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Trader Joe's Pre made pizza dough trouble

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  • Rick Dec 4, 2007 12:06 PM
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We bought a TJ's wheat pizza dough to make indian pizza with. We rolled it out to 12" on a floured surface, let it sit for 20 min., then put the ingredients on, baked on a stone at 425 for 10 min. all as per instructions. Well, after 10 min. the dough was still really chewy past the bottom layer that was on the stone, tasted uncooked. I raised the temp to 475 and put it back in for 8 more minutes, same result only hotter. Not sure if we should use a different method or if that's as good as it gets with this dough.

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  1. I find that I get best results if I mostly pre-bake the dough. Also, you have to pre-heat your stone for a really long time to get it good and hot. Seriously, like at least half an hour. If the stone is super hot and you pre-cook the dough about 1/2 of the way, you'll get much better results. Also be sure to go light on the sauce. Without a true pizza oven, most home pizza makers overload on sauce and toppings and it makes the pizza too wet.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rockandroller1

      After reading rockandrooler's post I actually think we put too much sauce. We do go very heavy on the sauce but have never had a problem using pre made shells. Pre baking should help then. Thanks!

      Any more pizza making tips are welcome!

    2. I find that oven-baking pizza dough takes much longer than 10 minutes... it's usually half an hour, at least.

      When we make pizza, we just throw it on the grill. I think the grill gets hotter than the oven and is more direct under the dough so it cooks very quickly (like, 5 minutes per side). I love TJ's pizza dough, though, because it's so convenient and it tastes pretty good.

      3 Replies
      1. re: leanneabe

        Half and hour!?! It takes me 6 minutes. Hottest oven possible and on a stone. But never more than 6 minutes.

        ETA: Not TJs. My own. But still . . . .

        1. re: JoanN

          Even with toppings? I find that if I put toppings on pizza dough, it takes way too long in the oven to get the "top" of the dough cooked. That's why I do it on the grill. One side gets cooked, flipped, toppings added, then the bottom is cooked.

          1. re: leanneabe

            Even with toppings! Although I don't usually overdo it in that category. For me, the chewy crust is the star; all the rest are walk-ons.

      2. I too often have this problem with the TJs crust. I find that pre-baking almost all the way done is the way to go, then adding the toppings.

        1. Ha, I just logged on to research TJ's pizza dough & lo & behold, here it is! I practiced making the pizza just this evening for my daughter's "baking" birthday party next week. I didn't use a stone but rather the air bake cookie sheet. Boy did it take forever. I too came to the conclusion that the dough must be pre baked much like refrigerated pie crusts. I guess I just didn't want to go thru the trouble of making the dough with yeast, warm water, letting it rise, etc., etc.... I was hoping to have some easy pre made dough so that the 8/9 year olds can just roll it out, put toppings & bake. Also have cookies on the agenda.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ceekskat

            An air-bake cookie sheet is about the worst choice in this case - they do not get hot enough (that's why this style is praised for preventing cookies' getting too brown on the bottom). I have no baking stone - so when I want some bottom heat, like for fruit pie - I put a regular, heavy cookie sheet upside down on the oven rack before preheating the oven. Then I put whatever sheet has the food on atop the preheated sheet. This way the bottom gets higher, more even and sustained heat.

          2. I crank the oven up to about 500 and let my stone preheat, never had too much of a problem.

            1. My husband would line the oven with bricks & this be able to have a brick oven Pizza. The bricks get real hot & cook the Pizza more evenly & it comes out cooked within a few minutes, it is awesome. He puts the Pizza directly on the bricks, without prebaking the pizza dough.

              1. Did you preheat the oven with the stone in there?
                Set the oven at the highest possible heat (mine goes up to 550F...I wish I could get it up to 700!). I wait till about 1/2 hr after the oven has indicated its up to heat to allow that stone to fully heat...that's really important. Slide the pizza with its toppings off the peel and onto the stone, and you should have a finished pizza in anywhere from 7 to 12 min (I like the cheese to be singed a bit).
                Can't imagine why you still had undone pizza after 10 minutes (unless you didn't preheat adequately)...

                1. I use TJ's dough. I usually get three 12" pizzas from a package. I like thin crust to keep carbs lower. I cook on my grill on top of two big clay tiles from the hardware store that have been seasoned with oil. I preheat a bit, then assemble on the tiles on the grill. I use a mediumish heat on the grill and cook for about 20 minutes usually. I like the garlic herb dough!

                  Also, if using wetter toppings, a thin glaze of oil on the dough before adding stuff like fresh tomato slices, helps the dough not get too soggy. I'm sure prebaking is great too, I've just not tried it yet.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: scuzzo

                    I also find that the TJ dough yields much better results when rolled thinner. I make 2 twelve inch pizzas out of one package and never have a problem.

                  2. Here is the method I use (it is kind of a pain but I got good results):
                    1. Let the dough get room temp
                    2. Spread the dough out into a jelly rolly pan (i don't have a pizza stone), let it rise on top of the warm oven as it is preheating
                    3. light sauce, cheese, precooked meat & veg toppings
                    4. bake basically according to the instructions but at a little lower heat & for a bit longer
                    5. put directly under the broiler to get the top well done & brown up the cheese (we like well done pizza)
                    6. THIS IS THE KEY STEP: Take it out of the oven, cut into individual pieces and cook each piece on top of the stove on a buttered or oiled flat plan, like a frying pan, so that the bottom crust gets crispy

                    1. My roommate and I frequently employ Trader Joe's pizza dough on pizza nights because it's so convenient. I prefer to toss my room temperature dough which allows for a good hand-tossed crust thickness with an average size of around 14". When it comes time to bake the pie (often in my less than desirable, ancient, apartment oven) we use parchment paper and bake it directly on the rack. I find it easiest to slide the pizza into the oven off the back of a cookie sheet. This method has yielded the most constant results for us no matter where we have baked the pizza with no pre-baking or change in the suggested oven temp required. I hope this is helpful.
                      http://ohwonderfulfood.blogspot.com/

                      1. I always have this problem with TJ's pizza dough. I use a stone too. I have never prebaked it though.

                        What I don't understand is, when I make my own pizza dough, it always works out great. Even without prebaking.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Honestly Good Food

                          Not a huge fan of TJ's dough but it is the easiest raw dough to find. I've found the most success with rolling it out very thin and pre-baking and I usually finish it off within minutes thereafter but today I have a different question. Since I've had no problem breaking down a single package into several portions that I freeze to make individual or 2-person pies per use (They thaw in the fridge in half a day but need to be used the same day that they've thawed). Today I had a thawed dough ball that I can't use until tomorrow, so I'm trying an experiment. I prebaked the dough and intend to use it tomorrow. I know that this will probably yield many a criticism from Chowhounders but I'm wondering how to best store the pre-baked dough (wrapped air tight in the fridge, the freezer or just left out in the open air) until tomorrow afternoon when I'd like to finish this experiment. It's for me only so I don't mind if the whole thing bombs but prefer to do better if possible.

                          1. re: isliss

                            Treat it like bread and keep it out of the fridge and freezer; bread will accumulate water in cooling compartments.
                            Also, good dough can be found at Gelson's if you are a SoCal Chowhound.
                            Gelson's sells Wolfgang Puck's pizza dough: $1 each for the small ones; $4 for the big ones. They can be purchased either fresh or frozen. I always get both.
                            They are really good defrosted in the fridge where they cold proof and stay great for several days. Pizza is known to GAIN flavor while 'proofing' in the fridge, evidently unlike TJ's dough, Wolfgang's dough improves it's flavor in the fridge, plus is FINE for several days.
                            No criticism from this Chowhound, but may I suggest a few techniques to avoid prebaking?

                            After the cold proof in the fridge:
                            Always second proof an hour at room temp.
                            Always use a pizza stone on the bottom shelf of the oven
                            Always preheat pizza stone an hour at highest possible temp, usually convection roast.
                            As you said you already did, keep rolling that pizza dough thin.
                            No precooking should be necessary after doing the above

                            1. re: VenusCafe

                              While my experiment yielded a pretty solid result back in Nov (I par baked then stored the dough for half a day in a ziplock), I'm very intrigued by your suggestions, VenusCafe. Thanks for chipping in! Gelsons isn't the most convenient to where I live in SoCal (TJ's and Ralphs are) but based on your suggestion and the option to buy WP's frozen dough, I'm going to give it a go. I do use a stone, which is the only way to go esp for thin crust (though I usually heat it for about a half hour. Will try longer next time) and I do proof dough at room temp for an hour (usually just pull out the dough and let it sit in flour while prepping everything else). Stay tuned for the compare & contrast response after my next experiment! BTW- in case you're interested in sharing your sauce recipe I'll proffer mine: I roast plum tomatoes at 190 degrees for about 10 hours, then refrigerate them until I need to make sauce. At that point I spin them with roasted garlic and fresh garlic, S + P, basil and a tbl of paste. Then I slide that mix into a pan of minced onions that have been sauteing in EVOO and add a dash of white wine to deglaze the onions. . Last touch is a pinch of red pepper flakes. Usually a hit though I'm open to learning something new..

                        2. We use TJs pizza dough a lot. I believe the secret is leaving it out until it warms up and fills the bag it comes in. Then cut in half for one pizza and press that out however you do your pizza. Let it rise again and proceed.

                          1. Realize that a real pizza oven is 800+ F, so the hotter you can get the oven, the better. But, as already mentioned once, an outdoor grill, burners turned up all the way, can be one of your best options available in most homes - most decent grills should easily do 700+. I make mine right on the grates, but a stone can be used as well. To borrow pie-baking terms, I blind bake my crust first, it only needs 1-2 minutes a side, then add the toppings, usually only needs another 3-4 mins to finish.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: bsims76

                              I tried the grill once, clocked at about 650F when I dropped my pie in it, but it scorched the bottom of the dough. I used a nonstick round pan (with holes in it) so can't imagine I'd get better results placing it right on the grill, but perhaps your grill is higher quality than mine. Maybe the stone is the right move in the grill?