Author Topic: Need help deciding on a stone  (Read 6009 times)

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scott123

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2010, 08:42:13 AM »
Has the rep heard of a thing called a broiler?  :P In theory, one could use the Nearlypolitan broiler technique and put the fibrament very close to the broiler element and get a decent pie in 2 minutes.  You probably wouldn't get many pies out of it, though, because of the thermal weakness of the fibrament. The bottom and top will be done at the same time, but the stone will be 'done' shortly after that.

Besides being thermally weak, Fibrament's other Achilles Heel is that it doesn't have the conductivity to bake a quick (4-7) NY style pie in a typical 550ish home oven.


Offline Art

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #26 on: July 07, 2010, 09:53:14 AM »
I was once accused of having a financial interest in Fibrament because of how often I enthusiastically recommended their product. Lately, I've been wondering if Scott has some "agenda" in putting down their product. For a long time, everyone here seemed to think a Fibrament stone was top-notch. What happened? I've been using mine for almost 4 years and still think it's (by far) the best I've ever had. I consistently bake 6-7 minute pies to a well done state in a 550 electric oven with the stone located on the bottom rack. I never have to use the broiler to finish the top. Perhaps, cordierite is more suitable for the NY style pie. I can't say but, in my opinion, all this trash talk putting down the Fibrament is unwarranted. All my friends and relatives in NJ think my pies are better that ANYTHING they can find these days in my old home state.  Art
When baking, follow directions.  When cooking, go by your own taste.

Offline hotsawce

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2010, 10:05:14 AM »
So both Fibrament and Cordierite are capable of a nearlypolitan, 2 minute pie, but only cordierite as capable of a 4-7 minute NY pie.

Has the rep heard of a thing called a broiler?  :P In theory, one could use the Nearlypolitan broiler technique and put the fibrament very close to the broiler element and get a decent pie in 2 minutes.  You probably wouldn't get many pies out of it, though, because of the thermal weakness of the fibrament. The bottom and top will be done at the same time, but the stone will be 'done' shortly after that.

Besides being thermally weak, Fibrament's other Achilles Heel is that it doesn't have the conductivity to bake a quick (4-7) NY style pie in a typical 550ish home oven.

scott123

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2010, 10:59:19 AM »
I was once accused of having a financial interest in Fibrament because of how often I enthusiastically recommended their product. Lately, I've been wondering if Scott has some "agenda" in putting down their product. For a long time, everyone here seemed to think a Fibrament stone was top-notch. What happened? I've been using mine for almost 4 years and still think it's (by far) the best I've ever had. I consistently bake 6-7 minute pies to a well done state in a 550 electric oven with the stone located on the bottom rack. I never have to use the broiler to finish the top. Perhaps, cordierite is more suitable for the NY style pie. I can't say but, in my opinion, all this trash talk putting down the Fibrament is unwarranted. All my friends and relatives in NJ think my pies are better that ANYTHING they can find these days in my old home state.  Art

Right Art, I definitely have an "agenda" when I recommend either 1" cordierite kiln shelves or 1.25" soapstone. I'm making huge bucks from this. It's not like there's hundreds of ceramic suppliers and tens of kiln shelf manufacturers.  It's also not like there's tens of soapstone suppliers across the nation or hundreds of quarries across the globe.    ::)

There's no single source for cordierite or soapstone. There's no single entity that I could go to and say "if I endorse your product, give me a cut." My favorite stone is a quarried rock. Am I getting a cut from Mother Nature?  Is that who I'm getting money from? :P

The science is solid.  Both cordierite and soapstone are substantially more conductive and thermally stronger than fibrament.  Fibrament had a chance to challenge November's numbers and, although they pointed out a small error, it wasn't significant enough to challenge the overall conclusion. 1" cordierite will always bake a pizza faster (create a puffier crust) than 3/4" fibrament, it will stand up to heat better/last longer AND it will cost about the same (or slightly less, depending on where you buy it).

scott123

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2010, 11:06:34 AM »
So both Fibrament and Cordierite are capable of a nearlypolitan, 2 minute pie, but only cordierite as capable of a 4-7 minute NY pie.

No, any stone, using a broiler technique, can bake a 2-7 minute pie, but the Fibrament, because of it's inability to handle thermal shock, will break/fail very quickly.

Offline Tampa

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Re: We had a deal!
« Reply #30 on: July 07, 2010, 11:09:25 AM »
Scott,
I endorsed your endorsement.  Where's my cut from the recent world-wide surge in sales? ;D
Dave

Offline Jack

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #31 on: July 07, 2010, 11:23:16 AM »
Besides being thermally weak, Fibrament's other Achilles Heel is that it doesn't have the conductivity to bake a quick (4-7) NY style pie in a typical 550ish home oven.

I don't know how you can say this.  I regularly crank out 2-4 NY Style pies (62-65% hydration) on a Fibrament.  When the first one goes in, I start on the second.  As soon as the first comes out of the oven, then next one goes in and I cut/serve the first.  I run the oven at 525 F with a one hour warm up.  I have a 19 inch round Fibrament on lowest rack and and one the top rack.  (UPS abused and chipped the first one, so I received another one free)  Without the top stone, the bottom is done way too fast.  The initial cycle time is about 5 and a half minutes and rises to the mid-6's by the third pie.  The pies have the right oven spring, a crisp, slightly blistered bottom and a drooping tip when you fold the slice.  The 3/4 inch thick stone dumps plenty of heat into my pies and I have no screwing around with switching between the bake and broil cycles; I just set the bake at 525 F and go.  Could I go faster at 550 F?  How about getting another 35 F, by tuning the oven setting?  Sure, but 525 F cooks them perfectly and about as quick as I can cycle them.

The research that the Corderite has better properties is like comparing a Chevy to a Ferrari, while driving in a school zone.  A significant portion of the performance you are looking at is beyond what can be used.  I'm not running a kiln, I'm cooking pizza.  In the home oven environment, the Fibrament meets/exceeds the requirements.  My stone does not see temps above 600 F, is not subject to thermal shock (at least not beyond the very occasional cheese/tomato dump) is not heated unevenly, etc.  The Fibrament just provides a great balance; it cooks the bottom quickly enough to provide the right crust, yet not so fast that I have to work hard to get the top done at the same time.
 
Is the Corderite a better engineered material?  In some environments, definitely yes.  Is the Fibrament sufficient for a home oven?  Definitely yes.  The overriding factor for me however, beyond already owning a Fibrament that does exactly what I need, is that Ive not ever seen a 19 inch full round Corderite stone, which is what I need to make an 18 inch NY Style pie, 'cause as we all know, if it ain't 18 inch, it aint NY Style.  <grin>

The one question that keeps coming back to me is, Why don't pizzarias use the physically superior Corderite in their ovens?

Jack
« Last Edit: July 07, 2010, 11:29:28 AM by Jack »

scott123

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Re: We had a deal!
« Reply #32 on: July 07, 2010, 11:52:58 AM »
Scott,
I endorsed your endorsement.  Where's my cut from the recent world-wide surge in sales? ;D
Dave

Dave, I'm afraid you're going to have to negotiate your cut with Mother Nature herself.  And don't try to fool her, because, as we all know, that wouldn't be nice ;D

scott123

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #33 on: July 07, 2010, 12:05:19 PM »
The research that the Corderite has better properties is like comparing a Chevy to a Ferrari, while driving in a school zone.

I completely disagree.  It is like comparing a Chevy to a Ferrari, but the setting is not a school zone, but the autobahn. A puffy NY style pizza is pushing the limits for a 550 degree home oven. As you add thermal mass with different stones, you're only inching home ovens into commercial pizza oven capabilities/territory. Everything aspiring NY pizzamakers do with a home oven is on the outskirts of it's thermodynamic capabilities. It is only with a truly conductive stone that commercial results can be achieved (and exceeded).  Sure, you can have fun on the autobahn with a Chevy, but why drive the Chevy, when, in this instance, the Ferrari is the same price?

The one question that keeps coming back to me is, Why don't pizzarias use the physically superior Corderite in their ovens?

They do use the physically superior cordierite. That's the standard stone material for most pizza ovens on the market.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2010, 12:13:05 PM by scott123 »


Offline sear

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #34 on: July 07, 2010, 12:09:25 PM »
I never have to use the broiler to finish the top.

Hey Art, have you posted pictures of these pies ? any sugar in the dough ?
i would like to see some  :pizza:
also how much space is there between the stone and the top of the oven ?

Offline sear

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #35 on: July 07, 2010, 12:10:47 PM »
Sure, you can have fun on the autobahn with a Chevy, but why drive the Chevy, when, in this instance, the Ferrari is the same price?

... i was just about to ask that too

Offline Art

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #36 on: July 07, 2010, 01:27:30 PM »
Hey Art, have you posted pictures of these pies ? any sugar in the dough ?
i would like to see some  :pizza:
also how much space is there between the stone and the top of the oven ?

There are 3 pics in the pizza gallery down in the bottom 2 rows. I do use a small amount of raw sugar in my dough. It's about 10" from the stone to the top element.   Art
When baking, follow directions.  When cooking, go by your own taste.

Offline sear

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #37 on: July 07, 2010, 01:46:06 PM »
There are 3 pics in the pizza gallery down in the bottom 2 rows. I do use a small amount of raw sugar in my dough. It's about 10" from the stone to the top element.   Art

i dont understand how you are getting those black char bubbles on top with the top element in the oven never going on ?

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=6

Offline Art

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #38 on: July 07, 2010, 02:33:57 PM »
i dont understand how you are getting those black char bubbles on top with the top element in the oven never going on ?

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=6

I do pre-heat for an hour after the oven reaches 550 and, according to my thermometer, that first pie goes in at a temp close to 600. I've been so pleased with my results right from my first Lehmann recipe pie that I've never changed anything except for an occasional test of different flour combos and brands of mozz. All my doughs are prepared in a bread machine (2/3 KABF,1/3 KAAP) with a simple sauce using 6in1 tomatoes covered with Polly-O mozz. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.   Art
When baking, follow directions.  When cooking, go by your own taste.

Offline sear

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #39 on: July 07, 2010, 03:43:57 PM »
I do pre-heat for an hour after the oven reaches 550 and, according to my thermometer, that first pie goes in at a temp close to 600. I've been so pleased with my results right from my first Lehmann recipe pie that I've never changed anything except for an occasional test of different flour combos and brands of mozz. All my doughs are prepared in a bread machine (2/3 KABF,1/3 KAAP) with a simple sauce using 6in1 tomatoes covered with Polly-O mozz. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.   Art

you sure that top element doesnt come on ?
i cant see how you can get that black burntness on the top crust there at 600
has anyone else had this happen ?  ???
ive gotten it only when i use the broiler

scott123

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #40 on: July 07, 2010, 04:45:27 PM »
Art is this a convection oven?

Would you happen to have any shots of the crumb?

Offline Art

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #41 on: July 07, 2010, 05:08:07 PM »
Art is this a convection oven?

Would you happen to have any shots of the crumb?

Not a convection oven.  Here's an oven/stone shot, an upskirt, and a crumb.  Art
When baking, follow directions.  When cooking, go by your own taste.


Offline DannyG

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #42 on: July 08, 2010, 09:16:46 AM »
After going through too many cheap retail stones I purchased a Fibrament stone about a year ago based on recommendations in this forum. I have a GE Electric oven that heats to 550. I purchased the 15" x 20" stone and use it on the lowest shelf preheated for about an hour after the oven reaches 550. I went with the rectangular size because it makes it easier to slide in the pie and I figure the larger sq. inches would retain more heat when doing multiple pies.

I don't know if it's the best stone available but I do know that it does an excellent job and has met all my expectations.

Offline shuboyje

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #43 on: July 08, 2010, 12:49:48 PM »
Scott,

I agree that the science here is pretty solid and straightforward when it comes to the thermal properties, but what is your take on the porosity of the different materials?  I'm spoiled with my wood fired oven, so stones aren't really my thing, but I know many feel the bricks of a wood fired oven need to be porous to wick moisture away from the crust.  Others claim porous bricks allow steam to escape so it doesn't collect under the crust and stop it from crisping.  Could be something worth thinking about as it relates to stones.
-Jeff

scott123

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #44 on: July 08, 2010, 03:00:24 PM »
I agree that the science here is pretty solid and straightforward when it comes to the thermal properties, but what is your take on the porosity of the different materials?

My thoughts are pretty well summed up (and confirmed with testing) here:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10987.0.html

I generally believe that although all these stones vary in porosity, moisture in the bottom of the crust doesn't have much of a chance to be absorbed because of the high temps involved. I think that for a longer lower temp bake, then maybe porosity might play a role, but for an ideal quick bake, then the differences are barely distinguishable.

Offline shuboyje

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #45 on: July 08, 2010, 04:01:21 PM »
Very interesting.  I hope I have similar results.  I plan to eventually line my floor with 1/2" soapstone tile for some test pizzas.  I cook at very high heat(1000F hearth, much higher in the dome), and do not make your traditional naples pie but more of a artisan neo-naples pie.  I use a 72% hydration dough and get the cornice just like I want it but it still ends up a little flimsy in the middle, which isn't my thing.  I'm hoping the extra conductivity of the soapstone is the answer.  Obviously the lack of porosity has been on my mind.... 
-Jeff

scott123

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #46 on: July 08, 2010, 05:07:11 PM »
Very interesting.  I hope I have similar results.  I plan to eventually line my floor with 1/2" soapstone tile for some test pizzas.  I cook at very high heat(1000F hearth, much higher in the dome), and do not make your traditional naples pie but more of a artisan neo-naples pie.  I use a 72% hydration dough and get the cornice just like I want it but it still ends up a little flimsy in the middle, which isn't my thing.  I'm hoping the extra conductivity of the soapstone is the answer.  Obviously the lack of porosity has been on my mind.... 

1000F hearth? I'm not sure how exactly you're classifying 'neo-naples,' but within the pizzamaking spectrum, a hearth that hot puts you at the upper end of the Neapolitan spectrum- sort of a 'Super Neapolitan.' All of the traits of a traditional Neapolitan (floppiness, potential gumminess, leoparding, oven spring, etc) are only going to magnified as you go up the temperature scale (and even more so with an increased hydration).  Adding the extra conductivity of soapstone to the mix- I don't want to rain on your parade here, but you're basically guaranteeing yourself a scorched bottom with a raw center. Conductivity increases the payload, so a 1000F soapstone hearth will bake a lot like a 1150F firebrick hearth.

If you really are striving for a less flimsy crust (and are willing to lose some of the puff), you're going to have to dial back the temps to a Neo-NY level- 750ish.  You also might have to decrease the hydration.  Elevated hydration and very quick bake times both promote floppy crusts.

Offline shuboyje

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #47 on: July 08, 2010, 06:00:28 PM »
Yup, I know I am on the extreme end of things...tends to be the way I do things.  I've cooked at a lower temperature and tried hydrations as low as 60% and never got the spring I am after.  The pizza is very good as is, nobody complains, but I am a perfectionist with a vision in my head of what I want.  My oven has a very low dome and I feel it is a bit out of balance with the top almost always cooking faster then the bottom.  Hoping the soapstone will balance it out and just give me a little bit extra on the bottom, but you may very well be right.  Luckily a couple soapstone tiles will be cheap enough that the experiment won't be a killer if it fails, and if it goes well my next oven will have a soapstone floor.

As for my classification as Neo-neapolitan it's just a term I use because my pizza is not traditional and I respect tradition.  I don't use 00 flour, I use a blend of flours with a higher gluten content.  I use a small percentage of oil in the dough that really changes the crumb IMHO.  I am after an altogether drier product then the traditional Neapolitan.  By no means dry, just drier.

I'm over a year into this quest now, and have made hundreds of pizzas changing one variable at a time.  I bring in people and do blind taste testing.  I've hammered out everything and made significant gains in firming up the center I'm just looking for a last tiny push. 
-Jeff

Offline Mick.Chicago

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Re: Need help deciding on a stone
« Reply #48 on: July 18, 2010, 08:03:46 AM »
This thread should really be a sticky.     


 

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