It is no secret that the shortage of skilled pizza chefs in the UK right now is having an impact on the way that hospitality and catering companies serve pizza.
What is compounding the issue, is the massive rise in customer expectations over the past few years. Almost every town in the UK now has a mobile pizza van (and probably several restaurants) serving fabulous, authentic stone-baked pizza, often from wood-fired ovens, and using great quality ingredients.
The discerning pizza eater no longer needs to make the pilgrimage to Naples, Rome, or New York to satisfy their palate. You can get it right here in Warwickshire – several times over in fact.
But the standard has been raised. So when faced with teeming hordes at a summer festival, or simply a beer-garden full of doughnivores, it’s been no surprise to see many caterers ask us for the most authentic pre-stretched (and therefore par-cooked) pizza bases available.
Here we take a look at the options that are now available to the caterer, thanks to a lot of innovation being invested into this area of the market in the past year. The great news is most of them are made right here in the UK too.
Pinsa Romana or “Roman-style” bases
A relative newcomer onto the scene, Pinsa Romana is rapidly becoming a sensation in the industry, seeing massive growth in Italy and is now available in the UK too.
Pinsa is a speciality of Italian cuisine made of a unique flour mixture, a high percentage of water and a low quantity of fats. Deceptively simple, in reality, pinsa dough requires a long processing and accurate stretching by hand. This results in a highly digestible product that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
The benefits to the foodservice operator are simple but profound: Pinsa is perfect for cooking from par-baked format and needs no special oven or equipment to produce a beautiful result.
Not least, ours are ambient storage, so couldnt be easier and simpler to incorporate into your menu!
Scrocchiarella Roman Sourdough
Starting from the top, the new Scrocchiarella Roman-style sourdough pizza range has blown us and our customers away with sheer quality. You can smell the authenticity while these beauties are still frozen in their box. I kid you not.
Officially this is more “pinsa” than pizza – a style that makes for lighter and healthier eating and has seen a massive surge in popularity in Italy. Endorsement from the Italians means a lot. Just ask Dominos.
The beauty of the Scrocchiarella range is that it doesn’t feel like you are cheating by buying ready-made bases. These guys take 30 hours of loving Italian care to create and are meant to be like this, and so there is nothing to compare them with negatively like you would a par-cooked Neapolitan style pizza for example. They are just really, really high-quality pizza, perfect for the most prestigious hotels and cafes. Very new to the UK, and very exciting.
Neapolitan Hand-Stretched Pizza Bases
If “Pizza Napoletana” is your nirvana, then our Neapolitan Hand Stretched pizza bases won’t dissapoint. Completely handmade, these sourdough pizza bases have been made with authenticity in mind, not price. They are still cheaper than hiring another chef at the end of the day! A light amount of sauce is applied to hold the base flat and allow a really good rise to the crust while they par-cook.
We have customers that will accept no other base, now they have tried these.
Plain Sourdough Pizza Bases
This summer we have seen a huge rise in volume for our core range of Sourdough Pizza Bases. Our most cost-effective options these are still a mozzarella string mile better than the cheap pizza bases you’ve all seen around, and with further improvements this year we are really happy with their quality.
The docking holes are in the main kept to the centre of the pizza, so once topped and cooked they look really authentic, and when cooked at high heat you’ll get some nice bubbling of the crusts just like they should be.
We offer these in both sauced and plain versions, to allow for some great non-tomato recipes, such as garlic bread and pizza bianca.
Pre-Stretched Pizza Dough Summary
So, in summary, par-cooked pizza no longer needs to mean sub-par pizza.
You will likely need to adjust your cooking temperatures and times, but it is all very do-able and is a great help when you are caught between those dreaded twin peaks of a high volume of demand and low volume of skilled labour.