Author Topic: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie  (Read 3258 times)

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Offline Malanga

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Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« on: April 07, 2012, 02:58:33 PM »
Hey guys,

I have a bottom compartment broiler and wanted to try out the skillet-to-broiler method that Kenji described on Serious Eats.  

http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/09/how-to-make-great-neapolitan-pizza-at-home.html

I followed the recipe as close as I could, minus the fresh mozz and the 00 (used regular all purpose from the super market).  Let it cold ferment for 4 days.  I don't have a cast iron, so I used my All Clad.  I have to say that I really enjoyed eating this pizza.  My attempt was certainly amateur, but it tasted pretty good.  Far from Neapolitan indeed.  Had a nice crispiness to it, while still being light with a nice chewiness to it (not gummy though).  Here's what I got on my first try (yeah it's my avatar pic):
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 03:00:10 PM by Malanga »


Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2012, 09:19:54 AM »
Really good looking pie Andrew. Looks like that technique worked very well for you. Next time you try it, please post pictures of the bottom and the crumb too.

You don't need Caputo to bake a great pie. Other than in a WFO, I prefer AP to all others.

Craig
Pizza is not bread.

Offline Malanga

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Re: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2012, 11:19:21 AM »
Thank Craig!  As I was eating it I thought I should take pics of the undercarriage and the crumb, but was too lazy!  I'll definitely next time.  For those willing to try out this method, I think it's worth a shot.  You just have to work fast once the dough hits the pan, although if it's just some mozz and sauce, there isn't too much to rush. 

That said, the onions and the mushrooms (both uncooked before hand) came out a little on the undone side, and the moisture from the mushrooms did pool up a bit.  The next one I made after this I held off on the toppings and it came out much better.  I'm thinking the broiler gets pretty hot, but not enough to really cook the toppings enough... or I could have left the pie in there for a bit longer.  I did have a bit of concern of burning the crust though. 

I really need to invest in an IR laser to test my temps. 

Offline Malanga

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Re: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2012, 12:57:07 PM »
This one here has a bit of provolone on top, which burned a bit.  Tasted good though.  The limitation with these pies are the size (I'd say 10 inches tops, but this one is a wee bit smaller).  They make for a good quick personal pie after a long day when I'm the only one up still (actually couldn't finish this one last night with the local pilsner I had).  One minute on top of the stove for topping, and 2:30 down below. Half way through I rotated the pie in an attempt to get even browning on the crust.

I enjoy making these, no doubt... and it's a fun little style to know I can make... but I'd say these are more novelty than anything else, size being the factor that leaves me searching for more.  They fill me up, but that's a bit selfish if someone else wants a slice.  I guess size does matter after all...  ;D
« Last Edit: April 14, 2012, 01:03:07 PM by Malanga »

Offline Malanga

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Re: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2012, 12:58:25 PM »
Side shot

Offline Malanga

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Re: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2012, 01:01:10 PM »
Had a nice feel, but not sure if this is good or not...

Offline Giggliato

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Re: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2012, 02:21:45 PM »
That pizza does look good, and this seems like another method I need to try. I like the idea of topping the pizza while the pizza is cooking. :-D :-D And the fact that you don't need to preheat the oven is a big plus. Just need to find the right skillet...

Offline Malanga

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Re: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2012, 03:22:29 PM »
Thanks Giggliato!  They are fun to make, easy to pull off, and fast.  I'm thinking this would work better with the Lodge Pro.  (Maybe if one of you guys who has one out there can try it out!)  Though, I just looked and it does say that it's oven safe to only 400F!  Hmm... I thought the cast iron could take a bit of a beating and handle higher temps.  Any ideas of what kind of skillet would be optimal for this?  I'm not sure what temps I'm hitting in that broiler right now, but I'm assuming with the short cooking time, it has to be over 400.  However, I doubt the pan itself is heating to those temps, while the pizza receives a large percentage of the heat directly from the flames of the broiler.

(Scott123 also mention that I could try hot rolled steel in the broiler for an attempt at a NYC pie.  This would eliminate the need to start up on top of the stove and allow for a larger pie as well.  I can definitely fit a 16 inch pie there.  Anyhow, that's off topic but thought I'd throw that in there).

Well hopefully some other folks can give this method a try and post some pics.  

Offline Malanga

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Re: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2012, 06:41:19 PM »
These are getting pretty routine to make!  If you have a decent skillet, give it a try.  Would love to see other's results. 

Offline chickenparm

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Re: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2012, 07:29:08 PM »
That looks great!

 :)
-Bill


Offline Malanga

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Re: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2012, 09:12:24 PM »
Thanks Bill!  It was the best of the batch (made 4 pies in total) although I think I was a little heavy-handed with the sauce.  Dough ball was in the fridge for 5 days.  This method is super easy with the right set up.  

Offline Malanga

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Re: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2012, 11:32:06 AM »
Her undercarriage. Had some residual flour there.   >:(


Offline Malanga

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Re: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2012, 11:35:43 PM »
I'm having so much fun making these things, I had to post this one: a tomato pie with a tiny amount of shredded pecorino romano.  I'm hoping some other folks out there are trying this method!  
« Last Edit: April 24, 2012, 11:55:42 PM by Malanga »

Offline chickenparm

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Re: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2012, 02:28:39 PM »
That looks fantastic!Keep up the great work!

Btw,I use the super peel to launch my pies.It helps alot to reduce the amount of flour on the bottom.In fact,I never have any flour on the bottom when the pies come out.

I do have to shake off the flour from the cloth on the peel,by sliding it back/forth,holding it over the garbage can when done, but its very minimal.

 :)

-Bill

scott123

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Re: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2012, 04:42:33 PM »
Andrew, while I think you're making some beautiful pizzas, I believe that you're reaching a point where the skillet to broiler method won't take you to the next level, regardless of which skillet you use.

I know we've gone back and forth on this, but I truly believe that putting a quarry tile hearth and ceiling in the main oven compartment and pushing the temp to 650 will both be safe from an oven perspective and give you slightly better/larger pies than you're making now.

Offline Malanga

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Re: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2012, 08:44:24 PM »
Bill, thanks for the tip!  I've been working on cookie sheet and it's crazy sticky!

Scott, I appreciate your input! I totally agree about this method not allowing me to kick the game up and start really improving.  I am having fun, but these pies are not what I originally set out to do.  That said, I'm still not sure what I need for the oven (quarry stones, fibrament, both?) and am definitely still clueless about exactly how to tweak the oven out to allow those high temps.  I've read a few threads on modding (probe "condoms", insulation rope, containers of water, etc) yet I haven't really come across one that has methods I'm comfortable with trying.  Guess I have some more homework cut out for me.

Regardless, this novelty method (and it's novelty to some degree) is a quick easy way to whip up a few pies without getting the kitchen too hot.


Offline Malanga

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scott123

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Re: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2012, 12:37:18 AM »
The probe condoms are probably the safest and most reliable of the available tricks.

Since you seem pretty handy with a camera, could you take a photo of your oven probe?  Without a broiler in the top of your oven you should be able to access it quite easily for inserting a condom of some kind. At the moment, I'm leaning towards an insulating firebrick.  You might need to call a few brick places, but insulating firebrick is nice and light, easily cut/drilled and should keep the probe cool.

Fibrament is fine, if you want to spend the money.  Anything with poor conductivity will work well. Below is what I generally recommend to gas oven owners without broilers in the main compartment:
« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 12:43:02 AM by scott123 »

Offline Malanga

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Re: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2012, 08:10:02 PM »
Thanks for that reply Scott!  I'm sure a lot of people will find the diagram you made helpful as well!  One question about it:  how far from the bottom should the fibrament be in this type of oven with a bottom compartment broiler down below?  

I will get that pic of the oven when I get the chance.  My kitchen has been taken over by mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and wife so I haven't been in there making pies for the past few days.  Anyhow, the probe is easily accessible, jutting out from the upper right hand corner, opposite the oven light.  I'd say it's only 4-5 inches long (No, that's NOT what she said).  

For the firebrick insulator, how would I hold it up?  Keep stacking firebricks until it reaches the probe or find a 3rd rack to insert?  Say I don't go with the firebrick, what do you think is the easiest "condom" insulator set-up?

I've been reading up on the quarry tiles and it seems as if the jury is still out on whether they are food safe or not.  I have read a few posters state that it bests to steer clear and go with those products designed for cooking use instead.  Regardless, it seems that many are happy with the results using quarry, besides easy cracking, slippage, and the occasional flume of molten cheese sneaking its way between tiles.  

So, I'm leaning toward the Fibrament for the cooking surface and the quarry tiles as the hearth ceiling.  That said, would a 1/2 inch fibrament be ok, or is it much better to go with the 3/4 inch (my guess is thicker would be better)?  This is assuming I can achieve higher temps with the mod. If I can hit 650 do you think a NY style pie is within reach?
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 10:25:30 PM by Malanga »

scott123

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Re: Skillet-to-Broiler rookie pie
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2012, 10:30:02 PM »
Andrew, as long as the quarry tiles are unglazed, they are food safe.  If you're really worried about it, then, sure, get the fibrament.  Fibrament will give you similar results to quarry, though, at probably 6 times the cost.

Insulating firebrick is about as heavy as styrofoam- it has very little mass.  The probe itself will be more than strong enough to hold the brick. You will want to trim the brick down so it's not a full size brick, though- I'm thinking a 1" x 1" x 6" with a hole drilled down the center for the probe. It cuts/drills much like styrofoam as well- very easily.

Your fibrament hearth should be on the bottom shelf of the oven.  When you have sufficient top heat (such as a broiler), thicker hearths are usually better, but, in this instance, the goal is to handicap the hearth so the ceiling can catch up. 1/2" fibrament @650 (your target temp) is kind of uncharted territory- it might be a tiny bit too handicapped, but, imo, it's better to have too weak of a hearth (and need to push to the oven to 675) then to have a hearth with too high heat transfer and have to pull the temp down to 625.  A quarry tile ceiling @ 625, even just an inch or two away from the top of the pizza, will be abysmal.

Remember size matters (No, that's NOT what she said ;) ), so get the largest stone your oven will fit.  It looks like Fibrament has a 17 1/2" x 17 3/4" x 1/2" stone.  That should be a very comfortable target for a 16" pie and slightly less comfortable target for a 17" one.  If you're lucky enough to have an oven that can handle an 18 x 18 or larger stone, then get the 20 3/4" x 20 3/4" stone and have them cut it down. I really hope this stone makes it to you in one piece.  Fibraments are notoriously fragile and, when you get into thin and wide dimensions, flexural strength plummets.

These are the kind of temperatures you're oven will be hitting.