Author Topic: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate  (Read 3683 times)

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Offline shuboyje

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New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« on: January 09, 2012, 08:11:14 PM »
Here's a change up for me that was pretty fun.  I landed a 1/2" steel plate scrap off the jobsite the other day, so I decided I had to give it a go and for me coal oven style would be the preference.  I'm a lucky guy with a broiler that stays on no matter what temperature the oven is at, so I knew my oven would be up to the challenge of producing a 3-4 minute pie on steel.  I made a simple 24 hour room temperature dough with Better for bread flour, 60% hydration, 3% salt and fresh yeast.  The dough turned out great and was a dream to form.  I ran a test run of the plate last night and with my oven maxed out was able to get the top of the plate to 590F and the bottom well over 600F. 

I loaded the pies onto the steel at about 590F with the broiler running the entire time.  The pies baked in 3-4 minutes as was my goal.  The were great and a nice change up to my normal neapolitan style.  I can't wait to try this style out in the brick oven on an 18" pie, I will certainly dial in the dough a bit more on the steel plate.  For anyone wondering if all this talk about steel is warranted, as a guy with lots of brick oven baking under my belt I was very impressed with the performance and result steel gave me.  I cannot imagine using a pizza stone when steel is an option, but I may be jaded due to the fact I do have the ideal broiler situation.
-Jeff


Online TXCraig1

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2012, 08:16:24 PM »
Looks like it really worked well, Jeff.
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline scott123

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2012, 03:40:35 AM »
Jeff, that's an extremely impressive first time outing with 1/2" steel.

A broiler that never cuts out is a tremendous boon for any oven configuration, but, no matter how you cut it, steel runs circles around pizza stones. It took me a few years to be able to look past traditional ceramic hearths for pizza, and, compared to other hearth materials, it is heavy, so I can kind of understand people's reluctance to jump on the steel train, but, for anyone that's truly serious about NY style pizza in a home oven, steel's the hearth to get.

Silicon carbide is showing a little promise as a lighter option, but it's too much of a wild card/too unproven, imo, to take the crown from steel.


Offline shuboyje

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2012, 12:23:43 PM »
Thanks guys.  I'm curious to see how it reheats tonight.

I'm pretty sure I could easily push my setup to Neapolitan bake times if I desired.  I had the plate on the second highest rack about 6 inches below the broiler.  With the plate on the highest rack I think the top heat would be there, and with a sleeve of ceramic fiber over the thermocouple I think I could push the temperature of the plate up to where it needs to be.
-Jeff

Offline johnamus

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2012, 12:49:24 PM »
Jeff,

Great looking texture in that pie :chef:.  In the first post you mentioned Neapolitan being your normal style, do you have access to a wood-fired oven for that style? 

Regarding the ceramic fiber over the oven probe sleeve, do you have a link to the material you are going to use?  I'm also interested in this type of mod, right now I'm thinking about using insulating fire brick but I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on ceramic fiber.

-John

buceriasdon

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2012, 01:15:28 PM »
John, What you want is like this, a small quanity, otherwise it comes in a large roll.
http://store.ceramicstoreinc.com/inbl.html
Don


Regarding the ceramic fiber over the oven probe sleeve, do you have a link to the material you are going to use?  I'm also interested in this type of mod, right now I'm thinking about using insulating fire brick but I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on ceramic fiber.

-John

Offline sum1else

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2012, 03:22:42 PM »
I'm jealous. My oven (and 1/2 steel) won't give me that color even with sugar and oil.

parallei

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2012, 03:50:42 PM »
Thanks for that link Don.  I'm going to give that insulating blanket a try in my oven.....

Offline shuboyje

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2012, 05:00:48 PM »
Jeff,

Great looking texture in that pie :chef:.  In the first post you mentioned Neapolitan being your normal style, do you have access to a wood-fired oven for that style? 

Yes, I'm now on my second hand built low dome wood fired oven which you can find more then you would probably ever want to know about here:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,13681.0.html

Quote
Regarding the ceramic fiber over the oven probe sleeve, do you have a link to the material you are going to use?  I'm also interested in this type of mod, right now I'm thinking about using insulating fire brick but I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on ceramic fiber.

I'm not planning to do it at this point, as I do have a WFO, but if I was going to I would wrap the ceramic fiber in heavy duty aluminum foil and then poke the thermocouple into it like a needle.  I think and insulating brick would work fine, just be more of a pain to cut down to size and drill a hole into.  I also feel it would weight a bit more, and that probe isn't really something I would want to put any extra weight on.
-Jeff

Offline chickenparm

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2012, 10:56:49 PM »
 8) 8) 8)
-Bill


Offline shuboyje

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2012, 07:06:07 PM »
Just wanted to update this thread a bit.

Since I started this I've used the steel plate a few more times with great results.  This weekend I did 12 pies in under an hour at my sister in-laws.  The plate had no issue maintaining heat.  This experience did leave me extremely confused about the issues others are having with top heat though.  My sister in-laws oven is electric with convection.  I preheated the plate for an hour at 550F on the top shelf, and found convection led to the best results in this oven.  I was able to get the plate to 560 and maintained that temp throughout.  After that I turned on the broiler and never turned it off.  Now I was worried due to the issues others have had with top heat.  The broiler in this oven had very few passes(I swear 4, but that doesn't seem right, could have been 6) and turned off when the thermostat hit 550.  I had zero issue with top heat.  I would open the door for a minute or so between pies dropping the temp and turning the broiler back on.  The broiler stayed on for the entire 3-4 minute bake and the tops browned nicely.  The pies got eaten so fast I only got one very bad blurry cell phone picture, but it shows the top color well regardless.

On another front, I may very well become a bromate convert for this style of pizza.  I've been using better for bread flour with good results, but this time made a second batch of dough when I found out more people were going to be there.  This second batch was made the exact same way but used Seal of Minnesota Bromated bread flour in place of the better for bread.  As soon as I started mixing the dough together I could see the difference, and the bromated dough was superior from start to finish.  It kneaded better, balled better, stretched easier in forming, held more gas, led to more spring, and in the end produced what all agreed was a better pie.  I find it had to believe the flour itself was that much better then what I had been using, all fingers point to the bromate.   

The dough I've been using is essentially a Neapolitan method modified slightly in my opinion.  I use:

100% Bread Flour
60% Hydration
3% Salt
Cake yeast based on fermentation time, generally 0.1% for 24 hour room temperature in my house at 65F

I weight out the flour and put it in the bowl of my kitchenaid mixer with a spiral hook(I do not use this for Neapolitan dough, that is 100% hand kneaded)

I then weight out the water in another bowl and dissolve the the salt completely.

Next I dissolve the cake yeast into the water salt solution. 

I then add all of the water-yeast-salt solution to the flour in the mixing bowl and mix it together with the paddle on speed 1 until it has loosely come together.

I then knead with the spiral dough hook on speed 1 for 1 minute.

I let the dough rest for 30 minutes at this point.

After the 30 minute rest the dough is a different beast, nearly smooth and elastic.  I knead it for one more minute on speed 1 with my spiral dough hook.

I then divide the dough by weight, ball, and ferment at room temperature for 24 hours.

This yields a super strong, super slack dough that is easy to form into a nice thin pie.  It couldn't be any easier or faster either.  I'm really loving this method and everybody loves the pies it produces. 
-Jeff

Offline scott123

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2012, 07:31:03 PM »
12 pies in under an hour?  Wow!!  :o I've done 6 pies in one sitting (maybe an hour and half) with soapstone (similar thermal mass) but always wondered how far I could push it. I've also wondered how much leaving the broiler on between bakes would help in recovery.  It sounds like I have my answers.

You mention convection leading to the best results.  I'm curious, did you use the broiler in combination with the convection feature?

Offline shuboyje

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2012, 07:42:50 PM »
Sorry if I wasn't clear, I used the convection for the pre-heat only, it was all broiler from there.  In my home gas oven I can put the plate up high and easily get to 600F using the bake function.  In this oven the bake bake function couldn't heat the plate very good up top, but I didn't really want to move it down lower and then have to move a 600F plate to the top of the oven so I tried convection and it worked much better then the standard bake function with the plate up high.  I'm sure there is an upper ceiling, but I'm not keen to find out.  I was actually asked to cater 3 different large parties with these pizzas and graciously declined due to throughput concerns.
-Jeff

buceriasdon

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2012, 08:46:53 PM »
Jeff, Nice work, wow you did kick those out. I bet there was some happy folks. Hey, I myself was so excited when I found GM Better for Bread on the shelves here in Mexico. Meh....I went back to the lower protein bromated flour I can get here after I used up the bags and threw out the useless VWG I was told I needed a long time ago. Congrats Jeff!
Don

Offline sum1else

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2012, 11:41:09 PM »
Quote
This experience did leave me extremely confused about the issues others are having with top heat though

Everyone's oven is different. Mine is a little POS that my landlord installed (rental in NYC). At full blast my broiler barely browns a pie...

I'm happy to hear your success with bromated flour. I have a few different flours here and All Trumps bromated is the easiest to work with and gives me the best results.

Offline scott123

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2012, 08:07:10 PM »
Sorry if I wasn't clear, I used the convection for the pre-heat only, it was all broiler from there.  In my home gas oven I can put the plate up high and easily get to 600F using the bake function.  In this oven the bake bake function couldn't heat the plate very good up top, but I didn't really want to move it down lower and then have to move a 600F plate to the top of the oven so I tried convection and it worked much better then the standard bake function with the plate up high.  I'm sure there is an upper ceiling, but I'm not keen to find out.  I was actually asked to cater 3 different large parties with these pizzas and graciously declined due to throughput concerns.

Yes, convection is superior for pre-heats.

The issues others are having with top heat are either members looking for leoparding in Neapolitan bake times or gas oven owners (like Tyler) looking for good top browning with NY style.  I'm not aware of any electric oven owners that can't get good top browning in NY style bake times.  Sometimes you come across people recommending bottom oven placement for stones, which completely trashes any effect from the broiler, but, fortunately, I'm seeing less of those recommendations as time goes on.

I'm not sure how large the parties were that you were offered, but, I think it's pretty safe to say that your 12 pie per hour rate is a rate that can be sustained indefinitely- that the system was adding enough heat to the plate (via the broiler) to keep baking pizzas. At least for that particular oven.  Perhaps with a weaker broiler, that pie per hour rate might drop a bit, but I don't think it would be that dramatic- maybe 10 pies per hour. Unless the parties are really big, 20 pies in 2 hours should feed a good number of people.

I'm curious, did all your undercrusts have close to the same coloring?
« Last Edit: January 24, 2012, 09:01:10 PM by scott123 »

Offline shuboyje

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2012, 10:09:20 PM »
The underside of this last batch of pies was slightly lighter which I assume has to do with the slightly lower plate temperature(560 vs. 590 in my oven).
-Jeff

Offline shuboyje

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2012, 05:36:09 PM »
Today I tried Neapolitan on my 1/2" steel plate.  I made a fairly standard caputo based neapolitan dough and moved the plate up to the highest rack.  Once I was up to 500F on the plate I turned on the broiler and continued to heat the plate to 700F+.  Even with my powerful infrared broiler that always stays on I could not get the caputo based dough to even begin to show any color within a Neapolitan bake time.  Having a brick oven I don't plan to mod the oven in any way to try and get this to work, but just thought I would put the info out there for any others who may try this in the future.  If I were to try this again I would probably try to block the oven vent once up to temperature and cook with the door cracked open, hoping the hot convection over the pizza instead of up and out would help with the top heat.
-Jeff

Offline scott123

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2012, 12:52:46 AM »
Jeff, how did the bottom do during that 'Neapolitan bake time'?  Did it burn at 700?

Also, does the highest rack put you within 3" of the broiler?

Offline shuboyje

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Re: New York coal oven style on a 1/2" steel plate
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2012, 09:49:34 AM »
I did burn the bottom a bit trying to brown the top, but at 60 seconds or so it would have been perfect.  I'd say the broiler to the top rack is right about three inches and then there is the half inch plate op top of that,
.
-Jeff


 

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