Author Topic: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.  (Read 11213 times)

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Offline Tampa

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #60 on: February 24, 2011, 08:42:09 AM »
Communist - I love the original thinking of your insulator design.  Good for you and thanks for sharing.
Dave


Offline StrayBullet

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #61 on: February 24, 2011, 09:46:24 AM »
Dave,

I agree about Mark's cake wrap trick, neat stuff!....my office is near a bakery off S Dale Mabry and might have time to stop in and see if they have this stuff unless you have another line?

Mark (StrayBullet), 40 minutes, and the burner never went off?  With foil? That's kind of exciting and also kind of scary  ;D

I barely left the kitchen at all, TRUST me :D  I was really impressed with the temperature results considering the soak time of 40m!  I also think it helped to get a perpendicular shot with the IR gun vice an angular shot where some fluctuations could come into play.

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

These were top of the stone, I don't think I could have gotten a good reading on the bottom of the stone due to clearance issues.

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.

Will do, might even be able to do so today just so I know when I do my next bake this weekend.  I also want to center the stone on the oven rack and wrap foil on both edges.  This will center the stone and eventually the baking pizza under the broiler element which should be better for even cooking.

With it off-center as it was last night the bake wasn't spectacular but encouraging.  Total bake time was under 4 minutes with the first 90 seconds or so with the broiler element engaged.  With my cheese trick, it didn't burn at all, got the char I like with a great texture.

With the stone repositioned and making my normal dough with starter (in my opinion superior flavor) I should be able to fire off a near 3m pie that will blow away my previous attempts!

Mark

Online scott123

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #62 on: February 24, 2011, 10:51:06 AM »
Sounds good, Mark. 

Top and bottom stone temp readings would be great, and, if you really want to go the extra mile  ;)  could you take readings of

Oven ceiling
Oven wall above the foil
Oven wall below the foil

As I've mentioned earlier, in order for the bottom element to stay on for 40 minutes, the top compartment has to be quite a bit cooler than the bottom compartment. How much cooler is what I'm interested in finding out.

I'm also really interested in how second and third pies fare.  With thin steel plate, you can, to an extent, open the door after the first pie, let the oven cool and then re-start the process (maybe).  With soapstone, though... opening the door isn't going to have much impact.  Over time, the top compartment is going to heat up. Once that happens, it's bye bye top/bottom temp disparity, welcome lower stone temps.

Theoretically speaking, as far as multiple pizza bakes go, in this scenario, this might be one of the rare times where thermal mass might actually be a disadvantage.

Offline thezaman

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #63 on: February 24, 2011, 11:46:05 PM »
this is my last attempt at the steel shelf method. i had my steel shelf cut down 1/4 inch the door of the oven closed with no interference. made dough, cheese, and sauce at work today. this evening fired up the oven,same temperature of 569 deg. sprayed the probe got it to 650 deg put on the broiler cooked my first pizza three minutes. my broiler will not come on unless the door is open pizzas are then lifted to brown the top. the first pizza was similar to coal pizza a little dry and crisp. not bad, certainly not pizza napoletana. i think my oven being 25 years old isn't up to the task . the next pizza done the same way was softer and wetter . i froze the mozzarella which gave me more broiling time. i feel this method would make a great ny elite pizza you could cook it a little longer and american flour would take the longer bake times  better than caputo.

Offline b-ry

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #64 on: February 25, 2011, 08:01:49 AM »
Nathan Myhrvold responded to a discussion about the WSJ article and the book text with regards to using a steel plate if you don't want to invest in a brick oven.  In it, he clears up a lot of things.  He explains why a steel plate works better than a ceramic stone and he does say the book mentions 3/4 inch and the thicker the better.  I think it also debunks the idea that he is up to oven tricks.  I will not paraphrase too much and let you guys read the post.

I am a new member, so I am not able to link directly to the post, but if you go to egullet(.org) and go to post p1791936. You can get there by using the main site address plus a '/' and then 'p1791936'.  You can also get there by looking for the post by NathanM on 2/24 in the forum EG Forums --> Kitchen --> Cooking --> Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" and its post #142

I am not sure of the policy here of linking to other forums, so I apologize in advance if I have broken any rules.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 08:03:31 AM by b-ry »

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #65 on: February 25, 2011, 08:32:31 AM »
Nathan Myhrvold responded to a discussion about the WSJ article and the book text with regards to using a steel plate if you don't want to invest in a brick oven.  In it, he clears up a lot of things.  He explains why a steel plate works better than a ceramic stone and he does say the book mentions 3/4 inch and the thicker the better.  I think it also debunks the idea that he is up to oven tricks.  I will not paraphrase too much and let you guys read the post.

I am a new member, so I am not able to link directly to the post, but if you go to egullet(.org) and go to post p1791936. You can get there by using the main site address plus a '/' and then 'p1791936'.  You can also get there by looking for the post by NathanM on 2/24 in the forum EG Forums --> Kitchen --> Cooking --> Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" and its post #142

I am not sure of the policy here of linking to other forums, so I apologize in advance if I have broken any rules.

Very interesting read, thanks for posting this. The idea of using aluminum is very appealing to me due to the weight factor, but I priced out a piece at metalsdepot.com, and just a 12x12 is $87 without shipping.

John

Offline b-ry

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #66 on: February 25, 2011, 08:45:32 AM »
Very interesting read, thanks for posting this. The idea of using aluminum is very appealing to me due to the weight factor, but I priced out a piece at metalsdepot.com, and just a 12x12 is $87 without shipping.

John

I think, like Nathan says, you can get cheaper prices from a local steel or aluminum fabricator, even cheaper if they specialize in scrap metal because it will be market rate if they have to order it.  

I found a local steel fabricator that quoted $290 for a 1/4"(correction - originally said 3/4") thick, 18" x 23.75" piece of T316 stainless steel.  That is pretty much market rate.  Since I know the fabricator had to custom order the material from one of their vendors.  I expect mild steel and aluminum to be much cheaper.  I am also going to find a place that specializes in scrap metal.  Hopefully I can find something close to what Nathan is finding price wise.  Also, finding a place locally will save shipping.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 10:15:21 AM by b-ry »

Online Pete-zza

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Online scott123

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #68 on: February 25, 2011, 10:01:08 AM »
For anyone interested, my reply is at #147.

Cliff notes:
1/4" steel plate can't produce a Neapolitan pizza @ 550 (he says it can)
3/4" steel plate probably can produce a 2 minute pie, but the weight could cause oven shelves to fail
If he thinks aluminum (at any thickness), can produce Neapolitan pizza, he's on crack.

John, aluminum is too conductive to be able to store heat. Pre-heating it is useless, as the moment you open the oven door, the temp will plummet. Stored heat is critical. A stone that can't be pre-heated will not bake pizza quickly.  As soon as you have to rely on the heat from the lower element/burner, you're talking 10 minute+ bakes.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 10:05:20 AM by scott123 »

Offline b-ry

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #69 on: February 25, 2011, 10:31:19 AM »
3/4" steel plate probably can produce a 2 minute pie, but the weight could cause oven shelves to fail

Do you think there will be a problem with oven stress if it is used as the rack instead of on the oven rack?  

So if we have eliminated aluminum and stainless steel (for expense reasons considering it would be a roughly $900 experiment for 3/4 inch the size of my 23 x 18 oven), we are left with mild steel as the last alternative, which as he states, is a little more difficult to maintain (much like a wok or cast iron).  So we are left trying to move, clean and maintain a 90 lb piece of steel to cook a 2 minute pizza.  I may just stick with my pizza stone.

On a side note, if you are interested in true NY style pizza and want the 16-18" pie, then getting a thinner piece (1/4") cut to the size of your oven, might not be a bad idea.


Offline dellavecchia

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #70 on: February 25, 2011, 10:36:18 AM »
For anyone interested, my reply is at #147.

Cliff notes:
1/4" steel plate can't produce a Neapolitan pizza @ 550 (he says it can)
3/4" steel plate probably can produce a 2 minute pie, but the weight could cause oven shelves to fail
If he thinks aluminum (at any thickness), can produce Neapolitan pizza, he's on crack.

John, aluminum is too conductive to be able to store heat. Pre-heating it is useless, as the moment you open the oven door, the temp will plummet. Stored heat is critical. A stone that can't be pre-heated will not bake pizza quickly.  As soon as you have to rely on the heat from the lower element/burner, you're talking 10 minute+ bakes.

Thanks Scott - you saved me some money.

John

Online scott123

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #71 on: February 25, 2011, 11:52:49 AM »
Sure thing, John.

B-ry, I'm pretty certain, because the weight will be even distributed across the lip, the shelf supports will have no problem with 3/4" plate cut to the entire dimension, but a 18" x 23.75" piece, besides being a bit pricey, will weigh 90 lbs.  My soapstone is 35 pains and that was a major pain to have to haul around (and I'm a pretty strong guy).  90 lbs.- my back hurts just thinking about it. ;D

As I've said elsewhere, for Neapolitan bake times, I'm recommending 3/4" steel plate cut to a sensible size (square, almost touching the door, ideally 18" x 18") and, instead of sitting on a shelf, supported by flat steel bars.

On a side note, if you are interested in true NY style pizza and want the 16-18" pie, then getting a thinner piece (1/4") cut to the size of your oven, might not be a bad idea.

Mark (Communist) proved that 1/2" plate can do 4 minute NY style pies at as low as 530 in the steel plate thread, but, until someone tries it (at 550), I don't have a lot of faith in 1/4".  
« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 11:58:50 AM by scott123 »

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #72 on: February 25, 2011, 12:18:14 PM »

As I've said elsewhere, for Neapolitan bake times, I'm recommending 3/4" steel plate cut to a sensible size (square, almost touching the door, ideally 18" x 18") and, instead of sitting on a shelf, supported by flat steel bars.


Scott what about the steel plate directly on the oven floor? My gas heat source comes from the bottom.

John

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #73 on: February 25, 2011, 01:52:13 PM »
John, do you have a broiler in the main oven compartment? If you don't, your quest gets a lot harder. If you are working with a single heat source, do a search for Papajon- his is the most recent successful implementation of the oven within an oven concept.

Btw, I just did a few tests with cast aluminum in my oven.  I was *gulp* wrong  :) Aluminum retains heat for longer than I thought it would in a hot oven.  So, 3/4" aluminum could be viable as a baking stone, but... it's still about 3 times the price of steel and for a typical size stone, you only save about 10 lbs. in weight (3/4" aluminum has a comparable heat capacity to 1/2" steel).


Offline dellavecchia

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #74 on: February 25, 2011, 02:18:19 PM »
John, do you have a broiler in the main oven compartment?


Scott - Yes I do have a broiler. But the main source turns off when it is in use.

John

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #75 on: February 25, 2011, 03:08:09 PM »
John, as far as the bottom of a pizza is concerned, it makes no difference where the stone is in the oven. You turn the oven on, the thermostat will hit a certain temp, shut off the burner, then the temp will drop a bit, the burner will turn back on- over an over again, creating this 75ish deg. window. Eventually the heat will conduct all the way through the stone/plate. The stone will reach this temp where ever it is in the oven.   It will reach this temp faster on a bottom shelf, but it won't get any hotter. When you launch the pizza, the heat that's stored in the stone bakes the bottom of the pie.  During the bake the bottom burner is useless- the pizza will be done baking by the time the heat from the bottom element makes it through the stone. So, during the bake, you either use the broiler, or nothing at all, never the bottom.

The stone position is critical to browning/leoparding on the top of the pie.  If you got a steel plate that can do 2 minute bakes, you need to position the stone close enough to the broiler so the top bakes in the same amount of time.  For Neapolitan, 2 minutes, this means very close to the broiler- top shelf.  For NY 4 minute-ish bakes, you might be able to get away with the next slot down.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 03:10:15 PM by scott123 »

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #76 on: February 25, 2011, 07:33:24 PM »
Btw, if anyone's a member of Egullet and wants to join in the discussion, I would welcome it :) While I tend to disagree with Marco in a few areas, it's times like this that I wish he was around.

Edit:  They just posted a photo of the pizza in Nathan's book

http://egullet.org/p1792128

Everything nice I've previously said about Nathan- disregard. If that's what he and his co-authors consider to be "a pizza that's as fast and good as any you'll find in Naples," then he's not the brilliant culinary mind that I thought he was.

Another book, another author, I wouldn't care, but considering that this book is being portrayed as one of the most groundbreaking culinary works of all time, and that's how they treat pizza? Screw them.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 08:24:19 PM by scott123 »

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #77 on: February 25, 2011, 09:50:16 PM »
Nice reply to them Scott, please keep us posted on what the "experts" over there say.
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Online TXCraig1

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #78 on: February 25, 2011, 10:52:03 PM »
Btw, if anyone's a member of Egullet and wants to join in the discussion, I would welcome it :)

I read through the thread. Personally, I'd let it go. What's the point?

Craig
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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #79 on: February 26, 2011, 07:57:29 AM »
Thanks, Gene  :)

Craig, the point is that, in the culinary world, this book is going to be highly revered.  If it conveys a false perception of Neapolitan pizza (such as the claim that 1/4" steel plate can produce Neapolitan bake times and quality at home oven temps), that perception will make inroads into the minds of culinary professionals and the public at large. I'm not as religious about this as Marco, but Neapolitan pizza deserves to be protected, and when culinary heavyweights attempt to redefine it, it's critical that that redefinition be challenged.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 08:00:07 AM by scott123 »