So I tried out my terra cotta tiles Sunday and ironically the bottom of the crust cooked way too fast, when I used a regular (cheap) pizza stone I had issues with the cheese burning sometimes when trying to get the bottom crispy enough. So the terra cotta tiles seem to hold heat much better than my pizza stone did, I have to use them on the bottom of the oven though because the shelves curve up in the back of the oven so there's only enough room on the bottom. Strangely the bottom of the crust burnt in a ring with the center being mostly golden brown minus some specks of black and a ring around the burnt ring which was slightly white, which didn't make sense to me, I'm not sure why it had a burn ring like that rather than the whole bottom burning since the oven coils aren't at all ring shaped and pretty much cover the whole bottom of the oven. Other than the bottom burning and top crust being undercooked slightly I though this pizza was a improvement in many ways though. I'll post the recipe i used and pictures but I'm pretty much looking for ideas so my next one cooks more evenly, atm my only ideas are to cook it at a lower temperature which i'm not sure if that will help or hurt it, this time it was at 500 degrees with about a 1 hour heat up for the tiles. my other idea was since the tiles hold heat very long is to shut off the oven part way and turn the broiler on, but I'm not sure how well that will work or when to shut it off, with this pizza I think it was in the oven somewhere between 6 and 8 minutes but was fairly burnt on the bottom by then.
anyway here's the recipe and pictures, I removed part of the following quote since it wasn't directly related to this recipe.
Another possibility is to use a poolish, which is another well known form of preferment. I did this recently in connection with the pizza shown at Reply 13 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,702.msg56174.html#msg56174. The pizza shown in that post was baked on a perforated dark anodized disk (no stone). The bottom of the crust was of the same color as the top of the crust. And the crust was chewy and crispy. In fact, I found it to be a bit too crispy. But the taste of “French bread” was definitely there. Because the dough formulation was experimental in nature and no doubt could be improved, I did not disclose the dough formulation. However, in case you are interested, even if for only its instructional value, it was the following one:
Note: Nominal thickness factor is 0.10; pizza size is 14”; bowl residue compensation is 1.5%
|King Arthur Bread Flour (100%):|
|262.88 g | 9.27 oz | 0.58 lbs|
170.87 g | 6.03 oz | 0.38 lbs
1.97 g | 0.07 oz | 0 lbs | 0.65 tsp | 0.22 tbsp
4.6 g | 0.16 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.82 tsp | 0.27 tbsp
2.63 g | 0.09 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.58 tsp | 0.19 tbsp
442.96 g | 15.62 oz | 0.98 lbs | TF = 0.1015
For the dough using that formulation, I used all of the formula water, an equal amount of flour (by weight), and half of the yeast to make a classic poolish, which was then allowed to preferment for about 5 hours at room temperature. I then combined the poolish with the rest of the formula flour and the salt and oil and allowed the dough to ferment at room temperature for about 1 ˝ hours. I then punched the dough down, reshaped it into a ball again, and let it ferment for another 1 ˝ hours. Next time, I would be inclined to use some sugar, since the prefermentation of the poolish, with its 100% hydration (the weight of the poolish water divided by the weight of the poolish flour), can exhaust a fair amount of the natural sugars extracted from the flour by enzymatic performance.
There is no reason why the above dough formulations can’t be revised to produce any amount of dough that you would like to make, for any number and sizes of pizzas.
I added 1.5-1.75 tsps of sugar to the above recipe based on what Pete'zza recommended via pm after I asked him how much I should add. I used the entire dough recipe for a 16-17 inch pizza, not sure about the thickness but there's pictures for an idea.
kind of a side view of the upper and bottom crust color comparison.(http://img693.imageshack.us/img693/1308/dsc00996t.th.jpg)
whitish ring around the burnt area.(http://img85.imageshack.us/img85/9451/dsc00994c.th.jpg)
close up of how burnt some spots got while others were golden still and the top crust was undercooked.(http://img85.imageshack.us/img85/4656/dsc00993y.th.jpg)
bottom (doesn't look as exactly as I remember but still can see that its generally a ring around the center which is burnt.)(http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/3040/dsc00992n.th.jpg)
done pizza - the top crust is whitish but this picture makes it look much whiter than it actually was.(http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/8430/dsc00989q.th.jpg)
done slice 1(http://img684.imageshack.us/img684/9381/dsc00998cy.th.jpg)
done slice 2(http://img99.imageshack.us/img99/3334/dsc00997u.th.jpg)
also Pete-zza if you happen to read this I was curious, for your recipe I know to do the initial fermentation you described, but would this recipe be better with several days of refrigerated fermentation as well or just over night refrigeration? if several days how many would you guess would be optimal? when I made these I believe I did the initial proofing and 1 night of refrigeration because I was short on time and wasn't sure if longer would have been better.
again since I have a bad habit of running on... the main question in this topic was how can I stop the bottom of my crust from burning and help the top crust cook more evenly with the bottom, moving the tiles up more in the oven isn't and option atm and may never be unless I can find flat oven racks, I am not even sure where you would find oven racks alone (never went looking for oven related stuff before).
oh on a side note has anyone ever mixed regular pizza sauce with fresh diced tomatoes? I've tried that a few times and I think I'm going to do it more often, the pizza sauce which is ragu in this case adds some even moisture and flavor while the diced tomatoes which I lightly seasoned and added some garlic too add a nice fresh refreshing burst of flavor imo. In this case I diced up most of a pint of grape/cherry tomatoes and tossed them over the sauce after I put it on, not sure how much sauce it was 2-4 spoons, normal household spoons I think they are probably like half a tablespoon each idk along with some mostly random seasonings since I'm kind of clueless on using seasonings except for maybe oregano lol.