Author Topic: Charring the Base  (Read 2829 times)

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Offline gnatto

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Charring the Base
« on: April 24, 2013, 01:07:25 AM »
So, this is my first post trying to get some help with the first real issue I've had. (Been making pizzas with the help of this forum for about 3 months now). Its been a real struggle getting any kind of colour at all on the base of my pizzas. Here is my setup and what I have been doing so far.

I'm using glutenboys recipe:
Flour (generic supermarket kind - Im in NZ and can't access the kinds that are talked about have haven't tried anything but the standard supermarket stuff) 100%
Water (tap water) 61.0526%
Yeast .19817%
Salt 2.5%
Total 163.75077%

On this latest attempt there was a 5 day fridge rise.

I use a pizza stone (10mm) at the bottom of my gas oven (only a bake setting - flame at the bottom of the oven). I preheat for about 80 minutes before the first pizza goes on. Cooks for about 6-7 minutes to look right everywhere except for the bottom as you can see in the pictures.

I've been thinking about buying a 10mm thick piece of steel to try cooking on instead, but would like to have some advice about where I may be going wrong and whether or not a baking steel would make a difference?

Thanks.


Offline gnatto

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2013, 03:08:47 AM »
as for the oven temperature. I don't have a digital thermometer to measure the oven or stone temperature, but the dial on the oven goes up to 250C and I can turn it past that to what I would guess would be 300C.

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2013, 10:06:39 AM »
Gnatto;
A couple of things come to mind that might cause the problem you're experiencing (no/insufficient color to the bottom of the pizza). 1) is the oven burner shutting of because the oven is up to temperature? This would allow the pizza to suck a good deal of heat from the stone, cooling it to the point where it is not hot enough to properly bake/color the bottom of the pizza. If the burner stays on it would be putting heat into the stone continually resulting in more bottom heat and a better bottom bake.
2) A thicker stone will hold more latent heat to better bake the bottom of the pizza. This is how the wood fired pizza ovens work. They have very thick stones for the hearth and they store a lot of heat, so when a pizza is placed onto the hearth it bakes fast and thoroughly without any appreciable cooling of the hearth surface.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline mkevenson

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2013, 03:39:42 PM »
Gnatto;
 If you let the pizza cook longer will the bottom ever get color? Have you tried sugar, malt or other sweetener in your dough? Have you tried baking your pie on a screen without the stone?
 
From your post it seems you have no top broiler?
 
Since the top is colored nicely and the bottom is not, you may need to either increase the bottom heat or bake longer while decreasing the top heat.
 
Mark
« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 03:43:00 PM by mkevenson »
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Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2013, 05:17:35 PM »
The top browning on that pizza looks about right for a 6-7 min. bake so I am going to guess that your oven is not turning off and I want to say that the problem is probably the stone you have. Do you know what it is made of: 80 min. is a looong preheat for what you are (not) getting out of it.
 At any rate I would try just as Mark has suggested....remove that stone and try a bake either on a screen or a pan that(preferably)is perforated. There is a heat defect here that needs to be figured out first before getting into adding any tricks to your dough.

Bob
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Offline gnatto

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2013, 06:17:58 PM »
Thanks for the ideas so far.

I am 99% sure that the gas doesn't turn off and on during the process but will have to double check that next time.

I haven't really left the pizza on longer than 7-8 minutes so I don't really know if it would ever brown if left on longer.

Will consider trying it with some sugar next time, but am quite happy with the dough recipe as is flavour/texturewise so would like it to work as is if possible.

I don't know what kind of stone I have unfortunately. I think I'm happy to take the next step in buying something that may work better. I had initially thought a baking steel would be best based on what I was reading (10mm thick) but would like to hear some ideas about whether that is a good idea at all, whether it should be thicker, thinner, whether it would best to buy a pizza screen and try baking on that first.

I have attached a photo of my current setup.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2013, 06:31:24 PM »
Sort of hard to tell from the pic but is that burner all the way back against the rear wall....none of the flame is under the stone?
Is there another burner under the floor of the oven?


Bob
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Offline mkevenson

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2013, 06:46:24 PM »
Interesting oven. Is there a deflector plate above the flame?
I do not use a steel plate, but my understanding is that steel
cooks the bottom faster, which is ok BUT you have to have a top heat source, ie broiler, to blast the top side just before the bottom is done.
An IR therm would answer some questions here. Obviously with a 7-8 min bake and the top getting color you have enough heat in the air. Screens are REALLY cheap, on the web around $4. However if there is no deflector plate above the flame you might want to move the screen to the very top of the oven.


Mark
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Offline gnatto

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2013, 07:38:27 PM »
Yeah the burner is right at the back and there is no other source of heat in the oven.

Without a top burner to blast the top would it be silly to think about getting a steel? I was thinking that it would be a better balance than what I'm currently getting though maybe too far the other way.

What difference would putting the stone at the top of the oven make instead of the bottom?

Maybe my next purchase should be an ir therm.

Offline CDNpielover

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2013, 07:45:58 PM »
You can also try preheating at a high temperture and then reducing the temp when you put the pizza in.  This way, your stone may be at a higher temperature relative to the air temp, which should encourage cooking of the bottom and slow down cooking of the top.  In my old overn I used to use a similar (but reverse) method to encourage top browning.


Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2013, 07:47:28 PM »


What difference would putting the stone at the top of the oven make instead of the bottom?

Maybe my next purchase should be an ir therm.
Probably a night and day difference. Just as Mark said above about trying a screen at the very top...try the stone up there until you obtain a screen.  ;)
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Offline CDNpielover

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2013, 07:51:06 PM »
Probably a night and day difference. Just as Mark said above about trying a screen at the very top...try the stone up there until you obtain a screen.  ;)

as I understand it, having the stone at the top would result in an even cooler stone, as the stone will be getting even less radiation from the flames (while the surrounding air temp and thus convective rate will be about the same).   :chef:  I'm pretty sure this is why most people put their stone on the bottom rack.   :chef:

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2013, 08:18:45 PM »
as I understand it, having the stone at the top would result in an even cooler stone, as the stone will be getting even less radiation from the flames (while the surrounding air temp and thus convective rate will be about the same).   :chef:  I'm pretty sure this is why most people put their stone on the bottom rack.   :chef:
It does not lookk like any heat is getting to that stone down at the bottom...

Sort of hard to tell from the pic but is that burner all the way back against the rear wall....none of the flame is under the stone?
Is there another burner under the floor of the oven?


Bob

Yeah the burner is right at the back and there is no other source of heat in the oven.

Without a top burner to blast the top would it be silly to think about getting a steel? I was thinking that it would be a better balance than what I'm currently getting though maybe too far the other way.

What difference would putting the stone at the top of the oven make instead of the bottom?

Maybe my next purchase should be an ir therm.
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline gnatto

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2013, 08:29:31 PM »
Does it mater much the quality of ir thermometer for this sort of application? There is quite a range of stuff from $20 to $200 (http://www.trademe.co.nz/home-living/security-locks-alarms/alarms/home-alarm-systems/auction-583286882.htm)

I would have thought the stone would be cooler nearer the top too but it's certainly worth a shot to see if it makes the difference.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2013, 09:34:46 PM »
Yes, that one should be fine.  I use this one...http://www.harborfreight.com/non-contact-laser-thermometer-96451.html

Also, on your oven, it looks like the heat is completely bypassing your stone...raising it up any amount would have to be an improvement.
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Offline CDNpielover

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2013, 10:24:33 PM »
Yes, that one should be fine.  I use this one...http://www.harborfreight.com/non-contact-laser-thermometer-96451.html

Also, on your oven, it looks like the heat is completely bypassing your stone...raising it up any amount would have to be an improvement.

I'm not sure what you mean by "bypassing the stone."  I think you're referring to convection, and while most of the stone is out of the buoyant plume, the air space on the oven should have a more or less uniform temperature distribution when the flame is on - so the convective flux to the stone should be constant regardless of the position.  However, the closer to the flames the stone is, the more of the flame the stone will "see" - so that you'll get a greater radiative flux.   :chef:

Regardless gnatto, I think you're better off heating the stone to a high temp and then reducing the oven hear when you put the pizza in.  This will provide more heat to the bottom Han the top, and will allow you to cook the bottom more relative to the t.  I've used this method many times, and IMO this would be better than trying to move your stone.  :chef:
« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 10:38:47 PM by CDNpielover »

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2013, 10:43:51 PM »
I wonder what the temp is on the floor of that oven. It looks like the heat from the burner is going straight up the back wall and out it's vent. That burner needs a Scotty deflector;D
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Offline gnatto

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2013, 11:07:17 PM »
well, I'm five days away from testing a few things out, just whipped up some dough. Sounds like there are better ovens out there but unfortunately I've got to figure out how to get this one working for me.

Looking into a screen can anyone tell me the difference between these two types?
http://www.fishpond.co.nz/Homeware/PZ-18714-Admiral-Craft-Pizza-Screen-14-Heavy-Duty-Exp/0646563671419
http://www.fishpond.co.nz/Homeware/Browne-Halco-57-5354-14-Perforated-Aluminum-Pizza-Tray/0065506053547

Is one better than the other?

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2013, 10:41:08 AM »
I'm guessing that the stone is getting heated during the preheating of the oven, but then when the pizza is placed on the stone the latent heat is drawn out of the stone and with the positioning of the burner/flame sufficient heat cannot be put into the stone to maintain a temperature which will induce browning of the bottom crust. I would also bet that the heat is just going right up the back wall of the oven. Think of it like this: If a frying pan was placed with only a small portion of it over the heat, how would that pan bake/fry? With that burner position, I'm not sure what would work except to try baking on a screen and putting some sugar or dairy whey in the dough formula to assist in color development.
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Offline Peasant

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Re: Charring the Base
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2013, 11:10:30 AM »
Would it be possible to get that stone closer to the flames; get part of it over the flame directly?  If you preheated the stone and then moved it so that at least the edge of the stone is over the flame you should  get more heat on your crust.  You'll get to learn how to rotate your pizza in a hot oven too!