Author Topic: Advice for someone wanting to get into Neo  (Read 1556 times)

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Offline Camaro10

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Advice for someone wanting to get into Neo
« on: June 06, 2013, 12:09:05 PM »
Hi all, I currently make NY style and have since day one wanted to get into Neo style. The problem is, I dont have a WFO. I cant really afford to pay thousands and thousands of dollars for one since I am a recent college grad.

I also am aware of modifying my home oven to reach high temps but I dont think that is a good idea. So what would your advice be?? Is there any decent ovens out there that are less than 2k. Im not really that good at masonry so building my own may be out of the question. Seems like im at a stand still. :-\


Offline Battletoads

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Re: Advice for someone wanting to get into Neo
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2013, 12:29:18 PM »
I am in a similar situation as you as far as limited funds.  I plan on getting a big green egg, likely around the end of this year.  Not only for smoking but for the possibility that this will work as a cheap alternative to a WFO.  I likely wouldn't use a WFO enough to justify the cost even if I did have the money.  There is a user that has done this and seemed to have some success with it.

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,17271.msg167805.html#msg167805

You can look at biggreenegg.com.  They have four or five sizes and you can probably find one that would fit your needs.

Offline pizza dr

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Re: Advice for someone wanting to get into Neo
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2013, 01:53:30 PM »
I have a BGE and I never could get the results that I wanted from it but I also gave up after only a few trials.  If you have a descent home oven and a pizza steel that would be better in my opinion. 

There are also some out of the box mods for a Weber that seem intriguing but I don't have any experience with them. 

Just start with whatever is most convenient and get baking.  Then you can tweak until you come up with what you are looking for. 

Scot

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Advice for someone wanting to get into Neo
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2013, 04:55:20 PM »
Make friends with someone with a wfo.  :P

Offline bakeshack

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Re: Advice for someone wanting to get into Neo
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2013, 05:44:17 PM »
I don't have masonry skills but I did it!  My oven is not perfect by any means but I am quite proud of my results.  All you need is determination and passion!  In the middle of doing it, you will know how much you want this style of pizza.  :-D  It will get you through the physical pain and stress but that's nothing compared to the reward and fulfillment of having your own handmade oven producing pizzas that you could never buy from any WFO pizzeria.  I promise. 

The actual costs for my 40" oven was about $1500 or less (firebricks and fireclay mixed with regular mortar or refractory mortar, ceramic board, and ceramic blanket).   Finally, you have youth on your side so you should be fine.  I did mine in less than 3 weeks.   



Offline f.montoya

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Re: Advice for someone wanting to get into Neo
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2013, 09:35:42 PM »
I don't have masonry skills but I did it!  My oven is not perfect by any means but I am quite proud of my results.  All you need is determination and passion!  In the middle of doing it, you will know how much you want this style of pizza.  :-D  It will get you through the physical pain and stress but that's nothing compared to the reward and fulfillment of having your own handmade oven producing pizzas that you could never buy from any WFO pizzeria.  I promise. 

The actual costs for my 40" oven was about $1500 or less (firebricks and fireclay mixed with regular mortar or refractory mortar, ceramic board, and ceramic blanket).   Finally, you have youth on your side so you should be fine.  I did mine in less than 3 weeks.

This. ^^

Mine cost a little more to build, but that's only because I live in Japan and things are always more expensive in Japan. But I couldn't say it any better than Bakeshack. Search online for some plans and just do it!! With the exception of just a few cosmetic things, my father, who is 72, just finished building his WFO last week. Here's some shots of his oven and first pies...


Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Advice for someone wanting to get into Neo
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2013, 10:02:08 PM »
But a cheap, used self cleaning oven and cut the lock on it and you got 900 degrees at your disposal. Keep in the garage or on deck with a cover. Put caster wheels on it and roll out of harms way when in use.  ;)
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Offline mkevenson

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Re: Advice for someone wanting to get into Neo
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2013, 01:36:34 AM »
60k BTU/HR propane can get a pizza stone 900+ F. A properly  designed oven , there are a few, can bake a pie in 90 sec. There is more however to making a Napolatana pizza. Learn to make the best dough you can and bake it in the best oven you can afford, for now. Your life will be long and many doors will open, you have the passion, that is key.


Happy pie baking!!!!!


Mark
"Gettin' better all the time" Beatles

Offline Camaro10

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Re: Advice for someone wanting to get into Neo
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2013, 08:42:57 AM »
What will happen if I bake a neo pie in my home oven on a stone (max temp 550). I know it wont be a "true" neo pie but how will it taste.. Less airy dough? Also how does fresh motz melt in a home oven?

Online norma427

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Re: Advice for someone wanting to get into Neo
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2013, 10:15:30 AM »
Gin,

Maybe you will find something of value in the thread where I was trying to use Caputo in a deck oven with other ingredients.  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,17128.0.html   You might also want to look at what Peter posted at Reply 3 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,17128.msg166777.html#msg166777  and the links within that reply.

Norma
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Offline f.montoya

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Re: Advice for someone wanting to get into Neo
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2013, 10:34:50 AM »
What will happen if I bake a neo pie in my home oven on a stone (max temp 550). I know it wont be a "true" neo pie but how will it taste.. Less airy dough? Also how does fresh motz melt in a home oven?

It will taste good. However, it will taste better if you add some olive oil and sugar to your dough so you can optimize the ability of your oven to add/preserve moisture as well as character and char to the cornicione. If you want the best out of 550, go with a good dough recipe that fits that temp and you'll get something delicious until you find a way to produce 850f. Still, at 550 you can make some absolutely awesome pies! By your statement above, It appears that you understand and accept that which is not "true" neo, so in the same way, don't be afraid to customize your dough for what you have to work with!  :)

Offline bakeshack

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Re: Advice for someone wanting to get into Neo
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2013, 02:26:39 PM »
What will happen if I bake a neo pie in my home oven on a stone (max temp 550). I know it wont be a "true" neo pie but how will it taste.. Less airy dough? Also how does fresh motz melt in a home oven?


I've done pretty much everything in my home oven and my dough to replicate an NP pie and my best results came from preheating the stone at the top rack using the broiler for about 1 hr with the door slightly open to release some heat.  One the stone hits 550F, I put on the sleeve (made from frozen wet hand towel wrapped in a thick layer of aluminum foil) on the thermostat.  This will allow the oven to keep the broiler on and keep preheating the stone up to about 700-750F.  This will take another 20-30 mins.  I can start launching the pizza once the stone hits that temp range and the broiler is still running.  The pizza gets baked for about 2 mins sometimes less.  The cheese melts just right.  I posted my results before at this thread in reply 29 - http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,16227.20.html

Having said that, I do not recommend it.  I broke my oven doing that and ended up spending $600 to replace the control board.  The pizzas are good but looking back, they are still quite far and different from the NP pies I make from my WFO and I would never go back.  The main difference is in the texture.  The NP pizzas from the WFO just melts in your mouth like nothing else which, IMO, has no substitute and that, for me, is the key to a Neapolitan pizza.  I am sure the WFO owners here would also attest to that. 

Baking an NP dough at 550F though is a different story.  There is no way possible that you could even come close.  You can make it look closer by getting char and spots around the crust but once you eat it, it's not even close.  I would suggest that if you are truly limited going the WFO route, I would really suggest you embrace the NY-style pizza and go that route, at least for the time being.  IMHO, that is the closest style that you can make inside a regular home oven and give you so much satisfaction and less disappointment. 

Marlon
« Last Edit: June 09, 2013, 02:37:33 PM by bakeshack »

Offline dzpiez

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Re: Advice for someone wanting to get into Neo
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2013, 04:09:53 PM »
Did you look into 2Stone ovens?  But they are getting kinda spendy$ this days too.

Online scott123

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Re: Advice for someone wanting to get into Neo
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2013, 02:07:28 AM »
I broke my oven doing that and ended up spending $600 to replace the control board.

Marlon, I wasn't aware that you broke your oven. I'm sorry to hear that it cost you so much. I didn't say anything at the time, because it seemed like you were very happy with your results, but I believe you could have matched/possibly even improved upon your results, along with stressing your oven less, with a slightly different configuration.  My suggestion would have been to raise the hearth to the top shelf, go with half inch steel, and only use the frozen towel to push the oven to 625.  The closer proximity to the broiler, especially your broiler, would have compensated for the lower ceiling temp, the half inch steel would have provided excellent Neapolitan undercrust char at 625 and 625, for a 550 oven, is the mildest/safest of hacks.

This is all moot now, of course, since it sounds a lot like you've given up Neapolitan in a home oven for good, but, if someone else had your broiler (one in 200 people, I'd estimate), then I think they could take your experimentation a bit further while not putting their oven in jeopardy.

On the NY suggestion, I agree 100%. I strongly feel that NY, done well, is way better than longer baked Neapolitan dough.

Camaro, if you have a broiler as powerful as Marlon's (see his link), then I definitely recommend experimenting with it.  If your oven is like most people, though, then it's time to either play your hand at an LBE or go the mortarless route.  You don't really need masonry skills for a mortarless oven.  No matter what you do, it's always going to be a bit of a game of chance. Marlon's broiler (1 in 200), Neapolitan in an LBE (1 in about 100), Neapolitan in a mortarless oven (1 in around 8, that we know of, but, more likely 1 in 50) are all gambles. A well planned mortarless might be the secret to Neapolitan bliss, but it's really too early to make any guarantees that a specific design will produce results.

A 2stone should get you to Neapolitan, but, if you're going to spend $2K on that, you might was well spend another thousand and get a wood fired oven.

Offline bakeshack

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Re: Advice for someone wanting to get into Neo
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2013, 04:35:31 PM »
Marlon, I wasn't aware that you broke your oven. I'm sorry to hear that it cost you so much. I didn't say anything at the time, because it seemed like you were very happy with your results, but I believe you could have matched/possibly even improved upon your results, along with stressing your oven less, with a slightly different configuration.  My suggestion would have been to raise the hearth to the top shelf, go with half inch steel, and only use the frozen towel to push the oven to 625.  The closer proximity to the broiler, especially your broiler, would have compensated for the lower ceiling temp, the half inch steel would have provided excellent Neapolitan undercrust char at 625 and 625, for a 550 oven, is the mildest/safest of hacks.

This is all moot now, of course, since it sounds a lot like you've given up Neapolitan in a home oven for good, but, if someone else had your broiler (one in 200 people, I'd estimate), then I think they could take your experimentation a bit further while not putting their oven in jeopardy.



I probably got about 15 bakes using that setup until the oven broke down on me.  I think the baking steel setup would be great and yield a good result.  I was very happy with the results with my setup although once I finally dialed in on my WFO setup and got some "true" bake times down to about 45-60 secs, I realized that the results from both were still quite different.  The texture/tenderness is just not the same.  For me, texture/tenderness is everything in a Neapolitan pizza and I'm afraid only a WFO can achieve it (at least, in my experience). 


A 2stone should get you to Neapolitan, but, if you're going to spend $2K on that, you might was well spend another thousand and get a wood fired oven.

As I mentioned in my previous reply, it cost me about $1,500 max (most likely less) and 3 weeks of manual labor without help and I got myself a WFO and a very nice workout.  Again, it is far from perfect and it really does not have to be perfect at all.   You just need to get the basics close to ideal (i.e. dome height and size of the oven mouth) and you have the potential to make a great Neapolitan pizza.  I understand that it's not possible for everyone to do this but if you have the capacity and dedication, there is no substitute for a WFO.



Offline Camaro10

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Re: Advice for someone wanting to get into Neo
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2013, 04:07:11 PM »
Does anybody have any links to a decent plan for a mortarless oven? I've been searching but not exactly the best results.

Offline f.montoya

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Re: Advice for someone wanting to get into Neo
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2013, 06:36:48 PM »
You might want to start here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,18944.0.html

That guy built one, then took it apart and built another one to his liking. Perhaps he has some additional insight having two under his belt. :)


 

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