Author Topic: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.  (Read 11795 times)

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Offline scott123

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2011, 06:21:43 PM »
I wonder how tight though it must be around the perimeter to get the plate heated sufficiently but not allow the oven to shut off. A plate would not create a seal at the door so hot air could rise up. Perhaps the plate restricts enough for the method to work.

That's a good question, Don.  Side to side will be a good seal, because the plate will be sitting on the shelf.  But back to front... In my experience, most oven shelves don't have much clearance with the door.  I'm thinking 1/2" at most.  If the steel plate is centered, that's a 1/4" gap on the front and back. We won't really know for certain until someone tries it, but that size of a gap should be small enough to produce a temperature disparity between the top compartment and bottom, especially within that 1/2 hour time frame, where the bottom element will most likely be on for the whole time and you'll get a lot or radiant heat hitting the steel, but not flowing through to the broiler area.

Nathan (the author of Modernist Cuisine) is a very smart guy, so I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt that his method, as described, works.  The only possible way than it can work, though, is in a relatively gapless scenario.  Time will tell.


Offline scott123

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2011, 06:23:57 PM »
thezaman, some ovens have radius corners in the back.

Another good point.

Offline hotsawce

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2011, 07:33:01 PM »
First and foremost; Larry, let us know how it turns out. Very interested in seeing this.

Scott, thanks for clarifying. I wasn't sure if the shelf was restricting airflow or not...wasn't too clear on this.

Thezaman, I'm sorry to say it, but that's not going to work.  :( From the article (bold mine)

The only possible way for this technique to work is if the steel is cut to the dimensions of the shelf, ie, it restricts air flow between the top and the bottom of the oven so the thermostat doesn't turn the oven off when the steel plate reaches 550. In the steel plate thread, we've tested 1/2" steel plate (more thermal mass) preheated for 90 minutes at 550 and that can barely do a 3.5 minute pie. The testing is still a bit preliminary, but the question isn't whether or not steel plate can bake 1.5-2 minute Neapolitan pies, but 4 minute NY pies at 500. Cut to a smaller than shelf size dimension, Neapolitan is out of the question. With air gaps, the steel will never go much above 550 (or however hot the oven will go).  Steel's conductivity allows it to bake pizzas at lower temps, but not that low.  For Neapolitan with firebrick, it's 850.  With 1/4" steel, you're talking at least 700.

Which, as I've expressed elsewhere, is my issue with this section of the book. It has people thinking that the superior conductivity of steel will have people baking Neapolitan pizzas at 550ish degrees (at 1/4" thickness).  This is not what we're seeing.  The reason why their setup produces 1.5 minute pizzas is because it's an oven trick- any material that doesn't allow air to pass will cause the bottom of the oven to pre-heat well above 550- that's what happening there.

But, just because the book is misleading, doesn't mean that a no-gap stone method isn't worth trying.  Because oven tricks involve safety concerns (again, something he doesn't mention), it's not something I'd set up and walk away from/forget about, but, if one is conscientious, this could very well be a viable home Neapolitan method- perhaps even more consistent than Toby's Nearlypolitan approach.

Offline thezaman

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2011, 10:37:58 AM »
picked up my plate this morning ,18 1/8 * 21 1/4*1/4 hopefully i made good measurements. forgot, weight 27pounds.

Offline scott123

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2011, 10:47:33 AM »
Sounds good, Larry.

If the side to side dimension is short, that gets tricky as it won't sit on the shelf supports, but if the wall to door dimension is short, I was thinking that you could probably compensate, to an extent, with a strip of foil.

Offline thezaman

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2011, 11:10:23 AM »
 Scott, i was going to slide the plate into the oven slots used to support the shelves ,and not use the shelf at all.

Offline thezaman

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2011, 11:12:57 AM »
 sorry looking at your post you already knew i was not using the shelf

Offline Tampa

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2011, 12:02:36 PM »
Like others, I'm really looking forward to seeing the results of the 1/2 inch plate.

One of our Tampa pizza eaters, StrayBullet, showed me his soapstone setup last weekend along with a tasty slice.  He commented that in a conventional oven, the soapstone takes several hours to reach temperature.  I saw the article in a newspaper and shared the idea with him.

There are a lot of bright folks on this form, and contributing to this thread, but the reason I'm so interested in a picture of the underside crust is that I'm not sure what the result will be.  Steel is very conductive.  One might be able to preheat the oven to 500-550, then turn on the broiler for a few minutes and increase the steel temperature to 600F or 650F before throwing in the pie.  As long as the broiler stays on, the top of the pie should cook rather quickly.  I'm guessing that the steel won't have to be 800F to cook in 2 minutes.

To me, these test results are hard to predict.  At the last Tampa pizza party, we tried to create a VPN pie on my rotisserie grill.  A pie made with 00 flour was thrown on my corderite stone at 825F.  The result was a scorched crust in only a minute or so.  I'm guessing that cordierite, with flame licking the underside, transfers heat better than a wood-fired oven and firebrick base - or I'm just a bad cook.  Either way, there goes my certificate.

Dave

Offline BobBill

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2011, 12:16:26 PM »
I think it is important to remember the question posited in "Problem #3", which is, "You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven."

Longer cooking times of 5, 7, 9 or more minutes can be used to cook very good pizza, but with all due respect it is not applicable for cooking the Neapolitan-style pizzas mentioned in the article. --K

I and a few others I am sure disagree, but whatever!
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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 #29 on: February 18, 2011, 01:47:49 PM »
I'm delighted to get a four minute pizza using generic all purpose flour but I would never say it was comparable to a two minute pizza using 00 Caputo.
Don


I and a few others I am sure disagree, but whatever!


Offline thezaman

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #30 on: February 21, 2011, 08:48:16 AM »
first attempt not successful temperature 560 maximum . 4 minute pie, caputo cooked for 4 minutes not good . the plate left my oven door slightly ajar . will have it cut down and try again.

buceriasdon

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2011, 09:32:04 AM »
thezaman, Well if that was a failure, I look forward to success :D The devil is in the details they say. If I could make a suggestion, make a cardboard  template that you can keep trimming until the door closes. Tough to get accurate measurements when the door is closed.
Don
« Last Edit: February 21, 2011, 09:43:14 AM by buceriasdon »

Offline BobBill

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2011, 09:55:17 AM »
They look great, save the char. For me, char is a no-no, popular as it has become of late.

I see but subtle difference between 00 and other flours, but looking forward to using King A flour, as I do not think 00 is worth the extra cost and trouble.

The longer you bake pies, the more obvious it becomes...and the more you switch around and still come back to simple.

It is fun, nevertheless.

BTW, like anchovies, basil is best not baked, but up to you.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2011, 10:07:19 AM by BobBill »
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Offline scott123

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2011, 10:03:43 AM »
Larry, I had the same thing happen with my soapstone slab. Oven doors can be tricky like that.

I like the way the steel plate looks in the oven.

Offline thezaman

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #34 on: February 21, 2011, 10:34:50 AM »
i am going to remeasure and try one more time. the idea of tricking the thermostat will only work in my oven once per bake as the probe will read true temperature once the broiler kicks in, as the probe is between the plate and broiler. the pizza tasted ok but straight caputo needs a quick bake to mimic wfo texture and taste. the other possible issue is the inability of the steel plate to pull moisture as a stone surface would . this would crisp the bottom where the stone wouldn't. i am glad that the weather was bad last night, if would have been able to use my wfo and didn't because i was trying this idea i would of been depressed.

Offline scott123

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #35 on: February 21, 2011, 03:30:06 PM »
A second (and/or third) pie will be tricky, but I think it can be done. You'll just want to leave the oven door open for a bit and let the temperature drop, then close it and start the pre-heat process again.  I don't know, maybe 5 minutes for the cool down and then 10 minutes for the ensuing pre-heat?  Is that too long between pies?

At Neapolitan baking temps, stone porosity is meaningless.  It's too hot for moisture to wick into the stone at that temp.  As long as the steel plate is hot enough, it will crisp the bottom exactly like firebrick does. Take a look at the end of the Steel Plate thread that I linked to before and you'll see an upskirt of a pie that's identical to a stone baked version.

Offline pizzablogger

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #36 on: February 21, 2011, 05:45:27 PM »
I see but subtle difference between 00 and other flours, but looking forward to using King A flour, as I do not think 00 is worth the extra cost and trouble.

Keep in mind that not all 00 flours are the same.

What can be frustrating, and I was about to throw in the towel on 00 flours myself before tinkering with higher heat, is that a flour like Caputo 00 flour does not fully reveal its potential unless it is cooked in a high temperature oven in a quick amount of time.

At high heat and around 2:00 or so or less, Caputo 00 can impart a wonderful texture and flavor to a crust. Whether or not it is as good as another type of flour or worth the extra costs is entirely subjective. --K
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Offline thezaman

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #37 on: February 21, 2011, 07:09:30 PM »
 caputo needs help for low temperature baking. as American flour needs a long proof to work at high temperatures. i have had really good caputo pizza at low temperature,but it needed oil and sugar to make it brown.

Offline thezaman

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #38 on: February 22, 2011, 03:37:49 PM »
tried it again today with the shelf cut down. able to hi 610 degrees . the pizza cooked in three minutes and had more of a wfo texture. the bottom didn't char. the flavor was pretty good . i have to agree with scott i don't think you can get close to wood fired results with the method prescribed by the cook book author.

Offline thezaman

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Re: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.
« Reply #39 on: February 22, 2011, 03:39:58 PM »
sorry second picture posted by mistake!!