Author Topic: How to get rid of the water  (Read 42001 times)

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Offline Tannerwooden

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How to get rid of the water
« on: September 28, 2010, 01:01:45 AM »
So I was in Portland, Oregon tonight, so I stopped at a place Jeff Varasano mentions on his website, "Apizza Scholls."  Short description: Heaven On A Platter.  It was exactly what I want in my pizza, really big holes, but still chewy, like they must use high gluten flour.  The most important part though, was that it was crispy on the outside.

My pizza is crispy on the outside when I first pull it out, and it tends to taste best then....in other words, you have to burn your mouth in order to truly enjoy it!  Of course, if it sits there for any length of time, it becomes much softer and more neapolitan.  I need the high hydration in the dough to get the big holes, so my question is, how do I get the water out?  Any tricks for pulling more moisture out of the dough when you bake?

Also, I asked my wife for a pizza stone for christmas.  Is any kind of stone better at sucking out moisture?

What do you guys think?


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Re: How to get rid of the water
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2010, 07:09:20 AM »
Apizza Scholls is on my list of 'must go to' pizza joints, I have only seen it on Anthony Bourdain's 'No Reservations' but it looked top notch!
What pizza did you eat? any pictures?

There are a few guys here that really know their stuff about stones, so hopefully one of them will offer advice..Scott123 knows stones inside out.

Paul


Offline widespreadpizza

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Re: How to get rid of the water
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2010, 09:04:38 AM »
TW,  do you let your pizza cool at all elevated,  like off a pan for a few minutes.  That way steam coming out of the pizza does not go right back into the crust?  Also how high a hydration are you using?  -marc

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Re: How to get rid of the water
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2010, 10:11:44 AM »
Tannerwooden,

You might omit any sugar or oil in the dough.

Peter

Offline scott123

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Re: How to get rid of the water
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2010, 02:22:15 PM »
Tannerwooden,  an elevated hydration does help with oven spring, but I think you can dial it back in such a way that you get good oven spring but still get a crust that stays crisp.

Apizza Scholls is on the outskirts of Neo NY coal oven/hybrid style. The main guy/clientele looks quite a bit crunchy and crunchy types tend to have unfounded fears about bromate, but... it looks a little bit like a bromated flour crust.  If I had to bet, though, I'd probably go with unbromated malted 14%ish flour at 62%ish hydration.  If memory serves me correctly, he cold ferments it one or two days. From the look of the pie, I'd say it's a 3-4 minute bake.

Stone porosity does help in achieving better crunch, but, most of the porous stones (fibrament, fire brick, quarry tile) aren't very conductive and conductivity is relatively critical to spring. The only way to get 3-4 minute bakes out of these less conductive stones is to crank up the heat- well above the typical 550ish peak heat of most ovens. It depends on the stone, but you're talking 650 minimum. To achieve this, you're talking oven tricks/mods.  Even with tricks, firebrick is heavy and takes forever to pre-heat and fibrament and quarry tile may not be all that sturdy at higher temps. I guess if you were leaning toward an oven trick, I'd probably take the oven to 650 using the frozen towel technique and bake the pizza on 1/2" quarry tiles. 

Soapstone and cordierite are very conductive but far less porous.  Soapstone can do a 3 minute pie @550 and cordierite might be able to do 4.  You can offset this lack of porosity a little bit, as Marc mentioned, by letting the pie cool on a wire rack.

Just because, as of this moment, there aren't any commercially available stones that are both porous and conductive, it doesn't mean that there never will be.  It can be manufactured, it's just that someone's got to make it. I've been keeping my ear to the ground and I think the future should be bringing the crispy lover folks better stones. By Christmas? Probably not.  By the following Christmas? Perhaps.

For now, I would probably lean towards dialing back the hydration a bit and either going with soapstone w/out oven mods or quarry tiles with mods.

As far as oil goes, it definitely contributes towards a softer crumb, but I'm not entire certain that oil creates a softer exterior.  I do know that oil promotes even browning at high temps and Apizza Scholls pies definitely look fairly evenly browned.  I would try a no oil batch, but I'd also give a high oil batch a shot- maybe in the 3% realm.

One thing that popped out at me watching No Reservations is that, relatively speaking, Apizza Scholls is not oven spring city.  He doesn't pop any bubbles in the rim and starts off with what looks like a pretty thick skin (for Neo NY standards).  This results in a sizable rim with some big voids but also some small voids and a crust that doesn't flop all that much.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2010, 02:26:56 PM by scott123 »

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Re: How to get rid of the water
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2010, 02:38:58 PM »
scott123,

Some time ago I researched the Apizza Scholls dough/pizza and took a stab at replicating the dough and baking the pizza in my home oven. I detailed everything at Reply 17 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7225.msg76431.html#msg76431. I have no idea as to how Brian Spangler is now making his dough. He went from hand kneading to using a mixer so it is possible that he changed the way he now makes his dough.

Peter

Offline scott123

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Re: How to get rid of the water
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2010, 03:28:59 PM »
Peter,

That clears some things up, thanks. My observations are solely based on the 1/15/07 episode of No Reservations, where he was still kneading by hand.

The non bromated flour makes quite a bit of sense, as does Harvest King.  I slowed down Varasano's time lapse video and noticed that he's using Harvest King as well.  I get the feeling that Harvest King is the economical alternative to KA. The bubble structure felt a lot like a 14% flour, but I guess, with careful dough handling and a high temp oven, one could achieve that with 12%.

So it is a day ferment, just not cold.  I could see that.

The one area of your research that raises some doubts for me is the 74% hydration.  In the Bourdain video (see screenshot below), he drapes the center of the dough over a fist while he has a drink of beer. Even with extensive kneading, I just don't see how a flour with the absorption value of Harvest King could maintain that much elasticity at 74%.  If I held my All Trumps like that @ 74%, it would droop to the floor. 74% would never give you that crunch either with a high temp short bake. My spidey sense is telling me 62%.

As far as the oil goes... the pies in the Bourdain video are pretty much the poster childs of even browning.  Even browning is either lower heat/longer bake, sugar or oil.  Oh, or steam.  It's hard to tell from the ovens, but I really kind of doubt he's using steam.  If the browning isn't coming from steam, then I think oil is the best candidate. Oil or maybe a more enzymatically active flour.

Scott

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Re: How to get rid of the water
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2010, 06:31:05 PM »
scott123,

I spent several hours today reading through 33 pages of the portlandfood.org forum on Apizza Scholls at http://portlandfood.org/index.php?/topic/2791-apizza-scholls/ in order to update myself on changes that might have occurred since my last post on this subject at Reply 17 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7225.msg76431.html#msg76431 (which I updated today).

You are correct about the Bourdain segment. It was on 1/15/07. It appears that Brian Spangler went to a mixer sometime in 2008. One poster mentioned seeing a Hobart mixer on the Apizza Scholls premises. If a Hobart mixer is used, it is not clear that Brian Spangler is still using a very high hydration and multiple stretch and folds. I did not read what type of Hobart mixer was seen at Apizza Scholls, that is, a planetary mixer or a spiral mixer. I believe Hobart makes both types of mixers.

It looks like my speculation on the Harvest King flour was correct. A poster who was frustrated with his efforts to make pizza at home asked what flour Apizza Scholls was using to make its dough. Brian Spangler's wife, Kim, stated at post #433 at http://portlandfood.org/index.php?/topic/2791-apizza-scholls/page__st__420 that the flour used was Harvest King, from General Mills. That was in 11/07. That flour would make sense given that Brian Spangler, by his own admission on several occasions, was trying to make a New Haven type pizza. In fact, scott r posted at Reply 22 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,18.msg14507/topicseen.html#msg14507 that he saw bags of Pillsbury bread flour at Pepe's in one of his visits to that pizzeria. scott r also suggested in that post that one use a high hydration, no sugar and no oil, and a high oven temperature to replicate the Pepe's style. 

You might also note post #484 by Brian Spangler at http://portlandfood.org/index.php?/topic/2791-apizza-scholls/page__st__480. In that post, Brian states "What almost every pizza dough needs for better flavor and texture is time... not olive oil, not sugar, etc. The higher hydration (wet sticky dough) will increase the open crumb structure as well as decrease the ability of overmixing the dough. For good baking results, I recommend your hearth/pizza stone be around 675 - 700 F." I can only assume that Brian follows his own advice. You might also note from the SeriousEats piece at http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2008/07/apizza-scholls-pizza-portland-oregon-or.html that Brian uses an electric (not gas) Baker's Pride deck oven. Electric deck ovens tend to produce a drier product than gas deck ovens, so that might be a factor in achieving a drier finished crust, possibly along with an extended bake time in order to get the desired degree of doneness. I read of a lot of complaints about "excessive char" of the Apizza Scholls crusts.

I intentionally used the 74% hydration since I had read that that was the highest hydration that Brian had used. I figured that if I could make the dough work at that hydration, I could always reduce the hydration in a later effort, as I hinted at in Reply 17 referenced above. I did not have any problems with the 74% hydration. I think the multiple stretch and folds helped produce a strong gluten structure, much as Jackie Tran (chau) has achieved workable doughs with no extreme wetness or extensibility problems with his hand kneading of wet doughs. Of course, chau was working with smaller skins, not the 18" skins that Apizza Scholls makes (although they will make 12" pizzas for solo patrons at the bar).

Clearly, one trying to replicate an Apizza Scholls pizza in a standard home oven will have challenges, much as I discovered when I tried to do that.

Peter
 

Offline Tannerwooden

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Re: How to get rid of the water
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2010, 01:14:22 AM »

Clearly, one trying to replicate an Apizza Scholls pizza in a standard home oven will have challenges, much as I discovered when I tried to do that.
 

The challenge is a really big part of what makes pizza baking fun!

Thanks so much for all your info guys.  This is way, way more information than I expected.  Here's the answers to some questions.

1.  Pictures of Apizza Scholls

     No, no pictures.  Sorry.  I got a "Bacon Bianca"  basically, bacon and herbs on a garlicy white sauce, but way, way yummier than I just made it sound.

2.  Elevated pies
     Yes, I elevate on a holey pizza pan set on a tall trivet.

3.  Oil or sugar in dough
     No oil or sugar.  Lately, I've been using KABF with a tablespoon of gluten per cup.  I work with chilled ingredients and cold ferment overnight.

4.  Hydration
     Usually between 60-65%  I've tried lower and I get a dry, chewy crust, but not crispy.  I bake around 650-675 in my modded home oven.  Hotter and I always burn, no matter how high a hydration I use.   Cooler and I don't get the oven spring I like.

5.  Stone
     I've included a couple of pictures of my stone below.  Perhaps someone could tell me what it is by looking at it?  I got it as a gift years ago from my mom.  When I was a teenager, I told her, "I'm gonna learn how to make the best pizza ever!" (still workin' on it)  It is about 5/8" thick, but with the risers on the bottom, it sits 3/4" off the counter.

Thanks again!


Offline PizzaHog

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Re: How to get rid of the water
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2010, 04:12:49 PM »
Quote
I've included a couple of pictures of my stone below.  Perhaps someone could tell me what it is by looking at it?
The color and risers are common on the "old stone" brand.  Looks like thats what you have there.  Quite a few members have these and report they are made of cordierite.  I have one too but it was a hand me down so I have no box or documentation, etc.  From what I have read, all that have them like 'em and no negative reports come to mind.  From my experiences still chasing the NY hybrid ghost I can say that sometimes a small adjustment can make a real diff.  I recall reading Jeff Varasano's post about some of the adjustments he had to make to his proven home formula after opening his pizzaria and one biggie was hydration.  So who knows, some minor dialing back there as I believe scott123 mentions might get your crisp to last longer.  Or just make really, really small pies.  Yea, that's the ticket...
 

Offline scott123

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Re: How to get rid of the water
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2010, 04:30:06 PM »
Yup, that's definitely cordierite, which, as I said, is one of the less porous baking stones. At the right temp, it makes great pizza, but if you're trying to maximize crunch and are willing to push your oven to 650+ degrees, then you might want to give something a little more porous a shot.  Quarry tiles, as I mentioned, are inexpensive.

What's your bake time at that 650 temp? Thickness factor?

A 'holey pizza pan,' btw, still captures a lot of moisture.  If you can, I recommend going with a cookie rack.

Offline Tannerwooden

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Re: How to get rid of the water
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2010, 12:42:54 AM »
Wow.  I never expected to get so much great help.  Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou.

I've tried lot's of sizes, but usually I make about a 14" pizza.  There's a couple of pictures of mine here:  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11773.0.html

Scott,
Cookie rack is a great idea....hadn't thought of that.  Thanks.  Yeah, once I caught the pizza bug, I was willing to do pretty much anything, so I modded my oven using advice found on this forum.  I now have what I affectionately call the "TURBO SWITCH" mounted on the back of my electric oven.  So you recommend quarry tile as an inexpensive option for sucking out the water.  I'll try that.  I'm wondering though, is there an even better expensive option?  Money is (nearly) no object where pizza is concerned (I wish).

Thanks again!
Tanner

Offline Jack

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Re: How to get rid of the water
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2010, 01:49:34 PM »
I'm a little late to the party, but what I do is have an 18 inch pizza screen sitting on top of three small juice glasses on my stove top.  Everything (pizza, calzones, etc.) comes out of the oven and onto this screen to cool.  When it's ready to cut, I move it onto a pizza pan, then serve and eat.  It keeps it the right texture longer this way.

Jack

Offline scott r

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Re: How to get rid of the water
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2010, 07:34:09 PM »

5.  Stone
     I've included a couple of pictures of my stone below.  Perhaps someone could tell me what it is by looking at it?  I got it as a gift years ago from my mom.  When I was a teenager, I told her, "I'm gonna learn how to make the best pizza ever!" (still workin' on it)  It is about 5/8" thick, but with the risers on the bottom, it sits 3/4" off the counter.

Thanks again!


hey, thats my favorite stone for high temp pizzas.    Its actually part of an entire line of bakeware made of the same material.   The raised lip around the edge is unique to this brand.   you will also notice that it is made out of a very rough course material, almost like sandpaper.  Im not sure what the difference is, but it is different than any other stone I have found in that its very thin, yet very resistant to breaking.   Its made by heartstone pottery, and  check out the crazy directions

15" Pizza Stone, dishwasher safe.  Our organic stoneware baking stones are non-absorbent and naturally stick-resistant ... which makes them DISHWASHER AND SOAP SAFE! Use them in the oven, microwave, freezer and dishwasher. Made in the USA in Ohio by Hartstone Pottery. Microwave, freezer, oven and dishwasher safe. Lead free. DIRECTIONS: The first time you use your baking stone, season it with any rubbed or sprayed cooking oil. You won't need to treat your stone after the first use. After each use simply put it in the dishwasher with all of your other dinnerware ... and wash away! Our baking stones are freezer to oven safe, microwave safe, and incredibly durable ... just what you'd expect from Hartstone! Cut and serve from its surface!




As you see they are freezer to oven safe, which I definitely wouldn't recommend with any other pizza stone!   It allows me to do my unusual hi temp oven mod trick, which I think allows for the fastest possible bake of any cleaning cycle method. 

1) let the oven preheat on the cleaning cycle for about an hour until it has been sitting at 900 degrees for a while.
2) slip the room temp stone into the oven on the middle rack and immediately start prepping the pizza
3) in the amount of time it takes me to put the pizza together this very thin stone has reached 800 degrees, and the pizza goes in.
4) after about a minute I pull out the pizza and the stone.   Since the stone is really really thin it is very light and its easy to do this with a good metal peel.

I wait about 10 minutes and repeat the process.

THis is only possible with your stone from heartstone pottery.  Any other stone I have tried is either way too heavy to move safely with the peel, or it cracks within the first few uses.   These do eventually crack, but I can sometimes get a year of more of heavy use out of one stone, and at $30 bucks they are cheap to replace.   
« Last Edit: November 02, 2010, 07:40:18 PM by scott r »

Offline PizzaMakesMeHappy

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Re: How to get rid of the water
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2010, 09:42:54 PM »
I've been searching ALL over Portland, can't find quarry tiles anywhere??

Offline sfspanky

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Re: How to get rid of the water
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2011, 10:53:10 PM »
One thing to consider when you want a crispy exterior that holds up is building up your acid production through a preferment (poolish, biga or sourdough starter) and using a long slow bulk fermentation. We use a modest 12% all winter wheat flour which is not considered high gluten.

Even though you use a certain brand and label of flour, variances occur ever month and from region to region. One's experience is hard to relate to another, so hydration % should be taken with a grain of salt.

Yes, different types of baking stone will be more efficient in pulling moisture from the dough as it cooks. I cannot recommend anything available on the retail level, however I have enough commercial baking stones to cut up for about 12 - 18"x18" home pizza stones... is that too big? :)  When I do, it will be a first come, first served basis.

Yes, we went to a mixer about 3 years ago to the day. My joints simply could not handle the work load after mixing hundreds of pounds a dough by hand for 6 days a week x 10 years.

At the time we moved from hand mixing to a standard mechanical mixer, we dropped the hydration level from 72% to 62% for many, many reasons.

Even though we went to a commercial mixer, we only mix for a short period of time at 1st speed. We still stretch and fold our dough 4 times over the course of the bulk fermentation.

The video shoot with Anthony Bourdain was with hand mixed dough at around 72% hydration. We use to ramp our poolish up overnight so that it was on the brink of collapse when it was time to mix the dough by hand. All the acids in the poolish bucked up the dough so much that it was becoming elastic at the 72-74% hydration, when the final dough was near full proof. Of course, experience helps in handling all dough. I have made probably made somewhere near 400,000 pizzas to date and I can shape with my eyes closed by now. I let the feel do the talking, not the look.

No bromated flour here... Just Harvest King by General Mills as Peet-Za stated earlier.

No sugar... steam does help in the retardation and even browning.

Nobody likes char anymore. What the hell happened in the pizza world? I grew up with pizzas that had a nice char and now we have to beg for it? Even if I ask another pizzeria to bake "extra crispy/dark" it is lighter than the pizzas that I make. I know some of you like the GBD (golden, brown, delicious) pizza, but I find them lacking on many levels.

If anyone has any questions, I will do my best to answer. Thanks for your time.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2011, 11:16:38 PM by sfspanky »
Brian Spangler
Apizza Scholls

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: How to get rid of the water
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2011, 11:18:18 PM »
Brian thank you for your time and explanations.  Also thank you for answering newb questions in the other threads.  I'm not sure how many other pizzeria operators take time to do that.  I'm curious to know what other reasons you had for dropping the hydration ratio by 10%.  Are you still achieving similar levels of open crumb with the 62% HR?  Did you keep the same level of protein in the flour after the HR drop or are you using a weaker flour now?  Do you personally like your pizza better with the lower HR or is that more for the customers?  Can you compare the 2 crusts/crumbs of your past and current pizzas?

I am a novice home pizza maker and when I went from hand kneading to mixer, my high hydration doughs only dropped maybe 1-2% HR at the most.   Of course there are ways of using the same hydration levels as well.  It's all about gluten development. 

I appreciate your comment about the acids in the preferment creating strength & elasticity in high hydration doughs although some of my high hydration doughs (~74% using HG flour) are same day doughs made with just IDY.   Also no problem tossing high hydration doughs as well.  Again, it's just a matter of building enough strength into the dough (if tossing is your thing).

That's really cool that you have made so many pizzas!  I guess I'll have to open a pizzeria to reach those numbers.   :-D

Chau
« Last Edit: January 16, 2011, 11:50:16 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline sfspanky

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Re: How to get rid of the water
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2011, 11:56:07 PM »
Brian thank you for your time and explanations.  Also thank you for answering newb questions (other threads) on the forum.  I'm not sure how many other pizzeria operators take time to do that.  I'm curious to know what other reasons you had for dropping the hydration ratio by 10%.  Are you still achieving similar levels of open crumb with the 62% HR?  Did you keep the same level of protein in the flour after the HR drop or are you using a weaker flour now?  Do you personally like your pizza better with the lower HR or is that more for the customers?  Can you compare the 2 crusts/crumbs of your past and current pizzas?

I am a novice home pizza maker and when I went from hand kneading to mixer, my hydrations only dropped maybe 1-2%.   Of course there are ways of using the same hydration levels as well.  It's all about gluten development. 

I appreciate your comment about the acids in the preferment creating strength & elasticity in high hydration doughs although some of my high hydration doughs (~74% using HG flour) are same day doughs made with just IDY.   Also no problem tossing high hydration doughs as well.  Again, it's just a matter of building enough strength into the dough (if tossing is your thing).

Thats really cool that you have made so many pizzas!  I guess I'll have to open a pizzeria to reach those numbers.   :-D

Chau


Not too much of a difference, but it is definitely a little drier that our previous formula. We were really pushing the limits with our size of pizza at the time (18-20"), but I was mixing and shaping almost all the dough, so it wasn't too big of a factor for me.... until my joints started to revolt!

I cannot work production the way I used to. Hence, we added a mixer and I had to hire staff to help me mix and stretch. Dropping the hydration made it easier for the new staff to stretch the dough to a consistent thickness. We now run around 62-65% hydration, depending on the flour that we receive every month. We buy flour in bulk with the same mill date and lot# so that we only have to change our formula hydration for that specific lot.

I beleive that we are achieving the same open crumb, but maybe achieving a little more spring from the lower hydration.

Yes, we still use Harvest King flour, which is around 11.5-12.5% protein and is made from all hard red spring winter wheat.

Another reason for changing the hydration level was that we started allowing people to add more toppings than the original pizza dough was designed to allow. The original formula was for a very minimalistic amount of toppings, but we saw that many wanted more than what we designed our pizza for. We don't allow too many, but we now allow more than before, yet still less than the average pizzeria operator. We still have our core following to keep in mind, so we didn't want to change our oven temp, char ratio, etc.

I love our pizza, and many a regular say it get's better all the time. It's hard for me to see, as I have become a little too close to the product, but I believe my faithful customers. When I do eat my pizza (once every month) I'm still amazed at what we are making and how consistent it is.

I don't believe in tossing... hand stretching is the only way for me.

Brian Spangler
Apizza Scholls

Offline sfspanky

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Re: How to get rid of the water
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2011, 12:00:49 AM »
I want to clarify in my previous post... we are not adding steam, but when you bake multiple pizzas in the same deck, steam is a natural by-product. We keep our flues closed, so that the heat and steam do not escape the oven chamber. If I was to bake just one pizza in a deck, the browning results would be less even as less steam would be present.
Brian Spangler
Apizza Scholls


 

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