Author Topic: Little Black Egg  (Read 386635 times)

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Offline DenaliPete

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #975 on: August 30, 2010, 05:59:37 AM »
So Villa, would you mind going into a little more depth about your waffle iron modification?  From what I gather you're just looking to limit contact between the pie and the stone?  Your pies with the mod looked great, but your pies generally look pretty amazing, so do you feel that the waffle iron mod is making any improvements?

I'm still always fiddling with my LBE.  I insulated the interior dome (ala Essen) and have since moved a small cast iron pan (handle lopped off) filled with ceramic briquettes down below to serve as a heat buffer.  I have also swapped out my 2 old stone oven rounds for firebrick splits that I cut with an angle grinder. 

Only fired it up once since the mods (my posts in this thread in the past concentrate on my woes with achieving even heating), and the results seem very promising.  However I may have just been extra cautious because it'd been so long since I made pizza and I was cooking for friends, so I probably initially put the pies in at a lower temp than I normally do, certainly lower that you cook at.

I've found in the past that cooking at 800ish is death for my pizzas, even with no sugar in the dough they char way too quickly and the hotspots killed it for me.

I think that I will have to make a few more batches to determine if the firebrick splits are truly helping my cause, but I don't know what to do for my dough to make sure it doesn't scorch so easily.

Promise pics on the next batch.

DenaliPete


Offline Tampa

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #976 on: August 30, 2010, 08:45:31 AM »
Quote
So Villa, would you mind going into a little more depth about your waffle iron modification?

I am also hoping for more comment here.  The waffle was such a unique experiment I'd love to hear your thoughts.  What I notice is that the rim is especially crispy, the center - not so much.  It is especially interesting to me that the groves themselves are darker than the area where the crust was in direct contact with the stone.

Props as always for the LBE idea.

Dave

Offline gtsum2

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #977 on: August 30, 2010, 02:50:18 PM »
taking scott's advice, I split up my doughball and made 2 small 13 inch pies today.  Dough had been in the fridge for about 40 hours.  Made a basic pepp pie and then I was out of sauce so i sprinkled a 5 cheese mix on it along with chedder and topped with EVOO - sprinkled with some ital seasonings and sea salt. It actually was quite good.  Both pies cooked in about 2:45 - stone temp was 650, dome temp read 750.  The bottom of the pepp was too charred...the cheese/OO pie was good on bottom, but did not have the same nice top coloration.  I did swipe the stone with a damp rag before putting the cheese pie on - could that be why I had such a nice spring???  My setup is Primo D plates on the cooking rack, 1/2 inch spacers (broken pieces of old pizza stone), and then my primo pizza stone.  I seemed to have a bit better results getting the pie stone up off the d plates (I do not have a deflector right above the burner).  I have thrown out the bread machine for kneading my dough and my results are improving quite a bit (thanks to Scott and Jackie Tran for the help!).  Digital scale and larger top alum lid are on the way to me today, so hopefully I can get this tweaked a bit!

PS - I really dont see how my current dough/configuration is going to be able to cook at 700 plus degrees without incinerating the bottom??  I am going to make tweaks to the dough/kneading etc to see if that helps and maybe it will help with the larger top plate in the lid?  I dunno ???

PPS - I should say for whatever reason, this dough had the lightest taste I have made yet (I really liked it, although it could have had a bit more crunch on the rim)?  I cut way down on the kneading and used less yeast then before...would that be why? 

« Last Edit: August 30, 2010, 02:53:28 PM by gtsum2 »

scott123

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #978 on: August 30, 2010, 04:18:45 PM »
Gtsum2, in most instances, cold fermentation increases a dough's sugar content.  More sugar = more propensity to burn.  You could, in theory, bake a same day dough at 700 and not burn the bottom, but, since your goal is a crisp crust, then you'll want to be going with lower bake temp/longer bake times, not higher/less.

High heat/high-ish water promote oven spring, but they decrease crispiness.  What you witnessed this last batch was the superior oven spring you get from short baking times.  What you're going to need to do is dial back the heat/increase the bake time until you find that happen medium of good spring and good crispiness. I would try 4 minutes, which with your setup, might be somewhere in the 600 realm.

The one thing that I would stick with is the low thickness factor. As you witnessed, you can stretch a pizza really thin and still achieve a thick puffy crust.

Regarding the damp rag- it lowered the temp of your hearth, which, in turn, gave you a better hearth to dome heat ratio. I think the damp rag technique is a good one, but... I'm not sure it's ideal for use with a primo.  This is a glazed stone, right?  A damp rag can involve a good amount of thermal shock for a pizza stone, and, although I think cordierite might do fine, the glaze is not that thermally strong.  TBH, I have no idea why anyone would put glaze on a baking stone.  Glaze is extremely close in composition to glass- and glass is about as thermally weak as you can possibly get.  Anyway, I'd seek out a piece of unglazed cordierite or soapstone- those should hold up better to wiping with a damp rag.

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #979 on: August 30, 2010, 09:33:53 PM »
If anyone is looking for a really good propane burner there is an Eastman Outdoors Revolution burner for sale on EBAY. You get the burner and a 30 quart aluminum pot for $29.99 plus shipping. This is the best burner and the one I recommend. It burns hot, clean and is very efficient. You don't see these very often.

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/e11011.m43.l1123/7?euid=8449413394471089779&loc=http%3A%2F%2Fcgi.ebay.com%2Fws%2FeBayISAPI.dll%3FViewItem%26item%3D280555184485%26ssPageName%3DADME%3AB%3AWNARL%3AUS%3A1123

Get it while it's hot!!  Villa Roma

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #980 on: August 30, 2010, 10:47:26 PM »
Shaun, I'm gonna save you some time and a few burnt pies and share with you what I've learned.  :-D

We get top heat by directing the bottom heat up instead of providing the top heat from above like in the ideal situation of a WFO.   The ideal scenario is actually the opposite of what we have.  A higher top heat compared to the bottom.   The best we can do in the LBE is to equalize the top and bottom heat by using heat barriers and low heat conducting stones like firebrick or quarry tile, or scored FB/QT as VR has done. 

Many of us pizzageeks are hooked when we see pictures of charred rims, leopard patterns, etc much like what happens to men when we see b@@bs.  We tend to get the deer in the headlights syndrome.
In our minds we equate charring with high heat and so down the wrong path we go.  The problem with high heat, and short bakes is that they can give you that nice looking rim but it will often soften up shortly after the bake.  To get a nice crisp rim in the LBE, we have to actually do the opposite from what we think is right.  Lower or keep with a temp of 625-650F and bake it for 4-5min as Scott says.  It'll be around 4 ish min, and you'll get that nice crisp charred rim.  You may have to tweak the hydration ratio a bit. 

It's all balance.  You can cook a pie at 700 for 3-4m and get a crisp rim but you would have to go with a moderate to low hydration dough.  You may like that I don't know.   Either that or use a less conductive stone.  What works for me is a high hydration, 650F, 4+ min bake on FB or QT. 

The 2nd issue with burning in the LBE is HG flours.  They can tolerate up to about 725F.  Higher than that and you are looking at a burnt bottom.  And that's if you have your heat equalized already. 

3rd cause of burning is overfermentation.  The more the dough is overfermented the more residual sugar is available to burn.   Scott, Peter, and I discussed this in my MBE thread somewhere.  Overfermentation coupled with high heat of 725F+ and you're toast.

4th issue is sugar in the recipe.  For the LBE type cookers, I would avoid sugar in the formulation.  Hope that helps.

Chau
« Last Edit: August 30, 2010, 10:49:45 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline gtsum2

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #981 on: August 31, 2010, 07:15:21 AM »
Thanks Scott and Chau,

Yep, I was going down the wrong path..I see the pics of great char, leoparding rims and cheeses and I think high heat, 2 minute cook...apparently I am wrong!! :D  I have some dough in the fridge and will begin making some of the changes you recommend (bit lower heat, 4 minute cooks.  I have gotten away from using any oil or sugar in my dough lately (this latest batch has none of either).  I will keep you updated on the progress.  Thanks again for all the help... I am sure you have both saved me many a frustrating cooks!

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #982 on: August 31, 2010, 08:01:38 AM »
Shaun no problem.  I still get that deer in the headlights look when I see some nice looking  :pizza: :pizza:  :-D You are a fast learner and a go getter. I like that. You wanted an egg and had that thing done and up and running immediately. Your first pies look great.  Even with help, we all have moments of fustration when things just don't work. No worries about mistakes though. I wish more members would post up their mistakes so we all can learn.  Just stick with it and you'll be making those varasano-esque pies soon enough.

Btw a little oil in a NY pie is a good idea. Many of us have this preconceived notion that oil is wrong or bad. Gee I wonder where we've gotten that idea.  ::) it's an ingredient and a good one.  Use and balance it in appropriate quantities like you would anything else.

Chau

Offline Villa Roma

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #983 on: August 31, 2010, 12:52:05 PM »
So Villa, would you mind going into a little more depth about your waffle iron modification?  From what I gather you're just looking to limit contact between the pie and the stone?  Your pies with the mod looked great, but your pies generally look pretty amazing, so do you feel that the waffle iron mod is making any improvements?

DenaliPete
I had a close encounter of the pizza kind!  :o :o
The waffle Iron mod (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.msg104661.html#msg104661) was a great step forward but I also fabbed a heavy aluminum buffer plate to replace the foil I originally had under the waffle stone. The only problem was the center of the pizza was slightly under cooked. I drilled some holes in the center for the first test run and then cut an alien head patterned hole to allow more heat to reach the center of the pizza. This worked great and the stone temp was very even over the entire surface. I'll be taking a four day weekend over Labor day so I should have ample time to test the new plate.

     The truth is out there and I will find it, Villa Roma
   
« Last Edit: August 31, 2010, 02:27:10 PM by Villa Roma »


Offline vanderlyn

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Equalizing top and bottom temps
« Reply #984 on: September 04, 2010, 12:07:52 PM »
Hi all,

I've been tweaking my little black egg for a few months. It's pretty basic—grill atop propane burner, with a slot to slide the pizzas in. (See pics.) A Fibrament stone is suspended from the top of the grill, and another one sits on the bottom. My pizzas are improving drastically, but I'm still hung up on one thing: the top of the pizza is cooking quite a bit faster than the bottom. A beautiful pizza (like the one below) will have an undercooked bottom, even while the top is beautiful and crisped up and leopard-spotted and so on.

I've tried a few fixes, to varying degrees of success. I've heated up the bottom stone to high heat (~750), and then turned down the burner once the pizza hits the oven. This improves the situation somewhat, though not enough. I've also taken to taking off the top of the grill once the top of the pizza is cooked enough. This, too, is not ideal. I'd like a solution that doesn't involve dismantling the grill or making minute adjustments to the heat.

My dough is the Rinehart recipe, so not outrageously +/- re: hydration. One potential problem: I can't really raise the top stone anymore—improvements would have to involve altering the airflow/the heat source. Thanks—

Vanderlyn

Offline Tampa

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #985 on: September 04, 2010, 02:11:40 PM »
Vanderlyn,
Seems to me yours is a good problem to have.  Most of us grill folks struggle with burned crust and raw cheese.  You just have too much insulation between the stone and the flame, IMO.  I haven’t seen the details of your design, but can offer a few suggestions.  The above picture shows an (aluminum?) pan, and a stone or two.  I’m not sure if the pan has holes or not, but if not, try a pizza screen with holes.  If you use two stones on the pan, try only one.  After that, perhaps your diffuser blocks too much heat and forces it around the stone.  If so, reduce the stones on the diffuser (if you use stones).  I think you get the idea.
Dave

buceriasdon

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #986 on: September 24, 2010, 08:05:48 AM »
I had the tile and a bit of time so I mounted it to my lid, replacing the aluminum disc. This pizza had cherry tomatoes and panela cheese on a bed of spinach. I think the next step is to grind the back of the tile to be able to raise it up more. A bit too much heat on the top now. Sigh.........

buceriasdon

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #987 on: September 24, 2010, 10:00:31 PM »
I raised the tile close to an inch into the lid. Messy job, glad that is done. This was a 9" SD, 24 hour cold proof spinach, cherry tomato, panela and pistachio pie. 650 and now the top tile matches very closely the bottom tile in temp, the bake took six minutes. Not near the amount of edge burning. My next step is to remove the steel plate under the bottom tile which will increase the space between the two tiles plus heat the bottom tile more. Until tomarrow night then, this was excellent pizza. ;D
Don
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 10:07:27 PM by buceriasdon »

Offline Essen1

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #988 on: September 24, 2010, 10:06:46 PM »
Don,

I think your top heat is too much.

Try to adjust it to get maybe 550°F instead of 650°F given the fact that the tile is closer to the pizza than the ceiling is in a WFO.

But it looks like you're getting the hang of it. ;)

And keep in mind the infrared heat you create. It's important.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2010, 02:33:35 AM by Essen1 »
Mike

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buceriasdon

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #989 on: September 25, 2010, 12:31:56 PM »
Shot of the cut down tile mounted in the lid. I think it's an adequate gap. It occured to me last night that the way I top these pizzas may also be the cause of some of the charring which on the tomatoes is great. I squirt some olive oil first then pile on a couple layers of spinach, then the rest of the toppings, so when it goes in the oven the height is high. I bet if I cut the spinach more the toppings won't be so high. I could also do the covered awhile with aluminum foil trick. I am shooting for an earlier bake this evening, maybe I can get a better pic.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2010, 12:37:00 PM by buceriasdon »

buceriasdon

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #990 on: September 25, 2010, 08:02:16 PM »
Simply because I have had the same pizza for a few nights now I made up some Alfredo sauce for a change. Eh, should have spead it thinner, the spinach got a bit lost. Outside of that it was a good 23 cm pie. For me, perfect charring. Next step, scale things up to a 31 cm. Same dough as last night which I thought was better than tonights. I'm not complaning, I would have to travel thousands of miles to get better. Think of the money I'm saving. ;D

buceriasdon

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #991 on: September 26, 2010, 08:12:21 PM »
Sometimes my computer has a mind of it's own. Anyways, tonight's 14" kimchi pie. This is where I realized I had to turn the pie about every 30 seconds to avoid burning the edge for this size of pie. Just to close to the flame in too close a confined area. Next mod, a metal barrier at the rear. Same day dough with SD and a pinch of ADY. 55% hydration, next time more water, or perhaps add some olive oil, the crust cracked when taking photo.
Don


Offline HASassin

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #992 on: December 11, 2010, 11:49:57 AM »
Hello guys, ive been a long time lurker, and this is my first idea.

I have always wondered if there was a specific reason people only used kettle grills (does it have to do with airflow?)
I had an idea on an easier build, and wanted to get some professional opinions.

what about taking an old firebox, or propane grill of craigslist (the burners dont have to work or anything)
then simply making the hole at the bottom of that, and using that as the oven. - you can use the same racks, and same stones and everything

the advantages are
1 - there is a hinge, so less of the oven air is exposed, when you open to put a pizza in
2 - they are cheap - all you need is a burnt out old propane grill which are a dime a dozen
3 - they usually come with propane tanks
4 - they have have work space arms, and room at the bottom, for the burner and the LP tank to sit

(now please fill me in if there are any disadvantages)
pizza song
GIMME PIZZZA

buceriasdon

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #993 on: December 11, 2010, 11:58:45 AM »
Hi, I plan on doing just that when I get the time. Taking a square grill and putting a high pressure burner in. A hearth of tile and a tile mounted in the lid. Several folks here use their grills for baking pizza. The first 2Stone used a grill for the heat source.
Don



Hello guys, ive been a long time lurker, and this is my first idea.

I have always wondered if there was a specific reason people only used kettle grills (does it have to do with airflow?)
I had an idea on an easier build, and wanted to get some professional opinions.

what about taking an old firebox, or propane grill of craigslist (the burners dont have to work or anything)
then simply making the hole at the bottom of that, and using that as the oven. - you can use the same racks, and same stones and everything

the advantages are
1 - there is a hinge, so less of the oven air is exposed, when you open to put a pizza in
2 - they are cheap - all you need is a burnt out old propane grill which are a dime a dozen
3 - they usually come with propane tanks
4 - they have have work space arms, and room at the bottom, for the burner and the LP tank to sit

(now please fill me in if there are any disadvantages)

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #994 on: December 11, 2010, 12:15:45 PM »
This is a great place to start, whether or not you do the rotisserie part. http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10241.msg89856.html#msg89856
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Offline HASassin

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #995 on: December 11, 2010, 06:45:54 PM »
This is a great place to start, whether or not you do the rotisserie part.


thanks for the link, the issue is that i dont have a grill with a rotisserie burner, and - to get a nice one that would be able to get to temperatures of 750 would be expensive no?

-------------
how does airflow affect the way the grill cooks? would an air chimney or vents be enough, or does there have to be a front loading slot. i dont think im proficient enough with a pizza peel to work through such a small peel
pizza song
GIMME PIZZZA

buceriasdon

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #996 on: December 11, 2010, 07:18:10 PM »
If you are going to use a high pressure burner as a heat source, ala the LBE,a large vent is required for complete combustion and highest heat. As an experiment I made my vent smaller in mine to see how well it worked but went back to the vent opening I had. Also the hot rushing over the top of the pizza is an aid to even baking, which can be tricky to obtain. It may be a larger grill will get more hot air above the baking tile.  I don't have a brand name Weber grill and the square ones are different also and that requires lots of experimentation to get them dialed in for an even bake. I will build a larger square one when time and money permits as the largest pizza I can bake presently is 30 cm. I can get to baking temp. in about 20 minutes for an even bake. I pull the lid off to load and turn.
Don

how does airflow affect the way the grill cooks? would an air chimney or vents be enough, or does there have to be a front loading slot. i dont think im proficient enough with a pizza peel to work through such a small peel

Offline HASassin

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #997 on: December 12, 2010, 11:54:12 AM »
If you are going to use a high pressure burner as a heat source, ala the LBE,a large vent is required for complete combustion and highest heat. As an experiment I made my vent smaller in mine to see how well it worked but went back to the vent opening I had. Also the hot rushing over the top of the pizza is an aid to even baking, which can be tricky to obtain. It may be a larger grill will get more hot air above the baking tile.  I don't have a brand name Weber grill and the square ones are different also and that requires lots of experimentation to get them dialed in for an even bake. I will build a larger square one when time and money permits as the largest pizza I can bake presently is 30 cm. I can get to baking temp. in about 20 minutes for an even bake. I pull the lid off to load and turn.
Don


so for getting air flow in a cheap propane grill like the one i have posted, would just a cut in the front of the dome, for a slide in pizza oven type opening be enough for air flow? - do i need a chimney, if i have that front cut?

does the fact that this grill is rectangular, and alot of air will be allowed to come into the dome, unlike in a LBE where it is inhibited bc the pizza stone takes up almost all the room?
pizza song
GIMME PIZZZA

buceriasdon

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #998 on: December 12, 2010, 12:35:26 PM »
http://lifehacker.com/5459718/build-a-pizza-oven-out-of-a-weber-grill
Very informative video on the Frankenweber that loads through the front opening. My thought for mine is to have the front vent just large enough for a good hot flame from the burner(s) and to help direct the heat from below. Also look at this link for ideas: http://2stonepizzagrill.com/
Don
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 12:37:40 PM by buceriasdon »

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Little Black Egg
« Reply #999 on: December 12, 2010, 12:37:02 PM »
thanks for the link, the issue is that i dont have a grill with a rotisserie burner, and - to get a nice one that would be able to get to temperatures of 750 would be expensive no?

I think you are saying that your grill doesn't have the InfraRed (IR) rotisserie burner in the back.  Even so, the existing burners in the grill probably will get you enough heat.  If they don't you can easily ($20) replace them with what we call a turkey fryer burner.  It will get hot enough for sure. Start looking here:  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11126.msg110001.html#msg110001

How does airflow affect the way the grill cooks?  Most of your square cooking surface will be covered.  All of the heat will be forced up to the stone, then towards the rear of the oven, then up over the stone, then out the front.  Look at what jgame did : http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10241.msg101062.html#msg101062

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