Kelly, it looks a lot like you've broken the 2 minute barrier (and maybe even 90 seconds as well). What do you attribute to pushing it over the top?
How's the quality control? Is this pie typical of all your pies?
Also, I'm guessing, with pizzas like that, your customer base is most likely growing. What's the count these days? Are you nearing a point where logistically you just can't handle that many more pies?
No, I have not broken the two minute barrier. About 2:45 when the grill is running hot. When the pizza orders get steady, the cooking time gets out towards 3:30 to 4:00. For the home setting, my 5/8" thick stone works well and too much mass can easily burn a pizza. For the market setting, I need more mass to help maintain floor temperatures. I'm going to give 1.5" thick split-firebricks a whirl as a floor to see if the increased mass helps keep the floor temp maintained better.
The better coloring and bake I attribute to three factors:
1. Cutting in high gluten flour into the mix (15% is AT un/un now). I may bump to 18-20%.
2. I cut some unglazed quarry tiles as a sub-floor that I lay my 16" pizza stone on. The quarry tiles are cut so that air can only come up out of the back of the LBE, not the sides too. I think this increases the convection over the pizza.
3. The quarry tile floor, while thin, has lifted the pies a tad closer to the inverted cast iron pot. The cast iron retains heat much better than the stainless steel wok did. The temps on the cast iron typically read in the 400°-450° range even if the lid has been left off for a time. That's not hot by pizza standards at all, but there is some radiant heat, even if it is tiny. Being a tad closer to the cast iron may be helping a little.
It is not typical of all of my pies. If I recall, that pie was ordered after a brief respite in the cooking cycle. The floor had gotten back up to 650°. When I get pounded and the floor drops to 500-550°, the spring is just not the same and the whole pie is a bit drier due to the extra cooking time. I'd say roughly 50-60% of my pies look like the one in the picture.
Until I can figure out the riddle of my second LBE, I am definitely at a point where I struggle mightily during a rush. I read about John being able to do near 100 pies in 2-3 hours and get frustrated that I do not have the ability to get a fast bake.....I think at max speed I would be pressed to do 80 in four hours. I could probably go faster if I brought on a third person to turn, finish and add any post-bake ingredients...but right now I am doing all of the pizza making myself. And I ain't a speed demon yet.
But small improvements are made each week. I have been between 50 to 60 pies the past three weeks, so interest is taking root. And most of those pies are being made in during the last two hours. But it may be near 100°F here this Sunday, so demand may be low.....and the dough making and maintaining process is bound to be a friggen' blast. I'm going to do a Nutella, banana, fresh local peaches and Mike's Hot Honey pie to hopefully lure in some more early goers. We'll see.
Definitely moments when I get a sudden rush, ingredients need re-filling and I'm generally just getting my arse kicked all over the place. It's really fun stuff.
I'm going to get another 18.5" weber and get that together to see if I can get it to work....maybe the LBE#2 I have now has had a voodoo hex put on it.
Wish I had more time during the week to tinker and practice. But it has generally been a great learning experience so far and a good bit of fun. While I am not happy with a good amount of the pizzas I am making, at the same time my worst pies are above average for sure. But we aren't playing horseshoes here. Gotta get better. --K