The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Do I cook pizza toppings ahead of time?

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Agamemnonsmom's picture
Agamemnonsmom

Do I cook pizza toppings ahead of time?

Hi,


I've lurked for a while and I'm finally posting



I have pizza dough rising right now. I wanted to put green pepper, onion, and fresh mushrooms on top. Do you saute your toppings before putting it on the pizza? My main concern was the mushrooms.


 


Thanks!


 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Hi, You can add them fresh or sauted...I like mine fresh!  I think most pizza makers prefer their toppings fresh!  The mushrooms are also very nice lightly sauted before adding to the toppings and I think the flavor comes through very different than raw.  I have tried them both ways so I would say it's just a matter of personal taste! 


Sylvia

maroon78's picture
maroon78

the answer depends on the oven temp you arre using.  If you are using a typical home oven, fresh or suted is fine.  I like to saute the mushrooms because I use a hotter oven than your typical home oven pizza.  They don't char as much when they have been sauted first.  Large herbs like basil need to be embedded in cheese or sauce if you are using a hot oven as well.  NYC brick oven pizza adds the basil after the pizza is removed from the oven ( after 2 minutes ) and the basil is cooked by the pizza.  If it was added before the pizza was placed in the 800F+ oven, the basil would be charred before pizza is cooked.

raidar's picture
raidar

I agree. Fresh or cooked is fair game. I like cooking my onions into a caramleized mess (they taste so good), but I just thinly slice mushrooms, peppers, so they cook nicely. I made a pizza (on my blog http://tinyurl.com/l62whd) a few days back and used fresh mushroom and peppers! Delicious indeed.

JIP's picture
JIP

I make pizza alot and some toppings get cooked and some don't but as far as a hard and fast rule, you do what you want to them noone is going to get mad.

Agamemnonsmom's picture
Agamemnonsmom

thank you! I decided to lightly saute the mushrooms. I thinly sliced the green pepper and onion and used raw. It turned out great.


I'm still trying to find a good dough recipe though. It was a little to doughy for me.

mike owens's picture
mike owens

i had used several recipes off the internet for pizza dough and it was never quite right.  as it turns out superior pizza is in the dough, not the sauce.  i bought a CD off the internet from a lady that used to be a lead researcher for a national chain and now i have been told recently that my pizza was possibly the best this person had ever had.  look for "secrets from inside the pizzaria"  from beverly collins,  you will not regret it!!

janij's picture
janij

Peter Reinhart wrote an excellent book on pizza called American Pie.  We have finally foound our 2 favorite doughs.  I now make them in double batches and freeze the balls til needed.  Check the library or browse here for his dough recipes.  But looking at the book will help decide what type of dough you want to try, thin, reg, thick etc.


Oh, and I saute my veggies.  Just to keep the water down on the top.  But if you slice thin enough that isn't a problem.  Maybe I just like them carmelized.

raidar's picture
raidar

Hi Janij, After buying American Pie a few years back, all of my pizza is made with PR's recipes. Curious what two doughs you settled on for your favorites.

janij's picture
janij

We like thin crust.  So the Roman is a hands down winner.  But the kids like it not as crunchy so that is where the Neo-Neapolitan comes in.  I also like the Neo in the WFO.  Since it is a little thicker it gives you more workability in the super heat.  I tried the Pizza American to replicate something we had at a restaurant, a thick pita type, but I thought it was a little sweet.


Which one do you guys like?

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Whether you add your pizza toppings fresh (raw) or cooked (or partially cooked) depends largely on what the toppings are.  You wouldn't top a pizza with "fresh" (raw) ground pork, ground beef, or similar food products.  Cooked meats, fresh vegetables, and other items that you might typically consume in their raw state should work fine as fresh toppings.

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

As was mentioned, cooking first yields different flavors. Onions are the best example. However, there is another issue here ... oven temps and time to cook. While VERY high temps are essential for really good Neopolitan pizza crust they often leave the toppings very under cooked and tasting raw. It is one thing for the crust to sit on a 600+ degree hearth and rise and char perfectly, it is another for veggies to sit in 600 degree air for a few minutes and cook much at all.

wally's picture
wally

I'm in agreement with those above - it's primarily a matter of taste when it comes to vegetables.  In his "Bread," Hamelman recommends a short saute for vegetables topping focaccia so that they don't scorch during the bake.  But then some go for the grilled/scorched flavor.


Larry

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

I've found tomatoes to be an interesting topping for pizzas. When I get Roma or San Marzano type tomatoes, I found that blotting them on a paper towel before cooking helps keep the pie from getting soggy. Cherry tomatoes benefit from a short roasting, 8-10 minutes, and cooling before you dress your pie.

MISSiShrimpi's picture
MISSiShrimpi

A lot of good info in posts above. I would like to add one other thought depending on how much topping you use and their moisture content. Toppings like mushrooms, green peppers, onions, can have a huge moisture content. If you use too much and the toppings are moisture ridden you could end up with a very soggy pizza.


Hope this helps.

mike owens's picture
mike owens

i had used several recipes off the internet for pizza dough and it was never quite right.  as it turns out superior pizza is in the dough, not the sauce.  i bought a CD off the internet from a lady that used to be a lead researcher for a national chain and now i have been told recently that my pizza was possibly the best this person had ever had.  look for "secrets from inside the pizzaria"  from beverly collins,  you will not regret it!!