Author Topic: Little Black Egg  (Read 346928 times)

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Offline canadianbacon

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #100 on: December 01, 2007, 09:40:27 AM »
I agree with you 100% VM, I use 100% all purpose flour all the time for my pizzas and I love 'em.  If I had access to HG flour around my parts, I'd prob try it, but you just can't get it here, however, I"m very happy with my results.

The pizza looks amazing !, I bet there's a good crack on that crust eh !

Bagels - wow, I never thought of making bagels on a pizza stone.  Did you dip the bagels in hot water before you baked them like you do with pretzels ? or did you go directly onto the stone ?

Thinking of that, now I want to try pretzels.  I have made many in the oven, but never on a hot pizza stone.

Well, the pizza and bagels look really great !


Here's a pizza made with 90% GM all purpose flour and 10% whole grain rye. You don't need high gluten flour to make great pizza. ;) Also check out the 100% whole grain bagels. Start your morning off right with whole grains! The last pizza is 100% whole grain, All courtesy of the LBE.

    Villa Roma
Pizzamaker, Rib Smoker, HomeBrewer, there's not enough time for a real job.


Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #101 on: December 02, 2007, 04:30:27 AM »
CB....I found even Harvest King bread flour had too much gluten and resulted in a finished pizza that was too tough, especially after reheating. I make 8 or more pizzas at a time and then freeze them so using AP flour works really good for me.

I don't boil the bagels. I just take a dough ball and plunge my finger down the center and stretch is out some until it looks like a donut. I throw them on the LBE and cook as normal. I imagine you could coat them with an egg wash and cover them with some type of seeds like sesame or poppy etc. or add raisins and cinnamon to the dough. Personally, I don't like regular bagels because  they're too dense and heavy. These are nice and light.

    Villa Roma
« Last Edit: December 02, 2007, 05:37:42 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline ehanner

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #102 on: December 12, 2007, 12:34:42 PM »
Villa Roma,
What have you concluded is the best AP flour for Pizza dough? I use Harvest King for sourdough and yeasted breads and love it. I have been using HK also for pizza also but I had read where a small percentage of Soft as Silk cake flour helps to make a better crust. Any suggestions?

Also how is your lazy susan holding up?

I was wondering if you have tried adding a layer of lava rock in the bottom of the kettle above the burner. Maybe that would soften the heat pattern some and make a more even heat distribution.

One other idea was to add an additional multi hole vent in the lid of the top. That way you could improve the venting and spread out the air flow to both sides. Just an idea to think about. I really like what you have done with this so far and I plan to build my very own LBE soon.

Eric

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #103 on: December 13, 2007, 02:03:57 AM »
Hi Eric....My favorite AP flour is Gold Medal unbleached all purpose flour. I use a very small amount of yeast and a long, slow room temperature fermentation and found Harvest King to be too strong resulting in a tougher crust.

I tried a dough with 50% soft as silk flour and it wasn't my favorite. You can view it here: (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.msg46537.html#msg46537) Again I really like the bog stock AP flour, it tastes better and is dirt cheap if you can stock up when it goes on sale.

The lazy susan is doing fine. It's not as smooth as it once was but it still spins nicely.

I've toyed with the idea of using rocks to buffer the heat from the burner but the double pizza stone setup I have works real well. One of my pizza stones cracked after 10 years of service so I just use it to buffer the flames. I'm working on a gizmo that will distribute the heat as well as produce a turbulence in the cooking chamber.

I found that the level of the pizza stone has more to due with the evenness of cooking than the venting. The grate tends to sag under the high heat so I need to use something more substantial to prevent that.

All things considered, I'm very satisfied with the product I'm producing with the LBE but there is always room for improvement. For the price, it can't be beat. Most people have a propane burner and pizza stone so that's all you need is an 18" kettle grill. It costs $60 new or find a used one for free and you're in business on a shoestring budget.

     Villa Roma

Offline ehanner

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #104 on: January 03, 2008, 09:30:40 AM »
Well I took the plunge and bought a new 18.5" Weber. I figured out how to cut a level hole and with my trusty saber saw easily cut a nice 11" hole. A little file work and emery paper gave me a finished opening.

I have been pondering what to do with the lid. My goal is to create an earthen oven environment that heats quickly and holds the heat well so I can use this for more than Pizza. I think what I'm going to do is build a ceramic dome inside the lid using some kind of wire lath for reinforcing and mounting. I won't cover the entire surface of the lid but maybe come down to within say 2 inches of the lid edge. My brother who is a potter says it won't be a big deal to cast an even layer inside with all the cut outs for venting. The ceramic will shrink 15% when firing it to "Bisque" level and will make it much stronger. I'm hoping for the ceramic layer to be around 1/2-3/4 inch thick. This will make the lid heavy but it's necessary to have a thermal mass that will retain much of the heat when the cover is off briefly.

Have you found a source for vent and damper parts yet? Just a little experimenting on my Wok burner shows me the need for better venting than the standard 4 hole vents. For pizza and high temp cooking you probably will always need more venting but for lower temp roasting and bread temps around 450-500F I'm guessing less air flow would be better.

This is such a great concept VR, I'm looking forward to cooking on my LBE!

Eric
Added later---I noticed on your video that when you remove the pie the cheese is only bubbling on one side, after rotating it. Am I seeing this right? The hot spot is pronounced.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2008, 10:03:41 AM by ehanner »

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #105 on: January 03, 2008, 01:24:55 PM »
Eric....Your idea of making a ceramic insert sounds fascinating. Should be real interesting to see how it turns out and how it improves the pizza making process.

I'm still using a tin can for a vent that I glued in with some high temp RTV. It's holding up good so there's no need to reinvent the wheel.

Every oven cooks unevenly so the best thing to do is just turn the pizza once or twice during cooking. I'd be nice to toss the pizza in and pull it out when it's done but even the WFO folks have to spin the pizza. It's all part of the pizza making craft.

Good luck and keep us posted.....Villa Roma

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #106 on: January 04, 2008, 03:04:34 PM »
Eric......You may also wish to consider a castable refractory mortar. There are two products, one is the regular stuff and is good to 3000 degrees. They also have a lightweight version that is good to 2300 degrees.

You can mix it up and trowel it on to the inner lid of your LBE. Probably won't shrink and there is no need to fire it. Costs about a buck a pound in 50 pound bags. Best to find it locally as shipping will kill you.

(http://www.sheffield-pottery.com/LOUCAST-3000-CASTABLE-MORTAR-p/lvclc.htm)
(http://www.sheffield-pottery.com/U-S-LITE-WATE-23-insulating-castable-p/lvusl23.htm)

     Villa Roma

Offline ehanner

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #107 on: January 04, 2008, 06:57:26 PM »
Villa Roma,
Thanks for your reply and thoughts. My IR temp gage came today and I have been thinking about heat flow and this project. I think the flame burning a hole in the aluminum pans is telling us something. It seems to me that if the flame were blowing on a ceramic barrier that would collect the heat and radiate, the hot spot issue would be diminished. I have some half thickness fire bricks that would fit on the lower grate perfectly. It might take a couple minutes to get the bricks hot but once heated they wouldn't take much to keep hot and the increased mass should help recover temp after removing the lid. The other thing is you should be able to cook a wider range of foods in stable heat on smaller fuel loads.

There are things to be learned from the ceramic cooker guys (LGE and Kamada etc.) They are all using indirect methods of heat transfer. Your idea I think is perfect for adapting to hi temp gas. It's just the raw heat transfer I am struggling with.

Eric

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #108 on: January 04, 2008, 11:26:51 PM »
Eric.....I  use a double stone to buffer the heat. The bottom stone cracked after using it for ten years so instead of tossing it I use it as a heat deflector.

An alternative is to use a 1-2 inch layer of small rocks. I found that the grill grate sags somewhat over time and  this is perfect for this scenario. A local landscape supply place will sell you small landscaping rock for a few bucks. The rock layer will be about 2" thick in the center and thin out to and inch or so toward the perimeter of the pizza stone.

You can also fire the LBE with wood. I use gas because of the convienence plus it's eaisier to control the temp and no ashes to deal with.

   Villa Roma
« Last Edit: January 04, 2008, 11:29:37 PM by Villa Roma »

Offline ehanner

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #109 on: January 07, 2008, 02:09:59 PM »
Thanks Villa Roma,
I'm at the point where I am sending the lid to my brother and he is going to form a ceramic dome and fire it. I was wondering if you have any additional thoughts on the diameter of the lid vent. I see you attached a can in place of the standard Weber 4 hole vent system. Does that appear to be enough venting? When I first saw your can mod I wondered if that was in addition to the factory vent.

Eric


Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #110 on: January 08, 2008, 01:08:04 AM »
Eric,

Yes, I replaced the existing vent with a DelMonte tin can. It originally contained crushed pineapple and measured 3 1/4" in diameter by 3 1/2" tall. I cut the hole through all four vent holes with a hacksaw. Cut the hole slightly smaller and you can tilt the can for a nice snug fit. I added some hi-temp RTC just as an added measure.

This size works really well and I don't see any need to change it. The edge on the fllapper is sharp so you may want to dull it with a file. I place a larger can on top of the vent when it's not in use. This keeps any rain from finding it's way onto the stones.

   Villa Roma
« Last Edit: January 08, 2008, 03:16:02 PM by Villa Roma »

Offline ehanner

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #111 on: January 08, 2008, 11:37:32 AM »
VR,
I am planning on using standard stainless steel vent pipe. I haven't decided yet on 3 or 4 inch. They make an 45 degree elbow that would direct the heat away from the handle. Do you find the exhaust heat to be an issue? My neighbor who is a HVAC repair technician and specializes in gas burners wondered why I wanted to put a flow valve or damper in. He said let it run wide open. I'm guessing you meant to type "3-1/4 inches" for the diameter? So maybe 3 inches will be enough.

Eric

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #112 on: January 08, 2008, 03:18:33 PM »
Eric,

Yeah, 3 1/4" is what I use and 3" should be fine.

    Villa Roma

Offline retrodog

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #113 on: January 12, 2008, 03:36:58 PM »
Hello guys. Just finally joined after reading info on here for a few months. This thread finally got me inspired enough to start posting, thanks to Villa Roma.  ;)

Anyway, got the weber and cut the hole out. Looks nice. I'm collecting a few things and should have it assembled to start testing within the next couple of days. I'd post pictures but it won't let a noob use hyperlinks.  :(

How many posts do I need to get past the noob status?

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #114 on: January 12, 2008, 03:51:23 PM »
How many posts do I need to get past the noob status?

retrodog,

It's five.

Peter

Offline retrodog

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #115 on: January 12, 2008, 11:25:12 PM »
retrodog,

It's five.

Peter
Excellent, thanks.

Got the stone installed in the lid. Fired it up tonight to see if the burner worked and I can see why that thing is listed as 170,000 BTU. Cranking it up resulted in very long blue flames and notable noise as well. Need to remove the bottom grate, as the center got glowing red hot and that's can't last very long like that.

Will take some more pictures tomorrow and post them. The wind was blowing quite a bit tonight and affecting the flame, mostly because a storm was blowing through. I'm planning on adding some aluminum foil tomorrow and will see how that works then.

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #116 on: January 13, 2008, 12:21:27 AM »
Retrodog....I see another LBE is born or should I say hatched?  :-D Welcome to the forum. You should pick up an IR thermometer so you can get the temp of the stone where it's best for the style of pizza you want to make. Otherwise it's a guessing game. I used my LBE for years without one but if you want to cook at high temps it really makes it much easier.

Good luck and have fun......Villa Roma

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #117 on: January 13, 2008, 05:17:38 AM »
Here's another mod I've been kicking around. Instead of venting the LBE out the top, vent it through the side. The hot air would then be forced around and over the stone. If I can find a sacrificial lid, I may give this a try.

In theory, this could get the LBE closer to the elusive 60 second pizza.  :chef:

The LBE looks a little cranky, I haven't fed it in awhile.  :-D

    Villa Roma
« Last Edit: January 13, 2008, 10:12:51 AM by Villa Roma »

Offline retrodog

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #118 on: January 13, 2008, 12:36:34 PM »
Retrodog....I see another LBE is born or should I say hatched?  :-D Welcome to the forum. You should pick up an IR thermometer so you can get the temp of the stone where it's best for the style of pizza you want to make. Otherwise it's a guessing game. I used my LBE for years without one but if you want to cook at high temps it really makes it much easier.

Good luck and have fun......Villa Roma
Got the HP HVAC unit that will read up to 1,000F, so that oughtta do for now.

Here's the unit right after I cut the bottom out, sitting on my SS burner base.
http://www.fototime.com/%7BCEB1B6B5-1602-4151-BC76-81213CE42319%7D/picture.JPG

Cutout view.
http://www.fototime.com/%7BF0DB5959-36E3-4327-86AF-126E9E01A6A2%7D/picture.JPG

I installed a 12" square tile in the top and used the grid from the bottom to hold it there, with some eye-bolts.
http://www.fototime.com/%7BAA320C35-DA09-46AE-9503-B6D264FB37D1%7D/picture.JPG
http://www.fototime.com/%7B50ADB0D0-B7A1-4E8F-B8F0-F2A7FC462371%7D/picture.JPG

How do I hyperlink hosted images? I tried with the method that I use on numerous other forums but it wouldn't work. So I attached one just to test that method.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2008, 12:50:17 PM by retrodog »

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #119 on: January 13, 2008, 02:40:07 PM »
Retro....The way you attached the top stone is a great idea or maybe I should say.....grate idea.  :-D So when are you taking your LBE on it's maiden voyage?

    Villa Roma