Author Topic: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project  (Read 71925 times)

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Online Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #50 on: June 17, 2010, 11:25:21 AM »
The really strange thing is that I was  getting hearth temps of 650.  This was not a mistake.  I took multiple readings at 2 different intervals so I'm confident that's what the hearth was.   Yet when I loaded the pie it burnt within 30 seconds as if the hearth temp was 850F or more. 

The only explanation I could come up with is that the ceramic stones right under the hearth were super hot replenishing the heat that was just given up to the pie.

I will revisit my initial set up of putting back the lava rock barrier at the lower grate for the next try.  That should place a nice large air gap between the lava rocks and the stone hearth to decrease hearth temps.  I will also take Tampa's advice of putting a steel disk under the stone as well. 

I still have hope for this project.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 12:27:37 PM by Tranman »


Online Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #51 on: June 17, 2010, 11:28:53 AM »
Whoops forgot to say.  Thanks guys for the input and advice so far.  It's much appreciated.   :)

Tampa, great suggestions on making the disk out of a cookie sheet or old SS grill.  I'll look into that. 
Also I did notice the hot spots on the aluminum foil so you are right about that as well. 

I really thought the pan idea would work.  It made sense in my mind anyhow.  I was surprise that it didn't "pan" out.   I agree, it's hard to argue with real world results. 
« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 11:33:08 AM by Tranman »

Offline Tampa

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #52 on: June 17, 2010, 11:57:59 AM »
Yo!  Youve got some serious underside heat going on a big mismatch between the top and bottom cooking.

Some of that is to be expected because the bottom is conduction and the top is convection.  Its the difference between cooking touching a hot pan and holding your hand several inches above a gas burner.  Both are ouch, but touching a hot pan is instantaneous.

In reexamining the photos, your stone is only seven inches from the flame.  Dang, that feels close.  Is it possible that the flame jets that high?  The early LBE videos suggest a considerable flame.  If so, you may want to throttle that bugger back, a lot.

I wouldnt worry too much about the aluminum in the burner.  But if you want to get it out, Id try turning the burner upside down and taking a propane torch to the aluminum (or better yet, map gas).  That should be hot enough to melt it away.  Leather gloves would be good.

This all suggests to me that you have to get that heat over the top.  (The pie is smoked on the bottom and the top cheese hasnt even started to brown.)  Charring on the rim is somewhat of a good sign.  It tells me that at least the flame is making its way around the stone and up the sides in some parts.  The backside of the rim, the part away from the camera photo, seems less charred suggesting that the flow was uneven possibly the pizza was off center.

Im still a fan of one, two, or even three plates under the stone.  The first plate out of stainless steel (or mild steel as a test), then a little sand, then an aluminum plate, then sand, then aluminum foil, then stone.  If it were me, Id get everything at home depot.  I think they have a little sheet metal in the roofing or hardware area, and you can buy aluminum flashing cheaply in rolls (thats what I used on the RPG to cut the hood volume.)  Think of it as the opposite of using layers of clothes in the winter.

I know you are trying to maximize the cooking surface so Im trying not to think about what appears to be a narrow gap between the stone and sidewall of the grill.  I guess you could take out that one little brick wedge piece in the back-left corner of IMG_4055 and throw a pie.  If that area of the pizza subsequently chars like crazy it would suggest the airflow is choked and it really wants to vent.

Dave

Offline Tampa

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #53 on: June 17, 2010, 12:11:51 PM »
One other comment.  Notice how the aluminum disk is melted one side burned away and the other side almost untouched.  That tells you where the heat flow is.

Im guessing that the burn area is directly under the slot you cut in the lid.  If so, Id move all the stone over to the slot right against the side of the grill.  That will leave a bigger gap on the back side so the flow is up, around the back and sides, over the pie, then out the front.

Getting even more bold, I would consider cutting another (extra/replacement) brick to exactly match the weber grill radius, skooch it right up to the side of the cutout slot so you block off the jetstream sneaking the front.  Then just place the pie a little forward when you drop it.

Warning: in the early days of my oven experiments I was almost always wrong.  Now that I have more experience, Im smart, so you never know.  (And I really like this last suggestion.)

Dave

Online Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #54 on: June 17, 2010, 12:14:16 PM »
Thanks for the feedback Dave.  I have been considering several of the points you made.  One of which is to shave the periment of the stone down a bit more to improve airflow.   If you notice I moved the stone closer to the front so that the gap is bigger in the back.  I didn't think it was necessary to have the gap upfront in right below the lid vent.  Well that spot burnt the rim so that gives me an idea of how wide I need to make that gap inorder to get some charring of the rim but not burn it.  The next step is to shave down the diameter of the hearth a bit and move the stone back towards the wall a bit.  

Yes, it's a high BTU burner and I need to scale it back.  I guess it's just like pizza making.  There's so many variables all working at once and all have to work in harmony to get a good pizza/bake.  This process of trouble shooting and optimizing those variables are very normal.  

Thank you for the suggestion on how to get the aluminum out.  It's not big deal that it's there but i do have a mapp torch and will burn it out.  

I think I'm done with putting aluminum under the hearth even if it's sandwiched between sand and SS metal.   I think I will shoot for 1-2 stainless steel disks and see what happens.  

I'm also hoping that bringing back the lava rocks will immensely help with decreasing hearth temps.  I just need to leave a gap b/t the lava rocks and side walls as to not obstruct air flow.  

Thanks again.

Online Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #55 on: June 17, 2010, 12:24:46 PM »
One other comment.  Notice how the aluminum disk is melted one side burned away and the other side almost untouched.  That tells you where the heat flow is.

Im guessing that the burn area is directly under the slot you cut in the lid.  If so, Id move all the stone over to the slot right against the side of the grill.  That will leave a bigger gap on the back side so the flow is up, around the back and sides, over the pie, then out the front.

Getting even more bold, I would consider cutting another (extra/replacement) brick to exactly match the weber grill radius, skooch it right up to the side of the cutout slot so you block off the jetstream sneaking the front.  Then just place the pie a little forward when you drop it.

Warning: in the early days of my oven experiments I was almost always wrong.  Now that I have more experience, Im smart, so you never know.  (And I really like this last suggestion.)

Dave


I didn't have the where with all to pay attention to exactly where the disk was place.  The melted portion obviously dripped into the head.  I believe it is the back side of the burner where the gap is biggest and where the foil has dissintegrated most.

I wasn't clear before, but pushing the stone forward towards the front air gap is what I did do and that gave almost abit too much heat to the back side causing the charring on the rim.  Again, my next step is to shave the hearth stone down a bit and adjust the stone back towards the wall a bit to optimize the heat flow. 

I like the idea of having a firebrick lip right under the vent to block hot air from exiting there.  This has been done already but it does sound like a good idea, so I will see about implementing that if these next few mods don't actually work like we think they will. 

The mod you are talking about is similar to one PizzaCraver did in reply #753

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.740.html

Offline Tampa

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #56 on: June 17, 2010, 12:40:18 PM »
I love that pizzacraver innovation.  Thanks for sharing.  Later today or tomorrow I'll get back on that LBE thread and figure out what I've been missing.  These guys are really evolved and have a lot of good ideas.  For me, I need another appliance on the back deck about as much as a fitness coach would say that I should eat another slice of pizza.

I'm a big fan of the rotisserie as it helps even out the cooking.  Pizzacraver apparently went with a lazy suzan (my first solution on the rotisserie pizza grill).  I'm dying to see if anyone hooked up a rotisserie in a LBE, as I did in the grill.  You can buy a spare rotisserie from Walmart for $20 or so.

Got to run.

Dave


Online Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #57 on: June 17, 2010, 12:46:06 PM »
Tampa, I had very briefly given that thought some consideration, but with my setup I don't think there is room. ;D

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #58 on: June 17, 2010, 06:30:15 PM »
Tran, that was overfermented dough. Not hugely overfermented, but still past it's prime.

There's prevailing theories here, and elsewhere, that as dough overferments, the yeast consume more and more sugar, resulting in a dough with very low residual sugar.  I feel differently.  I've talked to experts about this, and, the theory I resonate the most with is that yeast, in a bread environment, don't eat that much sugar (as opposed to a beer environment where they feast).  The lack of yeast activity as a dough overferments isn't the result of lack of nutrients, but a result of an alcohol rich (and possibly acid rich) inhospitable environment.

The bottom line is that overfermented doughs burn a lot faster than those with less fermentation.  I'm 99% certain that it's sugar that's to blame.


As far as getting the egg to work right, unless you hang a stone ceiling, I don't think there's much hope for getting close to a decent hearth/ceiling heat ratio. Even then, I think it's hard to do.

Next time, close the top vent (if it isn't already closed) and make sure the gap around the firebricks is equal on all sides. How much gap is there between the s/s pan and the walls?  It needs to be a little bit wider than the gap you have for the firebrick. Assuming the gap is wide enough, go with the s/s pan under the hearth (with more ceramic briquettes) and time the pie so that it goes in with a hearth temp of 500 (or omit the pan entirely and go with a 500 deg. hearth temp bake). It may seem low, but with intense heat coming up from the bottom burner (even with the pan in the way), the hearth will jump in temp as the pizza bakes. This will give you a good idea how much heat you can collect in the headspace to bake the top of the pie. I don't think that burner, in that scenario, will pump out enough heat to give you something truly Neapolitan-ish, but it should give you enough umph for a 3-5 minute pie.

You're basically baking your pizza during the time it takes for the blazing heat on the bottom of the stone to travel to the top.

You can launch  the pizza through the slot, right? In this scenario, you want to keep the lid on. That collected heat is the difference between a pale top and a done top.

The one downside to this is that, by the time the pizza is cooked, the stone will be considerably hotter, so if you want to do another pie, you'll have to turn off the burner and wait for the stone to cool- most likely for at least 15-20 minutes. With a second pie, since the stone should be more equally heated, you might want to bump up the starting temp to 550, but not much higher.

You might be able to recreate this effect a little easier by using two layers of firebrick.  This will cause the heat to travel a little slower AND it will move the pie closer to the ceiling- both good things. By the way, with the lid on, you've got at least 3/8" clearance on all sides of the existing firebrick, right?  It looks like the the firebrick has enough clearance on the grill, but the lid slopes inward, so it's possible that there may not be enough clearance on the sides of the lid. 1/2" clearance is ideal, but, since you're dealing with a small space, I think you can trim it to 3/8", but I wouldn't go less.  Should you add another layer of brick, you'll definitely want to size it accordingly for the sloping lid. If an extra layer of brick pushes you too close to the ceiling, then I might try a cheap round pizza stone on top of the brick. That kind of stone is notorious for lack of resistance to thermal shock, but, with the firebrick between you and the burner, I think you might be alright.  Just make sure you've got the gap.  Air flow from the burner to the top of the lid is critical.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 06:45:30 PM by scott123 »


Online Pete-zza

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #59 on: June 17, 2010, 07:59:22 PM »
There's prevailing theories here, and elsewhere, that as dough overferments, the yeast consume more and more sugar, resulting in a dough with very low residual sugar.  I feel differently.  I've talked to experts about this, and, the theory I resonate the most with is that yeast, in a bread environment, don't eat that much sugar (as opposed to a beer environment where they feast).  The lack of yeast activity as a dough overferments isn't the result of lack of nutrients, but a result of an alcohol rich (and possibly acid rich) inhospitable environment.

The bottom line is that overfermented doughs burn a lot faster than those with less fermentation.  I'm 99% certain that it's sugar that's to blame.

scott123,

I am not sure what Tran used as a dough formulation, but I think you may have put your finger on the problem, or at least one of them. In my experience, and where low residual levels are more likely, is when the dough contains a lot of yeast. I remember that Marco (pizzanapoletana) once posted that you would need around 5% commercial yeast in order to run out of sugar, although he may have been thinking of unmalted flours such as the Caputo flours. It took me a while to find his post but it is at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1055.msg9357/topicseen.html#msg9357 (item 3). I also know from personal experience that if a small amount of yeast is used and the fermentation process is slowed down to a crawl, it is possible to have the dough last over 15 days of cold fermentation (I went as long as 23 days) and still get good crust coloration because of the sufficiently high residual sugar levels.

Professor Calvel also discussed the relationship between pH, residual sugar and oven spring. I quoted the pertinent portion from his book The Taste of Bread at Reply 136 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5851.msg86732/topicseen.html#msg86732.

Having worked with room temperature fermented doughs, I know how easy it is for a dough to overferment, even with minuscule amounts of yeast and especially in the summer.

Peter

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #60 on: June 17, 2010, 09:59:29 PM »
Peter,

So Marco believes that very high yeast quantities can exhaust a dough's residual sugar content? 5% seems so extreme that it's difficult to picture any sugar surviving, but... I have a hard time picturing yeast eating everything.  Yeast have a very localized feel to me. Sure, nutrients travel via osmosis, but I don't think they travel that much, so that, no matter how much yeast you have, there's always going to be pockets of undigested sugar somewhere.

As I was pondering high yeast quantities and their effect on sugar, a thought occured to me. Although experience seems to show me that yeast depletes very little sugar, maybe the enzyme activity is so great that the sugar it produces causes the sugar consumption to pale in comparison.  In other words, the enzyme train is moving so fast it makes the sugar consumption train look like it's standing still, but, in reality, the sugar consumption train is moving pretty quickly as well.

I have been noticing lately that relatively long cold ferments (longer than 3 days) not only create a lot of residual sugar and break down gluten structure, but the thickness factor seems less.  It's a closed container, so I'm not losing anything to evaporation (condensation, perhaps?), but it feels like the longer I ferment dough, the less dough I have.  Either that or my mind is playing tricks on me.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 10:01:02 PM by scott123 »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #61 on: June 17, 2010, 10:25:55 PM »
scott123,

The role of sugar in dough has always intrigued me. And I know that it is possible to end up with a lot of residual sugar even if no sugar is added to the dough. For example, the photos shown in Reply 117 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3985.msg42556.html#msg42556 are of a pizza made with a dough without any added sugar whatsoever and where the dough was cold fermented for 23 days. I can't say that the crust flavors were what I was after but it is clear that there was plenty of residual sugar in the dough to produce color. Likewise with the pizza shown at Reply 110 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3985.msg42160.html#msg42160. The dough for that pizza cold fermented for 15 days. Not being a chemist, I still don't quite understand the phenomena involved but I do know how to reproduce them.

Tran's dough was perhaps equivalent to several days of cold fermentation, although the amount of yeast or preferment that he used would be a factor in that comparison. If the yeast or preferment was modest, he could have ended up with a fair amount of sugar.

Peter


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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #62 on: June 17, 2010, 10:54:55 PM »
Peter, yes, I'm a bit in the dark about the chemistry of long fermented doughs as well. I would really like to get an understanding of why gluten weakens/goes gooey in long ferments. It's not like biochemical gluten development is overworking it and it's tearing. It's like it's too extensible. As far as I know, yeast isn't consuming it.  I also don't think alcohol is breaking it down.  At least I don't think it is.  Is it water? Does gluten hydration extend 3 or more days into the ferment? Acid will increase gluten extensibility, but what's the acid here and how much of it are we talking about? I know San Francisco sourdough is acetic acid (vinegar) as are some other sourdoughs, but in an un-soured dough, how much acid is there?  I'm certainly not tasting or smelling any acid. When my dough overferments and the gluten goes gooey, I smell lots of sugar/sweetness, alcohol and beery flavors, but never acid.

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #63 on: June 17, 2010, 11:07:20 PM »
scott123,

I always understood that the main reason the gluten degrades is due to the action of protease enzymes in the flour. Marco mentioned this at Reply 15 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1291.msg11704/topicseen.html#msg11704. I expanded on the subject in Reply 1 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3057.msg25910.html#msg25910. Salt slows down the action of the protease enzymes so increasing the salt can delay the release of the water from its bond.

I am assuming that Tran used a long room-temperature fermented dough for his pizza. It sounds like he experienced some of the symptoms that I described in Reply 1 referenced above.

Peter

« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 11:10:05 PM by Pete-zza »

Online Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #64 on: June 18, 2010, 12:26:49 AM »
Hey guys, thanks for the feeback.  While you guys were busy theorizing about the proclivities of yeast, i was busy creating a bigger mess.

I went ahead and shaved off 1/4" off the perimeter of the stone to widen the gap between the hearth and the side wall.  I measured the back end where the heat from the air flow was greatest and it's about an 1" gap.  I tried to achieve that throughout the perimeter.  I will center the hearth for the next bake and add a stone or metal lip to block the gap right under the top vent in the lid.    This took about 1/2 hour to do and I was covered in dust.

Next, decided to take Tampa's suggestion for removing the the aluminum clump from the burner head.  I took a mapp torch to it and melted the clump out.  I also had to take center flame disperment piece out and found a bunch more aluminum plugging up the handle.  I then  spent the next 20 min heating it and digging it out piece by piece. 

Look at all the aluminum I got out!


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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #65 on: June 18, 2010, 12:48:17 AM »
I applaud your diligence.  You won't find me cutting firebrick. Not the first time or the second. No way no how :)

I think the bigger gap should help.  Like I said before, try a 500 deg. hearth preheat and then immediately launch the pie with the burner at full blast.  3 minutes later, I think you should have something you'll be pleased with.

scott123

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #66 on: June 18, 2010, 12:55:28 AM »
scott123,

I always understood that the main reason the gluten degrades is due to the action of protease enzymes in the flour. Marco mentioned this at Reply 15 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1291.msg11704/topicseen.html#msg11704.

Peter, thanks I was aware of amylase, but my protease knowledge was a little thin.  I just spent a couple of hours researching protease.  Wow, enzymes can get complicated.  It seems like most commercial bakeries/studies diminish the importance of protease, but I think that's because it's viewed through a scope of super quick same day (same hour?) baking. You get a three day cold ferment and that protease impact really adds up.


Online Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #67 on: June 18, 2010, 01:02:46 AM »
Scott you are right about the dough being overfermented.  I knew that but didn't piece together that being part of the reason the pizza burned so quickly.  I couldn't figure out why the pie burned in 30 seconds when the hearth temp was just 650.  It didn't make any sense until you posted that bit.  

This dough is the same dough I posted about here.  Reply #3
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11210.0.html
The dough was a same day dough made with about 10% starter.  10% starter is equivalent to using about a 0.4% ADY according to my conversion.  It was bulk and proofed at room temps (covered with a moist towel) for about 14 hours.  Surface dough temp measured 65F throughout the entire proofing period.  I meant to only proof it for about 9 hours or so, but let it go to 14 based on the dough temp being consistently 65F.  It didn't look overproof meaning that it never deflated as some of my past overproof doughs but when I handled it, it was almost unmanageable.  It was very pliable and extensible.

"The lack of yeast activity as a dough overferments isn't the result of lack of nutrients, but a result of an alcohol rich (and possibly acid rich) inhospitable environment".

I absolutely agree with you.  Here's my explanation of what's going on.  I may be repeating some of what you and Peter stated already but this is how it makes sense to me.  If I'm wrong or if you agree you can let me know.

At some point in fermentation, the byproducts create an inhospitable environment dramatically slowing down and eventually ceasing yeast activity.  As Peter noted, the byproducts including the pretease enzymes soften up the gluten structure making the dough very pliable and extensible.  Not only do you get dough softening effects but the enzymes also have a proteolytic effect on the proteins and sugars.  They break down the proteins and more complex sugars into simpler sugars.  This dramatically increases the availability of the sugars (not being used by the stunted yeast) leading to burning.  

To try and answer some of your questions.  

-Yes the top vent is closed.  I have replace that with the new vent cut out right above the rim of the lid.
  That new vent is 1"x6" so it's not big enough to load a pie through.  
-I have centered the stone so that the gap is even all around.  I plan to put a stone or metal lip right under the lid vent to block that airflow to direct it towards the back and sides of the stone as Tampa suggested and as Pizzacraver has done.
-I do plan on starting with a lower hearth temp.  500F sounds good.  Thanks for the suggestion.
-The burner is a 160K BTU burner.  It will pump out plenty of heat for neopolitan, but until I can get the top heat to be at least equal or higher than the hearth, neopolitan is out of reach.  Once I can equalize or get higher dome temps (which may not be possible) I'll should be able to do neopolitan.   If it turns out that I can't, I'm ok with that since I like the lower temp bakes better.  I create the nearlypolitans in the home oven as is.
-Great suggestion on lowering the temps between bakes.  I may take the lid off and lower the heat dramatically to get the hearth temps back down to 500?  I may also swipe the hearth with a wet rag.  No worry about the hearth cracking since it's split bricks.  Load the pie at a hearth of 500F, then crank the fire up to get the surrounding air super hot.  This technique may be the key.  Thanks Scott.
-I can't put a 2nd layer of firebrick b/c it would not allow the lid to shut properly or close the gap between the lid an the top stone.  What I can do is load the pan below with more ceramic briquets or a smaller firebrick stone.  This will create the 2 firebrick layer you are talking about.
BTW, the pan is 10" and the hearth is 12", so there is a 2" difference.  
-I'll double check the clearance b/t the hearth and the sloping lid to make sure it's not blocking airflow and report back later.

Thank you for your input.

Tran
« Last Edit: June 18, 2010, 01:23:12 AM by Tranman »

Online Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #68 on: June 18, 2010, 08:43:28 AM »
I'll double check the clearance b/t the hearth and the sloping lid to make sure it's not blocking airflow and report back later.

I went out last night and took measurements again.  With the shaved stone and all the foil removed, I have just shy of 3/4" from the edge of the stone to the sloping lid.  Is that sufficient?  I don't know, but what is really intriguing is what was I working with before?  Probably less than 1/2"?  I went ahead and removed all the foil since it was flaking/burning off anyway and potentially adding to my airflow problems.

I'll have to hand it to you guys (Tampa, Scott, Ron, & Peter).  You guys are really helping this project go along much more efficiently.  It's nice to have you guys trouble shoot things for me so I don't have to try and figure it all out by myself.   :-*

Back to the airflow.  I think I may have to shave down the upper edge/corner of the rim on the hearth to see if I can't increase that gap to greater than 3/4?  That means that I'll have to make perfectly round sub 12" pies and land them perfectly on the stone.  That should be no problem. :-D

For my next mbe bake, I also be switching the 10" pan and supporting stone out with a SS 7" bowl.  I'll put that small round firebrick into the bowl and add some more ceramic briquets.  This gives me a heat diffuser to temper the heat from the bottom (double firebrick layer Scott was talking about), but it will also give me about a 1" air gap between it and the hearth.  Hopefully that air will act as an insulating layer to prevent the hearth from getting too hot. 

So with the replacement of the pan, improved airflow, and Scott's suggestion of baking with a cooler hearth while cranking the burner for increase heat to the sides, I hope to have a more successful bake tonight.   Wish me luck! Results pending...
« Last Edit: June 18, 2010, 08:47:44 AM by Tranman »

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #69 on: June 18, 2010, 08:55:27 AM »
Tranman, I think you might have misread my post.  3/8" clearance is what I'm recommending. If you have 1/2" or more, that's more than enough.

I would try it once with the bowl and another day without. The bowl will definitely increase the cool down time between pies.

And, after sleeping on it, I'm tweaking my launch temperature recommendation- 550.   The second the hearth hits 550, get that pizza in and the lid closed.

Even if you can't work through the side vent, you should still be able to monitor your pie without removing the lid, right?  Can you check underneath the crust with the lid in position?

Offline norma427

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #70 on: June 18, 2010, 09:12:26 AM »
   Wish me luck! Results pending...


Tranman,

I wish you the best of luck with your experiment.  :)  Your determination is admirable.

Norma

Online Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #71 on: June 18, 2010, 09:32:47 AM »
Thanks Norma, I need it!  :-D

Tranman, I think you might have misread my post.  3/8" clearance is what I'm recommending. If you have 1/2" or more, that's more than enough.

I would try it once with the bowl and another day without. The bowl will definitely increase the cool down time between pies.

And, after sleeping on it, I'm tweaking my launch temperature recommendation- 550.   The second the hearth hits 550, get that pizza in and the lid closed.

Even if you can't work through the side vent, you should still be able to monitor your pie without removing the lid, right?  Can you check underneath the crust with the lid in position?

Thanks Norma, I need it!  :-D

Scott, I retook the measurements and it's about a 1" gap between the hearth to the sidewall and that gap decreases to about 3/4" at the top b/c of the sloping lid.  I'll try the bake without shaving the corner further.  If I feel it's still not enough then I'll shave it down tomorrow or the next day.  Besides, I'm all clean now and shaving that firebrick makes a big mess.  

I'll load the pie at 550 instead.  600 might even be ok now that I've improved the airflow a bit and don't plan on working with overfermented dough this time around.  

Yes the bowl will hinder cool down times.  The jury is still out on whether that heat difussing bowl is helpful or not.  On the one hand it blocks the flames from hitting the hearth directly dead center but on the other hand the stone in it heats up and acts as a mini heat source itself.  Would replacing the ceramic briquets with sand work better?  Would sand be a poorer conductor of heat?  I'm looking for something that will block heat and not retain too much heat.  Would lava rocks work better than ceramic briquets in this situation?

Yes I should be able to monitor the back rim even if the lid is on unless there's a lot of rise to the crust.  I should also be able to monitor the bottom crust through the vent by using a metal skewer or a fork to lift the pie while wearing the oven gloves.  

Tran
« Last Edit: June 18, 2010, 09:36:37 AM by Tranman »

scott123

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #72 on: June 18, 2010, 09:42:11 AM »
Sand... nice idea.  Just make sure it's dry. The sand should block all directional heat, so you might get a heat void in the center of the firebrick, but, the firebrick should be thick enough to avoid too much uneven heating.

Online Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #73 on: June 18, 2010, 10:11:37 PM »
I can not even put into words how PLEASED  I am with tonight's bake in the MBE.  This was the 1st successful bake after 4 other big failures.  After the first pie loaded at a hearth temp of 535 ish, it baked 5-6 min with some nice browning to the rim but white and not burnt on the bottom at all.  Half way through this bake, I started increasing the throttle and feeding it more juice to try and char the bottom but to no avail.  BUT from this first bake the MBE was telling me it could now tolerate a higher hearth temp without toasting the bottom.

I ran with it and jacked the hearth temps up to 720 and baked a nearly perfect pie.  I'm only posting pics of the 2nd pie.  This one baked at a temp of 720 ish for 4 min.  The char around the rim and the bottom was perfect.  I rotated the pie about 4 times (once a minute or so) to check the bottom and to evenly char the rim.   Pics of the same pie.  The 2nd pic is the pie dressed with basil and OO.

Let me know what you guys think.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2010, 10:37:04 PM by Tranman »

Online Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #74 on: June 18, 2010, 10:13:13 PM »
a few obligatory pics of the crumb and bottom crust.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2010, 08:41:22 AM by Tranman »