Author Topic: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?  (Read 5181 times)

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Offline olsonmatt

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Hello,

Due to a new project, I now have access to two double deck Blodgett ovens.  My question is about the baking surface.  It's steel.  Does anyone know if it's a steel deck, or if I'm just missing the stones.  Can you cook directly on the metal?  It looks like they've used screens in the past, something I'm trying to avoid.

Thanks for any help or info.

Matt


Offline Don K

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2012, 03:38:59 PM »
I am by no means an expert on the subject, but the shop that I used to work for had two Baker's Pride ovens and two Blodgetts. The Blodgetts looked like the ones in the picture. The Bakers Prides had stones but the Blodgetts were metal decks (aluminized steel, I think).

The metal decks worked fine, but on a busy night, their recovery time was slow. We usually went through two rotations in the Baker's Prides for each one in the Blodgetts.
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Offline olsonmatt

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2012, 12:50:30 AM »
Thanks for your reply, Don.  What do metal decks looks like?  Is it just fairly thin metal?  I'm trying to figure out if I can, or if I'm supposed to put stones in this thing.

Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2012, 10:50:33 AM »
My friend has a metal deck and cooks directly on it and sometimes finishes with a screen(last minute or so). But the majority of the bake is done on the metal surface. I asked him about it once and he said it was like that when he bought the store. I was telling him to put stones in it but he didn't really care.

Offline Don K

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2012, 11:29:45 AM »
Thanks for your reply, Don.  What do metal decks looks like?  Is it just fairly thin metal?  I'm trying to figure out if I can, or if I'm supposed to put stones in this thing.
I don't know how thick the decks are. We did bake directly on the deck. We used screens for thick crust but otherwise no. If the ovens were on for a while but not being used, we used to have to use screens for the first few pies too because the decks would be really hot. I think what it came down to was that the deck temperature fluctuated a lot. The people that used to tend the ovens when we were busy just learned to deal with it. We could crank out >100 pies/hour and probably about a third of them would be done in the Blodgetts.

One thing that I do remember about the Blodgetts was that they always worked with zero maintenance. I remember replacing valves, thermostats, thermocouples, door handles and door hinges on the Baker's Prides, but we never did anything to the Blodgetts and they just worked.

As far as putting stones in them, I don't really know. I don't see why you couldn't, but as I said, I'm no expert on the subject. I would think that it would help with deck temperature consistency.
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2012, 11:58:58 AM »
What do metal decks looks like?  Is it just fairly thin metal?  I'm trying to figure out if I can, or if I'm supposed to put stones in this thing.


Matt,

Many deck oven manufacturers ofter customers both options. Some offer stone as their standard deck material but give customers the option of steel. Others, like Roto-Flex (http://www.rotoflexoven.com/) do it the other way around. They offer steel as their standard with the option of upgrading to stone. I once spoke with a Roto-Flex sales rep and he told me that it would cost severall hundred dollars per deck for that upgrade. If you want to get an idea as to the difference between stone and steel, you might take a look at the specs for a current model of a Blodgett deck oven, at http://www.blodgett.com/Literature/Spec%20Sheets/Deck/961-spec.pdf, where you will see the materials and thicknesses of the materials used to make the stone and steel decks. In your case, it might not hurt to call Blodgett (http://www.blodgett.com/contact_us.htm) and explore what options might be available to you with your older Blodgett model. Usually, OEM prices for replacement stones are quite high so you would want to check other possible sources for better pricing if you decide on stone.

There are also companies like Awmco, Inc. that make replacement FibraMent stones for commercial deck ovens, but not everyone is enamored of their particular product because of its particular thermodynamics profile. I would say that the classic deck oven stone is made of a Cordierite or similar/equivalent material.

I might also add, as was mentioned by other members, that screens are also often used with deck ovens, including those ovens using either stone or steel. Quite often, the use of screens has nothing to do with the oven or its deck material. Many pizza operators use screens simply because it is easier to train workers, especially low-cost labor, high-turnover workers, to make skins and to dress them on screens and then just load them into the oven. It is much harder to screw up pizzas when using screens instead of peels. Of course, screens can also be used to keep the bottoms of the pizzas from burning or browning prematurely, as others have noted. Some pizza operators start with the dressed pizzas on screens and then slice them off onto the deck material at the appropriate time. Others do it in reverse, starting with the pizzas on the deck and then slipping screens under the pizzas at the appropriate time.

Please let us know what you might find out or in which direction you decide to go. I am sure that some of our members will be interested in your experience and results.

Peter

Offline olsonmatt

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2012, 11:46:49 PM »
Thanks everybody.  I'm going to make some calls tomorrow, and let you know what I find out.  I'm also going to fire some pies later this week, so I'll let ya know how that turns out too. 

Offline olsonmatt

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2012, 03:37:14 PM »
Calls to a Blodgett rep haven't gone anywhere yet -- I need to find a serial number for them to help me out over the phone.  I found out that the previous user of the oven did cook directly on the metal surface.  My gut tells me though, that at some point this thing had stones in it.  Will be cooking in it later this week.

Offline scott123

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2012, 04:28:46 PM »
Matt, as Peter and David pointed out, deck ovens can be fitted with stone or steel decks.  Yours has steel decks. The steel decks bake pretty similarly to the stone ones and they last for quite some time, so I highly doubt that someone would have bought that oven with stone and then switched to steel.

One thing to consider with these kind of steel decks is that it tends to be very light gauge steel.  If you've read any of the threads on this forum about the thermodynamic benefits of steel plate in weaker ovens, it's important to notice that those benefits only come with thickness of 1/2" or more.  This is more likely in the 1/8" or 1/16" realm.  That thickness can put recovery times at risk, and, if the oven runs a bit low, it can extend bake times.

This oven is gas, correct? If the btus are sufficient, then recovery times might be less of an issue, because the steel is constantly being replenished.  Also, being gas, it has a pretty static amount of top heat, so it's quite likely that the bake time produced by the steel browns the bottom and the top in the same amount of time.  If you were to invest in a more conductive/more thermally massive hearth (either thicker steel plate or very thick cordierite), you might see the bottoms burning before the tops are finished baking.

The oven should have some sort of label somewhere telling you the BTUs/date of manufacture. That will tell you what caliber of pizza you can make with it.

Offline olsonmatt

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2012, 12:00:01 AM »
Scott,

Thanks.  Yes, it's gas.  Good to know.  You're right, they're thin.  So thin that I wondered if it was a platform that the stone sits on -- your explanation makes sense though. 

I've seen the reverse of the issue that you mentioned quite often in less than great pizzerias -- top browning with bottom underdone.  Don't want either of those issues.

I just made some dough and am planning on firing pies Thursday or Friday.  Will let you know how it goes.

Thanks again for response and info.


Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2012, 08:15:39 PM »
I was just thinking and remembered that the deck of my friends oven was level with the door open. If you open the door and there is a "step down" then it most likely had stones in it. If the steel deck in the oven is level with the door then it didn't. Did that make sense? I'm reading it over and it sounds weird but I don't know how else to explain it.

Offline olsonmatt

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2012, 08:56:53 PM »
Brickstone,

Yes, that does make sense.  It's level.  I hadn't even thought of it that way, great point.

Guess I don't need to buy stones.  Gonna post pics of pies fired in it tomorrow.

Offline olsonmatt

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2012, 08:58:07 PM »
BTW, you should come up and mess with the oven with me.  It's in Gloucester.

Offline scott123

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2012, 09:17:39 PM »
David, great observation.

Matt, just because the steel plate is stock, doesn't rule out the possibility that you might need stones, and/or other modifications.  If you want the best NY pie possible, you really want to shoot for a 4 minute bake. If it can't do 4 minutes, then, depending on the top bottom browning ratio, you might need to either tweak the thermostat, invest in a stone hearth or think about adding a firebrick ceiling.

Crank the heat up and see what she can do.

Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2012, 11:43:08 PM »
BTW, you should come up and mess with the oven with me.  It's in Gloucester.
Did you buy a place?

I'd love to take you up on that offer. The only thing is that I started going back to the gym couple weeks ago. I need to lose all this weight, I turned into a real fatty. For the next 3 months its nothing but bland chicken, turkey, beef, broccoli and more tasteless healthy food for me. If the offer is still open then, then I'm down.

Offline olsonmatt

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2012, 12:39:37 PM »
Sorry to those who so helpfully replied for not updating sooner.  I've fired the oven a few times now.  It gets good and hot -- I don't have an IR gun, but if I had to guess, I'd say it gets to about 650.  I don't have any pictures of the pizzas right now, but I've been getting pretty good char from the steel decks.  One problem is that I've been burning the bottom of the rim more than I'd like.  I'm going to try firing on slightly lower temps to see if I can cook the top before burning the bottom.  I'll post pics if I can get any suitable ones.

BrickStone, I didn't buy a place, I leased a seasonal place by the beach with a heavy focus on subs -- pizza oven off in the back.  Plan on doing 18" slice pies, Sicilian style slices, and 14" take out pies.  Don't have a mixer, or the budget for one right now so dough is an issue.  Definitely hope you can come up this summer! Let me know when you get off that diet!

Offline olsonmatt

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2012, 12:42:35 PM »
Scott123 -- would love to get a four minute bake.  As I said in my above comments though, the oven does get good and hot, but I'm burning the bottom rim too early.  Don't have too much time or cash to tweak oven right now (as much as I'd love to).  Only have the place for the season, and have a whole non-pizza menu to stock and prepare.

Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2012, 02:31:13 PM »
How fast is it burning? Is it within the first couple minutes? You can bake on the surface till the dough sets then finish on a screen. You could probably hit a 4 min bake if you did 3/1 or 2/2 surface/screen. But Scott would definitly know more wait to see what he says.

Offline olsonmatt

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2012, 09:42:47 PM »
To be honest (and totally un-Pizzamaking.com-like), I haven't taken exact time measurements. I have tried putting a screen under the pie after approx. two minutes, and cooking for another three with some success.  I'd like to remove this step from the equation if possible.

Offline scott123

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Re: Old, Black Blodgett Ovens -- steel deck, or am I missing the stones?
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2012, 05:58:10 AM »
Matt, time the pizzas :) And get an IR gun

http://www.dealextreme.com/p/digital-infrared-thermometer-with-laser-sight-32-c-380-c-26-f-716-f-29079

It'll take a while to ship to you, but this is a good deal.

Gas deck ovens tend to suffer from the classic bottom heat source issue- the tops don't brown as fast as the undercrust, and when you push the dial temps, the problem gets even worse. There's a few things you can do to get around this, with some costing more than others.

Adding thermal mass to the ceiling/lowering it tends to help top browning quite a bit.  The top gas oven manufacturers will hang firebricks from the ceiling with metal brackets. You can do something similar by building a metal frame that sits on the oven floor and that suspends the firebricks near the ceiling.  Member Buceriasdon is implementing a frame like this as we speak for a commercial operation.

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,17837.msg176602.html#msg176602

Besides modifying your ceiling, you can change up your hearth as well. Steel is very conductive, but the thickness of the steel you're working with probably translates into a fairly poor transfer of heat. It's still worth trying out a hearth material with poorer conductivity. There's no guarantees, but I think there's a pretty good chance you can slow down the bottom browning with the right material. Quarry tiles could be your best bet- inexpensive and usually pretty horrible conductors. Just arrange a single layer of them on the steel hearth.  Quarry tiles can get a bit thermally fragile, but I think the steel should go a long way in helping them heat evenly.  If you want something with a little more resistance to thermal shock, you could go with either fibrament or firebricks.  Firebrick splits (1.125" thick) would be inexpensive, but... they'll take hours to pre-heat. Fibrament is a pretty poor conductor as well, and you could get relatively thinner stones (maybe 3/4"), but you're talking about a custom size which would run you in the hundreds of dollars.

I would start with quarry tiles- ideally 1/4", but 1/2" would probably be fine as well.

If you really want to go the extra mile for the best possible pizza, line your ceiling with firebrick AND use the quarry tiles as a hearth.