Pizza Making Forum

General Topics => Pizza Ovens => Pizza Making Equipment => Hearth Ovens => Topic started by: pizzaneer on December 21, 2011, 10:48:58 AM

Title: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on December 21, 2011, 10:48:58 AM
Hi! 
   Another LBE (blue in this case) has landed in Maryland!   Not including propane, the out-of-pocket build cost is $8.75.

A neighbor was throwing out the weber platinum - it had been sitting unused for years after the side table got smashed. Yeah, I made a new deck for it. Purty, huh?  Next mod for that will be work shelves that fold flat- something to hold toppings, dough and my all-important clamp-on work light.  I HATE cooking in the dark.

I already had the Morone (with a name like this, it has to be smart, riiight?)  turkey fryer since 2001, used it twice. 170K BTUS. 

From a previous occupation, I had the 1/8" stainless steel sheets.  I had been using them as impromptu baking "stones" in the oven.  Didn't work too bad- with a layer of tile between them, they were ok, but still nowhere near as good as an actual stone. Maybe too thin to really get the heat retention in an oven that is needed.  In an LBE, I think ("theorize" would be both more accurate & more pompous) that the continual rush of superheated air removes most of the need for heat retention, and changes it into a tricky problem of heat balancing and buffering. (me <= overthinker :P )

In the woods behind my property, I found this huge piece of... marble? Quartz?  I'm not sure what it is. Some kind of countertop?  Whatever it is, it was 28x16x1" until I cut it in half, to 16x14x1".  One piece is in the kitchen oven now (made pizzas on it last night, works great) and the other is in the LBE.  Don't even ask how I cut it.  Me and my kid had to jump up and down on it to break it after the top scoring was done.

Some differences in my build compared to others (yes, I have read the entire 68 page thread :P)
1.  My bottom opening is about 7.5" - because I wanted to retain the original legs that the ashcatcher mounts on, so I could install the burner inside the ashcatcher, or even use the grill as a charcoal grill if I want to.
2. You'll note my "side vent" is not really a side vent as such.  It's the oven door, and is big enough to launch and unload pizzas through.  I went by the WFO dome and door calculation to figure sizing.  It is 16" by 4", but after figuring in the height of the pizza hearth, the target position is still optimal.  Oh, and I retained the cutout piece and installed a handle and mounting clips so the opening can be closed if needed.
3.  The deflector in the back channels the burn over the target.  Its a steel piece I made originally for toasting bagels while camping.  We'll have to see about the shape of it.  May need some tweaking.  I've got a lot more metal pieces just laying around, and hmm, theres also an old car next to the shed that is scrap...
4.  The rotating target hearth.  Stainless steel disc, 16" diameter. Sits up off the stone by 1/8". You would not believe how tough this stuff is.  I cut the disc with a jigsaw and metal-cutting blades over a period of three days, then found I could not drill the center hole.  Had to bang it out with a wire (masonry) nail and a hand sledge. That leaves a projection  on the lower surface so it sits up off the stone. It doesn't have a screw in it yet, but once I find my masonry bits for the drill, that will change.  Or I could just keep spinning the disc on the stone and let the jagged edges of the hole drill itself a rest spot. Right now it sits up about 1/8" off the stone, with occasional contact.  With a post, I can change that, depending on bottom char.  Originally I had planned to fabricate an underside shaft-mounted propeller that would be moved by the hot air coming up from the burner, that would spin the hearth disc without having to poke it.  That plan ran into some snags (stainless is too frickin hard to work with).  Maybe I could use an already- made propeller of some kind- just haven't run into one yet.  The point was to get even edge char.  With the top deflector, I think the side nearest the back vent is going to get cremated without constant movement.  So I'll load the za, give the disc a spin and watch it like a hawk.  Well, thats the plan anyway. 

Now I just need some propane, possibly some lava rocks for diffusion and/or air direction.  And I need to find a place nearby that will refill these %$#%!-ripoff Blue Rhino tanks.

(pics next post, with captions)
   
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on December 21, 2011, 10:56:35 AM
the unmodded grill
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on December 21, 2011, 10:57:32 AM
teh stone (wth is this?)
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: scott123 on December 21, 2011, 11:35:07 AM
Brian, it sounds like your head is in the right place (imo, you really can't overthink an LBE), and although I have questions, I'll wait for further photos.  In the meantime, though, I really don't think that the discarded countertop you're using is suitable for pizza, either indoors, or out.

Here's my thoughts on using real stones for pizza:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,16750.msg164224.html#msg164224
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on December 21, 2011, 11:45:41 AM
I wanted to attach pics of the whol process of cutting the steel, but....     128kb... srsly, why so small?   Heres the diffuser plate end result.
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on December 21, 2011, 11:47:35 AM
Hi Scott123

didnt expect you  to post in this early - thought you would though given your interest in steel (yes I have read your posts).   WELCOME, heheheh.  I think we'll be talking quite a bit during this thread. 


Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on December 21, 2011, 11:51:48 AM
pics of deflector/ rotation mod
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on December 21, 2011, 12:14:52 PM
and the underside for those wondering how that turned out
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: buceriasdon on December 21, 2011, 01:45:00 PM
Way cool 8) Look forward to some pizza pics. Plus anyone who waded through all that thread has my upmost ,um,er, sense of wonder :P
Don
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: skyno on December 22, 2011, 11:00:21 PM
Brian

Seems like you have really put some thought into this and you are off to a good start - your fundamental ideas are sound,  but from somebody who has already made some mistakes with my setup, I can see some potential issues with this setup:

1. You already mentioned this, but your setup seems like it will be concentrating A LOT of heat to a very narrow bottleneck in the heat/airflow path - this presents 2 problems - it will concentrate heat and cook a very small area extremely quickly, making it very easy to really over-char an isolated spot, unless it is rotated very evenly throughout the cook - also, it may also cause an airflow issue as the heat will not be able to escape fast enough through this bottleneck, greatly diminishing the heating and airflow efficiency

2. I think it is critical to have a cooking surface that absorbs and retains heat (like a stone) in a high heat environment - I think this becomes even more important in high heat - you need an even heat source from the underside for balance to nicely char the bottom crust evenly & quickly - I was also thinking that the high heat may eventually start making your metal cooking surface warp - a little warping and it will no longer rotate

3. The countertop surface makes me a little nervous - it is not in direct contact with the cooking surface so it is not really acting as a buffer, but rather as just a way to re-direct the heat around to the top - plus there is the issue of safety - since we're not sure what kind of by-products it will give off at high temps

Definitely not trying to be a naysayer or anything and I could be totally off (hope I am!), but these were my initial thoughts when I saw your setup - it was smart to post it and get some feedback though - I will be interested to see what the results are.  Good luck!
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on December 23, 2011, 01:45:02 PM
First firing today, although not pizza.   

I plugged in the tank, and turned the flame barely on.  Fine.  Increased power and lots and lots of stinky smoke came pouring out....  Tried a couple test pcs of bread - you know, the toast-time test.   About 5 seconds to edge char.  The deflector is too low and shaped wrong. It was actually hitting the bread.  About 10 minutes into heating, the ss disc went "boing" and warped to the point it can't rotate.  Thats ok.  I wasn't married to the idea anyway, and I can still use it for a work surface.   

Other things that have been raised as concerns - I'm still happy with the stone.   In my kitchen oven, it is doing great.  Should that change, I will cheerfully admit it didnt work and move on. 

Next steps: remove the extraneous metal crap and mount deflector to lid.  Basically, it will be like everyone else's.   Nothing wrong with backyard Neopizza for under $20 in build cost, right?  Too right!   I'll get the deflector set up and post again with a pic when I do. 
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: skyno on December 23, 2011, 09:00:46 PM
I'm totally on-board with the DIY / low-cost approach - and it's impressive how little you've invested so far - you can probably solve all of these issues with just some design changes except maybe one - I've found that the one component that you can't really substitute for or "skimp on" is the cooking surface - you either need a super high-end stone that it is made to use on an open flame, or the low cost alternative is a kiln shelf or fire bricks (I prefer the kiln shelf) - I have broken too many unglazed tiles and inferior stones to learn this lesson - I have probably cooked over 100 pies on this $20 kiln shelf (+ another $12 to ship it) - it's indestructible

You may have seen this on the LBE thread, but I have been using a rotational mod similar to your idea for quite a while - got the idea from here - I attached a bolt to the grate that stands just a bit higher than the surface that the kiln shelf sits on - then drilled a hole about 1/4 inch into the center on the underside of the kiln shelf that the bolt inserts into and holds the kiln shelf slightly above everything else - then I just spin it through the side vent during cooking to get even cooking - never need to open the lid and lose heat - highly recommended
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on December 23, 2011, 09:39:17 PM
Skyno: I'd love to do what you did with the kiln shelf. Awesome work on that.  I'd like to see a cooking video if you've ever made one.
  I have a contact in my local pottery supply place who is supposed to get in touch when they get a 16" round kiln shelf in.   She quoted me $20, and since I can pick it up, thats all it would take.  So I guess I could either drill the stainless plate for the center post mount or put in some rebar like you did.  I'd like to avoid any more meanness to the kettle base though.
      Frankly, I like being able to step back in my mods to a point where I can choose another direction.  I also like being able to pick up the entire pizza-making mod, set it aside and use the grill as a "normal" grill.

Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: scott123 on December 24, 2011, 11:04:43 AM
Brian,

Allow me to repeat myself  ;D Lose the countertop. At best, it will crack, at worst, it will crack violently. Skyno has it right- cordierite (kiln shelves) or firebrick.

A few observations:

I like the shape of the deflector, but the thinness of the steel will eventually cause it to warp. If you have a stone on top of it, the warping could cause it to go unlevel. You're going to want to support your hearth independently from the deflector below it. Beyond assuring a level hearth, the air gap between the hearth and the deflector will be critical in balancing top and bottom heat.

You're probably not going to want to hear this, but the vent could be too big.  The purpose of a vent isn't to launch a pizza- it's to direct the air. Just like a chimney that's too big allows too much heat to escape a WFO, a vent that's too big will allow too much heat to dissipate. You might be able to get away the hole you've got, but, keep it in the back of your mind if you run into top browning issues.

A rotating cooking surface is a good impulse.   There are relatively cheap, all metal lazy susans that will fill this role.
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on December 24, 2011, 02:57:00 PM
Scott, Skyno, I'm trying to get a little more organized here - I've answered you posts re the mechanical build process in the main LBE thread, and I will continue this thread once the pizzamaking begins.

Thanks for your input!

Brian


Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on January 17, 2012, 03:24:25 PM
All righty-

let me quickly summarize what I posted on the main LBE thread, and proceed to an update and some pure conjecture and wishful thinking.

1.  Several config changes later, no rotating mod, SS disc is in the lid with other parts to make a "dome within a dome" shape.
2. SS bottom deflector is unchanged.  Flame hits that directly, tilted a little towards the rear where the vent is.  On top of that, the original cooking grate, with charcoal loading side grates flipped up.  The stone (unchanged, still going strong) sits on top of that.  Makes about .25" - .5" air gap under the stone. 
3. Theres about 3.5" headroom between leading edge of top deflector and the hearth. 
4.  The original charcoal-holding baskets sit on the charcoal grate in order to further channel the flame and serve as a heat reservoir.
 
 A video which nicely portrays what it looks like (if it cost a LOT more) and and what is going on in terms of cooking:  http://www.woodstone-corp.com/html/fireworks_lg.htm

Now I'm thinking about other things I could make in it!  The steak in that video looks awesome, and I can't wait to kebab something!  Wife says shes pizza'd out... erhm, we all know pizza is the most perfect food, but others may not be so... enlightened.  Or obsessed.

My IR gun and digital scale are on order - once they arrive, I will be able to tinker with dough recipes  :)

 
 
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on May 19, 2012, 03:22:37 AM
Hi all.  
Please excuse the very long delay in posting updates.  Various circumstances have managed to derail nearly every single bake for the last 6 months.  Always some last-moment "HONEY! NEED TO DO THIS NOW!"... after some thought, I've concluded my wife is really a secret pizza hater.  >:(

Anyway, here's some pics from tonight's bake.  I've not had good luck with taking pictures.  I always get too wound up in the process to stand back and document it.  I'm going to train my kid to take shots while I'm getting it ready.

I'm embarrassed to talk about my dough.  I don't have a mixer, and after using the no-knead methods, the stretch and fold methods, the tartine methods, I just wasn't having much luck with nice rims.  Then I read a post of Tom's about a reversed dough hook, and had an inspiration.   :chef:

This is a dough made using GMAP, small amount of starter, very small amount of yeast, 2% OO, 2% sugar, 2% salt.  After hand-mixing to incorporate, mixed for 5-6 minutes using electric drill on reverse with a dough hook from a kitchen mixer.  BF in bowl for 12 hours after mixing, balled then CF for 72.  Reballed, then frozen, due to last-moment neighbor kids birthday party.  Literally last-moment: was T-5 seconds to lighting up the BBE.  After a week, thawed it today.   Beautiful silky extensibility - I could have thrown this dough if I was brave enough.  Stretched a 150 g ball to 14" with no problem, using knuckles.

Topped with bottle sauce (generic "traditional") and shredded brick mozz (rehydrated in salt water with minced onions) some deli pepperoni.

Launched at 645 stone temp, cooked about 2:30.  A little more charring than ideal, but very very tasty. Nice crumb, good melt-in-your mouth tenderness, good finish to bottom and top.

I had one slice.  The happy kid ate everything else. ;D
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: TXCraig1 on May 19, 2012, 09:20:51 AM
Looks very good. Great looking crumb. The ear-to-ear grin says it all though!
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on May 19, 2012, 11:47:07 AM
He's one happy kid!

Looks very good. Great looking crumb. The ear-to-ear grin says it all though!
Coming from you, Craig, that means a lot. Thanks!
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzablogger on May 21, 2012, 10:09:24 AM
I agree with Craig....excellent looking crumb.  :)

Nice pie Brian. You said the char was too much....do you mean on the bottom? ' Cause the top looks good on this end.

That's a great shot of Darwin!

Best -k
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on May 21, 2012, 11:21:30 AM
I agree with Craig....excellent looking crumb.  :)

Nice pie Brian. You said the char was too much....do you mean on the bottom? ' Cause the top looks good on this end.

That's a great shot of Darwin!

Best -k

Thanks Kelly!  Good thing Darwin takes after his mom, right?
 Hope the market venture's going well!  I'll see you this Sunday bright and early, and may bring a doughball with me.  I was very pleased with how this dough turned out, and plan to tinker with the recipe some more, now that I know my completely insane idea of using an electric drill on reverse with a mini dough hook actually works.   I just let it go a few seconds too long in the BBE.  Heres the bottom shot- you can see it's a little dark, although it tasted fine.
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzablogger on May 21, 2012, 01:25:34 PM
The bottom is maybe a tad too far charred, but it doesn't look bad either.  The real question is did that level of char give enough of a bitter perception to detract from the balance of the pizza? --K   :)
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on May 21, 2012, 02:17:04 PM
To my taste, not at all, although I'm looking forward to trying it again, more carefully.  It balanced the creaminess of the rehydrated mozz and the slight pepper bite of the roni's. (They were from Pastore's Italian Market- a great source for specialty toppings like capicollo, proscuitto, etc.)   http://www.pastores.net/index.php

What I tasted most in the crust was a rich, complex sourdough flavor. It blended well with the sauce and toppings.  
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on June 12, 2012, 01:35:38 AM
AAAAALLL RIIIIGHTY THEN!

Since we're pizza'd out atm, I made other stuff tonight.

This is feta & cheddar stuffed green peppers with salsa and a dash of chili oil, coupled with BBQ chicken & onion kebabs.  I made the BBQ using ketchup, Worcestershire, balsamic vinegar, salsa, assorted spices and OO.  Those are real bamboo skewers- I have bamboo growing wild and it comes in handy now and then.

As you can see in the pictures, I added a small log to the LBE back vent area: instant mini WFO.  The log caught and burned well after just a few minutes.  I turned the propane off once it lit.

The taste and smell and sheer fun of seeing the flames shooting across the ceiling were fabulous.  I have to try making a pizza the same way, without propane (after the stone gets to temp), just using natural fire for the top finish.

Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: deb415611 on June 12, 2012, 06:36:58 AM
wow pizzaneer the peppers and kebabs look awesome

Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on June 12, 2012, 07:31:32 AM
TVM Deb! 

I actually use the LBE for other foods more often than pizza:  my wife only likes the pan-fried Sicilian type, so usually it's just me and the kid eating the Neopolitan.

Great things to make on the LBE:
Sirloin steak @ 800F, in cast iron pan with OO- perfect char and tenderness; side of potatoes (wrap in foil, place on hearth during heat-up), or steak fries (frozen kind, in pan with a little oil)
Cordon Chicken Bleu in puff pastry & salad with fire-roasted croutons
Fresh bread boules for NE clam chowder or cream of crab soup - perfect on a winter night
hamburgers (of course) I'll take a picture next time I make some.  I use a small cooking grate on a broiler pan for that.
Balmer Pit Beef!  Basically a highly-spiced dry rub roast, cooked next to charcoal.  I place charcoal in one of the charcoal baskets, and cook the roast on a grate over a pan.  Slice super-thin, serve with horseradish, onions and mayo on Kaiser rolls: delicious!
Cedar-planked fish - salmon is the standard, but tuna or swordfish is even better.  I've got a huge pile of cedar shims left over from building the house - they are perfect to cook on.
 
I really like making the kebabs, and I think that will be a big hit at our next cookout.  Even the kids can get into spearing the vegetables, and once they taste the smoky char, they won't whine about eating them!
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: Bigfoot21075 on June 14, 2012, 11:46:20 AM
Oh wow - that looks great! love the stuffed peppers, they look awesome!
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on June 17, 2012, 08:39:05 AM
Thanks Bigfoot!  I bet they'd cook up great in your WFO!
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on June 17, 2012, 09:12:24 AM
This is my current dough-making process.  Subject to change. For instance, after making pizza last night, I realized only then that I had forgotten something... the sugar.  Oops.  :-[    The first time I used this dough, I made deep-fried mini-calzones.  I didn't notice the lack of browning then. 

Weigh out, hand mix to incorporate, use dough hook & drill in reverse at low speed for 7-8 minutes, rotating bowl to get the planetary arm movement.

This is a 63% hydration dough, with just olive oil and a small amount of yeast.  The plan was to CF it for a few days, then use.  For various reasons, that didn't happen.  As it happened, it was mixed, bulked @ RT for 2 hours, then balled and frozen.  The next time I use one of these balls, I'll take it out several days in advance, instead of the same day. 
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on June 17, 2012, 09:22:29 AM

Last night's thin crust.

Super-thin, lightly topped, launched at 650, baked for about 2 minutes.  Nice crackle, not chewy at all.  Color and flavor suffered a little from lack of sugar or lack of longer fermentation.  Came out to be a 14" oblong pie, and my kid ate it all.  He's probably not the most critical of reviewers, but he really liked it.  :)
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on June 17, 2012, 09:23:08 AM
upskirt
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: Pete-zza on June 17, 2012, 10:26:10 AM
Brian,

Is that an inverted pie plate that you used to form the skin and, if so, was it to avoid having to measure the diameter of the skin?

Even if you had added the sugar, you might not have gotten a great deal more color, especially since you froze the dough shortly after you made it. You might have gotten some caramelization effects from the sugar in its raw state when you decided to use the dough (assuming you used enough of it) but perhaps not enough simple sugars to feed the yeast (yeast only consumes simple sugars) and for the Maillard reactions. To get those sugars, it can often take several hours at room temperature, or longer for a cold fermented dough. Freezing the dough pretty much stops all biochemical activity.

Peter
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on June 17, 2012, 10:56:09 AM
Brian,

Is that an inverted pie plate that you used to form the skin and, if so, was it to avoid having to measure the diameter of the skin?

...Freezing the dough pretty much stops all biochemical activity.

Peter

Well, it's actually a tray left over from a New Year's party years ago.  Originally, it had a selection of lunch meats and cheese on it, I think.   But it's the perfect size for rounding out a dough.  (I will NOT use the counter for dough work - far too messy, and I have cats.)  It's also the perfect height for sliding the skin onto the peel before dressing it.

So am I right about taking the ball out several days in advance? If I can get some cold rise for flavor & color without blowing the dough, I'll be happy.
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: Pete-zza on June 17, 2012, 11:31:00 AM
So am I right about taking the ball out several days in advance? If I can get some cold rise for flavor & color without blowing the dough, I'll be happy.

Brian,

I would say yes if the amount of yeast is small. Many commercial frozen dough balls use a lot of yeast (about double the normal amount) because freezing can kill off some of the yeast. But there is still enough viable yeast available in the dough after defrosting to make pizza. But commercial frozen dough balls do not last--or do well--beyond about two days of defrosting (they start to overferment and break down). When I made frozen clones of Mellow Mushroom dough balls, where I used about 0.60-0.70% IDY, I found that if I went beyond two days of defrosting, the dough was much softer and more gassy than the same doughs that were subjected to one or two days of defrosting. In my case, the defrosting was done in the refrigerator, not at room temperature (which, of course, would shorten the defrost time). If you are using a small amount of dough, that, along with the temperature at which the dough is defrosted, will govern when you should use the dough.

You also don't want to hold the frozen dough balls too long in your freezer before using, especially if your freezer has a defrost cycle that subjects the dough to repeated freezing and defrosting. For the Mellow Mushroom frozen dough balls, I held the dough balls for only a few to several days before using. That worked out very well. You wouldn't know from the dough's performance that the dough balls had been frozen.

Peter
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on June 17, 2012, 02:16:27 PM
Thanks Peter!  The total amount was very small, so I'm hoping it will be great the next time I make pizza.  It's hard to quantify amounts this small, so what I usually do is use a piece of scrap paper, and dribble an amount about the size of a capital O @ 14pts, and just sprinkle it on top before mixing.
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: Grillruss on September 19, 2012, 12:03:55 PM
Brian,

You mentioned a lot of sooty smoke on your first test fire, but I don't see any further mention of it. Are you still getting a lot of smoke?
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: scott123 on September 19, 2012, 12:10:35 PM
Russ, please explain to Brian the inherent danger of using an unknown material for a hearth  ;D
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on September 19, 2012, 12:12:25 PM
No, no sooty smoke at all now.  I might get a little grease burn off aroma if I have had the BBE configured for open flame (lava rocks just under the cooking grate, over the burner jet and no steel or stone) and I've been making burgers, but as soon as bottom kettle interior temp hits about 850, that's all gone too.

Hi Scott  :P
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: Grillruss on September 19, 2012, 12:58:27 PM
Unknown material is definitely bad. I thought he was confident it was a natural stone slab? My experience with corderite ahs been great.

I was asking about the smoke more in relation to the burner. That is an extremely powerful burner in a confined space. If the smoke was not from burning off gunk and oils, it can be caused by the burner:
Any of these three is bad. All three can be corrected. Lack of secondary air can be extremely dangerous.
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on September 19, 2012, 01:39:11 PM
Oh boy, you're going to have fun reading through the main LBE thread....

1. Primary air: I keep my venturi open for precisely that reason.
2. Secondary air: Since I don't run my LBE full-throttle, but at most around 1/4, the secondary air issue has never come up.  I can definitely understand why it would be a major safety issue.  I've got a LOT more air going into mine than some others do who burn at max, believe it or not.
3. Impingement: I have nothing close to the direct flame until the actual cooking hearth, which is at the top of  the kettle.  Instead, my stone sits directly on a sheet of stainless to (a) distribute the heat evenly across the stone bottom and (b) deflect most of the super-hot air to the back of the kettle, where it shoots up and is guided down onto the pie by an air director made from stainless and aluminum.   But the flame itself doesn't reach the steel under the stone.

Like I said, your feedback will be interesting.  I'll add to that - it may save lives.  There might be a reason we never hear anything further from a lot of people who have been making their LBE's....  :o
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: scott123 on September 19, 2012, 01:51:36 PM
I have to admit, these are interesting observations that, in all of the LBE thread, appear to have never been raised.

As far as the lack of secondary air producing a dangerous situation, even at full throttle, as long as you have a big enough gap at the back of the stone and a sufficiently sized vent, I don't see the secondary air dropping to a dangerous level. Still, I think it's invaluable information to be aware of the fact that if you shortchange the secondary air in any way in an LBE, you're creating a dangerous situation.

The impingement aspect is interesting. Russ, when you talk about incomplete combustion, you're really referring to smoke and soot formation and not a huge loss in heat, correct?  How far from the flame should objects be to avoid impingement?
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: Grillruss on September 19, 2012, 01:59:45 PM
First, I have not manged to find the "main" LBE thread. I seached LBE and Little Black Egg without luck.

Impingement does not greatly reduce heat, but it does create sooty smoke. It also increases the carbon monoxide off gasses (never a good thing). How far from the flame to eliminate impingement? Objects either need to not touch the flame at all, or they need to interrupt the flame only within the base cone (like a flame deflector).

In best case scenarios, a lack of secondary air will also drastically increase CO output. In worst case scenarios, it can snuff the flame. When that happens, you're just pumping gas into an enclosed space. Very bad. You are absolutely correct that appropriate venting avoids the problem.
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: scott123 on September 19, 2012, 02:04:26 PM
The LBE thread, in all of it's 90 page glory :)

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.0.html
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on September 19, 2012, 02:05:56 PM
LBE thread:
90 pages of sometimes sheer idiocy "overkill"... skip straight to the end to see a 500K weedburner used to power an LBE.

And that guy hasn't reported back...
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: Grillruss on September 19, 2012, 02:09:40 PM
90 pages? Yikes. I may have to wait a bit before wading into that one. Thanks for the link.
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on September 19, 2012, 02:12:30 PM
Russ, still would appreciate your feedback about any possible way to improve my particular setup, thanks for everything so far!

Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: scott123 on September 19, 2012, 02:20:29 PM
90 pages? Yikes. I may have to wait a bit before wading into that one. Thanks for the link.

Other than his stone choice ;) Brian's set up is pretty representative of an LBE.  The only real differences are the way people deflect the heat away from the hearth and direct the heat down onto the pizza,using a variety of air foils.

LBEs are almost always a weber and a high btu burner, but the deflection/direction usually boils down to whatever scraps people have on hand.
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on September 19, 2012, 02:24:33 PM
Also, IMHO, a deflector that sits in the flame is just wasting propane.  Kiln shelves (ahem) and steel can take the heat just fine, just need to be far enough away that's not "live" flame anymore.
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: scott123 on September 19, 2012, 02:34:36 PM
Brian, I don't think I've seen too many deflectors sitting in the flame, but you do make a good point.

I'm actually 100% pro high-placement deflector anyway these days, because that allows for the biggest deflector possible.
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on September 19, 2012, 02:53:15 PM
it's the evolution of an idea... kind of like the whole line-the-kettle-with-foil thing.

There should be some kind of summary, with some safety tips.
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on June 17, 2013, 08:31:25 AM
I have to confess I haven't used the LBE in some time.  To my horror, upon opening it up, I found the bottom ashcatcher, which holds the burner, to be full of rusty scale. There was a mound of rust and debris atop the burner as well.  I cleaned it out as best I could, given that all the bolts have rusted together, and there is no way to disassemble the burner itself.  When I connected it and gave it some gas and tied to light it, no joy, and the propane was visibly coming out of the venturi.

Anyone have any ideas?  I'm sure it's a clog, but am somewhat leery of sticking pointy things into it. 
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on July 01, 2013, 09:24:23 AM
Yep, it was a clog.  Mud-dauber wasps had filled up the central burner passage with their nests, eggs and larvae.  A friend at work helped me get the rusted bolt holding the central ring that looks like a cogwheel.  Some penetrating spray and rubber mallet whacking later, it all came apart.  Then after some bottle-brush time and lots of Eeeww later, the burner was finally clean inside and out.

   Made pizza for a Supermoon party across the street.  Small party, 4 adults and 2 kids... only made 4 pizzas, no pics.  A shame because the host went out and bought really great toppings:  all the toppings needed to make the classics.  Margherita, L'Atomica, Bianco, etc.   It was good to get back into slinging pies after a long interruption. 
   Got reminded of a few pertinent factors:  1. humidity adversely affects dough opening, so choose a lightly fermented low-hydration recipe if expecting moist environmental conditions.  2. Conductivity of almost any stone you can put into an LBE is going to be higher by a factor of .33 than the firebrick in a wood-fired masonry oven, so adjust your cooking temperature to 2/3 of "ideal" WFO.  For my stone, a top surface (average) stone temp of 550 is perfect. Any more than that, I'd better be using Caputo.
   Pizzas made that night were: all-cheese for the kids (@550): very nice!  Pepperoni, portabellas and hot peppers @ 650 (charred, but tasted good) Sicilian in a cast iron skillet @ 525 for 6 minutes: ham + pepperoni, shiitakes, fontina & mozz, drizzled olive oil  (belly-bustin addictively tasty) and then made a last Sicilian with just cheese and garlic to leave for next-day leftovers.
 
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on July 01, 2013, 09:41:30 AM
Meet the BBE (Blue Bay Egg) again. The name has been updated in the interests of added coolness.  It shall now be known as .... "Dragon's Egg".     :P ;D

If you look closely, you will note the internal parts of the LBE setup are now on the exterior in storage position. 

That is because it is, for now, set up as a charcoal grill.
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on July 01, 2013, 09:42:56 AM
There's a load of good charcoal going in a steel box, the huge hole in the bottom of the Egg is blocked by a round foil pan, and there's a drip pan under a lovely little ham.
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on July 01, 2013, 09:55:02 AM
A ham that's been slowly absorbing a mixture of wildflower honey and steakhouse spices.  For days, sealed in a glass bowl in the fridge.
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on July 01, 2013, 09:55:54 AM
Crust and char.  The two major factors to making a perfect pit ham.   The crust is a product of the liquid layer surrounding the meat coming in contact with sustained dry heat.  Your basic chemistry rules apply. Remember that the carmelization rate of sugar is tempered by addition of fat, which is another way of saying that you are basically looking at a GIANT HUNK OF BACON.
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on July 01, 2013, 09:57:34 AM
Now let's talk about char.  Using the little magnifier thingy in your browser, zoom right in.  Take a look at the strata revealed in the edge of the top cut.  From the outside going in, the range is from "BLACKENED BACON, through GUMMY COATING, to SMOKED HAM". 
Title: Re: Blue Bay LBE - in Baltimore MD
Post by: pizzaneer on July 01, 2013, 10:02:08 AM
And here we see the product of the grilling process, after 3 hours of slow cooking and then a nice soaking bath in my homemade barbecue sauce.

Now that the char is wet, it won't powder off or make your mouth feel like you are gnawing on a charcoal briquette.  Even under the layer of sauce, it has a little crisp to it- as much as blackened bacon does.  In comparison, the center of the slice is meltingly tender.