Author Topic: Why use pizza screens??  (Read 10782 times)

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Offline abc

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Re: Why use pizza screens??
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2006, 10:31:56 AM »
baking paper... interesting... i think i've heard of it... perhaps ultimately i'll try to get to the point where i only use the screen for some initial out of oven cooling of the pizza.


Offline John39840

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Re: Why use pizza screens??
« Reply #26 on: September 26, 2006, 04:34:03 AM »
Why use pizza screens??

There are several reasons why one would use pizza screens. A) The pizza conforms and keeps its shape far better. B) The screen allows more air, which in turn creates a crisper pizza crust. C) The screen makes it far easier to quickly transfer your pizza into the oven and close the door. A quicker transfer also means less oven heat is lost, also meaning crispier, more evenly cooked and browned pizza. D) The screen itself can act as a docker, especially if you press the dough gently into mesh. E) It makes those cool patterns for which many pizza parlors in the east are known.  :P

After cooking on pizza screens, my pizza-making skills actually went up a notch or two.

Offline billneild

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Re: Why use pizza screens??
« Reply #27 on: September 26, 2006, 09:39:45 AM »
I agree with most of what John said, except for the part about crisper crust.  The crust actually gets crisper with closer contact with the stone, assuming the stone has been properly pre-heated.  Putting the pizza directly on the stone or on parchment (baking) paper directly on the stone yields a crisper crust.  The screen has the opposite effect.  They are convenient, they allow for proper sizing, and they facilitate the transfer.  Those are all good reasons for using a screen, but if you want a crisp crust, pull the screen after the pizza firms up to let it sit directly on the stone.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Why use pizza screens??
« Reply #28 on: September 26, 2006, 09:52:11 AM »
I agree with Bill on the matter of crispiness. Another way to get a crispier crust is to just use a lower bake temperature and a longer bake time. That combination allows for a longer time for the moisture to be driven out of the dough. The pizza can be on a stone, as Bill mentions, but it can also be on an oven rack without the screen (after the pizza sets up).

Peter
« Last Edit: September 26, 2006, 09:55:08 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline billneild

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Re: Why use pizza screens??
« Reply #29 on: September 26, 2006, 06:07:59 PM »
Pete is right about the lower temp. to get a crispier crust.  My feeling is that you get a pretty decent pizza out of almost any oven.  It's all a matter of experimenting enough to know what results you want and what it takes to get there in that oven.  Screens or no screens, stone or no stone, high temp. or somewhat lower temp.  But first of all... start with a good dough!

Offline John39840

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Re: Why use pizza screens??
« Reply #30 on: September 26, 2006, 06:18:52 PM »
Interesting.... I've experimented each way: without a screen and with one, both on clay tiles. I've found that often you'll get a drier pizza directly on a pizza stone, not always necessarily crisper. But it was only the combination of high uninterrupted heat, through a quick transfer facilitated by a screen, where the crust was visibly crisper. In fact, you can not only feel but hear the crispness difference in taking a bite. :)

I make thin crust New York style, and my pizzas now have some of the best characteristics of a crackery crisp crust at the bottom, while still retaining a meaty, hefty, yet thin, bottom. You simply get more of those desirable crackly crust bubbles, slightly resembling the texture of the crisped rice in a Nestle Crunch.

However, I'll also use around 1% sugar by volume for browning and crispness purposes. And the increased crispness could also be the direct result of my often gently pushing the dough into the aluminum screen, and therefore creating far greater surface area contact. Aluminum is far more heat conductive to clay, and releases/dissipates its heat far more quickly. It's the difference between 237 W/mK for aluminum vs. around 40 to 60 W/mK for clay. The air pocket allowed inbetween the screen and stone gives the screen/dough greater direct contact to the heat.

Although, I don't imagine cooking in a lower heat environment without sugar having equal effect with clay vs. aluminum/clay. Also the difference in lower conductivity between a steel and aluminum screen could also neutralize any affect. I'd be curious to see if the greater conductivity of copper would intensify this effect.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2006, 06:27:36 PM by John39840 »

Offline John39840

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Re: Why use pizza screens??
« Reply #31 on: September 26, 2006, 06:25:41 PM »
Pete is right about the lower temp. to get a crispier crust.  My feeling is that you get a pretty decent pizza out of almost any oven.  It's all a matter of experimenting enough to know what results you want and what it takes to get there in that oven.  Screens or no screens, stone or no stone, high temp. or somewhat lower temp.  But first of all... start with a good dough!

I've found that lowering cooking temperatures produce a moister doughy bread-like crust, as opposed to a crisper crust. You also might find that the dough has more time to rise at lower temperatures. Again, most of it could be the difference of our individual ovens, and the overall moisture content of our dough.

Offline billneild

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Re: Why use pizza screens??
« Reply #32 on: September 27, 2006, 03:52:00 PM »
It's not just lowering the temp.  It is also a longer cooking time.  The dough has more time to dry out.  However, do whatever suits your taste.  At this end of things it all boils down to personal preference.  For example, some people love "cracker" crusts, but I don't care for them.  Others like deep dish pizza and I could take them or leave them.

Offline John39840

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Re: Why use pizza screens??
« Reply #33 on: September 29, 2006, 04:52:38 AM »
If it's a choice between soggy/moist and crisp/dry, then I believe many would pick crisp/dry. And there's certainly a difference between the two. But then how crisp, and how dry? Yet, if done correctly, you could still have the greater variation of a crisp pizza outside, with a moist inside.

In fact, crisp might even be more an indicator of pizza texture, over maybe the description 'dry.' I've certainly experimented, and experienced results not having clay deliver nearly the same quality of texture.  Simply, for me, proper variation of texture can make pizza so good, you almost want to inhale the slice. ;)

But perhaps everyone here is experiencing the contrast between a steel screen vs. aluminum. Anything making contact with aluminum will cook quicker than with steel. And steel has fairly identical heat conductivity to clay. The difference being that clay will also soak up moisture. Yet, overall, for me, clay and aluminum give the best of both worlds.

I also like screens because one can easily retain perfect shape, and even thickness across the entire slice. There's also the added ability of transfering the pizzas in the oven, and closing the door in less time. The shorter the duration of the door being open, the less heat lost, the quicker and more even the cooking. If there's a chance, next pizza, I should take pictures and post them to give a better example. :pizza:


 

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