Author Topic: Question about frying pans.  (Read 6078 times)

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Offline grovemonkey

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Question about frying pans.
« on: December 06, 2006, 08:33:06 PM »
Does anyone have any experience using the back of a heated pan for a makeshift pizza stone?  Pizza stones are hard to come by here in Japan so I was wondering if a cast iron or heated large pan could be used?

I saw on the bbc documentary posted that the fellow used a heated pan and I was wondering what experience other people have had doing this?

Grove


Offline ernestrome

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Re: Question about frying pans.
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2006, 11:16:31 AM »
I think an unglazed quarry tile would be better than cast iron. That is what quite a few members use, myself included.

 I am sure there will be a similar ceramic product to quarry tiles available in Japan. You may even be able to get a sample box to try them.

Offline grovemonkey

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Re: Question about frying pans.
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2006, 08:00:27 PM »
yep.. just wondering how you say "Unglazed quarry tile" in Japanese.  Blah.. my wifes mother does pottery.. she should know.. :)

Offline ernestrome

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Re: Question about frying pans.
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2006, 11:07:41 AM »
Maybe take a picture (from the web) and show it to them?

I think any cheap unglazed tile would work. Cheaper the better, as they do tend to crack sometimes.

The frying pan will work, as Heston Blumenthal demonstrated, but i think if you are going to make pizzas quite often the tiles will be a better solution. I think their porosity allows moisture to escape.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Question about frying pans.
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2006, 12:06:29 PM »
I thought about trying the Blumenthal method using my 12" cast-iron skillet, but when I measured the flat bottom, it is about 9 1/2" in diameter--possibly 10" if I let the edge of the dough hang over the sides a bit. Either way, you would either have to have a perfect aim to get the dough squarely onto the bottom of the skillet or use a small pizza size. Of course, you might be able to use a larger skillet if you are able to find one.

I may try the Blumenthal method sometime, however, just to see how well the method works. ernestrome makes a good point, however, about the value of tiles being able to absorb some of the dough moisture to product a crispier bottom crust. A metal skillet won't do that.

Peter

Offline grovemonkey

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Re: Question about frying pans.
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2006, 03:31:35 AM »
I'm going to have to do that.  I went to hardware store over the weekend cause I was out at the wife's families place and i saw some square stones that was quite porous.  They bake the pottery on them but I was unsure of the material and whether it was safe to use for cooking.  I also see them selling ceramic tile but I didn7t know if the tile was the correct type of tile.  if anyone has any links or photos.. that would be appreciated.  I should just order a pizza stone.. DOH!  Anyways.. I'm prowling around for stone.  I'll get it worked out. 

Interestingly I took some dough up to my wifes parents and used their oven.  that oven goes to 250C also, same as mine.  They have a cooking plate made out of a material I am unsure of.  I had the exact opposite problem with my wife's parent oven.  The bottom of the pizza was nice and crispy and dark but no real darkening of the top and sides of the crust.  it wasn't too bad but my house convection oven does a better job browning the whole pizza, except the bottom.  I'll get the problem with bottom browing worked out though as soon as i get a stone.

Offline ernestrome

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Re: Question about frying pans.
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2006, 05:58:57 AM »
I think kiln shelfs (batts?) would be an extremely good substitute for a pizza stone, maybe even better than quarry tiles :gasp:

I think most tiles have stuff in them that you wouldn't want to eat like silica, but it is locked in the ceramic so it is ok.

Offline November

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Re: Question about frying pans.
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2006, 10:49:58 AM »
Some kiln shelves are quite superior.  A lot of them are being made out of silicon carbide.  As I mentioned here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4215.msg35417.html#msg35417 - silicon carbide is both superior and expensive.  I found a source that doesn't require a NASA budget though:

http://www.baileypottery.com/kilnfurniture/advkilnshelves.htm

The 18x24 would make a great stone in a home oven.

- red.november

Offline nepa-pizza-snob

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Re: Question about frying pans.
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2006, 08:40:30 PM »
my stone and peel are my size limitations right now - I am limited to a 12-14 inch pie
My friends just opened a pizza shop and are having a go at running a business - I am hoping
to exchange some work, and advice for oven access to perfect my craft.

Offline mister_c

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Re: Question about frying pans.
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2006, 05:26:36 PM »
I'm also thinking about taking the cast iron frying pan approach.  In case people haven't seen Heston's programme, he heated up the pan on the hob for around 20 min, and then cooked the pizza on the underside of the pan under a hot grill.  Cooking time in an oven heated to 225F was 2 min. 

I think a Le Creuset pan was used in the BBC documentary.  Unfortunately they're quite expensive and the biggest I can find is 28cm, with the base only around 20cm.

Instead, I've noticed Ikea sell a square cast iron frying pan called the Favorit, and was thinking of using the same approach, i.e heat on hob first then turn upside-down and cook under a grill.  This is 28cm by 28cm and can be seen here.  Any opinions on whether this would work?!

Oh, and hi to all, this is my first post.


Offline ernestrome

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Re: Question about frying pans.
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2006, 11:36:33 AM »
Mister C, try tiles or a kiln shelf first, better and cheaper than a frying pan.

If you are in the uk you could get a kiln shelf from here http://www.potterycrafts.co.uk/extra%20content/generic.asp?GroupID=132&bannerId=229&section=q.a&file=../extra%20content/batt.html
« Last Edit: December 30, 2006, 11:47:45 AM by ernestrome »

Offline mister_c

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Re: Question about frying pans.
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2006, 04:46:17 PM »
Thanks for the link ernestrome. Are you saying better results will be achieved by using a tile (or similar) and cooking the pizza in the oven, or are you suggesting heating a tile on the hob and then placing under a grill?  If you mean the former, then what sort of cooking times are possible with this approach, in a 250F oven?

The grill approach appeals to me as 90 second cooking times are possible, but the main problem I see is, as Pete-zza pointed out, getting the pizza onto the frying pan.

You are correct, I'm from the UK.  Just in case theres any confusion, I should point out that here grilling usually refers to cooking directly under a heat source, not above. 

Offline ernestrome

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Re: Question about frying pans.
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2006, 06:55:52 AM »
I have never tried heating the tile up first on the hob, I think they would crack.

I put the tiles in the oven, heat it to the maximum (550F), and let it sit at the max temp for at least 30 mins before putting the pizza in. We want a large hot mass in there, which will transfer the heat directly (as opposed to by convection) to the dough, giving good oven spring and fast cooking.

You could heat the stones under the grill, and then cook them under there, it would take some experimenting, but might yield good results. I may try it when i get back from hols.

Also in the uk, in the south west. I'm going to get myself one of those kiln batts before too long, as the quarry tiles i bought keep cracking.

Offline mister_c

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Re: Question about frying pans.
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2006, 01:10:32 PM »
Well, in the end I took a visit to my local Ikea and bought a square cast iron frying pan (link above).  I used the method as used by Heston B and was surprised by the results. The cooking time was around 2 minutes.  I used a Pizza Express dough recipe found elsewhere (can post if anybody wants), and although the base was thicker than I intended, the crust was quite similar to those served in Pizza Express restaurants.  An image should be below..




Offline grovemonkey

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Re: Question about frying pans.
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2007, 10:04:11 AM »
that is very interesting.  I'm gonna have to try it just to see what happens.  in japan you can get these stones that get heated for making korean dishes in and I speculate that if I found a round one I could heat that sucker up and put the dough on it..  or just get a big cast iron skillet.  that's very cool.

Offline chewie

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Re: Question about frying pans.
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2007, 01:18:09 AM »
Hi all,

I've been using my 9 inch cast iron pan for making pizza for a few weeks now.  It's actually coming out kind of nice.  My local hardware stores haven't had the unglazed tiles out, since it's the middle of winter.

Actually, I'd only bought the cast iron pan for the pizza hut recipe I found here.  It wasn't until after I purchased it that I realized the recipe didn't call for cooking it in the pan.  doh!

I've probably been making a lot of mistakes, but the result still came out really good.  So far, I like it a lot better than pizza I've gotten from pizza places.

I used basically ingredients of the pizza hut recipes but with a few changes

1 1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup of milk
2 tsp yeast
I increased the milk and cut down the water because I was too cheap to spend $10 for a huge box of dehydrated milk when I wasn't sure if I was going to like the result.

4.5 cups of bread flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp sugar

Mixed thoroughly, added about an 8th of a cup of oil, hand mixed it with a fork since I don't have a good mixer. (again, too cheap)  (I have a used bread mixer I was given but I haven't tried it at all yet.  I figured I didn't want to combine learning a new thing like making pizza with learning how to use the breadmaker AND combine the recipes)

So I mixed it by hand until my arm gets tired, until it's really tough to mix.  (dang gluten showed ME who's boss!)

Then I coat the outside with oil (about another 8th of a cup or less. Maybe 1-2 cap fulls.)  Not much more than a coating.  I cover that with pastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for 24 hours.

Like I said, *basically* the pizza hut recipe from this site.

The next day I preheat the oven and stick the pan in.
Taking a handful out of the big full bowl of mix, roll it out on a flour covered table, and then stick it inside the hot pan and carefully squish it out so it basically covers the entire bottom.  It's already starting to cook as I cover it with sauce, cheese, and toppings and stick it back in the oven until the edges get brown.

(I'm still trying to learn how to roll it out so I can pick it up easily and so it won't shrink down too much.  Right now I'm basically reflouring it as I flip it and roll it out.)

I'd much rather have a pizza stone or tile, but until I get something else, this will do.

I already mentioned I really like the results.  A family member hates cold pizza and can't stand eating cold pizza the next day.  Neither can I.  Either from pizza places or frozen pizza, neither of us really care for cold pizza.

This stuff, on the other hand, she likes.  I've been making some of this pizza for her to take for lunch the next day and she really enjoys it.

One thing I did blow cash on, but not just for pizza, is a mandarin.  It was about $25 and had really good reviews.  I've been using it to dice onions and green peppers for her, and piling them on.  That's not hurting anything either.

I'm only using "gourmet" pizza sauce though since I'm not quite ready to learn to make my own sauce yet, so I'm using pastorelli sauce.  It's good but I've found that I have to use a very thin layer of it or the cheese slides off after cooking.  Anything over a real thin layer ends up being too much sauce for some reason.

Edited:  Forgot to describe the actual results.

The dough comes out thin, stiff but not flaky, chewy but not too chewy.  Hard to describe actually.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2007, 01:25:33 AM by chewie »