Author Topic: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!  (Read 7542 times)

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Offline Villa Roma

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I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« on: December 16, 2007, 08:26:47 AM »
As you may have gathered from the subject line, I picked up a Deni pizza bella cooker today. I was be-bopping around ebay and found this model 2100 deep dish up for grabs, so I grabbed it.

What can I say, I was getting a little bored and needed a new toy to play with. >:D The reviews are somewhat mixed on this unit but I'm willing to give it a shot and see what this little dandy can do. I have a few mods in mind so stay tuned.

Makes a great stocking stuffer!!! :-D

     Villa Roma
« Last Edit: December 21, 2007, 02:57:15 AM by Villa Roma »


Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2007, 09:25:11 AM »
Ron, thats my oven I LOVE IT...I had to adjust the thermostat but it makes great pies...more on the individual size but it does everything a 700 degree oven does cause I can get it up to those temps with little time or electricity. I don't believe they make this particular oven anymore so you have a real steal...I think I'll look for another in case mine dies someday..Let me know if you need instructions on how to modify the temp control to get those high temps that are great.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2007, 09:27:28 AM by MTPIZZA »

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2007, 01:22:25 AM »
MT.....It looks like it really is a small "Pizza Bella" world!

I'll take a look at the thermostat and if I have any questions, I'll get in touch. I'll be sure to take pictures of the operation for future reference.

The first thing I'm going to do is mount a temp gauge in the top, like the one on the LBE. I have an IR gun but the temp gauge will give me a rough idea of the temp without having to open the oven, plus it looks cool. I've always said, you can never have too much instrumentation. 8)

The PB was mailed out on Monday so it may arrive in time for the weekend. I think I may be able to get some caputo pizza flour thanks to the kindness of pkasten. Should be interesting.

Do you have any special techniques that you use when making pizza in the PB?

       Villa Roma
« Last Edit: December 18, 2007, 03:18:50 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2007, 10:01:26 AM »
Regarding techniques, when I first got the oven I took their "pizza paddles" they include and put them on my peel, then I traced around them with a marker directly onto my peel so when I stretch my dough I don't get over zealous and make the dough too big ( I don't use their paddles for pie transfer). This makes sure that the pie won't be larger than the stone surface. I just try and make sure all ingrediants are room temp so as to not lower the great high heat I have under the lid. I lift the lid about half way through to allow more steam to escape thus getting a crisp outer edge. The steam that it produces is quite significant but it helps in making a tender crisp crust. Just as in the bread making where you bake in a pot with a lid -- it helps in the beginning as the crust develops and starts to cook. On occasion where the bottom crust might be getting overdone, I slip a pizza screen between the crust and the stone to lift it off slightly and allow the top to continue cooking. You can still close the lid when the pizza screen in under the crust. Thats really all there is...its a great oven for the home user. I get high temps in a matter of minutes anytime of year and don't have to heat up the house or burn a lot of electricity to do it.

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2007, 12:19:22 PM »
The Deni Pizza Bella arrived in the mail. It looks like it was only used a few times. I ran it through a test run to see what kind of temps this little honey can produce bog stock.

On low the stone temp measured 300 degrees, medium came in at 450 and high registered and earth scorching 600 plus! After it cooled off I dissected the unit and performed the thermostat mod. (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5980.0.html)

Sadly the stone on my PB has a crack in it. The sender didn't pack it very well but with a little arm twisting, I got them to knock $15 off the price. It does not affect the operation but it got me to thinking how I could replace the stone and add a custom touch to my Deni that says, I'm special. ::)

When I need to invent something I put on some mood music. The go-to music in this situation is, of course,  Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention because necessity is the Mother of Invention and I really needed this mother.

Well, it worked because, BLAM, like a lightning bolt out of the sky, I had a brainstorm (pardon the pun). Just saunter your bojangles on down to the local home store and get a 12" granite tile. Should cost less than $5. These are really 11 7/8" square and 3/8" thick. The PB stone is 12 1/4". Just locate the center of the tile and draw a 12 1/4" circle on the tile. Then cut it at the wet saw or if you're a fraidy cat, have one of the "store associates" do it for you. At this price you can really be styling like a big dog with a different tile for every day of the week! How sweet it is! Use the unglazed side for everyday cooking and when company arrives, use the money side.

See the attached graphic to see what the finished product should look like.

Oh yeah, one more word of advice.

Don't go where the huskies go and don't you eat that yellow snow! :-D

   Now you're "Rockin"....... Villa Roma
 

« Last Edit: January 01, 2008, 04:12:13 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline Jackitup

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2007, 01:20:25 PM »
"gonna be a dental floss tycoon with my pair of zircon incrusted tweezers, in the hills of Montana".....
I seen Zappa twice in Ludwigshafen and twice here in St Paul MN...feeenominal. I also have several of his albums (vinyl of course). His live extended riffs of blues instrumentals were second to none. Most people thought he just made the oddity albums, he made alot more and was all great music. Miss his eccentricity and his music.
Jon
Save A Cow, Eat A Vegan....Totally Organic And Hormone Free!!

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2007, 06:16:26 PM »
Ron, mine has a hair line crack as well and I too have been thinking when the time comes I may need to replace the stone.. thanks for you Zappa mind moment...it may be just the ticket. The only thing is will it close properly and match the correct thickness I guess it will

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2007, 11:06:21 PM »
MT.....The original stone is about 5/16" thick but the metal retaining ring is 3/8" so it shouldn't be a problem. I'm not sure if you can get the ring to fit on the granite tile. It really depends if the tile is a true 3/8".

   Villa Roma

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2007, 08:51:56 AM »
Pizza Bella means beautiful pizza. I'll let you be the judge.

Well I fired up the PB for it's maiden voyage. I made two dough types. The first is a 90% Harvest King with 10%  rye at 70% hydration. Just flour, water, salt and starter. The second dough was 50% HK with 33% rye and 17% WW, again with only sourdough.

I stayed away from the whole grain scene until I get the knack of the PB down pat. I started the first pizza at the max setting on the dial and cranked it to the 9 o' clock position right after the pizza went in. It took about 9 minutes to cook.

I then tried setting the temp at the 9 o' clock position and just leaving it there. When I put the pizza in, the stone temp was 650 degrees. This pizza cooked in 8 minutes.

My last pizza I started at 9 and cranked it to 12 when I loaded the pizza. The cook time came down to around 7 minutes.

One thing I noticed is I didn't get the huge oven spring that I get with the LBE. It was also a somewhat more chewy. How chewy was it? Take a look at the first picture.  :-D One reason may be the lack of thermal mass in the stone. It could also be that this recipe was all sourdough. I'll have to bang off a small batch later this week using my 95% hydration WW recipe for a fair comparison.

I'll also make a small batch using AP flour instead of HK plus I'll add in some sugar and oil and use yeast along with a smaller amount of starter and some milk. That should catapult the oven spring into the stratosphere and make for one tender pizza, as well as lower the cooking time, at least in theory.

     Villa Roma 

« Last Edit: January 06, 2008, 09:34:47 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2007, 09:38:58 AM »
Ron, they sure look like good eats to me!... Nice going on the maiden voyage...keep those pics coming...and any new ideas from your efforts I'm all eyes..!!


Offline Villa Roma

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2008, 12:55:09 AM »
Yet another option for replacing the cooking stone in the PB is a cordierite kiln shelf. These are used inside a pottery kiln to place items on when they are being fired. Cordierite is a type of firebrick.

The PB stone is 12 1/4" and the closest fit, without having to make cuts, would be the 12" round shelf. This is just a wee bit too small but you can roll up small pieces of aluminum foil and place them on the perimeter of the PB, press the cordierite shelf in place and move on.

If you're handy, you can buy any size and cut it with a wet saw or possibly a circular saw with a masonry blade. Sometimes the larger sizes are actually cheaper than the smaller size shelves.

If you have a pottery supply shop in the area you can pick up one of these shelves for around $10-$20, depending on the grade. If you buy it on the web expect to pay an extra $10-$15 to have it packaged and shipped.

I did a quick search and it will cost me $37 to have one sent to my APO box here in Germany, ouch! I'll have to check out the local options first.

      Villa Roma
« Last Edit: January 02, 2008, 01:32:31 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2008, 09:03:41 AM »
Today it was round two with the Deni Pizza Bella. My last batch was a little chewy so I adjusted the recipe to yield a lighter crust. I made two dough types, one was made with GM AP flour @ 75% hydration, and the other was my old standby, 95% whole grain using 100% GM stone ground WW flour. I leavened these with a one-two punch of a small amount of yeast and starter.

I mixed these very lightly using the stir technique and an overnight bulk ferment at about 65 degrees. I let the PB heat up to 750 degrees and started cooking. Bake time was 4 1/2 to 5 minutes.

I ate the first pizza and I must say that it was like eating a cloud. Maybe a little too light. There was a little burning on some of the pizzas but I cut short the ferment by about 5 hours so I'm not surprised.

I ordered a 12" cordierite kiln shelf and should have it for my next road test. The stone in the PB heats up fast because it's only about 1/4" thick. This is a double edged sword as it also does not posses the thermal mass of a thicker stone so it looses heat very quickly when a pizza is placed on it. The cordierite stone is 5/8" thick and will take longer to heat up but it should have the thermal kahunas to cook the pizza even faster and produce an even lighter (OMG) crust.

I guess if I had to sum up the PB in a sentence, it would go something like this. The PB rocked my world like a country girl! There's no Deni...ing it! :-D

    Villa Roma
« Last Edit: January 09, 2008, 12:50:44 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2008, 02:22:56 PM »
Today was round three with the Deni Pizza Bella. I used Harvest King flour and cut the sugar and oil in half. The pizzas took 5 1/2 minutes to cook. I messed up the whole wheat recipe. I swapped the milk and water values but it seemed to come out ok anyway.

I also made a whole wheat focaccia. It came out pretty good but I should have started with a higher temp. I used the deep dish pan for it. It says it's non stick but I had to pry it out so next time I'll get my good friend Pam to help me out. I split it and spread a generous layer of onion and chive cream cheese with some thin sliced ham. Topped it off with the extra vegetables from the pizza and it was great. Washed it down with a nice German black lager, ice cold of course.

      Villa Roma
« Last Edit: January 13, 2008, 03:16:55 PM by Villa Roma »

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2008, 11:23:20 AM »
Ron you are the PB PRO.... love your pics...and I still love my PB... beats heating up the oven and produces great pies... charred crust...etc... can't beat it for home pies!! Especially in the winter!!

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2008, 12:22:16 AM »
MT.....Thanks, I was really surprised at how well constructed the PB is. I thought it was going to be some cheaply made modified skillet but the metal casing and the elements are heavy duty. They also used a nice heavy coat of paint. The only area I see that could stand improvement is the stone. It's a little thin at 5/16" but it seems to cook well. The PB cooks better than any home electric oven I've used.

Speaking of stones, I received the cordierite kiln shelf so next time I fire up the PB, I'll really be rockin! I also picked up some kiln cement so since both my stones are cracked, although still usable, I may cement the two stones together, you know, like an oreo!

    Villa Roma
« Last Edit: January 16, 2008, 12:26:33 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2008, 03:52:02 PM »
Kiln cement...hmmmm I never knew such a thing could be used as "glue" I also have a hair line crack on my stone, where do you get such a product. It seems that the metal ring will hold the stone together for a while, but you never know when she may fail... thanks.. Let me know how the cordierite kiln shelf works in place of the thin stone. Are you going to remove the stone that came with the unit altogether?? I'm not sur if the lid will close properly -- the added thickness may prohibit the hinges from fully closing and may pinch the lid up and away from the stone surface thus letting precious heat escape...

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2008, 12:34:58 AM »
MT....I found high temp refractory cement here. http://www.tracysworkshop.com/p-2975-evenheat-kiln-repair-cement-8-oz.aspx  They ship to my APO box and they also had a 12" kiln shelf. The site says it's 8 oz but the jar they sent me was 16 oz. It's pre-mixed and you use it straight from the jar to repair cracks and fill holes or dilute it with water to coat the inside of your kiln to prevent dust. It's best to keep the mortor joint as thin as possible, no more than 1/32".

I removed the original stone and the metal ring and replaced it with just the 12" kiln shelf. It's made in Mexico and was not perfectly round but it fit quite well in the PB. The shelf just clears the lid when it's closed. If there was a clearance problem then you can nick the corner with a grinder or rasp. The shelf makes a nice ringing sound when rapped with your knuckles, like a church bell. This is similar to my Old Stone Oven pizza stone.

I'm going to try cementing the cracked stone this weekend but I don't expect that to work long term. If it doesn't, I'll just remove the ring from one of the original stones and cement the two stones together, placing the unringed stone on top and offsetting the splits for maximum strength. That should give me a nice thick stone and still have the handles.

I'll take some pictures this weekend.

        Villa Roma
« Last Edit: January 17, 2008, 01:45:14 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2008, 03:34:39 AM »
Here's the 12" cordierite kiln shelf as it sits proudly in Pizza Bella. I'll be blasting out a batch of whole grain pizza later today and I'll be sure to post pics of the result with the new stone.

    Villa Roma
« Last Edit: January 21, 2008, 03:39:00 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2008, 07:55:17 AM »
Here you will see a batch of whole grain pizzas cooked in the Pizza Bella with the cordierite kiln shelf. I used 90% GM stone ground whole wheat and 10% HM stone ground rye.

It took longer to heat up and I had to bump the temp up a bit but the pizza came out nice. Maybe next weekend I'll get a chance to try this recipe on my newly modified LBE. The PB works great but it's no match for the raw unadulterated FIREPOWER of the LBE.

    Villa Roma
« Last Edit: January 21, 2008, 08:45:39 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: I will not be Deni..ed!!!!
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2008, 09:12:22 AM »
Ron, I'm going to try and run down a Cordierite 12" Kiln shelf or disc... I hope I can find one in the states close to my home.. You have solved the cracked PB problem. THanks!