Author Topic: Pizza Bella oven  (Read 41755 times)

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Online Steve

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Pizza Bella oven
« on: March 17, 2004, 09:03:16 AM »
I got my Pizza Bella pizza oven yesterday. I tried to measure its operating temperature on "high" with my standard 600F oven thermometer but the oven heated well beyond that limit... I'd have to guess that it went as high as 750-800F... maybe higher!!  :o

Tonight I'll measure the temperature with my new infrared non-contact thermometer that'll read up to 1000F.  8)

As soon as I got home from work the package was waiting for me at the door. I performed the temperature test and then made up a quick batch of NY style pizza dough and gave it a three hour rise. Using one pound of flour to one cup of water, I had enough dough to make three 12" pizzas.  ;D

Here are my initial results:

Pizza #1 - Cranked oven to high, waited for thermostat to click off. Temperature was waaay off the scale of my thermometer. Plopped pizza #1 onto the stone and closed the lid. Kitchen immediatly started filling with smoke. Cough, cough!!  :-\  After exactly two minutes I cracked the lid. Bottom of pizza was charred a nice burnt black (and stuck to the stone!), top of the pizza was perfect!  :(  Scraped pizza off of stone and used spatula to scrape burnt crust off the stone. Even with this dismal failure, I tasted the puffy upper (unburnt) crust and toppings... pure delight! The crust had very thin crisp outer shell and the inside was light, moist, and puffy! It was a perfect NY style crust. Now I had to work on the bottom of the pizza.

Pizza #2 - Lowered the oven temperature to "Medium" and let the stone cool down. Pizza #2 was placed on the stone at which time I closed the lid and set thermostat to "high" (to get the top heating element to turn on). After two minutes I lifted the lid to check on things. The top was cooked nicely, the bottom was just beginning to burn. Out of the oven it came. This pizza was completely edible since it had not burnt, but some of the old bits of burnt crust from pizza #1 were still on the stone and imparted a burnt taste to the crust. Pizza #2 was just "OK" in my opinion.

Pizza #3 - Lowered the oven temperature to "Low" and let it cool down even more. About 30 seconds before the pizza went on I cranked it to "High" to get the top element heated up. After two minutes in the oven, the bottom of the pizza was light brown and one side of the top was starting to brown. I rotated the pizza so it'd cook evenly on top. After about three minutes the bottom was tanish-brown and the top crust (not the toppings) was starting to burn. I took the pizza out at that point. This pizza was the best of the three. I think it was slightly undercooked on the bottom and the top crust edge (not the toppings) was slightly overcooked. No burnt pieces tainted this pizza and it had excellent flavor. My wife said "this tastes like mall pizza", by that I assume she meant it tasted like Sbarro's pizza at our local mall... which is good! So, with the help of my newest kitchen gadget, I've elevated my "homemade" tasting NY pizza to "mall" tasting NY pizza... using the same recipe that I've been using all along. This prooves my point that the oven is the key to getting professional tasting pizza.

I read in Jeffrey Steingarten's book "It Must Have Been Something I Ate" (highly recommended, by the way) that the NY pizzeria ovens are about 650F on the cooking deck, and the air above the pizza about 850F (he measured this with the same type of IR non-contact thermometer that I just ordered). In his book, the chapter about making perfect pizza at home, he goes through the same trials and tribulations that all of us here are still going through... he tries get his home oven to go above 500F, he tries using an outdoor grill, etc., etc... it's a very good story. And I find it humorous that I've essentially done the exact same things that he's done. Jeffrey is the food writer for Vogue Magazine.

You can rest assured that I will be experimenting with my Pizza Bella for quite some time, tweaking my technique, to get that perfect NY style crust.  ;D
« Last Edit: March 17, 2004, 09:03:43 AM by Steve »
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Offline Pizzaholic

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2004, 09:10:53 AM »
Thanks for the information on the Bella. Bet if you let your dough go overnite it would turn out even better.
pizzaholic

Online Steve

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2004, 09:16:15 AM »
Yup! But I just had to try out my new oven, so I couldn't wait for a 24 hour rise!  ;)
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Offline Randy

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2004, 09:23:34 AM »
Sounds like you are very close to a perfect NY style pizza but I will have to disagree with you on the oven to to be the key to NY style pizza although it is a significant contributing factor.
Without the right flour, no oven would make a good NY pizza.

Lombardi's cooks theirs for 3minutes?  Anyway I noticed the bottom of their pizzas have a slightly burnt look.

Great test!

Randy

Offline Pierre

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2004, 03:06:08 PM »
I'm not quite sure.... but, what if you were to add a second thermal-control-knob and then rewire the upper and lower heat coil as a seperate circuit? ???

You would then be able to really control your new Pizza Bella oven,  having a seperate control for the upper and lower heat just like in a professional Pizza Deck Oven used in the pizzerias.

You'd probably have to do more tests to find the optimal settings for each coil. Just might make an interesting Weekend "do it yourself".

Pierre


Online Steve

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2004, 08:39:41 PM »
Here's my new Pizza Bella!  :)
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Online Steve

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2004, 08:40:43 PM »
Lid open... notice the upper heating coil. There's another coil underneath the stone.
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Online Steve

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2004, 08:41:21 PM »
A view from the side.
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Online Steve

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2004, 08:42:48 PM »
This is Pizza #3 (see first message) getting ready to cook... it turned out great!
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Online Steve

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2004, 08:43:37 PM »
And the finished result!  8)
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Online Steve

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2004, 08:44:20 PM »
Yum!!! This pizza cooked in under 3 minutes!!
« Last Edit: March 17, 2004, 09:00:52 PM by Steve »
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Online Steve

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2004, 08:49:50 PM »
The two photos above are a little misleading... although the crust looks well cooked, its was not "crusty" and dried out like so many of my other pizzas cooked in a regular oven... It had an extremely thin "skin" of crispiness and it was soft and moist inside.  8)
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Online Steve

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2004, 08:59:08 PM »
Oh, I almost forgot... tonight my IR non-contact thermometer showed up.

I let my Pizza Bella heat on "high" until ther thermostat clicked.

The reading: over 950F when I opened the lid!!!  :o  No wonder my first pizza burned to a crisp!!

After I left the lid open for about 10 seconds, to let some of the heat escape, the surface of the pizza stone was well over 800F.  :o

I let the stone cool down to about 650F and then wriggled the thermostat to see where it "clicked". I'd have to leave the thermostat set somewhere between "Low" and "Medium" to get it just right.

I like Pierre's idea... I may try to incorporate a toggle switch to turn on/off the bottom coil manually. That way I can get the stone to the right temperature and leave the top element on high. We'll see... I still have lots of experimenting to do!

Oh, and I tested my IR thermometer in my regular oven... it was dead-on accurate! What a cool toy!

http://www.extech.com/instrument/products/400_450/42530.html
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Offline Foccaciaman

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2004, 12:16:04 AM »
Oh Baby, I have got to get one of those thermometers, looks like too much fun.

I was thinking on the Bella and wondering how consistant the heat could be above the pizza ?
What I mean to say is that with the close proximity of the heating coil to the pizza itself seems as if it could burn the crust and cheese rather rapidly if up very high.
So if you check the pizza during cooking does the coil come back on after closure to regulate the heat.
It just seems that with the coils that close and them turning on after checking you could easily toast them pizzas on top.
But I guess if it cooks in 3 freaking minutes, how many times could you check it.
Sounds great though wish I had tried mine before it went to the Goodwill. (well at least I have the solace that someone less fortunate than I is making good pizza in 3 minutes)
Please let us know how it goes and if you'll choose it to be your primary way of cooking.
Ahhh, Pizza The Fifth Food Group

Online Steve

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2004, 07:40:16 AM »
Here's a link to the site where I purchased my thermometer. It's only $79.00.

http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/extech/thermometers/42530.htm
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Online Steve

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2004, 07:46:10 AM »
So if you check the pizza during cooking does the coil come back on after closure to regulate the heat.
It just seems that with the coils that close and them turning on after checking you could easily toast them pizzas on top.

The cooked pizza (shown above) was cooked with the top heating element "on" during the entire cooking phase.  8)
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Offline Randy

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2004, 07:52:23 AM »
Steve two questions.
1. How thick is the stone?
2. How long did it take them to cook?

Randy

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2004, 08:00:38 AM »
Stone is approximately 3/8" thick.

Pizza took 3 minutes to cook!  8)
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Offline Randy

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2004, 08:09:17 AM »
Outstanding!
I would think you would have to tinker with your recipe varying the fat and sugar to get the right color.
Much fun and good eats ahead.

Randy

Offline itsinthesauce

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Re:Pizza Bella oven
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2004, 12:24:42 PM »
Stev, I didn't see where you got the oven and the price. Can you let us know. I saw it on PriceGrabber at +/- $51.00 from Wal-Mart.