Good info, The thing that surprises thuogh is the 500 degree pie at 4 minutes. Are your skins pretty thin? I thought that they would have required almost twice that time.
Are your oven air/stone temps verified with a gun and a gauge? The only reason I ask is having done temp experiments in the past I have not seen a 500 pie get done and well browned in 4 minutes.
Well, technically speaking, I didn't say I baked the pie at 500 degrees, I said it was a 500 degree pre-heat
I probably could have conveyed it better, but when I referred to 'char' and 'browning' I was talking about the bottom of the pie. That 500 is stone temp. I do broil the top of the pie for about a minute during that 4 minute bake.
Not to say that a 500 degree browned pie can't be achieved in 4 minutes without broiling. I've played around with stone ceilings, and, so far, haven't settled in on one quite yet, but, when I do, it will be a non broiled 500 degree 4 minute pie.
When all is said and done, temperature is pretty trivial. You can bake a pizza at 800 degrees with poorly conductive materials and end up with a pale crust or, in the same amount of time, you can bake a pizza at 500 with something highly conductive and get browning. What really matters is the thermal mass and conductivity of the stone. With a stone that can both store a lot of heat and transfer that heat to the pizza relatively quickly, you can trim the minutes dramatically while using lower temps. Take, for instance, my local pizzeria. They can brown a pizza in around 6 to 7 minutes at a temp of 450. How do they do this? Those deck ovens utilize stones with tremendous thermal mass and good conductivity. My stone has slightly less thermal mass, but I have about double the conductivity of deck oven cordierite. That's how I can get away with a 4 minute 500 degree pie.
Bob1, my crust varies between being about as thick as a typical NY pizzeria and a tiny bit thinner. The difference, though, is not great enough to affect the way the bottom of the pie browns. Occasionally, I've gone a little crazy with the toppings and lost a little bit of color, but not much.
ThunderStik, I don't have an IR thermometer yet, but I have measured my oven with an oven thermometer and it cycles between about 25 below and 50 above the temp on the dial. This cycling, though is caused by the radiant heat coming up from the bottom element. With the tempering effect of the thick stone, I highly doubt the stone's surface temp is much higher than 500. I'll have a gun in the next two weeks. I can pretty much guarantee you, though, that it won't read more than 515.