Author Topic: Burning questions  (Read 794 times)

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Offline RobynB

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Burning questions
« on: November 12, 2012, 12:48:53 PM »
Last night I had a lot of problems with burning, more than usual.  My oven is a very efficient low-dome and runs hot on the floor, so I've always had to manage it carefully.  Yesterday I heated the oven for about 9+ hours before cooking, and did not remove coals so had a huge coal bed.  I'm guessing that was a big part of the problem.  I know I used too much bench flour on some, and that was an issue for a few. 

But the pattern I seem to have repeatedly is that the first pizza is the best of the night, and the second one is okay, and the rest seem downhill from there.  I'm sure some of that is in my head, because of course the first one tastes the best when you're hungry, etc...  But I definitely also have more trouble with burning as the night goes on, which seems opposite what I would expect.  And I find the crust less tender after the first one, maybe two, pizzas - more dry on the surface, stiffer and less soft.  The first pizza is almost like naan, soft and tender and perfect, and then next one is less so, and so on.  Then I start having issues with burning.  Usually I chalk this pattern up to the dough window - I figure the dough is at it's best when I start and then continues to ferment, becoming overblown and therefore burning, as the cooking continues.  But last night was really cool and it still happened.  The dough last night felt good, handled well, and was not overblown, so I don't think that was the issue, and I had really bad issues with burning after the first couple.  Which was probably exacerbated by the huge coal bed, but clearly that's not the whole issue.

My dough is a straight Neapolitan 100% Caputo dough, 60% HD, IDY, sometime I vary the HD up or down 1-2%.  Last night's dough was a 24 hour room-temp - because it was cool (~50F overnight) I left it in bulk for about 18 hours and then balled and in trays for about 6 hours.  Usually I do closer to 12 hour bulk and then ball and into fridge until a couple hours before cooking.  It was only about 60-65F in the house when I was cooking, so the dough stayed pretty stable.

Anyone have any ideas?   


Offline weemis

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Re: Burning questions
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2012, 01:33:21 PM »
what was your IDY%?
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Offline thezaman

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Re: Burning questions
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2012, 01:59:48 PM »
 robin did you get a floor temperature reading.if your floor is really hot you have to get the dough set and cook it off the floor turning it in the entrance so as not put it back on you hot floor. you probably overheated the floor with a nine hour heat up. i have seen the good pizza guys with pro ovens have the same problem. if your dough is a little lower in hydration you can get it to set quicker so you can air cook. your lower dome may get that oven smoking hot.

Offline RobynB

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Re: Burning questions
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2012, 02:08:02 PM »
Weemis:  I'm not sure how to calculate the yeast in percentages, it's such a small amount that I just use the 1/8th tsp measuring spoon and use a little more if it's cold and a little less if it's hot (room temp).

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Burning questions
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2012, 02:08:28 PM »
You mean burning on the top and sides - not on the bottom, right?

When I have problems with burning, it's generally because my oven is not hot enough (not enough heat saturation). This necessitates either/or a bigger fire and baking closer to the fire. My best pies come when I can bake sub-60 at the farthest point from the fire, and the smaller the fire/coal bed I can get away with and still do it, the better the pies.

Next time you bake, I would suggest asking your husband to time every pie of the night and NOT tell you the results until you are done. The results might be interesting.  
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Offline RobynB

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Re: Burning questions
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2012, 02:10:24 PM »
Larry:  I wasn't taking temps with the IR gun, but one guest did time my bakes and I was averaging 70-80 seconds.  Your explanation makes sense, maybe I'll try a little lower HD and lift sooner - the problem is that the dome is low and so hot that I can set a pizza on fire instantly if I'm not very careful!

Offline RobynB

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Re: Burning questions
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2012, 02:17:27 PM »
Craig:  Sides and bottom.  My oven floor is 39" so I can't get that far from the fire.  I do think I've been leaving too much coal bed in while cooking, last night was huge but normal is still too big, I think.  I will definitely work on that.  The oven should have been saturated as I had a blazing fire in it from 8:30 am until dinnertime - it was freezing in my house so I was deliberately heating my kitchen with the oven  :-D  As to the timing, the guest did not time the first couple pies but they went very fast, and now that I think about it the later ones could have been slower, so maybe that's it.  Less coals, faster bake... 

Offline scott r

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Re: Burning questions
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2012, 02:38:45 PM »
If your temps stayed the same (which im sure they arent) but lests just pretend they do..... The dough should be getting less and less color as it goes into over fermentation.     Craig and I argued this point on another thread, but I am able to make 90 second pizzas, and for me with commercial yeast the longer the dough sits the better it gets until eventually it gives up almost no color at all.   I have a feeling the dough isn't the problem here.