Author Topic: A little overwhelmed...which Oven to go with?  (Read 2920 times)

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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: A little overwhelmed...which Oven to go with?
« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2015, 01:56:49 PM »
Dang 55 seconds!  Question on WFO: (assuming that's a generic acronym) does any of the stuff on Traditional Oven meet criteria for getting hot enough?

55 seconds is the typical time in my big WFO. I've done as fast as ~35 seconds. Some pies do great at these speeds, some really need a bit longer.

I think 70ish seconds is about as fast as you will get in the GG, and the 80ish second pies might be better. Both the GG and the BS cook via forced convection as opposed to a WFO which is largely IR. The intensely hot air directed at the top of the pizza will burn the cheese and other toppings if you push them too hard.

Other than significantly better construction and versatility, the GG bakes the entire pie at the same time where the BS is an intermittent bake of the section rotating through the super-heated zone. When I've baked "NP" in the GG, I only rotate 1 half-turn.
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Offline micks

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Re: A little overwhelmed...which Oven to go with?
« Reply #26 on: September 28, 2015, 02:11:47 PM »
55 seconds is the typical time in my big WFO. I've done as fast as ~35 seconds. Some pies do great at these speeds, some really need a bit longer.

I think 70ish seconds is about as fast as you will get in the GG, and the 80ish second pies might be better. Both the GG and the BS cook via forced convection as opposed to a WFO which is largely IR. The intensely hot air directed at the top of the pizza will burn the cheese and other toppings if you push them too hard.

Other than significantly better construction and versatility, the GG bakes the entire pie at the same time where the BS is an intermittent bake of the section rotating through the super-heated zone. When I've baked "NP" in the GG, I only rotate 1 half-turn.

35 seconds!!!  I had no idea a pizza could be baked that fast!

What's the wait time between pies like on all of the different cookers?  From the sound of it, the Baking Steel likes about 4 minute per pie with a 5-minute reheat time between cooking.  With the GG, even at 70 seconds, that's a big enough difference to handle cooking for a crowd, since it'd be a pie every 10 minutes or so from the oven otherwise.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: A little overwhelmed...which Oven to go with?
« Reply #27 on: September 28, 2015, 02:33:06 PM »
I've baked enough pies back-to-back in the GG to not worry about recovery time. If anything, with the really hot/fast bakes, I have to lower the flame between pies.
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Offline micks

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Re: A little overwhelmed...which Oven to go with?
« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2015, 03:33:45 PM »
I've baked enough pies back-to-back in the GG to not worry about recovery time. If anything, with the really hot/fast bakes, I have to lower the flame between pies.

I've never worked with solid wood to cook with, outside of camping...what's the startup time like on the GG?  Seems like it would be mostly a weekend thing, or extended evening cookout with how long logs take to light (the GG uses a mix of charcoal & wood, right?).

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: A little overwhelmed...which Oven to go with?
« Reply #29 on: September 28, 2015, 04:01:03 PM »
I've never worked with solid wood to cook with, outside of camping...what's the startup time like on the GG?  Seems like it would be mostly a weekend thing, or extended evening cookout with how long logs take to light (the GG uses a mix of charcoal & wood, right?).

Just the opposite - I love it for mid-week whether pizza or the wok - granted I always use gas because it's so easy and works so well. For pizza, the heat up with gas is ~10 minutes. Wood is just as easy however as you stick the gas burner under the wood basket and when the wood is lit, you pull the gas burner out. You can use it with charcoal too in the same way.
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Offline micks

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Re: A little overwhelmed...which Oven to go with?
« Reply #30 on: September 29, 2015, 07:59:16 AM »
Just the opposite - I love it for mid-week whether pizza or the wok - granted I always use gas because it's so easy and works so well. For pizza, the heat up with gas is ~10 minutes. Wood is just as easy however as you stick the gas burner under the wood basket and when the wood is lit, you pull the gas burner out. You can use it with charcoal too in the same way.

Well that sounds ridiculously easy...

Did the first run last night on the Baking Steel.  My oven rack supported it no problem, thankfully - very sturdy!  It was heavy carrying in from the front door, more due to the sort of unwieldy size (long but thin), but it's not too bad once you get it unpacked.  I let it preheat for 45 minutes at 550F, then turned on the broiler to high...highest recorded temp on the steel (assuming shooting a temp gun on reflective metal is anywhere near accurate) was 711.8F:

http://i.imgur.com/DhT1q6M.jpg

My Super Peel was set to arrive last night but didn't, so I ended up using the wooden peel instead.  First pie came out good, but the second one I totally screwed up...managed to tap it just enough during rotation to send it straight down that 1" gap behind the rack, where it then flipped over & dumped the (extra) cheese all over the bottom of the oven.  D'OH!  And of course, I didn't opt for the extra $150 to get the self-cleaning oven, so that was a fun mess to clean up haha.  It was a beautiful pie too...I did a stuffed-crust pepperoni with five cheeses on top.  RIP buddy.  Guess you gotta have a sacrificial lamb when you start out!  I'm not sure if I should add a little metal catch-plate to the back of the steel (like a raised lip), or maybe push the steel all the way against the rear of the oven wall to prevent accidents like that from happening in the future.  Or just improve my technique!  But I would like some kind of dummy-proof system in place to prevent silly accidents like that from happening...has anyone come up with something like that for the Baking Steel?

I then turned it down to 325F & cooked up a couple desserts.  I had some kind of chocolate croissants in the refrigerated pop can (Pepperidge Farms, I think), so I tried those out, and used the small amount of leftover pizza dough to make a Macaroni Grill-style dessert ravioli stuffed with European butter & milk chocolate chips.  The croissants puffed out beautifully, although the bottoms were super burnt (it called for 350F, but I did lower figuring the heat from the steel would add some extra temp), so next time I'll have to check the temps on the steel first to make sure they've gone down enough to bake on.  Will be trying some chocolate-chip cookies out as well this week.

The biggest complaint of the night I got was the heat.  Again, tiny kitchen + 550F oven = heatwave.  It will be a nice option in the winter, but I definitely need to get an outdoor pizza oven if I'm going to continue my adventures in pizzaland, otherwise my family is going to kick me out!  I also tried out the 4" nylon pizza roller, hated it...blade was way too wobbly.  My rocker knife hasn't shown up yet either, so hopefully that comes in today along with the Super Peel & I can get started on round 2!

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: A little overwhelmed...which Oven to go with?
« Reply #31 on: September 29, 2015, 09:10:59 AM »
My Baking Steel is pretty much pushed to the back of the oven because I had it cut as big as would possibly fit. You can buy angle iron at the hardware store - run it under the back edge and voila, you have a back lip.
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Offline micks

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Re: A little overwhelmed...which Oven to go with?
« Reply #32 on: September 29, 2015, 09:14:39 AM »
My Baking Steel is pretty much pushed to the back of the oven because I had it cut as big as would possibly fit. You can buy angle iron at the hardware store - run it under the back edge and voila, you have a back lip.

Yeah, I think that would make sense, good idea!

Have you done anything other than pizza on it?  I'm going to try some cookies tonight to further break it in.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: A little overwhelmed...which Oven to go with?
« Reply #33 on: September 29, 2015, 09:34:00 AM »
Have you done anything other than pizza on it?  I'm going to try some cookies tonight to further break it in.

No. Unlike my pizza, I like the bottoms of my cookies on the light side.
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Offline barryvabeach

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Re: A little overwhelmed...which Oven to go with?
« Reply #34 on: September 29, 2015, 08:30:51 PM »
Micks,  I bought a Superpeel after I dumped my second pie off the back of a pizza stone.  Actually, it might have been the third, I don't like to think of those experiences because not only do I usually not have any backup dough on hand, the last thing I want to do it keep the oven going at high temp while I am trying to fish - scoop out all the cheese, sauce, and pie off the bottom of the oven before it bakes on. 

Offline micks

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Re: A little overwhelmed...which Oven to go with?
« Reply #35 on: September 30, 2015, 08:00:05 AM »
Micks,  I bought a Superpeel after I dumped my second pie off the back of a pizza stone.  Actually, it might have been the third, I don't like to think of those experiences because not only do I usually not have any backup dough on hand, the last thing I want to do it keep the oven going at high temp while I am trying to fish - scoop out all the cheese, sauce, and pie off the bottom of the oven before it bakes on.

Mine just showed up yesterday, looking forward to trying it out this week!  I'm picking up an angle bracket tonight just to be on the safe side too...the more I can stupid-proof the process, the better!

Learning how to use the broiler for crust-browning...left it in for 20 seconds too long & totally burnt the top of the crust:

http://i.imgur.com/2ySLVNJ.jpg

Fortunately I was able to shave it off, but it's a big crust because I did a stuffed crust.  Screwed up on this one because I forgot to let the moz sticks warm up to room temp, so they didn't really melt in the 4-minute cook time.  At least I remembered to put the basil on after cooking this time!  ;D

First night was no-knead pizza dough: (Jim Lahey's)

http://www.handletheheat.com/the-best-no-knead-pizza-dough-ever/

That was pretty good.  Second one was Mel's pizza dough recipe (short kneading & 10-minute rise).  I subbed in a half of cup of whole wheat flour to start out with, gave it good flavor & browning: (that's the one in the pic above, nice for dinner in a pinch since you can make & proof it while the oven is preheating)

http://www.melskitchencafe.com/quick-and-easy-pizza-dough/

Also did a 15-minute quick-rise recipe:

http://www.food.com/recipe/super-quick-pizza-dough-28008

This one never really browned, and tasted like those sheet pizzas from back in grade school (aka pretty mediocre).  Next in line is my buddy's personal recipe, which is amazing, and Alton Brown's "final" pizza dough recipe:

http://altonbrown.com/pizza-dough-recipe/

I have a friend sending me some of her sourdough starter, so I'll get to work on more serious crusts in October.  Definitely have a Blackstone in my future as well due to the heat output from the oven into my small kitchen.

Offline micks

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Re: A little overwhelmed...which Oven to go with?
« Reply #36 on: October 08, 2015, 10:10:16 AM »
Been messing around with a bunch of different cheeses & toppings, getting some pretty good results!  Used Todd English's pizza dough recipe from The Fig's Table the past couple times, it's a little bit of a flatter crust (not quite thin crust tho):

http://i.imgur.com/RjJV6Jf.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/9WRoup7.jpg

Very happy with the structure: (this was in my buddy's 470F-max gas oven, took a bit longer to bake)

http://i.imgur.com/zz6lvwr.jpg

Nice crusting: (my buddy is a big fan of cornmeal)

http://i.imgur.com/uGvVY76.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/JX9AOG5.jpg

That was day one.  Day two we did a dual cooker setup in his oven...his stone on the bottom & my steel on the 2nd rack from the top.  Surprisingly, they all came out great even without using the broiler & operating at the lower temp of his oven (I think we averaged 468F, versus my electric at 550F plus 700F+ with the broiler, assuming the temp gun is accurate on metal).  Double pizza output was great!  We had a ton of kids there so that worked out really well for feeding everybody in a timely manner.  I would say the steel has a slight edge over the stone, but it's awfully close.  The advantage of course is that the steel is virtually indestructible.  Definitely want to try freezing it for Coldstone-style ice cream use down the road!


Offline micks

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Re: A little overwhelmed...which Oven to go with?
« Reply #37 on: October 08, 2015, 10:45:26 AM »
Also a quick review of 5 different cutters: (getting family & friends into pizza-making at home, so we all tried different models)

1. 3-3/8" stainless steel wheel: $13

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013P4NKZO/?tag=pmak-20

Good reviews (5 stars out of 44 reviews).  Didn't like it, too wobbly.  It said it's heavy-duty but it doesn't feel that way at all.  Pass.


2. Mega Maxx 4" safety nylon wheel: $7

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008NYH7XI/?tag=pmak-20

Got this based off the hand-roller recommendation earlier in the thread.  Don't think it's the same model.  Stinks.  Wobbly.  Would have been better if it was more secure & made out of metal.  Pass.  May try the metal version from OXO or Zyliss down the road because the concept is good:

http://www.amazon.com/OXO-Grips-Clean-Pizza-Wheel/dp/B00CYDGTQK/?tag=pmak-20

http://www.amazon.com/Zyliss-Handheld-Pizza-Wheel-Stainless-Steel/dp/B002IT37Z6/?tag=pmak-20


3. Server-cutter combo with 2.5" metal blade: $7

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00WSVDWSG/?tag=pmak-20

This was bought as more of a novelty, but actually works really well.  Only complaint is the blade isn't big enough...if you have a pizza with a lot of cheese, the wheel gets caught in it.  A version of this with a 4" metal blade would be awesome!  We ended up using a different rolling wheel most of the night (the 4" OXO described below) along with a pie server.


4. OXO 4" metal wheel: $13

http://www.amazon.com/OXO-Grips-4-Inch-Pizza-Wheel/dp/B00004OCJN/?tag=pmak-20

This one is great.  Sturdy, good grip, cuts quick & well.  I bet the hand cutter above would be a lot better with a 4" metal blade like this because you'd get more direct pressure & control over the cut.


5. 18" rocker blade: $30

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007OBQY7G/?tag=pmak-20

When I worked at the pizza shop when I was younger, we had a bowed knife similar to this but with palm grips on each side.  I wanted a similar one, but I like having a hand grip on one end, machete-style, and a palm grip on the other end - lets you apply good pressure, rock the blade for a good cut, and gives you precise control along a large path.  I think the largest pizzas I'll ever do will be 16", so this will give more than full coverage for a complete cut.  I will say that the larger dual palm-grip knives do a better job (bigger & heavier), but I don't like the grip as much, plus I can use this knife for other things as well.


What I learned:

1. A 4" metal rolling cutter is the way to go if you want a roller.
2. The OXO was the crowd favorite (we didn't slice all the pizzas right away, depending on if kids wanted a smaller slice or if adults wanted a smaller sampler slice of a different-flavored pie).
3. A 4" metal hand roller would probably be awesome.  I may pick one up to supplement my own knife (the rocker blade).
4. Definitely love the huge rocker blade.  No idea where I'm going to store it safely, but it makes quick work of slicing pizza accurately! 

Offline dsm

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Re: A little overwhelmed...which Oven to go with?
« Reply #38 on: October 08, 2015, 01:52:02 PM »
A guy posted a review of a variety of rolling cutters on amazon and he concluded this one worked best:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001A49902/?tag=pmak-20

His video is probably on the review list. It was the only one that would cut a single sheet of paper in one swipe. It was pretty cheap so I bought one. I have to say he nailed it. One swipe with this thing and the pizza is split. I've had it for about a year now, using it maybe once every two weeks and it still works great. Biggest problem is the blade is so sharp I have to be careful where I store it so you don't rub your hand on it. I think with the plastic handle it might not last if you use it a lot, but for the price it seems pretty good.

steve

Offline micks

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Re: A little overwhelmed...which Oven to go with?
« Reply #39 on: October 08, 2015, 03:49:50 PM »
A guy posted a review of a variety of rolling cutters on amazon and he concluded this one worked best:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001A49902/?tag=pmak-20
His video is probably on the review list. It was the only one that would cut a single sheet of paper in one swipe. It was pretty cheap so I bought one. I have to say he nailed it. One swipe with this thing and the pizza is split. I've had it for about a year now, using it maybe once every two weeks and it still works great. Biggest problem is the blade is so sharp I have to be careful where I store it so you don't rub your hand on it. I think with the plastic handle it might not last if you use it a lot, but for the price it seems pretty good.

steve

You know, for ten bucks, I really don't mind if it doesn't last all that long.  One of the reasons I got back into pizza-making was one large gourmet-ish pizza cost me thirty bucks (!) at the local shop (it was delicious...Monterey ranch chicken with caramlized onions), but shoot, that buys a lot of pizza supplies, and that's only for one pizza for say once a week!

Offline micks

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Re: A little overwhelmed...which Oven to go with?
« Reply #40 on: November 28, 2015, 10:16:14 AM »
Have a couple projects outside of testing different dough recipes - for starters, been working on a DIY dry-stacked brick oven.   3 goals:

1. Large enough to fit a 16" pizza
2. Heats up FAST
3. Uses a steel plate

That rules out using wood, since it takes so long to heat up, as well as eliminating most budget-oriented commercial offerings since they typically only do smaller 12" or 14" pizza sizes.  I picked up a hundred clay bricks and some 3" angle iron to get started & used my bayou burner with my Baking Steel as the test rig.  It can heat the steel up to 700F in under 5 minutes, which is pretty awesome - a lot faster than my indoor kitchen oven, which takes 45 minutes to get it up to 500F.  The next step is to get another 100 or 200 bricks to extend it out & add a second burner - one to get the steel up to 500F or so, then one in the back to heat up the air to 700F.  I picked up a 1000F oven thermometer off Amazon for monitoring air temps & have my IR temp gun for checking surface temp on the steel, for whatever that's worth (IR vs. metal usually isn't so accurate, apparently).  Once I get the extra bricks & verify that I can actually get the temps I want, then I can order up a monster steel for the cooking surface.  Toying with the idea of doing a simple cob oven as well.  Don't want to do a chimney (don't want to do a door!), just a simple ratio'd entrance/exit for the cob or brick oven.  Still in progress, but results have been good so far!  Found another user, KK_Mick (great name!), with a similar idea - "DSBGFO" (Dry Stacked Brick Gas Fired Oven):

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=26688.0

Second project is I picked up a PizzaQue (the cheaper PC6500 model) at Home Depot yesterday.  I've never seen one in the store before, and for $169, I figured why not.  Turns out it works AWESOME!  Easily hit 700F & in under 15 minutes to boot.  Pizza sizes are a little small, but it only takes 7 minutes to do a nice crispy pizza, so we cranked out 4 of them in no time last night using the Todd English dough recipe.  Really really like it, great value & performance.  Their metal peel was a waste of money (handle lock works like crap & the bottom ring on the swivel likes to slice your skin open) & it's a pain to load pizzas in the tiny hole...easier to just lift off the lid, load the pizza on (yay Super Peel!), and put the lid back on.  Using welding gloves to lift it right now, but I'm scouting around for a tall grill handle to add to the top to make lifting the lid not a chore.  It retains 95% of the heat as long as you don't tilt the lid when you remove it, so it doesn't really affect the pizza cooking at all.  I was also able to use it on top of a plastic table outside because it doesn't torch the ground underneath the unit, which is nice.  Bonus, you can lift the pizza up into the lid to get the hotter air up there to put a bit of a burn on the cheese.  Also, rotate halfway through with a fork to get even cooking.  Pretty simple gadget, works like a champ!