then just slide them on to the peel. With cooking at 90sec. I could fall way behind prepping real fast.

Worked out great. Just like a kitchen through, everyone wanted to be seated at the bar area around the oven to see 'what's next' and get the first piece.

Tom in PA
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Old 09-16-2008, 06:14 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Lompoc, CA
Posts: 10
Default Re: Pizza party strategy

Thanks for the reply.

I did a kg of caputo for 8 people. That worked out. Light eaters mean less dough. Heavy eaters more.

I think that the hand mixer is best. Less things to clean. I can do a kilogram easily. Next time, I think I will get greedy and do 2 kg at a time.

Putting the flatten dough on a wax board is interesting. Part of the joy is making the round pizzas (imperfect).
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Old 09-16-2008, 09:01 PM
Jed Jed is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Bend, Oregon; West Coast USA
Posts: 428
Default Re: Pizza party strategy

Hey Gang,

We (my wife and I) have been preparing the dough balls and providing a basic list of toppings. We ask our guests to bring 'other' toppings, things they like on pizza or have wanted to try. We typically end up with over a dozen different items one might use to top a pizza (sauces, meats, vegetables, cheeses, etc..).

My wife (or previous 'experienced' guests) will teach the guest how to prepare the pizza dough, from ball to flat (or nearly flat...), and using the wood peel go to the table with all of the toppings and proceed to create their own personal pizza master piece.

With the complete pizza ready for the oven, I will man the oven and cook the pizza for our guests. Over time, many of the guests have seen the cooking process and are willing to try their hand at the cooking part of the process. What is happening is that I end up cooking about half or a little more of the pizza's. The biggest part of my job is to maintain the oven fire and temperature and keep the floor of the oven ready for the next pizza. As we get more people trained for the different tasks, we are able to spend more time mingling with the crowd, and less time hustling to keep up with demand. The bottle neck in production is the time the guest take to build their pizza. I will add a second wood peel to my inventory and see how this might speed things up a bit. We had a party with 24 once, and everyone was well feed, and had fun. It took a bit of time, but worked in that situation.

As the pizza is cooked, the guest is given the option to eat the whole pizza by themselves (a popular option with many of our younger guests) or share the master piece with everyone at the party. The result here is that everyone has a chance to try a wide variety of pizza.

Our results so far have been good. The people who have come to the party enjoy getting to create their own pizza, and they seem to enjoy sharing the finished product. It takes awhile to work through the process, but folks get to chat and mingle right along (we have seven micro - breweries in the area, so always plenty of libation options...), and just keep eating till we get to the desert pizza (the local favorite is the pizza dough topped with any variety of fresh or frozen fruit and berries, and maybe a little cheddar cheese).

So that is how we are doing this pizza party. Have any others experimented with this style party? How did it work for your guests?

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Old 09-17-2008, 06:42 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Lompoc, CA
Posts: 10
Default Re: Pizza party strategy

There are four areas. Dough flattening, toppings addition, cooking. cut/ serve.

A small party (4 or 6), I do all or watch all while most follow. It is casual and smooth.

With a larger party, we have separated the dough, toppings, and cooking into three areas. Kitchen/ patio/ oven. I think that is not best. I think that the dough should be done near the oven. That is concentrated work. The toppings can be away on a peel. I have three peels. I can monitor the dough and talk to the makers. Sometimes that process "gets out of control". the problem with amateurs is that the will either make the dough too thick or thin. they then add too many toppings (a la Chicago) and the pizza does not slide.

If that starts happening, I make sure that they add rice flower or corn meal so it slides. With three pizzas cooking (four?) that process needs to be smooth.

Finally, I changed the cutting and serving. Old style people congregated in the kitchen (pizzas and liquor....) Pizza came out and I had to hunt them down. Now, a have a table and put the cooked pizza on a metal pizza plate. "Drop table" When the pizza drop, it is "fair game." If you want your special creation, you need to wait.

Another problem. I do "gourmet" pizza party. Where I host a group of guests who pay a charity to come over. I become the wait staff. Problem- I did not eat last time!

I fire the oven in the morning. Pre fire. The I start the fire about 2 hours before. This time I will experiment with pizza temp then cool a bit. Then cook foccacia. Then back up to pizza. Towards the end I let the oven cool a bit. The pizzas take longer, but everyone is slower. No good dessert pizza yet. (sigh)
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Old 09-28-2008, 09:27 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: PHX
Posts: 49
Default Re: Pizza party strategy

Originally Posted by james View Post
We made 280gr dough balls -- I'm becoming partial to that size. Not too big, not too small. Just right.
What size pizza does that make? I am trying to plan a pizza party now and I am not sure how large to make the pizzas. I figured I would let people dress their own doughs and I would cook them for them. What do you think?
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Old 09-29-2008, 05:40 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Brazil
Posts: 306
Default Re: Pizza party strategy

May be you be interested in re-read this thread
http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f18/...ment-1017.html (Pizza party for 35. Fire/pizza management and statistics)
There is a lot of information about a pizza party, recipes, schedules and tips there.
I know that is an old one, still true.

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Old 02-28-2009, 09:08 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: York, PA
Posts: 62
Default Re: Pizza party strategy

In my house all the kids get to make a pizza but we share every one. With 8 kids thats what works best and it's more fun that way.

In my visits to Germany when we sent out for Pizza, everybody got individual pizzas. It was very strange to me.
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