Author Topic: A quest to recreate italy at home  (Read 760 times)

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Offline Ibrahim

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A quest to recreate italy at home
« on: December 26, 2011, 11:28:30 AM »
Hi All,

Name's Ibrahim. I am a lover of pizza, all types. I signed up to this fine forum because you might as well ask those who possess the knowledge to answer your questions. Having tried the best pizza in Italy, I must try to make something close to the standard at home.

I am from Kuwait, and finding the right tools is hard. I may need to order them from abroad. Not many places have the correct tools.

I am trying to make italian style pizza (Neapolitan) and I will be attempting to do so on a weber gas grill. I cant build a pizza oven and I dont want to use a regular oven. It must be the grill.

My questions are the following:

for a gas grill:
Best pizza stone?
Best Pizza Peel?
Possible to achieve my goal?

Many Thanks,
Ibrahim


buceriasdon

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Re: A quest to recreate italy at home
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2011, 05:57:41 PM »
Welcome to the forum Ibrahim. To answer your question about making a true Neapolitan on a gas grill, the answer is no, you can make some fine pizza on a grill, but not Neapolitan. A gas fired grill simply does not posses the qualities of a wood fired oven. Another important issue is being able to obtain the correct type of flour in Kuwait.  Without the correct flour, Neapolitan is out of reach.
Don

Offline scott123

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Re: A quest to recreate italy at home
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2011, 06:10:41 PM »
Ibrahim, Don's right, you won't ever get a Neapolitan bake time (the most critical aspect of Neapolitan pizza) out of a Weber gas grill.  We've had lots of members take Weber charcoal grills convert them to gas with very powerful burners, and, while some have gotten close to Neapolitan bake times, no one has yet to bake the 90 second barrier.

May I ask why you don't want to bake pizza in your home oven?  A Weber gas grill takes a surprisingly amount of fiddling to get great pizza out of it. It depends on the home oven, but, generally speaking, a home oven is far easier to get great pizza from than a Weber gas grill.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: A quest to recreate italy at home
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2011, 09:08:13 PM »
Scott, perhaps Ibrahim owns one of the bigger 3-4 burner gas grills.   As Don and Scott has already stated, with the proper flour and grill set up, perhaps you can get close.  Either way you should still be able to make great pizza if you have a 3-4 burner gas grill with a rotisserie burner.

There are several members who have gotten good results with such a setup.
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,9614.0.html

A few different set ups.
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=10241.0

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=15298.0

Ibrahim, if you happen to have the round kettle grills, you can attach a liquid propane burner to the bottom.  Just search the forum for LBE (little black egg) and MBE (mini black egg) for ideas on how to set one up.

Good luck,
Chau






Offline scott123

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Re: A quest to recreate italy at home
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2011, 09:58:38 PM »
Good point, Chau. If Ibrahim has a back mounted IR burner, then that's an entirely different story.  Without that IR burner, though, I think a home oven is a lot easier.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2011, 10:51:06 PM by scott123 »

Offline Ibrahim

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Re: A quest to recreate italy at home
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2011, 05:51:49 AM »
You guys are fantastic. Its like one big family here.

Yes I do have one of the bigger grills with 6 burners, IR rotisserie, sear station and the works. I also have a digital thermometer to check temperatures.
The flour wont be a problem, grocery stores are good with actual food items.

So i want to try to acheive this or as close as possible. At the least, I want to be able to make one of the best pizza that everyone would love. (family, friends, and I). The problem is getting the right equipment, as im not aware of any store that sells pizza stones and peelers so ill probably have to order some in. Through reading, as i understand it, quarry tiles would do the trick but can be quite fiddly. I need something I guess more convenient. easily removeable and would work well in a grill.

So what would be the best pizza stone or material to use? or a good setup thats convenient for this grill?
Also what would be the best peeler?

buceriasdon

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Re: A quest to recreate italy at home
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2011, 07:37:26 AM »
Ibrahim, I did a google search for pottery suppliers for Kuwait and didn't find much. Perhaps locally you can locate one. Shipping could be expensive otherwise. I would look for something like:  http://www.scarva.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=921
Kiln shelf. You want something that can handle the heat from the burners and is thick as you can find. Are there any carpentry shops near you that could fabricate a wooden peel for you? You could get an estimate on price and compare it to what it would cost to order and ship. How about a metal shop that could make you an aluminum peel for removing the pizza?
Don

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: A quest to recreate italy at home
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2011, 10:40:14 AM »
Maybe Scott can give you a better opinion, but I definitely see a steel plate as a viable option here, especially since you have a rotisserie burner.  Steel should be easier to source than pizza stones and if it isn't too expensive either, I would maybe fire only some of the burners or every other one.  Also load the pizza at lower hearth temps (~650-700f?) compared to if you were using a pizza stone if you want a sub 2min bake.  A few trial bakes should show you the ideal temp.

Chau
« Last Edit: December 27, 2011, 02:16:17 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline scott123

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Re: A quest to recreate italy at home
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2011, 12:06:30 PM »
Ibrahim, that's great news about the rotisserie burner.

Even with a rotisserie burner, though, this gets a bit complicated.

The closest anyone has gotten to Neapolitan bake times with an IR burner grill is Craig.  The simplest solution would be that if you can match his heat output and use his stone,

http://www.bakingstone.com/

you can achieve his bake time.  The problem is that his stone is only made in the U.S. and to have it shipped to Kuwait would most likely be incredibly expensive. Not to mention that this stone is both physically and thermally very weak- not only might it not make it to you in one piece, but the intensity of the IR burner might do it in after a few bakes. It comes with a metal shield that protects it from heat from below, but there's no guarantee it can handle intense heat from the side.

There's a chance that a fibrament stone might not be necessary, but I can't say for certain. Fibrament has a special trait- it's low conductivity allows it to be used at much higher temps without burning the bottom of the pizza. The question of the day, though, is how much these higher temps actually add to the top heat in this scenario.  In order for a ceiling to play much of a role in browning the top of a pizza, it has to be either extremely hot and/or extremely low.  As you ramp up the heat of the grill (Craig was able to hit 900), I don't think the ceiling is either hot enough or low enough to provide much browning. I think, from a top browning perspective, you're relying almost entirely on the IR burner, not the heat radiating off the ceiling of the grill.

In other words, if, say, you can cook the bottom of the pizza in 2 minutes at 750 with a fibrament stone, and a kiln shelf, because of it's conductivity, could do that same 2 minute bake at 700, I'm not sure a 750 degree ceiling is going to brown the top of the pizza any faster than a 700 deg. ceiling.

You could add a lower ceiling to the scenario, but you can't go that low or you'll block the IR burner.

Do you see where I'm going here?  A low conductivity stone (Fibrament) might not be essential to Craig's bake time.  Or it might.  My gut is telling me no, but I'd hate to have you buy something really conductive like steel plate, pre-heat the grill as low as 650 and end up with insufficient top color.

Quarry tiles are actually less conductive than fibrament, so if I'm wrong and lack of conductivity does help (you might be able to bake at 825 with the quarry tiles), quarry tiles would be ideal. Unfortunately, quarry tiles are incredibly thermally fragile. In this kind of setting, they'd just fall to pieces.

Firebricks can, depending on their composition, be less conductive, and, like quarry tiles, might be suitable in that 825 realm, but the amount of thermal mass they bring to the table would require an obscene amount of fuel and time to thoroughly pre-heat.

Then there's also the question as to whether or not you can reliably hit 825 with this grill and whether or not Craig's non manufacturer recommended approach might, over time cause any damage to the grill itself.

If you're feeling adventuresome and don't mind going through lots of propane tanks, then I think firebrick splits (1.25" thick) are the answer.

Otherwise, if you want to play it a bit safer, but, at the same time, slightly risk extending the bake time (and potentially leaving the Neapolitan realm) by working with a cooler dome, then I recommend a cordierite kiln shelf, as Don suggests. If you do go with a kiln shelf, I wouldn't necessarily go too thick, as the thicker the shelf, the faster the bottom cooks, the lower the pre-heat temp.  Since the material itself is already requiring a lower temp because of it's conductivity, I wouldn't take that a step further by going too thick. 3/4" thick should give you pretty good recovery times- if you feel like you might be baking more than, say, 6 pizzas at a time, then 1" might not be the end of the world.

Before you buy anything, though, I would close the door to the grill, crank the burners and see what kind of air temps it can maintain.  Could you tell us a little bit more about your 'digital thermometer?' For what you're trying to do, an infrared thermometer is critical. Besides air temps, an IR thermometer will give you ceiling temps and wall temps.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2011, 12:14:34 PM by scott123 »


 

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