Author Topic: Soapstone Placement  (Read 783 times)

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Offline PizzaSean

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Soapstone Placement
« on: August 18, 2010, 11:59:17 PM »
Hi Everybody -

Just wanted to take a survey for those of you out there using a soapstone in your home oven...  Where do you place it? 

I was considering going about 4-6" below the broiler so that I could enhance the heat of the stone with the broiler's heat instead of just the oven's heating element.  But I've noticed that some members here like to leave it on the lowest part of the oven. 

If you have a minute and want to mention your preferences I'd love to hear it!


By the way, I'm looking to make a thin NY style pie which leans a little more to the NY elite style.

Thanks!
Sean

scott123

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Re: Soapstone Placement
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2010, 05:52:54 AM »
If you put it in the lower part of the oven, it will pre-heat a bit faster, but you want it close to the broiler so that you can broil the pizza as it bakes.

As far as enhancing the pre-heat temp of the stone using the broiler, you have to be close- really close.  At least, that's been my experience.  I tried augmenting the pre-heat of a 1/2" cordierite stone with broiling and a 4" gap and the results were pretty much imperceptible.  If you look at the nearlypolitan thread (where they really drive up the pre-heat temp of the stone), they work with a 2.5" gap.  If you're just getting started, a 2.5" gap is going to be really hard to work with.

Soapstone is quite a bit darker than cordierite, so it should absorb radiant heat better.  I think a 4" gap might give you a bump with broiling, but, to start, I'd go easy on yourself and go with 6".  Once you can launch a pie with your eyes closed, then I'd narrow the gap. Soapstone @ 550 (without a broil pre-heat) can do a 3.5 minute pie.  3.5 minutes is just on the edge of the elite spectrum. As I mentioned before, that's a relatively even colored Lombardi's offering. Master that first and then close the gap and move into a more traditional splotchy charred elite style.

Offline StrayBullet

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Re: Soapstone Placement
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2010, 11:53:32 AM »
Scott has pretty much summed it up.

Since getting a real soapstone, I've been pre-heating and baking with it placed on the 2nd position from the broiler, gives me about 5" of space of so.  I baked this last nite in 5 minutes using the broiler for the last 2.

Offline PizzaSean

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Re: Soapstone Placement
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2010, 09:24:01 PM »
Ah good to know!  That sounds like exactly where I'll end up baking....

I was admiring that pizza in a different thread... very nice!

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Soapstone Placement
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2010, 11:20:01 PM »
Sean, the finishing texture will largely depend on how hydrated you dough is and what temps you are baking at.  More hydration and heat does not neccessarily make for a better pie.  There does come a point where it's just too much and then there are some downsides to consider and contend with. 

A higher hydration dough along with a high temp bake (along with using a HG flour) will give you the best oven spring, but the down side is that the high heat can brown HG floured dough really quickly.  The downside to this is that much of the moisture hasn't been baked off yet and you will get a soft rim shortly after the pie comes out of the oven.  Perfect for those who like soft rims, but to me a soft rim is like a soft handshake from a man.  it's just not right.  :-D  Jk. 

I like a firm and crunchy rim.  If I lower the hydration ratio too much then the crumb isn't as light and airy as I like.  Too low a HR and too long of a bake and you get a dry and crunch rim.  The right balance to me is a slightly crunchy outside and a soft and airy belly.  So there is a balancing act going on here.  With some experimentation you can find the right balance for your baking apparatus/oven, the hydration ratio, the bake time, the kneading or mixing times, etc.   You got a fun road ahead of you.  Just get going and keep practicing till you make pies you are happy with.  Good luck.

Chau

Offline StrayBullet

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Re: Soapstone Placement
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2010, 10:03:22 AM »
Thanks Sean!  I'm still learning but I like the curve I'm on :D

A higher hydration dough along with a high temp bake (along with using a HG flour) will give you the best oven spring, but the down side is that the high heat can brown HG floured dough really quickly.  The downside to this is that much of the moisture hasn't been baked off yet and you will get a soft rim shortly after the pie comes out of the oven.  Perfect for those who like soft rims...

Sometimes you just need have to have the right information hit you at the right time, thanks!!!  That little nugget alone is going to allow me to dial in the consistency I've been after!


 

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