• #21 by Aimless Ryan on 05 Apr 2014
  • The MPO has some features that most people might not even notice but are extremely useful to people like myself. One difference I noticed between the MPO Craig used and my newer MPO is that the handle on the front has changed quite a bit. I don't know how well the handle on the original MPO worked, but the current handle design is great. It doesn't get hot at all. That's pretty amazing, considering how hot other parts of the MPO get, and particularly considering how much thermal mass the MPO holds.

    But one thing that makes it infinitely easier for me to use the MPO is the side handles. This has nothing to do with heat (and I wouldn't want to carry the MPO when it's hot, anyway). The reason the side handles are so important to me is because I need to be able to carry the MPO with one hand, and the side handles make it possible for me to do that. Considering I can barely walk, I pretty much always need to have at least one free hand when I'm on my feet. That way I can grab things to catch myself if I lose my balance. And if I fall, I can brace the fall at least a little bit. Conversely, when I have to use both hands to carry something, I risk getting seriously injured; both from the fall and from landing under whatever I'm carrying.

    I can carry the MPO with one hand. Because of that, my chances of getting hurt are infinitely less than if I had to use both hands to carry it. Additionally, I can leave the top stone in the MPO while carrying it, without having to worry that the top stone may fall out. All of this means I can easily transport the MPO in and out of the house. I can even use my cane while carrying the MPO. Ease of transport is not an issue to most people, but it's a huge issue to me and people like me, and the MPO's design makes it easy.
  • #22 by Bert on 06 Apr 2014
  • Good points Ryan.

    My initial prototype that Craig tested had 14.25" bottom stone. I decided to play it safe, and went with 13" stone to allow more  heat to reach top stone, for that reason, using a larger stone never crossed my mind, even though I had a 15" stone.

    I used the setup below using my 15" stone, as recommend before, to compare with your results.

    I covered my grill top with 3 layers of heavy duty aluminum foil.  I used a sharp blade to cut around the stone and to make an opening in the foil as shown below.

    I was extremely surprised with the results, which I will post next.

  • #23 by Bert on 06 Apr 2014
  • I made an emergency 1 - 275g dough ball using KA  bread flour, 63% water, 3% oil, 2%salt and .5% ADY.

    I was expecting the temperature to be in the low 600s F.  I usually use only two burners on high, but due the the larger bottom stone in this setup, I set the the middle burner on low. Heated top stone till reach mid 700's before I inserted the bottom stone. I used the aluminum sheets below the bottom stone.

    In 15 minutes, the 15"x.6" stone  temperature reached over 800's f,  to my surprise, top stone was in 800's too. I decided to launch my BF dough, knowingly bottom stone it is too hot for bread flour. The pizza baked in less than two minutes.

    Next time, I would try KAAP,  I didn't expect that high temperatures. The other thing that I noticed that the bottom stone temperature was in mid 600's after bake, I am not sure how if the 3 sheets of foil prevent it the stone to recover faster.

    I think the pie was about 14" and the thinnest pie I ever made.

  • #24 by Aimless Ryan on 06 Apr 2014
  • Keep the pics and input coming, Bert, if you feel so inclined. And provide some links to your pages and videos, too. I probably won't make any more pizzas until Wednesday.

    I bought some heavy duty aluminum foil the other day, so I will almost certainly replace the original foil on the grill in the pattern you suggested. I don't have chicken wire or other parts I'd need to make the air diversion part, though.

    Also, what surprised you about your recent results? Details please.
  • #25 by Aimless Ryan on 06 Apr 2014
  • Bert, do you think a screen or coupe style pan wrapped in foil would make a good insulation sheet until I get the right materials? I assume it would work just fine if the screen was square, but what if I wrapped a round screen with foil and was not able to manipulate the foil to make good corners, thus keeping the insulation sheet round?
  • #26 by Bert on 06 Apr 2014
  • I was expecting the bottom stone to be in the low 600's and top stone stone to be lower than that. That why I recommended to cover half of the opening to force hot air to flow from the back, through a limited opening to help browning pizza rims.

    But, top and bottom stone temperatures were very close, and over 800 f. It is usually hard to balance the temperature between top and bottom stone.

    In this setup, I did a better job covering unused area of the grill using single sheet of foil. I think it aided in conserving and channeling majority of the heat through MPO.

    Try making an insulation insert out of a large disposable aluminum pan, or anything that remain flat and will not sag. I used chicken wire because it was available.  THis is very essential to have when heating bottom stone to over 700 f.

    I need to bake few more times using this setup to make sure it wasn't a fluke.

  • #27 by Bert on 06 Apr 2014
  • Bert, do you think a screen or coupe style pan wrapped in foil would make a good insulation sheet until I get the right materials? I assume it would work just fine if the screen was square, but what if I wrapped a round screen with foil and was not able to manipulate the foil to make good corners, thus keeping the insulation sheet round?

    I think anything will work, thickness is not a factor, I call it insulation, but it is more than insulation. It forces hot to travel over the top stone and allow top stone to absorb more heat.
  • #28 by Bert on 06 Apr 2014
  • Ryan, my stone is flat, it has no legs. please post a picture of your stone and actual thickness.
  • #29 by Aimless Ryan on 06 Apr 2014
  • Ryan, my stone is flat, it has no legs. please post a picture of your stone and actual thickness.

    Here's the bottom of the stone. The second pic came out pretty bad, but the oval object is the bottom of a BIC lighter, for scale.

    OK, I found a tape measure. When flipped right-side-up the stone is 1" from top to bottom, but the body of the stone is 1/2". (The feet are 1/2".)
  • #30 by Aimless Ryan on 06 Apr 2014
  • I mixed up some flour and water, placed the chunk of dough on the bottom stone, then put the MPO in place over the bottom stone (with the top stone in the bottom slot), and it looks like I have 1-1/4" of clearance between the stones. Pretty tight, but I'd say any pizza not requiring a deep pan should fit. However, I'm sure dough/crust bubbles will touch the top stone if I use the MPO this way (which I will).
  • #31 by Bert on 06 Apr 2014
  • Due to your bottom stone height, you have to use the middle shelf for the top stone and top shelf for the insulation sheet. Try blocking any air flow from under your round stone.

    I won't be able to bake any pies till next saturday.
  • #32 by Bert on 07 Apr 2014
  • Ryan, it seems regardless of the stone diameter, MPO can reach different range of baking and cooking temperatures by using one to three burners and with simple mods.

    Let's define what you want to use MPO for and I will help you setting MPO to achieve the appropriate temperature.

  • #33 by Aimless Ryan on 07 Apr 2014
  • Right now I'm pretty focused on NY style. I'm nearly convinced that my oven can't do NY style any justice, and I already know the MPO can. Even though I don't consider NY style superior to other styles, I feel like NY style needs more perfect baking conditions than every other style I make. I've already made some great laminated cracker style pizzas in my oven (which is new to me, but not new), and I've made a couple pretty good deep dish pizzas in my oven, but I haven't made what I feel is a good NY style pizza in my oven. The oven just doesn't get hot enough. My oven has nice top heat, but the bottom heat is horrible. You can't make a great NY style pizza on a 520-degree stone, and my stone doesn't get any hotter than 520 in this oven. I was never able to measure stone temperature in my mom's oven (which is mostly what I used prior to January 2014), but I know it got hotter than the oven in my current kitchen because my NY style pizzas were better and they baked faster.

    Eventually I'll do other styles in the MPO, but right now my focus is on NY style.
  • #34 by Bert on 07 Apr 2014
  • For NY style you need MPO temperature to be around 600 deg F. Just use the setup below. Disregards previous setup, and try the following:

    1- Cover unused part of the grill with aluminum foil
    2- Position  and center MPO over three burners.  Use only 2 burners, number 1 & 3 on high and buner # 2 off (or low if you need bottom stone to get hotter
    3- Place top stone in the middle shelf (I prefer to use bottom shelf)
    4- An insulation insert above top stone is not needed.

    If you like browned rims, place your pie all the way to the back and rotate as needed.
  • #35 by Bert on 07 Apr 2014
  • And you don't need to cover bottom of your round stone with foil.
  • #36 by Aimless Ryan on 09 Apr 2014
  • I made two pizzas in the MPO this afternoon. I'm not sure if they look very good, but they were awesome (aside from the burned spots). I'll have more to say about them tomorrow, after I get some rest (and probably forget everything I want to say). First two pics are the first pizza. The rest are the second pizza.
  • #37 by Bert on 10 Apr 2014
  • Beautiful pies. Great job Ryan, I like the burned spots. Please share how many burners did you use?, did use you 15.75 stone?
  • #38 by Aimless Ryan on 10 Apr 2014
  • I used three burners on HI and positioned the MPO almost all the way to the left (so the left side of the MPO was over burner 1 and the right side was over burner 3). I did not use burner 4. Heated the top stone for about 20 minutes, then added the bottom stone for at least 15 minutes before baking. I think I left the chimney open just a slit the whole time. (I think I kinda understand what the chimney does, but I'd love some help understanding how the chimney affects everything.)

    15.75" bottom stone with foil hugging the bottom and sides of the stone. Top stone was on MPO shelf #2. I think the top stone was positioned at the back of the MPO, with a 1" gap between the front of the MPO and the front of the stone.

    I believe both stones were 550 or a little hotter when I baked the first pizza. I did not check temps for the second pizza.

    The burned areas seemed to occur at the very back of the grill. It was a small area, but it happened to a significant portion of the pizza(s) because I rotated the pizzas. I may have positioned the pizzas so they were hanging over the back edge of the stone, but I'm not sure because I can't lift the front of the MPO high enough to give me a clear look at the very back of the pizza and stone.

    This dough used the same formula I listed early in the thread, except I decreased the hydration 1%. Refrigerated around 48 hours, then pulled 3 hours prior to baking.

    100% Superlative flour
    62% Water
    0.3% ADY
    1.75% Salt

    Each skin used 13.5 oz of dough, rather than 13 oz, which I had been using. I increased the dough ball weight to account for a little more rim than I had been getting. Good change. I'm gonna decrease the ADY to 0.25% with the next batch.

    That weird-looking spot on the cheese pizza (back right) has a somewhat interesting story. When I was peeling the skin onto the stone, I screwed up and got too much of the skin off the peel near the middle of the stone (rather than the back of the stone). So much of the skin was off the peel that I couldn't push the skin back without mangling the pizza, but I also couldn't pull the peel out from under the skin because half of the pizza would have ended up hanging off the front of the stone. So I kinda geeked out for a moment and tried to figure out how I might be able to save it. I remained calm enough not to do anything stupid, and after probably ten or twenty seconds I realized that the part of the skin that was on the stone had probably already baked enough that I could go ahead and push it all the way back, then peel the rest of the skin. It worked.

    Like I said, these pizzas were awesome. My uncle and his ladyfriend agreed.
  • #39 by Bert on 10 Apr 2014
  • Great job...

    I like to keep the chimney 1/2 to fully open. If you have it closed or partially open, you are forcing most of the heat to flow through openings outside MPO instead of flowing through MPO. The more heat you channel through MPO the hotter it gets.
  • #40 by Aimless Ryan on 10 Apr 2014
  • Very helpful tip, Bert. Thanks. I may be baking one pizza tonight. If so, I'll keep the chimney wide open.