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As far as I understand, frozen pizzas sold at the grocery store are par-baked and then frozen, to be fully baked when they are put into your oven at home.

I noticed that some of these pizzas describe themselves as having a "rising crust." Those crusts get quite tall, an inch or an inch and a half (probably about 3-5 cm). My homemade thin crust pizza is maybe half that height.

Yet these crusts have much more in common with a thin crust pizza than a Chicago style, or the not-too-tasty bread-y imitation of Chicago-style that passes in most Chicago-style recipes and at some chain restaurants.

How do these pizzas work? I have trouble seeing how they could rise after par-baking, so are they not par-baked? How could I duplicate this crust from scratch?

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Have you checked the ingredient lists on these? I believe they use a combination of hydrogenated oils, yeast and standard leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda... –  nicorellius Sep 13 '10 at 16:27
    
@nicorellius - I'll do that when I get home. Do the standard chemical leaveners (baking powder and soda) activate at higher temperatures? I'm aware of the hydrogenated oils - hence the desire to do my own version - can I do without at home? –  justkt Sep 13 '10 at 16:42
    
My experience is that without hydro, the super rising crusts are just tougher to make. I have settled for a medium riser but an awesome taste. I like to use yeast in my pizza crusts. Generally, chemical reactions go faster at higher temps, so yes... But, the thing is, the reaction starts immediately, so I would say it is more dependent on the amount and how long you let it work. The trick is the optimize the timing so that you bake the shape you want (i.e., fluffy and big) into the crust just as it gets to that point from the leavening. If you wait too long it will depress... –  nicorellius Sep 13 '10 at 18:46
    
@nicorellius wouldn't the yeast die in the frozen pizzas? I really doubt the yeast is making the pizza rise. –  Jay Jan 30 '12 at 15:56

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I believe they use a combination of hydrogenated oils, yeast and standard leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda.

My experience is that without hydro, the super rising crusts are just tougher to make. I have settled for a medium riser but an awesome taste. I like to use yeast in my pizza crusts. Generally, chemical reactions go faster at higher temps, so yes temperature does matter...

However, since the reaction starts immediately, I would say it is more dependent on the amount and how long you let it work. The trick is the optimize the timing so that you bake the shape you want (i.e., fluffy and big) into the crust just as it gets to that point from the leavening (the most risen and fluffy). If you wait too long it will depress...

I read a bit about this here as well:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baking_powder

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My guess is that they use a chemical leavening that doesn't activate until a particular temperature, and they parbake to under that temperature. You could experiment with using a mixture of yeast and chemical leavening to get that result. Please let us know if you have any success.

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Any "double acting" baking powder will give a second lift when heated. (the first lift is when they get wet) –  Joe Sep 14 '10 at 1:16

I've read that the "trick" for take-and-bake pizza crust is to use baking powder which has been coated with vegetable shortening. This protects the baking powder from water during the mixing process. The shortening melts in the oven, allowing the baking powder to fully activate.

For example, here's a Pizza Magazine Quarterly recipe for take-and-bake dough which calls for "coated leavening".

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