Throwing a Party? Try Parbaking Your Crusts
Got a pizza party coming up and want to cut down on stress and have more time to mingle? Of course you do. Parbaking, or partially baking the dough to its halfway point in advance can save you a ton of time on pizza party day. You just have to top it and toss it back in the oven before you want to sit down and eat. This is also a great way to get everyone involved in the pizza-making experience. It also eliminates most of the learning curve when it comes to launching pizza into the oven.
The frozen, parbaked pies will slide right off the peel and cook faster. A person who has never made pizza before can do it without feeling like they're going to screw up. Below, we’ve put some of our top tips for parbaking. While this isn’t an ideal way to cook Neapolitan style, it will result in some tasty pies, especially pan pizzas. If you have some time on your hands, it might be a good idea to test out parbaking a couple of different dough styles and see which works best for you, such as New York, Grandma or Bar Style.
1. Determine the number of parbaked pizza crusts (aka “shells”) you need: Start by figuring how many pies you need (or let us help you with some handy pizza math). Don’t worry about wasting leftover dough. You can freeze any extras and defrost them in time for your party. They can last for months in the freezer. Parbaked, frozen crusts are also great for taking to other people’s houses and events like tailgating.
2. Parbake your crusts: Once your dough is ready and stretched, place it on a lightly floured peel and launch it into your oven and cook your pies through halfway. Don’t take your pizza out of the oven too soon, nor leave it in too long. We recommend about 30 seconds, which gives it enough time to cook while still being pale in colour. Remember, you’re going to want the cheese and toppings you pile on later to cook through all the way so you don’t want too much colour on the crust on this first bake.
3. Rest and cool the parbaked crusts: After you take the pizza out of the oven, flip it over and let it cool on a baking rack and reach room temperature. This will help flatten the top of the crust in case there is any bubbling or unevenness.
4. Wrap and store the parbaked crusts: Wrap the pizzas tightly in plastic wrap and freeze them in your home freezer the day before or the day of the party. You can also put them on a parchment paper-covered sheet pan. You can parbake your crusts a few hours before the party and keep them at room temperature so you don’t have to worry about wrapping or storing them.
5. Pack your toppings separately: You don’t want to freeze spinach on your pie, for example, but you can have your sauce ready to go several days ahead of time. Our Classic Pizza Sauce freezes well for quick and easy use.
6. Set up a topping station: On the day of your party, chop and measure any other ingredients you need, and then put them in our handy pizza topping station. Get your friends to top their own pies while you mingle and give them the chance to be more proactive in the pizza-making process.
7. How to cook a parbaked pizza crust: When you’re ready to cook, fire up your oven, take the pizzas out of the freezer, place on a lightly floured peel, top and launch. Bake until the cheese is melted and the toppings seem well-cooked. Don't forget that you still need to turn the pizza to ensure an even cook. Bake the pizza until its crust reaches the desired colour. Remember, a thicker parbaked crust will take longer to reheat all the way through so monitor your oven heat accordingly. Take your pizzas out, and you and your guests can enjoy tasty pies that were small on effort but big on flavour.