Author Topic: Little Black Egg  (Read 343703 times)

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Offline DenaliPete

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #720 on: August 21, 2009, 04:55:44 AM »
Well I always thought that by now birds would be preparing to fly south for the winter, but somethin laid me a little black egg all the way up in Alaska.

I christened it for the first time today by cooking 3 simple mozzerella, tomato, and basil pies.  It was undoubtedly a learning experience.

I will post pics as soon as my egg has cooled down enough to manhandle a bit, but here's my setup in a nutshell;

Bayou Classic SP10 w/ 20psi adaptor

2 old stone oven pizza stones, one resting on the grate with HD foil underneath, the other sitting on top of the first (these stones have legs)

HD aluminum foil lining the top and bottom of the innards of the LBE

3 inch vent with soup-can flange ala villa roma

8 by 1.5 inch  side vent on the upper lid just above the lip

standard weber adjustible vent grate

10 inch steel saw blade bolted to lid

Whew, think I listed everything.  I wanted to be sure and list my hardware because I suspect that some of the experts here can help troubleshoot with me.

I should have kept better record keeping with the temperatures, but here is roughly what I encountered;

I slid in my first pie at around 725-750 degrees on the top stone with the infared gun.  Roughly a 3 minute bake.  As I was turning the pizza in intervals I noticed that my top stone was charring a bit on top, which was odd to me because my recipe has no sugar. 

All 3 pies ended up with a burn ring around the bottom.  Nothing that I wouldn't eat, but also not the pristine leopard spotting that I am searching for.  Very encouraging, but still lots of room to grow.  With the third pizza I actually got better results using low moisture tilamook instead of the fresh mozz I'd used on the previous 2 pies.

I think my problem lies in that my heat in the dome area wasn't matching/exceeding the heat on the stones.

What changes would you guys suggest?  There are several things I'm pondering but I'm hoping someone can give me a nudge in the right direction;

1. Lower the sawblade so that it is closer to the bottom stone or replace the sawblade with a small round stone in the hopes that it will absorb more heat and shoot it down
2. increase the space between the two stones using tin foil spacers as villa roma has mentioned prior in the thread
3. Replace the HD aluminum foil underneath the bottom stone with a steel pizza pan for a better buffer
4. Replace the top or bottom stone with 1.5 inch fire brick splits.  I don't know if it would be better to replace the bottom or top stone.

I knew that there was going to be a learning curve to this, but I'm hoping to bring myself up to par soon and do the egg justice.

One more question; what are you guys using for sauce on your pies?  I used some tomatoes I crushed myself (canned plum tomatoes), I expected to be wowed by them,but the flavor really fell short.  Sauce is the weakest part of my game, and I'm hoping to correct that also.

Thanks all,

DenaliPete


Offline Essen1

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #721 on: August 22, 2009, 03:15:08 PM »
Well I always thought that by now birds would be preparing to fly south for the winter, but somethin laid me a little black egg all the way up in Alaska.

I christened it for the first time today by cooking 3 simple mozzerella, tomato, and basil pies.  It was undoubtedly a learning experience.

I will post pics as soon as my egg has cooled down enough to manhandle a bit, but here's my setup in a nutshell;

Bayou Classic SP10 w/ 20psi adaptor

2 old stone oven pizza stones, one resting on the grate with HD foil underneath, the other sitting on top of the first (these stones have legs)

HD aluminum foil lining the top and bottom of the innards of the LBE

3 inch vent with soup-can flange ala villa roma

8 by 1.5 inch  side vent on the upper lid just above the lip

standard weber adjustible vent grate

10 inch steel saw blade bolted to lid

Whew, think I listed everything.  I wanted to be sure and list my hardware because I suspect that some of the experts here can help troubleshoot with me.

I should have kept better record keeping with the temperatures, but here is roughly what I encountered;

I slid in my first pie at around 725-750 degrees on the top stone with the infared gun.  Roughly a 3 minute bake.  As I was turning the pizza in intervals I noticed that my top stone was charring a bit on top, which was odd to me because my recipe has no sugar. 

All 3 pies ended up with a burn ring around the bottom.  Nothing that I wouldn't eat, but also not the pristine leopard spotting that I am searching for.  Very encouraging, but still lots of room to grow.  With the third pizza I actually got better results using low moisture tilamook instead of the fresh mozz I'd used on the previous 2 pies.

I think my problem lies in that my heat in the dome area wasn't matching/exceeding the heat on the stones.

What changes would you guys suggest?  There are several things I'm pondering but I'm hoping someone can give me a nudge in the right direction;

1. Lower the sawblade so that it is closer to the bottom stone or replace the sawblade with a small round stone in the hopes that it will absorb more heat and shoot it down
2. increase the space between the two stones using tin foil spacers as villa roma has mentioned prior in the thread
3. Replace the HD aluminum foil underneath the bottom stone with a steel pizza pan for a better buffer
4. Replace the top or bottom stone with 1.5 inch fire brick splits.  I don't know if it would be better to replace the bottom or top stone.

I knew that there was going to be a learning curve to this, but I'm hoping to bring myself up to par soon and do the egg justice.

One more question; what are you guys using for sauce on your pies?  I used some tomatoes I crushed myself (canned plum tomatoes), I expected to be wowed by them,but the flavor really fell short.  Sauce is the weakest part of my game, and I'm hoping to correct that also.

Thanks all,

DenaliPete

Pete,

First off, I'd get rid of the saw blade and install either a high-quality stone or go with Villa's aluminum disk in the top.

Second, the burning comes most likely from excess flour if you don't use sugar in your formula. But it's normal. The trick is to control excess burning. You don't want to have a totally charred bottom and an under-cooked top.

Here's what I do during heat-up time:

Start with a low temp and gradually increase it. I always measure the top stone in 10 min intervals to make sure I get an even heat, from top to bottom. Air circulation is also important. Check and see if there's a steady somewhat forceful stream of hot air coming out of the side vent. That would mean, basically, to leave the top vent all the way closed and only open it during baking if temp should be too high. The top vent is a nice little addition to control air flow and the temperature, imho.

Look at some of the posts on here from members Jasonmolinari, Pizzacraver and, of course, Villa and his videos on Youtube. Very helpful...

Happy Baking.
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

http://thehobbycook.blogspot.com/

Offline DenaliPete

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #722 on: August 22, 2009, 08:31:32 PM »
Mike,

Thanks so much for the quick reply.  I'll get to work on finding some aluminum discs right away, funny enough, only one place in town here sells pizza stones and they only sell in 16" rounds and 16 by 18" squares, both of which would probably be too big for what we're after.  Appreciate your help.

I'll keep you guys posted.

Pete


Offline Essen1

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #723 on: August 23, 2009, 02:06:52 PM »
Pete,

I got my top stone, a 13" from here:

http://www.biggreenegg.com/setters.html

Scroll down to the bottom.
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

http://thehobbycook.blogspot.com/

Offline texmex

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #724 on: September 16, 2009, 01:07:02 PM »
Finally!
The maiden voyage...
I did it and it was amazing.

http://somethink2say.blogspot.com/2009/09/are-you-ready-for-some.html

That's the link to my blog with all the gory details.

I have a few modifications to make,
but the thing works, by golly!

Did I ever doubt it? 
No, not after all the success stories here.

Thank you to all who have come here to tell their stories of LBE creation.
I expect to see a few more of these cropping up amongst my friends.
Reesa

Offline Essen1

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #725 on: September 18, 2009, 03:47:24 PM »
Finally!
The maiden voyage...
I did it and it was amazing.

http://somethink2say.blogspot.com/2009/09/are-you-ready-for-some.html

That's the link to my blog with all the gory details.

I have a few modifications to make,
but the thing works, by golly!

Did I ever doubt it? 
No, not after all the success stories here.

Thank you to all who have come here to tell their stories of LBE creation.
I expect to see a few more of these cropping up amongst my friends.



Nice job. Congrats!

In regards to the lack of oxygen, I'd cut the bottom hole where the burner sits somewhat bigger to create an updraft. That should take care of that problem.
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

http://thehobbycook.blogspot.com/

Offline milka

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #726 on: September 20, 2009, 11:20:30 PM »
G'day all!

First off, my sincere thanks to Villa Roma, essen1, pizzacraver, etc (where in Oz are u pizzacraver? i'm in Melbourne). What you've achieved is incredible.

Avid reader of many many pages on here, and am attempting something a little bit "different". I already have a large Big Green Egg, and am attempting to create the effect of the Little Black Egg within the BGE... thus, the Matryoshka! (yeah, might need to google, i certainly did)

Photos will come later, to give you a better appreciation of how much I suck at the handiwork. Sufficed to say, within the Big Green Egg I have the standard BGE porcelain grate with a 13" pizza stone on top of it. With a fair bit of experimentation, I've ended up with a 18" domed stainless steel colander (yes, a colander), with another 13" pizza stone screwed into the roof of the colander. I'm heading out ASAP to buy yet another pizza stone to use as a buffer (last nights cook resulted in a pizza that caught on fire in under 2 minutes, in addition to nearly killing me - this bitch can get a bit hot). My fuel source is currently mangrove hardwood charcoal, which I'm getting for $AU23 / 20kgs bag, and I'm having a lot of fun lighting it with a MAPP torch (something I may end up using on the top of the pizza if I don't have luck with the 3rd stone).

Over the course of my experimentation, I've managed to get the lovely leopard spots on the base of a pizza but am still struggling to get enough heat onto the top of the pizza. I'm hoping that the 3rd stone (the buffer), will help out by moving the pizza up and closer to the top stone, which I manage to get fairly hot by putting it on before the bottom stones to get some flame directly on it.

I'm seriously hoping that the buffer is all I need to get that 2 minute pizza-heaven. I'm trying to hold off purchasing an IR thermometer, because I also need to buy a Thermapen Instant Read thermometer for everything else I cook on the BGE. I'd rather not drown in expensive add-ons!

Will report back with a photo or 10 and my findings after adding the buffer into the mix!

Cheers,
milka


Offline pizzacraver

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #727 on: September 26, 2009, 09:22:18 AM »
G'day Milka

Thanks for the kind words.......

It's great to here that there are other Aussie LBE enthusiasts out there.

Look forward to checking out your pics.

PS    I'm in Sydney.



Pizzacraver  :D
« Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 09:26:08 AM by pizzacraver »

Offline Essen1

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #728 on: September 26, 2009, 05:59:09 PM »
G'day Milka

Thanks for the kind words.......

It's great to here that there are other Aussie LBE enthusiasts out there.

Look forward to checking out your pics.

PS    I'm in Sydney.


Pizzacraver  :D


Jesus Christ...are you still alive???  ;D

Well it's good to see you posting again! How's it hanging down under?
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

http://thehobbycook.blogspot.com/

Offline pizzacraver

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #729 on: September 27, 2009, 05:02:54 AM »
Yes I am alive, and well........  hanging a little to the left today if you really must ask :-D

All jokes aside I'm well thanks Essens, summer is just around the corner and things here are good down under bro.

How you going?

Still pumping out  great pies in your LBE?

I've been a little  pre occupied with family things and works been real busy so not much time for pizza making at the moment for me.

Still like to check out what some are doing with their LBE setup's though.

It keeps me motivated.

Anyway take care for now bud and if you get a chance post some more pics of your your pies!!!!

Pizzacraver.

 
« Last Edit: September 27, 2009, 05:04:30 AM by pizzacraver »


Offline Essen1

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #730 on: September 30, 2009, 07:17:44 PM »
Yes I am alive, and well........  hanging a little to the left today if you really must ask :-D

All jokes aside I'm well thanks Essens, summer is just around the corner and things here are good down under bro.

How you going?

Still pumping out  great pies in your LBE?

I've been a little  pre occupied with family things and works been real busy so not much time for pizza making at the moment for me.

Still like to check out what some are doing with their LBE setup's though.

It keeps me motivated.

Anyway take care for now bud and if you get a chance post some more pics of your your pies!!!!

Pizzacraver.

 

I'm doing fine, Bro. Thanks for asking.

I haven't had much of a chance, to be honest, to use the LBE since I moved. I'm living up in the hills and there's always a good amount of wind in the evenings that has prevented me so far from using it. But the brighter side of it is that I got to tinker around with formulas for my home oven.

For what it's worth, the weather should calm down a bit this time of year and hopefully this weekend I can fire it up again. That reminds me, gotta get myself a new bottom stone... :-\

Mike
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

http://thehobbycook.blogspot.com/

Offline smarttowers

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #731 on: December 10, 2009, 03:52:30 AM »
Thanks,
Hope that WFO turns out great for you .I may pick one up from northern just to have for the beach pizza. That would be way cool, and as I said a big hit!  I would not expect to get more than 2 seasons out of it. Matter on fact $50 was our last pizza delivery to the beach! So It would more than pay for itself quickly and I can get prpane from work too. I could also continue cranking high heat pies thru the NJ winter without damaging my Baby.
Do I need a stone on top too? a cheaper thinner one perhaps. and Go witht the Fibrament 16" for the grate right?
Thanks again
John


John did you ever get one of the brinkermann's and if so how did it work for the pizza? I'm thinking of trying out a LBE myself and if it worked well may be what I look into.

If John didn't get on any chance anyone else took Matt's suggestion and tried it out?

http://www.amazon.com/Brinkmann-810-5000-0-Outdoor-Cooker-Black/dp/B00006WS5E

140.61 shipped to your door from an amazon seller.

Any input on this would be great.

Offline Matthew

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #732 on: December 10, 2009, 06:28:10 AM »
John did you ever get one of the brinkermann's and if so how did it work for the pizza? I'm thinking of trying out a LBE myself and if it worked well may be what I look into.

If John didn't get on any chance anyone else took Matt's suggestion and tried it out?

http://www.amazon.com/Brinkmann-810-5000-0-Outdoor-Cooker-Black/dp/B00006WS5E

140.61 shipped to your door from an amazon seller.

Any input on this would be great.


Unfortunatelly I never ended building it because I built a WFO instead.  I still think though, that it would work extremely well as a LBE.

Matt

Offline hotsawce

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #733 on: December 15, 2009, 12:43:49 PM »
Hey all

Have been following the LBE thread for a while now and I think I'm finally ready to make my own.

However, I have a few questions.

First and foremost, I'm limited on funds, so I'd likely be shooting for the mini black egg using the Smokey Joe Weber Grill. For those who have made a mini black egg, will the temperature reach that of the larger ones? I'd be looking to make neapolitan pies, so I'd need it to get as hot as possible.

Secondly, what is the most cost effective way to make one of these, and is there a set of "standardized instructions" for construction? I know there have been quite a few modifications done over the years, and would like to know the best recent modification to the LBE.

For example, is there a cheaper, but equally reliable alternative to using fibrament stones in the LBE? Would a fibrament stone only need to be used as a buffer to prevent the top stone from cracking?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #734 on: December 15, 2009, 02:35:19 PM »
hotsawce.....I believe I'm the only one that has made a Mini LBE. Go to this link and most of your questions will be answered: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.msg76692.html#msg76692

The Mini LBE will go well above 900 degrees and it uses very little gas. I used corderite stones (kiln shelves) in mine and they take the direct flame just fine. I usually make whole grain pizzas that I cook at 650 degrees but this weekend I'm going to make a batch of white flour pizzas and crank up the heat and see what the MLBE can do. I'll start out around 800 degrees and go up from there. I'll post some pictures of the results.

    Villa Roma
« Last Edit: December 15, 2009, 03:01:29 PM by Villa Roma »

Offline hotsawce

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #735 on: December 15, 2009, 09:18:28 PM »
hotsawce.....I believe I'm the only one that has made a Mini LBE. Go to this link and most of your questions will be answered:

The Mini LBE will go well above 900 degrees and it uses very little gas. I used corderite stones (kiln shelves) in mine and they take the direct flame just fine. I usually make whole grain pizzas that I cook at 650 degrees but this weekend I'm going to make a batch of white flour pizzas and crank up the heat and see what the MLBE can do. I'll start out around 800 degrees and go up from there. I'll post some pictures of the results.

    Villa Roma

Thanks a ton for responding! You were the guy I was hoping to hear it from, too. I discovered the LBE via your youtube videos and that's what got me hooked. I was afraid you may not have been active anymore, as the videos were posted a while ago and there hasn't been much new content since. Perhaps you could upload some new video; I showed a friend and he's into it now as well, and the information in it was awesome.

Anyway, thanks again and I'll keep you guys updated when I start building.

Edit: Villa, how thick are the corderite stones and where did you get them from? I can't find anything smaller than a 13 inch kiln shelf online, and they come in varying thickness.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2009, 11:06:29 PM by hotsawce »

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #736 on: December 16, 2009, 12:52:26 AM »
I got the 12" stone here: http://www.tracysworkshop.com/p-4415-kiln-shelf.aspx?affiliateid=10050

This place has a  9" round stone: http://www.sheffield-pottery.com/Round-Cordierite-Kiln-Shelves-s/319.htm

The 12" stone is 5/8" thick and the 9" stone is 7/16" thick.

I used an 8" stone for the buffer stone because that is what I had on hand.

You may want to search locally and save the shipping charges.

    Villa Roma
« Last Edit: December 16, 2009, 03:37:04 AM by Villa Roma »

Online R2-Bayou

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #737 on: December 30, 2009, 02:59:49 PM »
I really feel like I've dialed in my LBE technique! Here in Portland we've had our first snow, and as such I decided to fire up the LBE last night. I made 3 pies using dough that I thought would be past its prime. The dough was over two weeks old in my fridge, normally I don't go past 5 days of cold aging.. The dough is made with high gluten flour, water, salt, and a San Francisco sourdough poolish, with just a pinch of fleischmann yeast to give that extra oven spring... Its about a 65% hydration.

Part of the technique relys on loading the pie onto the peel so that it still slides off, but does not have excess flour that will burn on the super hot stone. I have a 3 stage method here: first, I have an aggressively floured bench that i do the initial dough shaping on. The dough comes out of my proofing container onto the floured bench, using my fingers to push down the dough, turning the dough over and around on the floured bench to create a basic shape. Then I transfer the dough to a barely floured marble surface where I finish the shape, then add any sauce and toppings. Finally I transfer the topped dough to the peel. The key here is to pull the pie onto the barely floured wooden peel by using both hands, and pull the pie onto the peel by beginning the drag with a 90 degree turn. The turn is key here, it will prevent the dough from sticking, and stretching your dough shape into some weird contortion. 

I made two white sauce and clam pies, and one regular cheese & marinara. For me, I gently heat the LBE up for about 30 minutes until the bottom stone registers at about 600, and the top stone hits 700. After I slide my pizza onto the stone, I then turn the gas way up to blast a hot air wash over the entire pie. I let cook 1 minute and then turn the pie, then let cook for one more minute b4 pulling the pie out (2 minutes total cooking time). I turn the gas almost all the way down between cooking each pie so as not to get the LBE too hot. Perfect leoparding and not overly charred, excellent cornicione; I was just thrilled. I'll get some pictures up next time, but I was sooo excited about this LBE run that I just had to share....
"Wretched excess is just barely enough."

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #738 on: December 30, 2009, 03:28:03 PM »
R2 it sounds like you really have your LBE dialed in. I'm looking forward to seeing some pics of the finished pies. In the meantime here's a few pies I made this morning on my MLBE. 3 1/2 minutes at 650 degrees. I used a como of Feta and fresh mozz.

    Villa Roma
« Last Edit: December 30, 2009, 03:38:56 PM by Villa Roma »

Offline hotsawce

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #739 on: January 18, 2010, 12:22:30 AM »
Those pies look great, Villa.

It's still too cold here, so I've not been able to start building yet. I have found the sources of most of my parts, though. I'm really itching to start!


 

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