Author Topic: My bottom is burnt. (picture inside)  (Read 3034 times)

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cory

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My bottom is burnt. (picture inside)
« on: June 20, 2004, 03:05:05 PM »
(http://pictures.sprintpcs.com/i/26887003653_0.jpg?ext=.jpg&outquality=90)

Here's my very first attempt an NY style.  Everything turned out fine except the bottom was toast.  at about 4:30-5 minutes, I pulled it off the tile and finished it on the top rack, because the cheese wasn't finished.  90% of the bottom was black, and about 10% looked like a dark ny style.  It tasted ok, all things told.  The crust turned out well, was a great combination of chewy and airy, and the texture was all-in-all very NYC style-- better than "famous Ray's" or whatever, certainly. (but not the real Ray's famous-- or is it the other way around?)

Sauce and cheese went fine-- redpack with extra garlick-- taste was good, as we like it.  Cheese was a fresh parm base, with a part-skim mozz/provelone blend, which was very nice on top.  Not quite enough for my taste, but I like it super-cheesy.

In all, a 75% effort, I'd say, but I'm wondering what to do about the black crust...

THe oven was about 530-540 degrees acording to my thermometer, and I'm wondering if the bricks weren't much hotter than that--  it's a gas oven, so I'm wondering if the tiles weren't more like 600 degrees, and the ambient air temp was more like 540?  As soon as I put the pizza down, it smelled a bit smoky.  I had "seasoned" the tiles after my unsuccessful frozen pizza experience by putting olive oil and blasting it at 525 for about 7 hours.. it had smoked and burnt off (I thought) but when the dough hit, it smoked again.

Ideas?  Should I try this at 475 or something?

Cory


Offline Steve

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Re:My bottom is burnt. (picture inside)
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2004, 04:21:12 PM »
Where did you put the tiles in your oven? You said that you have a gas oven, did you put the tiles on the oven floor? Or did you put them on a rack in your oven?

If you put them on the oven floor, then you need to put them on the bottom-most rack instead.                          
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Offline Steve

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Re:My bottom is burnt. (picture inside)
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2004, 04:59:51 PM »
Also, my experiements with the Pizza Bella oven and my non-contact IR thermometer have changed my opinion of the "proper" temperature of cooking pizza.

Originally, I believed that the hotter the oven, the better the pizza (NY style, that is). Whenever I'd read about Lombardi's 800F coal-fired oven in NYC, I'd find myself fiddling with my home oven and trying to coax it above the 550F mark.

My Pizza Bella oven heats to a whopping 900F temperature, but the bottom of the pizza turns black instantly when it touches that hot stone!  :o

So, then I turned to Jeffrey Steingarten's book "It Must Have Been Something I Ate" where he uses his non-contact IR thermometer to record the temperature characteristics of those famous NYC pizzeria ovens.

Steingarten says the following:

Quote
Serious pizza places have brick ovens fuelled either by wood or, in New York City and New Haven, by coal. Yes, coal - large hunks of shiny, blue, bituminous coal. Authentic Neapolitan pizzas take 80-120 seconds to bake, authentic Neapolitan-American pizzas maybe five minutes. Mine take 14 minutes. It seems obvious that what stands between me and perfect pizza crust is temperature - real pizza ovens are much hotter than anything I can attain in my own kitchen. Lower temperatures dry out the dough before the outside is crisp and the topping has cooked. I have confirmed all this with my new Raynger ST 8. At the reasonably authentic Neapolitan La Pizza Fresca Ristorante on East 20th Street, for example, the floor of its wood-burning brick oven measures 675F; the back wall (and presumably the ambient air washing over the pizza) pushes 770, and the domed ceiling 950. The floor of Lombardi's Neapolitan-American coal oven soars to 850 measured a foot from the inferno, less under the pizza itself. My ST 8 and I have become inseparable.

Steingarten's article can be found at the following URL:
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/foodmonthly/story/0,9950,807445,00.html

So, he states clearly that the oven deck is only 675F, the oven walls are at 770F, and the domed ceiling a whopping 950F.  :o

So, what actually happens is the following:

The pizza bottom cooks with direct heat at 675F. The puffy crust and top of the pizza cook with the radiant heat from the walls and ceiling at much higher temps. If everything is done right, the bottom, puffy edge, and toppings all finish cooking at the same time.

My home oven will get my tiles to 600F with an hour of preheating. The problem I'm having is that the puffy edges do not brown (char) properly which I feel is essential for true NYC style pizza.  :-\
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cory

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Re:My bottom is burnt. (picture inside)
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2004, 05:03:41 PM »
interesting.. Not on bottom, huh?  I figured it was nice and convenient, becuase I could just leave them there 100% of the time... Why not?  Is it because they overheat?

Cory

Offline Randy

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Re:My bottom is burnt. (picture inside)
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2004, 05:44:04 PM »
The temperature measured at the floor of an operating brick oven will be the same say 1 above the floor or cheese level you might say.  My barbecue smokers will run 350 at the top and 225 at the grill level with the temperature rising dramatically as you get close to the top.  Unlike your home oven, a brick oven has air currents for combustion causing the temperature layers.
I noticed that when they pull a pizza from a brick oven often times the bottom is black in places.

Randy

cory

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Re:My bottom is burnt. (picture inside)
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2004, 08:02:52 PM »
yeah, black in places, but not sooty black.  It was 90% sooty black, and 10% black like I've seen restaurant pizza "black in places"

Last time I went to NY, I went to Johns, and it was charred on the bottom, but none was as black as this.... But the taste was actually similiar.. Mine was just too charred.

Offline Randy

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Re:My bottom is burnt. (picture inside)
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2004, 08:09:40 PM »
Do as Steve suggested and it should work fine.
I have never been to New York but it is on my list of things to do someday.

Randy

Offline Steve

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Re:My bottom is burnt. (picture inside)
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2004, 08:57:45 PM »
The bottom of a gas oven is in direct contact with the flame. The bottom (and your tiles) will superheat because of this.

This is not possible with an electric oven because the coils are exposed. But, those coils are glowing red and are probably well over 1,000F... just imagine if your pizza tiles were in direct contact with the electric coils!

So, you need an air space between the heating coils, or in your case the floor of the oven, and the pizza tiles.
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