Author Topic: Burnt crust  (Read 5331 times)

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Offline Trickydick

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Burnt crust
« on: July 15, 2013, 12:38:44 PM »
I've been hanging out here trying to learn some tips for making better pizza.  My first attempt after a few weeks of reading and researching was rather successful, but far from perfect.  Notably, my crust seemed burnt or scorched on the bottom.
I'm thinking its probably flour from the peel, and from making the pizza.  This was cooked between 850-900 deck temp. (There are some bits of cheese from the last pie cut on the board that are stuck to the bottom.  It's transferred from the cutting board).
Any suggestions?

TD


Offline norma427

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2013, 05:31:01 PM »
TD,

You can try a screen, disk, or pan under your pizza when the bottom browns enough and then continue baking until the top of the pizza is baked enough. 

Norma

Offline Trickydick

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2013, 01:42:40 PM »
Thanks Norma!  I'll try that next time.  Ill also try to use less bench and peel flour and monitor more closely the bake times.  I think, being unaccustomed to baking the real Neo style dough, that I was looking at the toppings more closely than the crust.  How do I get the great leopard spotting crust marks?  I'm using the ischia culture for the dough.  I think my dough was a few hours fermented more than the predictive model indicates that is should've been ready to bake.  Plus I think I added a wee bit more starter than intended, resulting in slightly over fermented dough by several hours.  Not sure that would contribute to the scorching however.

I'll post my result after next weekend.

TD

Offline norma427

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2013, 10:19:58 PM »

TD,

Less bench flour, or less peel flour might help you.  Closely monitoring your bake times might also help you.  Getting the great leoparding crusts marks is something that is learned by experimenting.  They can come from many different things. What kind of oven are you baking in?  I don't think if your dough was slightly overfermented by several hours that would make your bottom crust burn.  It is a dancing act to get to know how you oven bakes and also to get to know your Ischia starter and how long it will take to ferment your dough. 

Norma

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2013, 08:00:13 AM »
TD;
That certainly looks like scorched flour to me too. It's OK to use dusting flour on the bench to help form the pizza skins but the trick is to remember to get most of it back off again. When I'm in the shop I simply give the skin a toss or two and all of the surplus dusting flour is gone, but this really doesn't fly well at home so I'm forced to use a bench brush to lightly dust off the skin just prior to transferring to the prep peel. You typically don't need much flour on the peel to get good release, but if you do, try using a blend of fine cornmeal and semolina flour for your peel dust and try to dress the skin as quickly as possible, remembering to give it a shake to confirm that the dough is free from the peel before taking it to the oven. The rest of your crust, where there isn't any scorched flour looks like it is beginning to develop some pretty good coloring.
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Offline Trickydick

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2013, 09:46:11 AM »
Thank you very much. 

I think it is a combination of peel flour (I was using semolina), and residual bench flour, combined to too long bake times.  I need to be looking at my crust, and pay less attention to the toppings.  It is possible I am not giving the oven enough time to soak up heat in the walls and dome compared to the floor, which was 850°- 900° range.  Dome was hotter, but I forgot the check the walls.  What should the wall temps be relative to the floor and dome?  Somewhere in between?

My oven is a Forno Bravo Premio - http://www.fornobravo.com/residential_pizza_oven/premio2g.html
Not sure which size mine is.

I was thinking a perforated peel would help diminish the excess flour.  My old wooden peel has a very short handle, barely long enough to get the job done.  My metal peel tends to be a bit sticky, but has a bit longer handle.  Previously my dough tends to stick to the metal peel, but now that I've joined pizzamaking.com forum, I think my bad dough problems are a thing of the past!  I wonder if anyone has experimented with a PTFE coated peel or some other anti-stick cookware style pizza peel to eliminate the need for the flour.  Maybe that's a million dollar idea for someone.

Thanks again for the helpful suggestions.  Next time I bake pizza (hopefully this Sunday),  I will try to keep a log of oven temp in dome, wall, and floor, and record the the bake time, as well as experiment with some shorter bake times, under 60 seconds. 

TD

Offline Trickydick

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2013, 09:51:17 AM »
One other thing I wanted to say, about the bench or dusting flour.  I watched a video on you tube promoting the GI metals perforated peel.  The pizziaolo (?) was able to slide the peel under the dressed skin!  He dressed it right on the granite countertop and then transferred to the peel just by sliding the peel beneath without laying a hand on the dough.  He also smacked the dough around and flipped it beaten his hands and twirled it in a fashion that I would never consider attempting (probably for show).  The Neo dough I made was very tender, almost delicate.  Given my past problems of poor elasticity and poor extensibility, I think I was afraid to try and stretch the dough too much. 
Regardless, I was wondering if anyone else has been able to do that peel trick without using any peel flour....

TD

Offline norma427

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2013, 11:40:07 AM »
TD,

If you look at Steve's (Ev) thread you can see where I posted what kind of Forno Bravo oven he uses at Reply 166 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,21856.msg265179.html#msg265179 5th photo down in that reply.

You can see on his whole thread about his Airstream camper http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,21856.0.html that Steve is making two kinds of pizzas which are Neapolitan sourdough and also NY style at the same temperatures.  Steve just uses regular bench flour to coat his wooden peel for both styles of pizzas.  I think Steve heats up his oven for a least an hour if I recall right. 

Maybe a member that has your type of oven can also help you more.

Norma

Offline Trickydick

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2013, 12:00:54 PM »
Thank you!

I will look into that thread.  My oven takes about 60-90 minutes to preheat, though I like to give it longer to really saturate when possible.  I also am going to try and cook the NY style when it hits 550° and then continue adding wood to do the Neo pizza after its over 850°.   I will go and read that thread now and see what other tips I can learn. 

Thanks!

TD


Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2013, 01:04:17 AM »
I really don't think that's scorched flour. The yellow color in the unburned areas (where steam lifted it off the deck) suggests too much bench flour, but the black is charred dough.

It's almost a certainty that your deck is more conductive than mine (probably 3X), and at 850F, my pies are only on the deck for at most 30 seconds. Ad 900F, it would be probably closer to 25 - maybe less. I bet with your deck, you need to take 10 seconds off my numbers meaning if you are at 850F on the deck, you probably need to be doming the pie after about 20 seconds. I generally run my deck at 850F. I think that is probably too hot for your oven. I'd guess you be much happier at 800F. I like the walls at 975F, and the dome with a rolling open flame from the fire (well over 1000F). You are probably going to need this kind of heat as well on the walls and dome to get the leoparding you want. Intense, balanced heat and long (24h+), slow fermentation are the biggest keys to leoparding. Cooler dough when baked also seems to contribute to leoparding.

You definitely don't need a non-stick peel, use less bench flour and lightly dust your peel and tap off before loading. With a perforated peel, it is an extremely simple matter to slide it right under the dressed pizza. Slightly lift the edge of the skin and slide the peel right under. Don't shake your pie on a perforated peel unless you want it to shrink up a couple inches. In my opinion, the benefit of a perforated peel is not that it lets flour fall through but rather there is simply that much less surface area for sticking and friction.
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Offline Peasant

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2013, 02:09:24 AM »
One other thing I wanted to say, about the bench or dusting flour.  I watched a video on you tube promoting the GI metals perforated peel.  The pizziaolo (?) was able to slide the peel under the dressed skin!  He dressed it right on the granite countertop and then transferred to the peel just by sliding the peel beneath without laying a hand on the dough.  He also smacked the dough around and flipped it beaten his hands and twirled it in a fashion that I would never consider attempting (probably for show).  The Neo dough I made was very tender, almost delicate.  Given my past problems of poor elasticity and poor extensibility, I think I was afraid to try and stretch the dough too much. 
Regardless, I was wondering if anyone else has been able to do that peel trick without using any peel flour....

TD

Could you simply lift the pie of the floor when it's charred enough?  Dome the pie to finish.

I use a perforated peel and do the "trick" you mention consistently.  While it works, you still need to work some flour into the dough while you stretch it out.

Offline Trickydick

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2013, 09:32:24 AM »
Thanks!

I'm planning to bake some more pizza this Sunday.  I will keep a log and accurate bake times and take pictures and record temps this time.  I think I have a lot to learn, but it seems my primary problem is cooking them too long.  I've never domed my pies before, so that will be a new technique for me.  I need to keep them out of the rolling fire though!  I think after Sunday Ill be a lot closer to figuring out the correct bake times.  I think my biggest problem last Sunday, was that I left them in the oven too long, most pies in a good 80-90 seconds, possibly more. 

Craig,  thanks very much for your advice.  You think I should run my oven at 800?  I will try doing that.  I thought i had read somewhere about chemical reactions in the dough or something about the magic of 850° and higher temps being a necessity for neapolitan style pizza, but I didnt really understand what that meant.  I think it was a post by one of the forum regulars, possibly Scott?   I will try baking at 800, and try different times and doming and see where that gets me. 

I ordered a perforated peel to play with.  What the heck, it can't hurt, and would be preferable to my short handle wooden peel which occasionally hurts to use from the oven heat.  I could wear a glove, but that would limit my dexterity.  My other metal peel I associate with all my bad dough days, and I don't want that bad mojo transferring onto my "new dough"!  Plus it seems a bit too adherent to the dough.  Until the perforated peel is delivered, I'll try shaking off the excess flour before I dress  the pizza, and also off the peel as well. 

I am also planning to do a 48 hour ferment this time at a lower temp.  My last Neo dough fermented at 75 for about 20 hours before I balled it (longer than I had planned)  then another 6 or 7 before I baked.  By the way, is there a trick to measuring out only a few grams of the starter culture for making the dough?  I'm sure I had more yeast than I intended.  I used a metal spoon and much of the culture stuck to the spoon. 

TD

Offline Mmmph

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2013, 10:04:07 AM »
What flour are you using?
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Offline CDNpielover

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2013, 11:05:22 AM »
Don't most people use wood peels for putting in the oven, and metal for removing?

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2013, 11:24:13 AM »
  try cooking at a lower floor temperature until you get use to your oven and dough. at 750 to 775 degrees on the floor you will still get a 90 second pie. cooking at higher temperatures makes it necessary to watch and balance a lot of variables to get it right. the yellow under the pie is a sign of to much flour. the burnt bottom is to hot of a floor, start at 750 then amp up after you get some pies cooked. also cold dough in a ultra hot oven will burn your bottom is seconds.

Offline Trickydick

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2013, 11:55:01 AM »
What flour are you using?

For this pizza with the burnt crust, I used Caputo 00.  I followed TXCraig1 instructions.

I also made some NY style dough using the dough calculator with all trumps, but those pies didn't burn, and I cooked at 550°-625° deck temp.

TD

Offline Trickydick

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2013, 12:09:09 PM »
  try cooking at a lower floor temperature until you get use to your oven and dough. at 750 to 775 degrees on the floor you will still get a 90 second pie. cooking at higher temperatures makes it necessary to watch and balance a lot of variables to get it right. the yellow under the pie is a sign of to much flour. the burnt bottom is to hot of a floor, start at 750 then amp up after you get some pies cooked. also cold dough in a ultra hot oven will burn your bottom is seconds.

Thanks!

I will probably be making some NY style pizzas starting out with the oven heated up to 550°, then continue to let it heat up, and try some Neo style pizzas at a variety of temps and times.  I'm going to also try very hard to prevent excess flour on the bottom of the dough and peel.  My last efforts, the dough had been at ambient outdoor temps (80's)  and fermented at room temp (75). 

Think I'm going to invite a friend over who grew up working in a pizzeria during high school and college.  He's really good compared to myself at working the dough. And he might be able to help me get less four on the crust/peel.  One other thought and I think also suggested here, to use a screen.  I have a screen that I could try, which would help decrease the amount of flour. It seems to me that's more like a crutch though.  Also for such a short bake time, trying to cook on the screen then slide it off the screen once the crust begins to develop and its no longer a soft dough might not be practical, but I could try that as well. 

I thank you all for the help, and I've got a good idea of what to try next.  More experience is probably what I need and trying some different baking temps and times and taking notes so I know what I did.


TD


Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2013, 12:49:41 PM »
I'm planning to bake some more pizza this Sunday.  I will keep a log and accurate bake times and take pictures and record temps this time.  I think I have a lot to learn, but it seems my primary problem is cooking them too long.  I've never domed my pies before, so that will be a new technique for me.  I need to keep them out of the rolling fire though!  I think after Sunday Ill be a lot closer to figuring out the correct bake times.  I think my biggest problem last Sunday, was that I left them in the oven too long, most pies in a good 80-90 seconds, possibly more. 

Leaving a pie on a 850-900F deck for 80-90 seconds is going to burn the heck out of it like you see – this has nothing to do with the excess flour. It’s the dough burning. There is nothing wrong with 80-90 seconds – you just can’t do it all on the deck. You have to dome the pie or lower your temp a lot. You can lift your pie right up to the edge of the flames. I often see little flames jumping off my pies.

Quote
Craig,  thanks very much for your advice.  You think I should run my oven at 800?  I will try doing that.  I thought i had read somewhere about chemical reactions in the dough or something about the magic of 850° and higher temps being a necessity for neapolitan style pizza, but I didnt really understand what that meant.  I think it was a post by one of the forum regulars, possibly Scott?   I will try baking at 800, and try different times and doming and see where that gets me.

I think you will find your sweet spot somewhere between 775 and 850F on the deck. This does not mean you also bring down the temp in the rest of the oven if you want leoparding. You might have to put a metal pan over the area where you are going to bake as you pre-heat to keep it from getting too hot.

There is nothing chemically magic about 850F on the deck. It just happens to be about the temp where Neapolitan ovens balance heat. With a more conductive floor, you may need to go lower. Or, maybe not. You will have to experiment to figure out what works for your oven.

Quote
I ordered a perforated peel to play with.  What the heck, it can't hurt, and would be preferable to my short handle wooden peel which occasionally hurts to use from the oven heat.  I could wear a glove, but that would limit my dexterity.  My other metal peel I associate with all my bad dough days, and I don't want that bad mojo transferring onto my "new dough"!  Plus it seems a bit too adherent to the dough.  Until the perforated peel is delivered, I'll try shaking off the excess flour before I dress  the pizza, and also off the peel as well. 

You might also want to get a “turning peel” – a long handle with a small (8-9”) metal head. I make 13” pies and my turning peel is 9” diameter. I wouldn’t want it any smaller. If you are making 10-11” pies, an 8” is probably the right size. The reason the small round head is nice is that doming is not a matter of just lifting up the pie. To get even baking, you need to drop it down, turn it, and lift again – and repeat several times to get an even bake. This is tough to do well with a loading peel and it will char and eventually light up a wood peel.

Quote
I am also planning to do a 48 hour ferment this time at a lower temp.  My last Neo dough fermented at 75 for about 20 hours before I balled it (longer than I had planned)  then another 6 or 7 before I baked.  By the way, is there a trick to measuring out only a few grams of the starter culture for making the dough?  I'm sure I had more yeast than I intended.  I used a metal spoon and much of the culture stuck to the spoon. 
 

I use a scale. It’s pretty important to get it close when you are doing long room temp ferments (such as 48hours at 64F). You don’t have to miss by too much to throw off your fermentation schedule. There are enough variables already with a starter. Measurement error shouldn't be one of them. 
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2013, 01:01:31 PM »
Think I'm going to invite a friend over who grew up working in a pizzeria during high school and college.  He's really good compared to myself at working the dough. And he might be able to help me get less four on the crust/peel.  One other thought and I think also suggested here, to use a screen.  I have a screen that I could try, which would help decrease the amount of flour. It seems to me that's more like a crutch though.  Also for such a short bake time, trying to cook on the screen then slide it off the screen once the crust begins to develop and its no longer a soft dough might not be practical, but I could try that as well. 

Don't use a screen for Neapolitan pizza. Go say 20 Hail Mary's for even thinking about. Don't use semolina either - just plain flour. Too much flour is not your problem. Don't be afraid to use too much flour at first. Unless you really like calzones or pies that are anything but round, too much flour is MUCH better than having a pie stick to your peel. You can gradually lower the amount of bench flour as you become more comfortable with everything.
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Offline dhorst

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2013, 01:19:30 PM »
If I'm assembling on my wood peel, Wondra is my first choice for dusting the peel.  It's not just for Grandma's gravy.  There is something about the texture of it that works really well--pizzas slide off easily and it doesn't cling to the crust.  If I'm assembling on a granite or marble surface, then a small amount of ap flour is my choice before slipping a perforated metal peel under and delivering it to the oven.  I also agree with Craig's comments about doming, although the guys I used to work with complained about doing that--it bothered their shoulders on a busy night, so sometimes they would run the oven a bit cooler.

Offline Trickydick

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2013, 01:23:55 PM »
Thanks again!

I've really been learning a lot about pizza on this forum, that's for sure.  I really appreciate the help from everyone.

It seems that I'm headed in the right direction with the dough preparation.  I do have and use digital scales that I bought initially for brewing.  I think I might reserve some of the water for the dough and when I weigh out the culture, then I can rinse with the reserved water and into the mixer bowl.  What happened last time, was that I measured the culture into a small cup and then I couldn't get it all cleaned out and into the bowl, and then some more stuck to the spoon, etc. 

I am definitely planning to experiment with various temps in the oven, and keep a good record this Sunday. 

I have a small turning peel already.  I notice that there are some available with perforations oriented radially like a sunburst.  What is the advantage of perforated turning peel versus a solid one?  Just curious.  My wooden peel I think was intended (and used) for various kitchen ovens over the past 10 years, not for WFO's.  since I already had it, I thought I would try using it.  It's ok when the oven is 550° but much higher than that, with the short handle, its almost like self torture to launch the pizzas.  I also received a larger aluminum peel with a short wooden handle as a gift.   I've found it to be a bit sticky.  When I ordered the tools for my oven, I didn't realize these things about the two peels I already had, since I hadn't used my oven yet.  I did pick up the turning peel when I ordered the other standard tools. 

I had never imagined the concept of "doming" the pizza before.  I will be trying that this Sunday.  I think I'm going to try making smaller pies about 10" and just make more so I can practice shaping the "skins" and baking at a variety of temps to see how they turn out. 

TD


Offline Trickydick

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2013, 01:30:36 PM »
If I'm assembling on my wood peel, Wondra is my first choice for dusting the peel.  It's not just for Grandma's gravy.  There is something about the texture of it that works really well--pizzas slide off easily and it doesn't cling to the crust.  If I'm assembling on a granite or marble surface, then a small amount of ap flour is my choice before slipping a perforated metal peel under and delivering it to the oven.  I also agree with Craig's comments about doming, although the guys I used to work with complained about doing that--it bothered their shoulders on a busy night, so sometimes they would run the oven a bit cooler.

Interesting about the Wondra.  I have some on hand.  Is that for dusting the peel? I had been using the 00 for the bench flour in forming the pizza skins, and semolina for the peel.  I won't be able to form directly on the granite until I get the perforated peel in the mail. 

Thanks!  And thanks also Craig, your comments about the flour on the peel.  I had a mishap last Sunday with one pie that I thought wasn't stuck to the peel.  Probably not enough flour and I was trying to cut back thinking thats what was burning.  Why is it always the anchovy pizza that gets ruined!!! Not quite a calzone, but more so a general disaster of a pizza.  You know I still ate it though!  I think I have some hail Mary's to do now....

Rick

Offline dhorst

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2013, 01:36:14 PM »
Yes, I just use Wondra for dusting the peel.  Sometimes I add a very light sprinkle of sea salt or kosher salt to the peel, also.  AP or Caputo or bread flour is what I use for bench flour when opening and stretching the dough.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2013, 01:58:51 PM »
Thanks again!
It seems that I'm headed in the right direction with the dough preparation.  I do have and use digital scales that I bought initially for brewing.  I think I might reserve some of the water for the dough and when I weigh out the culture, then I can rinse with the reserved water and into the mixer bowl.  What happened last time, was that I measured the culture into a small cup and then I couldn't get it all cleaned out and into the bowl, and then some more stuck to the spoon, etc. 

I measure my culture into a small glass bowl then use a spatula to get it out and into the water. The first few times I did it, I weighed how much culture remained in the bowl (it’s easy to get it al of the spatula in the water), and it was always almost exactly 1g, so I just started weighing out 1g more than I needed, and it seems to work just fine.

Quote
I have a small turning peel already.  I notice that there are some available with perforations oriented radially like a sunburst.  What is the advantage of perforated turning peel versus a solid one?  Just curious. 

I have both, and I see zero advantage to the perforated. All I ever do with it is move logs. I use the solid peel for my pizza.

Quote
I had never imagined the concept of "doming" the pizza before.  I will be trying that this Sunday.  I think I'm going to try making smaller pies about 10" and just make more so I can practice shaping the "skins" and baking at a variety of temps to see how they turn out. 

Lift for a few seconds, drop, turn, repeat. You need to turn it while doming to get an even bake. There will parts of the pie that receive very intense heat. You can affect this somewhat by the angle you hold the pie at the dome. If you don’t turn the pie while doming, you will get a horribly burned edge.

With a little practice, you will drop, turn, and lift all in one fluid motion. As you are lowering the peel, tilt it to about a 30 degree angle, as you get near the deck, only let the edge of the pie touch and pull the peel towards you and a little in the direction you want the pie to turn. This will spin it on the peel; then slide it back under and lift it back up.
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Offline Trickydick

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Re: Burnt crust
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2013, 05:18:59 PM »
Sounds good! I can picture in my brain what you're describing about the fluid motion with the pizza doming technique. Sounds like another reason why I'm going to make smaller pizzas, they should be easier to turn with less risk of dropping one into the fire.
Friday evening I'm going to make the dough and let it ferment a bit cooler at 65 degrees for two days instead of one day at 75 degrees.

Thanks again! 

TD