Author Topic: Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please  (Read 1734 times)

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Offline mitchjg

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Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please
« on: September 20, 2012, 01:19:00 PM »

I am a little confused about optimum temperatures and also the right flour (or mix of flours) to use in my new WFO.  I have used it 3 times so far (after a few days of curing) and have mostly cooked with floor temperatures around 700 or 725 and dome temperatures of around 850 or 900 in the center.

I am certainly willing to try to cook at 800 on the floor but have not yet brought the floor to that level.  It takes a couple of hours to get to the level I reached.  Maybe it is my learning curve in building the fire and maybe it is the oven being new (I have read that it heats up more easily as moisture is driven out in the first few firings).  I have much to learn.

Temperature confusion. 

In two books I have (Forno Bravo e-book and Art of Wood Fire Cooking from Mugnaini) from WFO sellers, it looks like the recommended floor temperatures are 650 to 750.

The recommended doughs are both with 00 flour and with hydration around 65% or 60%, respectively. 

In my review of many, many threads on this website, it seems like the vast majority of recommendations are for floor temperatures of 800 + when using 00 flour.  And, it sounds like if I use the lower temperatures, the dough will not brown and/or will be tough.

I am certainly going to experiment by myself but am trying to understand how I can see these very different views from forum experts and seller experts. 

Thoughts?

Flour Questions

Assuming that i do at least some future cooking in the low 700s, I would like a recommendation on flour.  If it is not 00, then what is it?  I believe that flours like KASL will be too tough at that level.

I have found, so far, that mixing 00 and KABF (about 60/40) gives me nice results.  But, I do not know if there is a "best"

Can you give me your thoughts or recommendation there?

Thanks!

PS I am open to any recommendations, in terms of what I am "used to", I am originally from NY so grew up with NY slices.  I have been cooking for about a year with a 2stone grill at about 700 with a 50/50 mix of 00 and KASL.


Offline scott123

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Re: Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2012, 02:00:32 PM »
Mitch,  while you might find some members here who put a lot of stock in NY/NP hybrids, I, personally, feel that both NY and NP are better, individually, than any kind of middle ground.  Each requires a very different approach.

Neapolitan

Best flour: Caputo 00 pizzeria flour (or San Felice)
Next best: KAAP
Hearth Temp: 850-900
Bake Time: 60-90 seconds
IDY or Sourdough (some prefer sourdough)
Many members seem to prefer non refrigerated multi day fermentation
Bulk then ball

NY

Best flour: 12.7% protein bromated (Spring King, Full Strength, etc.)
Next best: Bromated All Trumps diluted with AP
2nd next best: Better For Bread Flour
Hearth temp: 650-700
Bake Time: 4-6 minutes
IDY
refrigerated multi day fermentation
Traditionally balled fermentation, but bulk/balled (or reballed) produces superior results

Every hearth material is going to transfer heat slower or faster, so you won't know what hearth temp to use without some trial and error.  I might have recommended speaking to other FGM owners, but, apparently, the floor tiles have changed. I would recommend starting a bit low, since it's better to have a slightly pale undercrust than a burnt one.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 08:49:22 PM by scott123 »

Offline RobynB

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Re: Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2012, 04:13:52 PM »
As you know, my floor tiles are not the standard FGM ones.  My floor runs hot; I always move the fire over at least an hour before I want to cook, and I'm going to start moving it earlier because the floor still runs hot.  I think the low dome has a lot to do with that - didn't you go with the higher dome?  If so, you'll have to experiment and see how your oven runs. 

That said, throw out the Mugnaini book, their idea of pizza is a travesty (I say this having taken their "class" and having eaten pizza prepared and cooked by their employees and owners, on site).  I haven't read the FB e-book. 

I use a straight Neapolitan dough formula, 100% Caputo, though I break tradition by using IDY right now for convenience and my hydration is usually 58-62%.  I'm cooking between 850-950F.  I don't know anyone on this forum (or out of it) making good Neapolitan pizza at temps lower than 800-850F, and even that is low IMHO. 

I'll defer to Scott on the NY, of course  ;)

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2012, 05:00:10 PM »
I agree with Scott and Robyn. I would push you towards the upper end of the range - closer to 900F and 60 seconds. You have the tool, why not use it? At this temerature, I think you will be happier with an unmalter flour like Caputo. If you cook in the 700's, I would suggest KAAP over Caputo and shoot for 2:15 or less  which will probably take at least 725F - maybe 750F.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline Pizzaddict

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Re: Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2012, 03:36:57 PM »
Mitch, I hope you are enjoying your new oven!

I'm curious how you like the "raised" door and dome option.  I am considering the FGM 800C and would like the higher dome option for versatility.  However, my primary use will be for Neopolitan style pizza in the 90 second range.  Have you used your new oven enough to have an opinion on this?


Offline mitchjg

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Re: Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2012, 04:41:30 PM »
Mitch, I hope you are enjoying your new oven!

I'm curious how you like the "raised" door and dome option.  I am considering the FGM 800C and would like the higher dome option for versatility.  However, my primary use will be for Neopolitan style pizza in the 90 second range.  Have you used your new oven enough to have an opinion on this?



I do not yet have an opinion. 

I selected the higher dome for versatility and I am happy so far.  I may have been able to "squeeze by" with the lower one.  For example, I baked a no-knead bread on the morning following a pizza bake and used my dutch oven.  It went in fine but it would have barely made it in the lower dome.

For 90 second pizzas, I am not sure yet because I am still getting the hang of temperature management and how to "do it right".  I did make 3 "00" doughs last weekend and started with a dome over 900 and floor over 800.  The first pizza was right at 90 seconds.  But, the next two were slower and with a lower floor temperature.  Having said that, I think it is likely about my skill / approach and not the oven.  I either did not build it hot enough (more wood!) while creating the fire (about 2 1/2 hours but maybe not blazing enough) or I did not maintain a fire licking across the dome after the first pie.  The next two were not put in right away but over the course of the next 45 minutes. 

The retention of heat is great - 525 in the morning and 325 at dinner time the next day. 

I will be making 3 pies on Saturday but I prepared them with KABF and thought I would bake in the 700s.  But, I will still be learning more about getting up to high temperature in a fast and sustainable way. 

But, going back to your question - I have only attempted 800 + pies with 00 once.  So, I don't feel like an opinion would be worth rendering.  Happy to keep you posted - given pizza happens no more frequently than once a week, it will be a while before I know I am optimizing.  I also have no comparative prior experience.

regards,
Mitch

Offline mitchjg

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Re: Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2012, 04:51:48 PM »
I do not yet have an opinion.  

I selected the higher dome for versatility and I am happy so far.  I may have been able to "squeeze by" with the lower one.  For example, I baked a no-knead bread on the morning following a pizza bake and used my dutch oven.  It went in fine but it would have barely made it in the lower dome.

For 90 second pizzas, I am not sure yet because I am still getting the hang of temperature management and how to "do it right".  I did make 3 "00" doughs last weekend and started with a dome over 900 and floor over 800.  The first pizza was right at 90 seconds.  But, the next two were slower and with a lower floor temperature.  Having said that, I think it is likely about my skill / approach and not the oven.  I either did not build it hot enough (more wood!) while creating the fire (about 2 1/2 hours but maybe not blazing enough) or I did not maintain a fire licking across the dome after the first pie.  The next two were not put in right away but over the course of the next 45 minutes.  

The retention of heat is great - 525 in the morning and 325 at dinner time the next day.  

I will be making 3 pies on Saturday but I prepared them with KABF and thought I would bake in the 700s.  But, I will still be learning more about getting up to high temperature in a fast and sustainable way.  

But, going back to your question - I have only attempted 800 + pies with 00 once.  So, I don't feel like an opinion would be worth rendering.  Happy to keep you posted - given pizza happens no more frequently than once a week, it will be a while before I know I am optimizing.  I also have no comparative prior experience.

regards,
Mitch



BTW - If you look at Robyn's remarks (she has a low dome) here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,13956.msg181506.html#msg181506

you will see that she has fire times of 3-5 hours (although she said she can go less).  This reinforces to me that I have more learning and may need to build longer / hotter to really operate at the right level.

Offline mitchjg

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Re: Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2012, 11:05:44 AM »
I could use some feedback and advice on tonight's bake.

If, in tonight's bake with 62% hydration KABF dough (actually 90% KABF / 10% KA whole wheat as an experiment), would I be burning the pizza (or otherwise getting a bad result) if I baked at 800 or so?  Or, should I stay in the 700s?

I am asking since I am thinking about firing to the 800s to see if I can be successful and achieving and maintaining that level with some ease.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 11:19:45 AM by mitchjg »

Offline scott123

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Re: Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2012, 11:29:52 AM »
Mitch, malted flour adds sugar to the dough, which, at higher temps, has a much greater propensity to burn.  You can bake a malted flour dough at Neapolitan temps, but the window between done and burnt gets pretty small, you just have to watch it carefully and get your peel underneath it before it goes too far.

Bread flour, imo, really is optimized for NY temps. In a WFO, NY is actually a bit harder, because you have to control the temp, whereas with Neapolitan, you generally want to feed it a load of wood and ramp up the temp as high as you can get it. NY requires a great deal of finesse.

Offline mitchjg

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Re: Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2012, 12:23:27 PM »
Mitch, malted flour adds sugar to the dough, which, at higher temps, has a much greater propensity to burn.  You can bake a malted flour dough at Neapolitan temps, but the window between done and burnt gets pretty small, you just have to watch it carefully and get your peel underneath it before it goes too far.

Bread flour, imo, really is optimized for NY temps. In a WFO, NY is actually a bit harder, because you have to control the temp, whereas with Neapolitan, you generally want to feed it a load of wood and ramp up the temp as high as you can get it. NY requires a great deal of finesse.

Thank you, Scott - you are terrifically helpful. "Finesse" is not how my technique would be described (yet).  I will keep it around 700 or so.  On my 2stone grill, I can produce nice 3 minute pies at this level.  Not sure if it will translate directly but seems like a good place to start. - Mitch

Postscript (7 pm). 2 pretty good 12 inch pizzas. I am starting to understand and learn more about the oven.  Maintaining a good flame licking across the dome seems vital.  That, more than anything else seemed to maintain a temperature of over 800 on the floor.   Not sure about rebound since I did not cook at this level.  I let the oven floor cool to about 770 and went at it.  Pies cooked pretty fast, about 2 1/2 minutes I think.  The top seemed to go too quick compared to the bottom on the second pie.  But, I think it was because I let the side fire die down, lost a bit of floor heat and then through a couple of logs on. Fine though.

The pizza seemed a little "breads" (it was bread flour!). My guess is I needed to cook it cooler/longer to get it more crispy but certainly not sure. 

Lots to learn, fun the whole way.  - Mitch
« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 10:06:38 PM by mitchjg »


Offline mitchjg

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Re: Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2012, 09:59:04 PM »
I do not yet have an opinion.  

I selected the higher dome for versatility and I am happy so far.  I may have been able to "squeeze by" with the lower one.  For example, I baked a no-knead bread on the morning following a pizza bake and used my dutch oven.  It went in fine but it would have barely made it in the lower dome.

For 90 second pizzas, I am not sure yet because I am still getting the hang of temperature management and how to "do it right".  I did make 3 "00" doughs last weekend and started with a dome over 900 and floor over 800.  The first pizza was right at 90 seconds.  But, the next two were slower and with a lower floor temperature.  Having said that, I think it is likely about my skill / approach and not the oven.  I either did not build it hot enough (more wood!) while creating the fire (about 2 1/2 hours but maybe not blazing enough) or I did not maintain a fire licking across the dome after the first pie.  The next two were not put in right away but over the course of the next 45 minutes.  

The retention of heat is great - 525 in the morning and 325 at dinner time the next day.  

I will be making 3 pies on Saturday but I prepared them with KABF and thought I would bake in the 700s.  But, I will still be learning more about getting up to high temperature in a fast and sustainable way.  

But, going back to your question - I have only attempted 800 + pies with 00 once.  So, I don't feel like an opinion would be worth rendering.  Happy to keep you posted - given pizza happens no more frequently than once a week, it will be a while before I know I am optimizing.  I also have no comparative prior experience.

regards,
Mitch





Thought I would follow up on my response to pizzaddict regarding my opinion and experience so far on 800 + cooking of neapolitan style pizza.  Tonight was my first shot at it and I am overall pretty satisfied.  Starting with an oven temperature of about 200 (residual from the prior day), I heated the oven for 3 hours with vigorous flame most of the period.  After pushing the coals to the left (and shoveling many out to allow room in the oven, there was quite a pile and the oven is not big), the initial read of the floor temperature was "Hi" - off the scale for the thermometer (it does this at about 950 i think).  I maintained a rather minimal dome flame to let the temperature cool down a bit and about a 1/2 hour later , the floor was at about 850.  

I cooked 2 pizzas with 00 dough (the 2 day "pieguy" cold ferment recipe from the A16 thread).  Excellent.  Both took about 90 seconds maybe 100.  After the first, the floor temperature had dropped to about 750.  I threw a log on the coals to get the domed flame going again and when I returned after a few minutes (preparing the next pie), the floor was about 805.  So, my initial assessment is (allowing for the higher start temperature), I can achieve and maintain 800 + after a 4 hour heat up and being vigilant about maintaining a vigorous flame across the dome.

Here is pie number 2 (never had a chance to snap a photo of number 1, my wife and I devoured it too fast).

Comments and coaching welcome.

Thanks, Mitch
« Last Edit: October 15, 2012, 10:04:25 PM by mitchjg »

Offline JConk007

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Re: Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2012, 10:05:56 PM »
Great stuff Mitch !! look beautiful! I have cooked in the FGM 950 I think 2 hrs should put you where you want and yeas after 1 hr do the rest of the heat up from the side . Keep experimenting and posting poictures for all of us  few shots of the oven would be great as well!
Thanks !
JOhn
I Love to Flirt with Fire! www.flirtingwithfirepizza.com

Offline mitchjg

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Re: Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2012, 10:11:12 PM »
Hi John:

Thanks for the fast reply and the encouragement.  I want to make sure i understand what you suggested.  Starting with a warm oven, I burned a woodpile in middle of the oven (and perimeter) for 3 hours and then moved everything to the side.  Are you saying that I can achieve a higher, faster heat up if I move the fire to the side sooner in the process (e.g. 2 hours)?

thanks a lot,
Mitch

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2012, 10:21:53 PM »
Yes, if you build the fire in the center, it heats.....the center.  If you build it to the side, the flames actually cover more surface area.  If Neapolitan is your pizza of choice, then you will probably have to go with a longer heat then is normally suggested (assuming a full thickness brick oven, not a cast oven).  3-4 hours is going to be minimum for a thorough heat soak, and that is with a non-smoking fire.

Offline RobynB

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Re: Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2012, 12:55:11 AM »
In my FGM 950B, I find that I get much better performance if I move the fire over earlier and rely on the circulating heat (convection) to keep the floor hot.  Otherwise my floor is too hot. 

Offline Pizzaddict

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Re: Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2012, 09:21:28 AM »
Mitch, the pie looks fantastic!  Since you have the "raised" dome option on your FGM (which is the oven I'm interested in), I'm just curious if you "domed" the pie while cooking, i.e. lifted it at all to top get some top char.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2012, 09:24:56 AM by Pizzaddict »

Offline mitchjg

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Re: Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2012, 09:42:52 AM »
Actually, yes I did dome the pies.  Maybe 15 seconds, max.  Not sure if it was really necessary (especially with a good top flame) but it was fun!   :P

- Mitch


Offline breadstoneovens

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Re: Temperature and Flour Recommendations Please
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2012, 02:02:33 PM »
To answer the question of the dome and floor temperature, on this video the pizza cooks in 60 seconds.
The oven is the FGM 800 C regular dome and was heated for 2 hours, then the fire moved to the back and side for about 30 minutes and kept constant.
As you can see the chef keeps turning the pizza and lifting it off the floor. He could have let it color a little more on the top, but it was during a training so he was little scared.
The floor was right around 850 and the dome between 900 and 1000 F.
We used regular KA bread flour with overnight fermentation.

<a href="http://youtu.be/3QNDAXmhCn0" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://youtu.be/3QNDAXmhCn0</a>


At that temperature, it takes a lot of practice and every oven is different, so keep trying.

Antoine
WFO cooking is about passion.