Profile PhotoMark Floerke
Post count: 223

Hello @isams123,

I will insert my answers to your questions below:

1. Right now, I don’t have access to a blast freezer at the commercial kitchen I operate at. What is the real impact of storing my par-baked pizza in a commercial freezer storage for 24-48 hours (instead of blast freezing it) then shipping it to retailers?

Blast freezing is about freezing as quickly as possible to preserve freshness.  We must always remember the process of freezing is about extracting heat energy.  The important thing would be to allow the shrink wrapped pizzas to freeze, without being stacked, before packing in boxes.  The cardboard and paper of boxes act as insulators and will delay heat extraction, meaning the pizzas will freeze only very slowly.  If you can freeze the individual pizzas before shrink wrapping and packaging is even better.

I am using 4 month expiration/best-by date. The dough and product is 100% vegan and preservative-free (74% hydration, 5.7% olive oil, 2.6% sugar, 2.5% salt, 1.3% yeast). Please let me know if a 4-month best-by date is realistic? I have tested at home but want your opinion on a shrink-wrapped par-baked pizza without any meats or cheese as toppings.

It sounds reasonable to me.  The only way to know for sure is proper testing for micro organisms, bacteria, and pathogens.  How well any frozen product will last all depends on how it is initially frozen, stored, transported, and handled.  The producer cannot control everything at all stages.

1a. Is freezing for 24 hours long enough before shipping?

Initially I would say yes, but it is very much dependent on how you are freezing.  It may take only a few hours.  Once it is frozen, it is frozen.  You cannot freeze it more by leaving it longer.

2. Once I par-bake my dough..I leave it to cool down before I input toppings..then I shrink wrap it, package it, and put in freezer. What is happening to the par-baked pizza the longer it takes to put toppings, shrink wrap, and package? sometimes it takes more time depending on the volume and I wonder if I should have a time limit if I am damaging the par-baked crust by leaving it out before freezing.

The longer you leave the par baked crusts at room temperature, the staling process of starch retrogradation begins.  You ae not damaging the crust, as much as allowing it to age.  What that time limit may be you would have to test for or estimate.  As long as they are not wrapped, they are very slowly loosing moisture of course.  If you do not have a cooling tunnel, it likely will not take more than 45-60 minutes for them to cool off before you can pack them.  If you are a one man show, you will need to time your batch sizes to get things processed, that there is always a step you are working on to process, while something else is happening, like fermentation, proofing, baking, cooling.

3. I am noticing my pizza circles are making it harder to shrink wrap my pizza (due to size differences). Do you think it’s ok to shrink wrap my par-baked pizza without a circle then input into package? I am leaning towards that option.

If you are making different sizes of pizza, it would be best to have a different board for each size.  The board is needed to prevent the shrink wrap from deforming the pizza.  If your pizzas are different sizes because of processing, you need to fix that.  Consumers will not accept this even if the weight is correct.

4. Does frozen par-baked pizza dough act differently than frozen bread?

Yes, but not significantly.  A par-baked pizza crust is very much like a flat bread.

5. What temp and humidity would you recommend for unbleached frozen pizza dough king arthur (74% hydration, 5.7% olive oil, 2.6% sugar, 2.5% salt, 1.3% yeast).

Not sure I understand what the question is here?  Do you mean proofing?  If so, standard bread proofing would be okay.  90% RH 100°F.

6. I plan to use ice packs in the shipping boxes at first before I transition to frozen transport. Let me know if you have other suggestions.

The best for shipping frozen through courier services is Styrofoam shipping containers designed for this, and they are on the expensive side.  Be sure to charge for it.  Better than ice packs is dry ice in combination with ice packs, but this becomes special handling for the couriers (hazardous materials) due to the carbon monoxide gas that is left behind as the dry ice evaporates.