This morning I woke up and made another round of dough. I took a recipe from Mitchjg (thanks!) for dough that was a mix of KABP/00. I also made some straight up 00 dough balls at about 62%. I planned ahead and started a fire around noon and slowly brought the oven up to about 750. Not the ideal temp for a true VPN pie, but I was able to slow things down and practice.
No pics unfortunately.
My favorite pizza of the night was garlic scapes (sautéed in EVOO) with fresh arugula from our garden. No cheese. A little EVOO drizzled over the top and it was over the top. The sweet scapes + the bitter arugula was the perfect combination. I headed the advice that less is more and went easy on the sauce. Made a huge difference - thanks!
I hit a major milestone today - all pizzas were successfully launched off the peel into the oven. Even better, most of them were round. The trick, I found, was to rub 00 into the grain of a wooden peel and build the pie on that. I sprinkled enough 00 flour onto the sticky dough ball so that it was manageable. I realize now that I didn't use enough flour while stretching previously. Once the pie was built, I'd slide it under the metal peel (with a pinch of semolina) and then run it out to the oven.
Regarding fire management, I built a decent sized fire slowly in the center until the dome went clear. I then pushed everything off to the side that I would cook on and added more wood. When it was time to make the pies, I banked everything over to the other side and added more wood. It worked out well. When the first pie went in, I was at about 800 hearth/dome. It slowly lowered after that, which was fine by me. The KABP/00 dough cooked in about 2.5 - 3 min. The rolling flames went out a few times, but a couple of small logs took care of that problem.
I am really loving this oven. It is nice when everything "clicks" and nothing comes out burnt. I think I have enough confidence to invite friends over next weekend for my first pizza party. I have some baguettes rising in the fridge for tomorrow morning's breakfast. I'm digging it. Couldn't get here without the help from the forum - thanks!!
Terrific to hear about the progress you are making!
You mention KABP - did you mean KABF (King Arthur Bread Flour) or KAAP (King Arthur All Purpose)?
(For others, I suggested a workflow inspired by Jeff Varsano with a mix of 70% KABF and 30% 00 to cook at around 700 or so.)
Tell us how much yeast you used and if you cold fermented and for how long?
The details of the recipe?
As far as sticking, it sounds like you may have it conquered. A lot of folks dip the dough ball in a bowl of flour, turn it over to coat the other side, and then begin opening the dough. So, yes, it sounds like you were torturing yourself with too little bench flour.
If you want to use 100% 00, you should go higher in temperature. Get the floor into the mid 800's or more.
For parties, I have gravitated towards the KABF/00 mix in the 700s. I am not yet skilled enough to manage the 00 pies at the higher temperatures when dealing with a volume, talking with folks, etc. You may want to do the same while you are getting your skills up.
Pictures next time! Otherwise, it didn't happen!