Author Topic: Pizza Sputnik...  (Read 18242 times)

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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #100 on: January 19, 2011, 10:07:31 AM »
Not yet. I will give it a try this weekend. If I went to williams sonoma or the like this weekend and just bought a stone, would that be a waste of money - or should I order one online?

John

I'm no stone expert but Williams and Sonoma would likely be carrying cordierite.  A thick stone at 3/4 in should work fine. I load my oven pies at 750f so you aren't far off.  I'm not sure what temps Alexi is loading at.

Ive also read somewhere that Toby uses a cheap $10 type stone on a metal pizza pan.  The pan helps distribute the heat and prevents cracking.

Chau
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 10:14:21 AM by Jackie Tran »


scott123

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #101 on: January 19, 2011, 10:47:32 AM »
Williams sonoma is not a great place to buy a stone.  You'll end up with a flimsy 5/8" stone which will have cost you an arm and a leg.

Can your oven really reach 650 degrees? Can it sustain that temp? If you can fully preheat a stone (inside and out) to 650, then I'd say go with a 1" thick cordierite kiln shelf

http://www.axner.com/cordierite-shelf-18x18x1square.aspx

A stone with this thickness/conductivity may not give you a 1 minute NP pie, but it should do 2 minutes @650.  At least, I'm pretty sure it will. If you want to spend a little more money and be absolute certain of a 2 minute bake (or less- without the headache of an oven mod) then I'd go with 1/2" steel plate.

http://www.onlinemetalstore.com/items/A36_Hot_Rolled_Steel_Plate.cfm

Now, one thing to bear in mind here, is that, other than one or two members using thinner guage steel plate with longer bake times, this is kind of uncharted territory.  Celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal did relatively quick bake times with cast iron pans, but this is far superior because of the additional thickness.  I've crunched all the numbers, though, and on paper, this is the best baking stone you can get for either low temp ovens and/or people looking for quick bakes without oven tricks.

And, just to be clear, all bake times are for the bottom of the pizza.  For the top, you're going to need to position the stone really close to the broiler (<2.5") to hit that 2 minute or less bake time.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 10:52:20 AM by scott123 »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #102 on: January 19, 2011, 11:22:26 AM »
Thanks for that link Scott.  I'm considering getting one of those steel plates.  What would be the plus and minues of getting a thicker plate, say 3/4" or even 1".   Too much heat?   >:D,  The extra weight of it?  I just want to make sure the 1/2" is thick enough to transfer enough heat.  I'm really liking this idea. 

I just priced a 16x16x1/2" slab out at $34.  It's about 36lbs  :o.  Not sure how that compares to the weight of a cordierite slab.   Price seems very decent for the slab though as it should last forever. 

Chau
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 11:29:20 AM by Jackie Tran »

scott123

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #103 on: January 19, 2011, 12:12:38 PM »
Chau, I've lied awake a few nights contemplating whether or not 1/2" is enough thermal mass for steel plate  ;D According to my calculations, mild steel has about 3 times the density of cordierite but about 1/3 the specific heat capacity (roughly).  This translates into 1/2" steel being able to store about the same amount of heat as 1/2" cordierite.  The big difference, though, is that the heat in the cordierite travels very slowly so, as the surface is cooled by the dough, it's replenished far more slowly than the steel is replenished. In other words, the steel should transfer much more of it's energy than the cordierite will in the short amount of time.

Does 5/8" or 3/4" give me a fuzzier feeling when it comes to thermal mass?  Sure, but, as you noticed, this is HEAVY stuff here.  At 3/4" this is quite a bit heavier than soapstone.  I have yet to hear anyone have an oven shelf issue with soapstone, but there's got a be a point where these shelves fail- and I don't want that to happen to anyone. The way I see it, an oven should be manufactured to be able to handle a 30 lb. thanksgiving turkey with veggies, rack and pan, all maybe totaling in the 40 lb realm. That's pretty much where soapstone is.  3/4" steel at 16" square is 54 lb and if you go to 17", or, if your oven can fit it, 18" you're really pushing the shelf integrity envelope.

$36 is great, but expect to probably double that with shipping. Even at $70, I say go for it- unless, of course, your oven can handle 17" and then I suggest pricing that ;D You can kick butt at Neapolitan all you want, but I'm pretty sure you're a Neo-NY style guy at heart, and, for that, every inch counts.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 12:18:08 PM by scott123 »

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #104 on: January 19, 2011, 12:26:29 PM »
Scott - Thanks so much for the information! I have a game plan now...

Alexi - What setup are you using?

John

Offline ponzu

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #105 on: January 19, 2011, 11:11:59 PM »
Scott - Thanks so much for the information! I have a game plan now...

Alexi - What setup are you using?

John

John,

First off thank you for your kind words.  Any compliment coming from someone whose pizza is half as beautiful as yours consistently is, is high high praise.  Having my pizza mentioned in the same sentence as Chau's is over the top (and totally undeserved.)

After all of my shenanigans with ice sleeves, "oven within an oven" and all of the rest of it, my current setup couldn't be simpler.  No other modifications.

One pizza stone (overpriced rectangular  3/8 " model from williams sonoma- a gift from years ago :-D)  on the top shelf of my oven about 2-3 inches from the broiler element.  I preheat for about 45 minutes and load the pie right at the end of a heating cycle right after the thermostat shuts off the broiler.  The stone temperature is anywhere from 750-825 by infrared thermometer.  I cook on convection for a minute and maxi broil (broiler will turn back on on my oven by this time) for a minute  to a minute and a half with about 3 quarter turns of the pizza on the stone.   I don't rim the cornicione anymore (lift it closer to the broiler on the peel) as in my case it seemed to create photogenic crusts that were not properly cooked inside.

This metal stone idea is very intriguing.  I can't wait to see someone cook some pies on one of these.


Alexi
« Last Edit: January 19, 2011, 11:20:55 PM by ponzu »

Offline ponzu

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #106 on: February 15, 2011, 01:13:02 AM »
Last night i made my best crust yet which I figure is worth a post on the Sputnik thread.

The dough was a same day prep.  the flour was 100% harvest king. 62% hydration.  2.8 % salt and 20 percent young Ischia levean.

I mixed for 8 minutes in the Bosch and did 3 tartine turns in the first 2 hours of the bulk rise.  I bulk rose 5 hours at 80-85 degrees.  then balled and proofed 2 hours at room temp (about 70 degrees.)

The pies were cooked at a stone temp of 775 -800 for 1.5 minutes on pure convection and 1 minute on convection broil.

the dough had a crispy slightly charred thin shell enveloping a moist open crumb.  there was a mild wild yeast complexity but almost no sourness.

Pics to follow.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2011, 01:49:55 AM by ponzu »

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #107 on: February 15, 2011, 06:41:12 AM »
Alexi - Masterful work here. It is amazing to see how well Harvest King is working for alot of people, and the influence Tartine has brought in the pizza making realm.

John

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #108 on: February 15, 2011, 08:31:48 AM »
Beautiful results Alexi.  Did you find the crumb cooked to your satsifaction?  Did you find it slightly undercooked in anyway?  I'm curious because I understand the challenges of the home oven but your pictures look great.

Chau

Offline ponzu

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #109 on: February 15, 2011, 12:24:51 PM »
Beautiful results Alexi.  Did you find the crumb cooked to your satsifaction?  Did you find it slightly undercooked in anyway?  I'm curious because I understand the challenges of the home oven but your pictures look great.

Chau

Thanks for the compliments guys.

John,

I totally agree with you on the profound effect Tartine techniques have had on the quality of technique and pizze in this community.  Also harvest king has really become my go to flour ever since I bought my first 50 pound bag for 15 bucks at restaurant depot months ago.  There is just nothing wrong with it.  It performs beautifully for my pizza and bread needs.  Not sure it is better than other flours, but its not worse than the ones I tried.

JT,

The crumb was perfect for my taste.  Absolutely no gum layer.  It was light and airy but totally cooked.

I think the undercooked crumb layer has been, for the most part, been eliminated in my bakes by baking for the first 1-2 minutes on convection with no top heat before switching on the broiler for the the final 1-2 minutes.  This allows the crumb to cook and a thin crispy layer to form prior to coloring the top.  I switch off the broiler right before loading the pie so the stone is hot and there is ample oven spring.

I know my pictures are suboptimal in the crumb department.  When I get my iphone to close to the crumb it loses focus so I lose detail in the crumb shots.  Does anyone have any tips for taking good crumb shots with a cell phone?

AZ


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #110 on: February 15, 2011, 12:48:40 PM »
Great technique Alexi.  I like it.   I'm a bit surprise you still got those black warts to show up even with broiling after the min or so bake. 

Just for kicks I'd like to see what the pies look like if you place the pie on the stone (with a slightly lower temp) and broiler running first, then after you get the look you want, shut off the broiler and let the pie bake out another minute with the convection running.  Of course if you are happy with the results, then no need to tweak it further.  I think you perhaps might get even more leoparding.  ???

Chau

Offline ponzu

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #111 on: February 15, 2011, 04:07:10 PM »
Great technique Alexi.  I like it.   I'm a bit surprise you still got those black warts to show up even with broiling after the min or so bake. 

Just for kicks I'd like to see what the pies look like if you place the pie on the stone (with a slightly lower temp) and broiler running first, then after you get the look you want, shut off the broiler and let the pie bake out another minute with the convection running.  Of course if you are happy with the results, then no need to tweak it further.  I think you perhaps might get even more leoparding.  ???

Chau

JT I'd be happyto try that.  The reason I have chosen the order that I use now is that there is a lag in my electric broiler between turning off the broiler and the heat actually cutting, so it is much easier to cook the base with stone heat and convection and finish off the top with the broiler, judging its doneness by surface visual cluesas opposed to broil the top until it is almost done and then cutting the broiler.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #112 on: February 15, 2011, 04:20:49 PM »
Alexi, I really love the "simple" fix you figure out with your oven.  Goes to show us that the simple solutions are often times right there in front of us, but we just werent' able to see them before.    ;D

Offline pizzablogger

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #113 on: February 22, 2011, 03:55:41 PM »

I know my pictures are suboptimal in the crumb department.  When I get my iphone to close to the crumb it loses focus so I lose detail in the crumb shots.  Does anyone have any tips for taking good crumb shots with a cell phone?

Ponzu, first of all, those pizzas look very good! Impressive results after lots of tinkering on your part....dedication pays off.

You are much like me...after lots of crazy set-ups, mine is nearly identical to yours, except I use aluminum foil on the rack the stone is on.

With regards to cell phones and pictures:

1. Most cell phones have difficulties in low and particularly with indoor lighting. One of the best things you can do to immediately improve your cell phone shots is stabilize the phone while taking the picture. Rest the bottom of the phone on something before focusing and taking the shot. A water or wine glass, stacked coasters....whatever it takes to get the phone at the right height. And then when taking the picture, smoothly and gently press the picture taking icon. Less camera shake = clearer pictures.

2. Does the iPhone have any camera/lighting and/or color modes on it? Many cell phones, particularly the iPhone 3g, seem to have problems with indoor lighting...with oversaturated pictures and color casts being a common problem (the neon red sauce on your pizzas).

If you have the ability to, select the indoor lighting mode when taking pictures inside and do not let the camera pick the lighting/white balance automatically. This may help. In addition, if you are able to lower the saturation settings, tinker with less saturation.

Ponzu, some handsome looking pizzas. I tried to color correct and rescue your photos as best as I could, but the images are saturated enough where I have to make a best guess on the saturation levels...I know the sauce ain't that red and your mozzarella is a little whiter in real life.

This is the best I could do while still keepong some image clarity.

Great work on the pizzas and looking forward to more Sputnik action! --K
"It's Baltimore, gentlemen, the gods will not save you." --Burrell

Offline ponzu

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #114 on: February 22, 2011, 04:48:12 PM »
K-

Nice work with the editing.  The pies look almost 3D and the colors really pop now.  Almost like a lovechild pie of Enzo Coccia and Andy Warhol.

I'm pretty sure those look better than they did in real life.

I'll try your tips with the iphone as well.

Thanks,

AZ

Offline pizzablogger

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #115 on: February 22, 2011, 05:31:08 PM »
The 3D effect is from the iPhone....it, and many cell phones, tend to render very sharp distinctions/edges which can make an object look nearly 3D against a larger neutral background like a pizza plate.

"It's Baltimore, gentlemen, the gods will not save you." --Burrell

Offline ponzu

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #116 on: March 06, 2011, 01:28:58 AM »
Here's a pie from tonight.  This is made with my standard technique.  65 % hydration.  This was a same day dough from 3 days ago with the 2 leftover doughballs stored in the fridge between bakes.

I post this because the crust had an almost new haven look to my eye which  really liked.  I attributed the darker color to the fermentation products built up in the cold ferment after the initial proofing.

The toppings were quite nice tonight as well.  This is duck sausage with an italian cows milk truffle cheese.  Umami indeed!

-Alexi

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #117 on: March 17, 2011, 08:15:33 PM »
Alexi,

I saw this yesterday and couldn't help but think of you.

Craig
Pizza is not bread.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #118 on: March 17, 2011, 08:46:26 PM »
Alexi, that looks like a Bianco Pie.  ;D


Offline ponzu

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Re: Pizza Sputnik...
« Reply #119 on: March 18, 2011, 12:34:27 AM »
Alexi,

I saw this yesterday and couldn't help but think of you.

Craig

Craig,

That is spectacular!  I'm not worthy!  What museum is that?

And how can I make that photo my avatar? :chef:

Alexi


 

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