Author Topic: Soapstone vs Cordierite  (Read 12580 times)

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Offline norma427

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #40 on: August 31, 2010, 10:20:54 PM »
Dave,

Your pizza looks delicious!  ;D

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!


Offline Tampa

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #41 on: September 01, 2010, 01:48:11 PM »
I went out this AM and took another look at that beautiful soapstone all cooled down.  Everything looked perfect.

Unfortunately looks aren't everything.  The crack test is pour a little water on the top, wipe it off, turn the stone over and look for wet lines.  One such line appears in the photo below.  Bugger.

Given I'm half-smart and know that most cracks tend to grow because the endpoint is a high stress concentration area, I'll probably try drilling a very small hole to see if I can "save" the stone.  This is an old time trick on car windshields so ovens are the same, right?

FWIIW, I think cracks are a necessary part of life for soapstone bakers.  It's not a problem where the bottom of the stone is supported in some way - e.g. sitting on an oven rack.  But in my rotisserie, I'm probably better off with that reliable cordierite stone that has survived hundreds of hot/cold cycles already with nary a scratch.

Forum member jgame also has a rotisserie pizza grill setup, but his design incorporates a circular wire frame setup from a weber-style grill.  If someone wants to venture into the soapstone baking environment, I'd advise supporting the stone.  I've seen some soapstone slabs cut exactly to fit the width of an oven without secondary support, and if/when that cracks, there could be a nasty noise in the oven.  Sure it could cause damage to the oven, but think about the damage to the pizza...

Offline Frank99ta

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #42 on: September 01, 2010, 11:07:13 PM »
I've been making pizza at home for over 10 years and have started experimenting with my gas grill for the last few years.  I recently bought a new grill that has the rotisserie infared burner on the back.  I have never used the soapstone, only the cord.  I use a basic 15 inch round stone.   I have found 2 methods that have helped cook the top and the bottom evenly.  First method:  I put the dough directly on the stone with the infared burner on low and rotate the pizza every 45 to 60 seconds 1/4 turn until the pizza is done.  Second method:  I put the pizza on a screen and then put it on the stone.  The screen seems to slow the cooking process, which in turn gives the top longer time to cook.  This way, I don't need the infared burner.  Once the top is almost done, I pull out the screen and brown the bottom as dark as I like.  I've found method 2 to be more consistant, but both work very well.  I have a grill I bought from Lowes, nothing too fancy.  Another method I use to use prior to my new grill because my old grill just wouldn't heat up as well worked very well.  I had a round 14 inch stone on top of the grill surface.   I bought some beer chicken stands they sell for the grill.  Next, I placed them on the  corners of my round stone and rested a square 16  inch stone on top.  Then, I would slide the pizza between the 2 stones for about 4 minutes.   Thanks for everyone for sharing their info.  I am also in the process of finding a new stone for my grill because this one cracked as well.  They all seem to crack, so I was thinking about the fibramat because it comes with a warranty.  After reading some posts, I might have to look into some firebrick also. 

Offline Tampa

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #43 on: September 02, 2010, 08:33:20 AM »
Hi Frank,

I see that you have been making pizza for many years but donít author many posts.  Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Iím not sure what you mean by ďonly the cordĒ.  If you mean cordierite, many folks use this with great success, although the commercial stones (~1/2Ē thick) tend to hold up much better than the thin ones at local retailers like Target.

Given weíre both using a grill equipped with an IR burner, you may be interested in seeing pictures & results from my setup. http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10241.0.html

Dave

Offline Frank99ta

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #44 on: September 02, 2010, 11:59:01 PM »
Yeah, I've been reading the forum for a while but never posted.  I love what you did with your grill, but I'm trying not to use the infared burner.  Unless my stone would rotate on its own, its a bit of a hassle rotating the pizza every 40 to 60 seconds.  The screen seems to work better for me and cooks the top more evenly.  The infared seemed to cause darker areas because I could rotate it evenly.  But, as long as it tastes good in the end, that's all that matters.  I, like you, am a pizza junkie.  I make pizza 1 to 2 times a week and eat pizza out probably at least once a week.  Basically, as much pizza as my wife will allow us to eat.  I have a wonderful supportive wife.   

Offline Tampa

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #45 on: September 03, 2010, 10:38:31 AM »
Thanks for the note Frank.  If you do decide to use the rotisserie motor, it doesnít take much work as long as you are a little handy with tools.  It seems daunting at first, but on most barbeque setups, there is plenty of free space between burners.  A small hole (~3/8Ē) for the stainless shaft and you are good to go.

It sounds like we eat about the same amount of pizza, although I donít go out much anymore (for pizza).  Pete Taylorís Wood Fired Pizza is great, but it is a bit of a drive for us.  Otherwise, I like what we make better.

Back to the soapstone.  I drilled the stress relief hole yesterday.  Let's see if the stone survives tonight's pie.

Dave

Offline Frank99ta

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #46 on: September 04, 2010, 11:22:39 PM »
There are pizza places about on every corner where I'm at and I drive about 30 minutes to the one place that has about the only pizza I will eat.  My wife loves mine more than going out, but I still like to go to my favorite pizza joint.  Once you start cooking pizza at home and cook it well, you realize how crappy most of the pizza places really are.  Good luck with you stone..

Offline Tampa

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #47 on: September 05, 2010, 06:01:30 PM »
Iíve run a bunch of tests on the ĹĒ thin soapstone in my grill setup (same thickness as the original cordierite stone).  The pictures below show the results.  The first pictures are Kyrol flour at 62% hydration with a spoon of molasses cooked on soapstone five minutes with an initial throw temperature of 620F.  The second set of pictures is King Arthur Bread Flour, all else the same except 600F throw temperature.  After kneading the bench rise was about six hours for each flour (I like active yeast).

A few key learnings.  First 62% hydration on KABF is really wet and hard to manage.  The extra hydration is nice for oven spring, especially on the crumb, but I found it difficult to get our desired thickness in the center of the pie.  The leoparding on the underside of the Kyrol was better at 620F than the KABF at 600F.

I still donít know what to write about the soapstone.  In a 15 minute warm up with both top and bottom burners on high, the soapstone heats to 600F and the cordierite heats to 700F.  But as Scott123 has said, the soapstone seems to cook well at the lower temperature.  Iíve still got some learning to do on the soapstone because I tend to cook the pie another minute or so but have to turn down the upper rotisserie burner to avoid overcooking the cheese.  The result, when it works is a nice crispy underside crust.

So far, Iíve drilled three stress-relief holes in the soapstone to stem the propagation of cracks.  Hopefully that is it for a while.  The good news is that the holes are done with a standard 1/8Ē bit and soapstone is easier to drill than hardwood.  Iíd give the odds about 50/50 that a crack finds its way to the other side and half the stone falls onto the burner below.  In the meantime, letís eat pizza!

Offline Mick.Chicago

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #48 on: September 06, 2010, 09:28:35 AM »
Nice Pies

Are the edges brushed with olive oil?

Offline Tampa

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #49 on: September 06, 2010, 12:58:27 PM »
Thanks Mick.  Yep.  We are still using the "Mellow Mushroom" clone recipe which includes about a tablespoon of molassas per dough (note the darker crumb), and garlic butter painted around the rim with a sprinkle of parm.  I recently started substituting EVOO for butter (but kept the garlic and parm) hoping for a long life and more years of pizza.
Dave


Offline Engineered Ceramics

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #50 on: September 11, 2010, 06:50:42 PM »
I'm trying to grill pizzas on a ceramic stone with limited success.

My problem lies in the crust, which is inconsistent. 

What kind of dough recipe do you recommend.


BTW here was one of my successful attempts.


scott123

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #51 on: September 12, 2010, 07:38:44 PM »
Bill, could you post your most recent recipe with as much detail as possible? Including your mixing/kneading details as well as proofing routine would help.

What style pizza are you striving for? NY? American?  Do you have a favorite pizzeria that you're patterning your pies after?

In what way is the crust inconsistent? Is it dense? Tough? Dry?  Does it not brown enough? Does it burn too quickly? Is it hard to handle/difficult to form?

Edit: One small thing that's jumping out at me is your use of your launching peel to both retrieve the pie and cut it.  By doing this, you're getting bitter uncooked flour on your finished pie. Also, by using the peel as a cutting board, you're creating grooves, which, in turn, might impact the pizza's ability to slide.  Ideally, you want one peel to launch, one peel to retrieve and a metal tray for cutting. I don't know how deep the grooves are, but you might want to see if you can sand it down until they disappear.  Or... just use that one for retrieving.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2010, 07:45:52 PM by scott123 »


 

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