Author Topic: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.  (Read 12911 times)

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buceriasdon

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #40 on: February 22, 2011, 03:52:53 PM »
Larry, Lol. It did have me scratching my head until I figured out it was an oopsy. However, even though that's not my kinda pizza I have to admire your efforts. I would most certainly like to taste it. My hat is off to you. Maybe some flour blending, some fine tuning is all that's needed.
regards, Don


sorry second picture posted by mistake!!


Offline communist

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #41 on: February 22, 2011, 03:55:04 PM »
Larry, was that 610 a surface temperature on the steel after hitting the broiler or was it a stable steel temperature after preheating the oven ?  Are you getting any significant temperature difference above and below the steel plate?  Thanks,  Mark

scott123

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #42 on: February 22, 2011, 04:20:02 PM »
In addition to Mark's questions, I'd be interested in hearing how long it took to reach 610. Was that a 30 minute pre-heat according to the instructions or did you go longer?

Offline thezaman

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #43 on: February 22, 2011, 09:08:33 PM »
 here is the story, i heated the oven as i did last time the oven shut down at 569 degrees. i then sprayed the probe with ice water to get it  the temp up. i got it to 610 degrees when it shut down again. i started the broiler element waited a minute threw in the pie. it cooked in three minutes. top and bottom of plate the same temperature. i took about 45 minutes to get it to temp. i think i can grind the plate a little more there was some heat on the outside of the oven. the bottom of the pie did not brown much. my broiler is touchy that doesn't help.

scott123

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #44 on: February 23, 2011, 07:51:46 AM »
Larry, for this method to be viable, everything hinges on the plate shielding the top compartment and preventing the thermostat from hitting the peak oven temp and turning the bottom element off. Time is not necessarily our friend here- the steel should heat up pretty quickly. Once it does, it will radiate that heat to the top of the oven, which, in turn will heat the thermostat and cut off the bottom burner. We want the bottom burner on as long as possible. With the thermostat blocked, the bottom burner should stay on for a while- ideally for 30 minutes.  I know it's a lot to ask, but the true test is to watch the oven to see when the burner cuts off. It is right at that moment that the plate should be at it's peak temp.  For a powerful oven, that could be as little as 15 minutes.

Do you have a probe thermometer? You could sit that on top of the thermostat and set the alarm for a little below the dial temp.  That way you can do something else and not have to sit and wait for the thermostat to shut off the bottom burner.

Definitely make sure the oven door is completely closed. Most oven doors have a soft seal- if you press against the door, it should give a bit.  If it doesn't give, it's hitting the plate and not closing correctly.

buceriasdon

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #45 on: February 23, 2011, 08:45:07 AM »
Hi Larry, I see you used the ice water trick on the probe. I have wondered if a person couldn't get a insulating soft firebrick and carve a sleeve for the probe and slip over the probe. Read more here.
http://www.traditionaloven.com/articles/81/insulating-fire-bricks
Very easy to cut and drill.
Don
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 08:49:17 AM by buceriasdon »

Offline communist

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #46 on: February 23, 2011, 09:02:26 AM »
Scott, as you have stated earlier, this method, if it works at all, is probably relying on an oven trick.  The author of the book has an obligation to reveal this, and apparently has not.  There are many oven tricks out there, and many who hesitate to employ them, including me.  That was my whole reason for exploring and finding success with steel plate under your guidance.  I was able to get a beautiful New York oven spring pie at 530 which was comparable to a pie done at 650 with firebrick with oven tricks.  I sleep better at night without oven tricks.  Don, what I do when using thermostat manipulaton is use a magic cake strip, folded in half, and slid over the probe.  I would be glad to provide pics if interested, but, like I said, I prefer avoiding oven tricks if possible.  Mark

scott123

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #47 on: February 23, 2011, 12:15:49 PM »
I have wondered if a person couldn't get a insulating soft firebrick and carve a sleeve for the probe and slip over the probe.

Hmm... the ice and the frozen towel tricks always feel a little hinky to me, while, if this works, it sounds much more elegant.  You'd have to unclip the probe (but, then, you have to do that anyway with most tricks) and I'm wondering if the open end of the hole will let in much heat. It's definitely worth trying, though. Nice idea.

scott123

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #48 on: February 23, 2011, 12:21:01 PM »
The author of the book has an obligation to reveal this, and apparently has not.

Yes, I agree.  I actually shot off an email to him, pointing out potential legal ramifications and the need for some sort of disclaimer.  So far, no response.  I don't think this method will burn houses down, but, much like a lot of ovens crap out during cleaning cycles, this method could be a little hard on the oven.  If, for some reason, a freak accident occurred and a house did catch on fire while using this method, I wouldn't want to be the author.

Oh, and please give us details about your oven trick.  I completely understand your caution (I'm the same way), but for those that wish to take that direction, it's nice to have a few options, especially options with sensible temperature bumps, as opposed to the Varasano lock cutting cleaning cycle insanity.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 12:26:08 PM by scott123 »

buceriasdon

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #49 on: February 23, 2011, 12:35:16 PM »
My thinking on the soft firebrick is to cut down the height if needed, very easy, then measure up from the top of the steel to the center of the probe and carve out a hole in the brick that the soft brick sits over the probe and is supported by the shelf. I don't know how long the probe is but it would be best if the hole didn't go all the way through the brick. Oh well, just a thought to get a longer heat time.
Don


scott123

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #50 on: February 23, 2011, 12:50:51 PM »
Ah, so you'd make a brick cover for the probe. That might work.

I was also picturing slicing off the top of the brick and carving it out to make a box for the probe.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #51 on: February 23, 2011, 03:47:34 PM »
My thinking on the soft firebrick is to cut down the height if needed, very easy, then measure up from the top of the steel to the center of the probe and carve out a hole in the brick that the soft brick sits over the probe and is supported by the shelf. I don't know how long the probe is but it would be best if the hole didn't go all the way through the brick. Oh well, just a thought to get a longer heat time.
Don

this sounds like a great idea.  I bet it could work better than the frozen foil sleeves. 

Offline b-ry

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #52 on: February 23, 2011, 04:26:08 PM »
Yes, I agree.  I actually shot off an email to him, pointing out potential legal ramifications and the need for some sort of disclaimer.  So far, no response.  I don't think this method will burn houses down, but, much like a lot of ovens crap out during cleaning cycles, this method could be a little hard on the oven.  If, for some reason, a freak accident occurred and a house did catch on fire while using this method, I wouldn't want to be the author.

Oh, and please give us details about your oven trick.  I completely understand your caution (I'm the same way), but for those that wish to take that direction, it's nice to have a few options, especially options with sensible temperature bumps, as opposed to the Varasano lock cutting cleaning cycle insanity.

Are you sure this is an oven trick?

I am not sure what the actually book text says, but the text of the WSJ article says the reason this works is because the steel is more conductive than brick stone.  I also don't think this is the exact book text, since I have heard various accounts and some have mentioned the book even says 3/4 inch steel.  

PROBLEM #3: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.

SOLUTION: Make an oven out of a steel sheet.

Get a ¼-inch-thick sheet of steel from a metal fabricator (Google a local one), have it cut to the size of your oven shelf and insert it in the rack closest to the broiler. Preheat the oven at its highest temperature for ½ hour, then turn on the broiler and slide your pizza onto the metal plate. It should emerge perfectly cooked in 1.5 to 2 minutes.

WHAT'S GOING ON: Pizza in a brick oven cooks at about 800 degrees—way hotter than the highest setting of most home ovens. The metal sheet is more conductive than a brick oven's stone, so it can cook just as fast at a lower temperature.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 04:46:20 PM by b-ry »

scott123

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #53 on: February 23, 2011, 05:04:56 PM »
Are you sure this is an oven trick?

I am not sure what the actually book text says, but the text of the WSJ article says the reason this works is because the steel is more conductive than brick stone.  I also don't think this is the exact book text, since I have heard various accounts and some have mentioned the book even says 3/4 inch steel.  

From testing steel plate ourselves, we know, for certain, two facts.

1. 1/4" steel plate cut to allow air flow in a 550 degree oven will NOT produce a 2 minute pizza.

2. 3/4" steel plate might produce a 2 minute pizza at 550, but a 3/4" steel plate cut to the size of an oven shelf would weigh upwards of 90 pounds.

Neither of these scenarios is feasible.  The dimensions of an oven shelf are usually large enough to block air flow.  When air flow is blocked, you have thermostat manipulation, aka oven tricks.  As printed (1/4") that's the only possible way this method could work.  1/4" steel plate has to be at least 650 deg.  in order to bake a 2 minute pizza.

Sure, it's possible that the newspaper might have made a mistake, but, for a promotional piece that I'm almost certain the author signed off on, I think the chances are very slim.  Also, Nathan, being the geek that he is, has a pretty massive online presence.  If this article did misquote the book, he'd mention this fact- somewhere, and we'd definitely hear about it.

Offline thezaman

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #54 on: February 23, 2011, 05:10:10 PM »
in my oven it didn't work. i still need to get a tighter fit on the shelf, also my broiler is a little finicky. the other option is that what can be cooked with this setup might be acceptable to someone who never had a really good wood fired pizza. my wife ate a slice the next day and she asked how i fired the oven in the snow.

Offline b-ry

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #55 on: February 23, 2011, 05:16:49 PM »
From testing steel plate ourselves, we know, for certain, two facts.

1. 1/4" steel plate cut to allow air flow in a 550 degree oven will NOT produce a 2 minute pizza.

2. 3/4" steel plate might produce a 2 minute pizza at 550, but a 3/4" steel plate cut to the size of an oven shelf would weigh upwards of 90 pounds.

Neither of these scenarios is feasible.  The dimensions of an oven shelf are usually large enough to block air flow.  When air flow is blocked, you have thermostat manipulation, aka oven tricks.  As printed (1/4") that's the only possible way this method could work.  1/4" steel plate has to be at least 650 deg.  in order to bake a 2 minute pizza.

Sure, it's possible that the newspaper might have made a mistake, but, for a promotional piece that I'm almost certain the author signed off on, I think the chances are very slim.  Also, Nathan, being the geek that he is, has a pretty massive online presence.  If this article did misquote the book, he'd mention this fact- somewhere, and we'd definitely hear about it.

That all makes sense , but we might have to consider (minus the potential typo) other variables and expectations.  There could be many interpretations for what a pizza cooked in 1.5 to 2 minutes actually is.  If he is this vague in his book, then his only requirement is "cooked pizza".  It may or may not measure up to the standards of pizza aficionados like ourselves on this site. 

Also, if the book truly does state 3/4 inch thick, his reasoning for the steel to be the size of your oven shelf might be that 50-90 lbs of steel would put considerable stress on your oven rack.

Offline StrayBullet

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #56 on: February 23, 2011, 05:30:09 PM »
This has inspired me to apply some of this to my stone and see what happens.  I was so piqued that I rushed home to stir up a single 300g Steve's Emergency dough and see what temps I could achieve by positioning the stone all the way to the left and covering the exposed grates on the right with tin foil, essentially restricting airflow to the upper area where the thermostat resides.

Normally when the "pre-heat" buzzer goes off and lights up my stone usually reads around the 450orange, hence my long pre-heats and broiler blasts before loading the pie.

I placed the stone, onto the right-wrapped oven-rack and placed in the bottom position then turned on the oven to 550o.  The bottom element was red hot for exactly 40 minutes, it never went off!  The stone temps ranged from 550-620  :o  Right now, the range is 640-580 and still on the bottom rack.

Before the dough is ready, I'll move to the upper most position and blast with the broiler a few times then make the pie, engage the boiler and toss her in....we'll see what happens :D

Mark

Offline communist

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #57 on: February 23, 2011, 06:24:28 PM »
Scott, some details on my oven trick.  Magi-cake strips are a type of aluminized insulated fabric strips that wrap around cake pans. They cost around 10 bucks. When you bake a cake, the edges are exposed to more heat than the center, and cook faster.  This results in edges that are drier and shrunked.  To prevent this, soak strips in water, wrap around cake pan, bake cake in pan with strips wrapped around outside.  When cake done, pull from oven.  Strips are just about dried out, and have prevented edges from too much heat.  Cake is not domed, and edges are not too brown or burnt.  For pizza baking, cut an 8 inh length of strip.  Fold it in half and stitch together.  Soak in water.  When thermostat kicks oven off, slide sleeve onto probe.  Thermostat will cool, and oven will kick on.  I work with two sleeves, and rotate every 10 minutes to prevent drying out and burning of fabric.  I can easily get my oven to 650 after around twenty minutes.  Even though is it easy, I just don't feel comfortable doing this, and cannot recommend it.  Steel has solved my dilemma.  Thanks Scott!  Mark

scott123

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #58 on: February 23, 2011, 06:51:51 PM »
Mark (StrayBullet), 40 minutes, and the burner never went off?  With foil? That's kind of exciting and also kind of scary  ;D

The stone temp readings you were taking- Top of the stone? Bottom?

Do me a favor, and, next time, pre-heat the stone in the upper rack/final position.  If the foil prevents heat from getting to the thermostat when placed on a lower shelf, it should do it in the upper position as well.

If the foil is a successful oven trick, this could, if done carefully, revolutionize home pizzamaking because one could block air flow with foil using just about any stone.

scott123

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #59 on: February 23, 2011, 07:00:34 PM »
You're welcome, Mark (Communist).  Thank you for being the first one to have the initiative to give thick steel plate a try.

And thanks for the magi-cake strips directions and photos.