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Offline Les

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Engineering Question
« on: June 17, 2005, 11:12:40 AM »
I didn't want to start a thread just for one question, but I wanted to make sure anyone with engineering savvy would answer.

I insulated my thermostat probe sufficiently to get my Bakers Pride countertop pizza oven to reach 850°.  I also successfully (I believe) produced a high moisture (65%) Lehmann-type dough in one day that seemed just as Peter described it (i.e., super airy, soft and stretchy).

I expected the high temperature to produce a crust like Scott's using his regular oven on the cleaning cycle reaching temperatures of near 900°.  Instead my pizza got brittle on top and bottom, even though there was no sign of burning, and instead of taking 2 or 3 minutes it took nearly 7 minutes to brown!  (That's almost how long the pizza takes at 650°).

I used an electric digital thermocouple thermometer to monitor the oven in a test prior to cooking.  I reheated again to cook and retested the temp again.  And this morning after Randy's concern I'd burnt out something I tested again . . . the oven so far is consistently reaching about 850°.

What I wondering is:  could it be that the narrow space in my oven is the problem (see pic)?  One of the differences between my pizza oven and Scott's oven is all the air Scott's oven has in it, plus the ability to keep his pizza relatively distant from the heating elements.  One other difference (which doesn't seem like it would cause my problem) is that he can use a pizza stone, but if I did it would raise the pizza even closer to the upper heating element.

When I questioned a local pizzeria who uses the reallly big Baker's Pride ovens, I was surprised to hear those ovens run at 650° too.  So this morning I am thinking that maybe 650° is the hottest an oven either that narrow or that close to the heating elements can handle.

Opinions?
« Last Edit: June 17, 2005, 11:16:05 AM by Les »


Offline Randy

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Re: Engineering Question
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2005, 11:32:40 AM »
You are right on track with your assumptions.  When you insulated the probe that controls the oven temperature you not only raised the ovens set point you prevented the probe from seeing the temperature fall in a timely manor and prevented the controller from respond quickly to the demand.  The small volume and mass of your oven limits the amount of stored heat.  If I were you I would design my pizza recipe to work with mu ovens not make my oven work on someone else's recipe.
Try a bit of sugar and a bit of Classico Olive Oil to your recipe and take offf the insulation you put on off the probe.  Bet you will make better pizza.
Hope this helps

Randy

Offline scott r

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Re: Engineering Question
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2005, 12:53:16 PM »
Les, I just happened to make a Lehman batch this week, and I wanted to try a high heat version because I had read of your crust problem.  I did not use any sugar.  My pie turned out totally amazing, but I did not let the oven get as hot as I think yours was.  I did not measure it, but my guess is that it was probably in the 700 range.  It was about a three minute bake.  Another thing, I think I probably took it out earlier than what you might have.  I tried to pull it out when it looked like a pie baked at a normal heat.  When you look at PFT's pics it is easy to want to make pies that look that charred, but maybe for now you should work your way up to it.  Remember PFT had many smoked pies before he finally got it right, and I don't think we should expect the perfectly charred pie to happen right  the first time.  I have found that even pale looking pies cooked at these higher temps turn out so moist and fluffy.  They are truly amazing even with minimal char.  Make yourself a big batch of dough with no sugar in it, and try making some test pies without any cheese (because it is the expensive part).  Play with different heat amounts and times etc.  I think you will find a magic balance eventually. 

I have a stone that I really like that is VERY thin, probably less than a quarter inch. I would definitely suggest getting one of these baby's, as it will not raise your pizza up too much and it comes in a 16 inch size which is convenient.   It is made by Artstone.  When I first ordered it I was very disappointed because it is so thin, but this has actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  Because it is so thin I can really control it's temperature easily by putting a metal pan on top of it to suck up excess heat.  Remember that if you do try using a stone you want it about 100 degrees below the ambient temperature in the oven.  I definitely do agree with Randy that you will be able to turn out amazing pizzas at normal temperatures with your oven, but don't give up yet!  You will figure this thing out but it is going to take a lot of experimentation.  Keep notes of exact temperatures and times. 

One more thing.  Is it possible that the problem was your batch of dough? I have made a tough batch here and there, and I think it was because I was still getting used to my new mixer.  I have read that both over kneading and under kneading can cause tough crusts.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Engineering Question
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2005, 01:07:13 PM »
Les,

It was never intended that a Lehmann NY style dough be baked at high temperatures such as you and scott have attempted. In fact, one of Tom Lehmann's frequent complaints is that pizza operators use too high a temperature to bake on hearth-like surfaces. His recommendation is to use something like 450-500 degrees F and to use a longer bake time. The NY style is thicker than, say, a Patsy's or a Raquel style.  The thickness factor for a Lehmann NY style is around 0.10-0.105, whereas it is around 0.07-0.08 for the other styles.

A while back I did some research on some of the ovens used by pizza operators and their operating temperature ranges. If you are interested, you might go to Reply #1 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,886.0.html.

Peter


Offline Les

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Re: Engineering Question
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2005, 01:13:27 PM »
Thanks Randy and Scott for the replies.  I am strongly feeling that my oven is engineered with fairly close tolerances because it is after all designed specifically to cook pizzas.  I think I'll remove the modifications and work on perfecting the dough.  Right now I'm trying Peter's all-preferment  recipe where he added 1/3 water and flour, the preferment, and then autolysed, etc.

One thing that I wonder about is how Jeff at his website on recreating Patsy's crust said he used (if I remember correctly) 450g of preferment out of a total weight of 1100 grams of dough.  Unless I misinterpreting proportions (again) that appears like a much higher proportion of preferment than Peter used.

Scott, I don't think it was the dough, but like you say I'll have to experiement.  I did knead it far less than normal (for me), but that's because the dough got smooth faster with the Lehmann recipe.  Thanks for the tip on that pizza stone though!  I've been looking for something like that.  :)

Offline scott r

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Re: Engineering Question
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2005, 01:23:52 PM »
I think there are a few reasons why Jeff might be using so much preferment, especially when you compare his amounts to someone like Marco where his recipe uses so little and says to use less as you gain experience.  First off, Jeff is combining commercial yeast along with his preferment.  Pete-zza  and I have both found that once you start using a combination of fresh and commercial yeasts the flavor is diminished.  Marco even says that combing cultures does the same thing.  Second, Jeff is retarding his dough, and this slows down the growth of the culture.  Third, remember that every culture is totally different.  Some have tons of flavor, some have tons of lift, and some have none of either or both.  Maybe Jeff is using a culture that is weaker than the Sourdo.com ones.  Fourth, when you use the preferment in relation to its peak of activity can totally give varying results.  Jeff might be using his earlier in its activity, where Peter has said that the best time to use it is after it has peaked.

Offline Les

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Re: Engineering Question
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2005, 01:55:20 PM »
Second, Jeff is retarding his dough, and this slows down the growth of the culture.

The only reason you gave I don't see is the retardation since Peter does that too.  But I do have experience that supports using less preferment, which I've already mentioned a couple of times, where I tried letting my dough set in the sun all day in an airtight container.  It tripled in size and actually over-fermented.  The preferment I got was from a local baker.  She said it was about two years old, and entirely maintained by whole wheat flour.  I can't tell how much or what kind of flavor it has since I've haven't been very successful yet (maybe tomorrow night????).  Plus, I am replenishing the starter with KA's bread flour (I don't know how much difference that will make).

One major thing I've just learned which I've been doing wrong from day one (and I'm sure everyone knows here) is that I used to knead the finished dough into a tight ball just before I'd try to stretch it.  ???  Duhhhhh.  I was so frustrated I went to a pizza maker and had him show me how he did it, and realized he was stretching when the dough was very relaxed.  It is strange that I've even seen people on TV cooking shows knead just before stretching, but they usually roll out the dough.  I have also seen someone recommend to start stretching by hand from the middle of the dough, but the pizza guy started on the edge and worked out from there, eventually smacking the middle bulk once, and then transferring it to the air for a quick finsh.  I used to work at that damn dough for twenty minutes (because it was so hard to stretch), but now do it in about a two minutes.  What a difference.

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Re: Engineering Question
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2005, 04:27:04 PM »
Les,

You aren't the only one to get confused by the different amounts of preferments used. If you take a look at Replies ##60-63 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,986.60.html, you will see what I mean. However, to summarize, pizzanapoletana (Marco) recommends 1-5% by weight of water, not flour. Marco's preferment is rather stiff like a normal dough, and his preferment is used in small quantity, in an entirely room-temperature (65 degrees F, ideally) environment. When I modified Marco's basic recipe recently to make my last Caputo 00 dough leavened by a dough-like preferment, the amount of preferment came to about 1/2 teaspoon, that's all.

In other recipes  have frequently used my preferment at around 20% by weight of flour, a number I got from fellow member Bakerboy who is a professional chef/pizza maker and, if I recall correctly, used around 20-25% "old dough" (or pate fermentee--old or prefermented dough) in his dough recipe when he made pizzas professionally. Jeff's preferment is at around 40% by weight of flour. It is a batter-like preferment. At 40%, it falls within a range of around 30-50% that is typical of usage in bread making. Jeff also uses his preferment in a retarded fermentation situation.

The important things to keep in mind about preferment usage in doughs, some of which scott has already alluded to, is that the results you will achieve will depend principally on these factors: the amount, type (liquid, semi-liquid, dough-like) and maturity of the preferment, the temperature during fermentation, degree of hydration, and the amount of salt. Within this general framework, and all other things being equal, a lot of preferment will allow faster fermentation, and vice versa; the higher the temperature, the greater the rate of fermentation, and vice versa; the higher the hydration level, the greater the rate of fermentation, and vice versa; and the higher the salt level, the slower the rate of fermentation, and vice versa. All of these factors collectively determine the duration of the "window" of your dough, that is, the length of the period from when the dough comes off the hook to when the dough is ready to be shaped. My practice is to determine the length of the window I want to begin with and then adjust the different parameters as best I can to get me safely to the end of the window. If you can master these basic concepts and learn how to properly combine them in a given situation, you will have little difficulty in making good pizza dough. Since the preferment you use is central to all these factors, it is important of course to get to know the idiosyncrasies and behavior of your preferment well.

As far as the type of flour you use to replenish your starter, it doesn't really matter what type of flour you use. I started one of mine on Caputo 00 flour and now feed it with any other flour I have handy, but only flours that are unbleached and nonbromated. You sensed properly that you shouldn't re-ball a dough just before shaping. That reorients the relaxed and soft gluten strands and creates a jangled network. When that happens, the best approach is to let the dough relax for about an hour or so. You can shorten this time a bit by putting the dough in a slightly warmed oven.

I hope your next Lehmann dough fares better than the last and that you get your oven situation straightened out so that you can have a chance to actually eat and enjoy the fruits of your efforts.

Peter
« Last Edit: October 25, 2005, 02:25:05 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Les

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Re: Engineering Question
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2005, 05:50:20 PM »
I hope your next Lehmann dough fares better than the last and that you get your oven situation straightened out so that you can have a chance to actually eat and enjoy the fruits of your efforts.

LOL, I'm hoping even more.  My wife hates it when I start experimenting because it, as she puts it, "threatens my dinner."  And of course when she isn't happy . . .  :-\

Offline PizzaPolice

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Re: Engineering Question
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2005, 07:15:25 PM »
Hey Les...

What model do you have and what voltage?  Thanks


Offline Les

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Re: Engineering Question
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2005, 08:02:12 PM »
Hey Les...

What model do you have and what voltage?  Thanks



It's the PX-16, 120v . . . you can see it here:  http://www.valiantequipment.com/mopxhe3elcod1.html

Offline scott r

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Re: Engineering Question
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2005, 03:39:51 AM »
Les, I just noticed that this oven stock can do 650.  If you get a stone, and let it preheat for a really long time, I think you might have the perfect oven for the Lehman dough.  I made a bunch of pies tonight, and for that recipe it seems like 650 on the stone, and 700 for surrounding temperature was the ultimate temperature.  Sure, It would be nice to get a hotter oven for a Neapolitan pie, but for Lehman I think you are all set.

Peter, way to go on your adaptation of this recipe.  I have never had such a pleasantly chewy crust before.  For some reason I did prefer the pies without the autolyse for this style of pizza.  With the autolyse it seemed more like a Domino's type of crust.  I have a feeling I could get a totally different result had I used a preferment instead of yeast.

Offline Les

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Re: Engineering Question
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2005, 12:06:08 PM »
Les, I just noticed that this oven stock can do 650.  If you get a stone, and let it preheat for a really long time, I think you might have the perfect oven for the Lehman dough.  I made a bunch of pies tonight, and for that recipe it seems like 650 on the stone, and 700 for surrounding temperature was the ultimate temperature.  Sure, It would be nice to get a hotter oven for a Neapolitan pie, but for Lehman I think you are all set.

Scott, I came here this morning just to tell you I tried out a pizza stone I have, and here was your post.  I bought some dough from a local pizzeria to experiment with (it's pretty moist and they use KASL flour).  I put a small amount of dough on the stone and in about four minutes was blown away with the quality of the bake.  The dough got super puffy and bubbly and chewy . . . almost like French bread.  I have never got that kind of results on pizza screens, even with that same dough (I've been experimenting with their dough over the last week; they don't get that result either using the floor of their pizza oven).  So you are right again!

Tonight I'll be trying out my two-day prefermented, autolyzed Lehmann-type dough (using Peter's recipe).  And today I'm going looking for unglazed quarry tiles to see if can find something thinner than the 3/4 inch thickness of my stone.  I'll let you know how it works.

Offline scott r

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Re: Engineering Question
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2005, 05:05:45 PM »
750 degree Lehman pie from the new maytag oven on self clean.  I can no longer do pizza party's at other peoples homes.  I need my oven from now on!  I made a few types of dough for this party and the Lehman was the favorite of the bunch.  No preferment, sugar or autolyse,  but a nice long 3 day rise.  This pie had fresh kalimata olives, red, green and vinegar peppers, linguica (the most amazing Portuguese sausage), and just a small sprinkle of fresh garlic.   The cheese was Grande mozzarella for meltability and the ability to withstand high heat, Great Lakes mozzarella for a better flavor, and Park provolone for body.  The sauce was escalon 6in1's with fennel crushed in my mortar and pestle, fresh oregano, fresh basil, sugar, salt, and fresh garlic.  All the toppings and sauce seasonings are applied in moderation. 
« Last Edit: June 19, 2005, 07:20:57 PM by scott r »

Offline Les

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Re: Engineering Question
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2005, 06:20:55 PM »
That's a nice looking pie there Scott.   :o   You are offering hope to everyone who has a self-cleaning oven!

I thought I'd update my progress equipping my oven with a stone.  I already had two 14 x 16 x 5/8 inch stones I used to use in my regular oven, so I thought that before trying something thinner, I might as well experiement with what I had.

My pizza oven wire is 17 x 17, and I wanted to cover it fully so I could make 16 inch pizzas (why do they sell 14 x 16 stones anyway . . . don't they know most people make round pies and so they might as well give you 14 x 14!).  My neighbor who has every tool known to humankind used his diamond tile cutter to slice off about four inches of one of my stones thereby giving me the means for full coverage on my oven wire.  He even carved out a little notch so the piece would fit around my handle nut (inside the door).

It turns out that I worried needlessly about the thickness of the stone raising the pizza too close to the upper element.  Just as you surmised Scott, this set up is perfect for the Lehmann recipe.  It took about five minutes to cook my pizza perfectly, charred exactly right top and bottom, and yielding a very puffy, bubbly crust.  (The only problem was the crust was too "bready," but after reading all I could in the threads here I'm guessing I over-kneaded my dough again).

Tonight I am trying the more traditional NY dough recipe to see how it does.  I'll try to take a pic, though I only have my webcam.  But I'm starting think that this pizza oven combined with a stone maybe just what I've been hoping for.


« Last Edit: June 19, 2005, 06:25:55 PM by Les »

Offline scott r

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Re: Engineering Question
« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2005, 07:24:21 PM »
although I loved the lehman crust myself, I have noticed that at higher temps it seems to puff more than at 550.  Peter, should we use less yeast to solve this?

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Re: Engineering Question
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2005, 07:27:23 PM »
Les,

A lot of people select the rectangular stones because they not only want to bake pizzas on them but also breads. In many cases, the long rectangular stones are better than most round stones for long breads like baguettes. Plus you can usually bake more breads at one time on a rectangular stone than a round one. You also have to be careful not to get a stone that is too big because there may not be enough space around the perimeter to allow the free flow of air in the oven during baking. Round stones are better than rectangular stones in this regard simply because of their round shape. Ultimately the choice comes down to what you want to use your stone for.

Peter

Offline Les

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Re: Engineering Question
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2005, 08:01:50 PM »
Les,

A lot of people select the rectangular stones because they not only want to bake pizzas on them but also breads. In many cases, the long rectangular stones are better than most round stones for long breads like baguettes. Plus you can usually bake more breads at one time on a rectangular stone than a round one. You also have to be careful not to get a stone that is too big because there may not be enough space around the perimeter to allow the free flow of air in the oven during baking. Round stones are better than rectangular stones in this regard simply because of their round shape. Ultimately the choice comes down to what you want to use your stone for.

Interesting.  Like Mr. Magoo, I somehow managed to achieve an even 3/4 inch clearance around three sides of the stones.  I'm excited tonight to see how the NY dough does.


 

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