Author Topic: Question about using a screen with NY style  (Read 1997 times)

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Offline torontonian

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Question about using a screen with NY style
« on: February 12, 2010, 10:43:33 PM »
Hi All,

I've recently been experimenting with NY style. My dough is a pretty standard Lehmann and most of the experimentation has been around oven temps, rack height, cook time etc.

I've found my best results have been high temp, short bake pies (probably no surprise). My problem is that my stone seems too hot (if that's a problem at all). What I mean is, I get my oven around 600-650'ish, with the stone heating for about an hour. No matter what rack the stone is on, the bottom chars in about a minute, but the rest needs a few more minutes at least to bake. Not just browning, but getting crunchy.

The process I've been going through is to remove the pizza after about 70 seconds (at which point the bottom is perfect), put it on a cold stone, and put that back in the oven for about 5 minutes until its completely done. I can't imagine that's ideal.

I did pick up a screen recently, and am thinking about laying the pizza out on that, and then placing it on the hot stone.

Before I went through another series of trial and error, thought I'd put this out there to see if this an avenue worth pursuing.

Cheers,
Josh


Offline veloboy

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Re: Question about using a screen with NY style
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2010, 11:01:09 PM »
I have a stone coming, but it's still two weeks out. I did however have my screens arrive tonight and I made a couple pies. My I.R thermometer said oven was around 580'. I baked them for about 6min. A hint of char, which was good, and all the rest perfect and brown. Screens are awesome. Still can't wait to check my stone when it arrives. 

Offline torontonian

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Re: Question about using a screen with NY style
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2010, 11:03:53 PM »
Quote
A hint of char, which was good, and all the rest perfect and brown

Interesting. I thought I would have to forgo char if I used a screen.

I've used the screen a few times, on the rack, and found the bottom was always disappointing. The stone seemed overkill.

I know I must be doing something wrong. Can't figure out what it is...

Offline veloboy

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Re: Question about using a screen with NY style
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2010, 11:08:43 PM »
Oh...and I think I've read somewhere ( maybe Varasanos site) that some might put foil on the stone or even a cookie sheet on there to control the temp. Again, don't have mne yet but I know I've read about these techniques somewhere. Hopefully somebody in the know will chime in.

Offline torontonian

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Re: Question about using a screen with NY style
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2010, 11:14:33 PM »
Quote
some might put foil on the stone or even a cookie sheet on there to control the temp

Yes, I've tried that. It has worked a handful of times, but I find it way too unpredictable. Sometimes still too hot, sometimes not nearly hot enough.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Question about using a screen with NY style
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2010, 11:18:21 PM »
Josh,

There are quite a few members who use pizza screens with stones. The pizza on the screen can be baked on an upper oven rack position and then shifted onto the stone or the pizza on the screen can be baked directly on the stone. In the latter instance, the screen can be removed from the oven toward the end of the bake to get better bottom crust browning if needed. There are actually quite a few professional pizza operators who bake their pizzas on screens even when using deck ovens. Part of it is that it is easier to train workers to use pizza screens than peels but there are many operators who use screens (sometimes they even double up on the screens) to raise pizzas off of the deck so that the bottoms of the crusts don't bake as fast or burn. Typically, they will slip the pizzas off of the screens directly onto the deck, in a procedure often referred to as "decking the pizza" or "stoning the pizza". Some operators will also slip pizza screens under pizzas baked in a deck oven, usually toward the end of the bake, so as to slow down the bottom crust baking. On occasion, the screens become necessary because the operators are using ovens not specifically designed for baking pizzas or there is a malfunction of the oven (they may not even know it) and the only way to make the pizzas is to use them with screens.

You might take a look at the work of member abilak, who is an accomplished pizza maker who uses a screen/stone combination to make a NY/NJ style of pizza. See http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,9705.0.html and also his posts in the thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,9698.0.html. I also discussed this topic at Reply 45 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2223.msg20965.html#msg20965.

Peter

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Re: Question about using a screen with NY style
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2010, 11:26:31 PM »

Offline torontonian

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Re: Question about using a screen with NY style
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2010, 11:56:03 PM »
Awesome Peter. I will check those threads out and report back.

I have 4x 14" dough balls 2 days fermented in my fridge ready for tomorrow!

Cheers,
Josh

scott123

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Re: Question about using a screen with NY style
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2010, 01:17:41 AM »
Josh, please tell us a little bit about your stone.  I've never heard of a commercial stone that can char a crust in 'about a minute' with a preheat of 650 f.  I have a highly conductive 1 1/4" inch thick stone myself and an oven that will go to 650.  With a two hour pre-heat, I could probably get charring in as little as 2 minutes, but not a minute. I'm not even certain that there's a ceramic material out there that can do charring in a minute with a 650 pre-heat on a NY pie.

Is there a chance the temperature sensor on your oven might be broken? Are you using a lot of sugar? Lower hydration than normal?

The biggest problem with stones, as I'm sure you're aware, is that many don't transfer enough heat to the pizza. I've never run into someone who's stone is transferring too much heat.

Stone mystery aside, it's not too hard to work around this.  Just put the stone on the highest possible shelf in your oven that's still comfortable to work with.  The higher you go, the more heat you get radiating off the oven ceiling.  Lower the pre-heat temp (give 500 a shot).  If the ceiling isn't browning the top enough, use the broiler to compensate.

As far as screens go, personally, I don't believe in them.  I can't speak for the rest of the nation, but I've never seen a screen in a legendary NY pizzeria. I think most of the greats would probably laugh at you if you brought the topic up. If a person needs that kind of crutch before they master a peel, sure, that's fine, but if you're comfortable with a peel, then I see little reason to use a screen. Leave that kind of idiot proofing to places like Dominos  ;D

Offline torontonian

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Re: Question about using a screen with NY style
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2010, 01:27:50 AM »
Thanks Scott, appreciate the input.

Just to answer some of the questions, the stone is a cheapo. From my local kitchen supply shop, $25'ish. Been through 3 of them. They crack very easily.

I know the temp is (mostly) correct, as my oven goes to 550, but I modified to run on the cleaning cycle. I have an internal hanging-type oven thermometer that goes to 650. I know its pretty accurate, as it matches the oven temp setting to the degree.

I'm actually pretty comfortable with the peel. Only a few calzones to my name  ;D

Its just the stone chars too fast!


Offline Matthew

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Re: Question about using a screen with NY style
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2010, 06:32:10 AM »


Just to answer some of the questions, the stone is a cheapo. From my local kitchen supply shop, $25'ish. Been through 3 of them. They crack very easily.

Hi Josh,

I bought my stones from the pottery supply house in oakville. http://www.pshcanada.com/kiln-furn.htm

I have an 18 x 18 x 3/4 Cordierite-mullite slab as well as a couple of the 16 1/4 dia. x 1/2 round stones.  At $19 each the round stones are a bargain.  Although they are only 1/2" thick, they are comprised of 95% corderite; they hold & retain heat extremely well. 

Matt

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Re: Question about using a screen with NY style
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2010, 08:57:55 AM »
Josh,

I had forgotten that you had modified your oven by defeating the clean cycle mechanism. What I posted was with respect to using a standard unmodified home oven.

If I had thought of it earlier, I would have also directed you to this thread: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6585.msg56478.html#msg56478. The method described in that thread seems to be similar to what scott123 has been recommending and does not entail using a pizza screen. I have been meaning for some time to see if that method will work in my standard home oven. In my oven, the broiler element cannot be controlled to remain on at all times.

Peter

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Re: Question about using a screen with NY style
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2010, 09:20:18 AM »
As far as screens go, personally, I don't believe in them.  I can't speak for the rest of the nation, but I've never seen a screen in a legendary NY pizzeria. I think most of the greats would probably laugh at you if you brought the topic up. If a person needs that kind of crutch before they master a peel, sure, that's fine, but if you're comfortable with a peel, then I see little reason to use a screen. Leave that kind of idiot proofing to places like Dominos  ;D

scott123,

I remember when I thought it odd when someone made a so-called "New York" style pizza used pizza screens in a deck oven. It didn't make sense to me. However, as time went on, and especially as I read more and more over at the PMQ Think Tank, I saw that that practice had become quite common. As example is the one discussed at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2817.msg24266.html#msg24266. You can clearly see that the pizza shown in the photos was on a screen at one point. I also saw the practice recently at a Sbarro Mexican airport location (Puerto Vallarta). I think in many cases the use of pizza screens in a deck oven is because it is easier and more convenient to train workers to use screens rather than peels. As conveyor ovens have displaced deck ovens over time, it seems that using pizza screens has carried over to deck ovens also. I can perhaps name a half dozen or more legendary pizza operators who have gone from deck ovens to conveyor ovens to bake their pizzas. As I noted before on the forum, they usually will keep a deck oven in operation somewhere, typically at an original location, in order to be able to continue their "story" as to how their pizza got started decades ago.

Peter

Offline Puzzolento

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Re: Question about using a screen with NY style
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2010, 11:43:13 AM »
I start on a screen (on the stone) and then move to the stone. I do this so I can avoid using semolina. The pizza is great.

Offline torontonian

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Re: Question about using a screen with NY style
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2010, 11:51:33 AM »
Thanks guys. Some great info there. And thanks again Matt for the local supplies hookup!

My oven has a control built in that doesn't allow the broiler to come on above a certain oven temperature (500 I think).

Today I will experiment with the idea of starting with the stone, and finishing on the broiler. See how that goes.

Thanks again,
Josh

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Re: Question about using a screen with NY style
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2010, 11:53:53 AM »
Josh,

Let us know how things turn out.

Peter

Offline torontonian

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Re: Question about using a screen with NY style
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2010, 07:38:15 PM »
I made two 14" NY style tonight, at 575 degrees. I placed them on a screen, and put the screen on top of the hot stone for about 3 minutes. I then quickly lifted them off the screen and onto the stone for about another 2 minutes.

The results were great. Very happy with that. I also find that preparing the pizzas on a screen helps me get them perfectly round. I still have two doughs for tomorrow. I will try and remember to take pics.

Thanks again for the input.


 

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