Author Topic: Burnt Bottom, raw middle and little rise  (Read 268 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline gingerbeerd

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Newcastle, Australia
  • I Love Pizza!
Burnt Bottom, raw middle and little rise
« on: August 19, 2014, 08:30:49 PM »
Hey Guys,
I've recently purchased a wood oven seen here - http://aromaticembers.com/Pages/MediumSteel.htm
It's got a number of advantages over the a brick oven I've used before, as its quicker and easier to heat up and use.
However I am having a bit of trouble getting my pizzas anywhere near where I want them. As the title says, they are burnt on the bottom, have some a raw dough middle and there is little rise or bubbles in the dough.
I suspect that it is due to the fire being below the deck, causing it to be too hot on the bottom, hence the burn. So my current technique is to cook the bottom deck for about 1 min, then transfer it to the top rack, to be closer to the roof of the oven to cook the top. This addresses the burnt bottom, but I am still getting raw dough in the middle. The top is throughly cooked though.

Where should I be looking in my process to get a better cooked pizza?

For those interested, here is my process at the moment -

Dough is pretty much the same as Jeff Varsanos recipe (65% hydration, no oil or sugar, sourdough culture, wet kneaded, cold fermented for 1-3 days)

I take the dough out of the fridge approximately 2-3 hours before baking. It's winter here is Australia at the moment, so the house isn't particularly warm (16-20C).

I start the fire in the oven about an hour before baking. During this time, the internal oven temp reaches  about 300-350C(570- 660f) and the floor is about 350-400C (650f- 750). By then the coals will have burnt down, and i push them to either side of the oven's fire box. See photo - http://aromaticembers.com/Images/Product%20Images/Medium%20Oven%20Web%20and%20Ebay/Medium%20Oven%20Small/DSC00251.JPG
This is not my photo. Usually my coals are a bit smaller and more burnt down

When the deck is down to 350C (660f) I put my first Pizza in. After about a minute, I transfer it to the top wire rack and finish it off.


I am thinking of replacing the wire rack with another level of fire bricks. This will hopefully lower the deck temperature and increase the heat to the top. However, it will take some time and money to do this, so I want to see if there are other issues with my process that I can address first.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2014, 08:33:42 PM by gingerbeerd »


Online TXCraig1

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 12737
  • Location: Houston, TX
Re: Burnt Bottom, raw middle and little rise
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2014, 08:48:07 PM »
My suggestions:

- Change to IDY or to room-temp fermentation. My guess is that using SD in the fridge is the biggest part of your little rise an bubbles problem. How much rise are you getting in the dough by the time you bake?
- Drop your hydration down to 61%
- Forget about the wet knead. It's not doing anything for you.
- Can you bake on the bricks down by the fire? I'd try pushing the coals to one side and baking down there

When do you ball the dough?
What sort of flour do you use?
Pizza is not bread.

Offline gingerbeerd

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Newcastle, Australia
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Burnt Bottom, raw middle and little rise
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2014, 09:51:13 PM »
Thanks for the response. I will try a room temp fermentation, but I am reluctant to switch from the sourdough culture. It performs very well when baking bread, with large bubbles- Plus the flavour is outstanding.
I would say the dough ball has increased in size by 50% by the time it comes to shaping. Thats a huge guess though, as I've never really compared the size before and after. I ball the dough after kneading, before any fermentation.
I use unbleached, white bakers flour, High gluten (13%). Here in Australia, our flour isn't as good as US flour's I am told. Our soils are depleted of nutrients.

I can bake in the bottom section, however the floor there is even hotter. I have baked there once or twice with similar results.

Online TXCraig1

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 12737
  • Location: Houston, TX
Re: Burnt Bottom, raw middle and little rise
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2014, 10:11:04 PM »
Thanks for the response. I will try a room temp fermentation, but I am reluctant to switch from the sourdough culture. It performs very well when baking bread, with large bubbles- Plus the flavour is outstanding.
I would say the dough ball has increased in size by 50% by the time it comes to shaping. Thats a huge guess though, as I've never really compared the size before and after. I ball the dough after kneading, before any fermentation.
I use unbleached, white bakers flour, High gluten (13%). Here in Australia, our flour isn't as good as US flour's I am told. Our soils are depleted of nutrients.

I can bake in the bottom section, however the floor there is even hotter. I have baked there once or twice with similar results.


It's tough with the heat directly below. Adding a second layer of brick on the bottom might help and would not be expensive. The lower the thermal conductivity the better. In addition, there will be an air gap, however small between they two layers which will help reduce the conductivity. Or, maybe just put a pizza stone on the upper rack?

50% increase in size is not enough. SD just doesn't perform in the fridge. Here is a table to help you find a starting point to use SD at room temp: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=22649.0

My guess is that you will be happier with regular bread flour rather than HG.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline Chris_T

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 23
  • Location: USA
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Burnt Bottom, raw middle and little rise
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2014, 01:57:39 PM »
Cold drastically slows down almost every culture, but there are cultures that perform better or worse in the cold.  I actually do all cold-ferments unless making an emergency dough. 

Much has to do with adaptation (and also with the strains involved).  Very slow generation times in the cold are quite normal for cultures that are adapted to room temp.  (I talk about this, and how to deal with it, in my book, The Science of Bread and Pizza.)

As TxCraig1 said, a pizza stone on a rack higher up in the oven might be worth trying.  But right now, it sounds like your dough is too dense (too little rise) for the cooking conditions to which you're subjecting it.

How thin / thick are you making the dough in the center of the pizza?  Not that it would change anything;  just curious.




 

pizzapan