Author Topic: Top part NOT browning, bottom is ok (with photos and details of our procedure)  (Read 2354 times)

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Offline lalo

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The top part of our crust is flat and doesnt brown at all even though the bottom part does get a decent browning depending on the oven time.

In a reply to another message Pete-zza suggested to answer a couple of questions to be able to better understand our procedure and thus be able to help us better.

So, here are those questions with their answers along with a couple of (blurry) photos.

Thanks in advance for your help.

1) which specific version of the Lehmann dough recipe you are using,

I'm using the recipe found at PMQ's website but with added sugar:

 Flour   100.0%
 Salt   2.3%
 Sugar   2.0%
 Yeast   0.5%
 Oil   3.0%
 Water   55.00%
 Whey   2.50%


2) what kind and brand of flour are you using,

I'm using a "hard" flour that has 13% of protein.

3) whether you are using a room temperature fermentation or a cold fermentation, and for how long,

Balls are formed and stored in the cooler for at least 12 hours. I put the dough balls in a metal sheet and cover them with paper.

4) what kind of oven are you using (e.g., electric, gas, convection, etc.), and

We have a commercial gas deck oven bought from a local but respectable manufacturer here in Mexico.

5) what is the baking regimen you are using (i.e., oven temperature, rack position of the screen, preheat time, any broiler use, and bake duration).

The dough ball for a 18inch weights 22 ounces and for a 14in 15 ounces.

Pizza is prepared in a peel and then transfered directly to the oven. No screens or pans are used. The pizza is placed directly on the stone. Oven temperature is 525 F degrees.

At around 8 minutes in the oven the bottom part of the pizza looks "done" (dark brown, with some darker spots), great color. The border of the pizza on the top side is quite flat and very white. It tastes ok but it isn't appealing to the eyes.

If I leave it more in the oven the cheese starts to burn and the bottom part of the pizza gets burnt to the point where it tastes bad.

Thanks again!
« Last Edit: June 14, 2007, 02:53:35 AM by lalo »


Offline canadianbacon

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One thing I don't see you mention is *where* the rack is in the oven ?

You can have the greatest pizza dough recipe, but if the placement of the pizza is not correct, then you will never get great results.

If you are burning on the bottom, and not enough browning on the top, move the rack up 2 slots, and try again the next
time you do a pizza.

It's amazing how just moving the racks around in your oven will give different results.  Maybe post an image of the *current* rack position when you baked that pizza. 

I've also seen some ovens where the top or bottom element is defective, and is not putting out the heat it should be, and - you will never know it, because the thermostat in ovens doesn't monitor heat coming from each element ( top and bottom ) but rather the overall heat in the oven... so you could have a bottom element doing 80% of the work and the top element doing 20% and you would never know.

That is a long shot, and not the problem in your case, so I'm going to say that it is the placement of the pizza in the oven that is causing
you the problems.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2007, 08:02:41 PM by canadianbacon »
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Offline lalo

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canadianbacon,

 sorry, seems I wasn't clear enough. This is a commercial gas deck oven like the ones used in pizzerias. It doesn't have racks, just the stone.

Offline canadianbacon

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oops  :-[,

I don't know all the terminology for commercial ovens, I just assumed this was in your house.
oops again.

If that is the case, that is not a good thing now is it ..... I was under the assumption that these ovens are supposed to
be the cat's meow when doing pizza.... is this oven not specificially created for doing pizza ?... hmm.... this is indeed
an interesting topic.  I hope somebody who is in the industry can help you out.  Most of us are doing this in our homes, and
home ovens are not even close to anything commercial.

I have made pizza at home, and then at my friend's pizzeria and the pizzas were totally different, not even at all the same,
almost as if they came from different planets.

Since you have a commercial oven, does this mean that you have had very good success with other recipes, that you have collected
from other pizzeria owners ? or friends ?   ( I"m assuming you own or work at a pizzeria if you have a commercial oven, because something that large is the size of 2 kitchen tables, so would never fit in a house )


canadianbacon,

 sorry, seems I wasn't clear enough. This is a commercial gas deck oven like the ones used in pizzerias. It doesn't have racks, just the stone.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2007, 08:23:30 PM by canadianbacon »
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Offline Pete-zza

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lalo,

The first thing I would do is omit the sugar and dairy whey. Both of these, and especially the sugar, are known to pose problems in baking a pizza on a hot deck surface. What happens is that the sugars caramelize and cause the bottom of the crust to turn brown, and, in some cases, to turn black. This often happens before the rest of the pizza can finish baking. As you noted, if you wait for the top of the pizza to turn a nice brown, the bottom has had it and the cheeses can burn and develop brown spots. If for some reason you want to retain the sugar in the dough, you can bake your pizzas on screens directly on the deck. The screens will lift the pizzas above the surface of the deck so that the pizzas don't cook as fast on the bottom, allowing more time for the tops of the pizzas to bake. Some operators even use two screens under each pizza in severe cases. The negative of using screens in a deck oven is that another step is involved as you shuffle screens around. During slam time, this can slow you down and reduce throughput a bit. If you find that using screens results in a lighter bottom crust than you would like, you can always "deck" the pizzas by sliding them off of the screens directly onto the deck surface to get increased bottom crust burning. Obviously, it is better not to have to use screens.

Another possibility you might consider before eliminating the sugar and whey from your recipe is to try a lower oven temperature. You might reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees to start and see if the problem persists. If so, reduce the oven temperature again by another 25 degrees. If you don't see improvement, then you can eliminate the sugar. You can try omitting the sugar first to see if that helps. If not, then omit the whey also. Of course, if you lower the oven temperature, the bake time may go up. This is something you will learn better as you play around with the different possibilities mentioned above. If you eventually conclude that the sugars are at fault but you still want to use some sugar, you can then try adding sugar back to your recipe but at reduced levels that won't result in overbrowning.

You didn't indicate what specific type of deck oven you are using. There are deck ovens that are intended to bake food items other than pizza. When operators try to bake pizzas in such ovens they sometimes discover that the tops of the pizzas don't bake properly, or as well as they would like, causing them to find improvisations so that they can offer pizza as well as the other food items the ovens can handle. It doesn't sound like you are using a deck oven intended primarily for items other than pizza, but I thought I would mention it just in case. Unless you have a fundamental oven problem, I think the problem is the sugars in the dough.

I hope you will let us know if you solve your problem. Good luck.

Peter

« Last Edit: June 13, 2007, 09:13:52 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline DKM

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If you find that using screens results in a lighter bottom crust than you would like, you can always "deck" the pizzas by sliding them off of the screens directly onto the deck surface to get increased bottom crust burning. Obviously, it is better not to have to use screens.

Some places I've been to will do the reverse, if they notice the bottom getting too brown, they will slide a screen under the pizza.

DKM
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Offline Pete-zza

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Some places I've been to will do the reverse, if they notice the bottom getting too brown, they will slide a screen under the pizza.

That is a very good idea. Of all the reading I have done at the PMQ Think Tank about oven and baking problems, I never read about that one.

But using screens in a deck oven can be a real pain. They take space in the oven as pizzas are moved around, and a lot of oven heat can be lost if you have to open the door too often to retrieve screens or move them around or, as in your example, to put a screen in the oven. So, heat recovery becomes an issue. Some operators use screens all of the time, even when they are not having problems with their crusts burning. It is a lot easier to load pizzas that have been dressed on screens into the oven, and you save a lot of time not having to train workers on peel skills. With screens, you can hire unskilled labor and not worry as much when they leave. The perceived advantage to using screens for loading purposes is offset by the fact that it can mean a longer bake time to achieve comparable results to what you get not using the screens, because the screens have to heat up before the pizza starts to bake.

I mught add that some operators use disks in deck ovens instead of screens but for the same purpose. Apparently the design of disks at the edges makes it easier to remove pizzas and the disks from the oven using a metal peel than when screens are used.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 13, 2007, 11:06:51 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline canadianbacon

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good point, this is what I do, if I'm baking cookies at Xmas, and find the oven is a bit too hot on the bottom, I just slide
in another cookie tray, (under the first one) and that solves the problem.

Some places I've been to will do the reverse, if they notice the bottom getting too brown, they will slide a screen under the pizza.

DKM
Pizzamaker, Rib Smoker, HomeBrewer, there's not enough time for a real job.

Offline rxrfrx

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Check out the similar thread in the NY forum.  Try putting the mostly-cooked pizza under the broiler to finish it off and brown the top.  Your recipe may be fine, but you need to make your oven provide more radiant heat from above.

Offline Pete-zza

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Check out the similar thread in the NY forum.  Try putting the mostly-cooked pizza under the broiler to finish it off and brown the top.  Your recipe may be fine, but you need to make your oven provide more radiant heat from above.

As you will note from an earlier post in this thread, the oven used by lalo is a commercial gas deck oven, not a home oven. It has no broiler. That doesn't mean that he doesn't need better top heat, but rather how will he get it in his particular oven. If the oven is performing properly to make pizzas, the problem may still be the dough formulation itself. But, first, it is important to rule out any possible oven problems.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 14, 2007, 05:21:01 PM by Pete-zza »