Author Topic: Oven Temperature Surprise  (Read 5195 times)

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Offline gschwim

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Oven Temperature Surprise
« on: June 27, 2006, 02:27:06 AM »
It seems that every comment I've seen regarding baking temperature calls for the highest possible temperature -- 550 degrees in a conventional oven and, preferably, the 800 degrees or more of a traditional wood-fired oven.  So the last time I picked up a slice from my local pizzeria. with its standard (at least here in NYC) 650-degree-capable Bakers Pride oven, I glanced at the temperature dial and was surprised to see it set at 450 degrees.  Is 450 degrees perhaps the optimum baking temperature for a New York style pizza?  Now that I think of it, that makes sense because I believe that the baking time is on the order of 15-20 minutes.  Of course, the "gourmet" pizzerias have the fancy high-temp ovens and taste great, but the "neighborhood joints" ain't bad -- and I think it would be interesting to combine a NYC dough with the higher quality mozzarella instead of the usual shredded stuff.  And, of course, it would be great to bake at 450 degrees -- well within the range of any home oven.

My question:  Will all the New York style dough recipes on this site work at 450 degrees and what is the proper baking time?  I assume I would still use a pizza stone to emulate the surface of a commercial oven.

Also, there is a local (New York and New Jersey) pizzeria chain, Singa's Pizza, that makes standard New York style pizzas, but rather than place them directly on the oven surface, they put the dough in cake pans and then put the cake pans in a commercial oven.)  I didn't notice the temperature, but the cooking time for my pizza was 20 minutes.


Offline enchant

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Re: Oven Temperature Surprise
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2006, 07:59:20 AM »
Some of the others will be able to give a better answer to you, but I'll offer my personal opinion.

Everything is relative.  Baking your pizza at 450 will not give you a worthless pizza vs baking it at 550.  Side-by-side, you might feel that the 550 pizza is better, but I doubt you'll say "Wow - what a difference!"

I think that one of the key steps, regardless of temperature, is to give the stone sufficient time to come up to temperature - at least 30 minutes after the oven pre-heats.  This is one of the things that really took my pizzas to the next plateau.

However, if you've got 550 degrees available to you, you should try it and see if you like the results better than 450.
--pat--

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Oven Temperature Surprise
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2006, 09:04:43 AM »
gschwim,

I, too, have seen operators use lower temperatures than 500+ degrees F for the NY style (see, for example, Reply 1 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,886.msg8031.html#msg8031). From what I have read, most pizza operators with deck ovens would be content to get a fairly constant 525 degrees out of their deck ovens, but some operate at temperatures below that, as noted above. Tom Lehmann frequently admonishes pizza operators to use lower oven temperatures and longer bake times. They often resist that advice because they want to push pizzas as fast as possible through their ovens and longer bake times means lower throughput. On this point, I once posted this excerpt of a Q&A between a poster and Tom at the PMQ Think Tank:

I was wondering what effect the temperature that a pizza is cooked at, has on the final product. Not just time, but flavour, colour, etc. I have heard people using all different kinds of temperatures to cook their pizzas and was wondering if it has affect on flavour, ie you can cook a pizza at a high temperature but it doesn't give enough time for some of the flavours to develop? What are the temperatures that people have found to be the best and in what type of oven.
Thanks,
Michael

Michael;
A longer, slower bake will always beat a fast bake if you are looking for flavor and crispiness. With a longer bake you denature more protein in the flour and create better flavors. This is one of the reasons why those $5.00 a loaf gourmet breads taste so good as compared to the standard white breads that you buy in the supermarket. Even with these, the higher priced breads are almost always baked longer for better flavor development, people recognize this and are willing to pay more for it. The longer baking times also provide time for moisture to evaporate from the top of the pizza, reducing the possibility of having a "swamp" pizza. The crust bakes out with a thicker, drier crust that is more crispy, and retains it's crisp for a longer time too. Most deck ovens will bake at 475 to 525F and air impingers will bake at 435 to 450F. Baking times will vary with the type of oven and a host of other factors.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor"


gschwim, I think it is too general a statement to say that “all” NY style pizzas described on this forum can be baked at lower oven temperatures. Ovens differ and people's preferences differ. Also, the dough formulation may dictate a lower oven temperature. For example, if the dough includes sugar, a lower oven temperature may be used because sugar can promote premature or excessive crust browning when baked directly on a hearth-like surface (which is why some operators use a pizza screen to “lift” a pizza off of the hot surface). I recently used lower oven temperatures to make a Lehman NY pie, as described at Reply 424 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,576.msg27372.html#msg27372, but I was using a pizza screen and trying to achieve a crispy crust. I used the lower temperatures (and longer bake time) for exactly the reasons mentioned in the above Lehmann quote. I was also trying to avoid long stone pre-heat times and overheating my kitchen in the midst of a heat wave in Texas. I have done the same sorts of things (lower bake temperature and longer bake time) when making Randy’s American style pizzas. To me, temperature and time are tools to be used to achieve a particular objective or result

What you noted at Singa’s is also quite common. When pizzas are baked in pans, the pans start out cold and have to get up to temperature before the pizza can start to bake. That will add several minutes more to the bake time, no matter the oven temperature. I discovered this recently when I made a Greek/bar pizza, for which I used a preheated stone and an oven temperature of 500 degrees F. You might also keep in mind that pizza operators frequently bake several pizzas at a time, which will increase the bake time of an individual pizza.

It is to your credit that you have picked up on the point of using lower oven temperatures so early in your exploration of pizza. Most people discover the concept much later, and some never do.

Peter

Offline gschwim

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Re: Oven Temperature Surprise
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2006, 12:24:28 AM »
Since Lehman recommends low temperature and longer bake time, I will assume that the Lehman NY dough recipe would work.

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Re: Oven Temperature Surprise
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2006, 08:27:25 AM »
gschwim,

For the basic Lehmann dough recipe as he has given it (the commercial version that started the Lehmann thread), that is correct. However, I will add that Tom Lehmann does not think much of home ovens for baking pizzas. He thinks they don't have enough BTUs. Since he is an industry supporter and owes allegiance to that industry, I am not surprised by his position on this but I think he greatly underestimates what home pizza makers have been able to accomplish with their standard home ovens--even with his dough formulation--as evidenced by what we have seen on this forum in the results posted by our members. Those results will vary, of course, because of variations in ovens (there are far more models of home ovens than commercial ovens) and the skills and experience of the pizza makers in using their home ovens.

Peter

Offline abc

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Re: Oven Temperature Surprise
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2006, 02:47:08 PM »
for me, the only reason i've stuck to 550 as long as i've had was due to somewhere along the line that one was maximizing the oven spring of the dough... and i was thinking i'd maximize charring while minimizing the dough from possibly starting to dry out, changing the texture of the dough.

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Re: Oven Temperature Surprise
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2006, 04:19:42 PM »
abc,

From the standpoint of maximizing the oven spring, your use of high oven temperature makes sense. And the nature of the crust and the pizza when it is comes out of the oven will reflect that.

As you noted, if you change the oven temperature or your bake method, the crust will be different. But, when someone wants a darker and tastier crust, or a crispier crust, a good way to get these results is to lower the oven temperature so that it takes longer to bake the pizza. Recently, one of our members, nypizza, used a version of that when he combined baking his pizza on the stone and then on an upper oven rack position. See Reply 12 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3280.msg28087.html#msg28087. As I noted in my reply, he could have lowered the temperature when he made the shift, which would have given him a bit more time to get the results he was after. I recently used just that approach when I baked a pizza in a cutter pan directly on the stone and then shifted it to an upper rack position, at which time I lowered the oven temperature. I was looking for color and a crispy crust.

Peter

Offline abc

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Re: Oven Temperature Surprise
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2006, 02:04:28 PM »
took me a moment to be able to locate this thread again, but i found it.

i just had a pizza thought again...

local nyc pizzerias out there surely can be found with oven temps below '550'...

supposedly not 'optimum' for dough oven spring...

yet it is clear from this forum that some of us are seeking more voids,
more puff in our crust rims in our '550' degree pizza experiments at home to match up with the pizzeria product.

granted, the fault may be in the dough prep in some of us that applying the '550' cannot straighten out.

i know for me, at this stage i have minimal questions with my dough prep procedures, so applying my '550' oven temps, i don't get puff 'beyond' a pizzeria...

so if I make a pizza at 450degrees, should i get less puff than a pizzeria that may also be at 450degrees.

I suppose one test is to buy a couple of dough balls from a pizzeria after all, something I have never done yet.


This would prove if it's something with my oven cavity, or my shaping techniques.

Offline OzPizza

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Re: Oven Temperature Surprise
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2006, 06:24:17 AM »
my best results in my equipex(rollergrill) commercial countertop oven are achieved between 510-530F. Any higher and the efficiency of this particulary oven seems to cook my pies way too fast. Any lower and the cheese browns before the crust is ready. As it is 7-8 mins would be a long bake time for my own lehmann style, mostly it's under 7 for an ideal result. :chef:

« Last Edit: August 28, 2006, 06:30:47 AM by OzPizza »
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Offline Harv

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Re: Oven Temperature Surprise
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2006, 07:03:15 AM »
I had a pizza operator tell me that he sets his deck at 450 because at higher temperatures there is a greater risk of charring.  And for Joe public, he said any black spots at all and the pizzas start getting sent back as burnt.  So for business reasons he goes with the lower temp.


Offline abc

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Re: Oven Temperature Surprise
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2006, 09:58:13 AM »
I had a pizza operator tell me that he sets his deck at 450 because at higher temperatures there is a greater risk of charring.  And for Joe public, he said any black spots at all and the pizzas start getting sent back as burnt.  So for business reasons he goes with the lower temp.

gee, this parlor is surrounded by customers that don't understand real pizza.

Offline gschwim

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Re: Oven Temperature Surprise
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2006, 11:17:38 AM »
abc,

I wonder if you live in NYC.  I wonder if you might be confusing New York pizza with Neopolitan pizza.  Neopolitan is softer and a bit of charring adds to the flavor.  This can also be true of New York pizza, primarily the "upper-tier" places.  However, the pizza is the typical corner "neighborhood joint" is much more on the chewy side -- so much so, that it is not unusual for people to leave their outer edge (cornicone) uneaten -- so it's possible that a crust cooked long enough to char might be too touch to eat.  Remember, as I noted at the start of this thread, lots of (most?) NYC neighborhood joints bake their pies at 450 degrees, so a charred pie, unlike Neopolitan pies, which bake in no more than two minutes and probably less, would have to have been baking for a long time.

Offline abc

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Re: Oven Temperature Surprise
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2006, 05:02:20 PM »
oh absolutely, nyc.  and  i don't think i'm confusing one form of pizza for another...  i've mentioned before, i tend to instruct shops to give me a pie 'well done' so it's nice and developed because i feel they shortchange the pizza, so to speak... they don't put it at optimum flavor.

just like supermarket italian bread or a bad bagel, i feel a lot of mediocre outfits are so because they don't give their product enough oven time.


i guess if the local public around a shortchanging pizza joint thats been there for yrs has got their customers raised on underbaked pies, they don't know any better, and the outfit wins by not having to give ea. pie as much gas.

Offline John39840

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Re: Oven Temperature Surprise
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2006, 04:15:55 AM »
Part of the difficulty is loading the pizza into a home oven, and maintaining the temperature over even a short cooking period. That's where traditional pizza ovens probably has our home ovens beat. As a true pizza oven is designed to minimize temperature fluctuations.

In my oven, I have found 500-550 degrees to be the optimal temperature to cook pizzas. I also like placing my pizza on the second rack, approximately 5 inches from the oven's bottom. I'll also warm my oven up only approximately 30 minutes before loading my pizza.

I've even tried making pizzas at lower temperatures, below 500. But I didn't like the bready rise, or the overall consistency or texture of the pizza.

I've also cooked at a 600+ temperature. But I found the results way too unpredictable, and difficult to control. I also didn't like the charring, or the overall texture of the cheese.... it has a tendency to get a bit leathery. I actually love cheese best when it's stringy, or chewy.

Offline abc

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Re: Oven Temperature Surprise
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2006, 03:22:47 PM »
i dont use the temp dial of my oven, i use a taylor oven thermometer placed inside the oven.

my oven, which is only 2 yrs old, doesn't automatically readjust itself as far as i've noticed, after i've opened the door.

that is, if it has preheated to 550 degrees as per my setting, after opening the door for 30sec the real temp of the oven can drop to 510degrees as per the taylor reading...

closing the door, i don't hear the oven flame come back on... i have to shut off the oven and turn it back on, then my oven thermostat can realize it has to go from 510 back to 550 again.

and my stove is a 1,300$ GE model.


so all of us if not already aware of our oven behaviors, should look into this.

Offline giotto

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Re: Oven Temperature Surprise
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2006, 06:53:55 PM »
Just like Lehman's misleading understanding of home pizza makers, you need to apply some common sense to your own experiences regarding oven temperature and outcome of your final product:

- Chris Bianco is known to produce some of the best pizza in the US, and he certainly does not produce them in a low temp oven. His recommendation in his classes is to bring your home oven to as high a temperature as possible. And while he'll tell you that he could not produce the same quality of pizza with a lower temp oven, he'll focus more on the freshness of his ingredients as to his success.

- Artisan bread is outstanding because of the owner's passion, not because of the temp used in their ovens. They have a propensity to use higher quality ingredients and conform to a more passionate handling process than breads produced at local supermarkets. Il Fornaio's production bakery will use a lower temp oven, while other Artisan bakers like Della Fattoria in Petaluma will cook her breads in a brick oven heated by wood.  While their temps may vary, their propensity to age their dough over time and apply minimal and higher quality ingredients is what differs them from the commercial crowd.

- Artisan bakers in San Francisco don't vary their temps to establish spring differences in their breads. They go through a different process. My own experiences thell me that I've found that the amount of sugar, salt, strength of my dough, age of my dough, yeast and temp of my dough before I put it in the oven can easily differ the final spring in my dough.

- Naples has DOC rules requiring their pizzas to be cooked in about 90 seconds because they want nothing less than world class pizza.

While I love the char taste on a pizza crust, I have found other things to be far more important to outstanding pizza and bread than the temp of the oven. And when it's necessary to avoid over exposure of certain ingredients to high temps, I find it better to introduce those ingredients at later times.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2006, 07:03:06 PM by giotto »


 

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