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Author Topic: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.  (Read 17822 times)

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Online Pete-zza

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2010, 08:22:54 PM »
scott123,

Out of curiosity, I did a search over at the PMQ Think Tank to see if anyone is using soapstone in their commercial ovens. I found two posts, by the same member, at http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5806&p=35920&hilit=#p35920 and at http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4787&p=31052&hilit=#p31052. The oven in which the soapstone shelves were used is a Rotoflex oven. Rotoflex ovens usually come equipped with metal decks but can be retrofitted with stone decks.

Peter

Offline scott123

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2010, 08:56:37 PM »
Thanks for checking into that Peter.  I think I've seen photos of the soapstones in the Rotoflex. If memory serves me correctly, they're pretty thin stones/not much thermal mass.  I wouldn't mind seeing, firsthand, what a Rotoflex can do, but I'm not running out to find one. The idea of a rotating oven (or a conveyor oven) for a NY pizza really butts heads with my traditional deck/brick oven philosophy. I see these types of ovens making plenty of money, but I don't see any of them putting out legendary pizza.

Offline Scagnetti

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #22 on: February 09, 2010, 10:44:30 AM »
scott, I want to be in the soapstone bidness!

I couldn't agree more about having to do a preheat longer than 1 hour. This is the exact reason why I'm reluctant to make pizza in the middle of a Texas summer. Leaving the oven on for that long throws off a lot of heat.

I noticed the dimensions you gave for your soapstone slab was 18 x 21 x 1.25.  Are you saying to can properly preheat a stone that is 1.25" thick in an hour?

Offline Scagnetti

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #23 on: February 09, 2010, 10:56:29 AM »
Put oil on the outside of the dough, not in it. Start on a screen, for about 4 minutes. Use a peel to move the pie to a stone for another 2 1/2-3 minutes. Bake at 550 or higher. Make sure the stone is clean and preheated. And don't be afraid of regular all-purpose flour, with less gluten.

My stone is whatever they had at Bed Bath & Beyond on the day I walked in. Works great. I want to try one of the Fibrament stones, though.

I've gotten good results with only a screen, but it's hit or miss. Using the screen first makes semolina unnecessary, and the end results are 100% consistent.
The dough I'm using now is different than the dough I used 2 years ago. I didn't have this crisping problem with that dough but I was cooking in a gas oven then and using Vital Wheat Germ.

I always thought that cooking with a screen was kind of lame but it is a BIG help in getting the pie dressed and just moving it around both before and after cooking.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #24 on: February 09, 2010, 12:17:53 PM »
I called Dorado in Austin this morning, at 1-512-444-8600, and talked to an employee named Bo about scrap or remnant pieces of soapstone that might be used for baking purposes. I was told that they are willing to sell such remnant pieces of soapstone, and it appears that they might be willing to cut out a piece of a specific size from their soapstone inventory. I was quoted a price of $41 per square foot, with a stone thickness of 1 1/4". Sales tax would apply and shipping would be extra, of course. I was quoted around $50 for shipping but was told that the shipping costs could be reduced to something around $30 if I was in no hurry and willing to pick up the stone somewhere in Dallas as part of their frequent deliveries to the Dallas area.

I can't fit an 18"x 21" stone in my oven, but for that size the price would be $107.63, plus sales tax and shipping. For a 14" x 16" size as mentioned earlier, the price would be [(14 x 16)/144] x 41 = $63.78, plus sales tax and shipping. For those who live in the Austin area and pick up a stone, there would be no shipping costs, only sales tax. I was told that an 18" x 21" stone would not be a problem, so it looks like they can accommodate different sizes smaller than that size.

Peter

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Offline scott123

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #25 on: February 10, 2010, 01:36:01 AM »
I noticed the dimensions you gave for your soapstone slab was 18 x 21 x 1.25.  Are you saying to can properly preheat a stone that is 1.25" thick in an hour?

I bought a slab 18 x 21 x 1.25, but, because my oven is only about 17.5" deep, I had to chisel it down a bit.

As far as the time it takes me to 'properly' pre-heat my 17.5 x 21 x 1.25 stone... that's a tough call.  I tend to put the oven on, set the timer on for an hour, wait until it goes off, and then do a bunch of prep work, so it's usually about 1 hour 15 minutes before a pizza touches stone. On the day of my very traumatic anemic AM stone experience (at a friends house), in an effort to exorcise the evil pizza juju as quickly as possible, I came home and hopped right back on the pizza horse.  I was in such a hurry, I shortened the pre-heat time dramatically- to about 40 minutes. Needless to say, 40 minutes wasn't enough.

So, long story short, 1 hour 15 confirmed win, 40 minutes confirmed fail.  An hour might work- I've never tried it.

I think, if I lived in Texas, I'd probably come up with a way to do a 40 minute pre-heat.  I think it could be done with my stone with a few tricks, like having the stone close to the element, using the broiler or possibly shielding the sensor in some way so the oven stays on longer.

I've got dough in the fridge right now that I'm trying to ferment for 3 days, but will most likely eat in 1 or 2. When I bake that, I'll go with a 1 hour pre-heat and let you know how it works out.

I called Dorado in Austin this morning, at 1-512-444-8600, and talked to an employee named Bo about scrap or remnant pieces of soapstone that might be used for baking purposes. I was told that they are willing to sell such remnant pieces of soapstone, and it appears that they might be willing to cut out a piece of a specific size from their soapstone inventory. I was quoted a price of $41 per square foot, with a stone thickness of 1 1/4".

$41? Wow, that seems like a lot.  I'm curious, is that $41 for remnants (and the cut is free) or is that $41 including some sort of charge for the cut? If you, say, show up and find a remnant that's exactly the size you're looking for, without a cut, are they really going to charge you $41/sq. ft. for it? Uncut slabs are almost always 47 x 25 x 1.25, and, as you found out a while back, run in the $70/sq. ft. range.  People that have the money for soapstone countertops want as few seams as possible, so not only do you find a lot of waste, but the waste that is generated is never used for other countertop jobs.  Sure, you could probably take a remnant and use it for an island or a small table, but, for the most part, the uses for remnants are few. I'm a little shocked that they'd charge $70ish/sq. ft. for a pristine clean rectangular slab, but after someone uses a chunk and renders it  pretty much worthless for countertops, they'd still charge as much as $40.

Is this the Whole Foods of soapstone distributors?  ;D

Sticker shock aside, I still think this is a better deal than the Fibrament, IF one lived close to Austin.  For a 15 x 20 stone, the fibrament is $70 and this would be $83 + tax. This is, by far, worth those few extra dollars.  The delivery thing, though... ... ... I'm pretty poverty stricken, but if something happened to my stone and the only option to replace it was spending $170, would I?  Most likely.  Before I did that, though, you better believe that I'd call every countertop installer in a 50 mile radius to make sure that I couldn't get a better price.  I'd also probably consider putting two smaller pieces together- the smaller you go, the less that can be done with them, the less value they are.

Offline widespreadpizza

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #26 on: February 10, 2010, 08:55:30 AM »
Scott,  are you sure they don't use any of the scraps.  I have seen many sinks make out of 5 pieces in some of the size ranges ,  and they also make woodstoves which require pieces in the size range we are talking about here.  On another note,  I have been looking for a nice marble pastry slab/pizza slab as it is something I have never shelled the money out for.  My local shop qouted me 100 for up to 24x24 piece cut and polished.  Still more than I want to spend.  Does anyone have any recomendations for me to find something online that like 18x18 or bigger?  If so I would love to hear about it.  thanks -marc

Offline norma427

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #27 on: February 10, 2010, 09:28:16 AM »
widespreadpizza,

In relation to your question about marble slabs, I found mine a while ago on craigslist for 25.00. It was just a leftover piece of marble. I have also seen some of them at  http://www.habitat.org/env/restores.aspx . Here is one located in my area. http://lancasterhabitatrestore.org/ You can do a search to see if one of these Habitat Re Stores are in you area.

Norma
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 09:38:49 AM by norma427 »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #28 on: February 10, 2010, 09:33:01 AM »
$41? Wow, that seems like a lot.  I'm curious, is that $41 for remnants (and the cut is free) or is that $41 including some sort of charge for the cut? If you, say, show up and find a remnant that's exactly the size you're looking for, without a cut, are they really going to charge you $41/sq. ft. for it?

scott123,

I asked for the pricing when we were talking about remnants.

Interestingly, when we were talking about the source of the soapstone, Brazil, I learned that even the soapstone people in Vermont are importing soapstone from Brazil rather than mining it from their own quarries. How true that is is hard to say without checking further.

If I knew that I was planning to be in Austin, I think I would consider getting a soapstone piece to bring back with me, even at the $41 figure quoted to me.

Peter

Offline Scagnetti

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #29 on: February 10, 2010, 02:32:43 PM »
scott123,

I asked for the pricing when we were talking about remnants.

Interestingly, when we were talking about the source of the soapstone, Brazil, I learned that even the soapstone people in Vermont are importing soapstone from Brazil rather than mining it from their own quarries. How true that is is hard to say without checking further.

If I knew that I was planning to be in Austin, I think I would consider getting a soapstone piece to bring back with me, even at the $41 figure quoted to me.

Peter
Peter,

If that was to come about, I'd be willing to buy one as well.  Maybe they'd give us a better deal on two stones.

Scagnetti

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Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #30 on: February 10, 2010, 03:01:25 PM »
When I get enough money I will definitely go get one that will fit in my oven. I don't mind driving that far to get something that is worth it.

Offline scott123

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #31 on: February 11, 2010, 07:41:38 AM »
Widespreadpizza, yes, they do use scraps for sinks and for ovens, but, I get the feeling that lots of people go with soapstone counters and stainless (or other material) sinks.  Ovens are extremely niche. I'm pretty confident, based upon my distributor having an entire parking lot full of remnants, that the countertop business creates a surplus of scrap.

The difference between $10/sq. ft and $41 is so great that I'm a little concerned that the woman that waited on me might not have known what she was doing and undercharged me.  I really hope that wasn't the case, though, as I expect to be going back for more remnants in the future.

Soapstone is a luxury market.  It's the multi-millionaires/Martha Stewarts that are having these types of countertops installed, so, I guess, with that kind of product, purveyors are going to charge whatever they feel like. It's a little disappointing, though, that there's such a regional disparity in pricing.

Offline norma427

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #32 on: February 11, 2010, 08:02:45 AM »
After reading about soapstone, I did a search in my area.  I did call this company, yesterday.  I guess because of all the snow they werenít open.  I did leave a voice mail and will let anyone that might be interested in this area what kind of prices they might charge for a piece of soapstone.

http://www.buckscountysoapstone.com/


There is going to be exhibitors at The Lancaster Historic Home Show and Bucks County Soapstone will be there.

http://www.lancasterhistorichomeshow.com/Exhibitors.html

There seems to different places near Lancaster that sell soapstone.  This is one of them.

http://www.naturalstoneworks.com/

Norma

Offline Kemosa

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #33 on: February 11, 2010, 09:03:28 AM »
Norma,

Thanks for checking this out.  Please let us know what Bucks Cty. Soapstone has to offer.  My 2nd stone just cracked and I would be interested in trying the soapstone.

Offline norma427

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #34 on: February 11, 2010, 09:06:18 AM »
Kemosa,

I will let any one know when I get a call back or an answer to an email I sent.  I will check at other places in our area, too.

Thanks,

Norma

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Offline scott123

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #35 on: February 11, 2010, 09:18:06 AM »
http://www.naturalstoneworks.com/

I think these guys are granite distributors, but probably get the soapstone they work with from Bucks County.  Generally speaking, the demand for soapstone is only sufficient to support one main distributor per area.

Even if they are just fabricators/installers, they're definitely worth talking to about scraps.

P.S. This doesn't really apply to Bucks County, but if anyone commutes to NYC from Eastern PA, my place, M Teixeira, is right off of route 80.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 09:23:01 AM by scott123 »

Offline scott123

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #36 on: February 11, 2010, 09:58:30 AM »
I took another look around and found a price on soapstone tiles:

http://www.vermontsoapstone.com/soapstone_tile.asp

I bring this up because most of the places you'll go to will have these.  You could, in theory, take two $15ish tiles, cut 5" off one, split that 5" piece in half (lengthwise) and stack them together in sort of a 17 x 19 oval.

The 1/2" thickness, though, is not ideal. You could be talking recovery issues with that little mass. Maybe.  I talked a little bit about soapstone's superior conductivity earlier (twice that of cordierite). You might be able to get away with a 10 minute recovery time, possibly even less.  You're also talking about a much shorter pre-heat (maybe a half hour?).

It's all a little too theoretical, though. 1 1/4" slabs completely and totally rock! (pun intended :) ). I really can't vouch for anything else.

If you do go the tile route, I'd size them so they are touching the back wall and the door so they won't shift too much.

Edit:  There's one thing you should be aware of with the 1 1/4" slabs. Part of soapstone's ability to hold lots of heat is that it's very dense. And heavy.  Based upon a published density of 2980 kg/cubic meter, my 17.5" x 21" x 1.25" slab weighs in at 49 pounds.  It's a big boy  ;D I think most oven shelves should have no problem with this.   A very large Thanksgiving turkey (25ish lb.) stuffed and in a heavy duty roaster with veggies roasting on the side should approach this.The weight is evenly distributed as well. I don't think it should be a concern, but, like I said, you should be aware of it.

The biggest weight related issue I ran into is that the shelf won't slide, so it took a lot of muscle to get the stone into the oven and onto the shelf.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 10:28:11 AM by scott123 »

Offline norma427

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #37 on: February 12, 2010, 05:25:08 PM »
I had called and emailed about purchasing a piece or remnant of soapstone using the size 16"x19".  I received an email from Buckís County Soapstone today that the price would be 116.00 for a piece that size.  They didnít say anything about remnant's.  I will reply and see if they have any remnants to sell.

I had also called Frankís and received  a call back today.  They said they didnít have any soapstone to sell.

I guess other members are having better luck in finding better prices.

Norma
« Last Edit: February 12, 2010, 07:42:34 PM by norma427 »

Offline Kemosa

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #38 on: February 12, 2010, 07:25:12 PM »
Thanks for looking into this Norma !  As they say everything is more expensive in Bucks county !

Offline scott123

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Re: My love/hate relationship with my NY pie.
« Reply #39 on: February 12, 2010, 09:35:39 PM »
Norma, that comes out to $55 a sq. ft.  Definitely press the remnant question.  Don't even ask about particular sizes, just say "how much for scrap?" 

My distributor is just outside Manhattan. Since there are no Manhattan distributors, this place is it for the area. For something to cost 5 times more in Bucks County than it does in Manhattan... sure, I guess anything is possible, but I find it unlikely.

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