Author Topic: Little Black Egg  (Read 399095 times)

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Offline Essen1

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #225 on: May 20, 2008, 12:43:25 AM »
Villa,

thanks for the info on the bagels. Hopefully I'll get to try them over the Memorial Day weekend.

But I wanted to run something by you, getting your input on this idea...

The LBE is simply an ingenious design and comes very close to simulating a pizza, baked in a wood fired oven without the "smoky" flavor, however. Tonight I was surfing around on the Weber site,  to see if they have any accessories that might be useable and could perhaps get the LBE another step towards the holy grail of the amazing taste of a pie made in a wood-burning oven.

I found this below.

Now, imagine the gas burner in the middle, heating the pizza stones, while one ignites one layer of charcoal briquettes, topped with some Hickory or Oak chips in each compartment. Or maybe in reverse order. Don't wanna get burned  :-\  While the burner is blasting away at an obviously higher temp than the wood & coals, the heat would suck up the moderate smoke, distributing it evenly over the pizza and out the side & top vent, giving it a nice and, hopefully, subtle smoky flavor.

Any thoughts on this?

Mike



« Last Edit: May 20, 2008, 01:01:10 AM by Essen1 »
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein


Offline Essen1

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #226 on: May 21, 2008, 09:59:03 PM »
Here's a new addition/mod to my LBE.

I noticed that after a few uses, the grate which holds the two stones started to warp and bend. So I thought perhaps a 1/4" thick solid metal plate would be better.

My buddy cut out three long holes, for the lack of a better term, for the air flow but left a solid part in the middle and up front, which in turn, eliminates the additional foil to block air flow from up front.

I use the Fibra-D stone on top of the plate. The Fibra stone is a tad wider than the solid part of the plate in the center but since it has slanted edges, air flow should not be affected by it. I have yet to give it a test run, but since I'm out of propane, it'll have to wait until the weekend.

I'll report back on how it turned out.
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #227 on: May 22, 2008, 10:50:45 AM »
The steel bottom plate looks real nice. Looks like it was cut with a plasma cutter. Let us know how it turns out.

     Villa Roma

Offline Essen1

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #228 on: May 22, 2008, 12:02:22 PM »
Villa,

It wasn't a plasma cutter. My buddy did it with a water jet cutter. That's why the edges are so sharp and defined.

I'll let you know how it turns out. Hopefully it won't be a total bust.

Mike
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #229 on: May 22, 2008, 12:46:51 PM »
Mike,

You are getting close to Willards 2stone design. The 2stone has a curved metal disk that allows for a pocket of air beneath the stone. I assume that was done for a reason that I have no clue about.

Good luck with your trial.

PNW

Offline Essen1

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #230 on: May 22, 2008, 03:52:11 PM »
PNW,

It could be, that he installed a curved plate to prevent it from warping in the first place, depending on the thickness, and perhaps for even heat distribution from underneath. I don't have a 2stone so I don't really know, just thinking out loud.

The plate I installed is a 1/4" thick and flat. The stone sits flush on top of it. I could imagine that the plate would heat up very evenly, distributing the heat right into the stone. I guess we'll see how hot it gets, and how fast.

Mike
« Last Edit: May 22, 2008, 11:04:01 PM by Essen1 »
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #231 on: May 30, 2008, 11:21:29 AM »
Here's my latest experiment. I took a sheet of .125" thick aluminum and cut it to 17" diameter. I mounted it to the lid. I'm not sure what effect it will have on the finished pizza but I guess I'll find out this weekend.

     Villa Roma
« Last Edit: June 01, 2008, 08:30:47 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline Essen1

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #232 on: May 30, 2008, 01:49:29 PM »
Villa,

It looks like you're on to something. I can imagine that the plate inside the lid would compress the heat and provide better baking from the top. Let us know how it turns out.

I fired up my LBE for the first time after installing the metal plate. The air flow was unreal. You could feel the heat coming out of the side vent more forcefully then before. I had three of the four vents of the chimney closed, so only one was open. The LBE heated up to a whopping 900F in about 20 mins. The pie turned out great and the new modification made a huge difference, in heat-up time, air flow and baking.

Nice charring around the crust and leoparding on the bottom.

Mike

« Last Edit: May 30, 2008, 01:51:34 PM by Essen1 »
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

Offline ehanner

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #233 on: May 30, 2008, 09:57:11 PM »
Villa Roma,
It looks like the top vent is closed off and the total combustion gasses are vented out the side port. I'm anxious to see how this works for you.

Essen1 that looks like a smooth outfit! Do you get an even heat distribution across the stone? Do you need to rotate the pizza?

Eric


Offline Essen1

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #234 on: May 30, 2008, 10:21:43 PM »
ehanner,

Thanks.

I had to rotate the pizza twice. I noticed that the crust, facing the back of the LBE (top vent side), browns a lot faster. But that's due to the air flow. Next time I'll try to close off the top vent all together and see how the heat distribution is then. Or perhaps close it off until the LBE has reached its desire temp and then just open one vent.

The stone itself got extremely hot and I had to turn the burner way down so that the bottom of the pizza wouldn't turn into charcoal before the rest was done.

Mike
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #235 on: May 31, 2008, 03:12:48 AM »
Essen....Looks like you have the "hot setup" there. Your pizzas look fantastic. How long did it take to cook those pizzas at 900 degrees?

    Villa Roma

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #236 on: May 31, 2008, 08:50:23 AM »
Villa, I'm sitting here on the sidelines watching all the great improvements to the LBE everyone is making.. great pictures too... I was wondering though-- you took a picture of your raw dough recently and I noticed how nicely the raw dough looked --  a lot of air bubbles throughout the dough...Would you  mind sharing your raw dough recipe for a white pie (I think you gave your recipe for the whole wheat recipe already) ... I'm not sure if you had imparted this in the past..I'm curious to know if you are using natural leavening or using commercial Instant dry Yeast.... thanks again for your invention and ideas on making great pies.

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #237 on: May 31, 2008, 10:42:39 AM »
MT....The answer to your question is both. I used a small amount of IDY and some starter for that pizza. Here's the recipe:

200 gm Gold Medal unbleached all purpose flour
150 gm cold water (75%)
4 gm salt (2%)
1/32 tsp IDY
1 tsp starter

I just mixed up all the ingredients in a small bowl with my sawed off screwdriver, let it rest for 30 minutes or so and stir it up again. I let it rise a few times and gave it a gentle stir between risings and then scaled it into two dough balls. I let them rise until they were puffy and then cooked them in the LBE at around 700 degrees. I had to pop a lot of bubbles as the pizza cooked.

    Villa Roma

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #238 on: May 31, 2008, 10:58:35 AM »
MT...Here is a test pizza I made last week using a different recipe:

200 gm Gold Medal Harvest King flour
140 gm RT water (70%)
3 gm lite salt
4 gm oil (2%)
1 tbl starter

Mix up everything with the SOS and let rest for 30 minutes, stir again and let rest 1 hour. Scale and refriderate for two days. Remove from fridge about an hour before baking at 725 degrees.

    Villa Roma

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #239 on: May 31, 2008, 03:25:37 PM »
Thanks Villa for the recipe, but this raises another question... your starter...it must be something special... could you tell where you obtain it and how you maintain it? thanks...(you don't use IDY...)

Offline Essen1

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #240 on: May 31, 2008, 11:56:23 PM »
Essen....Looks like you have the "hot setup" there. Your pizzas look fantastic. How long did it take to cook those pizzas at 900 degrees?

    Villa Roma

Villa,

It's a "hot setup", alright. It was actually a little too hot for my dough formulation (66% KABF & 33% Caputo 00 Pizza) at 900 F. 

I had to let it cool down because I was afraid the bottom of the pizza would just turn into a disk of charcoal. I baked the first pizza at around 800 F but unfortunately didn't time it. I was too busy, and excited, to see the new addition at work.  ;D

If I'd had to guesstimate, I'd say it took about a minute and a half, rotating the first pie twice. The other two were baked at around 750 F, give or take a few and took about 2 mins, with a couple of rotations also. The BGE stone in the lid topped out at around 680 F, without any cracking whatsoever.

All of the pies had a nice oven spring, were crunchy on the outside with a chewy texture. The crust's edge was extremely puffy and light.

If you have a custom metal shop in your area, I honestly think you should give the plate design a shot. So far, I believe it provides extremely good air flow, is responsive to heat control via the gas tank's valve control and heats the stone very evenly.

Mike
« Last Edit: June 01, 2008, 12:00:25 AM by Essen1 »
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #241 on: June 01, 2008, 01:12:29 AM »
MT.....As much as I'd like to spin some adventurous tale about how I acquired this starter when I was on an expedition trekking through Africa fending off wild, voracious, cannibalistic Pygmy monks or that it is a closely guarded family starter recipe that has it's roots in ancient Europe, made with the tears of the Virgin Mary and blessed by JC himself and has been handed down from generation to generation for thousands of years, I must confess, that although all that sounds very exciting and mysterious, it's just not the case.  :'(  I imagine tall tales such as those shrouded in a cloak of intrigue sell a lot of merchandise though.

Here's how I made that starter. Take the following ingredients and just mix them up and let them sit covered at room temperature, stirring once or twice a day. In a few days it will become active and you can treat it like any other starter.  I like to maintain the hydration level somewhere between a stiff batter and a loose dough which can still be stirred. It'll take a few weeks before it gets really going strong and develops a nice wine aroma.

100 gm pineapple juice
125 gm Gold Medal Harvest King flour
10 grains IDY

    Villa (Indiana Jones) Roma
« Last Edit: June 01, 2008, 04:33:22 AM by Villa Roma »


Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #242 on: June 01, 2008, 09:06:19 AM »
 :-D Thanks Villa, your explanation was the adventure I was looking for!! I'm always worried my starter will contaminate in some way and I'll lose it. So its nice to know one can get a starter going by such simple means!...

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #243 on: June 01, 2008, 11:53:31 AM »
Here are the pizzas I made today. These are 100% whole wheat except for 1/2 cup of white flour (Harvest King) starter so technically this pizza is 96.25% whole grain. The carefull observer will notice the pseudo leoparding. WATCH OUT OR YOU MAY GET MAULED!  :-D

    It's a jungle out there.....Villa Roma
« Last Edit: June 04, 2008, 01:33:17 PM by Villa Roma »

Offline ehanner

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #244 on: June 02, 2008, 01:09:01 PM »
Villa Roma,
Two questions.
1.) Are those pies ham and pineapple? Your pie always looks so good and you seem to like that combo, I think I see some diced onion also?

2.) How did the top plate work out? Airflow?

Thanks,
Eric

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #245 on: June 02, 2008, 01:46:01 PM »
ehanner.....Thanks and good eye, the pizzas were indeed pineapple, ham and onion. I was going to make a ham, onion, pepper and mushroom pizza but I spaced out and forgot the peppers and mushrooms when I went to the market so all I had was a can of crushed pineapple and an onion.

The top plate worked out real well. The airflow coming from the vent is hotter and more powerful. I got my leg too close and it burned the hair off of it. Those pizzas were done in 3 minutes at a temp of about 675 degrees and were the best I've made yet, nice and light and crispy. I'd like to try a high temp run to see how fast the LBE can cook a pizza in it's latest configuration but I'll have to use white flour for that test and a fresh tank of gas.

The pictures did not come out very good as the battery in my camera was getting low and I couldn't use the flash so they look a little muted colorwise.

     Villa Roma
« Last Edit: June 03, 2008, 01:20:39 PM by Villa Roma »

Offline ehanner

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #246 on: June 03, 2008, 09:27:51 AM »
Villa Roma,
Soooo, Are you thinking that the top vent isn't necessary if you have the side port? Actually yours is blocked now so I guess that's the conclusion.

Are you loading your pies through the cut out? Are you still rotating the cooker instead of the pie?
Eric

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #247 on: June 03, 2008, 12:16:02 PM »
ehanner.....It's six of one or 1/2 dozen of the other, I've made great pizza with just the top vent and also with the side vent. I probably used more gas with just the top vent to create the turbulence needed to make a great pie. With the side vent, air baffle and the low ceiling of the cooking chamber, the hot air is forced over the pizza at high velocity and then out the small side vent creating a pizza wind tunnel of sorts. I still have more testing and experiments like steam injection etc. I'd also like to remove the baffle and rotate just the lid 120 degrees twice during the bake.

I lift the lid when loading the pies and rotate the pizza not the LBE. I loose some heat when I do this but a 3 minute pizza is pretty respectable. I don't get hung up on the 1 minute pizza ego trip thing. Chris Bianco cooks his pizza in the 3-5 minute range and his pizza is some of the best in the world. I like my pizza more on the toasty (not burnt) side anyway.

      Villa Roma

Offline Essen1

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #248 on: June 03, 2008, 12:44:44 PM »
I did a second run last night with two pizzas, one all veggie, one ham, shrooms, olives and salami. Both turned out quite well and were baked at around 700 F for about 2 1/2 mins. I also changed the formula just a bit by lowering the hydration down to 60%, from 63%, since the first try.

What I noticed about the Fibra -D stone, however, was that the heat distribution is limited when it sits right on the metal plate I installed a few days ago. The heat's to much in the middle of the stone compared to the rest of the stone and it creates a major hot spot.

Since I have two more skins left in the fridge, I'm switching to my cordierite stone, which has "feet" underneath. I can imagine that the heat distribution might be better since it allows for even air flow underneath the stone.

Anyway, the pies turned out quite well.

Mike
« Last Edit: June 03, 2008, 12:49:55 PM by Essen1 »
Mike

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Offline Essen1

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #249 on: June 03, 2008, 12:49:32 PM »
And the second pizza...

Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein


 

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