2010 March: Simple Ideas

Easy Appetizers

If you’ve got pizza dough in house, why not create a specialty appetizer pizza? Roll out dough to 6 inches, then top with light, flavorful ingredients like thin slices of prosciutto and smoked mozzarella or feta and olives. Slice into 6 pieces and serve. Avoid heavy ingredients that will fill up your customers –– you want to be able to offer them dessert as well.

Reflection of You?

Take a look around your dining room. What does it say about your operation? If you can’t immediately put your finger on it, it might be time to create a signature look. Located in Maryland but a Brooklyn native? Let your restaurant convey that. It should be a reflection of you –– even when you’re not in-house. Check local zoning and planning guidelines before you redesign the façade of your restaurant. You don’t want to have to redo it twice!

Rising Temps

Yeast and proofing take center stage when it comes to dough management, but temperature control is also important. Dough Doctor Tom Lehmann warns that active dry yeast should be rehydrated using 100 to 105 F warm water. Instant dry yeast should be activated using water that is 95 F. The best way to guarantee temperature is to test it with a thermometer before adding the yeast. A finished dough temp of 80 to 85 F is desirable.

Gung-Ho Potatoes

International Pizza Challenge’s non-traditional category has had plenty of unusual options, ranging from blood sausage to cream cheese and smoked salmon. While not commonplace, potatoes on pizza seem logical because they’re relatively versatile and have several different ways of prep. Red potatoes are especially good to use since they retain their shape and add color as well. If you’re going to use raw red potatoes, the key is to slice thinly –– paper thin, to be exact.