Author Topic: Bakers Pride PX14 Temperatures  (Read 3375 times)

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Offline barryvabeach

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Bakers Pride PX14 Temperatures
« on: October 10, 2011, 09:07:49 PM »
I just got a new to me Bakers Pride PX14 countertop 120 volt oven, older style.  I haven't cooked in it yet, but did some temperature testing.  Although I bought it for my home, I am posting it here because it isn't a normal consumer grade oven.

First, I was looking at different option to make pizza inside, as the colder temps make trips out to the grill not as much fun.  I looked a various options, then finally settled on the Bakers Pride PX16 or PX14.   Both can be obtained for under $600,  and both can be run on 120 - though I read somewhere that the PX16 would do better on 240 due to its higher electric demand.  While the PX16 is the right size in terms of making pizza,  the cavity is 17  7/8 by 18, its overall dimension are too high to fit on my counter, and it weighs around 70 pounds, so not something I want to move around.  There are some old posts by Les in which he said he added a stone and it worked even better, which would make it even heavier so the PX14 was the best fit for me.

I ended up finding a used  PX14 old style  ( the newer ones have a slightly different look to the control panel ) at Burkett's at a decent price so I bought it and it arrived tonight.  I hope to make a few small pies tomorrow, but it will probably be a while before I can get a stone for it and really put it through its paces, so tonight I just played with the temps and monitored it.

It got warm pretty quickly, about 500 in maybe 5 minutes, and then kept going up.  I left the top and bottom element on for most of the tests.  One quick observation, is either the sensor is very slow, or the electronics have a lot of lag.  I watched by temp meter pretty religiously noting when the light clicked on and off.  It got as high as 800 when the light went off ( I left the temp control on max )  and went as low as 607 for the light to switch on.  I tried to time how long it took to recover, but other times is stopped rising at 725 or so.  With the light on for a short time and the temp at 650,  I opened the door all the way ( it has a slide tray) and quickly closed it and it recovered to 650 in 45 seconds.  Another test was with the light on as it was just beginning to heat at 607, with only the bottom element on,  I again opened the door all the way, and closed it, this time it dropped into the high 450's and took 2 minutes to recover to 650. 

I checked the surfaces with an infrared numerous times. The top got as high as 100 - which feels pretty warm, the sides stayed in the 80's,  The top part of the front got as high as 170, and the door got to 225 F - obviously, need to be careful there.

My plan is to try to find either soapstone or corderiete to cut to fit.  The opening isn't high, and I can't justify putting in a 1 inch stone because that would take up too much room.  I am considering cutting a 18 by 18 soapstone tile, cause I can get that in 1/4 width, but am concerned that since it is unsupported, it may crack and fail.  The other option is 5/8 corderite, but that will really cut into the height.  Right now, there is 2 1/4 inches open above the 1/2" wide slot the tray rides in. Of course, to do this mod, I think I would need to make a new door, probably something more insulated.  For right now, I will try a few times with pizza screens, then maybe a few pies on a small round stone that I will leave on the wire rack, so I can preheat the stone on the rack in the oven, take out the rack and stone and load the pie, then put it back in. 


Offline scott123

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Re: Bakers Pride PX14 Temperatures
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2011, 12:17:43 PM »
Nice write-up Barry.

It looks like the newer models give you independent controls for the top and the bottom elements.  A single control is going to be a lot harder to work with and will most likely require experimenting with a few different stones until you find the material that balances out the top and bottom heat.

I would recommend avoiding soapstone, not because of any potential fragility, but because of it's conductivity.  This is one of those rare instances where the oven gets more than hot enough to give you a good range of NYish bake times with most materials, but, because the top and bottom elements work off the same control and you'll need the top element on during the bake, you might need to insulate the bottom of the pizza with something both less conductive and thicker. Obviously, because of your vertical space, you can't go too thick, though.  I would suggest starting off with 1/2" cordierite.  Don't be too concerned about the lack of support in the middle.  1/2" cordierite should be plenty sturdy enough to hold the weight of a pizza.


Offline barryvabeach

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Re: Bakers Pride PX14 Temperatures
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2011, 09:35:44 PM »
Scott, thanks for the info. I have had some trouble locating 1/2" cordierite.  I did my first test pizzas tonight, though really just playing with the controls more than anything.  I am using an ischia starter whole wheat recipe that I have baked on a stone on a grill before and liked. Due to timing, I had frozen the dough ( which I had never done before) and after it defrosted in the fridge for a day, took it out of the fridge for only about 20 minutes before forming it and cooking, so I didn't expect to be great.  I didn't hook up my temperature sensor, but waited for the light to go out, then loaded a pizza on a screen and put it in the oven.  checked it a few times and with the top and bottom element on,  I got browning on the the cheese before the crust got any color at all, time was about 4 minutes.  The next pie I turned off the top element for a minute or two, then put in the pie on the screen, and cooked for a little longer than 4 minutes, got some browning through the screen and moderate browning on the top.  The dough didn't rise at all, though again, I didn't let it get to room temp when  I started.   I will probably not do much more testing until I get a stone in it.  I am guessing that I will cut the stone to fit the entire area right above the slide, so no heat from the bottom element will hit the sensor -  the only heat that will get there will be the heat coming off the stone, and the heat from the top element, so there will be a fair amount of testing before I expect to get any predictable results.

Offline scott123

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Re: Bakers Pride PX14 Temperatures
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2011, 04:16:59 AM »
Barry, if all you can find is 3/4" cordierite, then that's what I'd go with.  You are going to be talking about some really tight quarters to launch a pizza in, but, fortunately, smaller pies (13" and less) are easier to launch than larger ones.  I would suggest getting a really thin peel.

You're in Virginia Beach, right?  I did a little digging and found a ceramic equipment supplier in that area

http://terraformspottery.com/virginia-beach-va-pottery-equipment-supplies.htm

I would see what thickness of kiln shelves they offer.

For safety reasons, I'd like to see some sort of gap between the stone and the wall to allow for some heat to reach the sensor, but you're already dealing with such diminished real estate, I think every fraction of an inch of stone area counts.  Just make sure you don't turn the oven on and go take a nap, because the area under the stone, without the shutoff of the thermostat is going to get incredibly hot.

Offline barryvabeach

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Re: Bakers Pride PX14 Temperatures
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2011, 09:07:09 AM »
Scott, thanks for the help.  I called Terraform the other day, but the number has been disconnected. I have a friend that has a bunch of kilns and he says he buys online, though he gets silicon shelves.  The BP has a crumb shelf, I am thinking of taking that out and filling that space either with high temp wool insulation, or pieces of cordierite because I am concerned about the heat.  The bottom element is about 1 1/4 inches above the floor of the oven, so either would fit, though I would have to break the corderiete up to get it in, since the slot is only 1/2 " high, or try to find the 1/2 inch 6 x 6 tiles -  which do you suggest?  As to leaving an opening, my only real option is to leave maybe a 1/2" gap at the back -  if I made it much bigger I would worry about things falling off the back and onto the element.  I also will be fabricating a new door since I will be trying to put the stone in the slot the screen slides in.   I am fine on peels,  I make them myself and have a bunch lying around, and will make one just designed for this oven.   

Offline scott123

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Re: Bakers Pride PX14 Temperatures
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2011, 10:41:38 AM »
Barry, does the crumb tray sit below the bottom element? If it does, I think I'd go with the high temp wool insulation.

Offline barryvabeach

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Re: Bakers Pride PX14 Temperatures
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2011, 09:15:07 PM »
Scott, yes, the layout is steel bottom,  1/2" slide for crumb tray, then a little more space, then bottom element, then 1/2 slide for the wire grill attached to the door.  Stone and wool has been ordered, thanks for you help. 

Offline barryvabeach

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Re: Bakers Pride PX14 Temperatures
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2011, 09:16:24 PM »
Hopefully the last update before the stone and insulation arrive.  Made 2 more pies this weekend from frozen dough, used a pizza screen.  The results were fair to poor  ( though the guy in my office that eats the leftovers the next day said it was pretty good cold)  So it heated up to about 620,  I opened it up and loaded a pizza, turned off the top element so it wouldn't burn and it dropped to around 500 and never recovered -  cooking time was around 8 minutes, though I didn't time it.   Let it heat up again, with top element on, and repeated for the second pie, with similar results.  I tried to measure the temp at the crumb tray, seemed to be in the 200 to 300 range, but not sure the thermocouple was in the right place.  I also took off the control panel to see how it worked and to see if I could see why it wasn't cycling quicker ( I saw a spread of nearly 100 degrees on my first test before it turned back on) but didn't see anything in there.The silver wire going into the cabinet goes to the probe.  I did note that the probe is pretty long - maybe it stays hotter in the rear which accounts for the swing.  I am hoping that if I insulate the bottom, and fabricate a new front it will retain the heat better. Of course, once I get the stone in it, I assume that will help in keeping the temp from dropping.  While the results from the screen were poor in comparison to a cordierite stone, I will say the screen removes a lot of the risk of sticking to the peel and launching it onto the stone.    
« Last Edit: October 17, 2011, 09:29:08 PM by barryvabeach »

Offline barryvabeach

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Re: Bakers Pride PX14 Temperatures
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2011, 08:53:42 PM »
Not quite finished, but pretty close.  I bought a 5/8 cordierite kiln shelf,  cut it down to size and cut grooves in each side so it would fit on the slides on either side.  I bought some insulating blanket and added it to the floor of the oven, and put some aluminum foil from a oven liner on top of that. I also put blanket where the crumb tray used to be. After a lot of experimenting with just temps, I am pretty impressed.  The cordierite transmits the heat pretty quickly.  I was afraid that the area below the stone would overheat, but it stayed close to the temp above.  The biggest benefit though is that the stone keeps the temp much more consistent, no falling into the 500's as it did before.  It usually hovered in the 625 range.  I fabricated a new door, but haven't put on hinges by this evening so I just used a clamp to hold it in place.  I made a few dough only pies to test timing, and eventually determined around 3 1/2 minutes is about the ideal time with both the top and bottom elements switched on.  I might go for 4 minutes next week, though the bottom was pretty crunchy at 3 1/2.  The one downside is I am not able to keep the pie as thin as would like, every time I shake it back and forth before launching ( to make sure it isn't stuck ) it shrinks a little.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2011, 08:55:46 PM by barryvabeach »

Offline scott123

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Re: Bakers Pride PX14 Temperatures
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2011, 02:26:37 PM »
That's pretty groovy, Barry  :-D

Seriously, though, I like the groove idea on the stone.  Were you able to do it in such a way that the stone ends up perfectly level?

Can the blanket fit in the crumb tray?  It looks like there might be a small gap in the opening where the crumb tray was.

3 1/2 to 4 minutes sounds perfect for the style you're making.

It looks like you're making really nice headway.  You've really brought this oven bake to life.


Offline barryvabeach

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Re: Bakers Pride PX14 Temperatures
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2011, 03:24:11 PM »
Scott, yes the groove is even.  The oven is designed with a 1/2" wide channel that the wire rack slides in.  Since the stone was too thick to slide in that groove, and I didn't want to put it on top of the channel, I marked the edges and cut a pretty even groove so the stone sits about 1/8 inch above the bottom of the channel.  While I put the wool blanket in the area where the crumb tray was and it looks like there is a gap, there isn't - it is just the photo.  Also, the new door I made covers that whole area, and is insulated as well, so I don't think there is much heat loss out the front.  I actually had a chance on a  120 volt Bakers Pride P18 recently, but from the prior posts on here, it seems like it takes way too long to come up to temperature - would have been nice to make some bigger pies though. I will try to do some testing once the new door and hinges are done to see how long it comes up to temp - but I am guessing around 1/2 hour.  The benefit of the 120 volt PX14 over the 120 versions of the PX 16 and P18 should be quicker since they use similar amounts of power, and the space of the 14 is the smallest.  I read a prior post which suggests the P18 took over 1 1/2 hours to get up to temp -  and needed additional time to recover for each pie.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 03:26:49 PM by barryvabeach »

Offline barryvabeach

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Re: Bakers Pride PX14 Pizza Making Machine
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2011, 09:19:40 PM »
If anyone is considering the Bakers Pride PX series , I would say go for it.   If you have gotten this far, you would know that I made a stone for it, insulated where the crumb tray used to be, and made an insulated door for the front. Last night I did some more testing. It took 20 minutes to get the stone to 625, the air temp inside was about 600, and it got to 650 stone, and 620 air temp by 25 minutes.  I decided to work with white flour ( I normally use 100% whole wheat, home ground) and used an old recipe from Peetza using a cuisinart, though I omitted the oil and used AP flour, plus VWG. To make it easier to load, I made the pies on a screen, put it in the oven for one minute, took it out and took it off the screen and put it back in without the screen for 3 minutes.  The top looked great for the first one, the bottom was pretty thoroughly burned.  I turned off the bottom element, then put in another pie, 1 min, then 2 1/2 minutes.  The top looked good, though could have been a little more done, and the bottom was lightly charred, but definitely edible.  There was maybe a 2 minute gap between taking out the first pie and putting in the second, so I think this thing can probably handle pizzas all day long.  The stone certainly keeps the heat.  I assume the PX 16 would be nearly as good - it would allow a much bigger pie, though it might take a little longer to get  up to temp since there is a bigger space  - though it has 1800 watts compared to 1500 watts for the PX 14
« Last Edit: October 26, 2011, 09:21:48 PM by barryvabeach »