Author Topic: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project  (Read 58504 times)

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Offline norma427

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #80 on: June 18, 2010, 11:15:43 PM »
Tranman,

LOL, you are funny.  Seriously your pie looks excellent.   :-D  Great to hear of your success.  You deserve it. 

Norma
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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #81 on: June 18, 2010, 11:36:08 PM »
Tranman
Wow what can I say except congrats! Well deserved pie at the end of it and the first of many in the MBE, I'm sure.
Nice work.

FP
« Last Edit: June 18, 2010, 11:37:42 PM by foolishpoolish »

Offline Ronzo

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #82 on: June 18, 2010, 11:49:13 PM »
It's funny you mentioned KF and pizza making as both are favorite hobbies. I've been wanting to change my moniker to "Jackie Tran". :-D  Peter can I do this or do I have to get a new account?

I think donating members are allowed to change their names. I haven't renewed my donation this year yet since I lost my job, but I'm pretty sure I was able to change it when I was a donor.
Fuggheddabowdit!

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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #83 on: June 18, 2010, 11:50:04 PM »
Thx Norma and FP for the kind words.  

FP this was an emergency dough, 5 hours start to finish with 40% starter.  I would love to try your recipe in the MBE soon.    

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #84 on: June 18, 2010, 11:50:42 PM »
I think donating members are allowed to change their names. I haven't renewed my donation this year yet since I lost my job, but I'm pretty sure I was able to change it when I was a donor.

Sorry to hear about your job.  I'll check it out. 
« Last Edit: June 19, 2010, 12:02:27 AM by Tranman »

Offline Ronzo

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #85 on: June 19, 2010, 12:36:10 AM »
Sorry to hear about your job.  I'll check it out. 
Don't be. It was a blessing in disguise. Still looking for a new one, though.

Good luck!
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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #86 on: June 19, 2010, 09:50:05 AM »
OK now that I've had a moment to come back down to earth I wanted to mention a couple of differences I noted about the resulting pizzas done in the MBE vs home oven.  The MBE has truely taken my pizza baking up a level.  That crust last night was excellent and I'm looking forward to many more.  I believe the MBE will be my main method of baking from now on unless I run out of propane. 

Using the same recipe and dough management technique, the MBE produce a superior crust over MY home oven.  I have baked well over 100 pies in the home oven trying every possible setup I could think of.   I've tried several 2 stone set ups using different types of stones for the top and bottom, several different stones at varying lengths from the broiler, low heat vs high heat bakes, and slow vs fast bakes.  And though I have made some very good pies in the home oven, this one MBE pie was better in several regards.

How was the pizza different or better than my previous pies baked in my home oven? 

1) higher crust rise during baking compared to my home oven producing a lighter crumb.  I believe this is due to the more uniform and constant heat surround the pie during the bake.  This is even more evident during higher temp bakes 700F+.  In the home oven, there is a lot of dead space that takes a long time to heat, reheat (from opening the door), and maintain.  Temperatures are wildly inconsistent in the home oven.
 
2)  The rim had a crunchiness factor to it that I love and have been unable to reproduce in my home oven at HIGH temps.  Watch some of Villa Roma's youtube clips to see a sample of that "crunchiness".  Sure I can produce a crunchy rim at an oven temp of 500F BUT I get relatively less spring and a denser and drier crumb.  I can increase the hydration ratios but i'm already working with high hydration ratios in the 70's for a NY style pie.  Not to mention dried out oily cheese which is not the same as leoparding or spotting on the cheese. 

Cooking at 700-800F temps in the home oven (by doing a hack like J. Varasano), you'll get optimal spring in the crust and a more even bake.  Without the oven hack, the crust spring is not optimize and the baking is eneven.  Without doing an oven hack as Jeff has done and you want to bake at high temps, you have to superheat the stone to 700-900F (pick your temp here).  Once I load the pie, the bottom bakes in 90secs- 2min.  The crust shows decent spring (not comparable to the MBE), but the bake on top vs bottom of the rim is uneven.  With the broiler running while the bottom is baking you run the rist of burning the rim too quickly.  With it off, the hot air around the pizza is not consistent or upto temps and the bake is uneven.  Once the bottom is done baking, I rim/dome the crust against the broiler to give it some color and characteristic dark spots.  This gives it the look but not the same crunchiness compared to the MBE pizza.  There is a slight crunchiness when it first gets out of the oven but upon sitting, most of the crusts goes soft.  With  the MBE, it was not so.  If you look at some of my older pies baked in the home oven, the dark color of the rim is there, but it's not baked to the same extent.  It's mostly baked on residual oven heat and then broiler at high temps.  It gives the appearance of a "crust" but it's not "crusty" if that makes sense.  So what's the big deal here?  Why am I even spending time talking about this?  B/c it makes a BIG difference in the taste and texture of the crust and adds to the overall pizza experience.   If you can do a side by side taste test, you can easily pick out the better pie. 

3) There is a smokiness to the crust.  I'm not sure how I can get a hint of "smokiness" baking with propane especially since I didn't add any smoking woods to the bake, but the MBE pizza tasted more like pies I bake in my Primo Coal Oven.  Could it have been the sand in the heat difussing bowl underneath? Dunno...either way, it had a nice slight smoky flavor you get when baking with coal or I would imagine a WFO.  It's noticeable different than the flavor of baking in the home oven. 

Other differences in the 2 ovens  
The MBE is much more efficient in it's energy consumption.

Preheat times in home oven are typically around 45m to 1 hour.  It's a good idea to do a preheat b/c it allows the oven time to heat up the floor and walls so that after you open & close the door the temperature can stablize.  There is also a lot of dead/empty space in the home oven taking a longer time to heat, reheat, and maintain. 

With my Mini BE (not sure about the 18" and 22" models). I baked 2 pies last night.  With the burner going at 60-70%? the hearth temps were 520 ish within 10m and 700+ within 20min.  That's very impressive to me. 

2) Of course with longer preheat times and opening the door to the home oven makes for a hotter kitchen.  This is a bonus in the winter time, but not so for summertime.

3) Temperature control:  Controlling temps in the MBE is very easy.  You can decrease or increase the temperatue almost at will.  You can cook at 500-800F and possibly higher at the turn of knob.  It is a much more efficient and easier to use oven for baking pizza and produces a better pie compared to the home oven.

Anyways, I don't mean to be long winded as it's more of a habit.  I hope this info will be useful to those interested in building an LBE or MBE. 
« Last Edit: June 19, 2010, 10:53:38 AM by Tranman »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #87 on: June 19, 2010, 09:55:38 AM »
I've been wanting to change my moniker to "Jackie Tran". :-D  Peter can I do this or do I have to get a new account?

Tran,

It rarely ever happens but on occasion a member requests to change his or her forum name. I cannot do the change as a Moderator, so I refer the member to Steve, the Administrator of the forum, who decides such matters. I do not believe that name changes are limited only to members who are Supporting Members.

I, too, am sorry to hear about Ron's job situation. He has been a steady and dependable and valuable member of this forum for several years, and, until recently, was a supporter of the forum with his donations throughout that entire time.

Peter

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #88 on: June 19, 2010, 09:59:15 AM »
Peter, thanks for forwarding that request.

Offline sear

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #89 on: June 19, 2010, 11:31:35 AM »
Those are some good lookn pies !  Glad to see you got your MBE dialed in.
im gonna have to try doing the high heat in my oven again with the new stone and starter.
i wonder if it would be better if my ovens clean cycle turned the bottom coil on first instead of the top


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #90 on: June 22, 2010, 09:52:49 PM »
Thanks Sear, I made a couple of nice looking and tasting pies tonight.  I'm still having issues with the hearth being hotter than the top heat.  On my next bake I plan on using Scott's idea of loading the pies at a lower temp and then blasting the heat to cook the top. 

Despite the overcharred look of the bottom, the pies didn't taste burnt.  Had a smokiness to them.

« Last Edit: June 23, 2010, 10:00:31 AM by Jackie Tran »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #91 on: June 22, 2010, 09:55:23 PM »
Here are the crumb shots.  Check out the leoparding pattern on the rim. 

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #92 on: June 22, 2010, 10:01:29 PM »
Here are some more mods I've done to the MBE.

The original grate is warping pretty badly from the high heat.  I bought a replacement weber 14.5" that is thicker than the one that came with the smokey joe.  Unfortunately it is just a wee bit smaller so it sits unevenly.   It is so b/c it is actually made to replace a bottom grate for one of the bigger charcoal grills. 

I checked all the ones they had available against a smokey joe top grate and all were the same, just a bit shy.  So to fix the unevenness, I decided to drill some bolts into the side of the smokey joe to support the side that's sagging.   

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #93 on: June 22, 2010, 10:16:11 PM »
I've also decided to put a stone plate in the lid (like member Ronzo has done previously) to help the cheese brown but it doesn't seem to be working any better than the aluminum plate that it replaced.   I needed an 8.5" stone and instead of ordering one off the net, I decided to cut it out of a slate tile. 

I had a choice between using a saltillo tile or a slate one.  I went with the slate tile b/c it was thinner.  It turned out easy to cut and drill a hole through and doesn't add a ton of weight to the lid.  I am aware of the possibility of the slate stone cracking or chipping, so I intend to check it before and after each bake as I don't want to be chipping a tooth on a stone flake.   Right now the surface is smooth so it will be obvious if anything chips or flakes off.  The aluminum plate is behind it and I may just move it in front of it to not prevent any flaking. 

B/c of the short height of the Smokey Joe's dome, I wasn't able to place a larger dome stone.  Maybe it would work as intended if it was bigger I don't know. 

« Last Edit: June 23, 2010, 02:52:16 AM by Jackie Tran »

Offline scott123

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #94 on: June 22, 2010, 11:10:05 PM »
Ooh, nice.  I like these. 

Bake time?

It looks like you scaled back on the fermentation.  Is this a same day dough?

Offline Ronzo

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #95 on: June 22, 2010, 11:29:39 PM »
Tran,
You can remove some of the risk for cracking at the drill hole by putting a bigger washer there under the nut.
Fuggheddabowdit!

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Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #96 on: June 22, 2010, 11:40:13 PM »
Ooh, nice.  I like these. 

Bake time?

It looks like you scaled back on the fermentation.  Is this a same day dough?

Thanks Scott.  I've burned about 4 pies prior to this that I didn't post so yes I had no choice but to scale back on the fermentation, but the bottom still cooked faster than the top so maybe the pies were a little overfermented?  You know, getting the proper yeast amount and fermentation down is a lot trickier when baking at higher than 750 temps, as even a little overfermentation leads to a little premature burning which turns into a lot of burning about 10-15 seconds later.  The window of forgiveness is a lot smaller since each pie is baked in such a short time.

These were same day doughs with 20% starter or the equivalent of 0.6% ADY fermented at room temps for 4 hours.  Next time I'll use the same recipe and ferment 3 hours to see if it makes a difference.  Both pies made using the same recipe except one had 1/2 tsp of oil or 0.9% added while the other did not.  Can you tell which one had the oil and why?  

The reason I did this test was to see if oil had any effect on burning, specifically the bottom.  My hypothesis was that oil will help prevent the pies from burning.  It seem to be true but I don't know if it was just my imagination or not as the times for the 2 pies were very close.

1st pie was loaded at an average temp of 750F.  The bottom was starting to char at 1 min and 30 seconds and the top was barely done.  so I put the pie on a sheet of HD aluminum foil and popped it back into the MBE to finish in another min or so.  So I would say it baked from 2m30s - 3m tops.

I lowered the temp a bit for the 2nd pie and loaded it around 700 and same thing.  Charring began a little soon at under 1 min and 30 seconds.  It was close but i could tell it was charring sooner even at the lower temps.  It too baked for around 3min and I had to load it on the foil as well.  

Despite that, both pies had a crispy bottom when cutting the pie and soften up a bit after sitting.  Still foldable and chewy.  

There are just SO MANY variables to experiment with it drives me wild sometimes.  Aside from learning how to bake in the new vessel, I'm going back and trying to track down the source of the premature burning.  It could be the MBE, but since i had a great bake last week where the top and bottom heat were pretty even, it's likely the dough.  So I now know that overfermented dough definitely leads to premature burning, but could there be others reasons or factors for it?

So here are some possible variables.  Does oil prevent or enhance burning? Does using starter while its cold vs room temp really make a difference?  Does using a different starter make a big difference in regards to burning?  I have 3 different starters.  At their peak, is one drastically more active than the other to warrant having a specific fermentation time for each starter to prevent overfermentation?   Each question produces more questions?  
  
I had to bake pizza 2x today!  >:( b/c I burned the first batch and couldn't leave it well enough alone.  
Your thoughts Scott?  
« Last Edit: June 23, 2010, 03:03:09 AM by Jackie Tran »

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #97 on: June 22, 2010, 11:42:06 PM »
Tran,
You can remove some of the risk for cracking at the drill hole by putting a bigger washer there under the nut.

The hole drilled is slightly bigger than the bolt and I made sure the nut isn't clamping the tile down super tight so that everything can expand a bit when heated.  But that is a great idea and I will definitely add a washer.  Thanks Ronzo.

Offline Tampa

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #98 on: June 23, 2010, 02:39:14 PM »
A few comments:
- I finished reading all the recent LBE posts.  You got to love those guys, a lot of good experimentation and results in that encyclopedia thread.  IMO, most of their data applies well to MBE.
- Iím fairly confident that the airflow and total volume on the top hood is the important thing, not a stone or aluminum pan hung up there.  pizzacraverís  setup (Reply 417: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.msg60843.html#msg60843)  and posts, show that by cutting down an oversized Weber, the result is a flatter top dome and quicker warm up time. 
- It is also noteworthy that pizzacraver got around the excessive heat on the underside by using two stones, a custom-cut cordierite kiln shelf underneath and a circular stone above.  The bottom stone not only buffers the heat flow but redirects it to the back of the egg and supports a Lazy Susan to rotate the pie while cooking thus minimizing the issues of non-uniform heat flow.  Tran, you may not have enough room to do all this, but IMO they are good ideas.
- Given that you have a brick base, which isnít as conductive as cordierite, you should be able to just get the base temp right and crank up the heat as you place the pie.  In the couple of minutes it takes to cook the pie, the stone temp shouldnít change dramatically.  The top cooking will depend on unchoked heatflow from the underside burner over the pie.
Dave

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: MBE (Mini Black Egg) Project
« Reply #99 on: June 23, 2010, 05:43:52 PM »
Great feedback Tampa.

Iím fairly confident that the airflow and total volume on the top hood is the important thing, not a stone or aluminum pan hung up there.

I agree with you.  Not as necessary in the smokey joe b/c of it's inherent low dome but required in the regular LBE and 22" LBE.  One of the purposes of having a stone or a metal disk in the dome is to decrease the dome volume improving airflow.   I believe the top stone in the dome started out as an attempt to emmulate the 2 stone oven.  Whether this is effective or not, it also helps decrease dome volume, increasing and concentrating the airflow over the pizza. 

You can also cut the lid down but it would also decrease the amount of side wall you have in the lid as it starts to slope towards the center.  by cutting the lid, you have to make slightly smaller pies or the crust can rise into the sloping sides of the lid. 

A 2nd advantage I've found for having the stone/metal disk in the dome (aside from increase airflow) is that it buffers some of the heat travelling to the handle of the lid.  I still use gloves to lift the lid but it's not quite as hot as before without the disk in place. 

by cutting down an oversized Weber, the result is a flatter top dome and quicker warm up time. 

You are right, but I believe you can acheive the flatter dome with a stone or disk in lid as well rather than cutting the lid down.  Again I think you lose a bit of the vertical side wall if you cut too much off.  This is also why the MBE has a faster heat up time than the LBE, b/c of the smaller dome volume.  With my current MBE setup, heat up times of the firebrick hearth are as follows.  ~500F in 10m, 600F at 15m, 650-680F in 20m, and upto 750F in 25m. 
 
My next project is to get an 18" weber kettle and cut the base down to exchange with the MBE.  I can use the same burner but make larger pies if I need/want to. 

Tran, you may not have enough room to do all this, but IMO they are good ideas. 

They are excellent ideas and unfortunately I don't have the room or tools to do this.   I had consider initially of putting a lazy susan in, but I didn't want to wait for it to come in the mail as I wanted to start the project right away.  If I build the bigger LBE, I would definitely consider putting a lazy susan in for rotating the pie without taking the cover off. 


Given that you have a brick base, which isnít as conductive as cordierite, you should be able to just get the base temp right and crank up the heat as you place the pie.  In the couple of minutes it takes to cook the pie, the stone temp shouldnít change dramatically.  The top cooking will depend on unchoked heatflow from the underside burner over the pie.

I will definitely give this a consideration and trial on the next bake.  I would incorporate this idea with Scott's method of loading the pie at a lower temp and increasing the gas right after the pie is loaded.  I'll definitely post up results either way. 

When I first started experimenting with heating just the firebrick hearth alone without a heat blocker in place I was burning pies too quickly.  At that time I hadn't consider that it could have been overfermented dough.  Now that I'm correcting the dough situation, baking without the heat blocker may work better.
The only downside i see to not having a heat blocker is that it may take a bit longer to cool the stone down between bakes. 

Thanks again Dave. 
Chau
« Last Edit: June 24, 2010, 12:56:46 PM by Jackie Tran »