Author Topic: Please recommend me the right baking material for my setup  (Read 888 times)

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Offline gobseulmuhri

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Please recommend me the right baking material for my setup
« on: February 07, 2013, 04:43:35 PM »
I have a gas oven that has the heating element on the bottom with the broiler section separate from the main oven compartment.  So far I've used two methods failed to get me the results I wanted: a pizza screen and a non-stick aluminum round grill/griddle pan.  The pizza screen doesn't give enough oven spring and the aluminum pan makes the pizza burn/stick on the bottom way too fast.  I don't mind the charring, but it's such a pain to clean off the burnt pieces from the pan that I've given up using it.  

I want to invest in a good stone/steel, but I'm not sure what the best option would be.  The oven reaches 550 without a problem, but it cannot broil from the top.  I am very interested in the baking steel, but I'm afraid that, with the heating element on the bottom, it could get too hot and result in burnt bottoms that will get stuck to the steel.  

Of these options, which stone would you say would be best for my application?

Fibrament
Cordierite 1/2'' (i.e. SurLaTable)
Baking Steel 1/4''
Cheapo stone from Target

My ideal would be to bake ~4 min pies with a relatively high hydration dough (65%-70%) with no oil using KABF.  Thanks for all your suggestions!
« Last Edit: February 07, 2013, 05:15:59 PM by gobseulmuhri »


Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Please recommend me the right baking material for my setup
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2013, 05:23:46 PM »
Of these options, which stone would you say would be best for my application?

Fibrament
Cordierite 1/2'' (i.e. SurLaTable)
Baking Steel 1/4''
Cheapo stone from Target

My ideal would be to bake ~4 min pies with a relatively high hydration dough (65%-70%) with no oil using KABF.  Thanks for all your suggestions!

I doubt any of those choices will get you there. 1/2" steel is probably your best bet. If I had to choose from your list, it would be 1/4" steel.

edit - scratch that - sorry I misread your statement that you can't broil from the top.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2013, 06:07:40 PM by TXCraig1 »
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Offline atom

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Re: Please recommend me the right baking material for my setup
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2013, 05:47:01 PM »
What style pizza are you making?

Offline scott123

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Re: Please recommend me the right baking material for my setup
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2013, 06:03:10 PM »
Without top heat, steel, as you suspect, would exacerbate your top/bottom heat balance issue. Steel is always to be avoided in bottom heat only scenarios.

If you're going to hit a 4 minute balanced bake, this is the only hope you've got:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,21503.0.html

Edit: I just remembered that there's a chance you might be able to put steel in the broiler drawer and pre-heat it with the broiler, but I have yet to see a 4 minute pie come out of this scenario. Since broiler drawers are usually smaller, you'd be limiting your hearth size as well.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2013, 06:12:50 PM by scott123 »

Offline gobseulmuhri

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Re: Please recommend me the right baking material for my setup
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2013, 10:43:32 PM »
Well, that's a bummer. 

Scott - my hope was that I could insulate the rack just above the stone/steel with foil and place a cast iron skillet right over where the pizza would bake.  The theory is that the hot air coming up from the heating element on the bottom will sort of get trapped in the baking area underneath the foil and work in combination with radiant heat from the cast iron to provide extra heat on the top and sides.  It's probably a long shot, but hey, I figure it's the best I can do.  What do you think?

On a side note, my ideal pizza would be of the neapolitan vein, but I rent an apt and a WFO/modded oven is out of the question (though a WFO will be THE first on my priority list if and when I were to settle down in a house).  Thus, the best pizza I could shoot for is a 4-5 minute bake that will hopefully give me a good char and oven spring without drying out the crust and raw tomato sauce.

I know an 8 min NY style could probably accomplished with the oven I have.  But NY style for some reason just doesn't cut it for me.  There's something about the vibrancy of raw tomatoes, fresh mozz, and basil that really speaks to me, and pizza is just not at it's best without that IMO. 

I suppose I can parbake the crust if a shorter bake time is not achievable with my setup, but I hope there's a solution I can find. 

I really appreciate you guys' help.  This forum has been invaluable to me for pizza making.