I did not get to open any of the 4 Ischia starter doughs or bake them in the Chicago Oven. I did have a great time talking to Sal and watching what he did. First of all for anyone that does not know, Sal was the person that helped me first when I wanted to learn about making pizzas. He was going to show me how to make pizza dough, but he became sick and needed an operation. I then learned here on the forum how to make pizza dough after a long struggle.
When I got to the brick place Sal was having problems with the wood they gave him and none of the wood would catch on fire and make flames. It just burned and smoldered. Sal was trying to work with that wood for 2 hours before I got there. Sal said last year at the open house event the wood they gave him burned fine. Sal kept his cool and tried to make pizzas out of his NY style doughs but the oven floor was not hot enough. The dome of the oven was black too. Sal said when the oven is working right the dome is white. The top of the pies would bake but the bottom crusts were almost white. Sal threw those pies away. Sal told the one owner that the wood would not ignite and burn enough to get the oven floor hot. The man said he would go to a local convenience store to pick up some wood. Sal and I knew that would not be the best type of wood to use. Sal had to take some of the smoldering wood/ashes out of the oven and could not find a bucket or shovel. He used his metal pizza peel and a pizza pan to place the ashes on several times. The new wood would ignite but it did not bring the oven up to a high enough temperature in an hour. Sal move the burning wood and embers back and forth in the oven to try to get the floor hot enough. That really didn't work out that well either and the oven never got to more than 717 degrees F. The 717 degrees F temperature was near the end of the event. Most of the time the floor measured in the middle 600's or lower in temperature. Sal did make a lot of pizzas but was not satisfied with them. The attendees at the open house event loved Sal's pizzas.
Sal said he would try my dough balls near the end of the open house event. I had watched how Sal had opened his dough balls and knew the Neapolitan dough balls should not be opened the same way. Sal said the Neapolitan dough balls opened easily but already I knew they might not have a lot of oven spring in the oven or bake well. They didn't bake well or have oven spring. The Ischia dough balls did look like they had fermented enough. Sal had a regular bigger metal pizza peel to dress the pizzas on, slide them into the oven and retrieve them.
It was a lot of fun talking to Sal again this afternoon and evening.
I learned a lot from him and it brought back a lot of memories about when I didn't know anything about making pizzas. I never saw Sal open dough balls or dress pizzas, so that was fun to watch too.
Guess I will be trying some more Ischia dough balls in the BS.