Author Topic: Best Stone for Nearlyoplitan Style Pizza  (Read 2159 times)

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Offline PampersThePizzaGuy

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Best Stone for Nearlyoplitan Style Pizza
« on: November 17, 2011, 04:01:14 PM »
OK, Im a brand new member, and brand new to pizza making.  Ive been diligently doing my research on this forum and came across the nearlypolitan style of pizza making in home ovens.  I have an electric oven, broiler on top, which I have used several times to produce some half way decent nearlypolitans (by my standards anyway).  I had a run of the mill basic pizza stone, probably pampered chef, but im unsure.  Well one day I cranked up the broiler a little too hot and cracked that sucker right down the middle.  Since then ive had similar results with very thin pizza trays, one may be aluminum? on may be steel? Im unsure, but ive used them with some success. However they are just a temporary fix.

Now this gets me to my main question.  If I have the broiler cranked pretty high, again unsure of temperature because of the lack of an IR thermometer, which would be the best stone for me? Im looking mostly for durability and something that wont scorch the underside of my pizza. Heat retention isnt the biggest of my concerns, more the previously mentioned qualities.

I know each type of material has its own benefits and pitfalls, but so far I have come across:

Cordierite, which I like the most, but how durable is it at relatively high 600-800 degree temps?? will a 1/2 to 3/4 inch slab crack after repeated use and say a pizza were to rip and spill cold sauce on the extremely hot stone?
http://www.amazon.com/Rectangle-Baking-Stone-12-0631-Category/dp/B002RC8GHI/?tag=pizzamaking-20

What about forno bravo stones?? any one have any opinions on these?
http://www.fornobravo.com/pizza-stone/pizza-stone.html

Primo stones with the glazed top???
http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=primo+pizza+stones&hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=SMp&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvns&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1348&bih=644&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=17257346435282871684&sa=X&ei=v3TFTuPyD8j00gGButGHDw&ved=0CGkQ8wIwAA

and finally Steel?? My second favorite choice, only thing im scared of is burning the pizza. Steel at 600-650 degrees, will it scorch the bottom of the pizza?
http://www.onlinemetalstore.com/items/A36_Hot_Rolled_Steel_Plate.cfm?item_id=189&size_no=6&pieceLength=cut&wid_ft=1&wid_in=2&wid_fraction=0&len_ft=1&len_in=4&len_fraction=0&pieceCutType=17|3&itemComments=&qty=1

With christmas rapidly approaching i need to make a decision, any input would be greatly appreciated!! 



scott123

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Re: Best Stone for Nearlyoplitan Style Pizza
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2011, 06:50:22 AM »
Nick, of the four hearth options you presented, 3 are cordierite, and, with the exception of the glaze on the Primo, all four are extremely durable.

The author of the Nearlypolitan thread, Toby, if I recall correctly, used a 'run of the mill' pizza stone, but I believe he had a freak oven where the broiler would stay on. A few other members have this kind of oven as well, but it's definitely not the norm.

What is your current bake time?  Are you getting a healthy amount of leoparding on the undercrust?

Offline PampersThePizzaGuy

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Re: Best Stone for Nearlyoplitan Style Pizza
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2011, 01:17:07 PM »
Bake times range from 1min 20 to a little over two minutes depending on my temperature (lack of Infrared Thermometer and general noob-ess don't help).  Again, Ive just started and have been playing around for just a short while, but my typical process was preheat 550 for about an hour with the stone on the top rack (never measured distance to broiler, would say 4") then shut that off and turn on the broiler for around 4 or 5 minutes and launch the pizza. It would cook quickly and evenly so i wouldnt have to rotate and be done in an average of 1 min 50 sec. As far as leoparding, I would get a little on the top and bottom but nothing spectacular.  Im still playing around with my dough and cooking technique, and obviously my stone.

When my stone broke, a pizza stuck to the peel and I was rushing and didnt notice, so when i went to launch it, the dough stuck and the toppings (cold sauce and cheese) hit the stone and split it right down the middle.  Would a .88" piece of cordierite do the same in a similar situation?

Thing is Im a pizza noob and I need something that can handle my trials and errors while I'm still learning   

scott123

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Re: Best Stone for Nearlyoplitan Style Pizza
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2011, 04:28:58 PM »
Nick, does the broiler cut out at all during the bake? It sounds like you might be one of the lucky oven owners whose broiler stays on indefinitely.

If that's the case, then I'd go with cordierite.  Cordierite is frequently tested for thermal shock by heating and quenching in water, so the sauce spills should be fine. Rather than spending top dollar at the links you listed, you want to track down cordierite kiln shelves from a local ceramic supply house. That's going to be your cheapest option, and it will allow you some thermal mass, which, although you may not need, certainly won't hurt. You can always pre-heat the stone to a lower temp if the bottom is baking too quickly.

If you're going to do this right, you definitely need an IR thermometer.  This one here has a good price and a good range:

http://www.dealextreme.com/p/gm700-1-5-lcd-non-contact-infrared-thermometer-yellow-black-1-x-9v-104614

Offline PampersThePizzaGuy

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Re: Best Stone for Nearlyoplitan Style Pizza
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2011, 11:26:53 PM »
I appreciate the help! My broiler does not shut off, atleast I have never seen it do so.

Just made this lil guy on an aluminum pizza tray.  Almost melted the thing hahahha

(http://img600.imageshack.us/img600/7027/37463175506053072124008.jpg)


Offline PampersThePizzaGuy

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Re: Best Stone for Nearlyoplitan Style Pizza
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2011, 11:34:34 PM »
Pic

scott123

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Re: Best Stone for Nearlyoplitan Style Pizza
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2011, 05:04:33 AM »
Nick, sometimes new pizzamakers can don glasses with substantial rose tints, but, from from seeing the photo, your original assessment of 'halfway decent' is on the money- and for your oven setup, very encouraging.

You had guesstimated previously a 4" vertical space between the broiler and the stone.  Could you measure this?  If it is 4", then I'd suggest finding a way of propping the stone one more inch so the top of the pizza gets a little more heat intensity.

Since this thread is focusing on hearths, it would be helpful, for the next pizza you make, to get a shot of the undercrust. If your undercrust is comparably colored to your current rim, then you might need the extra conductive punch from steel. Even if you're getting good leoparding on the undercrust, I'd still think about steel.  You can always turn the pre-heat temp down if the steel is burning the bottom of the pizzas.  If the cordierite ends up not being conductive enough and gives you too little color, then there's not much you can do.

Also, you joked about melting the aluminum, but I think it's important to be aware of the intensity of heat that you're working with.  Just because you can broil at full blast indefinitely, doesn't necessarily mean that you should.  Steel allows you to work at lower pre-heat temps, which might end up being a bit kinder to your oven.

I always recommend 1/2" or thicker steel plate, but, in your particular instance, with your (we think) perpetual broiler, you could probably get away with 3/8"- lighter, kinder to the shelf, and less expensive. Locally sourced 3/8" steel plate will most likely be even less costly than kiln shelves.


 

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