Today we are talking take-out pizza! I Know what you are thinking, why is Baking Steel talking take-out pizza? Homemade pizza is our business and it's hands down, the best! But sometimes in a pinch, you need to order pizza take-out, especially for a crowd. It's easy, quick and doesn't make a big mes! But if your experience with take-out is anything like mine, by the time you get your pizza home, it's cold and soggy (from steaming in that cardboard box). Not exactly dream pizza!
Now, it's not my intention to insult any pizza makers or pizzeria's. Pizza to go is easy, should be affordable and can feed a crowd of people quickly. It can be a real lifesaver. But, there is a smarter way to order it. Like most things, it requires a little bit of thought and timing.
On Halloween, we were having about seven familiers to the test kitchen for a pre-trick or treat meal. It was a "school-night" so we had a very short window to make this happen. Take-out pizza made the cut. I called one of our local, favorite pizza spots. (I have two). I placed an order for 7 cheese pizza's-simple, classic, done. I had 2 special requests for the person on the phone in regards to my order. One, was to bake the pizza to about 80 percent. This allows you to finish the bake when you arerive home, resulting in hot, crispy, more perfectly cooked pizza. And the second, was to leave the pizza unsliced. A full "unsliced" pie is much easier to slide off of and back onto your peel. This not only improves your "launching" technique, but also gives your pizza a better finish or bake.
However, the most imortant piece of advice for take-out pizza is to have your Baking Steel pre-heated in your oven! Before I called in my order, I cliccked on my oven dial to bake 500F with my Steel on the top rack. It took 15 minutes for me to pick up my pies. By the time I got home, the oven and steel were ready to roll. So after 2-3 minutes in the oven, my take-out pizza is piping hot and perfectly cooked! Wham! All that's left is slice and serve, baby!
Because I was doing the finish work myself, I was able to match pizzas baked to my guests' hunger/demand. That makes having leftovers easier too!
The next time take-out pizza makes the cut at your house, remember our tips...pre-heated steel, par cook to 80% and no slicing. (Just please don't tell the chef I sent you these tips). You'll turn take-out failures into take-out success!
One more note: Its best to give your pizza guy a call during off hours, when they are not so busy.
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