Author Topic: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.  (Read 4171 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Ev

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1810
  • Age: 58
  • Location: Lancaster Co. Pa.
Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« on: October 19, 2012, 01:16:30 PM »
I'm not totally happy with the performance of the oven I bought recently.
After an initial trial bake, I thought the oven was ok, but after more bakes I'm finding that my new oven is not performing as I had hoped, and certainly not as good as my old oven which unfortunately after 18 years needed to be replaced. I've always had very good results with my cordierite stone on the next to bottom shelf. I could bake pie after pie with no problem. Sometimes I bake 5 or 6 at a time to take someplace. In fact, it seemed the pies would bake faster after the first couple. Anyway, the exact opposite seems to be the case with the new oven. It's ok if I'm just baking a pie or two, but for multiple pies, they just take longer and bake lighter. I've tried different oven positions, convection, no convection. Nothing changes.  So now, I guess I'm going to have to find a new setup for this oven. I have Norma's soapstone, and I also just picked up a 20X18, 1/2 in. steel plate. I know I'll have to try each of these out in different configurations, but I just had a crazy idea that I think I'm going to try. >:D :angel: ::)
 The idea is to place the steel on an upper rack close to the broil element, and place the soapstone maybe 4 inches below the steel, and bake 2 pizzas simultaneously, one on steel and one on soapstone with the steel directly above it.
 Thoughts? Suggestions? Temp? Convection? Or not?  Scott?


Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22150
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2012, 01:30:39 PM »
Steve,

Good luck!  ;D I also have the other soapstone I could bring to market if you also want to try it in combination with anything else.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

scott123

  • Guest
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2012, 02:42:45 PM »
Steve, first of all, within the last decade, there has been a disappointing trend towards energy efficiency, which, in turn, has created weaker ovens.  Ovens are getting prettier and more feature rich, but they're not getting stronger- or even maintaining the strength of years past. It's not critical, but, if you get a chance, try and find the wattage for the old maytag and compare it to the new oven.  I'll bet any amount of money that the maytag was considerably higher.

Richard (Sqid) brought up a good point recently about convection circulating heat that's already in a system, but it's not adding heat.  This is why your initial one or two pizza runs turned out so well- the convection is taking the heat in the system and transferring it to the pizza in a record time, but... convection isn't bringing more energy into the picture.  It's the bottom element that's responsible for that, and if that element is weak/low-ish wattage, then it's going to take a while to replenish the stone and bake a large number of pizzas in succession.

Anyway, that's the theoretical stuff.  Here's some concrete steps you can take that will help the situation:

1. Use the steel, on it's own.  It will have considerably more thermal mass than your present stone and be able to store more heat.  It will also replenish faster because of it's higher conductivity. 1/2" steel preheat to 550, on convection, for 80 minutes, will give you plenty of heat for 5-6 pizzas. Btw, your oven has at least 2" clearance on each side of the plate for air flow, correct?

2. Extend your pre-heats.  I noticed on your earlier thread, you were going with a 30 minute pre-heat.  Even if the outside of the stone is 545, there's no way the inside is that temp.  Complete saturation with heat is critical both for fast bakes and fast recovery.  It all boils down to how many watts your oven is pumping out, but until you have the data, I would probably stick to 80 minute pre-heats.

3. Make sure that during the bake and during the time between pies the bake element is on and the convection fan is running.  My stone stores enough heat to do 3 pies, so I can turn my oven off between pies, but your bake element should always be on.

If you want to try an 80 minute pre-heat on your current stone, it might prove interesting, but I would just step up to steel.

I've always dissuaded people with broilers from using two stones, because the top stone generally won't shower the pizza with as much heat as the broiler will and the bottom stone will shield the top stone from the bake element below.  This being said, with convection theoretically moving air through all parts of the oven, it's quite possible that convection might allow you to bake on two stones- that's how the rotoflexes work. Still, I think you should be perfectly fine with steel and an 80 minute convection pre-heat. There's a really good chance you'll need less than 80, but I would start there and work your way down until you start seeing longer bakes on later pies.

If you ever hosted a party and needed dramatically more output, I would give two stones a shots. Position the stones towards the center, with plenty of space in between for good air flow.  Put the ceramic stone on the bottom and the steel on top, since there's a chance the ceramic stone will end up a bit hotter. Go with a 2 hour pre-heat to make sure both stones are fully saturated. Use convection during the bake and between bakes.

Offline Ev

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1810
  • Age: 58
  • Location: Lancaster Co. Pa.
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2012, 05:20:48 PM »
Thanks Scott for the suggestions. I'll ponder it awhile before I try anything. I did make 4 dough balls today. I'll post my results.

Offline pizzaneer

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1476
  • Location: Nirvana
  • Pizza and zen more pizza
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2012, 07:03:48 PM »
Of course, there's always stacking + broiler...   >:D
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline petef

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 583
  • Location: New Jersey
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2012, 06:18:06 AM »
Steve, first of all, within the last decade, there has been a disappointing trend towards energy efficiency, which, in turn, has created weaker ovens.  Ovens are getting prettier and more feature rich, but they're not getting stronger- or even maintaining the strength of years past.

True! Not only for ovens, but most appliances made now days are "weaker" than the older models. I purchased a new high efficiency Maytag Washer to replace my 24 year old GE Washer. Now I wish I had repaired the old machine. The new Maytag was so much lighter it vibrated like crazy and I had to anchor it to the wall to calm it down. It also does a lousy job at cleaning.

I just purchased a new Toaster oven. The oven case is so thin and uninsulated you will burn yourself if you touch it while it's baking. My old 15 year old toaster oven was not so dangerous because it was better insulated.

Lesson learned.. Older is usually better! Consider repairing a 10 to 20 year old appliance rather than buying new.

---pete---

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22150
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2012, 07:45:17 AM »
Steve,

As I spoke to you about on Tuesday, I sure canít figure out what happened with your new oven.  I just looked over your pictures of the pizza at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,19012.0.html and that pie looks really good to me.  Did you look back at that thread of yours?

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline Ev

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1810
  • Age: 58
  • Location: Lancaster Co. Pa.
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2012, 07:52:44 AM »
Thanks Norma. My most recent bakes looked nothing like that one. >:(
I'll figure it out. 8)

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22150
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2012, 08:08:35 AM »
Thanks Norma. My most recent bakes looked nothing like that one. >:(
I'll figure it out. 8)

Steve,

I know you will get something figured out.  8) Maybe you could use your IR gun to see what happens with your next few bakes.  Your wife and daughter use the oven too.  Did they notice any differences in using the new oven, or was it just your pizzas?  I recall the pictures you showed me of your recent bakes and how the rims were lighter.  Maybe if you still have those pictures you could post them, and Scott123 or someone else could help you more.  I can hear your wheels turning now.  You are always a thinker.   :-D

Norma
 
« Last Edit: October 20, 2012, 08:10:35 AM by norma427 »
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline z3r01

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 66
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2012, 08:58:54 AM »
my oven has mixed results. sometimes it cooks the pie and somethimes it doesnt do anything good. thinking about a new oven
(http://s14.postimage.org/lpfpl0f9t/z3r01.jpg)


Offline Ev

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1810
  • Age: 58
  • Location: Lancaster Co. Pa.
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2012, 01:35:53 PM »
Norma, this pizza http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,19012.0.html was made with one of your doughs back in May. Do you remember which flour you were using at the time?
 These pizzas were made last week with KASL, which I've never had a problem with. They were baked back to back. These are the only photos, no up-skirts. I didn't get to eat any of these but my wife said everyone loved them. Go figure. The bottoms were much lighter than the pizza from May. They look pretty much under-done but even then, they took longer than usual.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2012, 01:37:37 PM by Ev »

Offline pizzaneer

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1476
  • Location: Nirvana
  • Pizza and zen more pizza
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2012, 01:47:32 PM »
Do you happen to have a large piece of aluminum laying around?

For best results it should be about 1/8" thick.  Place your stone as close to the broiler as you can. Top your stone with the AL.  Preheat on bake as high as you can.  Just before launching the pie, switch over to broiler.

This combination should give you a fast bake, most likely some char as well, EVEN IF you have a weak, anemic oven.  Plus, recovery time will be fairly short.


 
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22150
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2012, 05:28:45 PM »
Norma, this pizza http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,19012.0.html was made with one of your doughs back in May. Do you remember which flour you were using at the time?
 These pizzas were made last week with KASL, which I've never had a problem with. They were baked back to back. These are the only photos, no up-skirts. I didn't get to eat any of these but my wife said everyone loved them. Go figure. The bottoms were much lighter than the pizza from May. They look pretty much under-done but even then, they took longer than usual.

Steve,

You would have to boogle my mind on what kind of flour I was using when I gave you that dough ball wouldnít you?  :-D

I went back though my posts on my current regular Lehmann dough for market thread and I starting using Kyrol flour in early April 2012 at Reply 97 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,18407.msg181851.html#msg181851 

I was experimenting with using GM Full Strength flour on May 2, 2012 at Reply 256, but that was only an experiment. 

I didnít start playing around with epoxy Lehmann dough until about the end of May 2012 at Reply 312  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,18407.msg188919.html#msg188919

So the answer to your question is I am almost positive I was using Kyrol flour at the time I gave you the dough ball that you baked in your new oven. 

Thanks for posting the pictures of how your oven is baking your pizzas now.  I am glad your wife said everyone loved them. 

Good luck when you use the dough balls to bake more pizzas.   :)

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline Ev

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1810
  • Age: 58
  • Location: Lancaster Co. Pa.
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2012, 06:42:36 PM »
Thanks for the suggestion Brian. We'll see how the steel works first.

Offline Ev

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1810
  • Age: 58
  • Location: Lancaster Co. Pa.
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2012, 02:48:26 PM »
So today I baked two pies on the steel plate. I must admit, the steel make a mighty nice pie. The first pie, yellow peppers and onion, was baked a half hour after the oven reached temp., 550 with convection on. I turned the pie at 2 minutes and switched from bake to broil. I forgot to time this pie but the second pie was baked the same way and was done in 4 minutes thirty seven seconds. Not too shabby!
 My oven automatically subtracts 25 degrees in convection mode. My IR gun read 525.9 top and bottom of the steel just before the first pie went in. I forgot to take a reading after the first pie but read 519 right after the second pie came out. I switched back to convection bake right after the first pie. The second pie went in 5 minutes or less after the first pie came out..

Offline Ev

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1810
  • Age: 58
  • Location: Lancaster Co. Pa.
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2012, 02:50:27 PM »
Second pizza.

Offline Ev

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1810
  • Age: 58
  • Location: Lancaster Co. Pa.
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2012, 02:52:21 PM »
I have two more dough balls. Tomorrow I'll try the soapstone, I think.

scott123

  • Guest
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2012, 03:13:06 PM »
Tomorrow I'll try the soapstone, I think.

Why?  There's no way the soapstone will give you better baking qualities than the steel.  I think you can probably dial in the steel temps/convection/broiling timing a tiny bit, but, other than some slight tweaks, I think those are pretty much perfect- for the thicker crusted American NY hybrids that you prefer  ;D
« Last Edit: October 21, 2012, 03:21:12 PM by scott123 »

Offline dellavecchia

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2628
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2012, 03:38:31 PM »
Great job Steve! Love that crust and crumb.

John

Offline z3r01

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 66
Re: Contemplating a Most Unusual Experiment. Folly? Perhaps.
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2012, 04:21:40 PM »
So today I baked two pies on the steel plate. I must admit, the steel make a mighty nice pie. The first pie, yellow peppers and onion, was baked a half hour after the oven reached temp., 550 with convection on. I turned the pie at 2 minutes and switched from bake to broil. I forgot to time this pie but the second pie was baked the same way and was done in 4 minutes thirty seven seconds. Not too shabby!
 My oven automatically subtracts 25 degrees in convection mode. My IR gun read 525.9 top and bottom of the steel just before the first pie went in. I forgot to take a reading after the first pie but read 519 right after the second pie came out. I switched back to convection bake right after the first pie. The second pie went in 5 minutes or less after the first pie came out..
i want a slice lol
(http://s14.postimage.org/lpfpl0f9t/z3r01.jpg)


 

pizzapan