Author Topic: broiler-less oven hack - NY style w/ 3/8" steel and improvised ceilng <5min  (Read 903 times)

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Offline darrenb

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Wonderful success with broiler-less oven hack for NY style. Follow-up to previous attempt here:
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=30222.msg301541#msg301541

Dough:

     Flour (100%):    844.84 g  |  29.8 oz | 1.86 lbs
     Water (62%):    523.8 g  |  18.48 oz | 1.15 lbs
     ADY (.3%):            2.53 g | 0.09 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.67 tsp | 0.22 tbsp
     Salt (2%):           16.9 g | 0.6 oz | 0.04 lbs | 3.52 tsp | 1.17 tbsp
     Oil (1%):           8.45 g | 0.3 oz | 0.02 lbs | 1.88 tsp | 0.63 tbsp
     Total (165.3%): 1396.53 g | 49.26 oz | 3.08 lbs | TF = 0.08
     Single Ball:          349.13 g | 12.32 oz | 0.77 lbs

Proofed ADY in small amount of warm water, then combined all ingredients in food processor and pulsed until combined (maybe 30 sec).

Balled. 2 day cold ferment. 3-4 hour at room temp. Skins stretched to about 14".

Oven:
See below for pic of set-up. Dropped false ceiling to second top rack (quarry tiles on top of tinfoil (for reflectivity)), steel to second bottom rack, reflector to bottom rack.

I left only a small opening for air in the back corner of the oven. I read on another post that a whole was necessary for ignition/pilot light. I assume that enough air hits my pilot through the bottom drawer broiler, but left a small corner open just in case (maybe 3"x3"), on the side opposite my oven's termo probe. Otherwise, I tried to trap as much air/heat as possible in the lower section of the oven.

Hit 530+ on the steel. Oven maxes out at 500 but turned the dial a bit past.

All pies <5 min. No precise time but they were just hitting done at about 4 min. I left some in a few seconds longer for a slightly darker crust.

No finishing under the broiler or doming.

Conclusion:
Vastly superior to my previous attempts. The thinner dough and lower set-up created the best NY-style pie yet. Bottoms were perfectly charred (similar to previous attempt - no real difference here) and tops definitely benefited from dropping the ceiling. Slices drooped only slightly when held from crust. Crust wasn't crunchy or pillowy-soft.

Next Steps:
Dough: Play with hydration %, consider adding sugar to dough, consider IDY

Oven: another rack down? Eliminate any obvious opening in false ceiling?


Offline quixoteQ

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I'm just curious: what purpose do the quarry tiles serve on top of the foil?
Josh

Offline darrenb

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I'm just curious: what purpose do the quarry tiles serve on top of the foil?

Heat reflection. The idea is to prevent heat from reaching thermometer probe, thereby increasing oven output and increasing temp in lower oven section. I used foil to increase reflectivity, as the stones will absorb too much heat (and I don't have any black glazed tiles)

Offline Tannerwooden

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Might I suggest an easier way to crank a little more heat out of your oven?

Go to a local heating and air conditioning company and ask the to give you a handful of fire-proof insulation. Now, wrap your oven probe in tinfoil, and press it on tight, to make a rigid, tinfoil condom. Pull off the condom and wrap the insulation around it, then wrap the insulation with more tinfoil. By sliding this over your oven probe after the oven is preheated, you can easily get 50 to a 100 more degrees out of the oven. More if you freeze the condom first.

Obviously, this is more work up front, but once you have made it, you don't have to mess around with loading a bunch of quarry tiles into your oven each time you make pizza and you don't have to do any of the dangerous oven mods.

Good luck! (oh, and those are FINE looking pies.)

Offline dmckean44

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Might I suggest an easier way to crank a little more heat out of your oven?

Go to a local heating and air conditioning company and ask the to give you a handful of fire-proof insulation. Now, wrap your oven probe in tinfoil, and press it on tight, to make a rigid, tinfoil condom. Pull off the condom and wrap the insulation around it, then wrap the insulation with more tinfoil. By sliding this over your oven probe after the oven is preheated, you can easily get 50 to a 100 more degrees out of the oven. More if you freeze the condom first.

Obviously, this is more work up front, but once you have made it, you don't have to mess around with loading a bunch of quarry tiles into your oven each time you make pizza and you don't have to do any of the dangerous oven mods.

Good luck! (oh, and those are FINE looking pies.)

I might try this, are you talking about mineral wool insulation or something similar?

Offline Tannerwooden

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You know, I'm not really certain what the insulation is. It has the texture of fiberglass, but more of a gray color. I am a builder, so once I had the idea of making an insulation condom I happened to be in our HVAC guy's shop and asked him for some. I used what he gave me.   :)  I read my oven's manual and learned how to get another 35 degrees (lot's of posts about this), then I preheated it to the max, waiting for the moment the element turned off. Then I reached in and put my frozen condom on. You have to be very careful with this method if you have the steel near the top, and your arm gets quite hot putting the condom on. However, using this method got me to around 800 degrees. I don't know for sure as I didn't have a laser thermometer at the time, just a hanging one whose numbers only went to 600. My oven shows an error code if it gets too hot, but it only did this once when I made multiple condoms and kept swapping them out of the freezer to make 6 pies in one night. If you are making multiple pies, you have to keep swapping out the condoms as the heat does eventually get in.

If you only want 50 to 100 degrees of extra heat, I'm sure you could just put on the condom when you turn the oven on. Some folks here have used dish towels, wetted and then frozen on a kitchen steel. I eventually gave up on the condom idea and went with the far easier but far more dangerous oven mod. However, if you rent or just don't want to take the chance, my feeling is that the oven condom is the #2 best option for getting more heat into your pies indoors.

I should offer up the caution that my oven has a cleaning cycle, so my theory is that it is built to go hotter than normal. I don't know if it's dangerous to overheat an oven without a cleaning cycle.

Offline dmckean44

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I think that 50-75 degrees would be all I need anyway. My oven gets to 557 degrees on it's own.

Offline cc2323

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Wow, this totally worked. My oven tops out at 525, confirmed with a thermometer. Last night I prefroze a wash cloth and shoved it on dip stick looking temp gauge right as it hit 525. Let it go another 30 minutes, by which time the thermometer showed over 675! Pizza cooked in about 3 minutes compared to the usual 7.

The rag did start on fire pretty aggressively. It set off the smoke detectors and I had to awkwardly grab it with needle nose pliers and throw it into the snow. I'll definitely be on the lookout for some kind of more robust metal sleeve to put on that thing in the future.

The oven definitely gave off a slightly odd scent, just like when I run the cleaning cycle. I have no idea if it's considered bad to habitually run a home oven like this so hot, but whatever. I'll probably be grilling pizzas more once the weather turns anyway. Thanks for the tip.

Offline Tannerwooden

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I'll definitely be on the lookout for some kind of more robust metal sleeve to put on that thing in the future.

The insulation/tinfoil condom does exactly that. It was free for me as the guy didn't want to bother charging for a handful of insulation. I'm not sure about the odd smell though. I get a superhot, burnt food smell while preheating, but then because of my stone, my place starts smelling like a pizzaria.


 

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