Author Topic: NW greenhorn  (Read 618 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Pizza:am

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 7
NW greenhorn
« on: July 20, 2011, 10:51:29 AM »
Hey everyone,

My name is Tory and I'm a new member of the forum. I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and I currently live in Portland, OR. I've been making pizza in my home oven for almost a year and a half and I just recently started looking on the internet for tips and tricks to make better pies. After reading many of the threads on this site, as well as stories and blogs around the web, I'd describe my interest in pizza as fanatical and know know that I am trying to replicate a very Neapolitan pie.

I bought and am in the process of refurbishing s set of Blodgett 911 deck pizza ovens. They are VERY old and in a state of disrepair. I have almost completely dismantled one of the ovens and I am currently looking for a place to have it and the internal parts sandblasted so that I can recoat them. I will also be converting them from natural gas to propane and replacing the decks.

I have a few questions concerning this undertaking:

1) I plan on using a product called Stove Bright to recoat the metal oven surfaces. This is a spraypaint product intended for wood/pellet stoves and barbecues. Since it can be used in barbecues and one can cook raw meat in a barbecue I am assuming that this is food safe, given that the pizza will not be contacting the metal surfaces. Does that seem reasonable?
2) As far as price and performance, which kind of replacement stones should I use? Cordierite, Fibrament or soapstone?
3) How efficient is propane for this application?


Thank you for any information that you can provide.


Offline scott123

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6968
Re: NW greenhorn
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2011, 04:23:55 PM »
Tory, welcome to the forum.

The Stove Bright paint should be fine to cook with, although I'd crank up the heat prior to the first bake to drive off any residual petrochemicals.  Bear in mind, that if the interior was initially metallic and now you're painting it a solid color, it's going to absorb a lot more heat, rather than reflecting it back into the oven.  Without the shiny surface, the oven might lose heat slightly faster and might benefit from a little additional insulation.  Maybe.

These are 500 peak temps, right? 500 will not give you Neapolitan.  It probably won't give you Apizza Scholls either. I'm sure there's some way to mod the thermostat.  I think, with these kind of ovens, you can get 50 deg. higher with a modded thermostat. If you can squeeze 100 deg. out of it, it might, with a very thick, conductive stone (such as steel) and extremely elevated stone placement, you might be able to hit Apizza Scholls temps.

Everything that I've seen on gas to propane conversions says that the oven performs just as well post conversion. If you're going to mod the thermostat and push it higher, it's going to suck up propane like it's going out of style. And that's only going to possibly buy you NY/Coal bake times, not Neapolitan. If you could push the oven to 550 and install incredibly heavy 1" steel plate decks, I think you'd be fine for Neapolitan bottom heat. But the top heat, with the whole indirect bottom burner gas oven scenario, you'll never get leoparding.

Are you handy?  Do you have any interest in installing a set of broiler burners at the top of the oven? That, with an elevated floor (perhaps only allowing one 14" pizza per deck), that might give you Neapolitan.

Offline Pizza:am

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 7
Re: NW greenhorn
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2011, 10:50:04 AM »
Steve,

Thanks for your reply and thank you for having me here on the forum. The ovens O.E. thermostat goes to 650. If the new paint job can keep some of that extra heat inside then I can imagine that that would only be a good thing. What about putting in brackets on the inside roof to hang a steel plate or stones? Would that absorb and direct enough heat to cook the top correctly? The stove company that sold me the paint carries a product the owner called "cerablanket" it's a fire retardant, synthetic, wool-like insulating material that they use on wood/pellet stoves to keep the top of the stove from becoming to hot. Also, the decks on the oven are only 7" tall, will that effect the amount of heat that is lost when the door is opened? I've got the leoparding effect in my electric home oven at just over 750, but opening the door let's so much heat out.


Offline Pizza:am

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 7
Re: NW greenhorn
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2011, 01:42:32 PM »
I just reread this post and realized that I called you Steve. Sorry, Scott.

Offline scott123

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6968
Re: NW greenhorn
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2011, 07:36:53 PM »
That's okay Tory, I knew you were talking to me  :)

The new 911s are 500 deg. peak temp stock, but have a 650 deg. option (911p).  I'm guessing that they probably changed the configuration over the years. With a 650 degree peak temp, there's some hope.

Let me explain the paint issue another way.  Shiny metal = reflected heat = better heat retention. Painted surface = absorbed heat = worse heat retention.  I don't think this is going to make a huge difference, but I think it's something to be aware of, especially if the exterior of the oven starts getting hot.

Generally speaking, deck ovens have thick enough stone decks to retain heat well when the door is opened.

Getting Neapolitan bake times out of 650 deg. gas ovens has been discussed recently:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14339.0.html

Installing a brick ceiling will help, but I think it will only get you so far.  A traditional Neapolitan oven has a vertical space in the 13" range, but the dome is 1000+ degrees and the (usually) lit fire on the side is throwing off a lot of radiative heat as well. A firebrick ceiling at 650 deg. is pretty anemic. And, unlike the greater conductivity of a steel hearth, steel doesn't radiate heat any better, so a steel ceiling will be equally as anemic.

I've never seen anyone do this, so it's strictly theoretical, but you might buy yourself some top heat IF you put in a brick ceiling AND you raise the hearth to within 3" of that ceiling.  You couldn't put any pizzas in the back of the oven, so you'd be limited to two 14" pizzas side by side at a time. Before you do this, though, I'd test it in a home oven with a cleaning cycle hack.

If you can muster up enough top heat for Neapolitan, then choosing the right hearth material might involve some trial and error. You need every amount of top heat that you can get, so you have to run the oven at 650 and no lower.  It's tricky.  I think 1/2" or 3/4" steel at 650 should give you Neapolitan bake times on the undercrust, but I can't say what the recovery time is going be like. If you go thicker, then the recovery improves, but you also burn the bottom before the top is done.  Cordierite's out of the question as is soapstone.  In a perfect world, there would be a hearth material with a conductivity somewhere between soapstone (6 w/m-k) and steel (30ish).

Are you sure you don't want to sell something more along the lines of an Apizza Scholls pizza? It would make your life easier.  You'd probably still need a custom bracketed brick ceiling, but it would guarantee you Apizza Scholls bake times without too much experimentation. I'm not saying that Neapolitan is impossible in a deck oven, but I do know that no one has done it before. The closest anyone has come is Jeff Varasano, who had a Swedish oven manufacturer custom build him an electric deck oven capable of reaching 800+ degrees, and, although I think he has the capability of Neapolitan bakes, he's still only using if for coal-Neapolitan hybrids.

Offline Pizza:am

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 7
Re: NW greenhorn
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2011, 09:48:21 PM »


Are you handy?  Do you have any interest in installing a set of broiler burners at the top of the oven? That, with an elevated floor (perhaps only allowing one 14" pizza per deck), that might give you Neapolitan.

[/quote]

Scott,

Would a couple of electric heating elements be possible to install on the top of the oven? I've been looking at diagrams of regular home ovens and I think I could take everything out and rewire it into the new oven. Would the gas affect the elements at all? Is a gas/electric hybrid possible?

Offline scott123

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6968
Re: NW greenhorn
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2011, 02:11:35 AM »
Hi Tony, sorry about the delay.  I would think that as long as you wired the oven in such a way that the electrical wiring was insulated and safe, you might be alright.  It's still a daunting task, though, and most likely one that I wouldn't do without speaking to an electrician first.


 

pizzapan