Author Topic: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?  (Read 15549 times)

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Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #75 on: September 14, 2012, 04:24:13 PM »
I put the plate in the oven yesterday as a test, and when the oven said it was ready at 550, the plate was reading at closer to 450. Should I adjust the emissivity setting on my thermometer?

I'll revisit the firebrick/quarry tile issue when I get around to breadmaking.


Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #76 on: December 07, 2012, 12:45:42 PM »
I had the chance to give a couple of pizzas a shot a few weeks back, and I did some naan experiments as well. In both cases, the result was pretty good, but I felt that there wasn't enough top heat. (Sorry, no pics---I was too hungry/curious to have that much presence of mind!)

My procedure is this: preheat to 550 (oven's max), and keep going until my IR thermometer tells me that the plate has reached an equilibrium temperature. Then the broiler comes on and pizza/naan goes in (sometimes with difficulty, I have no idea how people get a pizza to launch that's been sitting on the peel for a couple minutes). I haven't timed it exactly, but after maybe 3-4 minutes it's done from underneath but could use some more browning on top. The broiler is pretty weak though, presumably because of the high temperature already in the oven, and even if I hold the pizza right up to the broiler, it doesn't really help that much---I get tired/too hot before any additional browning happens.

Does anyone have any tips to help with top heat here?

TIA! I should be able to do some more documented and pictured experiments when I'm back in town in January :)

scott123

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #77 on: December 07, 2012, 01:58:24 PM »
Aditya, how far is the plate from the broiler?  If the broiler is weak, you need to get the plate as close as possible- 3" or less.

Also, since quite a few broilers won't kick in when the oven is at it's peak temp, you want to pre-heat the plate at a slightly lower temperature- 525. You should be able to get good undercrust color in 4 minutes at 525 on .5" steel. At 525, the broiler should stay on/glow red for a good portion of the bake.

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #78 on: December 07, 2012, 04:56:48 PM »
Thanks Scott. The highest rack would leave no room for me to launch it, so it's on the second-from-the-top rack, maybe 5" or 6" from the broiler (that's an approximation, I am not at home right now). Since raising it isn't much of an option, I'll try the 525 trick and see how it goes!

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #79 on: February 10, 2014, 11:12:20 PM »
I hope this isn't too egregious a case of necroposting, but here goes...

As a quick update, my steel has been serving me well. Until recently I had been making mostly NY-range pizzas (bake time of maybe 3-5 minutes). But I decided I wanted to give NP another shot. I tried it with the steel on self-clean, and while it cooked well on the bottom it was severely lacking on the top as the broiler doesn't come on during self-clean in my oven.

So, the next option was the frozen paper towel trick. This would allow me to heat the steel past the oven's usual limit *and* kick in the broiler as necessary. I finally gave this a shot, and it seems to work well! Today's pizza spent no more than 90 seconds in the oven. (Probably close to 75-80, actually.) As Scott pointed out earlier, my broiler isn't powerful enough to really get the kind of colour we want on the crust on top, but I had no complaints when it comes to how well-cooked it was or its texture. In fact, the texture was exactly what I had been seeking: a beautiful, delicate crispness on the outside with soft, moist-but-not-wet inside. And I could mostly fold a slice without any cracks appearing in the crust, something which was definitely not the case with my NY-range pizzas.

I'll start another thread for pictures and comments about the pizza itself, as I do need some work on technique and will be experimenting with different doughs, but what would be most appropriate for this thread (and potentially useful to others trying to do the same) is the workflow. So:

  • I've got a 0.5" steel plate
  • I put the steel in the oven and turned it on to bake @ 550 and waited for it to equilibrate. This usually takes at least an hour, and the stone temperature stabilizes around 570, as read with an IR thermometer with emissivity set to 0.95 (which might be wrong for this plate, but who cares).
  • After equilibrium is reached, I slide the frozen paper towel (with aluminium foil around) onto the thermometer and wait for the steel to read ~620.
  • Now I turn the broiler on HI and start prepping the pizza. Opening up the ball, topping, etc.
  • Once the steel reads in the ~680-700 range, I am good to launch.
  • Bake for ~30 seconds, take it out and rotate 180 degrees (this isn't strictly necessary, I don't think), and back in until it's done. Total bake time comes to around ~80s.
  • If necessary, the pizza can be held up closer to the broiler for a bit. I don't find this necessary, and it never did anything to colour the cornicione (only the toppings).

I'm curious to hear what you guys think!
« Last Edit: February 11, 2014, 12:52:52 AM by heuristicist »