Author Topic: Polack trying to make pizza's!!  (Read 1807 times)

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Offline polishpizza

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Polack trying to make pizza's!!
« on: January 13, 2013, 02:02:20 PM »
First post so go easy.   :P

I'll tell you upfront I don't know much on the technical side in regards to ovens.  I read a couple of post about BTU's etc. and all seems to make sense. 

My hands on experience has been making pizza's on my grill.  A 4/5 YO Kenmore Elite!  They come out pretty well but it's time to go to the next level either for the back yard or a small mobile pizza business.

I am tossing around the idea of trying a mobile pizza truck type business and am looking for a more commercial type gas grill to make the pizzas on.  I am also entertaining the WFO as well.

I'm looking for any recommendations, advice, links to basic oven theory, etc. for both WFO or gas burner.
Polack trying to make pizza


Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Polack trying to make pizza's!!
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2013, 06:00:25 PM »
There are 2 types of ovens:

Insulated chamber with heat applied to heat the air in the oven.

Insulated oven with heat applied to heat a thermal mass.

Both work for pizza, and commercial pizza ovens are generally a combination of the two.

scott123

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Re: Polack trying to make pizza's!!
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2013, 01:44:44 AM »
PP, I'm reading between the lines a bit, both by scrutinizing your intro post and looking at your profile and making the assumption that you're interested in selling something New Haven/Coal/Neo-New York-ish on a mobile basis.  If that's the case, believe it or not, that's relatively uncharted territory here.

We have members with grills, both using wood or gas, making Neapolitan pies, and we have a member with a van fitted with a full sized gas deck oven producing something Coal-ish,

http://caseyspizzas.com/

but I can't seem to recall any member doing anything along the lines of modified grill coal style mobile or wood fired coal style mobile.

If you have the money, I don't think you can top Casey's setup for that kind of style. That's pretty ambitious, though, and I get the feeling that you're looking for something smaller scale.

Casey got his start with a little black egg (LBE) and, while most of the members using LBEs commercially have striven for Neapolitan, New Haven, with it's longer bake time, is a bit easier.  It sounds like you want to be somewhere between an LBE and a truck fitted with a Marsal, but, honestly, I haven't seen any middle ground.

I guess, in theory, nothing's stopping you from buying or making an oversized gas grill and putting it on a trailer.  Stainless steel would stand up nicely to the weather, while still not breaking the bank like a Marsal would. A grill would be exponentially lighter than a WFO, so you wouldn't have to go crazy about reinforcing the trailer for the extra weight. I would suggest seeking out an extraordinarily high BTU grill for this purpose, though.

Before you go full scale, I would definitely make sure you're existing 'small scale' grill pies are perfect so that you know what kind of modifications will be necessary for the large grill.  Out of the box, there's no gas grill that can, with a stone, put out Pepe quality pies.  I normally encourage home bakers to strive for better than commercial pizzeria results, but, since I had the chance to try Pepe's a couple months back, I think they are more than a worthy enough model to emulate. A typical gas grill, to produce Pepe quality bake times, will require some modifications, such as a lower roof, a less conductive stone and/or some kind of deflection under the stone. A gas grill, with the lower BTUs involved, has a lot less room for error than an LBE, but if you can dial in the all the elements, you should be able to see something Pepe-ish- if you haven't already.

What kind of BTUs are you working with now? What's the shortest bake time you've been able to achieve?

Offline polishpizza

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Re: Polack trying to make pizza's!!
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2013, 07:20:08 AM »
Thanks for the replies guys.

Some answers and clarifications to your statements.

My initial idea was to go with some type of gas grill to make the pies as this is what I am used to and fairly successful at.  Additionally most of the "trucks" are WFO so I wanted to do something different.  That was before semi educating myself.

I've found very few (if any) gas grills that I could use in a commercial/small party setting that will pump out pizza's on a numbers basis.  It takes me about 5-8 minutes plus to produce a pie on my current gas grill.  That isn't going to cut it commercially unless I have lines of grills or one or two big ones.

I'm still open to any gas grill options but concerned now about the transporting of the gas vs. wood.  I'm also starting to look at some smaller WFO options as well.  Yup, all over the place!  If I went WFO it would be a learning process but with time I can master it.  This year is proof of concept for me, next year if this goes forward is show time.

I cooked some pies last night and for the first time was conscious of bake times, heat, etc.  I listed bake times above.  Heat went up to about 600 degree's with the lid closed.  After I set the pizza up and cooked one side (I oil both sides, cook one, then flip the dough, add sauce, toppings, etc.) the temp went down to 200 degrees then back up to 500/600.  I did notice some "soft spots" were the cheese did not completely melt which tells me I have uneven heat (I think!).

Not sure on BTU's.  Can I get that from max heat or is that a product of the physical grill I have and a spec I can get from the owners manual?

I learned (on a beginner level) the importance of heat, dome size, bake times, etc. from reading this forum and others on the net.  All this new to me.

Polack trying to make pizza

scott123

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Re: Polack trying to make pizza's!!
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2013, 07:31:23 AM »
PP, you are baking the pizzas on a stone, correct?

Offline polishpizza

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Re: Polack trying to make pizza's!!
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2013, 07:44:36 AM »
Believe it or not no.  Right on the grill top, low flame.  Never knew there was an option for a stone.  I assume it creates a level heating plane?
Polack trying to make pizza

scott123

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Re: Polack trying to make pizza's!!
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2013, 08:12:36 AM »
Yes, there are certain stones that can be purchased that go right on the grill.

So, when you talk about 'making pizzas on the grill,' you're 'making pizzas ON the grill'  ;D Okay, I know Mario Batali rakes in some good money making a version of grilled pizza, and I'm also aware that grilled pizza has it's fans, but, I have to admit, this forum doesn't usually see too many- or if there are, they don't seem to talk about it much.

For me, grilled pizza is par-baked pizza.  When you pre-bake a skin you drive a great deal of moisture away, this moisture is vital for carrying heat up to the cheese and melting it properly.  Once the moisture is gone, the cheese doesn't bubble. Rather than bubbling and giving off it's buttery richness, it has a tendency to brown from above.  While I spend a great deal of my time perfecting my dough, I spend countless hours getting my cheese to bubble, so, for me, par-baking is the enemy.

But then extra thick Sicilian style is also my arch nemesis, and there are plenty of people that do back flips over that. Just because it's not my bag doesn't mean that it can't be profitable for you.  Personally, I think something Pepe-ish coming from a grill/wfo would be more profitable, but if grilled pizzas are your forte, a mobile grilled pizza business might be viable.

Offline polishpizza

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Re: Polack trying to make pizza's!!
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2013, 08:00:35 PM »
I'm not married to the grill by any means.  Let's take that off the table and assume if do use a grill for this startup venture it would have a stone. 

Reality is I'm probably going to go for a WFO for the venture.  That being said, where do I go from here?  I'm looking to start small but reasonable (WFO Options)  I'm actually excited about getting a WFO so I can better mimic the "sallys type pizza"....From my research I see some important things to look for when buying a WFO is bake time, number of pizza's that can be cooked at one time, dome heigh, oven shape, refractory (??), etc.  Am I on the right track here?

For the record I was never trying to replicate the sallys pizza via my pizza on the grill...it was just a way my friend showed me how to make pizza his way and I took it from there.

BTW, what is the definition of par baked?

Also, is there a best book, class, ebook that goes over in detail the dough, sauce, cheese selection process or is this to much of an opinion type answer?

Thanks for all the advice to date, it is appreciated.
Polack trying to make pizza

scott123

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Re: Polack trying to make pizza's!!
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2013, 01:25:20 AM »
Par baked means that you bake the dough first, then add the sauce and cheese and bake it again.

The questions of books came up recently

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=22822.0

As of right now, there's isn't a book I'd recommend.  Your best bet is the search function on this forum.

Here's a recent discussion on small WFOs

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,19857.0.html

The topic can get a bit contentious, but... the contentiousness revolves primarily around ideal thermodynamics for Neapolitan pizzas.  If you're shooting for NH coal and don't expect to ever get the Neapolitan bug, then that might give you a little more flexibility when shopping.

One potentially large issue with a coal style in a small WFO is that small WFOs can't generally do more than one pie at a time, so if you're doing 3-5 minute coal style pies, that's not a lot of output.  This is probably a pretty big reason why you generally don't see anyone doing longer baked mobile pies.

There's also the size of the pies to take into consideration. Neapolitan pies are traditionally 14 inches or slightly less, but a proper coal style pie really should be 16 minimum, and, if possible, 18.  For a small 27"-30" WFO, you might not able to squeeze an 18" pie in there with a fire.

Check your grill manual and see if you can come up with BTUs, along with considering tricking it out for Sally's type pies.  With a little creativity and DIY willingness (a stone, a ceiling and something lightweight to support the ceiling), you should be able to get a Sally pie out of your grill. Once you conquer that milestone, that will put you in a far better position for mobile business planning.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 01:27:04 AM by scott123 »

Offline polishpizza

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Re: Polack trying to make pizza's!!
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2013, 09:35:35 AM »
Sounds like a plan.  Thanks for the feedback.
Polack trying to make pizza


Offline polishpizza

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Re: Polack trying to make pizza's!!
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2013, 02:27:27 PM »
Scott:

Can you give me a quick (RDV) of the different types of pies - major ones?

So from our thread and others I have read:

1.  Neapolitan - thin crust, 14" or less

2.  Par baked - pre cooked crust, then add toppings

3.  Deep dish - heavy "pie" type

5.  Coal style - 18'+ thin crust
Polack trying to make pizza

scott123

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Re: Polack trying to make pizza's!!
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2013, 07:34:10 PM »
PP, this is a good introduction to the various regional styles:

http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2008/01/a-list-of-regional-pizza-styles.html

and here's a good introduction to Neapolitan:

What to Expect at a Neapolitan Pizzeria

The photos are okay representations of Neapolitan pizza, but I think this photo here shows the characteristic charring (called leoparding):

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14506.msg231492.html#msg231492

You can see that I'm pushing you towards gaining a better understanding of Neapolitan pizza as your feelings about it will be integral to any WFO purchase. Also, even if you don't sell Neapolitan on a mobile basis, you will want to understand your mobile competitors, and there's an excellent chance someone will be sellling Neo pies in your area from a mobile WFO.

Your best bet, at this moment, is to track down a good Neapolitan pizzeria in your area so you can experience it firsthand.  New Haven isn't renowned for it's Neapolitan pizzerias, but there has to be at least one good one.  You might want to start a new thread and ask people in the area for their opinions.

Offline polishpizza

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Re: Polack trying to make pizza's!!
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2013, 07:47:36 PM »
Thanks Scott.

Also, I took some other time today on the site and I see there are entire forums on each individual style which I need to spend some time on.  Should have looked further before asking this question.  I have a lot to learn and I need to spend some time learning before I can even start to crawl.  I'm a pretty reasonable guy.  Like everyone else (maybe) I just want to buy an oven and start cooking pies.  I see that is not the case and respect that.  Upward and onward.

I'm going to research on this site a decent pizza stone setup for my grill and make the transition from the par baked to a more traditional style pie for starters.

Thanks again.
Polack trying to make pizza

scott123

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Re: Polack trying to make pizza's!!
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2013, 09:13:25 PM »
You're welcome  :)

Btw, depending on the specs of your home oven, it might be easier to use that to achieve a Sally's type pie, rather than a grill.

Offline polishpizza

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Re: Polack trying to make pizza's!!
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2013, 07:41:33 AM »
Those links you gave me were awesome.  Knowledge base is growing by the day.

I'm going to spend some time on finding key characteristics (dome height, thermal mass, etc.) of a WFO for making NH and Neapolitan style pies next.

In the meantime I will look into either retrofitting grill with the various products out there such as Brick Oven box, etc. for my current grill and look at my current inhouse oven.
Polack trying to make pizza


 

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