Author Topic: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project  (Read 59170 times)

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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #100 on: June 25, 2010, 12:30:59 AM »
hmmmm had an off night tonight.  I baked but it left more questions than answers.   B/c of recent burnt pies and premature bottom burning, I decided to cut the starter % way back.  Went back to a mere 6% and even cold fermented for 18hours.  The dough only sat out for 2 hours and still felt cool to the touch and so I took it outside on my glass table in the shade for 1 hour.  Dough didn't look overly poofy so I was feeling like it wasn't overfermented. 

Took out the bottom heat diffusing bowl and got the temps up to 700.  Loaded a pie and then cranked the heat up hoping for the best.  The bottom started burning too quickly as before.   :(

I KNOW that 700 is not too hot of a temp for my pies as I have had a great bake at 720 and the bottom crust held up at those temps for 4mins! 

Anyways as Norma said.  YOu have a good a night and then you have an off night.  I swear i will figure this pizza thing out sooner or later!  even it puts me in the dang grave.   :(

So next up on the list is to put back the diffuser bowl and go back to the exact formula that I previously had success with.

T-man

Funny observation I had tonight.  With the diffuser bowl out and the flames going straight up to the firebrick hearth, I felt like airflow wasn't as good as it was with the diffuser bowl in place.  I can hear the airflow and place my hand in front of the lid vent to feel how hot or forcefull the airflow is.  I think the bowl helps direct more of the flames and heat to the side of the MBE.

« Last Edit: June 25, 2010, 12:35:16 AM by Jackie Tran »


Offline norma427

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #101 on: June 25, 2010, 07:09:17 AM »
Jackie Tran,

You will get this figured out.  ;D  With all your ideas something will work, as it did in the past.  I also have the off nights and am sure I always will.  Just too many variables to deal with.  Dough, heat, set-ups, etc. etc.

Best of luck in your next attempt,  :)

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline Tampa

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #102 on: June 26, 2010, 12:26:16 PM »
JT,
I don't think you will figure it out.  Making pizza is going to drive you nuts just like the rest of us.
Dave

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #103 on: June 26, 2010, 12:49:36 PM »
JT,
I don't think you will figure it out.  Making pizza is going to drive you nuts just like the rest of us.
Dave

Too late dave, I'm already nuts.   :-D
I revisited the same formula that gave me that first succesful bake last night and even shorten the fermentation down a bit and didn't burn the pie.  When I step up the temps from 730 towards 800, it burned a bit.  So I'm definitely learning as I go along.  I'm keeping better notes now of everything from temp of the starter and dough to exact times of fermentation. 

My burning issues was definitely due to several factors.  1 being fermentation temp and time, 2 being the use of bromated HG (high protein flours), and 3 the temps at which I'm baking at. 

I'm slowly learning to juggle and balance those 3 factors.  Definitely can't overferment.  Definitely can't bake bromated HG doughs at 800 for more than 1 min 30 seconds.  And for my setup, so far the heat diffuser is a good thing.  I'll revisit removing it later when I get a few of the above variables under more control.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #104 on: June 27, 2010, 03:10:03 PM »
Made a couple of deep fried hamburgers for lunch with the MBE.  Deep frying outside so the house doesn't stink up is a real plus.

These aren't as greasy as you would think and they are pretty tasty.  Decided to top this one with Mozz, tomatoes, and basil. 

Offline Tampa

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #105 on: June 28, 2010, 01:44:30 PM »
Quote
My burning issues was definitely due to several factors.  1 being fermentation temp and time, 2 being the use of bromated HG (high protein flours), and 3 the temps at which I'm baking at.

Quote
When I step up the temps from 730 towards 800, it burned a bit.

Interesting.  On that steam test we did yesterday using my rotisserie pizza grill setup, I found the two test pies cooked at 710F were perfectly charred - meaning much more, would be too much.  Then I threw a "Mellow Mushroom" special (includes molassas in the dough) and got more char than I wanted at 685F.  So sugar/molassas requires a lower cooking temperature.  I didn't know about more fermentation requiring lower cooking temperature but will keep an eye on that.

Dave

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #106 on: June 28, 2010, 10:09:37 PM »
thanks for posting about your experience as it coincides with what I'm finding out.   I hadn't clued in on this issue cooking in the home oven as I would monitor the bottom of the pie closely.  when I got to a certain amount of char, I would rim or dome the pie.  Pies always came out with a nice look and i never had to worry about having even top and bottom temps or an even bake.

In the MBE and perhaps any grill type ovens, it's a different cooking scenario.  Since there is no top broiler, the time to char has to be equal for the top and bottom.  You can always cheat (as i've done many a times) by slipping a steel plate or aluminum foil under the pie if the bottom is done before the top, but its more challenging/rewarding to do a bake without doing that.

So that being said there is a definite window of usability for dough. Use it before it's mature and the oven spring is not maximized.  Use it too late and it burns.   I'm finding out that the more overfermented the dough(or the more you go beyond that window of usability)  the faster it burns.  An extreme example of this is the pie I posted in post #49 of this thread.  That dough was way overfermented and the bottom scorched at a hearth temp of 625-ish in a matter of 45 seconds.  I decided to let it burn some more since i was interested in experimenting with browning the rim.  Of course that window of usability is dependent on the amount of yeast used and the time and temp of the fermentation process.

Scott and Peter give some good discussion on this topic earlier in the thread.   For those that missed it, I'll recap and paraphrase.  As Scott posted, it makes sense to me that at some point of fermentation, enough alcohol and byproducts create an atmosphere that is inhospital for yeast growth.  The yeast stop reproducing.  What  I believe leads to burning is that (as Peter has posted many times) there are pretease enzymes that are produced.  I believe these enzymes are responsible for breaking down gluten and sugar chains making more sugar available.  Since the yeast isn't using it up at this point it is available to burn.   Having added sugar in the formula aids this thereby aiding browning in the crust. 

This is but one factor among several responsible for premature burning.  Hydration ratio relative to time of bake, added sugar, added oil, top and bottom heat, and also protein content can affect burning.  It's trying to make sense of all these variables and their roles and balancing them out in one's specific oven that leads to a good looking and good tasting pie.  It's almost enough to make one's head spin. 
« Last Edit: June 28, 2010, 10:30:16 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #107 on: June 28, 2010, 10:17:35 PM »
Ok just so you guys don't think I'm off my rocker, I did make a nice looking and delicious pie tonight.  I consider this a true Neo-Neapolitan.  It is a pie made with 100% caputo baked at a temp of around 720-ish for 3 mins or so.  It's bake time and temp is more like an elite NY'er.  It's oven spring, bubbles, and texture also reminiscent of a NY'er. 

The rim and bottom was crunchy and the innards were soft with some chew to it.  Just the way I like it. 
« Last Edit: June 28, 2010, 10:31:38 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #108 on: June 28, 2010, 10:26:03 PM »
You can see the bottom has a lighter spot in the middle.  That's where my sand bowl resides under the stone.  For this bake I put the diffuser bowl back but also added more sand in as I was really tired of the bottom burning too quickly and I had thought this was a source.  Turns out it was, and i can also control the amount of charring by varying the amount of sand in the bowl.  All I have to do now is remove some of it to even out the bake (which is the same amount I used in my first successful MBE bake or about 3/4 of the bowl). 

Oh yeah, the MBE is an incredibly efficient cooker.  I can reach a desire hearth temp of 700F within 20-25min.  I have had close to 10 bakes (sorry lost count) baking about 2 pies each time and there is still fuel in the tank.  It may just last a few more bakes but that comes out to under $2 of fuel per bake. 

Offline scott123

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #109 on: June 29, 2010, 01:31:35 AM »
I like that crumb. Nice and moist and squishy, but still completely cooked through and not gummy.

Knead time?

On the topic of Elite NY-ers, have you given any thought to decreasing your thickness factor?


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #110 on: June 29, 2010, 01:59:39 AM »
Scott to be honest, I did overknead this one a bit.  Knowing that it was lower protein caputo, i upped the kneading some compared to my minimal knead times for HG flour.  I lost track but the dough was handled for about 8 min, so I'm thinking a knead time of about 5min.  I also did some stretch and folds and balled it b/t bulk and cold ferment.  I don't think it will take me too many more tries before figuring out the right amount of kneading/dough handling for the different flours, but we will see.  On my next go around, I will experiment with the nominal knead plus the added folds/balling and I should be in the sweet spot. 

I have considered decreasing the thickness factor but since I am baking for around 3-3.5 min, I will have to either up the hydration rate a bit more and/or add oil to the formulation (which I'm not oppose to at all) to keep the crumb moist.  I think J. Varansano bakes in his home oven in under 2 mins.  I'm not sure what his bake time and temp is in his restaurant.  Anyone know? 

Scott I was wondering if you were gonna point out that one burnt spot in the upskirt shot.  I went back and took a look at the diffuser bowl and it wasn't centered perfectly and indeed was channeling more air towards that particular side.  So I had to rotate the pie towards that side of the mbe during the bake. That's an easy fix for next time. 

Based on your estimates on stone conductivity and bake times found here. Reply #103 (excellent post btw)
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11015.100.html

I decided to see if I could source a less conductive stone for the mbe.  I wrote the makers of fibrament and awaiting a reply.  I also was able to source a box/case (11 SF) quarry tiles for around $36.  They wouldn't divide the case for me.  They are 6x6x1/2" thick.  Even if I double up on them I would be at 1" which is 1/4" less than the firebrick.  I believe that 1/4" difference will help with the airflow even more.  Anyways ideally I'd like to get the fibrament as it is only 3/4" thick.  If they'll ship it for under $50, that would be a good deal. 

Offline scott123

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #111 on: June 29, 2010, 09:49:51 AM »
Tran, the crumb looks pretty tender to me.  If the crumb is tender, you didn't overknead.

A thinner dough will cook faster, so you shouldn't need additional water or oil to achieve the same level of moistness in the crumb. Thinner doughs, depending on the setting, because they bake quickly, can puff up a little higher and end up with better oven spring than thick doughs.

I would just take your regular dough, decrease the quantity by about 10% and stretch it thinner.  Once.  Just to try it out. You had mentioned before how similar a lot of the pizzas you make are- I've noticed you're getting a lot more varied, but if you really want to change things up, stretch it thinner- especially if emulating neo-neapolitan is one of your goals.

I think you're flushing your money down the drain by purchasing a fibrament for your MBE.  It is less conductive, but it's also super fragile.  Since open flame is present, they're most likely going to recommend a grill version, but even then, I don't think it's going to give you too many uses.

Also, thanks to Jeff V, we now know that quarry tile can vary pretty dramatically in conductivity.  My current theory is that some brands of tile are more porous/contain more air/are less dense than others. If you purchase dense tiles, you could end up with very comparable conductivity to what you have now.

Have you tried the no buffer, low pre-heat approach yet?  Heat the stone to 600, crank the heat and put the pizza in.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 10:15:58 AM by scott123 »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #112 on: June 29, 2010, 11:21:03 AM »
Scott, thank you for your feedback.  I can't even begin to say how much it's help me progress.

With my current set up the heat in my mbe oven is not yet ideal.  I want a top heat that is at least 50F hotter than the bottom.  I want the top to cook a bit faster than the bottom.  As it is the bottom outcooking the top by a small margin.  That's the reason why I was searching for a lower conductive hearth.   Another possibility for this slight unevenness is the air gap between the current stone and the sloping lid.  It is < 3/4" and even less if I place a pie near the edge.  As the crust rises (into the dome) it starts to restrict some of that air flow.  Or at least I think that is a potential problem.  No biggie, as air will find the path of less resistance and flow around in the other areas of the perimeter. 

B/c of this slight uneven top and bottom heat in my current setup, I have to actually bake around 3 mins to get a good charring to the rim.  If I lower the hearth a bit, it should increase the airflow to the dome and possibly get me decent charring in the 2 min realm.  IF i can do this, then I can make a thinner pie, have it bake faster than 3min, and get a great texture.    As it is with the thick firebrick hearth, the bakes have to be longer and that equates to a drier pie if it's thinner. 

I'm glad you mention my pies are getting more varied, as I was thinking the same.  That caputo pie looks very different from my previous caputo pies.  It's likely the fermentation regimen and heat differences.  I'll have to do an experiment on that down the road sometime. 

I just heard back from the fibrament folks and they can't custom cut a round 12" stone for me.  I had forgotten about how brittle it is so thank you for reminding me.  BTW, is quarry tile a lot less brittle than fibrament?  Can it withstand thermal shock comparable to firebrick? 

If I have time today, I'll start making the cuts to the quarry tile and see if my theory about airflow is correct.  It is dense quarry tile, so I hope it won't be too hard to cut.  Even if I end up with the same conductivity as the firebrick, I may be able to benefit from it's reduce thickness.  I'll experiment with just one layer first about 1/2" and then double it if I need to.   I'm also considering cutting up a thin steel pizza pan and placing that under the single layer of quarry tiles. 


Have you tried the no buffer, low pre-heat approach yet?  Heat the stone to 600, crank the heat and put the pizza in.
I have but didn't get good results.  I tried the no buffer, load it at low temps and crank up the juice approach and got burnt pies earlier than expected.  It could have been due to some overfermentation, restricted top air flow, bad karma, or some other unknown reason.  I plan on revisiting the technique once I get my dough fermentation times down to insure it's not a fermentation issue but rather an oven setup issue. 

Thanks again,
Chau
« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 11:25:25 AM by Jackie Tran »

Offline Tampa

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #113 on: June 29, 2010, 11:23:54 AM »
I still think you are off your rocker - but that pie does look pretty good.  Still you need to add little bacon before I'm coming over.

It kind of bugs me to see such success with caputo.  I was thinking that my last night's pie was "all that", but now I have to admit that we had a little more gum line than is ideal, and more gum line than you show in your photos.  I'm going to try to ignore your success for now.

Dave

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #114 on: June 29, 2010, 11:31:21 AM »
Dave, you crack me up.  I'm always so critical of my pies so it's nice to hear positive things.  I think the gumline is invisible due to the white sauce?  I'm also not a great photographer and using a very mediocre camera.  I find that it gives me shady pictures that makes it harder to judge.   :D I'll try again with a red sauce and see.   

I'd love to see pics of your caputo pie. 

As I mentioned in a different post.  Caputo kicked my @ss for 2 weeks straight before I got a 1/2 decent looking pie and now I still don't know what to make of it.  I don't know what part it will play in my final formulation.  These are just experiments to keep me from going insane.  :-D Or do I experiment b/c I'm insane? ???
« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 11:47:07 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline scott123

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #115 on: June 29, 2010, 12:22:11 PM »
I just heard back from the fibrament folks and they can't custom cut a round 12" stone for me.  I had forgotten about how brittle it is so thank you for reminding me.  BTW, is quarry tile a lot less brittle than fibrament?  Can it withstand thermal shock comparable to firebrick? 

Quarry tile can vary, but out of every material used for baking stones, I'm pretty sure it's the weakest when it comes to resistance to thermal shock.  Firebrick, cordierite and fibrament are all engineered (some better than others) to be able to handle heat.  Quarry tile is just made for flooring and has pretty much the same specs as regular brick (also not that thermally strong).

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #116 on: June 29, 2010, 11:14:01 PM »
So I got the box of quarry tiles and cut 4 pieces today.  This stuff is pretty dense but not terrible difficult to cut.   Took about 30-40min.  I also ended up cutting up a polished porcelain tile the guys at the store gave me.  After i told them what I was planning to do with the quarry tiles, they said here try this.  Add the 2 together I was at 7/8" compared to the 1 and 1/4" of the firebricks. 

So it took about an hour total to cut both the quarry tiles and the porcelain tile.  To cut the quarry tiles, I used my rotozip tool and made a deep score on both sides and the knocked the corner pieces off with a hammer.  Then went back and polished the rough/sharp edges. 

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #117 on: June 29, 2010, 11:21:13 PM »
Well I just so happen to have 2 dough balls fermenting in the fridge for 3 days and had to be baked so what choice did I have???

Wanted to test out the newer setup so I gave it a go.  Remember, my goal in doing this was to decrease the thickness of the hearth and pulling the pie away from the dome a bit to improve airflow and see if I can get faster browning of the top crust. 

Here are the 2 pies.  One was made with 100% HG flour and the other with 75% HG and 25% caputo.  Wanted to see what I liked better.  The first one was the red sauce pie and baked at a stone temp of 750+ for 3 min.  The white pie baked at 700 stone temp (then burner opened up to high) and baked for 3 min.   Both had equal charring on the bottom but the first pie had a bigger spring.  Hmmm, I honestly didn't think a hearth temp of 50F (esp at 700F) could make a difference in oven spring. ???  or could it be the different flour combination resposible?

Scott, can you tell which is which?

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #118 on: June 29, 2010, 11:29:33 PM »
Here's an aerial shot of the red pie.   If I'm being picky, which I am, I'm not happy about the white ring on the very top of the rim.  I want to get an even browning or coloration to the whole rim.

With the less thick hearth and increase ceiling height, I really expected airflow to improve to hopefully improve crust coloration.  Disappointingly it did not.  It actually had an opposite effect.  Looking at the previous pies with the firebrick hearth, they actually had more top crust coloration. 

The reason (clear to me now) is that by pulling the pie away from the dome, I lose the benefit of the heat radiating off the lid and the top stone.  I may have increase airflow but it was at the cost of losing some crust coloration. 

So I will be returning the firebrick hearth.  Now I have 10 square feet of quarry tile sitting in my garage without purpose.  Oh well.... :-\     
« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 11:37:32 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #119 on: June 29, 2010, 11:34:11 PM »
The pies still tasted pretty good BUT at this point I'm pretty sick of eating pizza.  The thought of it almost makes me want to vomit.  :-X  JK.  I guess I need a couple days break.  :-D

Here's a few shots of the crumb.  Again the red pie was bake first at a higher  temp and had a bigger spring than the 2nd.  One of the 2 pies has 25% caputo.  The rest of it HG flour. 


 

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