As I stated in my introductory post, this is both my second foray into pizza-making, as well as my second time joining the forum. I took a self-imposed pizza-making hiatus last fall.
By way of background, I started making pizza in spring of 2010 under the tutelage of my father-in-law, a retired restaurateur and outstanding pizza-maker. My initial goal was to make Neapolitan style pizza, and I started off with the Big Green Egg (BGE). After about a year of trial and error and a modicum of success, I moved from the BGE to the 2Stone Inferno Pro. I continued my Neapolitan efforts with the 2Stone, with the idea of someday building a brick oven. However, the 2Stone was so easy to adjust to a wide range of temperatures, that I started seriously experimenting with NY-ish style dough recipes in a 600-650 degree/4-minute baking environment. It turned out that I preferred this style of pizza--(it was closest to what I grew up with in southern NJ)--and I moved away from my Neapolitan pizza efforts.
Last summer, after quasi-perfecting what I thought was a pretty good NY-ish style pizza in the 2Stone, I became concerned that I was growing too focused on pizza…I bet no around here can believe that!
So, I did what any reasonable, patient, mild-mannered person would do…I decided to sell off pretty much my entire pizza-making set-up all at once, and try life as an ex-pizza-maker.
Well, long story short, it did not take…too many questions from the kids as to when we would be having pizza nights again, too much imploring from the friends for some decent pizza, and an overall recognition on my part that when you are passionate about something, that something should not be taken lightly. So, this spring, three-years after I started my pizza-making journey, I decided to restart the process.
This time I knew I wanted to focus on NY-ish style pizza--(disclaimer here for scott123: Scott I am well aware that many of the features of my pizza-making style are not authentic in the traditional NY style of pizza that you are such an ardent defender of, hence my -ish suffix
). My biggest concern was the type of oven/s I would employ in this go around. I was very happy with my 2Stone Inferno Pro, but I really wanted to be able to make 2 pizzas at one time…because of the target 4 minute or so bake time I was after and the 250 gram 11-12inch pizzas I planned on making, I felt the ability to make 2 pizzas simultaneously would really improve my ability to feed a crowd of guests.
I considered purchasing 2 2Stone Infernos for the job, but the cost was prohibitive. I looked at the 2-deck countertop pizza ovens out there, but scott123's impressions of most of the readily available models gave me great pause. It was in reading his reviews of these countertop 2-deck ovens that I first uncovered scott123's ideas about the effectiveness of baking on a steel plate in a robust home oven--(thanks again Scott!!). The more I read about it, the more I was impressed, as I really never considered a conventional home oven as a viable option because of the temperature limitations in modern home ovens. The wheels really started spinning, and I began researching home ovens.
That is when it hit me…a double oven…I might be able to bake my NY-ish style pizzas simultaneously in a double oven using 2 1/2 inch steel plates, one in each oven…BINGO! I settled on the Maytag double oven below...See the 1st attachment:
Both ovens have a maximum bake temperature of 550 degrees, and exposed broiler elements at the top of each oven.
I purchased 1/2 steel plates from the Baking Steel company, and positioned them in both ovens so that the steel plates are each approximately 5 inches below the exposed top broiler element..See the 2nd attachment:
I pre-heated them for about an hour at 550 degrees, at which point they both registered in the 530 degree range using my Infrared temperature gun. Then, I switched the Broiler on the High in both ovens, let the Broiler cycle for several minutes, and hit them with the temperature gun again...See the 3rd attachment:
There it is…that 575+ degree temperature I was looking for on the steel…now I knew this set-up was capable of producing decent Ny-ish style pizza, so let's get to it.