Pizza Making Forum

General Topics => Pizza Ovens => Pizza Making Equipment => Home Ovens => Topic started by: ronbro on February 22, 2007, 01:20:16 AM

Title: Little Black Egg
Post by: ronbro on February 22, 2007, 01:20:16 AM
I wanted an inexpensive outdoor pizza oven that's portable. I couldn't find anything so I decided to make one. Actually I just adapted some existing technology and I call it the Little Black Egg. The small one is an 18" Weber kettle grill with a hole cut in the bottom. It sits on top of a gas fired Cajun cooker that cranks out 170,000 BTUs. I put a 16" pizza stone in it with some tiles underneath the stone to buffer the heat. The larger cooker was my prototype and it is a 22" grill with a 16" stone in it. If you want to cook large pizzas this kettle can take a 20" stone with no problem. Both grills have a temp gauge installed. The lid is lined with foil to help reflect the heat but I may try mounting a smaller stone instead.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ronbro on February 22, 2007, 01:21:58 AM
Woops! Here's the other picture.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: D.B.Cooper on February 22, 2007, 01:42:53 PM
Looks great! Add some Lava rocks on the bottom grate and you have a gas Weber Kettle. I might have to build me one. What are your temp ranges and how is the temp control?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ronbro on February 22, 2007, 02:18:47 PM
Looks great! Add some Lava rocks on the bottom grate and you have a gas Weber Kettle. I might have to build me one. What are your temp ranges and how is the temp control?

I've been cooking my pizzas at just under 500 degrees. It reaches that temp without any problem. I've never really tried pushing it to it's limit as my style of pizza will burn at high temps. I have to try a test run up to maximum smoke this weekend. I control the temp by adjusting the regulator, not exact science but it works, you just have to keep an eye on it. I'd like to try making a NY style dough and see how it turns out. The grill is also really good on gas. It typically only uses about one pound of fuel to preheat and cook five pizzas. Takes about 6 minutes each.

Update: I made pizza this weekend and after I turned up the gas to maximum. The temp got up to 650 degrees. The burner sounded like a jet engine at full afterburner. Here's one of the pizzas.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: canadianbacon on June 18, 2007, 11:54:40 AM
that is really amazing ronbros, I'm really impressed with what you came up with.

great piece of equipment !
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on June 19, 2007, 12:56:38 AM
Quote from: canadianbacon link=topic= ::)4753.msg44602#msg44602 date=1182182080
that is really amazing ronbros, I'm really impressed with what you came up with.

great piece of equipment !

Thanks CB.....I've posted more pics and info on the FB site at: (http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f24/anyone-ever-made-weber-grill-pizza-1511.html) Even though they're more focused on brick ovens they have an area for grilled pizza.

You can still burn charcoal or wood and use it to cook regular cookout type food or go with the gas for pizza. The 18" model is very portable. Maybe I should have called it the chameleon!

PS....I changed my name from RonBro to Villa Roma awhile back since VR has a more Italian ring to it! I like to think of myself as the pizza artist formally known as RonBro ::).

Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 05, 2007, 09:10:05 AM
I posted 2 videos on YouTube to demonstrate the Little Black Egg. The first video is a tour of the LBE and the second video is a demo of a pizza making session. The pizza dough is 50% stone ground whole grain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYRnKe6gJxs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phcTzLKhACY
   
       Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on August 05, 2007, 11:28:28 AM
Villa,

That is fantastic.  I will be making one.  Could you tell me how you installed that 8 inch stone to the bottom of the lid?  Also, does the bottom 16" stone just sitting on the original grate supports or did you modify that as well?  Did you use a torch to cut the bottom hole of the kettle?  Much appreciate any inputs.

Thanks,

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 05, 2007, 01:19:29 PM
Mike....I posted some pics and info that might be helpful at the Forno Bravo site here (page 2): (http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f24/anyone-ever-made-weber-grill-pizza-1511.html)

The 8" stone hangs from the lid by copper house wire that I shaped to the proper form and attached to the lid with screws. This stone is discolored because it fell off onto one of my pizzas awhile back :'( so I have since then connected the copper supports with the stainless steel wire, problem solved. If you have access to a decent hardware store you should be able to find some sort of brackets that would be better.

Yes, the 2 lower stones simply sit on the cooking grid.

I cut the hole in the bottom of the kettle with just a hacksaw blade wrapped in duct tape, see the above link for more on that. You can use power tools or a torch if you have access to such tools.

Copied from my post at Forno Bravo:
I like to keep things simple so I took a 18" Weber kettle grill and cut an 11 1/2inch hole in the bottom. Mount the grill on a gas fired cajun cooker and put a 16 inch pizza stone on the top grate. I lined the inside of the grill with heavy duty aluminum foil, both top and bottom. This made a big difference with the heat retension and cooking quality. The gas burner will kick out 180,000 BTUs but I only run it at about 25%.

I use two stones on the top grate. I had one crack after 10 years so I use it on the bottom to buffer the flames from the burner, the other stone sits directly on top of the cracked stone. You can use tiles for the lower layer also.

I use an 8 inch stone mounted to the lid suspended with electrical wire. This helps cook the top of the pizza. Again you can use a tile.

You can use a 22" grill with a 19" stone also. I've used a 22" grill with a 16" stone and it worked nicely but it did use more fuel. The 18" grill is very portable and doesn't take up much space. The 22" grill will do bigger pizzas and also had the extra lid height for roasting chickens etc.

Cutting the hole in the bottom of the grill is pretty straight forward but there are a few tricks that might make it easier. I attached some pics to illustrate the process. I used a bare hacksaw blade wrapped in duct tape to prevent blisters. I cut the hole 11 1/2" but you can cut it anywhere from 10"-12" depending on the burner you use. I marked the circle using a plastic storage bowl centered on the grill. It took about an hour to complete. If you have power tools you could do it in a few minutes. The cutting blade will try to run in a straight line which is why you have to push down and shim the metal. This allows you to tilt the blade and follow the circle as you cut. Finish the proceedure by dressing the cut line with a file.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on August 05, 2007, 02:12:14 PM
Thanks Villa.  I think I got it now.  I couldn't see those pics from your link because you have to register to see attachments.  But thanks for the info, I hope to make this soon.

Mike

Edit:  Do you remember where you got that 8" stone?  All the sites I've found sell them in pairs.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: canadianbacon on August 05, 2007, 02:24:17 PM
Really really great video ! , I really enjoyed it.

That's just amazing that the pizza was totally cooked in just 3 minutes - that's really wonderful.

Quick question - how come you turned the pizza a few times during the baking ? is this to give it more of a uniform
bake ? , I'm wondering because with doubled up pizza stones on the bottom like you have should make for an amazingly
uniform bake as it is.... or is this perhaps to make sure it doesn't stick to the stone ?

Anyway, I really enjoyed the videos, it was like I was there with you making it.  Pressing down on the crust area of the
pizza really did it for me, I could really hear that "crunch " - very nice !

Thanks for taking the time to do those videos !

I posted 2 videos on YouTube to demonstrate the Little Black Egg. The first video is a tour of the LBE and the second video is a demo of a pizza making session. The pizza dough is 50% stone ground whole grain.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYRnKe6gJxs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phcTzLKhACY
   
       Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 05, 2007, 02:55:42 PM
Canadianbacon.....I can usually let the pizza go without having to turn it but I put a piece of sweet cherry wood on the stone so that created a hot spot, thus  the need to turn it a few times. The wood adds a nice wood-fired smoky flavor to the pizza and is worth the extra effort.

The videos are great for demonstrations and are really easy to make. I'm glad you liked them. I'll be making more in the future.

       Villa Roma

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 05, 2007, 03:00:22 PM
Mike....I had to buy 2 stones but 1/2" tiles would work just as well and cost a lot less! You may have to nip the corners but most tiles places will do that for a small fee. The only reason why I used the 8" stone was because I had them from a previous purchase. You may be able to find a flat stone or rock in your back yard that would work also.

Another source would be a countertop fab shop. They may have a scrap piece of marble or granite that you could use. They have to do something with the sink cutouts. This would also work for the bottom stone(s).

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on August 05, 2007, 10:10:13 PM
Mike....I had to buy 2 stones but 1/2" tiles would work just as well and cost a lot less! You may have to nip the corners but most tiles places will do that for a small fee. The only reason why I used the 8" stone was because I had them from a previous purchase. You may be able to find a flat stone or rock in your back yard that would work also.

Another source would be a countertop fab shop. They may have a scrap piece of marble or granite that you could use. They have to do something with the sink cutouts. This would also work for the bottom stone(s).

    Villa Roma

Thanks again Villa!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: MTPIZZA on August 06, 2007, 09:17:37 AM
VillaRoma, wow amazing videos...thanks a lot for sharing your journey and the results are just fantastic. I noticed that you also have mounted a temp gauge in the lid.. I know you stated your stone temp was around 660 degrees..and what does the lid gauge show? or the air temp under the lid.. thanks for all your great explanations you have really solved the portable home pizza oven mystery for all of us. A 3 minute pie is pizza heaven!!!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 07, 2007, 01:18:45 AM
MTPIZZA....Thanks....I installed the temp gauge in the lid when I first modified the grill and it worked fine until I put the 8" stone in the lid. I made a test run and was able to peg the temp gauge at 700 degrees but that was before I installed the 8" lid stone. The stone blocks the temp gauge somewhat and there isn't much space between the stone and the foil so it now reads about 150 degrees lower than the actual cooking stone temp. I don't pay much attention to it since I started using the IR thermometer. It's a "must have" if you're going to cook at high temps.

I'm going to take a stab at Neapolitan pizza next time, just flour, water, salt and starter. High hydration and a high temp of around 750 degrees. I'll have to review the Jeff Varasano web site before I take the plunge. You can bet I'll be rolling film so stay tuned!

       Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: canadianbacon on August 07, 2007, 09:38:11 AM
Talking about Varasano, he hasn't posted since April, I hope he's still busy making lots of pies when he's
not busy. He is an inspiration to the group, I used to look forward to reading his posts


I'll have to review the Jeff Varasano web site before I take the plunge. You can bet I'll be rolling film so stay tuned!

       Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Y-TOWN on August 07, 2007, 09:44:19 AM
Villa Roma,

Watching your "GREAT" video it looks like your running the "egg" with the 4 hole top vent open - If that is correct what happens when you close the vent?

I'll be duplicating your design soon - thanks so much !!!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Randy on August 07, 2007, 05:30:24 PM
Very innovative!

Randy
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: toddster63 on August 07, 2007, 07:32:53 PM
I'm going to take a stab at Neapolitan pizza next time, just flour, water, salt and starter. High hydration and a high temp of around 750 degrees. I'll have to review the Jeff Varasano web site before I take the plunge. You can bet I'll be rolling film so stay tuned!

       Villa Roma

Please do let us know how this works out, Villa Roma. I really want to see the results on your Little Black Egg with a Neo/NY type dough. When you pushed on the cornicione on your finished 3 minute pie in your video, and produced that wonderful be-it-all CRACK, well I about burst into tears of joy...

That was a beautiful thing indeed... :chef:

Thanks for sharing and for giving so many of us hope, ideas and a game plan if wrangling with our pissy home ovens comes to no avail...!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 08, 2007, 01:03:05 AM
Quote from Rkos:
Watching your "GREAT" video it looks like your running the "egg" with the 4 hole top vent open - If that is correct what happens when you close the vent?


Rkos.....I initially made a "max smoke" test run with the LBE and it got up to 650 degrees. That was registered on the temp gauge before I installed the 8" stone in the lid and with the vent closed. Further experimentation revealed that the egg actually gets much hotter with the vent wide open. I'm sure it has to do with optimizing the air to fuel ratio.

I made 9 pizzas last time and I had to turn down the gas toward the end of the session because the temp had climbed above 700 degrees. That was at about half throttle! See the pic below of the bottom of pizza #9 at 700 degrees, as a reminder this pizza was 50% whole grains. When I make the Neapolitan pizza I'm going to start out at about 700 degrees and head north from there until I find the optimum temp.

I have a few ideas for improving the LBE and one is to install a 4" vent with a damper in it where the current 4 hole vent is. If you listen carefully during the video you can hear a distinct difference in the sound of the burner when I remove and replace the lid on the LBE, so I believe the egg is crying out for more airflow.

The second mod would be to rig up a rotating stone mechanism with either a crank handle or hook it up to a rotisserie motor. This would eliminate the need to open the grill and turn the pizza and should lower the cooking times as well as improve the quality of the pizzas.

I'm using propane (and propane accessories :-D) but I've toyed with the idea of using mapp gas as it burns much hotter. It's also more expensive but I could preheat with propane and then switch to mapp gas and crank it up a notch (sorry Emerill). Right now the propane seems to be more than adequate.

A water/steam injection mod sounds interesting also.

       Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 08, 2007, 02:30:59 AM
Talking about Varasano, he hasn't posted since April, I hope he's still busy making lots of pies when he's
not busy. He is an inspiration to the group, I used to look forward to reading his posts



Jeff rocks! He's a great guy and is always willing to share his knowledge with everyone. I picked up a lot of good tips at his site. I heard a street rumor that he might be opening a resturant in the near future so if that's the case, I'm sure he's up to his elbows in alligators working out all the details.

The 3 sites I frequent for info and inspiration are this site, Jeffs site and the Forno Bravo site.

        Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: anthony2173 on August 11, 2007, 02:33:10 PM
That's awesome!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 12, 2007, 12:25:23 AM
I made a batch of Neapolitan style pizza this weekend and cooked them at 700 to 750 degrees. As an experiment, I let the temp get up to 800+ but the pizza started to burn with this recipe at that temp. Check out the baseball pizza sports fans!

The recipe:

400 gm GM unbleached all purpose flour
400 gm GM Harvest King bread flour
528 gm cold water (66%)
1/2 cup rye starter
16 gm salt (2%)
pinch ascorbic acid (vitamin C)

I should have the video in a few days.

        Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: toddster63 on August 14, 2007, 11:05:30 PM
Hey Villa Roma, thanks for the great new vids on YouTube of your Neapolitan pizza making--really great to see the Little Black Egg in further action. Between the KA spiral dough hook, and your propane hot as hell converted Weber, you really have me inspired.

When you had the stone up to 850F for that last pie--how high up did you have the Cajun cooker/propane turned to? How long of a pre-heat do you estimate it would take to reach these high temps? Do you have any idea how long 20 lbs. of propane would last when cooking at these higher temps?

Also, what was the bottom of the pie like at the 850F temperature? Any char, ala wood and coal ovens...?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 15, 2007, 12:38:57 AM
For anyone that's interested, here's the links to a video of my first attempt at Neapolitan pizza using the LBE. I experimented with the temps at 690, 750 and 850 degrees. The first video is about 5 minutes and has an intro and the dough prep. The second video is about 3 minutes and is the cookoff of the pizzas. If for some reason the links don't work just do a search for "Little Black Egg Neapolitan" at YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b46UuQ4G4TE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1maPZLe_zo


      Villa Roma


Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 15, 2007, 01:22:25 AM
Hey Villa Roma, thanks for the great new vids on YouTube of your Neopolitian pizza making--really great to see the Little Black Egg in further action. Between the KA spiral dough hook, and your propane hot as hell converted Weber, you really have me inspired.

When you had the stone up to 850F for that last pie--how high up did you have the Cajun cooker/propane turned to? How long of a pre-heat do you estimate it would take to reach these high temps? Do you have any idea how long 20 lbs. of propane would last when cooking at these higher temps?

Also, what was the bottom of the pie like at the 850F temperature? Any char, ala wood and coal ovens...?

For the 850 degree pizza I had to lower the heat because the temp actually went up over 900 degrees during my test with the gas turned up on high. I cooked 8 pizzas and only showed 3 on the video so there's 5 pizzas not shown. So for 850 degrees I guess I would have to preheat for about 45 minutes and have the burner at about 75%.

I need to modify the vent on the LBEs to get more airflow, thus a more efficient burn. The current vent has four 7/8" holes which equals 2.4 square inches. I plan to cut a 4" vent hole which will yield 12.56 square inches. That's over 5X the airflow from the current configuration. This should allow the LBE to burn hotter on less fuel.

I usually use about 1 1/2 lbs of propane to cook 8 pizzas at 650 degrees. This batch was 8 pizzas but I didn't use any sugar or oil in the dough so I had to increase the temp to get the sub 3 minute pies. I used 3 lbs of propane for this last cookoff but I ran the temp up much higher than I normally would have. I found the best technique is to let the stone get to about 750 degrees and then put the pizza on the stone and increase the gas. Then when that pizza is done lower the gas and prep another pizza. When the next pizza is ready to be cooked I just repeat the cycle otherwise the stone gets too hot.

Here's two pictures of the bottom crust. The first one is 725 degrees and the second one is 800+. As you can see the second one got real toasty, aka burnt, but it was still good anyway. Charring=flavor! >:D

      Villa Roma
Title: Little Black Egg II - Philadelphia Version
Post by: Boy Hits Car on August 15, 2007, 11:26:39 AM
The Little Black Egg is spawning...found this one in my backyard.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: toddster63 on August 15, 2007, 11:30:40 AM
Looks good, Boy Meets Car...! Did you cut out the bottom of the Weber same as Villa Roma has outlined and pictured? That's the only thing holding me back from making a LBE--I am such a klutz with projects that involve the drill and saw blades...
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on August 15, 2007, 11:41:35 AM
Looks good, Boy Meets Car...! Did you cut out the bottom of the Weber same as Villa Roma has outlined and pictured? That's the only thing holding me back from making a LBE--I am such a klutz with projects that involve the drill and saw blades...

I used a large salad bowl that measured about 11.75" in diameter, centered it around the bottom of the kettle and marked the circle with a black sharpie.  I then used my friend's roto-zip fitted with a metal cutting wheel and went around the circle twice really slow.  The first go around, I cut away the black enamel and the second go around cut through the metal.  It was perfectly level.  If you take your time and get someone to help, you should have no problem.  Drilling the holes in the lid was really easy;  just set your drill to low and let the drill bit eat away at the metal.

-Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg II - Philadelphia Version
Post by: Villa Roma on August 15, 2007, 03:15:41 PM
The Little Black Egg is spawning...found this one in my backyard.



Mike.....It's beautiful! Let us know how the pizzas turn out. When do you think you'll be making your first batch of pizza?

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg II - Philadelphia Version
Post by: Boy Hits Car on August 15, 2007, 06:46:56 PM
Mike.....It's beautiful! Let us know how the pizzas turn out. When do you think you'll be making your first batch of pizza?

      Villa Roma

I already tried my first batch...not so good.  I think it was my fault; I let the dough over ferment and die.  The first pizza burned to a crisp.  The second one charred perfectly on the bottom, but the top didn't brown as much as I would have liked.  I think the dead dough was the main culprit.  I'll be trying again on Saturday and I'm sure it will turn out much better.  Everything is identical to yours except for the dough formulation.  Any insights on that?  I'll be using KA bread flour and IDY.  Don't know if I should add sugar and oil for a 650+ temp.

- Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: toddster63 on August 15, 2007, 08:16:48 PM
Wow, Mike, bummer that your inaugural pizza cook with your LBE was a wash. But it sounds like you may be right in that the over-fermentation didn't leave enough residual flour sugars for the top to brown... I'll be watching for your next batch--post PICS, huh?!

My two cents is that with these great high temps, leave the oil and sugar out. That's what's cool about Villa Roma's invention--these high temps that can produce a nice wafer layer of crunchy brown crust and at the same time leave the center top of the pie not overly done. It's the closest I have seen to how wood and coal ovens cook a pie, though granted it is different due to the heat only coming from below. But for under $200, and able to fit on the smallest of patios, I think it's a brilliant design. I've been fairly impressed with some of the other grilled pies posted around here (PFTaylor for example), but most of the better ones have been made on pricey infrared grills, which while capable of intense heat, are out of my budget.

I think the cornicione picture that Villa Roma posted previously in this thread is the real money shot--dynamite spring, not overly done bottom layer, and just barely melted cheese topping it all--this is what I am seeking for now.

I really am itching to set one of these LBE's up and then make a high, high hydration dough--68%-70%--that is fairly well kneaded, no oil, no sugar, topped with a few thick slices of fresh Mozz, and see how close the puppy can come to an elite NY crust, or even, God forbid, a Neapolitan...
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on August 15, 2007, 09:37:25 PM
Wow, Mike, bummer that your inaugural pizza cook with your LBE was a wash. But it sounds like you may be right in that the over-fermentation didn't leave enough residual flour sugars for the top to brown... I'll be watching for your next batch--post PICS, huh?!

My two cents is that with these great high temps, leave the oil and sugar out. That's what's cool about Villa Roma's invention--these high temps that can produce a nice wafer layer of crunchy brown crust and at the same time leave the center top of the pie not overly done. It's the closest I have seen to how wood and coal ovens cook a pie, though granted it is different due to the heat only coming from below. But for under $200, and able to fit on the smallest of patios, I think it's a brilliant design. I've been fairly impressed with some of the other grilled pies posted around here (PFTaylor for example), but most of the better ones have been made on pricey infrared grills, which while capable of intense heat, are out of my budget.

I think the cornicione picture that Villa Roma posted previously in this thread is the real money shot--dynamite spring, not overly done bottom layer, and just barely melted cheese topping it all--this is what I am seeking for now.

I really am itching to set one of these LBE's up and then make a high, high hydration dough--68%-70%--that is fairly well kneaded, no oil, no sugar, topped with a few thick slices of fresh Mozz, and see how close the puppy can come to an elite NY crust, or even, God forbid, a Neapolitan...


Toddster,

Thanks for the input.  I'm fairly certain that the over-fermentation was the problem.  Everything about my LBE is identical to Villa Roma's; including the 8" stone attached to the bottom of the lid.  My IR thermometer recorded over 600 degrees on the 8" stone only after 20 minutes of heating and the 16" stone read 680 after 30 minutes; so there should be plenty of heat at the top. The cheese melted quickly, much faster than it does in my home oven at 550 degrees.  I'll post a bunch of pics on Saturday.

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Y-TOWN on August 16, 2007, 12:21:29 AM
I purchased an 18" kettle grill at a super K-Mart for $25 on sale last weekend. It came with an attachment type bucket which bolts on to the bottom of the grill to hold the charcoal under the kettle - great thing about this grill was it had a factory made 10" hole in the bottom where you were to install the under-slung charcoal bucket. So no cutting was involved with my LBE.

Made my first pizza on it tonight and it was a disaster of sorts. I didn't have the burner hot enough and it took about 45 minutes for the stone to get to 550. I put the pie on the stone and it stuck. I was using corn meal instead of flower to slide the pie - next time I'll use the flour for sure and initially jack up the gas flow for 1/2 hour or so to get the stone into the 650* range.

Any advice would be appreciated.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg II - Philadelphia Version
Post by: Villa Roma on August 16, 2007, 02:08:48 AM
I already tried my first batch...not so good.  I think it was my fault; I let the dough over ferment and die.  The first pizza burned to a crisp.  The second one charred perfectly on the bottom, but the top didn't brown as much as I would have liked.  I think the dead dough was the main culprit.  I'll be trying again on Saturday and I'm sure it will turn out much better.  Everything is identical to yours except for the dough formulation.  Any insights on that?  I'll be using KA bread flour and IDY.  Don't know if I should add sugar and oil for a 650+ temp.

- Mike

My first few batches of pizza on the LBE were not something worthy of mention but if you are persistant and willing to experiment, you'll soon earn the title of...."Egg Master".

Preheat and cook with the vent wide open. The LBE requires lots of air to support the high heat needed to cook pizza at 600+ degrees. Ensure the foil in the lid is not obstucting the vent. I'm going to enlarge the vent on my egg to get more airflow. Maybe this weekend.

If you could post the recipe for your dough, that would be a good starting point. If I use sugar and oil I limit both of them to 2% of the flour weight. Too much sugar will burn at high temps and too little or no sugar will take longer to cook or not brown very well at low temps. Sorry for stating the obvious.

I noticed a big difference in my last batch where I used no sugar or oil. I had to bump the temp up about 100 degrees to get the same level of browning and sub 3 minute pies but the flavor was extraordinary and the spring was much more than I expected.

I would suggest starting with a dough recipe with 66% hydration and 2% sugar, salt and oil. When you feel comfortable with that level, you can progress to higher temps and no sugar and oil. I don't use high gluten flour and have found that you can make great pizza even with just AP flour from the supermarket. My next batch is going to be 25% whole grains (10% rye, 15% WW), AP flour, water (66%), salt and starter. You can add a pinch of vitamin C to the dough to strengthen low gluten flour.

I don't like store bought yeast and only use starter for pizza. It is much more predictable and forgivable and is really easy to make and maintain. I made mine with just rye flour and pineapple juice. You can use regular white flour also. The pineapple juice creates a slightly acidic environment which prohibits the growth of bacteria until the yeast gets a chance to take hold. It takes about 4 days to get going and then you just feed it once a week and keep it in the fridge. You can search the web for more on this. A good place to start is: Breadtopia.com. Eric has some great videos there. A good alternative to starter is to make a preferment the night before with 100 grams each flour and water with a small pinch of yeast. Subtract the amount of flour and water from the recipe and press on.

Since your first pizza burned at 680 degrees I would lower the temp to about 600-625 and then when you put your first pizza on, turn the gas up a little. This will allow the bottom to brown nicely and also supply the added heat to cook the top of the pizza. Turn the gas down if you're not going to put another pizza on right away or the stone may get too hot. Again your going to have to experiment to find out what temps work best with the type of dough you're using. Take measurements with an IR thermometer before and after the pizza is cooked and you'll get a good idea of what temps you need to maintain.

Like any vented outdoor grill, the LBE does not like a breezy environment as this will scavenge the heat from the oven and result in an unevenly cooked pizza. I like to cook my pizza in the garage with the door open. I cook my pizza here on the back balcony and avoid cooking pizza on windy days.

Hope this helps and good luck.....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 16, 2007, 02:19:01 AM
I purchased an 18" kettle grill at a super K-Mart for $25 on sale last weekend. It came with an attachment type bucket which bolts on to the bottom of the grill to hold the charcoal under the kettle - great thing about this grill was it had a factory made 10" hole in the bottom where you were to install the under-slung charcoal bucket. So no cutting was involved with my LBE.

Made my first pizza on it tonight and it was a disaster of sorts. I didn't have the burner hot enough and it took about 45 minutes for the stone to get to 550. I put the pie on the stone and it stuck. I was using corn meal instead of flower to slide the pie - next time I'll use the flour for sure and initially jack up the gas flow for 1/2 hour or so to get the stone into the 650* range.

Any advice would be appreciated.

I've had good luck with rice flour. If you can't find rice flour, do what I do. Go to the cereal isle at the supermarket and buy a box of cream of rice cereal. It's somewhat course so I run it through my coffe grinder and mix it with an equal amount of regular white flour.

Don't give up on the LBE for cooking pizza. It takes a little bit of determination and experimentation to get it right. I've been there and I feel your pain!

        Villa Roma

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: MTPIZZA on August 16, 2007, 07:03:38 AM
Villa Roma could you explain the use of rice flour in your doughs?? How does this make your pies?? crispier?? lighter?? I just thought sometimes people used it just for dusting the peal...please explain your discovery in adding it to the dough directly.. thanks !
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: abatardi on August 16, 2007, 11:44:23 AM
Villa Roma could you explain the use of rice flour in your doughs?? How does this make your pies?? crispier?? lighter?? I just thought sometimes people used it just for dusting the peal...please explain your discovery in adding it to the dough directly.. thanks !

I think he's saying he's using it for dusting the peel also.

- aba
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 16, 2007, 01:21:02 PM
That's correct, I use it for dusting the peel and flouring the dough balls before forming the pies. I've never tried it in the dough. Even after it is ground in the coffee mill it still is somewhat courser than flour so it works great for preventing the dough from sticking to the peel.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: PizzaPolice on August 17, 2007, 10:07:49 AM
Villa Roma:

I'd probably deep six the sugar and oil altogether.  I once put a conventional Ny style in my WFO.  Well do you remember the movie "Gone in 60 seconds"?  Burned to a crisp.
That experiment helped me understand my double deck Bakers Pride.  I kept getting a burned bottom and a unfinished top.  I used the Neapolitan dough the next time and found it worked perfectly.
Concerning your LBE, have you considered using some refractory mortar to line the interior?  It's pretty cheap and can be found at most hardware stores.  Just a thought. 

PizzaPolice
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 17, 2007, 11:49:59 AM
Villa Roma:

I'd probably deep six the sugar and oil altogether.  I once put a conventional Ny style in my WFO.  Well do you remember the movie "Gone in 60 seconds"?  Burned to a crisp.
That experiment helped me understand my double deck Bakers Pride.  I kept getting a burned bottom and a unfinished top.  I used the Neapolitan dough the next time and found it worked perfectly.
Concerning your LBE, have you considered using some refractory mortar to line the interior?  It's pretty cheap and can be found at most hardware stores.  Just a thought. 

PizzaPolice

Great idea Police, I toyed with the thought of cutting ceramic tile and gluing them to the interior with morter but the foil and lid stone seem to be working really good for now. Maybe Mike would like to give it a try on his brand new egg.

It'll be interesting to see what Mike decides to do with his pizza bake on Saturday. Oil and sugar with low heat or Neapolitan and rip-snorting high heat. Can't wait to see the pictures either way.

   Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on August 17, 2007, 12:52:26 PM
Great idea Police, I toyed with the thought of cutting ceramic tile and gluing them to the interior with morter but the foil and lid stone seem to be working really good for now. Maybe Mike would like to give it a try on his brand new egg.

It'll be interesting to see what Mike decides to do with his pizza bake on Saturday. Oil and sugar with low heat or Neapolitan and rip-snorting high heat. Can't wait to see the pictures either way.

   Villa Roma

Well, I made my dough on Wednesday and I skipped the oil and sugar; hydration is at 62%  I made the doughs before Villa responded and suggested a higher hydration.  With my first attempt last week, I made one dough with no oil or sugar and one with oil and sugar.  The oil and sugar dough was the one that burned to a crisp and stuck to the stone.  The no oil and no sugar dough crisped up nicely and charred perfectly on the bottom; however, the top crust just wouldn't brown enough.  Again, I think the over-fermenting was the cause of that.

I plan to heat the LBE without the 16" stones for about 5 minutes to give the 8" stone a head start; then return the 16" stones and wait until they reach 650 degrees. 

- Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: PizzaPolice on August 17, 2007, 05:13:16 PM
BHC:
The tops won't brown like a traditional NY pizza.  If you look at Neapolitan pizzas, you'll see more of a charring than actual browning. It's the 800+ temp that gets it done.  900+, you'll see those beautiful char freckles. Since you don't have that high heat radiating down on the pizza, you won't see it.
How hot does your lid get?  I'm wondering if you could somehow circulate the heat.  I'm looking for some type of convective property.  Maybe a baffle on the burner to direct it to more of one side so a convective pattern would form.  It seems that even heat 360 around the stone somehow stifles the flow since all sides are even.  I'm way over my head here.  Try running this by November.  Once he fires up that big brain, an answer will surely come tumbling out.

PizzaPolice.
Title: Little Black Egg - Ohio model
Post by: Y-TOWN on August 17, 2007, 05:25:53 PM
Here are some shots of my LBE in NE Ohio. This is the grill I purchased for $25 with the hole cut in from the factory.

The stone on top is the 3/4 inch FibraMent-D for grills I purchased from the internet.

With a few bakes I think I have the gas control height figured out by the sound it makes and all should be good.

Thanks Villa Roma - nice of you to share the "secret of a inexpensive backyard pizza oven

BTW - the grill I purchased had 3 little holes at the bottom opening. I used a pair of channel locks and a coat hanger wired to the burner housing now the LBE does not move around at all
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: sourdough girl on August 17, 2007, 05:47:36 PM
PizzaPolice...

November seems to be MIA... hasn't posted since the 14th of July!  Took his avatar and left!  I haven't been around long enough to know whether it's normal for him to take a summer hiatus, but thought it strange he took down his avatar... save bandwidth, I guess?

Hmmm.....  I miss his pontificating.....  (and I mean that in the nicest way... no sarcasm!)

~sd
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on August 17, 2007, 06:31:31 PM
BHC:
The tops won't brown like a traditional NY pizza.  If you look at Neapolitan pizzas, you'll see more of a charring than actual browning. It's the 800+ temp that gets it done.  900+, you'll see those beautiful char freckles. Since you don't have that high heat radiating down on the pizza, you won't see it.
How hot does your lid get?  I'm wondering if you could somehow circulate the heat.  I'm looking for some type of convective property.  Maybe a baffle on the burner to direct it to more of one side so a convective pattern would form.  It seems that even heat 360 around the stone somehow stifles the flow since all sides are even.  I'm way over my head here.  Try running this by November.  Once he fires up that big brain, an answer will surely come tumbling out.

PizzaPolice.

PP,

That's what I meant.  I want some kind of charring on the top crust similar to ones in Villa Roma's first video where his temp read around 680 degrees.  His second set of videos had top crust charring at 690 degrees.  Is that all do to the starter?

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: PizzaPolice on August 17, 2007, 07:08:36 PM
Sourdough Girl:

I, for one, will think positive and conclude that he did, in fact, find that missing electron.

PizzaPolice   
                    ...*sniff*
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 18, 2007, 02:44:09 AM
Keeping with the "can" do 8) attitude of this forum, I modified the vent on my egg. As stated earlier, with the high temps required to cook Neapolitan pizza, I noticed that the LBE could benefit from an increase in airflow to help it better achieve the 800+ degree heat. If this latest mod works as expected, 1000 degree temps may be possible. I've already been past 900 degrees before this FAB (Full After Burner) mod.

I was originally going to cut a 4" hole but regrouped and opted for a 3" hole instead. This nets almost 3X the airflow of the standard vent on the Weber. If this is not enough I can always make the vent hole larger. I cut the top off the can with a can opener and cut all but about 1" from the opposite lid. This creates a hinge that I can use to adjust the airflow. This is a temp solution until I can run some tests and decide what is the optimum solution. I may run a bead of high temp RTV around the base of the vent but it fits real snug right now. I'll see it it stays that way once I crank up the heat. If this works I'll order a flange and vent pipe with a damper on line.

         Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg - Ohio model
Post by: Villa Roma on August 18, 2007, 05:46:05 AM
Here are some shots of my LBE in NE Ohio. This is the grill I purchased for $25 with the hole cut in from the factory.

The stone on top is the 3/4 inch FibraMent-D for grills I purchased from the internet.

With a few bakes I think I have the gas control height figured out by the sound it makes and all should be good.

Thanks Villa Roma - nice of you to share the "secret of a inexpensive backyard pizza oven

BTW - the grill I purchased had 3 little holes at the bottom opening. I used a pair of channel locks and a coat hanger wired to the burner housing now the LBE does not move around at all

Rkos.....Now you're cooking with gas, bro! It takes a few times to get the hang of it.

Maybe next time you cook, you could include some pic of your pies. We'd love to see them!

How do you like the fibrament stone? Is that an aluminum perforated pizza pan on the bottom? Since my last pizza started to burn at 800+ degrees, I'm thinking of putting a perforated pan under my stones to see if I can get a sub 2 minute pie sans the excess charring on the bottom.

       Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Randy on August 18, 2007, 06:57:52 AM
High temp silicone will not hold up to those kind of temps Villa.
Stove gasket might work, check you ACE hardware for high temp solutions.  Another source for a vent pipe is your local muffler place.

Randy
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 18, 2007, 07:15:09 AM
High temp silicone will not hold up to those kind of temps Villa.
Stove gasket mite work, check you ACE hardware for high temp solutions.  Another source for a vent pipe is your local muffler place.

Randy

Thanks for the tip Randy. I laid down a bead of RTV about an hour ago so I guess I'll watch it go up in smoke the next time I fire up. The outside of the oven doesn't get too hot so maybe it'll last for awhile.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg - Ohio model
Post by: Y-TOWN on August 18, 2007, 10:20:36 AM
Rkos.....Now you're cooking with gas, bro! It takes a few times to get the hang of it.

Maybe next time you cook, you could include some pic of your pies. We'd love to see them!

How do you like the fibrament stone? Is that an aluminum perforated pizza pan on the bottom? Since my last pizza started to burn at 800+ degrees, I'm thinking of putting a perforated pan under my stones to see if I can get a sub 2 minute pie sans the excess charring on the bottom.

       Villa Roma


The gas grill fibrament stone comes with a solid light aluminum alloy pan that MUST be used with it on the grill. The first time I used the stone it picked up a small crack - I called the company and had a long conversation with whom I believe was the owner. He said few, if any, of the stones crack and to keep using mine to see if the crack expanded and at anytime I could call and he'd replace the stone for me (nice guy - that is a pizza maker as well). He did tell me the grill pan for the stone tops out at about 1200* but in tests not using the aluminum under pan the stone has gone 1500* with no problems. He also told me about a guy that actually burned a hole in the underpan using a green egg past 1300* The only thing we could figure out was the guy was using some sort of an 0-2 injector to get that heat.

For the $63 to get that large of a stone which will not break into two pieces (has multiple fiber mats, kind of like rebar in concrete inlaid in it) and has great after purchase service and support (made in Mich. I believe), I consider it a good deal for my LBE as I've broken numerous thinner stones that were in the $15 to $20 range and are now in the trash.

The perforated pan on the bottom of the pie will work to slow the bottom of the pies char time down. I've done it for a few years now on my conventional gas grill with a stone. I put the pie in and wait until the top is 90% brown to my liking and then pull the pan off with a pair of channel locks, shake the pan and finish the pie directly on the stone in about 60 seconds or less (probably at 600*'s as I have never checked. Worked well for me, but like the LBE you need a little practice to get consistent results.


PS - the fibrament stone fellow and I talked about a steam modification to the grill. He said there are numerous small steam deals on the internet and the steam was only helpful to the baking process at the begining of the process - I'm starting to think of a small odd-shaped container that would hold only a few onces of water which could be placed on the stone like your wood chip at the beginning of the cooking process.

Please post the results of the can vent - I'm ready to modify mine if that works

Regards,

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 18, 2007, 11:30:51 AM
Rkos....I'll be making pizza next weekend and I'll post the results. It'll most likely be 25% whole grains so I won't have the temp cranked up like I had with the Neapolitan. I think around 700* should work fine.

I placed a perforated pizza pan under the two 16" stones. I'll see what that does for the bottom crust.

For water injection, try forming some HD foil into the shape of a small reservoir and pressing it between the stone and the grill. Poke a small hole or two in it with a toothpick. Pour water in it when you load your pizza and it will drip down the side creating steam.

       Villa Roma



Title: Little Black Egg
Post by: Y-TOWN on August 18, 2007, 12:44:06 PM
Villa Roma,

Here is today's pizza.

I got the rice cereal, ground it and mixed it with about 40% baking flour. I had to have 1/4# spread on the peel and dusted on the bottom of the skin. It was sliding fine during the assembly process.

Got to the LBE and the pizza was stuck. I had to get a 16" perforated pizza pan and scrape the pie from the peal and put the pie in the LBE in my perforated pan on top of the stone. I make a high hydration dough and it appears any type of dusting is absorbed by the skin bottom. From now on I'm just going to cook the pie on the perforated disk on the stone. It seems to work better for me.

Here are the results - also, you said the LBE doesn't like any kind of breeze. Got about a 10 mile side wind just when I started to cook. The photo's below are the tin foil droplets that melted and hit the concrete below the grill. My opening is only 9", I think I'll have to open it to 12" to compensate for any wind.

Regards,
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 18, 2007, 01:30:42 PM
Rkos....Looks like a very respectable pizza. Have you tried using a preferment or a starter? Either one will make a big difference over straight yeast. I also like to use some kind of stone ground whole grains like rye or wheat. I make my starter with rye flour and it is really active so I don't have to use yeast.

Do you have a mixer or did you knead the dough by hand?

The hole in the bottom of my Weber is 11 1/2" and I've never had the foil melt. I think the flames from the burner were making contact with the foil just above it causing the melt down. I hope you were wearing shoes!

       Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on August 18, 2007, 03:11:15 PM
Here are my results from today...overall a tremendous improvement over the first batch of pizzas.  I got much more color on the top crust as well as pretty good charring on both pizzas.  The bottom had some good and bad charring.  Some parts of the pizza had good bottom charring and other parts were a tad burned; but acceptable.  Actually, the burnt parts were still less burnt than the pizza I had at Totonno's in Brooklyn.

Just to note, turning the pizzas during the bake seems to really helps cook the pizzas more evenly.  When I put the pizzas on, the bottom stone read about 700 degrees and the top stone read 665 degrees.  Much happier with this set of pizzas; still some tweaking to work on. 

EDIT:  Just wanted to add the dough formulation I used:
Flour (100%)
Water (62%)
IDY (.25%)
Salt (2%)
TF = 0.09

I made two 12" doughs and cold fermented for 64 hours.

Enjoy the pics!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 19, 2007, 12:29:11 AM
Mike.....Looks good, especially the first pizza where there are signs of some nice charring on one side. You're really zeroing in on greatness. My LBE cooks somewhat uneven also and I'm wondering if it's because of the vent pulling hot air over the stone creating a hot spot. Next time I'm going to try rotating the lid 180 degrees to see if the hotspot shifts. I'm still thinking about a Rolling Stone mod. If I was back in the states where there are massive hardware stores, it would be easy. It's not like that here in Europe.

I picked up some cake flour and I'm going to experiment with it. It's 6% protein so I'll cut it with some AP flour to try to simulate a Caputo flour. A 50/50 blend should yield about 8%. My experience has been that high gluten flours and long fermentation periods result in a leathery, almost plastic skin on the crust, especially after it cools off. I'm shooting for that leopard spot look.

How long did it take for your pizzas to cook? Also, what kind of flour did you use? I think if you bump up the hydration, you'll find it makes a big improvement. When I mix my dough I use cold water of about 40 degrees. When I'm done mixing the dough, it's right at room temp of 68 degrees. The cold water also makes for a stiffer dough initially, which allows you to use the higher hydration and still form a ball in the mixer. This really helps with the gluten development with low gluten flour. The higher hydration is also less likely to burn. Another thing to try is either a preferment or some type of starter.

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Y-TOWN on August 19, 2007, 01:00:37 AM
Rkos....Looks like a very respectable pizza. Have you tried using a preferment or a starter? Either one will make a big difference over straight yeast. I also like to use some kind of stone ground whole grains like rye or wheat. I make my starter with rye flour and it is really active so I don't have to use yeast.

Do you have a mixer or did you knead the dough by hand?

The hole in the bottom of my Weber is 11 1/2" and I've never had the foil melt. I think the flames from the burner were making contact with the foil just above it causing the melt down. I hope you were wearing shoes!

       Villa Roma




I use a mixer with 8 cups of flour at a time, no oil and approx. 4 tablespoons of sugar with some salt. The minimum is ususally a 24 hour rise in the refrigerator. - I use an instant fast rise yeast purchased in the typical 3 pack at the supermarket - not a lot of sophistication in the dough making process at our house, but I get solid, reliable results every time with this recipe and it only takes me about 15 minutes total to make and bag 4 individual bags for the refrigerator.

The aluminum droplets on the concrete were not from the foil but rather the light aluminum pan which came with the fibrament stone for cooking on a gas grill. After the grill cooled off I was cleaning it and found an approximate 7" circular hole burned through the underpan.

The fibrament factory fellow I recently talked with said the aluminum pan which came with the stone was good to 1200*F - the LBE must have gotten hotter than that under the stone or his calculations are off. The good news is the small hairline crack in the stone did not expand any more.

I going to look for a heavier aluminum or light steel pan to put the stone in for the baking process when the LBG is used.

BTW - the pizza was SUPER - the bottom picture was blurred, but it was a beautiful brown, with a slight char, just the way we like them at our place. Had I used a timer and not lifted the top of the LBE off 4 or 5 times during the baking process I'm confident the top would have been a little darker as well.

I'll try again at lunch tommorrow
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on August 19, 2007, 01:41:38 AM
Mike.....Looks good, especially the first pizza where there are signs of some nice charring on one side. You're really zeroing in on greatness. My LBE cooks somewhat uneven also and I'm wondering if it's because of the vent pulling hot air over the stone creating a hot spot. Next time I'm going to try rotating the lid 180 degrees to see if the hotspot shifts. I'm still thinking about a rotating stone mod. If I was back in the states where there are massive hardware stores, it would be easy. It's not like that here in Europe.

I picked up some cake flour and I'm going to experiment with it. It's 6% protein so I'll cut it with some AP flour to try to simulate a Caputo flour. A 50/50 blend should yield about 8%. My experience has been that high gluten flours and long fermentation periods result in a leathery, almost plastic skin on the crust, especially after it cools off. I'm shooting for that leopard spot look.

How long did it take for your pizzas to cook? Also, what kind of flour did you use? I think if you bump up the hydration, you'll find it makes a big improvement. When I mix my dough I use cold water of about 40 degrees. When I'm done mixing the dough, it's right at room temp of 68 degrees. The cold water also makes for a stiffer dough initially, which allows you to use the higher hydration and still form a ball in the mixer. This really helps with the gluten development with low gluten flour. The higher hydration is also less likely to burn. Another thing to try is either a preferment or some type of starter.

     Villa Roma

Villa Roma,

I used King Aurthur bread flour and mixed in a similar manner as you with 37 degree water and a finished dough of around 72 degrees.  Both pizzas cooked for exactly 3 minutes.  I was planning to use a mix of bread flour and Caputo 00 next weekend.  Something in the line of 70% Caputo to 30% bread flour, with 65% hydration, salt and yeast; no oil or sugar. 

I also think the vent is making a hot spot on one side of the LBE.  That is a great idea about rotating the lid; that way you don't have to allow any heat to escape when lifting it to rotate the pizza.

- Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: toddster63 on August 19, 2007, 02:10:32 AM
The LBE pies are looking good, guys... That leopard spot charring is more than a LITTLE exciting, Mike!

Rkos--that pie looks mighty tasty--how long did it cook for? Also, what kind of flour did you use for that dough? Sorry to hear about your Fibrament stone pan melting, but think of it this way--I won't be bothering to order a pan from Mark for my Fibrament stone, I'll just put some tiles under it, like Villa Roma has done. So your loss is helpful to others and serves a positive purpose...! The Fibrament stones are really great, though, aren't they? I really like mine.

Villa Roma, it'll be interesting to see how the new bigger vent works out with your bake this weekend. How would you do a rotating stone mod....?
(P.S. I got a new KA 600 today with a spiral dough hook! Time to knead some dough!)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 19, 2007, 05:50:12 AM
Toddster63.....Congratulations on your purchase of your KA mixer. I think you'll really like the spiral dough hook.

Here's a conceptual diagram of the Rolling Stone mod. There are three small pulleys located 120 degrees apart attached to the inside of the Weber. Two of the pulleys will be free wheeling while one will be driven by a rotisserie motor. The existing cooking grate would be driven by the the pulleys. You could use just a crank handle instead of the motor if you wanted to keep it simple.

Three pulleys and a crank handle and it's spin city!

        Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 19, 2007, 06:58:27 AM
Mike....I've never tried Caputo flour. I understand that there are at least 2 types. Which type do you use and is it worth all the hype? I'm thinking of ordering some and like to know if it makes that big of a difference.

Also, how long did you knead your dough and on what speed?

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Y-TOWN on August 19, 2007, 09:31:34 AM


Rkos--that pie looks mighty tasty--how long did it cook for? Also, what kind of flour did you use for that dough? Sorry to hear about your Fibrament stone pan melting, but think of it this way--I won't be bothering to order a pan from Mark for my Fibrament stone, I'll just put some tiles under it, like Villa Roma has done. So your loss is helpful to others and serves a positive purpose...! The Fibrament stones are really great, though, aren't they? I really like mine.

toddster63,

I can't find unglazed tiles in this area - lord knows I've looked. Wish I wouldn't have trashed those broken stones, they would have worked well for bottom flame buffers.

I really like the Fibrament stone but need to go to our local restaurant supply store and find a new bottom for it before I use it again. I won't call Mark because it's evident the pan those folks send with the 3/4" stone won't work on the LBE.

The flour I use is Pillsbury Bread flour - it gives me more oven spring than KA bread flour, Harvest King, or other supermarket flours I've used - for the dough recipe I use the Pillsbury bread flour just seems to work better. The bake time on the pie shown in the photo's was a little under 5 minutes, but again that was with me removing the lid to look at the top of the pie excessively.

Here is a photo of my factory pan -
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 19, 2007, 09:59:56 AM
Rkos.....Bummer on the lava flow, but look at the bright side, at least it didn't tear up your stone. I'll be using an aluminum pan also so I hope they used a higher grade aluminum on it, we'll see. You can bet I'll be wearing boots, just in case.

I have a theory why Pills flour works better than the others. They use vitamin C and the others don't. For an uplifting experience, try adding some C to any flour and you'll be pleasantly surprised. It's like Viagra for your pizza! I just grind up a small portion of a regular C tablet. You don't need much, just 20 PPM. For 800 grams of flour that would be 16 mg. It's supposed to be a dough conditioner similar in action to bromate.

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 19, 2007, 11:02:52 AM
Rkos....Have you considered using HD aluminum foil in lieu of your now defunct pan? You may have to use several layers and replace it every now and then but I think this will work just fine.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Y-TOWN on August 19, 2007, 11:15:47 AM
Rkos....Have you considered using HD aluminum foil in lieu of you now defunct pan? You may have to try several layers but I think this will work just fine.

    Villa Roma


Villa Roma,

Actually, I didn't think about that  :-[- several layers of HD tin foil would probably work well as a direct flame buffer - sure would be a lot less $ than another pan and I've got an extra roll here from when I covered the interior of my LBE.

Thanks for the idea !!

Regards,
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on August 19, 2007, 11:31:58 AM
Mike....I've never tried Caputo flour. I understand that there are at least 2 types. Which type do you use and is it worth all the hype? I'm thinking of ordering some and like to know if it makes that big of a difference.

Also, how long did you knead your dough and on what speed?

      Villa Roma

Villa Roma,

I have the Caputo 00 Pizzeria version from PennMac: http://www.pennmac.com/items/3202.  I believe the other Caputo type is much lower in protein then the Pizzeria version I have.

I used it with a mixture of All Trumps High Gluten Flour when I was trying to reverse engineer a Difara's Square pizza.  Here is the thread about that: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,504.msg39649.html#msg39649

Those square pizzas took awhile to brown using my regular oven set at 550 degrees.  I'll have a more definitive opinion on the Caputo 00 next week when I cook a few pizzas with it in the LBE.  I'm actually going to make three pies next week.  One with 100% Caputo, one with 75%/25% Caputo/Bread and one with 75%/25% Bread/Caputo.

As far as mixing, I don't have spiral hook for my KA mixer so I use the paddle attachment with all the ingredients and 75% flour and mix for a few minutes on speed 1 then add the rest of the flour with the dough hook and knead for 2 minutes on speed 2.  I then knead by hand for a minute and place in the fridge.

-Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 19, 2007, 01:20:19 PM
Mike....Thanks for the update on the Caputo Pizzeria flour. I checked and the protein level is 11.5-12.5 percent. Looks like it's about midway between AP and strong bread flour.

Next weekend should be a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach with you, me and hopefully Rkos cooking pizza. I'm really anxious to see the results of your Caputo threesome.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Randy on August 19, 2007, 01:40:01 PM
Drop by your local metal fabricator shop and they can cut you a steel plate.  Or go to Lowe's and find the steel section and but a piece of sheet metal and a pair of hand shears and cut your own. 
Do not get galvanished
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 26, 2007, 05:34:30 AM
I made pizza yesterday and I put an aluminum pan under the stones and like Rkos, I had a melt down. :o The molten aluminum spilled onto the burner partially clogging it so I had to pick the slag out of the burner after it cooled. I cut a 6" round hole in the pan so if it melts again it hopefully won't fall onto the burner.

        Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 26, 2007, 06:10:12 AM
Here's some pics of the pizza I made this weekend. This was 25% whole grain (10% rye, 15% whole wheat) with no fat or sugar. The balance of the flour was GM all purpose. Cooked at 675 degrees for just under 3 minutes. It came out good but not great. Seems a little fat, sugar and maybe milk makes a big difference in the lightness of the crust, as well as the taste, at least with whole grains.

The vent mod worked great and is a keeper. The LBE heated up quicker and I was able to maintain 675 degrees at around medium throttle. The RTV around the base of the vent survived without burning but I didn't crank the heat up this time. I tried rotating the lid as opposed to the pizza but there is a hot spot so that did not work. I'm going to have to rotate the pizza until I can get the Rolling Stones mod worked out. No biggie, most ovens have a hot spot which necessitates the need to turn the pizza.

The aluminum pan on the bottom of the stones is also a keeper. The outside of the stone has a tendency to heat up higher than the center and the pan evens this out real well. It also cradles the stones better than the grate which has sagged some with the 800+ degree heat that I used last time.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Randy on August 26, 2007, 07:22:03 AM
Melting aluminum fumes and pizza may not be such a good idea although aluminum/Alzheimer's link remains unproven I wonder if it is worth the risk.  You may find a steel disk to actually give you better results since the aluminum is reflecting some of the heat.

Randy
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 26, 2007, 08:32:58 AM
Melting aluminum fumes and pizza may not be such a good idea although aluminum/Alzheimer's link remains unproven I wonder if it is worth the risk.  You may find a steel disk to actually give you better results since the aluminum is reflecting some of the heat.

Randy

In order to create aluminum fumes it must first be vaporized. Aluminum melts at 660 degrees Celsius (1220 F) and boils at 2518 degrees Celsius (4564 F). This propane burner will not get anywhere near 4564 F so we should be OK.

Thanks for your concern.....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Randy on August 26, 2007, 11:07:12 AM
No problem, not trying to be critical, just helpful.  The older you get the more people you know with this devastating disease and it makes you cautious.

Randy
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 26, 2007, 12:01:40 PM
I hear you, my memory is bad enough as it is. Thank goodness for computers and the internet! And sticky notes!

       Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 28, 2007, 03:24:35 AM
Here's another solution to the cure the uneven cooking issue. Instead of rotating the grate and stones, why not rotate the whole egg? The hot spot is most likely caused by the burner, so placing a lazy susan bearing between the burner and the LBE will allow it to spin manually, or if you're a really lazy susan, you can use a motor! I have a LS bearing on order and it should be here in about a week.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: apizza on August 29, 2007, 08:08:46 PM
Villa Roma, are you Don Herbert ?   :-\
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: toddster63 on August 29, 2007, 08:14:40 PM
Yeah, that's Villa Roma--Mr. Wizard...!

Villa Roma, what size lazy susan bearing did you order for the modified Weber--I'm thinking 12"...? I think your modified hole was around 11 1/2", right...?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 30, 2007, 12:23:03 AM
Villa Roma, are you Don Herbert ?   :-\

Sorry, I'm not Don Herbert.


Yeah, that's Villa Roma--Mr. Wizard...!

Villa Roma, what size lazy susan bearing did you order for the modified Weber--I'm thinking 12"...? I think your modified hole was around 11 1/2", right...?

The LS bearing of choice is in fact a 12" bearing which should fit the 11 1/2" opening pretty good,. The one I selected can be found here: http://www.omeganationalproducts.com/php/products.php?p=pd&pid=387 It's the top one.

I chose this one because it's made of aluminum so it won't rust and it has an open center which can be wrapped in foil to shield it from the heat. How it holds up to the heat remains to be seen.

       Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Pete-zza on August 30, 2007, 07:50:24 AM
Sorry, I'm not Don Herbert.

Don Herbert died on June 12 of this year: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Herbert :(.

Peter
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 03, 2007, 01:08:32 AM
I made pizza this weekend and tried a few experiments. I used some cake flour and a milk starter to see what difference it made.

The pizza came out good but they were a little heavy probably due to the milk starter which isn't as active as the rye starter I usually use. This dough could have benefited from a good pinch of IDY yeast.

The first two pizzas are 50% whole grain with 1/4 of the white flour being cake flour.

The third pizza below was made with a 50/50 blend of Harvest King and Pillsbury Softasilk cake flour. The cake flour definitely made the dough more supple but if I try this again, I'll go with 25% cake flour or less. The crumb was somewhat biscuit like and the flavor wasn't as good as normal.

The cake flour had a strange smell to it, sort of a chemical odor, most likely the bleaching agent. It reminded me of the smell of joint compound used on drywall. The flour wasn't old and still had a year left before the expiration date.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 12, 2007, 02:11:10 AM
The lazy susan bearing I ordered came in so I took some pictures to show it off as it's majestically perched atop the cajun cooker. The LBE now rotates almost effortlessly. I guess you could say, this puts a whole new spin on the pizza making experience! :-D

I'll be making pizza this weekend and I'll take some video of the maiden voyage of the rolling stones mod. Eat your heart out Mick (and your lips).

       Villa Roma, the spin doctor 8)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: toddster63 on September 12, 2007, 03:18:01 AM
Wow--that is way cool, Villa Roma. I can just see you on your deck, effortlessly spinning your pies to perfection (coming to YouTube soon I hope). That is really a great upgrade to the LBE. It'll be interesting to get your feedback on the effect it has on your pies. I would imagine they will cook faster as the lid will retain more heat as you will not be lifting it all to rotate the pies?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 12, 2007, 03:56:54 AM
Precisely toddster63, the pressure from the regulator pushes more gas out one side of the burner resulting in the heat to be more concentrated on one side of the LBE. It's the nature of the beast. Turning the pizza worked but opening the lid let heat out and lengthened the cook time.

For the test run I'm going to keep the temp to around 675 degrees and if all goes well I may try a high heat run, shooting for the elusive sub 2 minute pizza. It really depends how well the LS bearing tolerates the heat.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: canadianbacon on September 12, 2007, 08:25:03 AM
Hi Villa Roma,

gee now that's interesting, I really also hope that you'll post a YouTube video of this in action, even if the
thing is not fired up.

I'd like to see how it works.

Now, how... did you get a lazy susan out of metal, that fits that propane burner area ?, I'm really curious
about that.  The thing ( the lazy susan ) looks like it fits perfectly, almost like it was made for your burner !

anyway, very nice stuff.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 13, 2007, 02:19:29 AM
CB....I searched the net for lazy suzan bearings and this one looked like it would work, so I took a chance and ordered it. It was literally a plop n roll as opposed to rock n roll.

Speaking of rock n roll, I made a short video of the rolling stones mod. You can catch it here: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZkoxVR_Cl8)

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 15, 2007, 03:26:51 PM
It was pizza day today and here's a few from the LBE at about 725 degrees. The first one is 50% whole grain and the second is just flour, water, yeast and salt with a 75% hydration.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: toddster63 on September 16, 2007, 01:31:33 AM
Pies looks superlative, as always, Villa Roma (I love your creativity with toppings... :pizza:)

How did the new lazy susan hold up under the heat...?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 16, 2007, 06:10:27 AM
Pies looks superlative, as always, Villa Roma (I love your creativity with toppings... :pizza:)

How did the new lazy susan hold up under the heat...?

Before I fired the LBE up I was debating whether to clean the grease out of the bearings. I decided to go with it and the grease created a good deal of smoke until it burned off but other than that, it worked just fine. The pizzas cooked in 2 1/2 minutes at around 700 degrees. I think I could get under 2 minutes if I cranked the heat but not with this recipe.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Y-TOWN on September 16, 2007, 08:32:59 AM
Villa Roma

How often do you have to re-tin foil the LBE. After about five uses my heavy duty tin foil in the kettle portion nearest the flame is starting to disintegrate. I'm thinking about just putting another layer or two over the existing - what's your experiences??
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 16, 2007, 08:54:39 AM
Villa Roma

How often do you have to re-tin foil the LBE. After about five uses my heavy duty tin foil in the kettle portion nearest the flame is starting to disintegrate. I'm thinking about just putting another layer or two over the existing - what's your experiences??

Mine is doing fine but the opening on your grill seems to be a bit narrower so that may be the reason why it's not holding up well. I also used heavy duty foil.

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 30, 2007, 10:32:51 AM
Here's a bunch of pizzas I made this weekend. The first two are 1/3 stone ground rye, 1/3 whole wheat graham  and 1/3 Harvest king (66% whole grain). The next two are 100% whole wheat. The last one is a football pizza made with the same dough as the first two pizzas. Cooked at 650 degrees for 3->3 1/2 minutes on the LBE of course!

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 30, 2007, 10:38:21 AM
Here's some side shots. The first two are 66% whole grain and the last two are 100% whole wheat. :chef:

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: 2stone on October 03, 2007, 12:01:03 AM
Nice crust,

what type of yeast you using?

willard
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on October 03, 2007, 12:22:33 AM
Nice crust,

what type of yeast you using?

willard

Willard....I've been using a rye starter but for these pizzas I used plain Saf IDY.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on October 30, 2007, 06:12:14 AM
Hi there, can anyone give me some advise. I'm interested in converting a weber like villaroma has. If I use  galvanized metal brackets to mount a pizza stone in the lid could there be any adverse chemical reaction when the metal heats up?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on October 30, 2007, 08:14:08 AM
It will probably burn off the galvanization, which i assume isn't healthy. I would use brass or steel brackets.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on November 17, 2007, 02:31:57 PM
Here's a few pizzas from the LBE. The first one is 90% Harvest King and 10% rye. The second is 90% whole wheat and 10% rye.

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on December 01, 2007, 06:59:20 AM
Here's a pizza made with 90% GM all purpose flour and 10% whole grain rye. You don't need high gluten flour to make great pizza. ;) Also check out the 100% whole grain bagels. Start your morning off right with whole grains! The last pizza is 100% whole grain, All courtesy of the LBE.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: canadianbacon on December 01, 2007, 09:40:27 AM
I agree with you 100% VM, I use 100% all purpose flour all the time for my pizzas and I love 'em.  If I had access to HG flour around my parts, I'd prob try it, but you just can't get it here, however, I"m very happy with my results.

The pizza looks amazing !, I bet there's a good crack on that crust eh !

Bagels - wow, I never thought of making bagels on a pizza stone.  Did you dip the bagels in hot water before you baked them like you do with pretzels ? or did you go directly onto the stone ?

Thinking of that, now I want to try pretzels.  I have made many in the oven, but never on a hot pizza stone.

Well, the pizza and bagels look really great !


Here's a pizza made with 90% GM all purpose flour and 10% whole grain rye. You don't need high gluten flour to make great pizza. ;) Also check out the 100% whole grain bagels. Start your morning off right with whole grains! The last pizza is 100% whole grain, All courtesy of the LBE.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on December 02, 2007, 04:30:27 AM
CB....I found even Harvest King bread flour had too much gluten and resulted in a finished pizza that was too tough, especially after reheating. I make 8 or more pizzas at a time and then freeze them so using AP flour works really good for me.

I don't boil the bagels. I just take a dough ball and plunge my finger down the center and stretch is out some until it looks like a donut. I throw them on the LBE and cook as normal. I imagine you could coat them with an egg wash and cover them with some type of seeds like sesame or poppy etc. or add raisins and cinnamon to the dough. Personally, I don't like regular bagels because  they're too dense and heavy. These are nice and light.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on December 12, 2007, 12:34:42 PM
Villa Roma,
What have you concluded is the best AP flour for Pizza dough? I use Harvest King for sourdough and yeasted breads and love it. I have been using HK also for pizza also but I had read where a small percentage of Soft as Silk cake flour helps to make a better crust. Any suggestions?

Also how is your lazy susan holding up?

I was wondering if you have tried adding a layer of lava rock in the bottom of the kettle above the burner. Maybe that would soften the heat pattern some and make a more even heat distribution.

One other idea was to add an additional multi hole vent in the lid of the top. That way you could improve the venting and spread out the air flow to both sides. Just an idea to think about. I really like what you have done with this so far and I plan to build my very own LBE soon.

Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on December 13, 2007, 02:03:57 AM
Hi Eric....My favorite AP flour is Gold Medal unbleached all purpose flour. I use a very small amount of yeast and a long, slow room temperature fermentation and found Harvest King to be too strong resulting in a tougher crust.

I tried a dough with 50% soft as silk flour and it wasn't my favorite. You can view it here: (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.msg46537.html#msg46537) Again I really like the bog stock AP flour, it tastes better and is dirt cheap if you can stock up when it goes on sale.

The lazy susan is doing fine. It's not as smooth as it once was but it still spins nicely.

I've toyed with the idea of using rocks to buffer the heat from the burner but the double pizza stone setup I have works real well. One of my pizza stones cracked after 10 years of service so I just use it to buffer the flames. I'm working on a gizmo that will distribute the heat as well as produce a turbulence in the cooking chamber.

I found that the level of the pizza stone has more to due with the evenness of cooking than the venting. The grate tends to sag under the high heat so I need to use something more substantial to prevent that.

All things considered, I'm very satisfied with the product I'm producing with the LBE but there is always room for improvement. For the price, it can't be beat. Most people have a propane burner and pizza stone so that's all you need is an 18" kettle grill. It costs $60 new or find a used one for free and you're in business on a shoestring budget.

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on January 03, 2008, 09:30:40 AM
Well I took the plunge and bought a new 18.5" Weber. I figured out how to cut a level hole and with my trusty saber saw easily cut a nice 11" hole. A little file work and emery paper gave me a finished opening.

I have been pondering what to do with the lid. My goal is to create an earthen oven environment that heats quickly and holds the heat well so I can use this for more than Pizza. I think what I'm going to do is build a ceramic dome inside the lid using some kind of wire lath for reinforcing and mounting. I won't cover the entire surface of the lid but maybe come down to within say 2 inches of the lid edge. My brother who is a potter says it won't be a big deal to cast an even layer inside with all the cut outs for venting. The ceramic will shrink 15% when firing it to "Bisque" level and will make it much stronger. I'm hoping for the ceramic layer to be around 1/2-3/4 inch thick. This will make the lid heavy but it's necessary to have a thermal mass that will retain much of the heat when the cover is off briefly.

Have you found a source for vent and damper parts yet? Just a little experimenting on my Wok burner shows me the need for better venting than the standard 4 hole vents. For pizza and high temp cooking you probably will always need more venting but for lower temp roasting and bread temps around 450-500F I'm guessing less air flow would be better.

This is such a great concept VR, I'm looking forward to cooking on my LBE!

Eric
Added later---I noticed on your video that when you remove the pie the cheese is only bubbling on one side, after rotating it. Am I seeing this right? The hot spot is pronounced.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 03, 2008, 01:24:55 PM
Eric....Your idea of making a ceramic insert sounds fascinating. Should be real interesting to see how it turns out and how it improves the pizza making process.

I'm still using a tin can for a vent that I glued in with some high temp RTV. It's holding up good so there's no need to reinvent the wheel.

Every oven cooks unevenly so the best thing to do is just turn the pizza once or twice during cooking. I'd be nice to toss the pizza in and pull it out when it's done but even the WFO folks have to spin the pizza. It's all part of the pizza making craft.

Good luck and keep us posted.....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 04, 2008, 03:04:34 PM
Eric......You may also wish to consider a castable refractory mortar. There are two products, one is the regular stuff and is good to 3000 degrees. They also have a lightweight version that is good to 2300 degrees.

You can mix it up and trowel it on to the inner lid of your LBE. Probably won't shrink and there is no need to fire it. Costs about a buck a pound in 50 pound bags. Best to find it locally as shipping will kill you.

(http://www.sheffield-pottery.com/LOUCAST-3000-CASTABLE-MORTAR-p/lvclc.htm)
(http://www.sheffield-pottery.com/U-S-LITE-WATE-23-insulating-castable-p/lvusl23.htm)

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on January 04, 2008, 06:57:26 PM
Villa Roma,
Thanks for your reply and thoughts. My IR temp gage came today and I have been thinking about heat flow and this project. I think the flame burning a hole in the aluminum pans is telling us something. It seems to me that if the flame were blowing on a ceramic barrier that would collect the heat and radiate, the hot spot issue would be diminished. I have some half thickness fire bricks that would fit on the lower grate perfectly. It might take a couple minutes to get the bricks hot but once heated they wouldn't take much to keep hot and the increased mass should help recover temp after removing the lid. The other thing is you should be able to cook a wider range of foods in stable heat on smaller fuel loads.

There are things to be learned from the ceramic cooker guys (LGE and Kamada etc.) They are all using indirect methods of heat transfer. Your idea I think is perfect for adapting to hi temp gas. It's just the raw heat transfer I am struggling with.

Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 04, 2008, 11:26:51 PM
Eric.....I  use a double stone to buffer the heat. The bottom stone cracked after using it for ten years so instead of tossing it I use it as a heat deflector.

An alternative is to use a 1-2 inch layer of small rocks. I found that the grill grate sags somewhat over time and  this is perfect for this scenario. A local landscape supply place will sell you small landscaping rock for a few bucks. The rock layer will be about 2" thick in the center and thin out to and inch or so toward the perimeter of the pizza stone.

You can also fire the LBE with wood. I use gas because of the convienence plus it's eaisier to control the temp and no ashes to deal with.

   Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on January 07, 2008, 02:09:59 PM
Thanks Villa Roma,
I'm at the point where I am sending the lid to my brother and he is going to form a ceramic dome and fire it. I was wondering if you have any additional thoughts on the diameter of the lid vent. I see you attached a can in place of the standard Weber 4 hole vent system. Does that appear to be enough venting? When I first saw your can mod I wondered if that was in addition to the factory vent.

Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 08, 2008, 01:08:04 AM
Eric,

Yes, I replaced the existing vent with a DelMonte tin can. It originally contained crushed pineapple and measured 3 1/4" in diameter by 3 1/2" tall. I cut the hole through all four vent holes with a hacksaw. Cut the hole slightly smaller and you can tilt the can for a nice snug fit. I added some hi-temp RTC just as an added measure.

This size works really well and I don't see any need to change it. The edge on the fllapper is sharp so you may want to dull it with a file. I place a larger can on top of the vent when it's not in use. This keeps any rain from finding it's way onto the stones.

   Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on January 08, 2008, 11:37:32 AM
VR,
I am planning on using standard stainless steel vent pipe. I haven't decided yet on 3 or 4 inch. They make an 45 degree elbow that would direct the heat away from the handle. Do you find the exhaust heat to be an issue? My neighbor who is a HVAC repair technician and specializes in gas burners wondered why I wanted to put a flow valve or damper in. He said let it run wide open. I'm guessing you meant to type "3-1/4 inches" for the diameter? So maybe 3 inches will be enough.

Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 08, 2008, 03:18:33 PM
Eric,

Yeah, 3 1/4" is what I use and 3" should be fine.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: retrodog on January 12, 2008, 03:36:58 PM
Hello guys. Just finally joined after reading info on here for a few months. This thread finally got me inspired enough to start posting, thanks to Villa Roma.  ;)

Anyway, got the weber and cut the hole out. Looks nice. I'm collecting a few things and should have it assembled to start testing within the next couple of days. I'd post pictures but it won't let a noob use hyperlinks.  :(

How many posts do I need to get past the noob status?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Pete-zza on January 12, 2008, 03:51:23 PM
How many posts do I need to get past the noob status?

retrodog,

It's five.

Peter
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: retrodog on January 12, 2008, 11:25:12 PM
retrodog,

It's five.

Peter
Excellent, thanks.

Got the stone installed in the lid. Fired it up tonight to see if the burner worked and I can see why that thing is listed as 170,000 BTU. Cranking it up resulted in very long blue flames and notable noise as well. Need to remove the bottom grate, as the center got glowing red hot and that's can't last very long like that.

Will take some more pictures tomorrow and post them. The wind was blowing quite a bit tonight and affecting the flame, mostly because a storm was blowing through. I'm planning on adding some aluminum foil tomorrow and will see how that works then.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 13, 2008, 12:21:27 AM
Retrodog....I see another LBE is born or should I say hatched?  :-D Welcome to the forum. You should pick up an IR thermometer so you can get the temp of the stone where it's best for the style of pizza you want to make. Otherwise it's a guessing game. I used my LBE for years without one but if you want to cook at high temps it really makes it much easier.

Good luck and have fun......Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 13, 2008, 05:17:38 AM
Here's another mod I've been kicking around. Instead of venting the LBE out the top, vent it through the side. The hot air would then be forced around and over the stone. If I can find a sacrificial lid, I may give this a try.

In theory, this could get the LBE closer to the elusive 60 second pizza.  :chef:

The LBE looks a little cranky, I haven't fed it in awhile.  :-D

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: retrodog on January 13, 2008, 12:36:34 PM
Retrodog....I see another LBE is born or should I say hatched?  :-D Welcome to the forum. You should pick up an IR thermometer so you can get the temp of the stone where it's best for the style of pizza you want to make. Otherwise it's a guessing game. I used my LBE for years without one but if you want to cook at high temps it really makes it much easier.

Good luck and have fun......Villa Roma
Got the HP HVAC unit that will read up to 1,000F, so that oughtta do for now.

Here's the unit right after I cut the bottom out, sitting on my SS burner base.
http://www.fototime.com/%7BCEB1B6B5-1602-4151-BC76-81213CE42319%7D/picture.JPG (http://www.fototime.com/%7BCEB1B6B5-1602-4151-BC76-81213CE42319%7D/picture.JPG)

Cutout view.
http://www.fototime.com/%7BF0DB5959-36E3-4327-86AF-126E9E01A6A2%7D/picture.JPG (http://www.fototime.com/%7BF0DB5959-36E3-4327-86AF-126E9E01A6A2%7D/picture.JPG)

I installed a 12" square tile in the top and used the grid from the bottom to hold it there, with some eye-bolts.
http://www.fototime.com/%7BAA320C35-DA09-46AE-9503-B6D264FB37D1%7D/picture.JPG (http://www.fototime.com/%7BAA320C35-DA09-46AE-9503-B6D264FB37D1%7D/picture.JPG)
http://www.fototime.com/%7B50ADB0D0-B7A1-4E8F-B8F0-F2A7FC462371%7D/picture.JPG (http://www.fototime.com/%7B50ADB0D0-B7A1-4E8F-B8F0-F2A7FC462371%7D/picture.JPG)

How do I hyperlink hosted images? I tried with the method that I use on numerous other forums but it wouldn't work. So I attached one just to test that method.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 13, 2008, 02:40:07 PM
Retro....The way you attached the top stone is a great idea or maybe I should say.....grate idea.  :-D So when are you taking your LBE on it's maiden voyage?

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: retrodog on January 13, 2008, 03:31:28 PM
Retro....The way you attached the top stone is a great idea or maybe I should say.....grate idea.  :-D So when are you taking your LBE on it's maiden voyage?

    Villa Roma
Thanks. I was trying to figure out how I was going to mount it up there and then I just picked up that bottom grate and a lightbulb came on over my head. I didn't tighten it very much because I don't want heat combining with stress to crack it. With the double layered (including tile standoffs) pizza stone on the bottom, there is about 2.5" of clearance between the cooking surface and the grate holding the tile in the top.

Some time this afternoon, like in about an hour or two, I'll be trying it out. During my initial dry-run last night I determined something...

The side by the vent got hotter sooner than the other side. That was from measuring external temperature around the top. I speculate that the air flow on that side is allowing the heated air to use that as the path of least resistance. So I figure if the cooking area suffers from the same effect, I'll just compensate by rotating the top halfway through the cooking cycle, as that would barely require breaking the seal and minimize any heat loss. But that determination will come later.


Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: retrodog on January 14, 2008, 10:04:04 AM
Well I screwed that up a bit. I got it heated up and then when the temp hit about 500 I put my pizza on. A few things that went wrong.

1. I think it got hotter
2. Not enough cooking on top
3. Burning on one side

I haven't put the heavy duty aluminum foil on the top yet. So I was mostly just experimenting with what would happen with basic installation. I'm thinking about increasing the gap between top and bottom by 1/2" to see if that will improve/increase top cooking. I also need to play with the regulator valve to graduate it somehow, either by number of turns or position. The flame is bright blue though and very difficult to see during the day. I could see it beautifully on Saturday night, during the dry run, but it was virtually invisible yesterday afternoon.

In any case, there are many variables here to explore... so I'll be throwing some more flour into the mixer tonight and making a lot more dough.  ;)

The bottom started browning but didn't get as crispy as I wanted it. The side starting to burn caused me to prematurely extract the pizza. If there is some way to keep the side from burning then I might have something. Perhaps a shield ring of some sort. I have some 36"x1/8"x.5" aluminum strips. Hmmmm....
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on January 15, 2008, 12:35:05 PM
Hey Retrodog good to see you here. As you can tell from the posts I'm a newbie also in this forum and with the LBE. I like your concept for mounting the top tile. Is that a 12X12" tile?

I haven't fired up my LBE yet as I'm waiting for my top dish to be fabricated. I decided to make a thick plate that will be about 15-1/2 inches diameter and slightly domed at the top.

I noticed that VR's pizza isn't bubbling on the top on one side in the video. I suspect we will have to find a way to buffer the heat flow to even out the temperature both above and below the cooking stone. I'm going to try to get some IR film and shoot some pictures of the unit when I get my top plate to see how evenly the heat is being absorbed. I'm also considering adding a vent of the opposite side of the lid as an additional vent instead of opening the existing vent.
Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: retrodog on January 15, 2008, 12:56:30 PM
Hey Retrodog good to see you here. As you can tell from the posts I'm a newbie also in this forum and with the LBE. I like your concept for mounting the top tile. Is that a 12X12" tile?

I haven't fired up my LBE yet as I'm waiting for my top dish to be fabricated. I decided to make a thick plate that will be about 15-1/2 inches diameter and slightly domed at the top.

I noticed that VR's pizza isn't bubbling on the top on one side in the video. I suspect we will have to find a way to buffer the heat flow to even out the temperature both above and below the cooking stone. I'm going to try to get some IR film and shoot some pictures of the unit when I get my top plate to see how evenly the heat is being absorbed. I'm also considering adding a vent of the opposite side of the lid as an additional vent instead of opening the existing vent.
Eric
Yes, I think it's a standard 12" tile. I'll measure it later for more precise numbers.

I picked up some heavy duty aluminum foil last night. I probably won't be testing the grill again till the weekend.

I might shut the vent and see what heat buildup I can get, and if that evens out the cooking. I may also use the foil and then put holes around the perimeter of the stone to balance the flow. More testing to come, obviously.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 16, 2008, 01:39:35 AM
Eric/Retro.....You might want to consider modifying your crust recipe. I found that higher hydration, minimal yeast (sometimes I use a starter) and a long slow room temp fermentation yielded the best results. I use 2% sugar and oil if I'm going to cook at 650 degrees and omit both all together at higher temps of around 800+ degrees.

You definitely want to line the lid with HD foil to help reflect the heat back down toward the cooking surface. The height between the cooking surface and the top stone is 1 1/2" on my LBE.

I preheat for 30 minutes. For the first ten minutes I turn the gas on low to work any moisture out and then turn the gas up for the remaining 20 minute preheat.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on January 16, 2008, 11:26:04 PM
VR, Thanks for your reply. Did you lower the tile in your egg to make it so close or did it just work out that way? That seems a little close but it does explain the nice color you get on the top crust.

I'm wondering what the effect is of not having the HD foil inside the lid. You say having it reflects the heat but does it (the lid)  get to hot otherwise or is the crust affected?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 17, 2008, 12:52:11 AM
Eric,

I originally had the stone clearance at 2" but raised the bottom two stones up 1/2" by placing some compressed HD foil between the grate and the four supports. I found the 1 1/2" clearance works best for me.

The lid heating wasn't the reason I used the foil to line the lid, it was more to even out the top and bottom heat and increase the efficiency of the LBE.

I marked off a side vent on the lid so I may take my trusty hacksaw blade and cut the side opening this weekend. If I do I'll let you know what effect it has on the finished pizza.

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on January 18, 2008, 05:54:19 PM
I saw that you were scoping the side entry concept. Maybe you could save the cut out piece and brace it slightly and use it as a oven door with a wire bale or wooden handle. I'll be waiting to see how that works. You might have to direct more heat to the back side do to the opening.

Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 19, 2008, 08:44:44 AM
Here's the sidewinder vent mod. This is intended to be a vent and not an opening to load pizzas through at this point. I'll close down the top vent some and see how it works later this weekend if the wind dies down. If this works out, I may enlarge the vent and use it to load the pizzas. Right now it's 8" X 1 1/2".

I may have to lower the bottom stones so I made the opening with that in mind.

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on January 20, 2008, 10:49:42 PM
You do nice work VR. Can you tell us why you thought it was necessary to increase the venting so much? It would be great if you could side load and cover the opening during the bake.

Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 21, 2008, 12:42:40 AM
Eric.....Thanks, I cut the opening with a drill, small files and a bare hacksaw blade, cutting on the pull stroke. It still needs some work but since I may have to alter it, I left it as is.

The side vent addition wasn't so much to increase the venting as it was to redirect the flow of hot air. With the vent on the top, most of the air is drawn around the pizza and out the top vent resulting in the top of the pizza being undercooked. This was especially true if there was a breeze. In a windless environment like a garage, it's not as critical.

Adding the side vent will draw hot air around and over the top of the pizza, hopefully resulting in faster bake times and a more evenly baked pizza. That's what I'm shooting for but I'm sure I'll have to do some more experimenting before I get it dialed in.

It's been my experience that limiting the venting actually decreases the temperature. The burner needs a lot of air to support the cumbustion process and gets starved for air when the venting is less than optimum.

I'm going to Las Vegas on business next month so I'm going to see if I can score on a few kilos........of Caputo!

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on January 21, 2008, 08:17:30 AM
VR, It is my understanding that the reason that these gas ventless fireplaces and in fact your home range and oven are not a Carbon Monoxide risk are that they are efficient burners. When I placed my LBE over the wok burner on my home range (this is a big hi BTU burner) I noticed that the flame started to become weak and wasn't burning at anywhere near full power after just a minute of operation. My heating contractor friend said to be carefull of CO when the flame isn't burning well. I have been anxious to try my LBE in the face of -5F temps and windy days here in WI and thought about firing it up in the garage. I just don't want to produce a high CO level that might harm myself or the family in my impatience for good weather.

I wonder if the heat distribution problem couldn't be solved with a look at a different burner. It seems like there is potentially plenty of BTU's to heat such a small area if the gas is being burned correctly.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 21, 2008, 09:01:33 AM
Exactly my point. Closing down the vent makes the burner less efficient, thus it actually lowers the cooking temp.

The stock vent on the 18" Weber grill has about 3 square inches of airflow. The tin can on my Weber has about 8 square inches of airflow. The side vent adds another 12 square inches of potential airflow for a total of 20. This is probably too much but I can adjust the top vent to optimize the efficiency and airflow characteristics of the oven.

When I cook in the garage I always leave the garage door open at least 12" no matter how cold it is. You can also get a carbon monoxide detector to warn you if the levels get too high. I've never had a problem.

    Villa Roma

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackitup on January 21, 2008, 10:20:50 AM
Make a 3 sided windbreak out of plywood or something. Even a big cardboard will work. Anything to break the wind and create a NON-turbulaent environment. Many people that use the WSM bullet smokers do the same thing when BBQing to achieve stable consistant temps in their smokers, works great and safer than a open flame in a garage.
Jon
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: retrodog on January 21, 2008, 08:49:47 PM
It's starting to look a lot like a 2stone. Now you just need a rotating stone in there and a nice stick to push it with.  ;)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 22, 2008, 01:00:26 AM
Retro.....Ha Ha Ha  :-D I was thinking the same thing except more like the other way around.  ;) You may also find this interesting. http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6113.msg52494.html#msg52494

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on January 22, 2008, 12:49:05 PM
I was thinking along the lines of a hot air balloon. The burner is considerably below the skirt which directs the heat and way below the balloon. The burner is able to run at full temps and has plenty of air available.

Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: PizzaBrasil on January 22, 2008, 05:13:24 PM
Where the pizza goes?  :-D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on January 23, 2008, 08:45:27 AM
Hahaha--right at the top!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on January 24, 2008, 11:56:29 AM
VR,
After looking at what the 2stone guy is doing and your results with your stone lowered, I am convinced that you are on the right track with your side cut out. rotating the cooking surface does seem like a good value, even if it's done manually.

Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 26, 2008, 06:19:31 AM
The weather was cooperating so I decided to road test the LBE with the side vent mod. I was on the last legs of my gas tank so all I could muster was 650 degrees. I made 2 New Yorkapolitan pizzas and 3 whole grain pizzas. All were very light and the NYA pizzas cooked in 2 1/2 minutes and the whole grain pizzas cooked in 3 minutes.

NYA pizzas: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6167.msg52912.html#msg52912

Whole grain pizzas: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5682.msg52913.html#msg52913

The side vent mod literally converted the LBE into a fire breathing dragon. I lowered the bottom stones back to the stock position prior to this pizza session. With a fresh tank of gas, next time I'll be.......SMOOOOOKIN!

   Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: 2stone on January 26, 2008, 08:25:02 AM
 :)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 26, 2008, 10:53:29 AM
Here's some detail on the vent mod. I used a piece of rolled up foil to create a baffle which limits the air flow in the area closest to the vent. This forces the hot air to be directed from the sides and back of the oven over the stone, creating a sort of convection wind tunnel effect. With the side vent being smaller sized than the intake, it creates a small back pressure and turbulence. I can't wait to try this with a full propane bottle.

The top vent can be used to control the air temp by siphoning off some of the hot air and the gas regulator is used to control the stone temp.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on January 28, 2008, 11:33:03 PM
That looks like a good idea VR! Are you still planning on using a top stone? I wonder if you would need it with all that hot air rolling up around the stone and over the Pizza.

I'm sure you have looked at this but I discovered that the lid slips back and fits in a clam shell style, catching on the hook in the lid. It seems like that might be plenty of opening to get a pie in and out and hold enough heat.

I picked up my spare tank tonight after filling it and now it's howling 40-50 mph winds and the temps are supposed to fall from 40 to -5 tomorrow. I may never get to try this out!

Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on January 28, 2008, 11:41:52 PM
2stone, how about helping me understand what the best way would be to rotate the stone in this rig. I'm thinking of trying to mount the burner up inside the cooker a little offset to one side. Then I would rotate the stone so the burner covers one side of the stone as it rotates. A motor with a shaft up the center could be mounted below the cooker and stay cool enough I think.

Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 29, 2008, 01:12:34 AM
ehanner.....I'm staying with the top stone for now. The last few mods are a series of tweaks to get the maximum performance out of the LBE.

My next experiment will be to replace the bottom 16" stone with ceramic briquettes. This will allow some of the heat to propagate up to the 16" cooking stone on top of it while still providing some thermal mass as well as a heat buffer. This will make for faster heat up times and use less gas. This should allow the cooking stone to reach 750+ degrees in short order, using a minimal amount of gas.

Once the stone is up to temp I can lower the gas to idle and when I make a pizza, I'll just turn the gas up as required for a 1 1/2 - 2 minute pizza. I used this technique before with great results but with the stock vent. This should work a lot better with the expanded top and side vents.

Never tried the clam shell technique, let me know how it goes.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on January 29, 2008, 08:38:00 AM
Villa Roma, So the plan is to place the ceramic briquettes on top of the grate and the cooking surface on top of them? Unless you plan to put the points down it seems like you would be loosing the direct contact heat transfer and insulating the top from the briquettes. I'll be anxious to see how you do that.

I bought a box of 6 inch square unglazed quarry tiles yesterday. I had hoped to get larger tiles or thicker but Home Depot didn't have anything thick at all. I'm going to clip some corners and lay a buffer below the cooking stone.

Eventually I think I'll place the stone on a steel plate and find a way to rotate it. The top stone could also help direct the hot air flow where you want it to be (top of the pie).

I'm sure you have it posted somewhere on this massive site but what is your favorite dough recipe for testing? I'm thinking I'll whip up some high hydration (80%) Harvest King with no oil or sugar and make some small shapes to test heat patterns.

Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Y-TOWN on January 29, 2008, 08:54:19 AM
Here's some detail on the vent mod. I used a piece of rolled up foil to create a baffle which limits the air flow in the area closest to the vent. This forces the hot air to be directed from the sides and back of the oven over the stone, creating a sort of convection wind tunnel effect. With the side vent being smaller sized than the intake, it creates a small back pressure and turbulence. I can't wait to try this with a full propane bottle.

The top vent can be used to control the air temp by siphoning off some of the hot air and the gas regulator is used to control the stone temp.

    Villa Roma

Villa,

I may have asked this question before and can't find the answer

Do you run your stones (16") directly on the flame (I know you said you utilize two, one that cracked after some years and is now used as a buffer).

I called the Fibrament factory about a crack in the stone and was told I was the first :) that the stone had fibers and it would not break - well the crack is getting larger with each use. Looks like no help from the factory :(

I wondering what kind of stone you are using which does not crack with the heat from the LBE.

Here is what mine looks like now
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Y-TOWN on January 29, 2008, 09:05:51 AM


I looked at the scan of the stone here on line and it looks like there is a chip out of the stone at the crack - not a chip - I was holding the stone resting on my on my lap for the photo and had black pants on - the chip looking part is my pants  :-[
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 29, 2008, 03:13:37 PM
Y-Town.....The stone I use is an Old Stone Oven brand. You can do a search on it or go here: http://p4online.com/16rounpizbak.html

Don't buy from Amazon, I've heard of a lot of broken stones in shipment due to poor packaging.

I run mine fully exposed to the flame. Another alternative is using a kiln shelf but I've been really satisfied with the OSO brand.

   Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on January 29, 2008, 05:49:33 PM
VR,
Well I fired up the LBE today in the garage to test my oven temps. I ran it at full blast for about 15 minutes in the clam shell configuration and the best I could get was in the mid 500's. I put down a layer of 4 6x6 quarry tiles and then a 16" thin pizza stone (1/4").  I closed the top with the standard vents open and let it run for a while and it did warm up some. I went back to the clam config and checked the surface at about 600-640F. The handles got to 150 on the IR gage and there are a lot of hot spots on the stone. I haven't installed any foil yet. Maybe the foil will reflect some of the heat back.

Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Y-TOWN on January 29, 2008, 07:03:26 PM
Y-Town.....The stone I use is an Old Stone Oven brand. You can do a search on it or go here: http://p4online.com/16rounpizbak.html

Don't buy from Amazon, I've heard of a lot of broken stones in shipment due to poor packaging.

I run mine fully exposed to the flame. Another alternative is using a kiln shelf but I've been really satisfied with the OSO brand.

   Villa Roma

Thanks for the reply, I'll order the one you suggested.

I don't rember if mine was an Amazon purchase or not -

I know one thing the company will give little if any help (Fibrament factory) - if it holds together I guess I'll be happy, but that company will not get another dime from me - not much customer support for such a high priced stone. 

BTW I saw the LBE update, which I plan to do.

portions of this post were removed by Y-town
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on January 30, 2008, 10:37:42 AM
Villa Roma,
After thinking about my test yesterday, I'm wondering where all the heat is going. Does the IR temp gage read the air temp? If it does I need to be more careful about where I take a reading. When I checked the outside of the kettle, I would get 600+ on the lower part of the kettle but only 300+ on the top just a few inches away. It seems like the 16" stone is significantly blocking the flow of heat to the top half. Have you tried to bake with only the stone and nothing as a buffer below? Maybe the quarry tiles are too effective as a buffer. Hmmmm.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 30, 2008, 03:19:28 PM
Eric.....The IR gun measures the temperature of objects, so if you point it at the grill, it will measure the grill temp not the surrounding air.

I never measured the lower part of my grill but it may be the stock vent is too small so the heat is just backing up in the lower part of the grill. I'll measure the upper and lower part of my grill next time I fire my grill up. You only have about 3 square inches with your stock vent and I have about 20 inches with the top can vent and the side vent. I think at one point you're going to have to perform surgery on your LBE.

I tried just one stone on the bottom and the pizza would burn real fast. I would stick with the tiles.

My last batch of pizza used 75% hydration and 2% salt. I use 1/64 tsp of IDY per 100 grams of AP flour. Just flour, water, salt and yeast/starter with a 12 hour RT ferment.

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on January 30, 2008, 04:58:01 PM
VR,
I am trying to understand my IR reader so I'm measuring a can of coke that came in from the garage where it's -2 outside and maybe 25 in the garage. When I shoot ice I get 32F, the outside of the can reads 45F and there are ice crystals in the soda can. The inside is 50F. Ice still measures a solid 32F.

When I have beamed the kitchen oven I get numbers similar to the control setting. The hot stone is usually a little lower than the oven wall (10-15 degrees).

Will the foil help achieve higher temps?

Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 31, 2008, 11:55:58 PM
Eric.....The foil will reflect the heat back into the oven and also provide a certain amount of insulation, so yes, the foil will help, especially when applied to the lid.

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on February 02, 2008, 01:01:37 AM
Have a big family? Like to entertain large groups? You say you need to make 16" pizzas. Maybe you just like living L A R G E.

Not a problem! To further demonstrate the versatility of the modified Weber kettle grill, I offer up the 22" grill with a 19" kiln shelf. Perform the above stated mods and you'll be cranking out massive 16" pizzas every two minutes.  Even the hungriest of hoards will be no match for your new found pizza making prowess!  8)

Maybe the small personal size pizzas are more to your liking. We've got you covered, just use the 14" grill with a 12" kiln shelf and fire it on your gas cooktop in the kitchen or get a small propane burner and use it outside.

Rest assured that no matter what size pizza you desire, there's an LBE built just for you.  ::)

      Why would you want anything else?......Villa Roma

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on February 02, 2008, 01:51:22 AM
Of course there's always this big rascal. It can make a 36" pizza!  :o :o :o

   More power......Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on February 02, 2008, 06:56:12 PM
Holy Cow Villa Roma!! That's a big stone!!! You must be cooking on base for the flight line.
Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on February 03, 2008, 12:43:54 AM
Speaking of cows, you could probably fit a whole cow on that grill.  :-D Maybe even an elephant!  :o

The only name befitting this behemoth is:   The Big Black Egg


    Size matters......Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on February 04, 2008, 01:41:26 PM
VR,
Have you made any changes with the side loader? Any more tests?
Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: tommygun on February 05, 2008, 06:25:55 AM
wow what an interesting thread! I just read it from start to finish.  I've experimented a couple of times with 1/2" stones inside my home bbq (for us New Zealanders, a 'bbq' usually means a gas fired grill like the LBE, but bigger, as opposed to a coal burning bbq).   The main problem i've faced has been finding a happy temperature median so that the top of my pie cooks before before the bottom is burnt to a crisp.  I've resorted to shifting the near baked pie to the oven on broiler mode to finish the top off.

recently i've been giving a lot of thought to setting up a mobile pizza cart and seeing the LBE got me thinking- could this be a viable alternative to building a WFO into a trailer/ truck?  I can 2 or 3 LBE's built into a trailer churning out 3 minute pies for the hungry masses!

Villa Roma and others- do you think the wind problem could be overcome in a mobile setting? have you given any thought to this type of application??

Thanks, and happy pizza making!

Tom
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mmarston on February 05, 2008, 08:49:02 PM
tommygun,

Have you seen this?

http://www.biggreentruckpizza.com/7_001.htm
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on February 06, 2008, 02:06:24 AM


Villa Roma and others- do you think the wind problem could be overcome in a mobile setting? have you given any thought to this type of application??

Thanks, and happy pizza making!

Tom


tommygun.....The wind issue would be very easy to solve. Just build a metal enclosure and mount the grills in it. You could even fabricate a motor that would rotate all three stones at once, similar to the 2stone pro but X3. Put a sprocket on each grill and link them to the motor with a bicycle chain.

With this setup you could theoretically crank out over 100, 16" pizzas an hour with a 1 1/2 to 2 minute cook time.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: DieselAddict on February 17, 2008, 01:40:53 AM
I've been working to put together one of these little jewels. Today I got it put together and fired it up. After a generous warm up I tossed on a spinach and cheese pie. The results are very encouraging. The bottom stone was about 650 degrees, the top stone was about 525. This resulted in the less browning on top than I was after but the bottom had a very nice crackle in about 4 minutes. I am going to cut out the side to give a "door" to load and unload the pizzas. I know this will improve the airflow and get the upper stone hotter.

I am using a rectangular stone (15"x14") and a cookie sheet for the bottom and a 13" round stone for the top (all from from Bed, Bath, and beyond, cost $60). The grill is a 22" webber kettle. It is the one that has the ash container under the bottom and a hinged lid ($39 at Home Depot). I'm not using the hinge though. I just lift the top off with the lifter from the turkey frying kit that came with the bayou burner. So far the total investment is $100 (I already had the bayou burner). When I get everything finished up I'll take a few pictures to post if anyone is interested in seeing it.

I really appreciate all the effort that has gone before to make this a pretty simple thing to assemble. I expect to send many pies though it. :D

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on February 18, 2008, 01:07:17 PM
Hey Dieseladdict,
Glad you had a good test run. I look forward to seeing pictures of your Egg.

I'm still waiting for my top ceramic dome to be done, should be any time now. Just in time for the Spring warm up hopefully.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: DieselAddict on February 18, 2008, 06:35:13 PM
OK. I've got it ready to test. Today I gave the egg its smile.  ;D

Its too windy to do a good test so firing it up will have to wait a little longer.

I'll take some better pictures of the opening tomorrow when I have more light.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on February 24, 2008, 09:15:20 AM
Here's my latest experiment and pizza. I put down a layer of ceramic briquettes instead of the bottom stone. The LBE heated up to 650 degrees in 20 minutes at about half throttle.

These pizzas were a combo of whole wheat and 10% rye. They cooked best at around 675 degrees.

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on February 24, 2008, 12:27:01 PM
Villa Roma,
So you are cooking on the ceramic briquettes directly? The pizza looks fantistac as usual. Did you have to rotate or was the heat even? What do you think as compared to the stone? So many questions.....
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on February 24, 2008, 12:29:48 PM
DieselAddict,
You have certainly jumped into this with both feet! How are you supporting the top stone? Can't wait to see your pie's.
Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on February 24, 2008, 01:43:31 PM
Villa Roma,
So you are cooking on the ceramic briquettes directly? The pizza looks fantistac as usual. Did you have to rotate or was the heat even? What do you think as compared to the stone? So many questions.....

I used a 16" stone on top of the briquettes. Yes, I had to rotate the pizza and the heat up time was shorter. Everything else was about the same.

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: DieselAddict on February 24, 2008, 11:24:02 PM
DieselAddict,
You have certainly jumped into this with both feet! How are you supporting the top stone? Can't wait to see your pie's.
Eric

Thanks!

The top stone is being supported by the warming grate that comes with the grill. I had to drill a couple of holes in the lid and straighten one of the wire supports but is is perfect.

Well, I took it for a full scale test drive yesterday. I was too busy to take pictures but I can report that the pies were being eaten as quickly as I could take them out. I got the egg up to about 650 degrees. The pies were taking 3-4 minutes. I would give them a 180 spin about 2 minutes in.

The only problem so far is I cracked the bottom stone. It is a very cheap one from bed, bath, and beyond. I thought it was too thin and fragile. Yesterday showed it was true. I'm going to work to baffle the airflow in the bottom of the grill to even out the temp in the stone. I think the 100 degree temp spread I measured was the cause of the crack. The stone sits on a cookie sheet and is isolated from direct flame contact.

Next weekend I'm dong a pizza party for 20. I promise to take some pictures and keep you posted on what it takes to even out the temp.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on February 29, 2008, 01:05:34 AM
Villa Roma,
What do you attribute the faster warm up to? It looks like the briquettes buffer the heat and still allow some air flow under the stone.Hmmm

You also raised the level of the stone some it looks like.
Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Atari on February 29, 2008, 09:43:56 AM
I used a 16" stone on top of the briquettes. Yes, I had to rotate the pizza and the heat up time was shorter. Everything else was about the same.

     Villa Roma



Ok here's an idea....   what about using some type of 'chicken wire' that withstand the heat and putting a layer of those ceramic bricks in there?

That, or use those unglazed .99 cent tiles that people use, chop them in half or in fours & somehow wall up the bottom half of the grill with them.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Atari on March 01, 2008, 12:08:55 PM

Welp, I've got an LBE in the incubator. :)

Picked up a used 18" Webber one-touch off Craigslist for $40. Too much $$ IMO... but the guy had it advertised as a 22" & when I got there it turned out to be the 18". What's funny is, due to Villa Nova's test unit being an 18", I really wanted that one anyway.  I only brought 2 $20's and didn't have the heart to haggle down to $30 once I found out it was the smaller unit that I wanted anyway :P.   Be sure to check your local craigslist before buying new... although, some of the Weber products (I think the One-Touch) still seem to be MADE IN THE USA (how odd?), so don't feel too bad if you have to buy one new :)

I ordered my Bayou Classic SP10 burner from Amazon.com for $30 with free supersaver shipping. I believe this is the same burner that Villa Nova uses on his 18" grill. I found that $30 with free shipping was such and awesome deal that I bought two of them! The problem was HomeDepot.com has them online for $30 as well, but charges around $20 to ship. I had a rep in store check to see if any stores anywhere in my area (Northern California) carried it in-store and they do not. He said it was probably online only.  The $30 price for this burner appears to be the lowest you're going to find anywhere.

Long story short:

- Check Craigslist first for your 18" Weber, or buy new MADE IN USA :)
- Order Bayou Classic SP10 from Amazon.com (Currently $30 w/Free super saver shipping)


I'm still mulling over what to do about the stones. I'll probably buy the "Old Stone Oven" brand that Villa Nova uses.

Initially I paid way too much ($20) for a 18"x18"x1" piece of travertine from a stone yard... but I don't think I can even use this thing for anything. I guess it may make people sick or something.


Anyway just wanted to share the tip to buy the SP10 from Amazon because they are currently the best price I've seen for the burner.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Atari on March 01, 2008, 12:42:54 PM

Ok, here's who I went with for the 16" Old Stone Oven 4462 stone...


http://www.cookinstuff.com/kitchen-supply-stone-round-pizza-stone-p-1280.html 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CowT5uzy60k&feature=related
Price: $28.99/ea  +9.00 shipping (for 2 16" stones)

What a deal :)

I guess I'll be our regular Frugal Gourmet :chef:



Others:

$35.99
http://p4online.com/16rounpizbak.html

http://www.spoonsnspice.com/product.php?product=1045&cat=
$29.99

http://www.target.com/Pizza-Stone-Round/dp/B000QJBOEQ/sr=1-5/qid=1204391707/ref=sr_1_5/602-8125580-8555851?ie=UTF8&index=target&rh=k%3Apizza%20stone&page=1
$36.99   
*Due to the tag on the top, I believe this is the 'old stone oven' and should be the 16" model (4462), but could be 13" (4412)
(See this link: http://www.dominicskitchenstore.com/store/item.asp?DEPARTMENT_ID=34&ITEM_ID=1472)



Since I also bought 2 SP10 burners & the  (2)  8" stones for $19.99, I guess I'm forcing myself to make 2 LBE's here.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Atari on March 01, 2008, 12:51:09 PM
Here's a rough tally of what it might cost you to build a LBE using new parts:


Weber 18 1/2" one-touch                  $65 (free ship from amazon.com)
(2) 8" stones from                            $20 (free ship from amazon.com)
Bayou Classic SP10                           $30 (free ship from amazon.com)
20# Propane Tank                           $20  (Costco)
16" Old Stone Oven 4462 stone         $35 +/- $5 shipping from CookinStuff.com (if in SoCal you can pick up in Torrance, CA)
Heavy duty tin foil                            $5

So roughly  $175 using new parts.


Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: DieselAddict on March 03, 2008, 09:03:31 AM
OK. I'm going to have to work to get a better bottom stone. The cheap ones crack too easily. :(

I put a new one in for yesterdays baking and everything was fine till I shifted it slightly and pushed it back against the metal pan that was shielding it from the heat.. CRACK.. Bummer. At least this one was only $9 at Target. I used the wire rack that came with it to create an air gap between the stone and the metal pan. It worked fine and got up to temp with no problems but then when I hit the front of the stone with the peel going in for a pie I pushed it back against the hot edge of the metal pan. The cheap stones just can't take a localized hot spot.

I'm going to have to make some kind of an insulated backstop to keep the stone centered in the pan or get one that can handle a hot spot.

Overall though this thing make great pizza! 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 11, 2008, 11:40:35 PM
Alright...after reading the entire thread and asking VR a couple of questions, I put one together myself and with the help of a buddy of mine, who's a welder/custom metal guy.

I followed Villa's instructions to the "T", except for two minor changes. The first one involved the top vent and the second, the suspension of the top stone.

In regards to the top vent, my buddy cut out the factory-installed vent with a plasma cutter and installed a heavy-duty metal pipe as an "adapter" for the bendable & turnable pipe that goes on top. Then I attached a 4" vent, which directs the airflow in four different directions. The two parts are removable, as you can see in the pics below.

The second minor change was the attachment/suspension of the top stone. I figured it would be nice if it were adjustable, so I can lower or raise it, depending on its temperature. I bought a 3" bolt, 5/8" in width, two metal washers, two nuts and two "washers" ( I can't remember the exact name), used in plumbing. It will hold the stone, in which I yet have to drill a 5/8" hole and line it on the inside with a piece of an old clock spring.

I ordered a Fibrament-D stone, a IR thermometer and a bag of the ceramic briquettes. The burner is a Bayou Classic Turkey Fryer, which cranks out 50,000 BTU's. I hope that's enough  ::)

Once it's all ready to go, I'll post the results.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 11, 2008, 11:42:33 PM
Sorry, I had to cut this post in half...

Here are the pics of the stone suspension.

Oh, and as you can see, I attached the LBE to the frame of the burner by using metal clamps, running them through three holes, which were drilled in the body, about an inch away from the actual cut of the bottom, in a triangular shape. Now it doesn't move at all and is pretty sturdy.

All in all, I spent about $120 on the entire thing. And a 12-pack of beer for my buddy.  :angel:

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 12, 2008, 08:00:41 PM
I installed the ceiling stone today...looks good so far. The stone is about 13" in diameter and I tried to align it with the top edge of the side vent. There's about 1 1/2" space, which is adjustable, between the stone and the lid and should force more hot air over the pizza and out, since the stone is a bit bigger and wider.



Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on March 15, 2008, 07:16:56 PM
Great set-up Essen1 looking forward to see how those pies turn out :) How did you manage to drill through that top stone without cracking it ???Thats something I wanted to do myself  but didn't have the courage. Also very interested to see how the cooker performs with that top vent in combination with the side vent.With my 14" kettle I can't crank the 50,000BTU burner past half speed so I imagine your burner should work fine even with a larger kettle?I guess Villa Roma is the man who would have all the info.

pizzacraver :D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 16, 2008, 10:49:35 AM
PC,

I used a 5/8" masonry drill bit to get the hole in the center and drilled from the underside of the stone, with a piece of wood underneath to catch the drill once it went through. I started out by drilling a smaller hole first, then used the big drill bit. It did chip just a bit when the drill went through, but nothing serious. I also carefully filed the hole a bit wider because the stone does expand when heated and I didn't want to have it under a lot of tension, giving the stone some play around the bolt.

In one of the pics, you can see that the bolt is attached to the lid with a regular nut. I changed that, however, to a butterfly nut because it's easier that way to adjust the height/distance of the stone inside the lid. I also "baked out" the stone before installation to reduce moisture, hence less expansion.

I'm going to get some propane today and give it a dry run to see how hot the LBE will become.

Kudos and a "Thank you" to Villa and his ingenuity!

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: MTPIZZA on March 17, 2008, 08:05:56 AM
Mike we are all on the edge of our seats....keep those pics coming...thanks
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on March 19, 2008, 03:54:16 PM
You guys need to contact Weber to help them design an off the shelf unit like these. :D

I'd buy it!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 20, 2008, 02:07:43 AM
Today I put my LBE to use.

It was lined with two bottom stones, one ceramic, one Fibrament. I raised the ceiling stone a bit, to 2 1/2 inch clearance.

After 20 mins heating on a medium burn, it went up to 646 F and that's when the first pizza went in. The hot air flow was amazing. The chimney slowed the air flow down and the side vent made all the difference. The hot air was nicely flowing. The pie looked good and was baked in 3.5 mins. The dough texture was exceptional. Crispy, chewy, foldable and airy. It was a dough with 100 % "00", with a 62% hydration.

For the next one, I cranked the heat up a bit and reached almost 800 F. Unfortunately the pie was a burner. The dough was 75% "00" and 25% Harvest King BF. No sugar or oil was used in both doughs. I'm still trying to get the hang of it and have four more pies in the fridge, so we'll see how they will turn out. I'll experiment a bit more with the temp control.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 20, 2008, 02:14:17 AM
The second one. The "Burner..."

I will take more pics the next time I fire the LBE up, and show the temp and more of the crust's inside.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 20, 2008, 02:16:33 AM
The set up.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: MTPIZZA on March 20, 2008, 08:27:16 AM
SIGN ME UP I'LL TAKE THAT "BURNER" ANY DAY!!! Those are the pies with character... they don't taste really burnt...great pies!! thanks for sharing, you have an amazing set up ... I wonder if Ron is thinking about a top vent like yours now.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 20, 2008, 11:02:11 AM
Thanks MT.

The pies were great but I still have to get a hang of how to more effectively control the temp and baking time. The size of the pies were roughly 14". I'll try a couple of 12" pizzas next time.

And in comparison, the "00" flour held up much better than the combo of 75/25. Overall, they were much better than any pizza I have made in a conventional oven, in terms of texture. Even the burnt pie was still light and airy. I was amazed how good the LBE worked. I was afraid that the 50,000 BTU burner wouldn't be enough but I never had it running at more than half blast. It was more than sufficient.

Again, Kudos to Villa.  ;D

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: scotttiawana on April 02, 2008, 08:22:30 PM
OMG! That is sooo cool!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jason T. on April 03, 2008, 04:41:13 PM
Thanks everyone for the information on this thread.  Great info.  I decided to get on the bandwagon and build one of these myself.  When summer comes and it's 115F outside, we don't like turning on our oven inside.  This is a great option.

Yesterday we took the LBE out for a test run and learned a few things. 
1.  My cheap stones crack easily.  Strange though, I cracked the top stone but not the bottom one which I wrapped in foil.  I wrapped the cracked one, put it on the bottom and will keep the good stone wrapped and put it on top.
2.  The oven was too hot - never thought I'd say that.  We cooked each pizza in 40 seconds!  20 seconds, turn.  20 seconds, take off.  This was because the sides and bottom were getting too charred too quickly.  I had the top vents closed down and coved with foil.  I've since opened them up and will turn down the burner more when I cook.  I was only at about a quarter turn open, though.   
3.  I used too much dough per pizza (about 240g) for a 12 3/4" stone.  Because the pizza couldn't stay in the oven but for 40 seconds, the crust wasn't cooked fully through on some of the pizzas.   
4.  I cooked 7 pizzas one after the other.  I think I should clean off the stone every few pizzas to prevent the burnt flour from searing into the next pizza.  The first pizza had a really light bottom, but the last one was pretty charred.  Perhaps it's because the stone got that much hotter, but there wasn't that much time between the 1st pizza and the 7th  ;D 

All in all, a fantastic idea that's revolutionized how we cook pizza's in our house!  We had a blast!  Thanks one and all!  A few more tries and we should have this down.

Jason T.

Here's the evidence:

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on April 03, 2008, 05:00:57 PM
Jason T.....Great looking pizzas! With a little more practice with the heat management you'll be a pro. You must have really had the gas cranked to cook a pizza in 40 seconds. That's a new record for the LBE.

Are you using an IR thermometer to check your stone temp? It really helps. Also what type of flour are you using? I'm guessing Caputo at those high temps.

Here's a picture of an LBE using firebrick splits I got off the FB site.

     Welcome aboard.....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jason T. on April 03, 2008, 08:52:33 PM
VR,

Thanks for all the help that you've been to me and to others here.  Your ideas on this are terrific.  I don't have an IR thermometer but I should probably invest in one in the near future.

Regarding the 40 sec., the first pizza we put on, I was expecting at least a 2 min. cook time in light of everything I've read.  I figured I should just check it at 30 sec and the rim was charred (see pic).  I was shocked!  From then on, we did 20 sec, and then rotated 180, and then another 20 sec.  It was way too hot, but I don't think I can lower the burner much more as it was only open about a quarter of the way.  We'll get it, though.  I'm not worried a bit.  Opening the vents should help... I hope  ;)

I was thinking about finding some fire bricks as well so that I wouldn't have to worry about stones cracking.  How much time does it take to get them to temp?   

I used King Arthur AP flour for these.  For one batch I used 100% KAAP.  For another batch I added some high gluten flour and some rye flour for flavor.  I was very, very impressed with how the flour handled the heat.  The hydration was about 67%.  I figured this would be good for the high heat.

Thanks again!   

Jason
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: canadianbacon on April 03, 2008, 09:13:29 PM
Hi Jason,

Looks really great ! .  I have to admit I'm writing on behalf of my wife.  She loves your ceramic tiles OUTSIDE !

up here in Canada, this just doesn't exist.  With the frost and upheaval of anything down 5 feet down, it's just impossible to do something like this.  You get the very deep freeze, then in the spring everything goes crazy.  Even my back balcony near the pool lifts a good 8" or so, and then finally will go back down when it completely thaws. 

Do you have a concrete slab poured under your ceramic tiles ?

I cannot get over how green your grass is.  I still have tons of snow outside here.

Anyway, the tiles look awesome I must say !, and my wife just loves them !

Yesterday we took the LBE out for a test run and learned a few things. 


Jason T.

Here's the evidence:


Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: MTPIZZA on April 04, 2008, 08:17:02 AM
Looks like the LBE revolution is taking off... nice pies
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jason T. on April 04, 2008, 10:24:31 AM
Hi Jason,

Looks really great ! .  I have to admit I'm writing on behalf of my wife.  She loves your ceramic tiles OUTSIDE !

up here in Canada, this just doesn't exist.  With the frost and upheaval of anything down 5 feet down, it's just impossible to do something like this.  You get the very deep freeze, then in the spring everything goes crazy.  Even my back balcony near the pool lifts a good 8" or so, and then finally will go back down when it completely thaws. 

Do you have a concrete slab poured under your ceramic tiles ?

I cannot get over how green your grass is.  I still have tons of snow outside here.

Anyway, the tiles look awesome I must say !, and my wife just loves them !

Canada, eh?  I grew up in Grand Rapids, MI so I know all about a white yard in April  ;D  I also have many Canadian friends, not least of whom is Tim Horton  ;D  I wish we had Timmy's in California.  Alas, only Starbucks 

Concerning the tile, it's laid on a concrete slab by the previous owner.  Unfortunately, some of the tiles have cracked due to the way they were laid.  I have extra to replace it, I've just been too busy with another project  ;D

Thanks!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on April 04, 2008, 10:58:00 AM
Jason,

Great looking pies!

I had the same problem with the cheaper stones. They can't handle the high heat, so I bought some higher-quality ones, a cordierite stone for the bottom and a Big Green Egg one as the top stone.

In terms of temp control, try VR's method with the inserted can as a top vent. Or go to Home Depot and pick up a roof vent and install it.

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: canadianbacon on April 04, 2008, 09:48:11 PM
Hey Jason,

Ah yes, Canada, long winters, and long spring... the snow takes so long to melt that we have it sticking around until the beginning o May sometimes.  Fun stuff ( not ) !

As for Tim Hortons, yup, probabally the best coffee in the world haha, and Timmy's is slowly invading the States, and I'm sure it will catch on like wild fire.  Some swear there is something addictive put into it... people just can't get enough of it up here.

Starbucks - in Canada anyway has lost a lot of market, they were really big a few years back, and now, they are not doing well up here... I don't know about the States though.  Tim Hortons is just so strong up here, kind of like wild yeast taking over haha !

anyway, thanks much for that info.  The tile looks great, and yeah I saw a few that were cracked in the photo, but am not surprised with  it being outside.  I said to my wife, that the tiles may be on top of a slab of concrete, and it turns out I'm right ! ( ha ! )

up here, I'd have to pour a good 5 feet of that, in order to make certain it wouldn't heave up during the spring.... can you imagine the cost of that ? .... I guess that's why nobody does it up here.

Thanks for the info, and keep posting your pics.

P.S. I cannot believe your grass is SO green..... it looks like July !

Canada, eh?  I grew up in Grand Rapids, MI so I know all about a white yard in April  ;D  I also have many Canadian friends, not least of whom is Tim Horton  ;D  I wish we had Timmy's in California.  Alas, only Starbucks 

Concerning the tile, it's laid on a concrete slab by the previous owner.  Unfortunately, some of the tiles have cracked due to the way they were laid.  I have extra to replace it, I've just been too busy with another project  ;D

Thanks!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on April 16, 2008, 10:21:38 PM
Jason,

I'm wondering where you're at in Cali? Anywhere near the Bay Area, by any chance?

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Pizza_Not_War on April 18, 2008, 10:12:17 AM
Although I have a 2stone on a Weber and it works well - the need to tinker is strong. I have been putting together my own modified LBE. Pictures will follow if it actually works. LOL

My one question is if anyone has determined an optimum distance between upper and lower stones? Thanks.


PNW
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on April 18, 2008, 11:05:43 PM
PNW,

I have tried numerous ceiling stones, mostly the cheaper kind, which used to crack on me, and use a 12" BGE right now with exceptional results.

Bottom stones are a 15" cordierite from American Metalcraft and a Fibra-D stone on top of it. All three get nicely hot but I usually stop raising the temp when they reach 850 - 900 F for the bottom and 700 - 750 F for the top, which takes about 15 - 20 mins. The pizza is around 3" from the top stone, but I am able to either lower or raise the top stone, depending on the outcome of the pie and how well it's cooked from the top.

When I raise or lower the top stone in my LBE, it also affects the air flow going over the pie. The closer the stone is to the opening of top vent, the more hot air get forced over the pizza and out the side vent, which benefits oven spring and shortens bake time. The downside, however, is that it takes a little longer...perhaps a minute or so...to get a nicely charred crust going, but in turn, the bottom might cook faster so keep your eyes peeled on how fast the bottom of the pie cooks.

I currently have another idea/modification in the works, which would eliminate one of the two bottom stones altogether and should increase the hot air flow "over and out" immensely. I'll post pics as soon as it's ready to go.

I'd say 2.5" - 3" is best if the temp of the top stone is monitored.

Hope that helps.

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on April 20, 2008, 09:15:43 PM
Hey guys,

I made a LBE last summer and put the Essen1 mods to it last week.  I added the same chimney pipe & four-sided vent and cut the lid open for the peel.  I think these mods have really improved the set up.  Within 30 seconds the pizza started leoparding around where the vent is located.  I rotated the pizza 3-4 times at 15 second intervals.  I still need to tweak the dough formulation and the overall temperature of the LBE, but man I was excited how well the pizza came out; best Neapolitan style I've been able to make.

I used a 75/25 Caputo pizza 00/KA bread
63% Water
2.25% Salt (need to cut it to 2%)
.04% IDY
tf=0.1
2-day cold rise.

This set up will definitely work with 100% Caputo; might have to cut water to 62% for that.

Here are the pics:

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Y-TOWN on April 20, 2008, 11:40:58 PM
Hey guys,

I made a LBE last summer and put the Essen1 mods to it last week.  I added the same chimney pipe & four-sided vent and cut the lid open for the peel.  I think these mods have really improved the set up.  Within 30 seconds the pizza started leoparding around where the vent is located.  I rotated the pizza 3-4 times at 15 second intervals.  I still need to tweak the dough formulation and the overall temperature of the LBE, but man I was excited how well the pizza came out; best Neapolitan style I've been able to make.


Has anyone adjusted the stone height in the LBE so the pizza would be raised higher in the chamber - if so what happened?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on April 29, 2008, 04:11:02 PM
BHC,

great-looking pies!

I'm glad the mods worked for you. Here's another tip in regards to air flow and temp control. I sometimes cover some of the openings of the four-sided vent with some foil, especially during the warm-up phase, which in turn forces more of the hot air over the stones and out the side vent.

Do you have any pics of your LBE, by any chance?

Y-Town,

I use two bottom stones. One round cordierite, which is an inch thick incl. its feet, and a Fibra-D on top, which has a thickness of 3/4", I believe. Works all pretty well. I adjust the distance, however, with the top stone.

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on April 29, 2008, 08:48:44 PM
Thanks Essen1.  I'll try to post some pics of the lbe next weekend.  Here are some pics from last weekend.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on April 29, 2008, 11:19:08 PM
Nice!

It's safe to assume that you like your LBE.   ;D

You and I should give praise to Villa Roma for coming up with such an ingenious design!

It's a revolution in terms of affordable homemade pizza ovens. And it's not slap at Willard's design of the 2stone, don't get me wrong. The only difference is the LBE doesn't rotate. But I'm on that, too, together with my metal shop buddy...  8)

So...Villa in Germany...thank you and big Kudos to ya'. And a big TY to Willard who actually took it a step further.


Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on April 30, 2008, 11:04:02 AM
I love it.  My only wish is to be able to rotate the stone like Willard's 2stone.  Let me know what you and your buddy come up with!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on May 03, 2008, 01:46:35 AM
I love it.  My only wish is to be able to rotate the stone like Willard's 2stone.  Let me know what you and your buddy come up with!

I think I'll try Villa Roma's Lazy Susan but between lower stones instead when I put together my LBE.

IMO this forum and thread are some the best stuff I've seen on the Internet.  Thanks Ron, Mike, Jeff, Willard ...heck, everyone here...for sharing your great ideas. :chef:

Vic
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on May 09, 2008, 01:29:09 AM
BHC,

I'll keep you posted on the rotating issue.

Personally, I don't think it's possible with a Weber, except for the idea VR had (Lazy Susan). But do you really want to rotate the entire BBQ, instead of just the stone a la Willard? Just think about the impact it would have on the air flow...and being consistent.

Perhaps installing the burner a little off center, running a rod down the middle of a high heat resistant metal plate, which would hold the stone, then equip it with ball bearings for a smooth ride and that should do it.

It would mean, however, that the stone gets heated by the "quarter" only, and you'd be required to turn it every so often during heat up time. Willard solved it by installing a motor somehow, for a continuous spin during heat up.

Ingenious. :)


Finger,

you should chat with VR, since he installed and tried out a LS. He might have some valuable tips for you.

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on May 09, 2008, 09:03:31 PM
I was hoping to find a way to rotate the stone like willard's 2stone.  Not a big deal since I don't mind having to turn the pizza - feels like I working with a real wood-burning oven.   :;)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on May 10, 2008, 05:20:30 PM
I agree.

A little work/fun while baking a pie is always great.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on May 14, 2008, 11:40:20 AM
Wuzup Home Skillets?
Ha, as you may have gathered from the opening line, I've incorporated a fresh new exciting mod to my LBE. Yes, I picked up a skillet or technically a griddle and mounted it in the lid in place of the stone that was originally there.  I surgically removed the handles and drilled a hole in the skillet and then mounted it to the lid via a centrally located hole with a furniture T nut and a 1/4" x 20 bolt.

The clearance between the cooking surface and the skillet is just shy of 2", perfecto as they say in Italy. The skillet is one heavy duty chunk of metal tipping the scales at a massive 3 1/2 pounds. You can bet I'll be cranking the heavy metal music next time I'm making pizza. >:D I picked it up on ebay for $15 delivered.

I have yet to road test this behemoth but rest assured, I'll post pics when I do.

      Bang your head, metal health'll drive you mad.......Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: retrodog on May 14, 2008, 04:43:41 PM
About rotating the stone...

I've found that if I periodically lift the lid just a bit, I can easily rotate it without losing any significant heat. Since my flame is evenly distributed underneath, the air flow through the top seems to be what was affecting the eveness of cooking. Rotating the lid evens that out quite a bit.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: tankard on May 14, 2008, 07:08:39 PM
Morning All,

What an inspiring thread !!

As is always the way we have less options down here in New Zealand for items like the Cajun cooker (although I do head to the Southern US often (Tallahassee) for work - and love that kind of food).

So far the only option I have been able to find is a duckbilled burner YO18 they dont sell the larger one here (link removed).  This puts out 113 BTU (or 120 MJ for us Metric followers).

Im planning on installing this in a 22" Webber - will this make enough heat?? - or should I wait for my next trip to Australia and buy the 180 BTU unit when Im over there?

Again - thanks for all the information so far and I look forward to asking you what Ive done wrong with the base once I get this LBE up and running.

Chris
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: tankard on May 14, 2008, 07:10:24 PM
Sorry - here is the link - it wont let me post links being a new member - so I have edited it to sneak it past the posting 'checker' - Im sure you clever guys can work it out:

w  w  w  .auscrown.com/commdbbrn.php

Chris
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: retrodog on May 14, 2008, 09:42:35 PM
Morning All,

What an inspiring thread !!

As is always the way we have less options down here in New Zealand for items like the Cajun cooker (although I do head to the Southern US often (Tallahassee) for work - and love that kind of food).

So far the only option I have been able to find is a duckbilled burner YO18 they dont sell the larger one here (link removed).  This puts out 113 BTU (or 120 MJ for us Metric followers).

Im planning on installing this in a 22" Webber - will this make enough heat?? - or should I wait for my next trip to Australia and buy the 180 BTU unit when Im over there?

Again - thanks for all the information so far and I look forward to asking you what Ive done wrong with the base once I get this LBE up and running.

Chris
The burner than I use puts out about 60,000 BTU. Not sure that you could do much with 180.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: tankard on May 14, 2008, 09:44:41 PM
Thanks for the reply.

oops - sorry I should have said - 113,000 BTU?   :-[

What size Webber are you using yours on?

C
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: retrodog on May 14, 2008, 09:48:41 PM
Thanks for the reply.

oops - sorry I should have said - 113,000 BTU?   :-[

What size Webber are you using yours on?

C
I think it's the 18" one. That gives me just about 1" around the edge for air flow.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on May 16, 2008, 12:09:09 AM
Hey Villa,

great pictures! Thanks for sharing.

I was playing around with the same idea before using a BGE inside the lid. How does the skriddle hold up the heat? And how's the airflow?

On Friday, which is tomorrow, I'm gonna pick up a new addition for the LBE, but before I say anything specific or rave about it, I have to give it a test run first. But I'll post some pics as soon as I have it.

Mike


Wuzup Home Skillets?
Ha, as you may have gathered from the opening line, I've incorporated a fresh new exciting mod to my LBE. Yes, I picked up a skillet or technically a griddle and mounted it in the lid in place of the stone that was originally there.  I surgically removed the handles and drilled a hole in the skillet and then mounted it to the lid via a centrally located hole with a furniture T nut and a 1/4" x 20 bolt.

The clearance between the cooking surface and the skillet is just shy of 2", perfecto as they say in Italy. The skillet is one heavy duty chunk of metal tipping the scales at a massive 3 1/2 pounds. You can bet I'll be cranking the heavy metal music next time I'm making pizza. >:D I picked it up on ebay for $15 delivered.

I have yet to road test this behemoth but rest assured, I'll post pics when I do.

      Bang your head, metal health'll drive you mad.......Villa Roma

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on May 17, 2008, 07:41:08 AM
Essen1....The griddle held up well on it's maiden voyage and I didn't notice any difference between it and the stone I had in there previously.

Here's a couple of shots of the pizza I made this morning plus a whole grain beagle. The first pizza is made with Gold Medal unbleached AP flour and the rest are 100% whole grain.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: cd1168 on May 17, 2008, 08:26:06 AM
villa roma, those blisters in your raw dough look perfect... i am envious
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on May 17, 2008, 08:51:18 AM
Thanks CD.....That dough had more spring than most dudes on prom night! :-D The whole grain was no slouch either. Here's another from the same batch. Big bubbles are no trouble even with supermarket AP flour.

      Villla Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on May 17, 2008, 10:04:02 AM
Villa,

I could imagine that the heat-up time for the skriddle  ;), is significant less than for a fat stone like the BGE?

The pies look excellent. I'm wondering about the bagels, though. How long do you bake them and at what temp? I have a recipe for a great european country bread and am still contemplating if I should try to bake it in the LBE or just my regular oven. Have you given baking a bread in the LBE a shot before?

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on May 17, 2008, 10:56:29 AM
Essen.....I baked the bagels at about 600 degrees. I bake them as the LBE is heating up as they require less heat and longer bake time. It takes about 5 minutes for a batch.

I haven't tried bread in the LBE since there is only 2" of clearance. I could easily remove the skriddle and one of the bottom stones and then give it a try. That would give me about 4 inches of head room. Whole grain French bread sounds real good. Hmm, maybe next time.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on May 20, 2008, 12:43:25 AM
Villa,

thanks for the info on the bagels. Hopefully I'll get to try them over the Memorial Day weekend.

But I wanted to run something by you, getting your input on this idea...

The LBE is simply an ingenious design and comes very close to simulating a pizza, baked in a wood fired oven without the "smoky" flavor, however. Tonight I was surfing around on the Weber site,  to see if they have any accessories that might be useable and could perhaps get the LBE another step towards the holy grail of the amazing taste of a pie made in a wood-burning oven.

I found this below.

Now, imagine the gas burner in the middle, heating the pizza stones, while one ignites one layer of charcoal briquettes, topped with some Hickory or Oak chips in each compartment. Or maybe in reverse order. Don't wanna get burned  :-\  While the burner is blasting away at an obviously higher temp than the wood & coals, the heat would suck up the moderate smoke, distributing it evenly over the pizza and out the side & top vent, giving it a nice and, hopefully, subtle smoky flavor.

Any thoughts on this?

Mike



Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on May 21, 2008, 09:59:03 PM
Here's a new addition/mod to my LBE.

I noticed that after a few uses, the grate which holds the two stones started to warp and bend. So I thought perhaps a 1/4" thick solid metal plate would be better.

My buddy cut out three long holes, for the lack of a better term, for the air flow but left a solid part in the middle and up front, which in turn, eliminates the additional foil to block air flow from up front.

I use the Fibra-D stone on top of the plate. The Fibra stone is a tad wider than the solid part of the plate in the center but since it has slanted edges, air flow should not be affected by it. I have yet to give it a test run, but since I'm out of propane, it'll have to wait until the weekend.

I'll report back on how it turned out.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on May 22, 2008, 10:50:45 AM
The steel bottom plate looks real nice. Looks like it was cut with a plasma cutter. Let us know how it turns out.

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on May 22, 2008, 12:02:22 PM
Villa,

It wasn't a plasma cutter. My buddy did it with a water jet cutter. That's why the edges are so sharp and defined.

I'll let you know how it turns out. Hopefully it won't be a total bust.

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Pizza_Not_War on May 22, 2008, 12:46:51 PM
Mike,

You are getting close to Willards 2stone design. The 2stone has a curved metal disk that allows for a pocket of air beneath the stone. I assume that was done for a reason that I have no clue about.

Good luck with your trial.

PNW
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on May 22, 2008, 03:52:11 PM
PNW,

It could be, that he installed a curved plate to prevent it from warping in the first place, depending on the thickness, and perhaps for even heat distribution from underneath. I don't have a 2stone so I don't really know, just thinking out loud.

The plate I installed is a 1/4" thick and flat. The stone sits flush on top of it. I could imagine that the plate would heat up very evenly, distributing the heat right into the stone. I guess we'll see how hot it gets, and how fast.

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on May 30, 2008, 11:21:29 AM
Here's my latest experiment. I took a sheet of .125" thick aluminum and cut it to 17" diameter. I mounted it to the lid. I'm not sure what effect it will have on the finished pizza but I guess I'll find out this weekend.

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on May 30, 2008, 01:49:29 PM
Villa,

It looks like you're on to something. I can imagine that the plate inside the lid would compress the heat and provide better baking from the top. Let us know how it turns out.

I fired up my LBE for the first time after installing the metal plate. The air flow was unreal. You could feel the heat coming out of the side vent more forcefully then before. I had three of the four vents of the chimney closed, so only one was open. The LBE heated up to a whopping 900F in about 20 mins. The pie turned out great and the new modification made a huge difference, in heat-up time, air flow and baking.

Nice charring around the crust and leoparding on the bottom.

Mike

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on May 30, 2008, 09:57:11 PM
Villa Roma,
It looks like the top vent is closed off and the total combustion gasses are vented out the side port. I'm anxious to see how this works for you.

Essen1 that looks like a smooth outfit! Do you get an even heat distribution across the stone? Do you need to rotate the pizza?

Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on May 30, 2008, 10:21:43 PM
ehanner,

Thanks.

I had to rotate the pizza twice. I noticed that the crust, facing the back of the LBE (top vent side), browns a lot faster. But that's due to the air flow. Next time I'll try to close off the top vent all together and see how the heat distribution is then. Or perhaps close it off until the LBE has reached its desire temp and then just open one vent.

The stone itself got extremely hot and I had to turn the burner way down so that the bottom of the pizza wouldn't turn into charcoal before the rest was done.

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on May 31, 2008, 03:12:48 AM
Essen....Looks like you have the "hot setup" there. Your pizzas look fantastic. How long did it take to cook those pizzas at 900 degrees?

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: MTPIZZA on May 31, 2008, 08:50:23 AM
Villa, I'm sitting here on the sidelines watching all the great improvements to the LBE everyone is making.. great pictures too... I was wondering though-- you took a picture of your raw dough recently and I noticed how nicely the raw dough looked --  a lot of air bubbles throughout the dough...Would you  mind sharing your raw dough recipe for a white pie (I think you gave your recipe for the whole wheat recipe already) ... I'm not sure if you had imparted this in the past..I'm curious to know if you are using natural leavening or using commercial Instant dry Yeast.... thanks again for your invention and ideas on making great pies.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on May 31, 2008, 10:42:39 AM
MT....The answer to your question is both. I used a small amount of IDY and some starter for that pizza. Here's the recipe:

200 gm Gold Medal unbleached all purpose flour
150 gm cold water (75%)
4 gm salt (2%)
1/32 tsp IDY
1 tsp starter

I just mixed up all the ingredients in a small bowl with my sawed off screwdriver, let it rest for 30 minutes or so and stir it up again. I let it rise a few times and gave it a gentle stir between risings and then scaled it into two dough balls. I let them rise until they were puffy and then cooked them in the LBE at around 700 degrees. I had to pop a lot of bubbles as the pizza cooked.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on May 31, 2008, 10:58:35 AM
MT...Here is a test pizza I made last week using a different recipe:

200 gm Gold Medal Harvest King flour
140 gm RT water (70%)
3 gm lite salt
4 gm oil (2%)
1 tbl starter

Mix up everything with the SOS and let rest for 30 minutes, stir again and let rest 1 hour. Scale and refriderate for two days. Remove from fridge about an hour before baking at 725 degrees.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: MTPIZZA on May 31, 2008, 03:25:37 PM
Thanks Villa for the recipe, but this raises another question... your starter...it must be something special... could you tell where you obtain it and how you maintain it? thanks...(you don't use IDY...)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on May 31, 2008, 11:56:23 PM
Essen....Looks like you have the "hot setup" there. Your pizzas look fantastic. How long did it take to cook those pizzas at 900 degrees?

    Villa Roma

Villa,

It's a "hot setup", alright. It was actually a little too hot for my dough formulation (66% KABF & 33% Caputo 00 Pizza) at 900 F. 

I had to let it cool down because I was afraid the bottom of the pizza would just turn into a disk of charcoal. I baked the first pizza at around 800 F but unfortunately didn't time it. I was too busy, and excited, to see the new addition at work.  ;D

If I'd had to guesstimate, I'd say it took about a minute and a half, rotating the first pie twice. The other two were baked at around 750 F, give or take a few and took about 2 mins, with a couple of rotations also. The BGE stone in the lid topped out at around 680 F, without any cracking whatsoever.

All of the pies had a nice oven spring, were crunchy on the outside with a chewy texture. The crust's edge was extremely puffy and light.

If you have a custom metal shop in your area, I honestly think you should give the plate design a shot. So far, I believe it provides extremely good air flow, is responsive to heat control via the gas tank's valve control and heats the stone very evenly.

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on June 01, 2008, 01:12:29 AM
MT.....As much as I'd like to spin some adventurous tale about how I acquired this starter when I was on an expedition trekking through Africa fending off wild, voracious, cannibalistic Pygmy monks or that it is a closely guarded family starter recipe that has it's roots in ancient Europe, made with the tears of the Virgin Mary and blessed by JC himself and has been handed down from generation to generation for thousands of years, I must confess, that although all that sounds very exciting and mysterious, it's just not the case.  :'(  I imagine tall tales such as those shrouded in a cloak of intrigue sell a lot of merchandise though.

Here's how I made that starter. Take the following ingredients and just mix them up and let them sit covered at room temperature, stirring once or twice a day. In a few days it will become active and you can treat it like any other starter.  I like to maintain the hydration level somewhere between a stiff batter and a loose dough which can still be stirred. It'll take a few weeks before it gets really going strong and develops a nice wine aroma.

100 gm pineapple juice
125 gm Gold Medal Harvest King flour
10 grains IDY

    Villa (Indiana Jones) Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: MTPIZZA on June 01, 2008, 09:06:19 AM
 :-D Thanks Villa, your explanation was the adventure I was looking for!! I'm always worried my starter will contaminate in some way and I'll lose it. So its nice to know one can get a starter going by such simple means!...
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on June 01, 2008, 11:53:31 AM
Here are the pizzas I made today. These are 100% whole wheat except for 1/2 cup of white flour (Harvest King) starter so technically this pizza is 96.25% whole grain. The carefull observer will notice the pseudo leoparding. WATCH OUT OR YOU MAY GET MAULED!  :-D

    It's a jungle out there.....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on June 02, 2008, 01:09:01 PM
Villa Roma,
Two questions.
1.) Are those pies ham and pineapple? Your pie always looks so good and you seem to like that combo, I think I see some diced onion also?

2.) How did the top plate work out? Airflow?

Thanks,
Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on June 02, 2008, 01:46:01 PM
ehanner.....Thanks and good eye, the pizzas were indeed pineapple, ham and onion. I was going to make a ham, onion, pepper and mushroom pizza but I spaced out and forgot the peppers and mushrooms when I went to the market so all I had was a can of crushed pineapple and an onion.

The top plate worked out real well. The airflow coming from the vent is hotter and more powerful. I got my leg too close and it burned the hair off of it. Those pizzas were done in 3 minutes at a temp of about 675 degrees and were the best I've made yet, nice and light and crispy. I'd like to try a high temp run to see how fast the LBE can cook a pizza in it's latest configuration but I'll have to use white flour for that test and a fresh tank of gas.

The pictures did not come out very good as the battery in my camera was getting low and I couldn't use the flash so they look a little muted colorwise.

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ehanner on June 03, 2008, 09:27:51 AM
Villa Roma,
Soooo, Are you thinking that the top vent isn't necessary if you have the side port? Actually yours is blocked now so I guess that's the conclusion.

Are you loading your pies through the cut out? Are you still rotating the cooker instead of the pie?
Eric
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on June 03, 2008, 12:16:02 PM
ehanner.....It's six of one or 1/2 dozen of the other, I've made great pizza with just the top vent and also with the side vent. I probably used more gas with just the top vent to create the turbulence needed to make a great pie. With the side vent, air baffle and the low ceiling of the cooking chamber, the hot air is forced over the pizza at high velocity and then out the small side vent creating a pizza wind tunnel of sorts. I still have more testing and experiments like steam injection etc. I'd also like to remove the baffle and rotate just the lid 120 degrees twice during the bake.

I lift the lid when loading the pies and rotate the pizza not the LBE. I loose some heat when I do this but a 3 minute pizza is pretty respectable. I don't get hung up on the 1 minute pizza ego trip thing. Chris Bianco cooks his pizza in the 3-5 minute range and his pizza is some of the best in the world. I like my pizza more on the toasty (not burnt) side anyway.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 03, 2008, 12:44:44 PM
I did a second run last night with two pizzas, one all veggie, one ham, shrooms, olives and salami. Both turned out quite well and were baked at around 700 F for about 2 1/2 mins. I also changed the formula just a bit by lowering the hydration down to 60%, from 63%, since the first try.

What I noticed about the Fibra -D stone, however, was that the heat distribution is limited when it sits right on the metal plate I installed a few days ago. The heat's to much in the middle of the stone compared to the rest of the stone and it creates a major hot spot.

Since I have two more skins left in the fridge, I'm switching to my cordierite stone, which has "feet" underneath. I can imagine that the heat distribution might be better since it allows for even air flow underneath the stone.

Anyway, the pies turned out quite well.

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 03, 2008, 12:49:32 PM
And the second pizza...

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on June 03, 2008, 01:14:59 PM
Essen....You can make your own feet by rolling up some aluminum foil and then flattening it to the desired thickness. Use three foil feet and your stone won't rock but you will!

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 03, 2008, 03:08:13 PM
Villa,

I haven't thought of your idea. I'll definitely give it a shot and let you know how it worked out.

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: 2stone on June 04, 2008, 12:40:23 AM
Essen1 and Villa Roma,

Your pies look great, I like the whole olives touch too.
Since you now have a solid base under your stone, maybe
you could drill a small 1/4" hole in the middle and thread it and
insert a bolt from the bottom protruding through the plate about
3/8". With a few fender washers you should be able to raise your
stone up a little, get some airspace and with a small hole drilled in
the bottom of your stone you should be able to rotate your stone like
the 2stone. If you use a sharp object you should also be able to turn the
stone without needing to have any notches in it.


willard
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 04, 2008, 12:58:38 PM
Willard,

I use whole olives because they hold their taste and fluids much better than the sliced ones, which tend to dry out during baking.

Anyway, I like your idea. The only problem I see is that the stone might tilt or wobble if it sits just on the tip of a bolt and some washers. But the idea is definitely worth playing around with. The other option I see is installing a lazy susan on top of the metal plate, and then putting the stone on top.

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Pizza_Not_War on June 04, 2008, 01:26:24 PM
I use whole olives because they hold their taste and fluids much better than the sliced ones, which tend to dry out during baking.

Anyway, I like your idea. The only problem I see is that the stone might tilt or wobble if it sits just on the tip of a bolt and some washers. But the idea is definitely worth playing around with. The other option I see is installing a lazy susan on top of the metal plate, and then putting the stone on top.

Lazy susan - not sure if the technology has changed over the years, but I would think the high temp's would destroy the lubrication needed to keep Susan lazy but not dead. Do they have high temp proof ones now?

Olives - although I have never tried putting whole olives on pizza, I have done whole cherry tomatoes and I usually lose half of them when shaking the pizza off the peel. Does that happen with the olives or are they glued in place with one of the ingredients?

PNW
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on June 04, 2008, 01:53:12 PM
Lazy susan - not sure if the technology has changed over the years, but I would think the high temp's would destroy the lubrication needed to keep Susan lazy but not dead. Do they have high temp proof ones now?

I would not be worried about that.  Graphite lubrication has been around for decades and can withstand continuous operating temperatures of at least 842įF.  Some other lubricants that have been around a while: Molybdenum disulfide (752įF), Boron nitride (2192įF).
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 04, 2008, 02:12:59 PM
PNW,

I always try to strategically place them behind a slice of salami, ham or some other topping  ;D, so they won't fly off the pie once you slide it onto the stone. I also give the peel a few shakes beforehand, so that everything on the pizza can settle down a bit.

In regards to the lazy Susan, Villa used one and if I remember correctly, the lube burned off but it was still working. My concern is that the metal might disintegrate, warp or totally melt when exposed to high heat.

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on June 04, 2008, 02:29:29 PM
In regards to the lazy Susan, Villa used one and if I remember correctly, the lube burned off but it was still working. My concern is that the metal might disintegrate, warp or totally melt when exposed to high heat.

If you're talking about a Lazy Susan in terms of a design concept, there should be no worries at all.  If you're talking about a consumer grade product intended for use underneath television sets, yes, there's reason for concern.  Stainless steel's linear thermal expansion would only be about 1.4% at 1000įF.  That's fine for all but MIL-SPEC tolerances.  Carbon steel is even better at about 0.88% at 1000įF.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: retrodog on June 04, 2008, 02:57:23 PM
Ok, so I said "to hell" with rotating the stone. I have a big stainless steel spatula for flipping burgers on the grill. So I just decided to rotate the pizza on the stone periodically. Anyway, heat was coming up around the edge and burning one side of the pizza crust so I stopped that with some aluminum strips that I bent into a round heat shield for the edge.

So now I just:

1. Let grill heat up
2. Slide pizza onto stone
3. Place ring around pizza
4. Cover with lid
5. Let cook 2 minutes.
6. Check pizza, rotate if necessary.
7. Continue step 6 at 90 second intervals till pizza is finished.

The results have been pretty good. I found that letting the pizza cook for an initial two minutes was adequate for firming up the crust enough, as to allow partial pick-up with the metal spatula and roatation on the stone surface.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 04, 2008, 03:53:12 PM
Retro,

Great idea and a great looking pizza!


November,

The more I think about the "Lazy Susan" idea, the more I like it. My question is where can you get such a thing with a diameter of about 12"? It would also create a pocket of air underneath the stone, resulting in perhaps a less burned underside of the pizza.

Edit: I found one here but it doesn't say which type or grade of metal it is

http://www.bearwood.com/product481.html

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on June 04, 2008, 04:41:17 PM
Mike,

Or one could just get a granite Lazy Susan, which can be found lots of different places, and be done with it.

Example:
http://www.marble-art-gemstones.com/-Granite-Lazy-Susan~c

- red.november
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: canadianbacon on June 04, 2008, 04:45:31 PM
On the 2Stone there is nothing to lubricate, it just spins on a pin, and now that I think of it,
the stone never wobbles.  I don't know why, but Willard might give you a few tips on that.

No lubrication needed = low maintenance and no parts to break, so it may be something to think about.

All the images of the ever-evolving Little Black Eggs are really great, and I'm sure get a lot of people
quite excited when they see them.

Great work guys.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 04, 2008, 04:53:12 PM
November,

How does granite hold up in a high heat environment? I've never used or even considered granite, as a matter of fact. Your suggestion basically means to use granite instead of a pizza stone?

But the idea in itself is pretty cool.

Canadianbacon,

I wonder how Willard holds the stone in place then?

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on June 04, 2008, 05:03:37 PM
How does granite hold up in a high heat environment? I've never used or even considered granite, as a matter of fact. Your suggestion basically means to use granite instead of a pizza stone?

Granite can withstand a fair amount of heat.  After all it is stone.  Constant expansion and contraction might take its toll after a while, but it's a one-stop solution.  For using your own 12" stone you might consider an annealing pan which are designed to withstand heat.  You would probably want to trim the side to make pizza removal easier, or use several stones to equal the inner height of the pan.  There's always the chance you could find one with a shallow pan too.

Examples:
http://www.progresstool.com/pd_annealing.cfm
http://www.jemco-usa.com/tools/soldering.htm
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on June 04, 2008, 05:21:37 PM
You could just make your own custom ball bearing unit with two metal rods, three steel balls (as used in bearings), six steel pins, and no lubricant.

EDIT: I estimate the cost of the materials based on using 304 stainless steel to be under $12.  The time it would take depends on how skilled you are at bending metal rods.  Once the rods are bent, the rest of the fabrication would take just a couple minutes.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 04, 2008, 05:34:35 PM
November,

I'm not sure I'm following you with the DIY ball bearing. But I will check further into the granite plates. My only concern is possible cracking. The pans might be another alternative.

Thanks for all the tips!

Mike

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on June 04, 2008, 05:38:35 PM
I'm not sure I'm following you with the DIY ball bearing.

Three equidistant metal balls held in place relative to the top surface by six pins, ride in a groove formed by two concentric metal hoops.

EDIT: I've illustrated the design.  The top of those pins would fit into holes drilled in the underside of the stone.  The pins are press-fit and don't have to be bonded.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 04, 2008, 06:05:36 PM
I was just about to ask you for an illustration. Now I see what you mean. It's definitely a possibility, but what does prevent it from rolling off the metal plate? Perhaps another metal hoop, soldered to the surface off the plate?

Mike

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on June 04, 2008, 06:07:40 PM
but what does prevent it from rolling off the metal plate? Perhaps another metal hoop, soldered to the surface off the plate?

I don't understand what you're asking.  What metal plate?

EDIT: If you don't mind the extra welding/soldiering, you could weld the hoops to a "plate" to make it easier for moving the bearing unit in and out of the egg.  However, a plate shouldn't be required.  The weight of the stone applied to the balls should force uniform hoop concentricity.  The balls are riding on the hoops, by the way, not any surface beneath the hoops in case that's what you were imagining.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 04, 2008, 06:16:14 PM
This one. I installed it about a week ago and took the grilling grate out because it warped and didn't provide a stable base for the stone any longer.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on June 04, 2008, 06:21:43 PM
The balls are riding on the hoops, by the way, not any surface beneath the hoops in case that's what you were imagining.

Ah, that is what you must have been thinking.  The balls are not in contact with anything on the bottom except the hoops.  If you want to take the extra step of welding the hoops to the plate you have now, it would certainly help stabilize the bearing just in case you like using your egg during a tornado or some such extreme condition.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 04, 2008, 06:28:25 PM
 :-D

I can't remember the last time California had a tornado touching down. What I meant, though, was if you keep rotating the stone on the ball bearing, which sits on the plate wouldn't it slide off to either side?

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on June 04, 2008, 06:43:27 PM
if you keep rotating the stone on the ball bearing, which sits on the plate wouldn't it slide off to either side?

I can't picture how you are imagining that's possible.  I've never seen a Lazy Susan slide around on the surface it rests upon unless it experiences unusual lateral forces and there isn't sufficient mass to counter those forces.  If you're truly concerned about it sliding around, you can tack 3-4 pins to the plate around the outer hoop and 3-4 pins to the plate inside the inner hoop.  I just don't see how you would have a problem though.  How much does you stone weigh?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 04, 2008, 06:51:37 PM
November,

I have the feeling we're both confusing each other.

I thought your DIY bearing consisted of two circular metal rods, which hold the three balls in place, sort of like a railroad track going in circles, with the stone on top and the entire unit just sits on top of the plate, with the balls touching it.

I wish I could illustrate what I'm talking about. The stone is a Fibrament-D stone, I don't know about the exact weight.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on June 04, 2008, 06:56:07 PM
I thought your DIY bearing consisted of two circular metal rods, which hold the three balls in place, sort of like a railroad track going in circles, with the stone on top and the entire unit just sits on top of the plate, with the balls touching it.

What is the antecedent to the pronoun I emboldened and underlined above?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 04, 2008, 06:59:05 PM
I'm sorry. The metal plate.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on June 04, 2008, 07:02:52 PM
I'm sorry. The metal plate.

And I've stated twice now that the balls don't come in contact with the metal plate.  They ride on the hoops.

EDIT: I've attached a front cross-sectional view illustration with and without the pins.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 04, 2008, 07:11:15 PM
November,

Now I understand! I'm sorry about the confusion and me being somewhat slow to pick up on your idea. It sounds like a cost-effective alternative.

Again, thanks for all your help and tips.

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on June 08, 2008, 01:01:58 PM
Hood scoops, ram air and exhaust gas recirculation. But I thought this forum was about pizza, not cars. Right you are bro, for my latest experiment I decided to simply borrow some automotive technology and apply it to the LBE.

Here's the skinny, I wasn't quite satisfied with my pizza. The toppings weren't getting as well cooked as I'd like. I noticed that there was quite a bit of hot air shooting out of the side exhaust vent and thought that there must be a way to harness some of this wasted energy.

The theory of this mod is that as the hot air passes the holes in the aluminum disc it will create a venturi effect pulling air from above. Some of this air and hot gases from the burner will be captured by the scoop and directed upwards creating a slight pressure in the top chamber. This should complete the cycle, forcing hot air down onto the middle of the pizza, hopefully cooking the toppings to perfection. I didn't have time to finish this mod (hence the simulated holes) but I should be able to get-er-done by next weekend to see if my theory pans out. Just in time for Father's day pizza!

       I can't drive 55.....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on June 15, 2008, 04:59:00 PM
Villa Roma,

Didn't want to let too much more time go by before thanking you for creating the LBE. I'm loving using it and learning from you and others on this thread. How're your latest air scoop tweaks working?

Following the trail you blazed, I cut out a side vent, albeit mine's rectangluar and a bit larger than your original.  I use firebrick splits on top of the cooking grate and a Pfalzgraf 14" x 1/2" round stone on top of that.  I used the small Weber coal grate inside the lid (thanks Retrodog!)  in my LBE, supporting two foil wrapped half firebricks.  That leaves about 2" cooking clearance.

I got an old stone oven 16" stone, but with its feet and total 3/4" height I don't have enough clearance under the top stone grate, so for the time being I'll stick with a 13" max pie size. I'm not sure, but I think the open gaps at rear and sides of the firebricks help with heat flow - but makes for hotspots and  uneven baking unless turned frequently.

I've set the LBE on top of a spool table topped with floor tiles, the works with bottle roll on a convertible hand truck (for easier transport from garage to patio and back.) Pictured below.

Like others, I found the 18" cooking grates sagged (pictured) - especially with the weight of the firebrick splits -  though I'm not sure it'd ever fail altogether.  I really like the looks of the metal plates Essen1 and others have made, but I don't weld and custom work is pricey here so I got a heavy duty charcoal grate instead - unfortunately about an inch smaller than the Weber cooking grate, but with the support tangs pulled out and bent upward, it stays in place (shimmed with balls of foil)

17" DIA. (ROUND) NICKEL PLATED BRIQUET GRATE Code:BG9 $14.14 at http://www.allpartsgrills.com/item28619.ctlg

I think I'll try Retrodog's baffle ring, but leave the front cut low so I can spin the pie with a spatula without lifting the lid.

I'm also keen to try your whole wheat crust - your pies are beautiful!

thanks again

Vic


Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on June 16, 2008, 07:39:40 AM
Fingerstyle....The jury is still out on the hood scoop mod. I thought I had enough gas to make a decent run but shortly after I reached minimum heat the gas started to drop off. I cranked it up but was never able to go above 600 degrees. I did manage to get four pizzas done before the gas tank went TU. I'm going to have to get dual tanks so when I get to the end I can just switch to the fresh tank. I'll try it again next weekend.

Attached is a picture of the lid and a pic of one of the pizzas. Certainly not my best pizza but far from the worst!

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mehmehmeh on June 17, 2008, 01:17:30 PM
I am in the process of collecting all the parts to build my own LBE. I see that everyone is experimenting with different ways of getting the top of their pizza cooked to perfection. 

has anyone thought of using a heat gun after pulling the pizza from the oven? I know it's not as nice as the pizza coming perfectly out of the oven but it should provide a lot of control over browning the top. I guess my concern would be too much air current, blowing toppings or shifting molten cheese?

there is a heat gun at harbor freight for $9.99 in their sales flyer, apparently has two settings 572F or 1112F



Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 17, 2008, 02:43:29 PM
VR,

I'm wondering how you attached the "spoiler" onto the disk? Did you solder it?


Mehmehmeh,

If you have sufficient air flow that goes over the top of the pie and out the side vent, I don't think a heat gun is necessary. The stone I use (Big green egg), provides the almost perfect amount of top heat once it's fully heated up.

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on June 17, 2008, 04:24:17 PM
Mehmehmeh

It's great how often we're on the same track around here. I was thinking a heat gun would be the ideal pairing for just pizza on the grill (for those unfortunates without an LBE  ;D).  I've had great top heating from the two suspended half firebricks I use in the LBE.

If you haven't already got an IR laser thermometer, that'd be my first purchase there.

Vic

I am in the process of collecting all the parts to build my own LBE. I see that everyone is experimenting with different ways of getting the top of their pizza cooked to perfection. 

has anyone thought of using a heat gun after pulling the pizza from the oven? I know it's not as nice as the pizza coming perfectly out of the oven but it should provide a lot of control over browning the top. I guess my concern would be too much air current, blowing toppings or shifting molten cheese?

there is a heat gun at harbor freight for $9.99 in their sales flyer, apparently has two settings 572F or 1112F




Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on June 18, 2008, 01:25:44 AM
VR,

I'm wondering how you attached the "spoiler" onto the disk? Did you solder it?

Mike

I temped in the spoiler with a small bead of high temp RTV silicone rubber. That way if it doesn't work out I can just pull it off and scrape the RTV off. Rivets or small screws would be a more permanent solution.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 18, 2008, 11:48:41 AM
Villa,

I'm kinda anxious to see how your new mod turns out once you have a full tank of gas to operate with. I made a couple of pies last night, and went back to my original set-up of two bottom stones on top of each other, after the bottoms of the last two pizzas burned too much when using only one stone sitting directly on the metal plate.

The problem now is that the air flow over the pizza was a tad too intense, as you can see in the pics below, even though I adjusted the gas output. The outer crust got burned. The bottom, however, was perfect. I guess I'll try reopening one of the top vents since I had 'em all closed off the last couple of times.

Mike

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 18, 2008, 05:28:58 PM
Villa,

On another note, I found this oven on ebay. I'm not going to buy it, but I thought the idea with the installed flap inside the back vent was a good one to carry over to the LBE. It seems you can adjust/control air flow and internal heat with a quick turn of the handle.

Home Depot sells them in 8" and 4".

Mike

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: andreguidon on June 20, 2008, 02:33:07 PM
Hi Everyone !

iam trying to adapted something like the LBE and 2stone inside my barbecue oven here in brazil.... the oven looks a little like the 2sone.... but my question is, does infrared gas burners work to ??

thanks,

andre
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on June 20, 2008, 02:43:33 PM
andre... I don't see why infrared burners wouldn't work, as a matter of fact they would probably be ideal due to their high heat output. Give it a try and let us know how it goes.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: andreguidon on June 20, 2008, 03:42:41 PM
thanks villa roma !

ive purchased 2 burners (2500Kcal each)... iam going to start testing if a need more ill ad a couple more....
iam going to put them under some oven bricks (refractory).... and start testing temps....
as soon as i start building ill post some pics....

i just purchased a infrared thermometer also, thats going to help allot...

iam posting a picture where iam adapting the oven...
 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on June 21, 2008, 12:35:23 PM
Here is a pizza from today using the modified hood scoop mod and a fresh tank of gas. It came out good but I'm moving on as I still would like the top to get more heat. I still have a few more tricks to try.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: andreguidon on June 23, 2008, 08:35:38 AM
the pizza looks great !!! do you realy think you need more heat on top ?? the color look very good !!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 25, 2008, 12:53:16 AM
Andre,

That's a nice-looking oven.

It seems like you have numerous options as far as what to do with it. Your oven appears to be equipped for both options, gas or wood.


Well, one of my previous posts were about adding a damper to the chimney, for better air flow control. The pics you see below are only the prototype version of it, hence the crappy-looking pipe. I'll give it a test run with a full tank of gas tomorrow and see how it holds up.


Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 25, 2008, 03:44:43 AM
I think the finished modification will include something like this vent, incl. the attachment on top, but with the damper (flap) installed, somewhere in the middle.

The dimensions are:

Length :   14.75" / 37 cm
Width :       6.5 " / 16.5 cm

The pipe itself is 4" in diameter.

Seems to be perfect...

Mike

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 29, 2008, 12:12:57 AM
I was just browsing the Home Depot website for some suitable vents/chimneys for the LBE and looked at their broad range of Weber products and came across the 18.5 " Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.

I looked at the lid and compared it to the 18.5" Weber One-touch. The One-touch is a much flatter lid, with a very short and straight front side, raising up from the rim that connects to the rest of the grill. Hence you have only a limited amount of space to cut out a vent. But thanks to VR's design it works excellent.

However, it still requires the lifting of the lid to place and rotate the pizza and the result every time is the loss of valuable heat and gas.

Ever since I looked at the smoker's lid, I thought what if I could replace the One-touch lid with the smoker's?

A) it would allow to cut a suitable vent or door, if you will, high and wide enough to load and unload the pizza, B) one could more efficiently control the air flow, air circulation and top heat, since there would be more space between the ceiling's top and stone, which, in turn, would give the stone more space to be lowered or raised, or, if Villa's new mod "The Hood Scoop" catches on and turns out to be proficient and effective, could be fitted to the lid's exact specs and C) it won't lose any heat by constantly opening the lid to turn the pie, to check the temps, etc.

And if that's not enough, and the thought of a wider and taller front vent isn't of any concern, the lid also does supply more surface where you could install a flap, door or slider, which would have air slots cut into it, to cover the side vent.

Question is, where can you buy just the lid of an 18.5" Weber Smoker?

Pics below show you what I mean.

Any thoughts on this?


Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on June 29, 2008, 01:06:44 AM
Question is, where can you buy just the lid of an 18.5" Weber Smoker?

Probably as a used grill on eBay because Weber doesn't seem to want to sell all the parts to its grills independently.  There are usually sound logistical reasons for that.  Replacement parts can be had here: http://store.weber.com/parts/ but they don't have the lids listed.  One course of action, which might seem obvious, is to call Weber.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 29, 2008, 02:10:44 AM
RN,

I was kind of expecting your reply.

Well, I got it. It was probably a question I could have answered myself, ..and RN, I did!   WoopdeeDoo.  ???

Conclusion, as of now, lids are not available. Not on the Net, not at some supply stores. I'd have to buy the whole thing.


RN, seriously now...I expected a more detailed, not to mention the use of layman's terms, explanation or comment in designing the larger lid.   ;D

Mike

P.S.: How was your dinner, btw?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on June 29, 2008, 10:27:54 AM
Mike,

I think you might approximate the smoker top's additional height by stacking a ring, (like a larger version of Retrodog's baffle) either sitting on the base or attached to the lid.

FWIW  I cut my side vent ~ 10"x 4" specifically so that I could turn the pie on my 14" stone without lifting the lid (awkward at shoulder level with its heavy firebrick splits).

I've got a big 3/4" x 16" stone that I haven't used yet because with it I would lack sufficient cooking clearance, so I'm going lower, that is I'm dropping the 17" coal grate I use to support firebricks and stone by suspending it with S hooks from the support tangs.

Vic

I was just browsing the Home Depot website for some suitable vents/chimneys for the LBE and looked at their broad range of Weber products and came across the 18.5 " Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.

I looked at the lid and compared it to the 18.5" Weber One-touch. The One-touch is a much flatter lid, with a very short and straight front side, raising up from the rim that connects to the rest of the grill. Hence you have only a limited amount of space to cut out a vent. But thanks to VR's design it works excellent.

However, it still requires the lifting of the lid to place and rotate the pizza and the result every time is the loss of valuable heat and gas.

Ever since I looked at the smoker's lid, I thought what if I could replace the One-touch lid with the smoker's?

A) it would allow to cut a suitable vent or door, if you will, high and wide enough to load and unload the pizza, B) one could more efficiently control the air flow, air circulation and top heat, since there would be more space between the ceiling's top and stone, which, in turn, would give the stone more space to be lowered or raised, or, if Villa's new mod "The Hood Scoop" catches on and turns out to be proficient and effective, could be fitted to the lid's exact specs and C) it won't lose any heat by constantly opening the lid to turn the pie, to check the temps, etc.

And if that's not enough, and the thought of a wider and taller front vent isn't of any concern, the lid also does supply more surface where you could install a flap, door or slider, which would have air slots cut into it, to cover the side vent.

Question is, where can you buy just the lid of an 18.5" Weber Smoker?

Pics below show you what I mean.

Any thoughts on this?


Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on June 30, 2008, 02:51:09 PM
Conclusion, as of now, lids are not available. Not on the Net, not at some supply stores. I'd have to buy the whole thing.
RN, seriously now...I expected a more detailed, not to mention the use of layman's terms, explanation or comment in designing the larger lid.   ;D

Why would I recommend building something that could cost just as much when you could just buy exactly what you're looking for?  You can buy just the 18.5" Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker lid directly from Weber for $49.00 + $7.00 S+H.

- red.november
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on June 30, 2008, 03:25:33 PM
P.S.: How was your dinner, btw?

It wasn't anything special.  A pretty common meal for me is simply two rice courses: Jasmine rice and basmati rice.  I have the Jasmine rice as the first course because it takes less time to cook.  I usually season my rice with a combination of curry-like spices, predominately: coriander, black pepper, nutmeg, ginger, cumin, and turmeric.  I also add garlic and ground fennel seed.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 30, 2008, 04:31:29 PM
Why would I recommend building something that could cost just as much when you could just buy exactly what you're looking for?  You can buy just the 18.5" Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker lid directly from Weber for $49.00 + $7.00 S+H.

- red.november

RN,

I'm either blind or my computer's screen is playing tricks on me. I looked on Weber's site under Accessories but couldn't find any lids that they sell separately. If they do, $49.00 is not too bad of a price.

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on June 30, 2008, 04:34:17 PM
I'm either blind or my computer's screen is playing tricks on me.

One course of action, which might seem obvious, is to call Weber.

I don't know about you being blind or your screen playing tricks, but I advised calling Weber and you didn't indicate you would follow that advice, so I did.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 30, 2008, 04:57:12 PM
RN,

I did take your advice to heart but haven't called as of yet. If you did and found out for me then that's mighty fine of you. ;D

Thanks for the info. I'll be in touch with them.

Mike

P.S.: Your rice dish sounds like an interesting thing to try out.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on July 08, 2008, 03:41:48 PM
FWIW I found the lowered grate with the 16" (OldStone 3/4" pedestal-footed) stone atop firebrick
1) blocked too much heat from rising around sides and rear
2) left too much top clearance for decent top browning (~4" between lower & upper stone) , and
3) used a lot more fuel to come up to temp.

So, I elevated the 17" coal grate (back to cooking grate height) to restore 3" clearance for top browning, replaced the firebrick with a steel 16" pizza pan (reduced thermal mass for quicker heat up), produced four good 13" pies.

Vic


quote author=Fingerstyle link=topic=4753.msg59023#msg59023 date=1214749674]

I've got a big 3/4" x 16" stone that I haven't used yet because with it I would lack sufficient cooking clearance, so I'm going lower, that is I'm dropping the 17" coal grate I use to support firebricks and stone by suspending it with S hooks from the support tangs.

Vic

[/quote]
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on July 08, 2008, 04:07:40 PM
FS,

Great looking pies!! Top heat and adequate air flow can make all the difference. Not to mention it saves fuel.

Keep going.

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on July 12, 2008, 08:29:52 AM
Hello Earthlings.Ö..Some of you may have noticed that I have been absent for a short period of time, there is a logical reason for this,  I WAS ABDUCTED BY ALIENS!!! :-D :-D :-D

Thatís right, I was on the back balcony making pizza last week, as Iíve done so many times, when all of a sudden this humongous mother ship streaked in from the sky, slammed on the brakes and then there was this big flash of light and the next thing I knew I was lying on a table inside the ship surrounded by little green men. They were speaking but their mouths werenít moving, they said they were going to remove my brain to extract the pizza secrets held within. They said they were tired of being alien to good pizza. I said hold on there bones, all you really need to do is go to Pizzamaking.com. I also asked them if they had their green card and they said no so I guess that makes them illegal aliens.

Anyway, they logged on and a big ear to ear pizza eating grin overtook their face and the rest is history. We spent some quality time together drinking Romulan punch, laughing and talking about all things pizza and then there was another bright flash of light and I was back on my balcony. The propane tank that was almost full was now empty and the contents of the LBE yielded the charred remnants of what was to be my lunch. My eyes were pulled towards the inside of the lid only to discover a flying saucer style attachment. I figured the friendly aliens must have put it there as gesture of their appreciation for pointing them to this site. It probably has magical powers fueled by lithium crystals or something. I canít wait to try it to see how it well it works. I took a picture of it and a strange thing happened, an image of one of the aliens thanking me appeared in the print. Check it out.

    We are not alone.....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: MTPIZZA on July 12, 2008, 09:15:57 AM
May the Force Be with You!! Beam us up some photos of the next batch of pies!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on July 12, 2008, 12:45:07 PM
May the Force Be with You!! Beam us up some photos of the next batch of pies!

I sure will but in the meantime here's some pics of whole grain pizza made last weekend with the sister ship. This may have been a little overkill, the lid weighed in at 12 1/2 pounds!

   Use the Force.....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on July 12, 2008, 11:24:55 PM
I just posted the same thing in Willard's 2stone thread:

Quote
I just found this out and don't know if it works with every Bayou gas burner, but when you push down on the regulator valve (red knob), it gives you an extra boost of heat.

Sounds like an afterburner just kicked in. Well at least with my model.

Has anyone else noticed this?

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on July 20, 2008, 11:21:55 AM
OK space cadets, I took the LBE with the new UFO mod out for a test flight. I really put it through it's paces and I'd say it passed with flying colors, star fleet should be proud.

First I made a regular plain cheese pizza with HK flour to help warm up the lithium crystals.

Next I put the LBE into double turbo warp drive and cranked out one of the best whole grain pies to date.

Then I must have taken a wrong turn by the milky way and hit a worm hole, creating a whole new dimension in pizza. Actually it's a calzone made with chopped Reese's peanut butter cups, miniature marshmallows and a liberal sprinkling of instant coffee. The first one is whole grain and the other one is made with HK flour. I'll take these into work and see what my taste testers think of it. Chocolate, peanut butter, marshmallow and coffee....DANGER WILL ROBINSON!!!

The bootom line is that the UFO modded LBE is out of this world.....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on July 20, 2008, 03:53:54 PM
Nice job, Villa!  :chef:

How hot did the UFO ceiling get?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on July 21, 2008, 12:41:53 AM
Nice job, Villa!  :chef:

How hot did the UFO ceiling get?

That's where it got really interesting. I expected the UFO to get blazing hot but it only registered around 200 degrees on the IR gun. Perhaps aluminum is a better reflector of heat as opposed to a radiator of heat. Either way the UFO directs the heat currents down toward the center of the pizza instead of over the top as with a flat ceiling. I may have to try some more experiments using a cast iron or steel UFO.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on July 21, 2008, 01:04:55 AM
Villa,

That's an interesting concept you came up with. I'm still operating the LBE with a regular stone (Green Egg) in the ceiling.

However, I have a Weber Smoky Mountain 18.5" coming my way from one of our members here. If I insulate it correctly with some high-heat resistant, moldable blankets and lower the stone by perhaps two inches it should be interesting to see how that pans out.

I'm planning on cutting a bigger side vent into the new lid, attach a "door" with vertical slots cut out for optimum air flow (like the vintage indoor coal-fired heaters had), place the top vent right above the side vent, I could imagine it would save a ton of fuel in the long run and would make the LBE more efficient in terms of heat distribution. Plus, you would have to open the lid any longer, since the bigger side vent would make loading/unloading the pizza a snap, without the loss of too much valuable;e heat.

It might take me a month or so to put it all together, though.  :(

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on July 21, 2008, 01:35:58 AM
Perhaps aluminum is a better reflector of heat as opposed to a radiator of heat.

A material's emissivity is inversely proportional to its reflectivity.  If a material is highly reflective, by the laws of nature it has to emit less thermal radiation.  That's why walking on pure white sand on the beach during a hot day can still be comfortable, while walking on black asphalt in the same hot temperature can burn your feet.  I would guess by your image that the emissivity coefficient of your lid is about 0.1.  By comparison, heat-treated cast iron is about 0.65, and the upper limit is 1.0.

- red.november

EDIT: To be clear, thermal radiation absorption and emission are directly related.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on July 21, 2008, 01:52:31 AM
RN,

Good to see you're chiming in.  :)

The lid's on its way and once all the vent openings are cut out, I'll order the insulation for the bottom part and the lid. Thanks so much for your help in that matter. I hope it'll turn out the way it is planned.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on July 21, 2008, 03:10:30 AM
November....Thanks for the explanation. I figured if a material (aluminum) was a good conductor it would also be a good radiator. I also believed that emissivity had more to do with solar energy, good thing I'm not an engineer.  Here's a link to a table listing the emissivity coefficient of common materials. http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/emissivity-coefficients-d_447.html

Is it logical to think that the IR gun is just not accurate at measuring the temperature of a shiny material like aluminum and the actual temperature is really much higher than the indicated temperature of 200 degrees?

Essen.....Looks interesting. Will you be using the entire WSM or just the lid? I was thinking of picking up another lid to make bread but the WSM lid looks ideal. Do you know if it will fit on a regular Weber kettle grill?

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on July 21, 2008, 03:54:58 AM
Villa,

I'll be just using the lid because it is taller compared to the stock lid that came with the Weber. It will fit, but on the Smoker it sits on the inside rim instead of the outside, like it does now.

I ran the idea by my metal friend and he thinks that some minor bending would take care of it. He's got a machine that will straighten out the outer rim of the WSM lid and once that's done, it can be reshaped into a tight fit for the LBE.

Question, though:

Have you noticed that the hotter the LBE gets, the more difficult it is to open the lid? It's almost like there's a vacuum being created inside. It sometimes feels like the air is getting sucked out of it. Especially when the temps hit or pass the 800į mark.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on July 21, 2008, 04:26:42 AM
Essen....I cook my pizzas at around 650 degrees and notice when the LBE heats up the lid fits a little tighter but I think it's more to due with the lid warping slightly with the heat.

November....I heated up an aluminum pot on the stove. The inside of the pot (silverstone finish) registered 260 degrees and the outside shiny aluminum side registered just 110 degrees. Looks like the IR gun is not very accurate with shiny aluminum.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on July 21, 2008, 04:44:38 AM
Villa,

I don't know about that. When I measure the temp on the outside surface of the lid, for example, it has yet to exceed 125į.   ???

Maybe RN can shed some light on that subject.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on July 21, 2008, 09:18:08 AM
Is it logical to think that the IR gun is just not accurate at measuring the temperature of a shiny material like aluminum and the actual temperature is really much higher than the indicated temperature of 200 degrees?

It is accurate for what it is measuring: the electromagnetic radiation in the infrared spectrum emitting from the object.  It just can't measure the thermal energy transfered by conduction.  Nothing would unless it was touching the object.  For that matter, a shiny metal probe thermometer can't accurately measure the thermal radiation of an object.  So it comes down to how you are using the object.  If you plan to heat another object with it via conduction, measure its temperature with a contact thermometer.  If you plan to heat another object with it via radiation, measure its temperature with an IR thermometer.  It sounds like in your case the IR thermometer is exactly what you want to use because nothing you want heated is coming into direct contact with the object (lid).

- red.november
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on July 21, 2008, 09:26:15 AM
The inside of the pot (silverstone finish) registered 260 degrees and the outside shiny aluminum side registered just 110 degrees.

That is to be expected.

Looks like the IR gun is not very accurate with shiny aluminum.

I'm sure the IR thermometer was accurate.  You're just not measuring thermal energy via conduction.

I don't know about that. When I measure the temp on the outside surface of the lid, for example, it has yet to exceed 125į.   ???

You didn't give any details about the circumstance, so I have no light to shed.

- red.november
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on July 21, 2008, 01:42:12 PM
Quote
Have you noticed that the hotter the LBE gets, the more difficult it is to open the lid? It's almost like there's a vacuum being created inside. It sometimes feels like the air is getting sucked out of it. Especially when the temps hit or pass the 800į mark.

RN,

I was referring to my own above-mentioned statement. So, show me the light!  ;D

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on July 21, 2008, 03:20:19 PM
November.....Seems that the reflectivity of certain shiny materials distorts the measurement made with the IR thermometer. The IR guns are calibrated to a certain emissivity standard and some materials fall outside of that standard. http://www.allqa.com/IR.htm

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on July 21, 2008, 03:25:10 PM
Nope.  Still can't shed any light.  What you're describing provides a nonsensical context for a vacuum.  If the air feels like it's getting "sucked out", with out being the operative word, that's not a vacuum.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on July 21, 2008, 04:33:18 PM
RN,

Well, the only other thing that might be happening then is the body perhaps expanding a bit under the heat, tightening the lid. That's the only other logical explanation I can up with.

I don't know if that's the case, but I know I'm not hallucinating.  :-\
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on July 21, 2008, 04:43:54 PM
Well, the only other thing that might be happening then is the body perhaps expanding a bit under the heat, tightening the lid. That's the only other logical explanation I can up with.

That's a far more likely scenario, and short of coming over to inspect what's going on, that would be my long-distance diagnosis.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on July 21, 2008, 04:56:19 PM
November.....Seems that the reflectivity of certain shiny materials distorts the measurement made with the IR thermometer. The IR guns are calibrated to a certain emissivity standard and some materials fall outside of that standard. http://www.allqa.com/IR.htm

    Villa Roma

Technically that's comparing apples to oranges.  The reference you linked to has been written for the lowest common consumer.  What I'm saying is that your IR thermometer is probably quite accurate for what it's measuring.  It's not like you're measuring the temperature of the lid from inside the grill.  The emissivity standard is only there so the non-scientist consumer doesn't think he can measure the contact temperature of a super shiny object with a non-contact thermometer.  Most consumers wouldn't know any better otherwise.  What I'm also trying to tell you is that you probably aren't interested in knowing the contact temperature of the lid because what you're cooking isn't coming in contact with the lid.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on July 22, 2008, 05:36:09 AM
Technically that's comparing apples to oranges.  The reference you linked to has been written for the lowest common consumer.  What I'm saying is that your IR thermometer is probably quite accurate for what it's measuring.  It's not like you're measuring the temperature of the lid from inside the grill.  The emissivity standard is only there so the non-scientist consumer doesn't think he can measure the contact temperature of a super shiny object with a non-contact thermometer.  Most consumers wouldn't know any better otherwise.  What I'm also trying to tell you is that you probably aren't interested in knowing the contact temperature of the lid because what you're cooking isn't coming in contact with the lid.

OK so let me run this by you, if I coat the aluminum with some carbon that will change it's IR characteristics? I tried an experiment and took a small piece of aluminum and heated it up on the stove. I then melted some mashmallows slathered in butter on the aluminum. I measured 100 degrees on the uncoated side and 200+ degrees on the carbonized side.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on July 22, 2008, 06:54:37 AM
OK so let me run this by you, if I coat the aluminum with some carbon that will change it's IR characteristics?

It will change how much thermal radiation is emitted.

I tried an experiment and took a small piece of aluminum and heated it up on the stove. I then melted some mashmallows slathered in butter on the aluminum. I measured 100 degrees on the uncoated side and 200+ degrees on the carbonized side.

I don't understand the purpose of your trials.  It has already been established that darker material emits more thermal radiation.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 26, 2008, 04:15:53 PM
I noticed a new Weber store opened near my town here in Mexico, and after having read abit about the LBE was interested in how much the same thing cost here in Mexico. Casual interest has I have a very good pizza oven I built.$1,100 pesos, or about $110 US dollars, over twice as much. Yikes, but I see it all the time here. Cheers, Don in Mexico
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 02, 2008, 02:05:54 PM
Meet the newest member to the LBE family (drum roll please). Introducing the Mini Me LBE or M2LBE. :-D This one only took me about an hour to modify and I still have to cut a disc for the lid and make a support for the hose end of the burner but that will have to wait for another day.

The M2LBE sports a 12" stone and the burner is borrowed from the original LBE.  The burner is massive overkill so I may have to use a HD blow torch as an alternative. If you bought everything new this setup would only set you back about 70 clams. Not a bad ante to jump into the high heat arena, eh?

The versatility doesn't stop there though friends, install the lower grate and burn wood or charcoal, remove the legs and burner and park this puppy on the gas burner of your range. Wallah, instant indoor pizza oven! You can even plank it on the side burner of your gas BBQ. How can you not love this?

       Now you're cooking with gas.....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 02, 2008, 10:52:11 PM
Villa,

You gave your LBE a little brother, the M2! Reminds me of the BMW M3, only racier.  ;D

Jokes aside, I like your idea and even more the fact that it's portable and versatile to the point where the M2 is usable indoors. Now some members have access to a high-heat stove top AND can go on a camping trip, having pizza out in the sticks, without investing top $$$.

Great design, bro!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 03, 2008, 12:04:08 AM
Villa,

Come to think of it, if you fire up that burner I think it'll blow the lid right off.

It already looks like a flying saucer on steroids. I guess you could call it the M2-SOS  ;D

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 03, 2008, 12:40:29 AM
You gave your LBE a little brother, the M2! Reminds me of the BMW M3, only racier.  ;D


Essen....your reference to the BMW M3 gave me a brain storm.

The LBE M2, quite possibly the ultimate pizza machine! :-D :-D :-D

      Drive one today at your local LBE dealer.....Villa Roma

         P.S.  BPW stands for Black Egg Pizza Works
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 03, 2008, 12:58:01 AM
Villa,

Awesome!!  That's some funny stuff!  :-D

Honestly, when I first saw that pic, the game "Asteroid" came to mind...
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 03, 2008, 11:29:21 PM
Just ordered me a couple of these...for my next pizza party.  ;D

Disclaimer: The T's are only for private use and not intended for anything other than that!


Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 04, 2008, 02:53:18 AM
The first Tee was only a prototype but I ordered it anyways.  ::)

But since then I thought of a couple more, an Italian theme and an American theme.

Both shirts come in a light gray color, long sleeves and the text is printed in each country's respective colors. I also changed the wording a little...we don't know if the LBE is actually the "ultimate" Pizza machine, ...it's just a machine.

Or perhaps just a means to great pizza, if you will.



Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: MTPIZZA on August 04, 2008, 08:55:41 AM
Villa, I'm really interested in your results when used on a gas stove top...we use gas in our kitchen and I bet it will work great right on top of the burners...
Please send pics of your testing!! once again you have created a fantastic invention. Thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 05, 2008, 12:01:19 AM
OMG...I was abducted by aliens again!!! :-D :-D :-D

Ha, Ha, Ha, just kidding but I did make the saucer like discs for the M2 last night. The final countdown has begun with a predicted liftoff for this weekend.

MTPizza....I don't have a gas range so I can only use the propane burner from the cajun cooker. If that is too much heat, I'll switch gears and go with the blow torch.

     T minus 5 days and counting.....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on August 05, 2008, 07:17:46 AM
Hey Villa, I hate to burst your bubble just before liftoff but after using a 14'' weber style 'LBE' extensively for some months,temps achieved on the average type gas cooktop were quite mediocre. You can expect to get a bottom stone temp of around 550F after about 45min-60min and not much more heat being pushed over the top of a pie. It will be interesting to see however what a blow torch can do???The 50,000BTU burner I used worked pretty well, heating up to speed in 15-20mins tops.
Good Luck bro

pizzacraver.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 05, 2008, 11:15:45 AM
pizzacraver.....Thanks for the heads up, I'd hate to have to scrub the mission this close to the launch window. ::) I'm wondering if you experimented with an actual Weber or a similar version. Some of the other versions have a high dome as opposed to the Weber which has a very low ceiling. Also of importance is whether the latest LBE mods had been performed. The aluminum disc and side vent technologies are light years ahead of the competition and not only limits the air space but directs the hot air directly over the pizza and provides some insulation. The stone diameter and stone thickness are both players in the equation. Maybe you could post a picture of your LBE so we could "check it out". I've seen it here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6231.msg53535.html#msg53535 Is this the same setup as you have now? If it is then we're pretty close to the same except for the burner and I only have one stone on the bottom.

I think a stove top Weber based pizza oven is achievable even with a standard 12000 BTU burner but I'm not an expert so I'm just winging it. I'll have to see if I can find someone here with a gas range and give it a shot. Do you know what the BTU rating is on the indoor cooktop burner you used?

     Villa Roma

     
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on August 06, 2008, 03:50:16 AM
Villa, yes the 14" kettle I've been using is a Weber :) and my set-up was pretty much the same as yours bar the alloy top deflector(which I might add looks pretty interesting). I tried both 1&2 stones on the bottom, 2 stones producing the most optimal results but still quite poor when used in conjunction with the indoor gas top cooker.My stones are 12" Big Green Egg, the indoor gas top was putting out 11mj or in your speak around11,000BTU.The pies were cooking in around 15-20 min at about high 500'sF.Bottom line the pies sucked!!The flame from the cooker would burn bright orange after the first 20mins into the warm up as apposed to the crisp vibrant and blue flame that you need,I think the orange flame was possibly producing CARBON MONOXIDE(as you know....not good dude!) Thats when I stopped using it indoors. the only mod I've made since was a lazy- susan style turntable,the first stone rotating on top of the second buffer stone(way better than lifting the lid to turn the pie every 30sec).Top and bottom stones are 3" apart and I also increased the size of the side vent to access the stone for manual rotation.I think it pulls even more heat over the pies!! Now were talkin' leopard territory baby!!!:D At one point I was looking at building a full blown wood fire oven but the more I looked into it the more I came to realized just how convenient and easy it is to use the LBE.More props to you brother!!!!This little gizmo used in conjunction with the right heat source produces some pretty AWESOME pizza.However feeling the never ending urge to tinker I'm in the process putting together another LBE,slightly larger and cutting the side vent sufficiently enough so as to be able to feed the pies in without lifting the lid,then mounting the whole unit onto a stable stand thats at a good working height. Once I've had some success I'll post some pics :)These 2 shots are of my 14'' LBE
 pizzacraver
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 06, 2008, 11:58:18 AM
Pizzacraver....Thanks for the update, it's nice to know this is an international effort just like the space station. ;) I'll have to pick up a 6er of Fosters for the launch this weekend and hoist one in your honor.

It sounds like the indoor stove burner you used was oxygen starved so you might try using a wok ring. It will lift the M2 up and allow more air to flow to the intake. They're only about $5-10 on-line if you can't find one locally.

I performed a test firing of the main rockets on the M2 and have very good news to report from mission control. I set the gas valve at just above idle and the M2 came up to 700 degrees in less than 10 minutes. It had good airflow out the side port so all systems are go for the launch window. ;D The max temp at idle was 800 degrees but I know I could get well above 1000 degrees with no problem if I kicked in the retro rockets. I removed the screws on the air shutter and gave it max thrust, the flame was a nice crisp blue color. In theory the M2 could cut the fuel consumption by 75% or more over the original LBE. I weighed the complete M2 and it tipped the scales at only 16 pounds. This gives an entirely new meaning to the term, "sweet 16".

On my last foray to the supermarket I discovered a new kid on the block in the bakery section so I picked up a bag of Gold Medal organic AP flour. It doesn't have malted barley in it so it should be great for a high temp test run. It may even be a good alternative to the high priced Caputo.

The question that remains to be answered is this. Is the M2 capable of a sub 1 minute pizza? I think so and I'll be sure to video tape this momentous event when it happens.

   T minus 3 days and counting..... Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 06, 2008, 01:26:42 PM
I've been following this thread on and off and haven't seen a few thoughts i have, tested...any input is appreciated.

From reading it sounds like the hardest part with teh LBE is getting the top temperature hot enough to cook the top of the pizza before the bottom burns. Couple of thoughts:
1) Has anyone tried completely lining the inside of the lid of the weber with unglazed quarry tiles? I was thinking if the inside surface was nicely roughed up with sand paper, refractory cement might be able to stick the tiles to it. Basically create a mosaic of tiles on the inside surface of the dome. This would create a dome effect on the inside of the LBE. I would leave a vent area open/untiled. I think this might work better than having a single hung disk of tile from the lid.
2) It would seem that cutting a slot out for loading and unloading pizzas like Pizzacraver did in this last post would be better than opening and closing the lid. Once hte lid is opened i think too much heat is lost from the ambient. Having a sliding cover on this might make it even better.

If either or both of these have been tried i'd like to hear results.

thanks
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 06, 2008, 01:41:27 PM
Jason,

My LBE is undergoing a major update and it is exactly what you are describing. However, I'm not using refractory cement nor tiles. I am installing a new lid, the Weber Smoky Mountain, lined with ceramic fiber blanket (Superwool) in the ceiling and body, which will also include a top ceramic coating.

http://www.axner.com/axner/equipment/superwool-607max-blanket.php

As far as the opening goes, a buddy of mine is currently cutting out a "door" which will eliminate the removal of the lid every time I have to turn the pizza. What also helps, and thanks for Red November and his suggestion, is to carbonize the underside of the ceiling stone.

All in all, the new mods should allow for better heat retention and save more fuel. I'll post some pics when I get my lid back.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 06, 2008, 01:45:05 PM
Essen, so you're going to envelop the dome with ceramic blanket on the inside and out in an attempt to retain heat?

Will there be no stones on the dome to retain and emit heat onto the top of the pizza? Does the LBE rely only on airflow over the pizza to cook the top? I thought it used the top stones to retain heat and emit it. You ceramic blanket would only retain heat in the dome area. This would work as long as you don't open the dome at all...i think.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 06, 2008, 01:49:39 PM
Jason,

I have a 14" Big Green Egg pizza stone installed in the ceiling, which currently hovers about 2.5" above the pizza. And it will be installed in the new lid.

The lid will only be lined on the inside with heat insulation, not the outside.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 06, 2008, 01:56:31 PM
Ah, i understand now. Looking forward to the results.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on August 06, 2008, 04:48:35 PM
A cutaway illustration of what I believe is the design intent.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 06, 2008, 05:08:54 PM
RN,

That's spot on! Cool graphic...
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 06, 2008, 06:27:39 PM
Thanks November..very clear now.
How do plan on "gluing" the blanket that is below the top dome stone to the sides of the smoker top? Are you just going to let it flap in the *very hot* breeze?

I'm going to go out and get the parts needed for a LBE, and it sounds like a side vent is a definite must, and the top vent seems superfluous (based on VM experiments with aluminum disks)...but i haven't read if anyone has tried and reported back on having a side vent big enough to put the pizza in and out of is too big.

How about a side vent and then hinging part of the top (maybe 1/3 of the top)? That would allow one to open the hinged area, put the pizza in and close it back...less heat would be loss htan opening the whole lid...just and idea..
 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 06, 2008, 06:27:53 PM
Thanks November..very clear now.
How do plan on "gluing" the blanket that is below the top dome stone to the sides of the smoker top? Are you just going to let it flap in the *very hot* breeze?

I'm going to go out and get the parts needed for a LBE, and it sounds like a side vent is a definite must, and the top vent seems superfluous (based on VM experiments with aluminum disks)...but i haven't read if anyone has tried and reported back on having a side vent big enough to put the pizza in and out of is too big.

How about a side vent and then hinging part of the top (maybe about 1/3 of the top)? That would allow one to open the hinged area, put the pizza in and close it back...less heat would be loss htan opening the whole lid...just and idea..
 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 06, 2008, 06:43:13 PM
Thanks November..very clear now.
How do plan on "gluing" the blanket that is below the top dome stone to the sides of the smoker top? Are you just going to let it flap in the *very hot* breeze?

I'm going to go out and get the parts needed for a LBE, and it sounds like a side vent is a definite must, and the top vent seems superfluous (based on VM experiments with aluminum disks)...but i haven't read if anyone has tried and reported back on having a side vent big enough to put the pizza in and out of is too big.

How about a side vent and then hinging part of the top (maybe 1/3 of the top)? That would allow one to open the hinged area, put the pizza in and close it back...less heat would be loss htan opening the whole lid...just and idea..
 

Jason,

I'll be using a high heat resistant ceramic adhesive to glue the blanket to the surface, so it won't flap in the "breeze".
 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on August 06, 2008, 10:42:48 PM
carbonize the underside of the ceiling stone.

Leave no stone unburned, I always say.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 06, 2008, 10:57:22 PM
RN,

trust me, I won't.  ;D

Maple syrup, right?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on August 06, 2008, 11:22:00 PM
Maple syrup, right?

Or molasses, or cane syrup, or any mineralized sugar.  Any organic substance will char in this situation.  A viscous one with minerals just gives the best results.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 06, 2008, 11:36:34 PM
RN,

Any idea what the vicious one's name is? It would be cool if I could buy the most effective one in a supermarket.

Or perhaps make it myself. Sugar & water.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on August 06, 2008, 11:42:33 PM
Any idea what the vicious one's name is? It would be cool if I could buy the most effective one in a supermarket.

It's a commonly held belief that fructose can be vicious to your liver, but other than that I have no idea what you are referring to.  You gave one example of a viscous mineralized sugar, and then I gave two more examples of viscous mineralized sugar.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 07, 2008, 12:01:11 AM
RN,

Got 'ya.  ;)

I'll start with it over the weekend.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 07, 2008, 12:31:03 AM
It's a commonly held belief that fructose can be vicious to your liver, but other than that I have no idea what you are referring to. 

Got 'ya even more...

My "vicious" and your "viscous".

It was an honest typo, Bro. But I think no matter which way you twist it, they'll both have the same effect, whether they're viscous or vicious ::) Maybe one's just more viscous than the other is vicious, or vice versa ?



Edit: Grammar
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: sourdough girl on August 07, 2008, 03:43:26 AM
Might be good to take a step back and remember that for Mike, English is his second language.  I, personally, salute him for the level of fluency he has achieved.  English is NOT an easy language, especially compared to German!  (I have studied both!)

Cheers to you, Mike, and I'm glad you have made our country your home!  Gott sei Dank!  Du bist ein Mann mit groŖen Verdiensten!

And cheers to all you have contributed to this forum!  I truly enjoy seeing the pizza pics you post, both on this thread and others.

~mots aka sd

EDIT:  Corrected my German grammar... (I hope!)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on August 07, 2008, 05:45:41 AM
 Hi Essen1, that lid lining you are talking about sounds great!!! Can't wait to see how it turns out. One question...... how does the Weber Smokey Mountain lid differ from what you already have, considering you could just cut a decent size slot in your existing lid thats large enough to fed the pies through?
 Jasonmolinari that vent I cut in my 14" kettle lid is just to turn the stone and pull more heat over the top of the pie, it's not big enough to feed a regular size pie through thats why I'm in the process of building a larger version.
 Villa,I did use a wok ring plus I added extra vents to the base of the kettle when I was experimenting with the indoor cooker but it really didn't help the flame at all(not to mention the walls in the kitchen started to become wet with condensation) :(
 Sourdough girl, couldn't agree with you more ;

 pizzacraver.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 07, 2008, 12:39:26 PM
Mots & PC,

Thanks for the encouraging words. Mots, your German is impressive! But as you know, once you speak a second language it's always a work in progress. After reading RN's post again, I saw where my spelling might have gotten confusing and I had to look up the different meaning of the two words just to be sure.

I was talking about a vicious brew, as in aggressive or mean, to carbonize my stone and RN was talking about a viscous, as in sticky or semi-liquid, brew. I guess we both meant them same thing, just in a different context. :)

PC,

The reason I wanted a taller, more domed lid was first of all the fiber blanket itself is an inch thick. And if I'd use the original LBE lid, I'm afraid that there wouldn't be enough space for air to circulate effectively. A higher dome also allows for more hot air to accumulate under the top, heating the ceiling stone much better.

Plus, the insulation saves on fuel and stores the heat much better. It will have a door, which features a solid upper part with vent slots cut out in the lower portion of it.

Much like the lower door in this pic, with the difference of being arched not straight.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 07, 2008, 01:00:00 PM
Aight...i just bought an 18" weber...breaks my heard to start hacking at it..but whatever it takes for pizza:)

I wasn't able to find aluminum plates/sheets at home depot...i wonder where i could find some to make my upper done reflector/deflector ala Villa Roma. I want to try that before i buy a stone for the top.

Will report back on the progress of my hacking!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 08, 2008, 12:40:59 AM
It's just a few days before M2 makes his first pizzas and as you can see in the picture M1 is giving M2 a few pointers. Kind of touching isn't it? Reminds me of Wally and the Beav.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 08, 2008, 01:28:43 AM
Big Bro will watch Little Bro blow his lid, I'm afraid.

Probably a few feet in the air if you crank that burner up.  :chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 08, 2008, 01:23:00 PM
  Villa,I did use a wok ring plus I added extra vents to the base of the kettle when I was experimenting with the indoor cooker but it really didn't help the flame at all(not to mention the walls in the kitchen started to become wet with condensation) :(
 

Wow pizzacraver, sounds like a pizzamakers nightmare. The only thing missing was Freddy Krueger! :-D Hopefully my experience will be more like a dream than a nightmare, we'll see.

Big Bro will watch Little Bro blow his lid, I'm afraid.

Probably a few feet in the air if you crank that burner up.  :chef:

Essen1....That burner on the little 14" grill is like putting a NASCAR motor in a VW bug so I'm going to have to keep my foot out of the gas or I may wind up with charcoal for lunch instead of pizza. I'm going to keep it simple and make six plain pizzas. That should give me a good feel as to how well M2 performs.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 08, 2008, 10:49:20 PM
Villa,

Now that would be a sight to see...the first NASCAR Volkswagen :)

I wish you good luck with your M2's test run. Keep us posted, bro.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 09, 2008, 12:58:40 PM
Here's the results of the first go around with the M2 LBE. I learned real quick that in order to balance the top and bottom heat I need to provide a buffer for the bottom stone. The first pizza burned the bottom so I let the remaining pizzas cook for 1 minute on the stone and then slid a pizza pan under the crust for the duration of the bake.

These pizzas cooked in 3 1/2 minutes at about 750 degrees measured at the stone. I used organic GM AP flour and some starter made with the same flour. The dough ball weight was 145 grams at a 70% hydration.

Lessons learned:
Need a lower HP burner.
Need a diverter or heat buffer for the bottom stone.
Try mixing in some malted barley flour for more color in the crust.
     
I had the first pizza for dinner and although it was burned on the bottom it was still pretty fly for a white guy! :-D

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 09, 2008, 01:15:05 PM
Made my 1st pizzas on the LBE today, and i can't thank Villa Roma enough for developing this method. It's amazing.
Dough was a 70% hydration with KA bread, 4% salt, 0.5 IDY and water. No oil, no sugar.
This pizza cooked in 1.5-1.75 minutes on a stone at 750 deg.  I tried 650 and 850, and so far 750 seems to be the winner.

My method is to get the stone up to temp, on a medium blast of the bayou, put the pizza on it, and crank it full bore to get the hot air flowing over the top.
I used a 16" aluminum pizza pan as my "top stone". The top vent is closed. The only vent is the front vent.  I also never open the lid. I use a pair of kitchen tongs to grab and turn the pie (explains the few flat spots on the cornicione:) ). Works great...and i don't lose the heat by opening.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 09, 2008, 01:37:56 PM
Oh yeah, it goes without saying that i thank others who have helped me with questions, Essen1, and Boy Hits Car.

Man, i want to make more pizza right now NOW NOW!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 09, 2008, 03:10:51 PM
Oh yeah, it goes without saying that i thank others who have helped me with questions, Essen1, and Boy Hits Car.

Man, i want to make more pizza right now NOW NOW!


Another one has succumbed to the LBE fever  ;D


Jason,

That's a great first pizza! I think you fared better than most of us who used the LBE the first time.

VR,

Remember when I had the same problem? Bottom stone getting too hot and burning the underside? You gave me the advice to put a ring made from Alu foil underneath. It solved the problem completely.

But other than that, your pies look fantastic.


Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 09, 2008, 03:39:29 PM
Essen, i thikn my 1st pizza was so good because you guys have done the hard work of developing the LBE to this point.

I might make another batch of dough with 100% caputo and see how it fares.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on August 10, 2008, 03:40:57 AM
Villa, great looking pies!! I guess with the power of that burner, it could not only burn the underside of a pie but melt down the whole 14" cooker :-D

Jasonmolinari, also well done :D great looking pie!!! Can you post some shots of your cooker?

 Pizzacraver.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 10, 2008, 04:10:38 AM
Jason,

I'd love to see some pics of your set-up also.   :)

I always try to learn something from this board, especially in regards to the LBE!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 10, 2008, 06:42:22 AM
Hey guys.....First off, nice pizza Jason and welcome to the club. I too would like to see your rig.

Essen....I could use some foil to buffer the heat from the high octane burner but I have something a little different in mind. I'm going to make a buffer plate out of 1/8" aluminum and cut some slots in it. This should allow some of the heat to pass through while deflecting some off to the top. I'm hoping I don't have a meltdown like last time.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 10, 2008, 11:04:07 AM
My LBE: It's an 18.5" weber kettle, with a 10" diameter hole in the bottom, sitting on a turkey fryer.

The lid has an 8"x1.5" or so hole cut out of the front which forces the hot air from the gas burner out through that instead of the top vent, and over the pizza. I keep the top vent completely closed.

Inside is your standard 15" or so pizza stone (from bed bath and beyond), sitting on a bed of ceramic gas grill briquettes.

I used a 16" pizza plate bolted to the top cover to reduce the volume of the upper lid and attempt to force even more hot air over the pie. I also added as a trial (haven't tested it yet), the dome shaped ash catcher that came with the grill in the center, which may force the hot air directly onto the center of the pizza. I don't know if this works or not yet. Will find out tonight. I'll just remove it if it doesn't.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 10, 2008, 12:04:01 PM
Jason,

Your LBE looks great! I noticed you didn't leave any space between the lid and the top plate. I could imagine that it forces more heat downwards onto the pies.

Great job!  :chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 10, 2008, 12:23:01 PM
Thanks Essen. That is correct. I wanted to minimize the volume that the hot air could occupy in the top dome.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 10, 2008, 12:46:39 PM
Jason....That's a clever use of spare parts, looks good. Can you tell me what type of burner you are using? Probably the cone style or the ring style burner.

   Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 10, 2008, 12:48:01 PM
VR, it's the 1st picture, the cone burner.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: November on August 10, 2008, 04:04:14 PM
I noticed you didn't leave any space between the lid and the top plate. I could imagine that it forces more heat downwards onto the pies.

That is correct. I wanted to minimize the volume that the hot air could occupy in the top dome.

I believe you two are talking about two different things.  Mike is talking about the minimized space between the pizza pan and the lid.  Jason is talking about minimizing space between the pizza and the lid in total.  Less space in total does in fact create a more thermally efficient baking environment.  However, air is a better insulator than metal, so if you remove the air from between the bolted pizza pan and the lid, you lose more heat through the lid via conduction.  How much heat will be lost depends on how much heat is transfered to the pan/ash catcher via convection.  To improve matters, Jason might want to consider adding a layer of insulation between the bolted pizza pan and the lid.  It could be something as advanced as Mike is installing, or because the pan isn't meant to be a heat sink and the insulation wouldn't be exposed, it could just be fiberglass from a local hardware store.

The edges of the ash catcher would just create turbulent flow.  Turbulent flow will cause hot spots as well as "humid spots" since water vapor coming from the pizza won't flow out of the head space efficiently.  I don't know if that's what you're really after in this case.

- red.november

EDIT: There may already be some air between the pizza pan and the lid, but I'm unsure of how much based on the photo.  Only Jason would know that.  Insulation would still help, but it's a decent design as is if there is at least some air in there.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 10, 2008, 05:27:52 PM
November, i agree, insulating the the pizza pan at the edges where it contacts the dome would reduce the heat loss through conduction.

I thought of the exact same thing with the ash catcher edges. I don't like that edge sticking up/away from the pizza pan. I might cut that part of the ash catcher off to smoother the air flow transition from the pizza pan, then over the ash catcher, then back onto the pizza pan and then out the vent.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 10, 2008, 08:49:18 PM
100% caputo dough, 65% hydration.
Pizza with prosciutto cotto and egg cracked on top.

So far i've figured that the best stone temp is about 650. I put the pizza on, then crank up the burner as high as it'll go to really get the hot air flowing. I'm not sure that the ash catcher really did much of anything.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 10, 2008, 08:54:14 PM
Oh, i also cracked one of my stones. I think i tried preheating it too fast...good thing i had a spare.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 10, 2008, 08:59:12 PM
Jason,

Nice pie!

But let me tell you, you'll be cracking a lot more stones if you keep getting them from Bed & Bath. I learned that lesson quickly.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 10, 2008, 09:06:46 PM
Essen, i think i agree with you. I need to get a Big Green Egg stone, or one of those that VR said, the Old Stone something something.
I got the bed bath and beyond stone because i needed one to play with my new LBE immediately:)

Do the BGE stones hold up well for base stones?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 10, 2008, 09:19:10 PM
Jason,

as a matter of fact, I spoke with Bruce from the Big Green Egg company about a bigger stone for my new lid. They do offer a 15" stone but you have to call to order from them...770.934.5300. Unfortunately, I don't know the price.

I use a Fibrament-D stone as the bottom stone and before that, an American Metalcraft cordierite stone with great success. Both companies suggested to cure the stone first, for about 5 hrs in your home oven by gradually increasing the temp by a 100į each hour, before using it in a high-heat oven, such as the LBE.


Fibra stone:

http://www.bakingstone.com/

And AM cordierite stone:

http://www.foodservicedirect.com/index.cfm/S/317/N/94039/Deluxe_Pizza_Stones.htm


I liked the cordierite stone because it has "feet" underneath which allows for better air circulation. Well, at least it was important for me since I use a solid metal plate instead of a grilling grate in my LBE.

Overall, both stones a great for the LBE and hold up very well.

Hope that helps.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on August 10, 2008, 09:36:03 PM
I use two 16" old stones for over a year, just awesome.

http://www.amazon.com/Pizza-Stone-Round-16-Deluxe/dp/B0000VLQRA/?tag=pizzamaking-20 (http://www.amazon.com/Pizza-Stone-Round-16-Deluxe/dp/B0000VLQRA/?tag=pizzamaking-20)

Cheaper here:

http://fantes.com/pizza.html (http://fantes.com/pizza.html)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 10, 2008, 10:09:44 PM
Thanks guys, i'll see about ordering an Old Stone Oven stone.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 11, 2008, 12:35:59 AM
Jason....I've had good luck with the Old Stone Oven stones or you can use a kiln shelf. My 16" OSO stone cracked but only after over 10 years of abuse. The kiln shelf does not have feet. http://www.sheffield-pottery.com/Round-Cordierite-Kiln-Shelves-s/319.htm

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on August 11, 2008, 04:09:58 AM
Hi all,here are some pics of my new cooker I put together on the weekend  :). It started it's life as a 22'' weber but I've chopped it down to a 19'' dia(you gotta love the angle grinder) ;D The biggest plus about this is I can fit a stone up to 18'' dia while still keeping the overall inside volume down to not much more than the volume of my old 14'' weber. This has enabled the temp to get up to speed quite fast and still keeps all the heat where you want it(on the pies).I've also made a little trap door to cover the side vent while the cooker heats up which further conserves the gas. At this point I'm using a 14'' BGE stone and a 12'' buffer stone whilst playing around with some ceramic briquettes.I'm taking close note of how the heat is being distributed.The stand I've mounted it on works real well. I'll post some more pics when the first pies start to come ;D.

 Pizzacraver
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on August 11, 2008, 04:15:56 AM
Here's some more pics ;D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 11, 2008, 10:50:12 AM
Craver.....That's a pretty radical design! What are you going to do for an encore? Maybe add a motor and remote control and have a pizza robot. Keep us posted, that's awesome!

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 11, 2008, 11:02:26 AM
I like that stand! It looks much more convenient to use
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 11, 2008, 12:18:15 PM
Craver.....That's a pretty radical design! What are you going to do for an encore? Maybe add a motor and remote control and have a pizza robot. Keep us posted, that's awesome!

     Villa Roma

LOL.

Villa,

Maybe PC used this as an inspiration.

PC,

That's a real interesting design. I like the idea of having it elevated. Keep us posted.





Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 11, 2008, 12:41:20 PM
Ooooh Nooo, It's Mr. Roboto!!! :-D :-D :-D

    Thank you very mucho....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on August 11, 2008, 06:44:56 PM
Villa never ceases to crack me up :-D.Funny  my kids said the same thing!
I'll keep you posted guys
 Pizzacraver ;D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 12, 2008, 12:01:26 PM
VR,

Remember when I had the same problem? Bottom stone getting too hot and burning the underside? You gave me the advice to put a ring made from Alu foil underneath. It solved the problem completely.


Ha, Ha, I will not be foiled, but my grill will be!  :-D :-D I broke out the HD aluminum foil and went nuts. I covered everything and even made a hybrid buffer plate out of it. I crumpled up the foil to give it extra strength and insulating properties and then went to town crafting a rough swirly pattern with a pair of scissors. I also have a 10" circular saw blade that very well may see service as a more permanent solution. I'll be road testing this setup this weekend for sure!

       Shine on you crazy diamond.....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 12, 2008, 01:06:51 PM
VR & PC...you two space cadets,

Designs look great! I'm curious to see how VR's new buffer works out, and both of your mods in general.

But a word of advice and caution: Do not forget to put on tin foil hats before you guys blast off!!  :-D

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 12, 2008, 01:30:43 PM

But a word of advice and caution: Do not forget to put on tin foil hats before you guys blast off!!  :-D



I'm with you, bro!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 13, 2008, 01:28:23 AM
VR,

I'm glad you're thinking ahead!  ;D


VR, PC & BHC,

I got the first two LBE Tees in today, and have a couple more coming, with a slightly different design, though. I'd be happy to send two out, one to Europe and one to "Down Under", as a token of saying "Thanks" to a great design and its improvements.

BHC, I don't know where you're located, but if you're interested in a Tee, let me know. I don't want any money for it, unless you want more than just one. That goes for all three of 'ya.  :)

P.S.: I know they somewhat resemble a ghost, but I wasn't too thrilled about the idea of "modeling" them to you.   8)

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on August 13, 2008, 04:52:52 AM
 You guys are hilarious, seriously!!!!  :-D

 Essens thatís a very kind gesture and as much as I think the tee's look great you really donít have to go to all the trouble of sending a one all the way down here.
 
 Pizzacraver.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 13, 2008, 03:52:22 PM
PC,

The Tee wasn't for you, it was for your beer-drinking Kangaroo buddy!  ;D

Seriously, it would be a pleasure to send it down to Australia. If you change your mind, let me know.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on August 13, 2008, 08:34:57 PM
Essen,

That is great!  I'll take it if Villa Roma says yes.  I don't want to be the jerk who didn't graciously decline (although I really want the tee).   :P

I'll be making some pies on the LBE this weekend and I'll be sure to get some pics.  I haven't forgotten that you asked to see the side vent on my LBE.

You don't happen to live near Philadelphia, do you?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 13, 2008, 10:23:31 PM
BHC,

Three Tees are up for grabs.

Two with a B & W design, and one with a red LBE design, which I'll get in on Friday. Pic's below. I really don't mind sending them around the globe and to Philly. I think since we're all having fun with a design, Villa was nice enough to share, we might just even wear it  ;D

Yes, a pick of your vents would be great! I'm in San Francisco, by the way.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 14, 2008, 12:03:36 AM
Essen....Everyone thinks I'm borderline pizza obsessed and this looks like the thing that will throw it over the top so yes, I'll take you up on your generous offer. If the colored shirt is still up for grabs, that would be my preference. I'll send you a PM in the next few days.

       Thanks, Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 14, 2008, 12:55:04 AM
Excellent, Villa.

Thank you for accepting. The colored one has your name on it!

I just did a quick check-up with UPS and I found out that I got the date wrong. The colored one will be here on the 18th, that's next Monday. That should give you guys ample time to PM me with the necessary shipping info, because if I can gather the info by Monday, I can send out all three at once on Tuesday. And it goes without saying that your info will be confidential.

In PC's case, I guess PC has to answer in his buddies name, if he likes his keyboard and doesn't want to recycle it any time soon.  ;D 

Just look at K-bud's paws!

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 14, 2008, 01:13:34 AM
You can also e-mail me the info via the addy that's posted in my profile.

I forgot to mention that... :)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on August 14, 2008, 04:16:22 AM
Well the same goes for me Essen Iíd love one, thank you very much. Iíll go a white if possible and PM you the details in the next day or so.

 Pizzacraver.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 14, 2008, 08:23:47 AM
Good morning, Question,please. I assume you mean a high pressure burner? And do you use any sort of a regulator? My efforts to locate an adjustable regulator here in Mexico has not been succesfull. I may have to have one brought down. My problem is the high pressure burners without a regulator are just TOO hot, I have a acetelene regulator but cannot locate the proper adaptors to go from left hand to right hand thread.
 Regards, Don

Hey Villa, I hate to burst your bubble just before liftoff but after using a 14'' weber style 'LBE' extensively for some months,temps achieved on the average type gas cooktop were quite mediocre. You can expect to get a bottom stone temp of around 550F after about 45min-60min and not much more heat being pushed over the top of a pie. It will be interesting to see however what a blow torch can do???The 50,000BTU burner I used worked pretty well, heating up to speed in 15-20mins tops.
Good Luck bro

pizzacraver.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 14, 2008, 11:10:07 AM
Don.....If you're going to use a high pressure burner you'll need a regulator and a valve. The regulator will knock the LP tank pressure down from 300 PSI to 10-30 depending on the regulator you choose. The valve will adjust the amount of gas going to the burner and is used to adjust the flame height. You don't need an adjustable regulator, the control valve does that job.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 14, 2008, 12:30:38 PM
PC,

It's great that you changed your mind. Shoot me a PM and it'll go out to "Down Under" on Tuesday!  ;D

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on August 14, 2008, 07:23:34 PM
Essen, will do. Once again thanks bro ;D
 Pizzacraver.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 14, 2008, 07:38:16 PM
Less shirt-ing, more pizza-ing;)

prosciutto cotto and olives. Dough was king arthur bread, 72% hydration, 3 day cold rise.

I think i've gotten my LBE method down.
Preheat stone to about 650-700, put pizza on, crank propane as high as possible, rotate pizza 90 degrees every 45 seconds or so. Remove at about 2 minutes.

This dough was definitely heavier than my last 2..i think it was because i only gave it about 1 hours in a 100 degree oven to warm up from the fridge, instead of 3-4 slow hours at room temperature..but hey...weeknight pizza...not so bad!


So good. Can't thank everyone who helped develop the LBE enough.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 14, 2008, 08:00:10 PM
Jason,

pie looks great! And I'm sure it tasted the way it looks. Great job.

It sounds like you're getting a hang of the LBE.  :chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 14, 2008, 08:08:21 PM
Thanks essen. The LBE is acutally pretty easy to use.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on August 15, 2008, 04:21:57 AM
   Looks AWESOME Jason!!! I agree with Essen,it's sounding like your really getting into the swing of it:D
 
     Hey guys I still havenít cranked up my new LBE yet. Iíve made one small mod to the existing set- up and that is to cut to size a larger corderite buffer stone.I hope its going to reduce the heat around the edge of the 14Ē stone that sits on top thus giving me a more even heat at a slightly higher temp.This weekend Iíll have the answer. :)
 Here are some pics.

  Pizzacraver.
 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 15, 2008, 07:04:48 AM
Jason....Your pizza looks fantastic. Are you using a starter?

Craver....You win the award for the most intricate LBE. Looking forward to your test firing.

I took today off and made a special dough. All I'll say is Marie-Antoinette would be proud!

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 15, 2008, 07:10:05 AM
VR, no, for now it's just IDY @ 0.5%. Next batch i'll use a starter to see if it's different enough to make it worthwhile.

Craver: How did you cut the corderite? I imagine you must of had a stone cutter on a dremel tool?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on August 15, 2008, 07:22:59 AM
  Thanks VR I accept the award graciously, Iím champing at the bit to fire up this puppy myself.
 
  Jason I cut the stone with a small grinder, just using a diamond impregnated blade.
Then you sand back any rough edges with sand paper.

   Pizzacraver :)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 15, 2008, 12:00:18 PM
There is only one thing I have to say to those that think you need high gluten flour to make good pizza.

Let Them Eat Cake!!! :-D :-D :-D Cake flour pizza that is. :-D :-D :-D

I had some Pillsbury Softasilk cake flour in the pantry that was getting close to it's use by date so I decided to make a test batch of pizza with it.

There is a common food myth out there that says high gluten or bread flour makes the best pizza and bread. High gluten flour runs somewhere around 14 grams of protein per cup but the Softasilk has less than half that. I made 5 pizzas and they came out remarkably well. The next time I'll go with a with a higher hydration and let it age more as the dough tended to tear as evidenced by the white pizza.

       Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 15, 2008, 12:19:35 PM
PC,

Villa took the words out of my mouth. That's truly a unique design. Can't wait to see how it turns out and performs.

VR,

I had the same problem of the dough tearing when I started out with the Caputo Blue 00. It has a low protein content also and after numerous failed attempts I gave up on that flour.

Still, though, you pizzas with the cake flour look just as good as with any other flour. Did you notice any major difference in the texture of the crust?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 15, 2008, 12:29:05 PM
VR,

I had the same problem of the dough tearing when I started out with the Caputo Blue 00. It has a low protein content also and after numerous failed attempts I gave up on that flour.

Still, though, you pizzas with the cake flour look just as good as with any other flour. Did you notice any major difference in the texture of the crust?

I ate the white pizza as I wanted to taste the crust uninhibited by any toppings. The crust tasted very good and had a nice crackly chew to it. I may have to get another box of this just to play around with it.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 15, 2008, 01:28:47 PM
I was thinking of mixing cake flour with bread, since cake is also a finer mill. It might approach the 00 concept wihtout the cost of 00 shipping.

yummy looking pizza VR!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 15, 2008, 10:40:05 PM
Here are a few first pics of the new LBE lid, courtesy of our member Sourdough Girl, or Mots, as she is widely known.

Stage One is completed, except for one small addition which will be a magnet on top of the handle, to make sure the "door" stays securely open. It does so now on its own, but I'd like to be better safe than sorry.

The lid will be lined with ceramic fiber blankets. The blankets themselves will receive a double ceramic coating and the space, once the top stone's in place, between the inside top wall of the lid and top stone, which will inevitably be there, is going to be filled out with additional layers of fiber blankets.

That's it so far. I'll post more updates when the rest is completed.

I'd like to thank Mots for her generous contribution of a personal "Hall of Fame" item and for parting with it, and Red November for his immense help, advice and for letting me pick his brain even though, and I'm sure about this, I tested his patience on occasion  ;D

Man, that sounded like an Oscar acceptance speech...

Anyway, thanks guys.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: sourdough girl on August 15, 2008, 11:03:24 PM
HOLY CRICKEY, MIKE!!

That thing wasn't that shiny when I bought it!!!  I believe I see your reflection.... !!

I'm glad I had just what you were looking for... and that I didn't need it anymore.  Happy to pull it out of "sourdough girl's Hall of Fame"!!  It served me well for years and has now gone to a good cause.  I sincerely hope that it takes your pizza to a new level!

I await pics of the pizzas you make!  I'm sure I will be inspired!

And... I'm again reminded of the quote I placed on another thread....

"Gort!  Klaatu barada nikto!"

~mots aka sd
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 15, 2008, 11:33:45 PM
Mots,

I will not stiff you on the pizza pics, I promise.  :)

It's shiny, alright. Yes, that's my reflection, which reminded me that I could lose a few pounds  ::)

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: sourdough girl on August 15, 2008, 11:41:29 PM
Mots,

I will not stiff you on the pizza pics, I promise.  :)

It's shiny, alright. Yes, that's my reflection, which reminded me that I could lose a few pounds  ::)

Thanks, Mike!
Don't forget.... that reflection is like looking in a "fun house" mirror!  And, pizza like WE like to bake it CAN be healthy for you!!

~mots aka sd
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 15, 2008, 11:43:51 PM
Mots,

you're right. I should remember my own post I put up a few days ago:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7044.0.html
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: sourdough girl on August 15, 2008, 11:54:07 PM
Mots,

you're right. I should remember my own post I put up a few days ago:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7044.0.html

True, that!  It was a good post!  Probably helped all of us to feel better about our obsession!

~mots aka sd
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on August 16, 2008, 06:24:01 AM
  Essen WOW!!!! You know if the two of us were set loose in a workshop together I think we could create a monster LBE! :D A few questions Ö.. A top vent? ??? I would have thought that would lessen the hot air being pulled over the pizza and is your side vent designed to feed the pie through?? Have you thought about putting the stone on some sort of turntable??? Well canít wait to see your end result, Iím sure itís going to put out some AWESOME pies which ever way you take it bro.
  VR, I'm using flour with 11% protein.What percentage would you recommend using when baking at temps 780F and above???
  I did my first two pies today, using dough with a slightly higher hydration and apart from the first one sticking to the peel :((it ended up a calzone)I  was pretty happy with the results. The new design has allowed me to take the LBE up to a higher cooking temp- (780F bottom stone) that is much more even around the stone. This  definitely achieved a lighter and springier crust not that you would probably see it in the pics though.Being the first two pie's I've done with this set-up, Iíd like to get a few more out before I say just how much success I'm having. :)
  Pizzacraver. :chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 16, 2008, 06:42:37 AM
Can't wait to see Essen's new top working, it looks great.
The pizza looks tasty, Craver!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on August 16, 2008, 06:49:37 AM
Thanks Jason   :D They were pretty tasty.
I can't wait to see Essen's new set up as well! It looks like he's putting some serious work into it.
  PC :chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 16, 2008, 08:39:20 AM
Craver....Great looking pies there! What hydration level did you use for this batch?

As far as protein percentage goes, I like standard American all purpose flour. It's in the 9-10% range, but it really depends on what's right for your technique. I find bread flour with 11 1/2 percent protein makes the crust too tough. I used AP flour with a hydration level of 75% in the pizza below that I made back in January. It was one of my best white flour pizzas but the new organic AP flour I picked up last week looks promising.

Essen....Looks like your giving craver some competion. Do you know when you might be test firing your new mod?

I'll be cranking out some whole grain pizzas tomorrow but I'll be using M1 this time. M2 just gets too hot and the foil just burned up so until I get the 10" saw blade in I'm going to use M1. The stone temp got to over 900 degrees during the cake flour pizza run. M1 was probably getting a little jealous with M2 getting all the attention.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 16, 2008, 12:37:57 PM
Thanks guys...

PC,

I had good results with the top vent before. It's a quick and easy way, especially with a Master Flow installed, to control the top heat without needing to reduce the flame itself. And since this baby will be thermally insulated it will, hopefully, get even hotter than my old one. What you see in the pics is just a flange. A regular vent pipe will go on top of it. So yes, I think the top vent can be beneficial. Plus, it looks cool.  ;D

Come to think of it, I have enough insulation for the lid and the body.

The side vent is purely for air flow. The 'door' that was cut out, is for loading and unloading the pizza. The idea behind it was to eliminate lifting up the lid every time you have to rotate the pizza, thus reducing the loss of heat. To do that, I bought an 8" peel (pic below). The bottom stone is stationary.

Villa,

I'm currently waiting for the ceramic adhesive for the fiber blankets to come in. Once they are in place and the adhesive has cured, the ceramic coating will go on and once that's done then...it's test-run time. Perhaps another week or so. I'd like to get it all done before I mess around with it.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on August 17, 2008, 05:32:42 AM
   Hey Villa that last batch had a hydration level of 70%, but for some reason I was finding it a little too sticky to handle. :( That batch you did back in Jan. was 75%ÖÖÖ..Gee and I thought my batch was high!! I have to agree with you however, it really does depend on whatís right for the individuals technique.

          Pizzacraver
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on August 17, 2008, 03:25:26 PM
Essen,

Here is the pic of my egg.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 18, 2008, 12:32:14 AM
BHC,

They look like twins, bro  ;D

But since installing the 4-vent master flow on top, I have covered three vents with foil and left one open. I noticed that with all four open the heat loss was too great, even though the air flow was exceptional. If it gets too hot, I just open a second one. 

The new lid will have a different top vent installed, with an adjustable Master Flow Damper in the middle and the 4-vent on top.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on August 18, 2008, 11:26:15 AM
Essen,

I will try it with only one of the vents uncovered. 

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 18, 2008, 11:44:09 AM
Mike,

I folded the foil up in squares and once they were covering the vents, I cut out a little flap on two of them. I left one permanently open and adjusted the other one as needed. Works pretty well.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: andreguidon on August 18, 2008, 12:46:26 PM
Hi Guys,

These are two company's that make gas individual pizza ovens...

take a look.

http://www.catira.com.br/m3.asp?cod_pagina=1100

http://www.divolpi.com.br/index1.htm
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: widespreadpizza on August 18, 2008, 09:12:33 PM
Hey,  I was looking through the free section of craigslist today looking to stock up on some firewood to season for next year.  I saw this and figured it might get somebody started or somebody a model 2.  Peter, feel free to delete this once its dead.  -marc

http://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/zip/802522189.html
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 18, 2008, 10:58:53 PM
Marc,

I see lots of them here in the Bay Area. Actually today there were 6 or 7 listed, ranging from 14" to 22.5".

I think the most expensive one was $40.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 20, 2008, 11:31:08 PM
Ladies,

The Tees have been sent out today.

Due to some technical difficulties, Villa's Tee departure was delayed until tomorrow morning. Sometimes the small town postal workers are a tad to diligent but that's understandable in times of war.

I hope you all enjoy them. It was a pleasure.

However, I expect pics!  ;D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on August 21, 2008, 12:14:04 AM
Mike,

I folded the foil up in squares and once they were covering the vents, I cut out a little flap on two of them. I left one permanently open and adjusted the other one as needed. Works pretty well.

Clever.  That's what I'll do then. 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 21, 2008, 01:03:34 AM
Mike,

You LBE is a tad smaller I believe. So the vents might work differently. Just keep experimenting...

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ArrigoYYYY on August 22, 2008, 11:03:33 PM
Hey!  I love this forum and have not stopped thinking about building my own little black egg.  I was wondering what everyone opinions about this bbq grill I found on the internet called the "Outdoor Chef Roma" (please google this see the design of this bbq... as a new member I am not allowed to put a hyperlink)?  



The design of this bbq allows you to supposedly bake a pizza with it's supposed volcano cone design.  From the website, the company claims that for baking, "the upper funnel is placed inside the kettle with the large opening pointing upwards . The heat from the gas burner rises up along the sides of the kettle, distributing an even, indirect heat on all sides. With the lid on, there is no need to turn the food at all throughout the cooking process."

The bbq is out of my price range but I was thinking about building a little black egg and maybe chopping the bottom of a wok to see if this volcano cone design could work to improve the airflow, radiant heat and baking qualities in the lbe?  I also wanted to put a small fan under the lbe to create some air flow and circulatiion in the lbe?   What does everyone think?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 22, 2008, 11:06:08 PM
Here's the link:

http://dealspl.us/Outdoorchef-Roma-II-Dual-Burner-Outdoor-Grill-at-HSN-com_89606

I think you'd be just fine converting it into a LBE. Just don't mess with the burners that come with it.  ::)

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ArrigoYYYY on August 23, 2008, 12:58:07 AM
Actually I am not interested turning the Roma into a LBE... I am thinking about taking some of the design elements from the Roma in building my LBE from a Weber!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 23, 2008, 03:10:37 PM
I read up a little about this BBQ. Very interesting, to say the least.

Here are a couple more links. It seems to be a Swiss design...

http://bbq.about.com/b/2008/04/08/first-look-outdoor-chef-roma-gas-grill.htm

http://www.outdoorchef.com/index.php?lang=

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: ArrigoYYYY on August 24, 2008, 02:43:17 AM
I think the Outdoor Chef bbq does not have massive btu output.  The volcano design reflects the radiant and convection heat in the bbq much more efficiently or more effectively for baking. 

Anyways, I ordered a 72000 btu fryer and a 22.5 inch Weber.  I have recruited a friend to help me with some mods to make the LBE for next weekend.  I will be using an iron wok to deflect the heat from directly hitting the bottom of the pizza stone and having it hopefully channel the convection heat more efficiently around the pizza.  Wish me luck!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 24, 2008, 07:53:38 AM
Here is a test batch of pizza made in the M2 LBE. I used GM organic flour with a 72% hydration. They cooked in 1:45 each.

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 24, 2008, 08:45:57 AM
Nice puff on the crust VR. Good looking pizza.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 24, 2008, 11:26:01 AM
VR,

the pizza looks good, as always. But why the high hydration? Didn't that take away from the crunch?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: andreguidon on August 24, 2008, 01:32:40 PM
yea... 72% ??
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 24, 2008, 02:54:07 PM
Guys, don't be so surprised at 72% hydration. I've used 70-75% in the past for white flour and routinly go with 90% when using whole grains.

I only used IDY on this batch, no starter but I let it ferment for 18 hours. Still the flavor did not come close to a pizza made with a starter. Speaking of starter, I ordered the Italian cultures from sourdough.com so once I get them up and running I'll see how they compare to my home grown starter. They should be in this week.

I added a lower 8" stone to the M2 LBE. It sits about 1" below the cooking grate suspended with safety wire. This buffers the flames from the top stone but I still have to keep the gas on low or the stone temp will run away on me. I also use foil under the top stone and this works well but as I said before I need to get a lower output burner but until then this setup is working pretty good.

I'm also thinking of making some longer legs which would allow the burner to sit a little furthur from the stones. Check them out!

      Nothing beats a great set of Leggs.....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 24, 2008, 09:47:29 PM
VR,

90%? How the hell do you handle that dough?  ??? And I thought a hydration of 65% was high.

In regards to your legs idea...sounds good. Don't forget to rock out to ZZ Top's "Legs" every time you fire up your baby  ;D

I'm thinking of adding a stand to my LBE so that the access to the new lid is easier. Perhaps waist high or so. I have yet to figure it out, though.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 25, 2008, 12:18:58 AM
VR,

90%? How the hell do you handle that dough?  ??? And I thought a hydration of 65% was high.


A whole grain dough with 90% hydration is a little deceiving. The bran in the flour absorbs a good deal of the added moisture so you have to combine the flour and wet ingredients then let them sit for 30-60 minutes and proceed with the kneading. The GM flour I have been using is somewhat inconsistent but I found 90% works well. I was using 95% but when I got a marginal bag of flour this was too much hydration so I lowered it to 90%. The finished dough handles similar to a white flour dough at 75% hydration.

       Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 28, 2008, 06:30:06 PM
A quick update on the new lid.

Yesterday I finally got the high-temp adhesive in to bond the fiber blanket to the ceramic surface. I'm amazed how well it turned out.  Plus, I had a frame put around the side vent, to clean it up a bit and a ring around the rim to increase stability when it goes on top of the Weber.

The next step now is to apply the ceramic coating on the fiber blankets, which will hopefully go on tomorrow morning since the adhesive requires 24 hrs of curing at RT.

Here are a few pics. They are not the best since I had to use my cell phone cam, so excuse the low quality.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on August 28, 2008, 06:53:45 PM
Sweet looking dome! Especially the window on it
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 31, 2008, 12:47:43 AM
My LBE is finally back in business...

I fired it up less than 10 mins ago and can already tell the difference.

I'm going to give it another 30 mins to see how hot it will get.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 31, 2008, 01:44:41 PM
Okay...some thoughts/observations on the first test run and bake using the new lid.

First, I think I need to lower the top stone by an inch or so, to increase air flow a bit more. It did touch the sides a little so it took somewhat longer for the top to heat up all the way through. The top stone, however, got to a temp of roughly 750į in about twenty mins. The fiber blanket walls also heated up extremely well. The great thing was, though, that the outside of the lid was cool to the touch the entire time. The air flow out of the side vent was scorching hot, though. I couldn't leave my hand in front of it for more than a couple of seconds.

The bottom stone didn't get as hot as the rest of the LBE and maintained a nice temp between 680į and 700į. It didn't burn the bottom of the pizzas at all, but gave it a slight charring and crispness.

The first couple of pizzas took about three minutes to bake. I used a fairly high hydration, at least for me, of 64%. The crust was exceptionally crispy but didn't char as much as usual, which I don't know if that's a good or bad thing. The top of the pizza cooked evenly and very well. As a matter of fact, I had to pull the pies out before the crust had any chance to develop some charring to prevent the topping from burning.

Here are some pics. I would have taken some pics of the temp on my IR gun also, but my cam was already low on batteries so I just took two quick pics of the pies. I'll get fresh batteries and will give it another shot tonight.

Overall, I'm very pleased with the first test run and its outcome and with a little adjustment, I'm sure it will all work out fine.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 01, 2008, 10:05:25 AM
Essen.....Nice looking pies there. What kind of chesse did you use?

I activated the Ischia starter last week and made some pizzas with it. I also used it in the whole grain pizzas and added some extra HK flour but put in too much so they were a little tough to stretch. They came out pretty good anyway.

As you can see M1 is complementing M2 on a job well done. I have a different burner for M2 on the way, it's the same burner pizzacraver uses and is rated at 65,000 BTUs instead of 185,000.

      Villa Roma

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 01, 2008, 10:20:12 PM
Villa,

It was Precious low-moisture, whole-milk Mozzarella. I should have used the regular fresh version.

In regards to the M2, I agree. 185,000 BUTs might be a tad too much for the little guy!


Off topic...

I was surprised I only had to pay the domestic postal fee when I sent out your LBE Tee! The guy explained it to me and it made sense. With that said, your Tee is in transit. Since the 21st of August, if I remember correctly. And so are the other two.

Just a quick..and I say.. quick update that is, Son!  ;D

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on September 02, 2008, 01:03:45 AM
Essen.....Nice looking pies there. What kind of chesse did you use?

I activated the Ischia starter last week and made some pizzas with it. I also used it in the whole grain pizzas and added some extra HK flour but put in too much so they were a little tough to stretch. They came out pretty good anyway.

As you can see M1 is complementing M2 on a job well done. I have a different burner for M2 on the way, it's the same burner pizzacraver uses and is rated at 65,000 BTUs instead of 185,000.

      Villa Roma



Hey Ron, what did you think about the Ischia? Worth the $? I've been pretty happy with Goldrush, but am curious. BTW made my 3rd batch of WW this week. Turned out so so - my fault, added a bit too much salt and too soon (in water before flour) - think it killed the preferment. I salvaged at day 4 (no rise) by kneading in some ADY and let it go another few days.
Best regards,
Vic
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 02, 2008, 03:55:47 AM
Hey Ron, what did you think about the Ischia? Worth the $? I've been pretty happy with Goldrush, but am curious. BTW made my 3rd batch of WW this week. Turned out so so - my fault, added a bit too much salt and too soon (in water before flour) - think it killed the preferment. I salvaged at day 4 (no rise) by kneading in some ADY and let it go another few days.
Best regards,
Vic

Vic....I only made one batch with the freshly activated starter but the Ischia is very active. The first two pizzas above were made with only the Ischia starter and no yeast. I used 10 grams of starter per 100 grams of flour and this was way too much so next time I'll go with 2 grams. I can't comment on the taste as I haven't sampled any of the white flour pizzas yet. I'll give the starter at least a month to mature before I weigh in with the final verdict but so far it looks really promising. Below is the starter after 24 hours. I had to wash it once but it's doing fine now.

       Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on September 02, 2008, 09:02:50 AM
 Hey Essen1
Great pies :D and that LBE set Ėup of yours is looking mighty fine!!!!
It certainly looks as though you have put a tremendous amount of effort into the build, Iím sure youíll be making lots of awesome pies with that baby for quite some time.
  I received my Tee on Tue ;D, thanks heaps bro that was a really thoughtful gesture and Iíll wear it with pride!!!! At the moment  family and friends round here are starting to think my obsession for pizza perfection is getting a little out of control :-D but thatís OK, at least you guys understand!
 Iím still making a few adjustments to my latest version of the LBE (trying to achieve even better heat distribution) when Iíve tweaked it a little and satisfied with the results Iíll post some pics.

P.S. I'm a little camera shy myself, but a work buddy of mine was more than happy to model the LBE Tee ;D even if it was a bit of a tight fit :-\

     Pizzacraver. :chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 02, 2008, 02:54:46 PM
PC,

My pleasure.  ;D

Glad you like your Tee. I agree, it is a little tight on your buddy but does look good.

One down, two more to go.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Boy Hits Car on September 02, 2008, 09:54:07 PM
Essen1,

I got the tee, thank you so much.  I'm usually a small in tee shirts so as you can guess, I swim in it, lol

Mike

Ps.  Your new lid is ridiculously impressive.  Did you get a more even bake - did you have to rotate the pizzas?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 02, 2008, 10:34:17 PM
Mike,

I'm glad you got it.

I didn't know what your size was so I sent the XL out. BUT...when I washed one of mine for the first time (XL), I made the mistake to wash it hot and it shrank. So you might want to try that. And read the instructions on the label!

Or simply wear it as a nightgown!  ;D

I still had to rotate the pizza. But since I don't have to open the entire lid anymore, heat loss was minimal. I figured out though, that I have to lower the top stone a little since it touches the walls, which ended up in reduced heat flow. But other than that, the first test run was pretty good. I guess it needs a little tweaking here and there.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 04, 2008, 12:20:24 AM
Essen.....I picked up the tee shirt today. Long sleeves perfect for the long German winter that is right around the corner.

      Thanks again, Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 04, 2008, 01:08:36 AM
Villa,

Glad you got it. Long sleeves are always good in Germany during the Fall and Winter months.

I only had six made, three for you guys - the hardcore LBE maniacs (myself included) - one for my buddy who helped me built the LBE after Villa's original design, and two for me. Well, it's only one now since one shrank. When that happened my girlfriend just shook her head. Should have washed it cold. But in BHC's case, I'd wash it hot.

Anyway, it was my pleasure to send them out and I hope you're enjoying them.

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on September 05, 2008, 10:12:24 AM
I love your new lid design Essen, it looks great. Especially like hte door system. I'm thinking of doing something similar with my LBE, but honestly it works so well, that i don't know if i want to putz with it!

Last night i baked up 2 nice margherita pies. 67% hydration dough, using KA all purpose flour, 0.15% IDY, 4% salt. I really like the way it handled. Very easy to stretch evenly and thin. I have to make the next batch using my sourdough as this dough wasn't super flavorful after 48hr cold rise.

i'm using an Old stone Oven 16" round pizza stone now, and so far it's holding up well.


Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 05, 2008, 10:48:42 PM
Thanks Jason.

But like they say "If it ain't broke don't fix it". I still have my other lid just in case if something should happen to the new one.

Your pizzas look excellent!

You said the crust wasn't all that flavorful after 48 hrs. Have you considered using a starter?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 05, 2008, 11:24:37 PM
Jason....Your pizzas look fantastic and very authentic.

I must echo Essen in his recommendation in using a quality starter. I recently purchased the Italian starters from Sourdough.com and although I've only made one batch, my taste testers tell me this was the best pizza I have made yet, hands down. The Ischia starter is extremely active and only a small amount was needed and will literally take your pizza to new heights.

       Villa Roma

     
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on September 06, 2008, 08:30:52 AM
Thanks guys. I do have a sourdough culture, but most of the time i can't use it because it is pretty dormant in my fridge. I feed it once every 1-2 weeks, and it takes 2-3 days to reactivate it when i want to use it. Most time i make pizza dough as a last minute thing.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 06, 2008, 09:32:13 AM
Here's how I keep my starters. I use the 1/2 cup round Glad storage containers so I don't waste a lot of flour. I feed the starter once a week by removing it from the fridge and tossing half of it and then add 1 tablespoon of water plus 1 heaping tablespoon of white flour.

When it comes time to use the starter for pizza I can increase the feedings to accomodate the amount of starter required. This starter is very active so you don't need a lot. Below is a pic after 2 feedings and 8 hours rise. I like to keep the starter fairly stiff so I can just add it to the dough and not have to adjust the hydration level.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 06, 2008, 11:32:40 PM
Villa,

I just activated one of my two starters that were dormant in the fridge for a couple of months for tomorrow's pies.

I stirred the hooch back in, took 1/2 cup of it and fed it 1/4 cup KABF and 1/4 cup water. It's an all KABF starter and the smell was unbelievably smooth and pungent but not sour. It had just a hint of sourness to it.

We'll see how it turns out. Jason, take heed!  ;D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 06, 2008, 11:43:39 PM
By the way...I forgot to mention that I got two lazy susans in but forgot them at work.

Villa, refresh my memory and let me know how they worked for you in terms of lubrication and high heat?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 07, 2008, 01:26:27 AM
By the way...I forgot to mention that I got two lazy susans in but forgot them at work.

Villa, refresh my memory and let me know how they worked for you in terms of lubrication and high heat?

When I first fired up the LBE with the LS it smoked like crazy until it burned off the grease used for lubricating the bearings. After that the action was a little sticky so I would suggest cleaning the grease out of the bearings with some type of solvent like mineral spirits before exposing the LS to high heat.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 07, 2008, 02:52:30 AM
Thanks, bro.

I have a heated ultrasonic cleaner (not the jewelry kind) and special solution I work with every day. I'm gonna clean the LS to get the grease out and see if I can get a high-temp lube somewhere.  :-\



Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 07, 2008, 10:26:51 AM
I made two batches of pizza today using only the Ischia starter (no yeast). The first two pizzas are whole grain and the last three are white flour pizzas (WFPs). I let them rise at 65 degrees for 24 hours. For the WFPs I used 2/3 harvest king and 1/3 GM organic AP flour but tightened up the hydration a bit to 72%.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 08, 2008, 04:02:03 PM
Okay, did a second test run yesterday evening and it went fine.

I made five pies, 300gr. each, and gave three away to neighbors. Unfortunately used way too much yeast since I had to punch down the dough twice during proofing. The crust turned out fine, though, and the flavor was great. The first pie went in at around 720į. I used fresh whole-milk mozzarella and wasn't too happy about how runny the cheese turned out so I increased the temp a bit.

Here are some pics of a cheese pizza and a ham/artichoke/garlic pie. The pizza that turned out the best, a salami/pepperoni/garlic, I gave away to my neighbor and didn't take a pic of it  :'(

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on September 08, 2008, 07:28:05 PM
Hrmmm...looks awesome essen!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 09, 2008, 02:49:35 PM
Thanks, Jason.

I wasn't too happy with the dough, though. Too much yeast by accident and it was way too much on the chewy side than crispy.

Anyway, I'll be making another batch tonight and see how it'll turn out at 800į and above.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: sourdough girl on September 09, 2008, 04:59:27 PM
Mike,

Glad to see you've got the "new" lid up and running... and the results look GREAT!!  Noch ein gutest Abendessen!  Und fŁr dein Nachbarn, auch!  I'll be watching for coming attractions!

~mots aka sd

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 09, 2008, 05:58:10 PM
Mots,

Glad to see you're back in action.  ;D

Yes, the "old/new" lid works amazingly well. I'm still getting accustomed to it and its little differences. So far it has been fun, though.

Yes, my neighbors loved the little Abendessen a bit too much, I'm afraid. They already put another request in for some more pizza!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: sourdough girl on September 09, 2008, 07:02:12 PM
Thanks, Mike!

So, are all the mods to the lid finished?  The ones you had planned on.... other than lowering the top stone, I mean... 

And, now that I'm back in action, at least for a while, I will have to rev up the 2stone again... I'm CRAVING a high-heat pizza and your photos are making me even more hungry!!

And hey, if the neighbors are putting in requests, that means they LOVE your pizza... so you must be doing it right!  Hope the new lid continues to improve your pizzas!  And, kudos to VR for the original design!  As a chaser of high-heat, this thread is great to read!

~mots aka sd
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 09, 2008, 10:54:23 PM
Mots,

after the second test run, I had second thoughts on lowering the top stone. The temp was a lot higher this time than during the first try-out and both stones, top and bottom, performed very well. Of course, there's always room for some tweaking here and there, but overall it works just great. The fiber blanket-lined walls make a huge difference.

In terms of improving my pies, the lid's doing a fine job but I think I should stop tinkering around with my dough formulas the way I have lately, i.e. too much yeast, too high of a hydration, shorter proofing times, etc., and get back to basics.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on September 10, 2008, 04:43:43 AM
Here's how I keep my starters. I use the 1/2 cup round Glad storage containers so I don't waste a lot of flour. I feed the starter once a week by removing it from the fridge and tossing half of it and then add 1 tablespoon of water plus 1 heaping tablespoon of white flour.

When it comes time to use the starter for pizza I can increase the feedings to accomodate the amount of starter required. This starter is very active so you don't need a lot. Below is a pic after 2 feedings and 8 hours rise. I like to keep the starter fairly stiff so I can just add it to the dough and not have to adjust the hydration level.

      Villa Roma

Hey VR, do you know about Varasano's pizza excel spreadsheet ? You enter hydrations and quantities you want, and it adjusts all the inputs, including how much starter and yeast to use, taking into account the starter hydration. It's great. Find it here: http://www.varasanos.com/Dough/PizzaRecipe.xls

So you feed your starter once per week, and then it comes back and is ready to use after 2 feedings? How far apart are the feedings?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 10, 2008, 02:24:45 PM
Hey VR, do you know about Varasano's pizza excel spreadsheet ? You enter hydrations and quantities you want, and it adjusts all the inputs, including how much starter and yeast to use, taking into account the starter hydration. It's great. Find it here: http://www.varasanos.com/Dough/PizzaRecipe.xls

So you feed your starter once per week, and then it comes back and is ready to use after 2 feedings? How far apart are the feedings?


I feed the starter at about 7 am and then around noon and it's ready sometime in the late afternoon. So about 5 hours between feedigs is a good ballpark estimate at around 72 degree room temperature.

      Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on September 10, 2008, 03:23:07 PM


I feed the starter at about 7 am and then around noon and it's ready sometime in the late afternoon. So about 5 hours between feedigs is a good ballpark estimate at around 72 degree room temperature.

      Villa Roma

wow, it comes back to life pretty fast.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: andreguidon on September 10, 2008, 04:34:23 PM
yea....

once i fed the starter around 7 pm and went to the gym, wen i came back at 9 pm it was more then double..... when they are active, they are active !!!

usually wen a activate the starter at night is to make bread....
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 14, 2008, 10:09:14 AM
Here's 2 pies from today's bake-o-rama. I made a few tweaks.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 14, 2008, 12:35:31 PM
Villa,

I'm wondering what you tweaked? The LBE or the dough formula? Either way, they are nice looking pies. Looks like one is a whole wheat?

Speaking of tweaking, I rearranged the bottom stones for last night's third and final test run. I switched the stones, put the Fibra-D on the bottom, put a lazy susan on top and then my larger cordierite stone on top of it. Even though I cleaned out the grease from the LS, the first 20 mins you could still smell the remaining grease burning off, although there was no excessive smoking involved. However, under high heat, the LS performed very poorly and seized operation at some point altogether. I think I'm just going to use it as a buffer for now until I can find some high-temp lube. Good thing is, since I ordered three Lazys, I have two more to experiment with.

Anyway, I went back to basics with last night's formula. No starters, no fresh yeast, no excessive hydration. But, I added some EVOO to the dough. The dough went through a three-day cold fermentation and a six hour RT rise before being shaped into individual dough balls. The taste wasn't as good as it is with fresh yeast or an added starter but it was still exceptionally good. The crust was light, had a nice crunch to it but also was easy to fold. I wish it would have had a bit more oven spring, though.

Both pizzas were cooked at around 800į, were rotated three times and were done in about 2.5 mins. The cheese was diced Polly-O.

The formula:

730 gr KABF (100%)
460 gr Water (63%)
11 gr Salt (1.5%)
9 gr EVOO (1.2%)
2 gr ADY (0.27%)

Some pics. The first one is a sun-dried tomato, arugula and prosciutto di parma and the second is a sun-dried tomato, arugula, salami and ham pizza.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on September 14, 2008, 02:14:48 PM
Essen....Nice pies, looks like that new lid is really working out nicely. I'll take a #2 to go!

I tweaked the recipe for the white flour pizza. I used GM unbleached AP flour, lowered the hydration to 69% and raised the Ischia starter to 5%.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 14, 2008, 03:10:32 PM
Villa,

The new lid works great so far. It seems it gets hotter with each firing.  :chef:

How was the taste and texture with the increased starter?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 25, 2008, 02:50:53 AM
A couple of nights ago, and after three test runs, I fired the LBE up again.

Between the latest use of the LBE and itís last test run, I pondered over the problem of how to increase the top heat, without lowering the ceiling stone itself. First of all, the Lazy Susan elevated the bottom stone a bit and improved air flow underneath the stone, which is normally great but the bottom stone got a lot hotter than the top stone, which I didnít really care for. I was shooting for a bottom-to-top ratio of about 650į/800į .

I found out that it was difficult to achieve with the side vent open during heat up. Plus, I donít need the over-the-top-out-the-side-vent heat just yet. So I covered the vent with a thick layer of aluminum foil, but only during the heat up stage. I kept the flame on a medium low for the first 30 mins, monitoring the bottom & top stone every five minutes.

After 30 mins, the top stone sported a nice 750į, while the bottom was at about 620į. Another 15 mins got me where I wanted to be and I opened the side vent to allow more air to be drawn in from underneath, creating a draft. Thatís when the first pizza went in.

I remembered what our member Jason said about his gig on how he bakes a pie:

ďSo far Iíve figured that the best stone temp is about 650. I put the pizza on, then crank up the burner as high as it'll go to really get the hot air flowing.Ē

I didnít crank it up to full blast once the pie went in but I raised the temp significantly, actually so far that the hot air out of the side vent burnt off some of the hair on my right forearm. As hot as it got, I noticed a minor but fixable flaw with Jasonís procedureÖthe bottom stone was getting way too hot after the second pizza, due to the burner being at almost the maximum output for a 2-minute time span. Needless to say that the third pizzaís bottom was a lot more charred than I prefer.

The way I fixed that problem was actually simple. After the third pizza came out, I lowered the flame down to a minimum and opened the door for about a minute, then closed it but left the side vent open for another minute, before measuring the temp. The temp on both stones was still slightly higher than what I was shooting for, but acceptable. It meant the next pizza required a watchful eye, but would also bake faster. It turned out great.

However, I donít think a LS is a good addition to the LBE unless you use it for increasing the air flow underneath a stone. I think the chance of burning the bottom of a pizza, when not being moved around on the stone itself, is much greater than if you lift it up and turn it because by turning it, you create new air flow underneath the skin, which increases an even bake of the crust.

Iím still working out some kinks, though.  Comments, questions and helpful tips are appreciated.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on September 25, 2008, 06:01:40 AM
Essen, that's pretty much what i do. After each pizza is cooked, i lower the flame to very very low...allowing the bottom stone not overheat
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on September 25, 2008, 07:06:44 AM
Hey Essen1 hows it going :DGood looking pies bro! It's great to hear how you are consistently trying to improve your on your designs.
I totally agree with you on covering up the side vent during the warm-up, it also works well for me.I know we are not comparing 'apples with apples' as both our designs are quite different but a simple LS has worked well for me.The air flow between the 2 bottom stones seems to make no difference on my LBE. After a 20min warm up I'm getting a bottom stone temp of around 800F and a top stone of about 950F.The pies cook to perfection in aprox.1min 15sec.With my smaller 14'' version of the LBE I found the best temps were around 670F bottom & 800F top but now with the new version I'm quite confident using much higher temps and am able to keep it  pretty consistant pie after pie.Like yourself I don't turn the burner to full during the bake but do increase it some what. If the temp does get a little to high before the next pie goes in I simply shut the burner down for about a minute or so and then in she goes.Whats your burner rated? I recently up graded to a double ring 120,000 btu burner and it's fantastic at keeping even heat distribution.I guess the biggest difference between our two cookers is that mine a 19'' dia. kettle has very little interior volume and that in itself could  play a large part in heat  distribution.Anyway keep up the good work Essen, it's always great to hear how you guys are nutting out the flaws in the quest for perfection. 

Pizzacraver
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 25, 2008, 08:17:56 PM
Jason,

don't get me wrong, I didn't mean to imply that your heating regimen is bad, it just has flaws in terms of using it with my LBE. But I think we're on the right track to achieve an even heat.

PC,

My burner is 55,000 BTUs. I know that's on the low side and I was thinking of upgrading to a higher one. You may be right about the internal volume and such. I wonder if you have a pic of your burner, so I know what to look for.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on September 27, 2008, 09:20:19 AM
Hi Essen this is a pic of my new 120,000BTU burner and the other pic is it compared to the smaller 50,000BTU burner (they are made by the same company).
I find I have much better heat control with the double ring.Oh and a pie I made for lunch today :D

Pizzacraver :chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 27, 2008, 09:55:12 PM
PC,

I did a little bit of research on my Bayou burner and it turns out that I already have a high-pressure burner installed. It's the regulator that is low-pressure (10Psi), which only produces 55,000 BTUs.

So, I ordered a new regulator kit and orifice and that'll bring my burner up to a 185,000 BTUs.

Thanks for the help and info, bro. And your pizza looks great, as always  :chef:

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on September 27, 2008, 10:59:49 PM
Hey guys, I'm testing prototype pizza stones over at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7071.msg62275.html#msg62275
Bill's Engineered Ceramics Alumina stone is great for LBEs! :pizza:

Vic
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 28, 2008, 03:09:52 PM
Fingerstyle,

I saw that thread.

Personally, I think an alumina stone might get too hot in the LBE. On the other hand, my favorite stone, a cordierite, cracked during the last bake. Well, it had a hairline crack to begin with, when I first got it.

How's the performance of the alumina stone?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on September 29, 2008, 09:28:13 AM
Performance is great. I found a direct heat buffer below  (16" steel pan in this case) very necessary, ditto lower burner than required for other stones/firebrick I've used. Holds heat remarkably well. Best leoparding I've had yet - though that may have more to the long rise. Will add bottom pic today.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: anton-luigi on September 30, 2008, 10:07:09 AM
 After seeing some of the pics of the LBE,  I thought I would like to try and build one as well.  Looking out in my garage I see my old Weber kettle grill,  which I will use,  I will buy a new one for charcoal grilling in the spring.  I also happened to stumble onto a construction/teepee heater that is gas fired.  I figured that the heater wasnt up to snuff as far as BTU's goes,  so I passed by it,  but went back and looked at it again,   and found that it is a 250,000 BTU heater!!  Now the burner sits at the bottom of the heating chamber,  and then the chamber itself is roughly 20-24 inches tall,  a diameter of approx 12 inches.  There was a metal dome cover over the top which reflects the heat.  Looking at some of the LBE's that have been built, it looks like the burner is placed directly underneath the cut out opening in the grill.  The way my heater is built would put the burner basically about 2 feet away from the stone surface(actually more like 3 feet,  with the length of the heat chamber,  then the distance from the bottom of the kettle to the cook surface),  any thoughts on whether that would work?  Obviously the 250,000BTU  burner is overkill,  but maybe this way would greatly reduce heat up times.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on September 30, 2008, 11:12:55 AM
If you can remove the dome and fit the chamber up in the webber, I think you're good to go! Welcome to the Society of LBE fanatics!

Vic
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: anton-luigi on September 30, 2008, 11:19:28 AM
Well,  like I said,  it is a tower style heater,  the tube that the burner sits in,  is 12 inches in diameter and the whole tube is approximately 24 inches tall,  so cutting the bottom off of the kettle,  it would sit squarely on top of that tube.  It wouldnt be a problem to cut the tube down in length however, if that was required.  I have already removed the dome from it. 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on October 03, 2008, 04:23:14 AM
I fitted the M2 LBE with a 65,000 BTU burner instead of the monster 180,000 BTU burner. The big burner was too much for the little guy. Sometimes less is more!

   Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on October 03, 2008, 08:16:00 PM
Villa,

You finally came to your senses, huh?  ;D  Looks good, though.

I just installed a new regulator in mine since I had the feeling that the 55,000 BTUs weren't enough. I noticed the heat-up time was too long for the insulated top with just 55,000 BTUs. Now, it'll go up to 185,000 BTUs.

I fired it up last night and it was an impressive boost. It sported a nice blue flame, got extremely hot in a short time and had that "afterburner" sound to it  :chef:

Over the weekend, I'll give it another shot, this time with a pizza in it.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on October 04, 2008, 08:52:21 AM
Speaking of regulators, here's one that's adjustable. I've had it cranked all the way up to 60 psi and it still had headroom. You could probably run 6 LBEs off this bad dog.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on October 04, 2008, 03:39:45 PM
Villa,

Where did you get the regulator? I'm thinking of building a second LBE some time in the near future and if I can hook them up together, perhaps with a 40lbs tank, I could run them in unison with one single regulator for temp control.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on October 05, 2008, 05:27:27 AM
Mike....I found the regulator on E-Bay. It was part of a package that also included a blow torch and hose. It was from a Native American reservation in the southwest and was used to make jewelry.

   Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on October 05, 2008, 11:52:58 AM
Here's a whole grain pizza using the new 65K burner. I like this burner a lot better but it still will climb over 900 degrees if you don't turn it down between pizzas. There's more here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5682.msg62468.html#msg62468

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on October 06, 2008, 09:51:02 PM
Villa,

It's basically a Goldsmith's torch, if you will. A friend of mine is a Stonesetter and I've seen those torches in his workshop before.  And the pie looks great!

I did another run last night with the new regulator and this thing is just amazingly powerful. After the second pie, the metal plate that holds the two bottom stones was glowing red. Even after I turned the burner off. Plus, when I turned the second pie, a burst of extremely hot air got out and burned my thumb. I should have seen it coming. Time to wear heat resistant gloves maybe. 

But it's all good in the pursuit of a good pie.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Engineered Ceramics on October 09, 2008, 07:45:34 AM
Essen1,

I don't know much about pizza oven design, but most of furnaces are designed so that the flue pulls the hot gasses where you want them to go.


It would seem to me like you would want to have your flue in the top center, and have it penetrate the top stone.  This would pull the hot gasses over the pizza and help to keep the top stone hot.

Does that seem to have any merit?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Engineered Ceramics on October 09, 2008, 09:42:52 AM
Propane Regulator are available from mcmaster.com

McMaster is overpriced, but if you can't find it anywhere else it's an option.


Here is the part #

7897A66 Pressure Regulator Std Duty, 1-Stage, Propane, 0-50 PSI, Cga #510  $102.27 Each

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on October 09, 2008, 07:59:21 PM
EC,

With my LBE design, or the way the ceiling stone's mounted to the lid I should say, there's no room for a flue right in the middle of the lid. But I know what you mean.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Engineered Ceramics on October 10, 2008, 08:04:00 AM
i'm thinking of building one of these, what size flue do you have on top?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on October 10, 2008, 10:36:51 AM
i'm thinking of building one of these, what size flue do you have on top?

Its quite a mixed bag, some use the weber 3 hole top vent as is alone, some replace the 3 hole cap with a straight or baffle-adjustable flue e.g., VR's juice can with semi-attached lid as baffle, some use the top vent in conjunction with a side vent cutout, some use only the side vent (me). You can't go wrong by trying w and w/o the as is top vent first, then flue top, then side cutout, to find the combination that suits you. Tons of good info and pics in the original LBE thread http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.0.html - worth reading in entirety.  Have fun
:chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Engineered Ceramics on October 10, 2008, 07:50:46 PM
I think I'd like to try a side loading, with a top vent near the loading slot, or centered over the top and drawn through the top stone.

Rather than cutting a slot in the lid, I think I might try and make a spacer ring with an open space for the door.

I like the idea of the fiber lining (in fact, I have some available at work) but how do you keep the fiber out of the pizza? (maybe at these low temperatures it won't get so brittle and fall apart.)



Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on October 10, 2008, 11:54:49 PM
EC,

The flue, or chimney, is 4" in diameter and welded into the lid as you can see in those pics I've posted on here.

In regards to the ceramic fiber blanket, I got that here:

http://www.axner.com/axner/equipment/superwool-607max-blanket.php

In order to keep the fibers from going onto the pizza, and for better heat retention, I put a couple of ceramic coatings on it. I have to give credit to Red November, because he was very helpful in terms of steering me in the right direction.

The LBE works great and gets amazingly hot in a short time.  ;D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Engineered Ceramics on October 11, 2008, 07:35:43 AM
What product did you use to coat the fiber?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on October 11, 2008, 03:09:06 PM
EC,

I used the ITC 100 HT Ceramic Coating from Axner:

http://www.axner.com/axner/equipment/itc-ceramic-coatings.php

You'll also need a high-temp adhesive since the LBE gets extremely hot with the insulation. The Resbond 907GF works well.

http://www.cotronics.com/vo/cotr/ca_putties.htm

Hope that helps.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Adam T on October 16, 2008, 11:10:26 AM
With all the different options discussed in this whole thread is there any consensus on the best design aspects to incorporate into a Little Black Egg?

Please correct me if I'm wrong but it seems you want the following features...

1. Quality baking stone spaced slightly off the grate or steel plate. (Spacing provided by tin foil spacer or small stones or small briquettes)

2. Restricted air flow up through the grate (or plate) so the air is forced over the pizza from the back to the front.

3. Large air vent in the front.

4. Adjustable air chimney vent in top of lid.

5. Steel plate or stone in top lid to restrict air flow up out of top vent forcing majority of air flow over pizza.

6. If you aren't using a top stone you want a somewhat conical aluminum surface bolted to the top steel plate to direct air flow to top of pizza.

7. Heavy Duty tin foil lining inside surface of top lid and bottom of the grill.

8. Gas burner with an approximate 170,000 BTU output.

9. Optional bearing system to rotate pizza.

10. Optional Hinged door.

11. Optional thermal lining it top lid above top stone or steel plate.

I'm thinking about creating a LBE but would like to get the construction straight in my mind before I start purchasing random components.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on October 16, 2008, 01:40:56 PM
I don't use a top chimney at all...mine is sealed off entirely..
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on October 17, 2008, 03:22:31 AM
Just in case you were wondering, whatever happened to the "Legs" project.




She's so fine she blows my mind.....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on October 17, 2008, 06:21:14 AM
hahah, that's awesome!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on October 17, 2008, 09:48:26 PM
Villa,

That's all I'm gonna say to it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Edz4Fd969Yg

 ;D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on October 18, 2008, 12:25:51 AM
Ha Ha, Legs right up to your neck!

Then there's always this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG5gVE_B6JA&feature=related

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on October 18, 2008, 11:40:01 AM
LOL.  I like this one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_HSmankmVI

Vic
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on October 18, 2008, 09:18:41 PM
Adam,

I think there are so many variations of the LBE out there that it's kind of hard to say what'll work for you. We all have experimented, one way or the other, with different set-ups, burners, stones and vent configurations.

I'm obviously biased, but I personally like the insulation and ceramic coating I put in. However, I also had excellent results with the factory-provided lid. In regards to the vents, I think the side vent is a must. The top vent, well it could be optional I suppose but I have had great results in terms of heat control and air flow.

I think a few things are essential:

1. High-pressure burner
2. Side vent
3. A buffer (metal plate or otherwise) to shield the bottom stones from direct flame
4. Aluminum lining in the top and bottom parts.

Not to mention some high-quality pizza stones.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on October 19, 2008, 12:24:29 PM
The LBE has skinny legs!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Sdib6gd190

   Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Adam T on October 21, 2008, 08:46:20 AM
Thanks Essen.

Tonight I hope to purchase a used Weber 18.5 In. One-Touch Silver charcoal grill. I think it will be a reasonable purchase for $30. Then I'll be on the hunt for a stone and a peel. I have a 30qt. deep fryer I think I can use the burner from. It may take a while to finish but I have a somewhat simple design in mind.

A while back in this thread someone was discussing carbonizing the top stone with sugar. (was it the top?) What is the purpose of that? Does the stone retain heat better then?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on October 21, 2008, 01:37:42 PM
Adam,

No problem.

For some quality stones, I'd look into a cordierite, a Fibrament-D or a Big Green Egg type. Don't use the cheap stuff Bed & Bath, Walmart or Target sells. They're useless.

It was Red November, our science guru  ;D, who suggested to carbonize the top stone with either some syrup or maybe honey. But to explain in detail what exactly it will do, you'd have to ask him.

Here are some links for pizza stones, to get you started:

http://www.bakingstone.com/

http://www.akitchen.com/store/pizza-stones.html

http://www.biggreenegg.com/setters.html
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on October 27, 2008, 09:56:09 AM
!!!!!!!SOMEBODY CALL 911!!!!!! :-D :-D :-D

I just made a red hot smokin pizza. This is guaranteed to cauterize your innards and you may want to put on the movie Blazin Saddles because if you eat this pizza your saddle will be blazin.

I started out with a layer of hot salsa, then a cheese mixture of jalapeŮo montery jack mixed with crushed Doritos fiery habanero chips. Then came the ham marinated in chipolte hot sauce, next some refried beans and jalapenos and last was a handful of chopped black olives. I also sprinkled some crushed red pepper over the top.

   Villa Roma

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on October 27, 2008, 01:16:20 PM
Yumm! Fine looking pies! Pepperoni & Jalapeno (pickled ) is my favorite hot combo. Great with fresh alfalfa sprouts.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on October 27, 2008, 02:31:22 PM
Great looking pizza and interesting toppings!

Well, once your innards have been thoroughly cauterized and you have to make that inevitable and dreadful trip to the ceramic bowl, I suggest you strap yourself in, hold on for dear life and have a fire extinguisher near by.

Just trying to look out for you, Villa.  ;D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on November 02, 2008, 02:14:36 PM
Essen...Thanks for covering my back, bro!  I made 5 of those fire breathing >:D pizzas and I ate the last one yesterday. Good thing I inherited a cast iron stomach from my dad. I brought one into work for one of my dedicated taste testers and it got the big thumbs up.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: panafone on November 21, 2008, 04:18:32 AM
hi everybody, i'm very interested in making my very own lbe but here in malaysia a weber is very expensive. is it still possible to get the high temperatures by using coal or even firewood so i don't have to do any modifying. maybe if i let it heat up longer or something, any ideas?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on November 21, 2008, 09:48:23 AM
hi everybody, i'm very interested in making my very own lbe but here in malaysia a weber is very expensive. is it still possible to get the high temperatures by using coal or even firewood so i don't have to do any modifying. maybe if i let it heat up longer or something, any ideas?

Webers are a great starting point where they are available and not too expensive - good size, durable, good shape. But lots of other housings might be used for an LBE. If you're handy with a cutting torch and/or sheet metal, the sky's the limit. If you want to do minimum modifications, look for parts that can be put together - a vertical component - a cylinder or box to support for the pizza stone, and capture heat,  open at the bottom for your fuel, closeable at the top, to load, turn, and unload pies. (steel drum, clay/concrete pipe, etc...)

Coal and wood might be doable, but properly venting, and regulating the heat from them in an LBE would be (cough) challenging (compared a propane burner). You might need a bellows/blower to get and keep the fire hot enough. I had a buddy who used to have a small foot pumped forge - now that plus a lid would have made a killer coal LBE (and you'd work off some pizza pumping the forge) - LOL.

Good luck &  let us know what you come up with.

Vic
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on November 21, 2008, 10:18:13 PM
Fingerstyle,

You might be up to something here, with your advise.

I was thinking about what you suggested and it could actually work. But I think the use of an automatic air pump, the ones you use for air mattresses or inflatable boats, would be a necessity. Run on a very low setting, of course, and with excellent ventilation.

I'd also suggest a mix of real firewood, briquettes and chunk charcoal. I'm sure a 22.5" Weber could be turned into a wood-fired LBE. Great thinking, FS!  ;D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on November 23, 2008, 01:19:25 AM
Hey guys after reading your comments I just thought I would add my two bits and say that after 3 months of my own trials  last year I came to the conclusion that using - lump coal, briquettes and or real wood in conjunction with the LBE in my opinion just isn't such a good idea  .The bottom line is you don't have the control needed on the bottom stone.I've tried many different  set-ups using a 22'' and 14''kettle with consistently disappointing results.Lump coal being the one to reach the highest temp the fastest will heat the oven quite satisfactory to begin with and the first pie will bake fine but with  each and every other consecutive pie  baked you will have less and less bottom stone control, resulting in lots of burnt bums :(. Keeping the temps between top and bottom stone balanced is where it gets hard and finding the techniques to do so can be quite a challenge (it can really do your head in).Removing the bottom stone temporarily to bring down the  temp is one way to overcome the prob (which is what I ended up doing most times), but the hassle of doing that I my opinion just isn't worth the effort.Nothing beats the precise control of a propane burner.Thats just my opinion,hope that might helps future LBEers'.  Pizzacraver :chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on December 13, 2008, 06:59:44 PM
PC,

I think you're right with your assessment of temp control. But it would be nice to get some of the smokey flavors a wood-fired oven produces into an LBE cooked pie.

Any ideas?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on December 15, 2008, 06:35:01 AM
Hi Essen,


Hows your LBE  going?

 I'll bet those pies are still magnificent bro! ;D
 
 In regards to getting a smokey wood fired flavour I did try using a little hickory wood on the edge of the bottom stone, but in all honesty it added nothing to the end result :(
 It would be great to achieve that added dimension flavourwise but brother after having eaten (for the first time in ages I might add) a local store bought pizza,YES! sacrilegious I know but it was late night,I was at work and it was the general consensus.
 MAN!!!! TOTAL CRAP would be an understatement.
 I'm happy to conclude( and I'm sure you would agree Essen) that home baked pie with or without the wood fire flavour cooked at high temps with the LBE (and right dough of course) produces a pie that is still  leaps and bounds ahead of anything you could ever get at the likes of places such as  Dominos,Pizza Hut etc. I sure was reminded of that the other night.
.
 It's a bummer but there's not many places here that make quality Neapolitan or NY style pizza..... hence not as many people here have been exposed to goooooood pizza.
 Oh well.....Maybe one day.

 
 ...........and thank you again Villa for without the LBE here 'Downunder' my pizza making would be 'Down&without'.


Pizzacraver :chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on December 15, 2008, 02:25:45 PM
PC,

the LBE's fine.

I haven't had much chance lately, well the last couple of months I should say, to fire it up. Business is crazy during the holidays, and on top of that I had to move out of my old apartment due to the building being sold. Anyway, I found a great place across the GGB in Sausalito and it's time to get back into the pizza making groove. As a matter of fact, I have a dough in the fridge as we speak, for a 3 - 4 day cold-rise w/Ischia starter.

I agree with you when it comes to places like Pizza Hut and Dominos. The quality is just not there, but some people like their pies, I guess.

In terms of the wood-fired flavor, I thought maybe adding some wooden chips around the edges of the bottom metal plate. Btw, that plate gets red hot since I installed a new regulator valve. The output went from 55,000 BTUs to a 185,000 BTUs.

How's the Tee holding up?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on December 17, 2008, 01:17:53 AM
The Tee is holding up well thanks Essen ;D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on December 17, 2008, 01:39:47 AM
PC,

Now I understand why you said you're a little camera shy yourself and had your buddy pose with the Tee...you don't look half as good as your pies do, Bro.

JUST KIDDING!!!  ;D

The Tee looks good, just like new.

When I wear it in San Francisco sometimes, people read the front and you can see they are trying to figure out what an egg has to do with a pizza oven! It's hilarious.

P.S.: I see you still have that droid around. Where's C3-PO when you need him???
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on December 17, 2008, 05:16:00 PM
 Yeah! Yeah!..........Someone has to have a head like mine so as to make the rest of you look good :-D

 However...... on a more interesting note does changing the valve in the regulator really increase the output of the burner by that much?

 I've not heard about that before.

 Any dangers associated with it?

  Pizzacraver.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on December 17, 2008, 05:22:51 PM
PC,

apparently it does. The new regulator valve I bought from the Bayou Company was listed as 185,000 BTU's and the burner I had installed was already high pressure burner.

So far I have not had any bad incidents or dangerous scenarios, except for the bottom plate getting red hot.

Here's the valve I bought:

http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/m5hpr1_propane_regulator.htm
Title: First LBE and first pizza's
Post by: Mignanelli Pizza on December 26, 2008, 09:23:01 PM
I decided to put together a LBE over the weekend. My LBE has the basics, two stones, tin foil, minus the air filter and top stone (or metal piece to reflect heat to top). My dough was 63% Hydration and only starter, flour, and salt. As you can see from the pics below, the tops of the pizza's cooked much slower than the bottom. Each pizza cooked in under 2:45 and all were burned or slightly burned but the top of the pizza was not fully cooked. I'm still very excited to have an LBE and with a few tweaks, I'll be making great pizza. Thanks for all the shared insights.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on December 27, 2008, 03:40:41 AM
Mignanelli Pizza..............
Great first attempt :)
If you're after a little more heat over the top of the pie
try cutting a side vent, it works a treat!
Love to see some photo's of your LBE & burner if possible.
 

Pizzacraver  ;D

Title: Re: Little Black Egg Burner
Post by: Matthew on December 27, 2008, 10:17:13 AM
Hi All,
I plan on building my LBE & was wondering what burner to use.  I am using a weber 18.5" kettle grill & am debating between the Bayou SP10 & the SP50 with the 20psi regulator kit.  Is there any disadvantage to going with the SP50 which is 9" taller?  Also, what would be the optimal hole size to cut in the bottom of my grill to fit this burner?

Thanks,
Matt
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Mignanelli Pizza on December 27, 2008, 10:22:03 PM
Mignanelli Pizza..............
Great first attempt :)
If you're after a little more heat over the top of the pie
try cutting a side vent, it works a treat!
Love to see some photo's of your LBE & burner if possible.
 

Pizzacraver  ;D


THX! I will upload photos later this week after I modify my LBE. Do you think creating a side event without a top stone will do the trick or do you suggest doing both? Has Villa Roma added a side vent? I noticed he does not have one on his LBE but this was only in his early posts.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on December 27, 2008, 10:53:53 PM
Matt,

I have the 30 qt. Turkey Fryer Kit I purchased at Home Depot and replaced the 10 PSI valve with a 20 PSI valve. Major improvement in heat!

http://bayouclassicdepot.com/3016_turkey_fryer_kit.htm

When you look at the feet, I think it's sturdier than those flimsy-looking camping burners. The hole I cut out is about 11 inches in diameter.


However, if you're into space designs and a high-performance LBE, chat up Villa Roma and Pizzacraver. Those are our two space cadets on here  ;D, as you can see here:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.380.html

They produce out-of-this-world pies, though!  :chef:

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on December 28, 2008, 06:26:12 AM
Essen,
I've been following you, Villa Roma & Pizzacarver since Villa Roma's initial post & you guys rock.  You guys have taken this thing to crazy levels, especially you, your LBE looks awesome.  Thanks a lot to all of you for your fantastic posts.  I'm in Toronto,Ontario, Canada & I don't believe that there are any distributors for the Bayou Classic here in Canada so I pretty much have to order from an online retailer.  I wasn't aware that Home Depot Carried it, thanks a lot, I may take a drive across the border to pick one up.  Just out of curiosity, why did you go with the Turkey Fryer instead of the SP10 that already comes with the 20psi regulator , I'm guessing that it was because the turkey fryer appears to be more stable that the SP10.  When you replaced the regulator did you have to change the orifice as well?

I know that Villa Roma used a jigsaw blade to make his cutouts manually on the Grill.  Did you or anyone use an actual jigsaw or am I better off doing it manually?

I don't remember, did you add a lazy susan to your machine?  If so, can you please tell me what you used & how you set it up.  Some photos & instructions would be great. 

Thanks again,
Matt
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on December 28, 2008, 07:11:57 AM
Mignanelli,
If you have the time and the inclination adding a top stone as well as a a side vent will improve the LBE immensely.... but if I was  to only opt for one then go the side vent.Thats how you'll draw more heat over the top of the pie. As for VR's LBE step-up I think he still uses a side vent but you would be better off checking in with him.

Matt,
I'm not all that familiar with bayou style cookers but just to embellish on what Essen had to say ......... anything that can increase the output to 50,000 btu and over is going to be a decent heat source. With an 18''  kettle heat up times will just be a little longer.

Essen!!!
 Bro......... You callin' me a space cadet...
 as far as aerospace is concerned,
any connection :-D :-D :-D

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on December 28, 2008, 07:47:09 AM
Matt
 
I used a fine 100mm cutting disc with my angle grinder to do my cut outs.It made the job very quick and easy.
 
With a large enough side vent ....you can feed the pie through, which means  the lid doesn't have to be lifted up during the bake hence not as much heat loss.


A lazy susan is the way to go in my opinion. A simple bolt through the bottom stone with a washer or two separating the stone above  is all you need to get it going.
 
My photo on this post might help clarify http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.400.html

Pizzacraver :D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on December 28, 2008, 11:20:28 AM
PC,
Thanks a lot for the advice.  What size opening do you recommend on the side vent?  From what I've read, most people have had a lot of success with side openings of about 1.5" h x 8" w.  It would definitely be beneficial to load the pizzas without opening the lid, but would a bigger opening allow for too much air flow?  I'm not planning on installing a top vent. 

Great solution for the LS, What do you use to spin it?  Does the stone remain stable while you spin it?  I'm wondering if you could increase the stability of the top stone by placing the bolt through the top stone as well & then sandwich a couple of washers between the 2 stones? ???

Matt
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on December 28, 2008, 01:50:56 PM
Matt,

I had a buddy of mine do the modifications on my LBE since he owns a metal shop and has all the necessary tools handy. For the side vent he used a plasma cutter. I'm sure you don't have one, well who does anyway, but I'd use PC's suggestion and use an angle grinder.

The size of the opening on my LBE is about 8" wide and 2" high. In regards to the top stone, here's how I did it:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.180.html

And here's the lazy susan I use. It's fairly stable but I noticed after numerous uses that it becomes a bit harder to rotate since the lube's burned off.
Title: Bayou Classsic Burner
Post by: Matthew on December 29, 2008, 11:39:58 AM
Hi All,
I am looking at purchasing a Bayou Classic burner for my LBE so I spoke to one of the reps at Bayou classic today to find out my best options & learned the following: (they don't have a website but their catalog can be viewed at http://www.thebayou.com/Pages/Print_files/Catalog%202008_02.swf)

They are listed in terms of BTU's & Pressure:

-The Banjo Cooker KAB4 is the most powerful at; I believe he said, 150,000 btu's @ 30psi.  The problem with this is that it doesn't have a support ring on top so will probably not be the best choice.

-The SP10 is a High Pressure Burner which is rated @ 55,000 btu's @20 psi.

-The Turkey Fryer 3066A is a low pressure burner that is also rated @ 55,00 btu's @ 10psi.

He did also mention that the SP10 is a welded unit & very stable vs the turkey fryer which is bolted together.  That being said, it seems that a lot of people have used turkey fryers on their LBE without any problems.  I asked what would happen it I bought a turkey fryer and changed the regulator to 20psi and was told that it would be a waste of money as the results would be the exact same.

My dilemma is that I live in Canada so I'll have to order it online & because of shipping, duties, etc it's not going to be cheap so I want to make sure that I order the right one.  I would really appreciate some input so that I can make the best choice. ;D

Thanks in advance,
Matt
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on December 29, 2008, 12:32:02 PM
Matt,

The original website, with all necessary info is here:

http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/


Here's the burner I have:

http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/bg10_cast_iron_burner.htm

And this is the 20 Psi regulator I installed:

http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/m5hpr1_propane_regulator.htm


The Turkey Fryer came with a 10 Psi regulator, but since the burner was already a high-pressure one, I upgraded to the 20 Psi regulator. It gave me a significant increase in heat so I dont' know what the guy's talking about.

He's right that the Fryer is bolted together. However, I recommend it because it is a very sturdy and compact unit. It has to be because it holds a 30 qt. pot on top.

http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/3016_turkey_fryer_kit.htm

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on December 29, 2008, 08:09:50 PM
Matt,
 I use a side opening of 15in w. by 2.5in h. w, thats with a kettle I mod. down from a 22in. to a 19in. I started the vent smaller and then  increased the size a couple of times until it was just right.The bigger opening didn't adversely affect air flow at all but did allow to feed  the pies in effortlessly.
Re- my  LS setup,the top stone has a little divet in the middle of its underside for the tip of the bolt to sit in ,the two stones are separated by a couple of 1in dia. washers that provide stability and smooth rotation when the top stone is seated on the one beneath.On thing to take into consideration is to make the hole that you drill in the bottom stone slightly larger than the bolt that goes through it (allowing for the expansion of the  bolt) otherwise you could end up cracking the stone.I do recall Essen mentioning  something to that effect  in one of his earlier posts.
That said my current LBE is the one I've had the most success with to date.
Hope all goes well with your setup bro and don't forget to post some pics  ;D


Heres a couple of pies I did yesterday :chef:


Pizzacraver :D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on December 30, 2008, 08:50:05 AM
Matt,

The original website, with all necessary info is here:

http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/


Here's the burner I have:

http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/bg10_cast_iron_burner.htm



And this is the 20 Psi regulator I installed:

http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/m5hpr1_propane_regulator.htm


The Turkey Fryer came with a 10 Psi regulator, but since the burner was already a high-pressure one, I upgraded to the 20 Psi regulator. It gave me a significant increase in heat so I dont' know what the guy's talking about.

He's right that the Fryer is bolted together. However, I recommend it because it is a very sturdy and compact unit. It has to be because it holds a 30 qt. pot on top.

http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/3016_turkey_fryer_kit.htm



Hi Mike,
You are absolutely right.  The confusion was with the burner.  I spoke with the people from Bayou Classic & they confirmed that the turkey fryer no longer comes with the BG10 hp burner & would have to be purchased separately along with the 20psi regulator.

Matt
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on December 30, 2008, 08:55:43 AM
Matt,
 I use a side opening of 15in w. by 2.5in h. w, thats with a kettle I mod. down from a 22in. to a 19in. I started the vent smaller and then  increased the size a couple of times until it was just right.The bigger opening didn't adversely affect air flow at all but did allow to feed  the pies in effortlessly.
Re- my  LS setup,the top stone has a little divet in the middle of its underside for the tip of the bolt to sit in ,the two stones are separated by a couple of 1in dia. washers that provide stability and smooth rotation when the top stone is seated on the one beneath.On thing to take into consideration is to make the hole that you drill in the bottom stone slightly larger than the bolt that goes through it (allowing for the expansion of the  bolt) otherwise you could end up cracking the stone.I do recall Essen mentioning  something to that effect  in one of his earlier posts.
That said my current LBE is the one I've had the most success with to date.
Hope all goes well with your setup bro and don't forget to post some pics  ;D

Thanks so much for the advice, I really appreciate it.  I'm going to get working on it soon, unfortunately I'll have to wait for the spring to really test it out unless we have a mild winter.

Matt


Heres a couple of pies I did yesterday :chef:


Pizzacraver :D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on December 30, 2008, 09:06:08 AM


Thanks so much.  Can't wait to start, unfortunately I have to wait until spring.  Hopefully we'll have a mild winter here in Toronto.

Great looking pies man!

I've pretty much perfected my dough recipe & currently use 2 fibrament stones (one over top the other) in a gas fired 48" DCS oven with very good results.  Can't wait to see what happens when those bad boys meet the LBE.

Thanks again to everyone for their help & input.  I'm sure I'll have some more questions once I start.

Matt
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: giant-midget on January 04, 2009, 07:27:08 PM
hey guys,
I joined this forum just to get in on this lbe discussion... has anyone tried the big green egg stone plate setter thing in their LBE's?  Im just asking cause i want to start getting some parts together.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Pizza_Not_War on January 04, 2009, 08:04:31 PM
hey guys,
I joined this forum just to get in on this lbe discussion... has anyone tried the big green egg stone plate setter thing in their LBE's?  Im just asking cause i want to start getting some parts together.


Use the search feature "plate setter" and you will see several posts regarding it!

PNW
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: giant-midget on January 05, 2009, 02:48:04 AM
Use the search feature "plate setter" and you will see several posts regarding it!

PNW

hey pnw, i did use the search function and it did not yield any results of anyone using the "plate setter" in a LBE. is there another search function (search tags etc.) that i should be using?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Pete-zza on January 05, 2009, 06:41:52 AM
giant-midget,

You should use the Advanced search feature of the forum, which you can access by clicking on the icon to the left of the search box at the top-right of each page of the forum. You will get results using that feature that you may not get just using the search box alone as shown. I always use Advanced search feature for that reason.

Peter
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Pizza_Not_War on January 05, 2009, 10:21:54 AM
giant-midget,

You should use the Advanced search feature of the forum, which you can access by clicking on the icon to the left of the search box at the top-right of each page of the forum. You will get results using that feature that you may not get just using the search box alone as shown. I always use Advanced search feature for that reason.

Peter
Peter,

As you say advanced is better, otherwise you only get results from the thread you are in. If you are on the main page and use the regular search you should get results from the entire site.

FWIW

PNW
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on January 05, 2009, 12:58:28 PM
Hey GM,

Welcome to the board.

I have toyed with the idea of using a plate setter but I think the reason I didn't was because the dimensions weren't right for my LBE. I might have to look into that again, though. Other than that, I don't know of anyone who has used the plate setter in an LBE.

Anyway, here's a link from some folks who used it together with the real BGE to make a pizza.

http://www.ramblekatz.com/BGE.html
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: giant-midget on January 08, 2009, 08:18:44 PM
man... some of these LBEs are insane! Alright, i've tried to muddle my way through this thread (mostly picture scanning, and poaching a few choice posts).  Here is what I am buying:

a smokey joe (apparently can get up to temperature in about 15 minutes?)
3 pizza stones (one as a heat shield, one for the actual pie and one for the ceiling (or can someone tell me how to get one of those snazzy metals ones some of you guys have?))
turkey fryer
IR thermometer

btw can my dremel do the necessary cutting for the side vent and base? do you guys have any measurements for cuts on a smokey joe based LBEs?

PS.  how the hell do you guys get all the fabricated metals!!! that is some of the cleanest looking homebrew stuff ive ever seen!  ;D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on January 08, 2009, 11:38:17 PM
Quote
PS.  how the hell do you guys get all the fabricated metals!!! that is some of the cleanest looking homebrew stuff ive ever seen!

You gotta have a buddy who owns a metal shop. It cost me a few six-packs to get the custom metal work done.  ;D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: giant-midget on January 09, 2009, 01:20:04 AM
how much do you think it will cost if i walk into a metal fabricators shop and ask them to make me some sort of disk type apparatus for the roof of a potential LBE?  what sort of metal should i use?

btw there should be some sort of FAQs for newbs like me, so i dont have to ask the same questions that i am sure were asked before me  :-X
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on January 09, 2009, 07:26:18 AM
how much do you think it will cost if i walk into a metal fabricators shop and ask them to make me some sort of disk type apparatus for the roof of a potential LBE?  what sort of metal should i use?

btw there should be some sort of FAQs for newbs like me, so i dont have to ask the same questions that i am sure were asked before me  :-X

GM,
There is no need to have one custom fabricated, the metal on top is nothing more than a round aluminum pizza pan available from pretty much anywhere.  Just make sure that it's not teflon coated.  As far as the opening size for the vent goes, start off with an 1.5" x 8" & see how it goes.  Some have increased the opening so that it's large enough to load the pizza with out having to open the lid.  You can use a dremel to cut the holes but be prepared to go through quite a few cutting disks.  You are better off using a grinder or a jigsaw.

Matt

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: giant-midget on January 09, 2009, 02:41:14 PM
sweet... hopefully i can get one of these things up and running! 

BTW has anyone tried setting a smaller weber inside of a larger one and filling that space in between with cement (but still using the same design)?  Would that help keep the heat trapped and bring down heat times or would it just be a giant heat sink causing heat up times to sky rocket? ???
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on January 09, 2009, 03:38:21 PM
GM,

Before you do any cutting and modifying, I think you should settle on one design and take it from there. It's best to start out simple. You can always make alterations later on, as we all did. The LBE has quite evolved from its original design Villa Roma came up with.

In regards to the metal plate in the lid, I think you should ask VR directly and see how thinks worked out for him. But Matthew is correct, I wouldn't use one that's Teflon-coated.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: giant-midget on January 19, 2009, 03:02:31 AM
alright guys I have my plans set!  Im buying a smokey joe weber and converting it to an LBE.

I am going to use the lid of an 8 inch cast iron dutch oven as the heat buffer hanging under the grates (upside down, so it can act like a pan/ dish inside the LBE) which i'll hang with safety wire. on the grate i'll use unglazed quarry tiles for the cooking surface (mainly cause im on the cheap side to get a proper pizza stone... damn angle grinder, diamond cutting blade, IR thermometer ate up most of my moneys).

Ill cut the base hole, side vent with the angle grinder, as well as a hole in the center of the cooking grate... to give me access to the inverted dutch oven lid hanging under the grate.  Ill put a flipped aluminum pizza pan in the lid of the weber to direct heat back over the pie.  it will be powered by the 10 psi bayou classic burner (about 55,000 btus).

BUT here is the part that i hope adds to the cooker!  The inverted cast iron dish will be my burner plate for wood chips, to add that wood fired flavor to my pies.  Im hoping by adding water soaked chips onto the plate it will give it a small touch of smoke... im just afraid it might get too aggressive with the smoke, in which case using a fruit wood might help, since they are milder in flavour.

What do you guys think?  this would be me bringing two of my loves together.  pizza and smoking :)  i'll post pics on the build, and let you guys know how the pies come out.  hopefully i can get this done soon.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on January 19, 2009, 06:35:06 AM
  it will be powered by the 10 psi bayou classic burner (about 55,000 btus).





You may want to up this to a 20psi regulator & a hp burner which will crank out 185,000 btu's.

Matt
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on January 19, 2009, 01:10:14 PM
GM,

Just a couple of thoughts...

I think you're idea sounds great, however, since several members have experienced the grate starting to sag due to the high heat (incl. myself), I don't know if cutting it up and hanging a heavy cast iron pan off of it is doable.

But by all means, give it a shot and let us know. You could always get a replacement grate from Weber if things should not turn out the way you've intended. But I like the idea with the wooden chips. I have tinkered around with it before but have yet to come up with a solution.

Also, the quarry tiles, when exposed to high heat might crack just as easily as a Bed & Bath "pizza stone".

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on January 20, 2009, 04:44:58 AM
GM,
 
I'm with Essen on that. Hanging something heavy like that off the grate will only speed up the sag process.
As for wood chips I've tried it on numerous bakes but have had no luck :( I'll be interested to see if you have any joy
If its the Smokey Joe your using a burner that puts out 55,000btu is more than enough power
Good luck with you endeavors bro.
Look forward to seeing how things turn out :D


Pizzacraver :chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on January 20, 2009, 06:04:11 PM
GM,

You might want to look at Villa Roma's findings (Reply #510) when he outfitted his small Weber, I believe it was also a Smokey Joe, with a powerful burner before you blast yours into oblivion with a 185,000 BTU beast!  ;D

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.500.html
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: texmex on January 22, 2009, 02:41:17 PM
Wow!  Just wow!

Let me say this: You guys are brilliant! 

I recently purchased a used but not abused kitchenaid mixer and immediately began having thoughts of homemade pizza.  I know my oven hasn't got the balls to do justice to the noble pizza pie, and stumbled upon this site.  First thing that caught my eye was the whole grain dough experiments by Villa Roma.  Let me just say that I am not a big fan of standard pizza, and that's mostly because it sucks at your run-of-the mill pizza joints.  I cannot believe the great information found at this site, but there it is, and I'm overjoyed to have access to it all.

I spent the better part of yesterday and this morning reading every succulent detail of this thread on LBE's and all the various incarnations.   Google has been very busy serving me today.  Being  a big fan of DIY and frugality, I'm an instant fan of DIY pizza ovens and the home-made pies themselves.  We used to make them in the oven many, many years ago, but they just never came out really, really good no matter the amount of dough/tile/oven rack experimenting we tried.  After about a year we gave up on them except on rare occasions, and still, what a letdown.

Y'all reeled me right in on this discussion.  I have an old smoky joe sitting on my patio which hasn't seen fire in over 5 years as it's too small to cook much of anything substantial, and I like to bbq in bulk.  At 2 to 3 minutes a pizza, I'm all ready to retrofit that little grill and start churning out the mini pies.  There's only 2 of us in this house, and I can't think of a better remedy for a low cost pizza oven.

I am lucky enough to have a friend who does metal working and can create some buffer plate set-up, and possibly close up the dome lid a bit.  He also has about 8 turkey fryers (yeah, you should see them cooking at his house, but that's another story)  I can probably finagle a loaner burner for this experiment.  I can hardly believe that I've gone from a simple purchase of a mixer to a born-again pizza fanatic.

If all works well I plan on taking this mini LBE camping.  My sister-in-law has been wanting to make pizzas when we camp, and I told her it could be done, but now I know it can be done very well indeed. 

Thanks for all of the great details.  Your trials are very interesting indeed, and the resultant pizzas are a sight to behold.  I'll post details as I get to them. 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on January 29, 2009, 06:01:22 PM
I wonder how this would work as the base of a LBE??? ???

http://www.pshcanada.com/kilnbuild&repair.htm 

Scroll down to lid/Floor Brick Slabs.
The 18" should fit perfectly.

Matt
 
 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on January 30, 2009, 06:35:01 PM
I wonder how this would work as the base of a LBE??? ???

http://www.pshcanada.com/kilnbuild&repair.htm 

Scroll down to lid/Floor Brick Slabs.
The 18" should fit perfectly.

Matt
 
 


Villa Roma,Essen1, & Pizzacraver, you guys have done the most experimenting & are the LBE "Kings".  What do you think? ???   I will of course have to reinforce the grate so it doesn't sag. 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on January 30, 2009, 07:02:02 PM
Matthew,

I think the idea is great, if it's feasible.

Make sure you leave some room for the hot air to circulate, so that you'll get enough top heat and the LBE heats evenly. Depending on how heavy the slabs are, you might have to replace the grate altogether.

I guess you could take a few bricks out of the slab, maybe around the edges, and install a regular pizza stone on top of it.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on January 30, 2009, 07:19:34 PM
Matthew,

I think the idea is great, if it's feasible.

Make sure you leave some room for the hot air to circulate, so that you'll get enough top heat and the LBE heats evenly. Depending on how heavy the slabs are, you might have to replace the grate altogether.

I guess you could take a few bricks out of the slab, maybe around the edges, and install a regular pizza stone on top of it.



The place is close to my house & I've already bought some corderite slabs from him.  I'm pretty sure that they can do any size circle that you want.  With an 18 " weber kettle, my guess is that 16" would do the trick leaving a couple of inches all the way around for airflow.  You think that I'll need stone over top?  The slab is already going to be 2.5" thick. Do you think that the firebrick will do a better job than a fibrament stone or corderite?  If the result is going to be the same, I mine as well just buy 2 16" round 1/2" pure corderite from him for $19 each.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on February 03, 2009, 10:44:35 PM
Quote
You think that I'll need stone over top?

You mean a ceiling stone? If so, I'd say yes because you want some heat coming from the top not just the bottom. Take a look at all the different LBE desings on here and most, if not all, have the top stone installed.

Quote
Do you think that the firebrick will do a better job than a fibrament stone or corderite?

I can't answer that question since I have not used any firebrick with the LBE. If they are not too expensive and somewhat comparable in price with the cordierite slabs, I'd say test them both out and see how they perform. My suggestion, if you want to go all out, is perhaps to have the firebricks cut in half, length-wise, and line the grate with them first and then put the cordierite on top of the layer of firebricks.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on February 04, 2009, 07:45:05 AM
You mean a ceiling stone?



Sorry Mike,  I didn't mean a top stone, I meant a stone overtop of the firebrick.  I'm using an aluminum pan on the top of the lid as a deflector as oppose to the stone.  In regards to the firebrick, the splits have also crossed my mind & is definitely worth a shot.  Should I leave a gap for air to circulate? 

I noticed that PC's Corederite fits snug on the bottom & then he made a cut out on one side only, to marry up with the cut out on the lid.  PC, just curious how that worked out.

Thanks again guys,
Matt
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on February 05, 2009, 04:49:30 AM
Hey Matt

I've had no experience using firebricks either but it shouldn't be a prob as long as they are not too thick.

My setup uses a  base which I cut to fit snug,but I'm not sure what you mean by cut to marry up with the lid??? Leaving a half inch gap around the perimeter (except for the front section) is to let the heat draw up and over the top of the pie and out the front.
Used in conjunction with a lazy-susan makes for a very even bake.

 The top stone I use in the lid doesn't really serve to cook the top of the pie as much as it is to help reduce the overall interior space which  contributes to a fast warm up and a good even heat.

I have to say I haven't fired her up for a while. Weather heres been REALLY HOT!!! and it just doesn't inspire you to want to get into pizza making but as the summer fades I'll be back into it with a passion.

Hope all goes well with your build bro :D

Pizzacraver
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on February 05, 2009, 06:14:03 AM
Hey Matt

My setup uses a  base which I cut to fit snug,but I'm not sure what you mean by cut to marry up with the lid??? Leaving a half inch gap around the perimeter (except for the front section) is to let the heat draw up and over the top of the pie and out the front.



Hey PC,
That's exactly what I meant bro, just wasn't sure how to describe it.  How much gap did you leave in the front?  I'm guessing by your photo it's about 2 inches.  Looks like you & I have the opposite weather problem, I'll trade with you anytime man.  It's 27 below this morning with the wind chill here in Toronto. :'(

Thanks again for all you advice & help.

Matt
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on February 05, 2009, 07:13:55 AM
 Matt

27 below

 Wow!!!.........can't even imagine that sort of cold

There's no gap around the front third or so of the base, that would inhibit the heat a little from being pulled over the pie.

2 inches might be a bit much, a half inch gap around the rest is all that is necessary


PC
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on February 07, 2009, 05:51:15 PM
PC,

If I remember correctly, I left a 1.5" gap between the walls and the stone. I have to measure it again, though, to be certain.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on February 08, 2009, 01:18:20 PM
It's been cold here so a trip to a nice warm tropical island sounds real good. Hmmmm, Hawaii sounds good!

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on February 09, 2009, 06:19:17 AM
Essen,

You got me thinking so I also went out to measure it again ......

 A tad under half inch gap (not to say larger is wrong)

Just works well for my set-up.

I guess every extra sq in'' of stone you have as a base can only help if you need to move the pie around.


VR

You want warm and tropical weather >:D.......... take a trip down here bro,
coulda cooked that ham & pineapple on my back deck without the LBE this last week!!!

Your pie looks damn tasty I might add ;D

Pizzacraver   :chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Count Crustulus on February 10, 2009, 08:47:32 PM
For the past couple of weeks, with the help of Villa Roma and friends handy in cutting metal, I've put together my mini-LBE. Here's the setup:

I bought a barely used Weber Smokey Joe Silver for cheap. After removing the legs, a friend cut a 5 inch hole in the base, which is set on a Eastman Outdoors Revolution 65000 BTU Propane Burner. This comes with a great, sturdy tripod that fits the kettle perfectly. About an inch under the top grate I hung a foil-lined 10 inch cordierite kiln shelf which I bought online from Clay King. The hanging stone is centered in the kettle. Over the grate I placed a 12 inch cordierite stone, cheated towards the front. The lid of the kettle, completely lined with HD foil, has a 6x3/8 in. vent cut in the front.

After all the cuts were made, I kept my metal-handy friends around for some pizza. We fired it up, walked away to drink some beer, and when we return flames were shooting a foot out of the side vent like an afterburner!  >:D Needless to say, even after we let it cool down, the pizzas were more burned than we would have liked (though still good).

Tonight I practiced with a new dough (salt, flour, water, IDY, 64% hydration), kept the heat relatively low, and then blasted the gas when I put the pies in. The results were much better! Leoparding on the crust, blistering on the cheese. Now I just need to let the stone heat up a bit longer - I was afraid of bottom-burning but got none of that good char on the bottom - and it'll be perfect. I'll get an IR thermometer eventually.

So let's raise our glasses to Villa Roma (and Essen1, Pizza Craver, etc.) in thanks for this wonderful invention that has made spectacular pizza attainable by us mere mortals.

Count Crustulus
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on February 11, 2009, 05:04:01 AM
Count Crustulus

Great stuff !!!!
Your well and truly on your way bro.
I can't emphasize enough how useful an IR meter will further help you along.

Look forward to seeing more of your posts :D

Pizzacraver ;D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on February 11, 2009, 06:36:03 AM
For the past couple of weeks, with the help of Villa Roma and friends handy in cutting metal, I've put together my mini-LBE. Here's the setup:

I bought a barely used Weber Smokey Joe Silver for cheap. After removing the legs, a friend cut a 5 inch hole in the base, which is set on a Eastman Outdoors Revolution 65000 BTU Propane Burner. This comes with a great, sturdy tripod that fits the kettle perfectly. About an inch under the top grate I hung a foil-lined 10 inch cordierite kiln shelf which I bought online from Clay King. The hanging stone is centered in the kettle. Over the grate I placed a 12 inch cordierite stone, cheated towards the front. The lid of the kettle, completely lined with HD foil, has a 6x3/8 in. vent cut in the front.


Count Crustulus

Very nice indeed.  Can you please post some pictures on the interior setup with the corderite shelf.  How did you hang it?  I am assuming that you lined the shelf with foil to reflect the heat to your cooking stone. 

Matthew
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on February 11, 2009, 10:22:38 AM
Nice work Crustulus! How's your under stone foil holding up? When I tried that it melted off LOL. Been using a steel pizza pan since. I like the size of the side slot. Mine's almost big enough to load an 8" pie through, so I mostly cover it with a foil door except when inspecting/spinning the pie. Keep on bakin'
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Count Crustulus on February 11, 2009, 11:15:31 AM
Thanks Fingerstyle! I'm a little worried about the foil. It's turning to a tissue paper-like consistency. And I haven't checked to see if the foil under the stone has melted but wouldn't be surprised given the height and heat of the flame!!!

I'm also concerned about the wire that's holding up the stone. It's becoming brittle and may eventually break, which would probably result in a broken stone. Is there a certain kind of wire that holds up better under high heat? In any case, I'm going to replace the stone with a metal plate or saw blade and may move the stone to the lid section of the LBE.

I'll post some pics of the interior setup soon. All Best,

Count Crustulus
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on February 11, 2009, 11:54:25 AM
Thanks Fingerstyle! I'm a little worried about the foil. It's turning to a tissue paper-like consistency. And I haven't checked to see if the foil under the stone has melted but wouldn't be surprised given the height and heat of the flame!!!

I'm also concerned about the wire that's holding up the stone. It's becoming brittle and may eventually break, which would probably result in a broken stone. Is there a certain kind of wire that holds up better under high heat? In any case, I'm going to replace the stone with a metal plate or saw blade and may move the stone to the lid section of the LBE.

I'll post some pics of the interior setup soon. All Best,

Count Crustulus


Try this: http://www.allpartsgrills.com/item28618.ctlg  I use the 17" coal grate and a steel pizzapan under my baking stone - both work great.

Regards
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Count Crustulus on February 11, 2009, 04:19:30 PM
So you're saying buy a smaller diameter grate, placed under the top grate, to support the lower stone? This is a great idea. Does the lower grate stay stable even though it's not resting on any supports?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on February 12, 2009, 05:11:53 PM
Latest batch of pizzas. 62% hydration, 3.75% salt, 0.5% IDY, overnight in fridge, 6 hours room temp rise before bake. Stone temp about 680, put pizza on, full blast on burner, 2 minutes, done.

I can't think Villa Romma, Essen and all who developed this method enough. I don't think i can eat oven pizza anymore.

Margherita, prosciutto cotto, and potato onion rosemarty oil salt. (copied from Sally's in New Haven. NEed to slice potatoes thinner next time)

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on February 12, 2009, 06:38:10 PM
Very Nice Jason.  How did the quarry tiles on the charcoal grate work out?  Are you still using the ceramic briquettes under the baking stone or did you get rid of them?  I'm going to try PC's lazy susan idea using 2 corderite stones on the cooking grate so that I don't have to remove the cover to spin the pies.  I'm wondering if I should also use ceramic briquettes on the charcoal grate above the burner to buffer the heat to the 2 corderite stones or will that be too much of a buffer?

Matt
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on February 12, 2009, 07:45:02 PM
As a buffer now, on the lower grate i use a single 8" quarry tile placed directly above the burner. So far it's worked well, but i preheat very slowly. It takes me about 40 minutes to get the LBE up to 650-700 deg.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on February 12, 2009, 07:52:31 PM
As a buffer now, on the lower grate i use a single 8" quarry tile placed directly above the burner. So far it's worked well, but i preheat very slowly. It takes me about 40 minutes to get the LBE up to 650-700 deg.

Is the idea of preheating slowly so that you get more even heat on the stone & less hot spots?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on February 12, 2009, 08:32:27 PM
That, and so i don't crack the main stone:)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on February 13, 2009, 05:03:06 PM
So you're saying buy a smaller diameter grate, placed under the top grate, to support the lower stone? This is a great idea. Does the lower grate stay stable even though it's not resting on any supports?

I replaced the grill with a coal grate. I bent the support tangs out to support it (I originally suspended it from the tangs with some S hooks, but then the bake surface was too low (too big a gap between stones and top doesn't  bake as well). The coal grate is stable enough for me to roll the LBE around a bumpy patio on a utility truck.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on February 15, 2009, 07:21:37 AM
Check this out!  With some very simple mods you've got a LBE ready in minutes!  Manufactured by Brinkmann.

The description is as follows:

The All-In-One is the most versatile cooking system ever offered. Itís modular design enables the All-In-One to be used as an LP gas water smoker, gas grill, charcoal water smoker, charcoal grill or 160,000 BTU gas cooker. The smoker body features double grills that can handle up to 50 lbs. Of food. Heat indicator in dome lid eliminates guesswork and wooden handles stay cool. Drip pan/ash guard , porcelain enamel water pan, lava rocks, high pressure gas hose and regulator are included.


Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on February 15, 2009, 12:05:15 PM
Check this out!  All you need is some HD foil, a baking stone (use the included lava rocks as a buffer on the charcoal grate under your stone), a top stone or aluminum pan under the lid,  cut out a front vent & you have a LBE ready to go. The great thing about it is that it already has a hinged lid & the cooking grate can support up to 25lbs.  Manufactured by Brinkman, List price $189.95. 

The description is as follows:

The All-In-One is the most versatile cooking system ever offered. Itís modular design enables the All-In-One to be used as an LP gas water smoker, gas grill, charcoal water smoker, charcoal grill or 160,000 BTU gas cooker. The smoker body features double grills that can handle up to 50 lbs. Of food. Heat indicator in dome lid eliminates guesswork and wooden handles stay cool. Drip pan/ash guard , porcelain enamel water pan, lava rocks, high pressure gas hose and regulator are included.




Cool. I'd just leave the door ajar a few inches, instead of cutting a side vent. Maybe a hook and latch to hold it in that position. Interested to hear results from anyone who splurges on one.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on February 15, 2009, 12:23:02 PM
Cool. I'd just leave the door ajar a few inches, instead of cutting a side vent. Maybe a hook and latch to hold it in that position. Interested to hear results form anyone who splurges for for one.

I'm going to order one next week, I'm not sure how quick I'll get it as their website says that they're on back order.  I'll definitely post the results once I give it a whirl.

Matt
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: DenaliPete on February 16, 2009, 08:14:31 AM
Hrmmm,

What do you figure the width of the grill is?  Hard to tell how much pie you could load into that from the picture.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on February 16, 2009, 09:36:11 AM
Hrmmm,

What do you figure the width of the grill is?  Hard to tell how much pie you could load into that from the picture.

The cooking grate is 15.5" so a standard fibrament round stone would fit perfectly.

Matt
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on February 16, 2009, 01:06:22 PM
My coworkers reminded me that it's been awhile since I benefited them with pizza so I made a batch of Mexi-York-A-Politan pizzas to tame their savage cravings.

I laid down some Wolf brand chili, then some sharp cheddar cheese, a sprinkling of crushed Doritos chips, then some habenaro salsa to which I added some cilantro, finally some sliced black olives and onions.

Bark at the moon (Ozzi).....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: tedious79 on February 16, 2009, 01:53:25 PM
Let me start by saying that this thread is amazing. I love the concept of the LBE, such a brilliant idea.

That being said, you got the bug in me. Over the weekend I hunted down a used Weber 22" kettle on craigslist and started modding it out for a Valentine's day cook. My buddy and I cut the vent out and we hung some 6" quarry tiles that rest atop a replacement charcoal grate that we mounted to the lid with U Bolts. Everything worked out well, the tiles fit snugly and they did not shift during the cook. I also laid down some quarry tiles on the cooking grate to prop up the pizza stone so we could get the pie up close to the top tiles. With just some Kingsford we were able to get some pretty high temps, up into the low 700's (as best that I could tell with my thermometer with a 550 max read that I had probing from the top vent). Pizza's were done in the 3:30-4:00 range. They came out so awesome. I was so impressed.

Anyway, I am already ready to make the jump to propane. Unfortunately, the local hardware stores don't carry the big propane burners anymore, subbed them out for enclosed fryers. However, at walmart I found a. . .

"King Kooker Model #CS14. 25" Tall Portable Propane Single Burner Outdoor Camp Stove with Attachable Interlocking Legs.

25" Tall Heavy Duty Portable Propane Single Burner Outdoor Camp Stove with Attachable Interlocking Legs--Removable Windshield--54,000 BTU Cast Burner--Listed LP Hose and Regulator with Type 1 Connection--Deep Fry Thermometer--Instruction/Recipe Booklet. CSA Design Certified."

I was wondering if any of you had experience with this product or any of the other products in the line. I feel like this would work pretty well, as long as it was used in conjunction with a regulator. What do you think?

Will post some pics of my frankenweber, when I have some time and batteries.

Thanks for your help. This site is my new go to page at work.


Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: kenz on February 17, 2009, 04:46:00 PM
I too am building a LBE, and have a few questions.

I started with a 22 1/2" kettle from Walmart. Since it's bigger than what I need, I decided to use some ceramic fiber blanket in the lid and bottom to reduce the interior volume and also to help retain heat. I was planning to just lay down 2" of the fiber blanket and then cover with the heavy duty foil. Will this provide the effect I want, or is it necessary to cover it with some kind of cement. If so, what type of cement do you recommend.

For the pizza stone configuration, I was planning on using two 15 1/2" Fibrament stones on the bottom, and one 15 1/2" Fibrament stone on the top. I noticed that most are using a smaller stone above. Is there a reason for this, or is it okay to use a larger one.

Also, what is considered a good distance between top and bottom stones? Is 2 1/2" good?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 03, 2009, 06:05:02 PM
Tedious,

You might want to look into the Bayou Classic burners. They have numerous models to choose from.

Kenz,

I think your question has been answered already when you e-mailed me.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on March 22, 2009, 02:22:11 PM
The LBE  has hatched yet another batch of 100% whole grain pizza. I had a can of coconut milk hanging around so I used some in the dough instead of olive oil. This batch was 90% hydration and still held it's shape well.

    Shake your coconuts......Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 22, 2009, 02:25:01 PM
Looks good as usually, Villa.

I wish I could fire up mine again but the weather's not playing along so far.  :'(
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on March 22, 2009, 02:37:31 PM
Thanks Essen, I used to be a slave to the weather but with the mini LBE, I cook in the kitchen. I place the LBE on top of a B&D workmate and let her rip. It hardly uses any gas to boot!

     Less really is more.....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 22, 2009, 02:45:39 PM
Villa,

Unfortunately, I don't have that luxury.

But I have been messing around with dough formulas for the new home oven which, compared to my old one, is a major upgrade and has produced some nice pies so far. Next weekend is suppose to be warmer and sunny and I think it's a good time to dust of the LBE and give it a spin.

The last couple of times I used it, the buffer steel plate got red hot so I need to check into some solution because the stone (Fibra-D) got way too hot.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: tedious79 on March 29, 2009, 06:22:09 PM
Thanks, Essen. I went ahead and bought the Bayou classic and have been having great luck with it.

I have two additional questions:

1. Problems with cooking grate sagging from heat along with a lot of rust buildup. Should I put a lower stone under the cooking stone to buffer the direct heat? Or should I just go out and buy a replacement grate. It wasn't new but it certainly wasn't old, I wonder if this is just going to be a continual problem.

2. I have a cook next Sunday for a friend's party. I am planning on cooking 30-35 pies 10-14" pies. I was wondering if you could provide any advice for a bulk cook on the LBE (I totally love that I can take it anywhere). I am also having some questions about whether or not to use my wild yeast for this cook. It has been a slow leavening agent, it tastes great but takes forever and is really unreliable. Should I just bag it and do an IDY recipe or should I give it a go earlier in the week and attempt to retard it. Or should I do a mixture of IDY and wild? Again any suggestions would be appreciated.

You guys are the best.

Thanks.

Thad
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 29, 2009, 06:34:00 PM
Thanks, Essen. I went ahead and bought the Bayou classic and have been having great luck with it.

I have two additional questions:

1. Problems with cooking grate sagging from heat along with a lot of rust buildup. Should I put a lower stone under the cooking stone to buffer the direct heat? Or should I just go out and buy a replacement grate. It wasn't new but it certainly wasn't old, I wonder if this is just going to be a continual problem.

2. I have a cook next Sunday for a friend's party. I am planning on cooking 30-35 pies 10-14" pies. I was wondering if you could provide any advice for a bulk cook on the LBE (I totally love that I can take it anywhere). I am also having some questions about whether or not to use my wild yeast for this cook. It has been a slow leavening agent, it tastes great but takes forever and is really unreliable. Should I just bag it and do an IDY recipe or should I give it a go earlier in the week and attempt to retard it. Or should I do a mixture of IDY and wild? Again any suggestions would be appreciated.

You guys are the best.

Thanks.

Thad

Thad,

Glad to hear you have success with the Bayou. It's pretty sturdy, safe and really holds the LBE well.

In regards to the grate, I would go and look for a new one, preferably one with a porcelain or ceramic coating on it. The metal ones usually sag a lot. That's why I replaced my grate entirely with a steel plate. No more sagging. And a second bottom stone as a buffer is generally a good idea especially if the LBE runs for an extended period of time.

Well, first off I'd buy two tanks of propane.  ;D Second, I would not go through the entire process of trying to use a starter when there's an uncertainty about it. I'd go with the IDY approach and would just let the dough ferment a day or two longer to achieve more flavor.

But to makes sure, you should maybe ask member Bill/SFNM about starters. He is a capacity in that regard.

Hope that helps a bit...
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 29, 2009, 06:34:49 PM
Matt,

I'm anxious to see your new BBQ in action! That thing looks like it has a ton of LBE potential  ;D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on March 29, 2009, 06:47:14 PM
Matt,

I'm anxious to see your new BBQ in action! That thing looks like it has a ton of LBE potential  ;D

I know; me too, it's taking forever to come in, they tell me that I should have it in a couple of weeks.  A big plus is that the cooking grate can handle up to 50 lbs so I won't have to worry about it sagging.

Matt
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: tedious79 on March 30, 2009, 01:15:06 PM
Thanks again, Essen.

I posted my question under the sponge and starter section.

I will be on the look out for a more durable grill grate. Any suggestions?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on March 30, 2009, 01:22:06 PM
Happened upon this "Alpha" brand natural gas (w low pressure regulator) wok burner in an Asian grocery store yesterday $60. Based on similar looking range burners I'd guess 20-30k BTU. Bet this would make a sweet LBE Jr. Doesn't look nearly as durable as Bayou Classic, but maybe an option for those that don't like propane and don't need the mobility bottles afford.  
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on March 30, 2009, 01:25:43 PM
...I will be on the look out for a more durable grill grate. Any suggestions?

http://www.allpartsgrills.com/item28619.ctlg - works nice in my 18" Weber
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on March 30, 2009, 03:22:25 PM
Check this out!  With some very simple mods you've got a LBE ready in minutes!  Manufactured by Brinkmann.

The description is as follows:

The All-In-One is the most versatile cooking system ever offered. Itís modular design enables the All-In-One to be used as an LP gas water smoker, gas grill, charcoal water smoker, charcoal grill or 160,000 BTU gas cooker. The smoker body features double grills that can handle up to 50 lbs. Of food. Heat indicator in dome lid eliminates guesswork and wooden handles stay cool. Drip pan/ash guard , porcelain enamel water pan, lava rocks, high pressure gas hose and regulator are included.





Amazon has a black one for $139.95: http://www.amazon.com/Brinkmann-810-5000-0-Outdoor-Cooker-Black/dp/B00006WS5E


Not sure if that's the same one you're talking about or not.


Northerntool.com has one for $109.99: http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200184974_200184974
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on March 30, 2009, 04:52:04 PM

Amazon has a black one for $139.95: http://www.amazon.com/Brinkmann-810-5000-0-Outdoor-Cooker-Black/dp/B00006WS5E


Not sure if that's the same one you're talking about or not.


Northerntool.com has one for $109.99: http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_6970_200184974_200184974

That's the one.

Matt
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on April 04, 2009, 11:42:31 AM
Here's a 100% whole wheat/ 100% hydration offering courtesy of the LBE.

    Villa Roma

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Fingerstyle on April 05, 2009, 09:55:49 AM
The LBE  has hatched yet another batch of 100% whole grain pizza. I had a can of coconut milk hanging around so I used some in the dough instead of olive oil. This batch was 90% hydration and still held it's shape well.

    Shake your coconuts......Villa Roma

Great looking pies as usual VR! How would you describe the difference if any incorporating coconut milk in the crust? More tender? Coconut flavor?

 - Vic
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: MTPIZZA on April 05, 2009, 10:29:19 AM
Great looking pies Villa. Hey you had me wondering when you said you were cooking inside now on your LBE... hmmmm... I wonder if there could be a design for an LBE to sit on top of a gas top burner in our kitchen... Taking the "little weber grill" and cutting the hole in the bottom so it would sit completely over the gas burner... then the standard top with the ceramic pizza stone etc.... I wonder if it would heat up to do a great pie...it might take a little longer heat up as I don't think the BTU's of a cooking flame can match the Bayou...but its a thought .... can you make any suggestions in this area???  Could a new LBE be born....??? the new LBEGT..... Little Black Egger Gas Top...
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on April 05, 2009, 11:13:53 AM
Great looking pies as usual VR! How would you describe the difference if any incorporating coconut milk in the crust? More tender? Coconut flavor?

 - Vic

The coconut milk didn't impart any flavor to the crust but it seemed to really kick up the gluten development. The jury is still out on this so I'll have to make a few more batches before a conclusion is made.

       Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on April 05, 2009, 11:27:38 AM
Great looking pies Villa. Hey you had me wondering when you said you were cooking inside now on your LBE... hmmmm... I wonder if there could be a design for an LBE to sit on top of a gas top burner in our kitchen... Taking the "little weber grill" and cutting the hole in the bottom so it would sit completely over the gas burner... then the standard top with the ceramic pizza stone etc.... I wonder if it would heat up to do a great pie...it might take a little longer heat up as I don't think the BTU's of a cooking flame can match the Bayou...but its a thought .... can you make any suggestions in this area???  Could a new LBE be born....??? the new LBEGT..... Little Black Egger Gas Top...

Sounds great, a GT version of the LBE! I made that very suggestion awhile back but the initial reports weren't too promising. Check it out here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.msg60429.html#msg60429 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.msg60492.html#msg60492
If I had a gas cooktop I'd give it a shot. The burner I use now on the Mini Me LBE is rated higher than a normal stove top burner (65K Btu vs 12K Btu) but I keep the flame turned down so I think it's entirely possible.

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jagercola on April 08, 2009, 08:21:40 PM
I'm going to jump in and put together a LBE.  For those that have assembled them before, how are Amazon's current prices below to what you have seen?  Not sure if I should hold out for a sale, look elsewhere, or even look at alternative products.   

Bayou Classic SP10 $59.99
Weber 18.5" Silver Kettle Grill $69.70
Old Stone 16" Round $39.99 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on April 08, 2009, 08:36:34 PM
JC,

check these links out:

The burner:

http://bayouclassicdepot.com/single_propane_burner.htm

For the stone:

http://www.katom.com/166-PS1575.html


I think the Weber price is alright. Home depot has it listed in the same price range.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jagercola on April 09, 2009, 10:05:12 PM
I found some local fire brick for 0.77 and splits for 1.67.  While I don't have any friends in metal shops like some of you do, I do know someone who can cut these up for me.  Maybe two 9"x4.5"x2.5" fire bricks in the bottom, then a 16" round split fire brick arrangement that is 1.25" thick for the cooking surface.  Is there a consensous on what goes best in the top of the grill, metal or clay/ceramic?

Thanks for the help so far!

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: CookEmHorns on April 15, 2009, 04:26:49 PM
I'm going to jump in and put together a LBE.  For those that have assembled them before, how are Amazon's current prices below to what you have seen?  Not sure if I should hold out for a sale, look elsewhere, or even look at alternative products.   

Bayou Classic SP10 $59.99
Weber 18.5" Silver Kettle Grill $69.70
Old Stone 16" Round $39.99 

The SP10 is listed online at Home Depot for $39.95, I'm going to pick one up tomorrow morning.  Did my first batch on my little (dirty) black egg last night, and didn't get the bricks (full sized & cut to fit) anywhere near hot enough.  Pizzas cooked fine, just took about 12 minutes per pie. 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: JConk007 on April 15, 2009, 05:29:50 PM
Matt,
No word on the Brinkman yet?? I am planning to by a grill for the beach/tennis club I belong to, and at $109 at Northern tool this is the one for me! Wait till those burger and dog grillers see the pizza that comes off this bad boy!! :pizza: It will be the hit of the beach if it works. Theres acually a pizzeria that delivers there which I hope will not be rquired this year! Good bartering power too! a small 8" (cheese only) for a few cold beers? ;)
I have not followed complete thread but seems like Mike thinks it has LBE potential  also for pizza
Hope to hear something soon on this item  So I can order one myself. Thanks for the links everybody!
John
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on April 15, 2009, 06:07:27 PM
Matt,
No word on the Brinkman yet?? I am planning to by a grill for the beach/tennis club I belong to, and at $109 at Northern tool this is the one for me! Wait till those burger and dog grillers see the pizza that comes off this bad boy!! :pizza: It will be the hit of the beach if it works. Theres acually a pizzeria that delivers there which I hope will not be rquired this year! Good bartering power too! a small 8" (cheese only) for a few cold beers? ;)
I have not followed complete thread but seems like Mike thinks it has LBE potential  also for pizza
Hope to hear something soon on this item  So I can order one myself. Thanks for the links everybody!
John

Hey John,
I ordered mine through Direct Buy & then cancelled the order when I decided to have a WFO built.  I am pretty positive that it would do a great job as an LBE.  I had also ordered an extra lid just in case because shipping was pretty expensive to Toronto.  Based on the reviews that I read, it seems to be pretty much disposable & will only last a couple of years which explains why it's so cheap.  The cooking crate can hold up to 50lbs which would eliminated any sagging. (a common problem with the Weber when you place   Give it a shot,  worst case scenario you can use it as a smoker.

Matt
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: JConk007 on April 15, 2009, 09:26:44 PM
Thanks,
Hope that WFO turns out great for you .I may pick one up from northern just to have for the beach pizza. That would be way cool, and as I said a big hit!  I would not expect to get more than 2 seasons out of it. Matter on fact $50 was our last pizza delivery to the beach! So It would more than pay for itself quickly and I can get prpane from work too. I could also continue cranking high heat pies thru the NJ winter without damaging my Baby.
Do I need a stone on top too? a cheaper thinner one perhaps. and Go witht the Fibrament 16" for the grate right?
Thanks again
John
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on April 16, 2009, 06:26:47 AM

Do I need a stone on top too? a cheaper thinner one perhaps. and Go witht the Fibrament 16" for the grate right?
Thanks again
John

I would go with an round aluminum pizza pan on top, IMO, it works just as good & weighs alot less.  You need 2 stones; one to buffer the heat & one to cook on.  16" may be too big as the cooking grate is only 15.5" in diameter.   I was going to use 2 -13"corderite round stones.

Matt

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: CookEmHorns on April 16, 2009, 10:36:53 AM
Hello to the LBE experts!  Or as we say in Texas - HOWDY!

Fired up the DLBE (dirtylittleblackegg) on Tuesday for the first time.  Need to do some tweaking but well on my way.  On the lid is a 12" pizza stone I picked up at World Market.  The surface is full sized fire bricks from a 50 y/o brick pit in my back yard. 

The 'egg' is a Kingsford 21 1/2" grill surface kettle pit given to my by my uncle, with the ash trap removed from the bottom leaving a 6" hole.  I'm going to cut the base hole to 11" and pick up an SP10 today.  (Home depot has them on their website for $40., but non in my local store)

The problem I had with this first batch was not enough heat on the bricks.  I feel this was a combination of a) not enough flame  b) too small of a hole at the base of the kettle.

I have a couple of questions - thanks in advance!

Any ideas what kind of warming time to get my full sized bricks to temp? 
Where is a good source for IR thermometers? 
What are y'all's opinions on cutting a side vent? 

So glad I found this site, and I look forward to getting to know some of the finest people in the world - the PIZZA LOVERS!!!

Chris

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: CookEmHorns on April 16, 2009, 11:05:08 AM
This is what got me started a week ago.  I was hunting recipes for whole wheat pitas, and one of them suggested cooking them on firebricks on a bbq pit.  I didn't even realize I had scores of fullsized bricks in my old brick smoker, so I bought these split bricks. 

Later that night I was looking online for bbq grill pizza, and stumbled across Villa Roma and subsequently this site.  Man....my lucky day!

CW
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on April 16, 2009, 11:07:13 AM
Nice!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on April 18, 2009, 12:37:47 PM
I cracked open the LBE and look what came out.

     No yolk :-D :-D :-D.....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on April 18, 2009, 01:42:01 PM
Villa,

No yolk? What kind of an LBE is that, huh?  ;D


Cookemhorns,

You might get a hotter cooking surface by using splits instead of full size firebricks. When using the splits, I'd also put a 16" round cordierite stone on top. The side vent is necessary because it does increase the air circulation. 12 mins for a pie is quite long for the LBE. Usually it bakes in the 2 - 4 min range.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on April 19, 2009, 04:28:15 AM
Villa,

No yolk? What kind of an LBE is that, huh?  ;D


Why it's the new low cholesterol version.  :-D :-D :-D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: CookEmHorns on April 19, 2009, 11:50:20 PM
Perfect pies Villa - as usual - even without the yolk!

Thanks Essen.  I posted those questions Friday, and didn't get your answers until this evening after modifying and cooking on the DLBE.  I cut the side vent, enlarged the bottom hole, lined the inside with foil and used a new SP1 burner.  After a 30 min warmup on about half flame, I made the first of 5 pies.  I noticed that the bricks had sagged in the middle, probably from the flame hitting the grates supporting the bricks.  When cold, the tops of the bricks line up very evenly, but the middle one had dropped about 1/8th of an inch. 

I don't have a IR thermometer yet and it's obvious that I need one BADLY.  What type do you guys use/recommend???

First pizza on and off in 3 minutes...top cooked perfectly, bottom charred.

Dialed down the heat a bit and same thing with the second pizza.

Third one on and off in just over 2 minutes.  Nice spotting on the bottom, top about 80% done

Fourth and fifth I slid off the peel onto a round pizza dish with holes in the bottom, set that directly on the bricks for 2  minutes, and final minute off the tray and on the bricks.  Best two pies to date.  Unfortunately camera batteries were charging, but I have one dough ball in the fridge that I'm going to use tomorrow. 

The full bricks got very, very hot so I'm going to have to play around with heating time/flame.  It was pretty neat when the DLBE was heating, I could feel very hot air coming out of the side vent. 

Tomorrow, I'm going to heat the top stone with the bricks out for about 10 minutes, then put in the grate with the bricks and heat them for 15 min. 

Please tell me what brand and where you found your thermometers.  I have looked all over the internet and don't seem to find any that go over 400 or 500 degrees. 

I have a Salter 7001 ordered and should receive it mid week, so I'm looking forward to trying some more advanced recipes. 

Thanks again for the advice.

CW

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on April 20, 2009, 12:21:48 PM
Here's the one I use. It's good to 932 degrees and costs about $60.

 http://www.amazon.com/Raytek-MT6-MiniTemp-Infrared-Thermometer/dp/B000O80B5M/ref=pd_cp_hi_3?pf_rd_p=413863601&pf_rd_s=center-41&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0002198GY&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0PEGN50W3F6MJMH72C6P

And this one for about $45.

http://www.amazon.com/Mastercool-52224A-SP-MSC52224A-Infrared-Thermometer/dp/B000TM7HXC/ref=pd_sbs_auto_3

   Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: CookEmHorns on April 20, 2009, 07:52:22 PM
Thank you Villa!  You the  :pizza: :chef:!!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on April 20, 2009, 08:17:22 PM
Same what I have. Works like a charm and is on the cheaper side.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: CookEmHorns on April 21, 2009, 12:00:25 AM
Amazon'd it tonight.  Fun to get all these cool toys and put 'em to good use.  Thanks for the info guys!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: CookEmHorns on April 25, 2009, 09:46:27 AM
Well, batch #3 on the DLBE and better results.  I used the Lehman NY recipe, and red november sauce w/ 1 can of paste added for thickness.  Progress rather than perfection right?

Before I started I pulled the fire bricks from the top, and layered a broken pizza stone under a freshly purchased pizza stone and the first pie was wonderful (salami, can. bacon, mush, mozz), cooked in just over 3 minutes.  As I went inside to prep the next pie, I didn't turn down the flame so 10 minutes later when I opened the DLBE to load my extra extra cheese, extra extra mushroom I found a broken top stone.  I had to cook the pizza on a perf'd pan for 3 minutes, then once it set up, placed it on the broken stones for about another 90 sec. 

For my next trick, I've decided to place a full sized fire brick on a lower grate (original charcoal grate in this pit) to diffuse the flame.  The best part of making mistakes is getting to eat them!  Have a good weekend all!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on April 26, 2009, 02:06:05 PM
Greetings, Well I`m on board to build a similar oven here in Mexico. Similar because the housing I will be using is actually a tank for a pressurized water system which I will cut apart. I found it. Free. It is just a tad over 16" so at best I will be making 14" pies. Same as my other oven I built. I am in the process presently of moving to another house but hopefully soon I will be able to post some pics of the construction process. I will be using a local ceramic planter base as the cooking surface and the kind of high pressure burners available also locally. My aim is to keep the cost under $600 pesos, $50 US dollars not counting the propane bottle.
Until I have something more to post, Warm regards, Don Thompson
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on April 26, 2009, 03:40:35 PM
CW,

You might want to invest in a higher-quality stone if yours keep breaking like that or you'll be spending a bunch of money on inadequate stones. The cheap ones from Walmart, Target or Bed & Bath don't cut it, I found that out the hard way in the beginning.

I recommend either a cordierite stone, a Fibra-D or a BGE stone. And I'd put some sort of buffer under them, too.


Don,

That should be an interesting LBE project for you. Please do post some pics of the construction.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: CookEmHorns on April 26, 2009, 11:33:01 PM
Thanks again Essen for the insight.  I picked up two more cheapies yesterday at World Market, going to try them with the lower bricks breaking up the flame (pics to come). 

Don, welcome to the board.  Best of luck on your project, and by all means, keep us posted!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Corbs on April 28, 2009, 11:49:31 AM
This looks like just about the only thing I might be able to put up at home and not get kicked out of the house!

Which model jet cooker did you use?

Would this one work?
http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-SP1-Jet-Cooker/dp/B0002913MI
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on April 28, 2009, 02:18:11 PM
Corbs....This one will work better.

http://bayouclassicdepot.com/sp10_propane_burner.htm

 This is the burner I used on my 18" LBE. For the 14" LBE I use a burner made by Eastman Outdoors.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: tedious79 on April 28, 2009, 02:26:20 PM
Villa, do you do anything to prevent rusting on the burner, or is it just a necessary evil for working with the most intense gas thrower ever. The same goes for the vent cut. I find that that rusts a little too.

Anyway, those two impossibly minor flaws do little to prevent people from falling over themselves while watching me cook pizza on the frankenweber. I freaking love the LBE. I am reposting a pic of a margherita from over the weekend.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on April 28, 2009, 03:02:19 PM
Villa, do you do anything to prevent rusting on the burner, or is it just a necessary evil for working with the most intense gas thrower ever. The same goes for the vent cut. I find that that rusts a little too.

Anyway, those two impossibly minor flaws do little to prevent people from falling over themselves while watching me cook pizza on the frankenweber. I freaking love the LBE. I am reposting a pic of a margherita from over the weekend.

Tedious,

The burner's made from cast iron, I believe, and that stuff does rust. I regularly clean out the holes in the burner itself to prevent them from clogging.

In regards to the vent, you could get some high-temp, rust resisting paint at your local hardware shop and spray over the metal.

Great pie, btw!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: tedious79 on April 28, 2009, 03:10:54 PM
Cool, I will check out the paint at Lowe's and see what they have that can work. I guess for the burner I can just take a wire brush to it, to get off the paint. Maybe I just assumed it was rusting because of the rust on the weber.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Corbs on April 28, 2009, 05:18:52 PM
Corbs....This one will work better.

http://bayouclassicdepot.com/sp10_propane_burner.htm

 This is the burner I used on my 18" LBE. For the 14" LBE I use a burner made by Eastman Outdoors.

    Villa Roma
Thanks Villa,

I'm finding it hard to find one in the UK, but my search shall go on! :)

-Corbs
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Corbs on April 28, 2009, 05:24:13 PM
Villa, do you do anything to prevent rusting on the burner, or is it just a necessary evil for working with the most intense gas thrower ever. The same goes for the vent cut. I find that that rusts a little too.

Anyway, those two impossibly minor flaws do little to prevent people from falling over themselves while watching me cook pizza on the frankenweber. I freaking love the LBE. I am reposting a pic of a margherita from over the weekend.
That pizza looks great, this is all good motivation :D

PS, this is the worst site if you are on a diet >:D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: CookEmHorns on April 28, 2009, 11:19:38 PM
This looks like just about the only thing I might be able to put up at home and not get kicked out of the house!

Which model jet cooker did you use?

Would this one work?
http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-SP1-Jet-Cooker/dp/B0002913MI

Corbs, that's the one I just bought, and I believe that the SP-10 would work a little better.  The SP-1 is a jet burner and shoots a very direct flame straight up, and the diffuser element on the stand spreads the flame out too wide for the bottom of my LBE (11").  What I've had to do is put in a lower ceramic grate below my cooking surface with two fire bricks on it to spread the flame. 

Look at my last post with photos, and that's what happens when a direct flame hits the bottom of an (albeit) cheap stone.  I haven't tried the lower brick experiment yet, but in theory I should be able to make it through a night of pizza making without another broken stone. 

Good Luck,

CW
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Corbs on April 29, 2009, 10:32:19 AM
Corbs, that's the one I just bought, and I believe that the SP-10 would work a little better.  The SP-1 is a jet burner and shoots a very direct flame straight up, and the diffuser element on the stand spreads the flame out too wide for the bottom of my LBE (11").  What I've had to do is put in a lower ceramic grate below my cooking surface with two fire bricks on it to spread the flame. 

Look at my last post with photos, and that's what happens when a direct flame hits the bottom of an (albeit) cheap stone.  I haven't tried the lower brick experiment yet, but in theory I should be able to make it through a night of pizza making without another broken stone. 

Good Luck,

CW
Thanks CW, that's great to know, looks like a have a little summer project on my hands then!  :D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Corbs on April 29, 2009, 11:00:14 AM
I am having real trouble finding a jet cooker, as we don't really use them in the UK, in fact I hadn't heard of one before this thread. If anyone knows somewhere that ships internationally a suitable cooker then please tell me!

Thanks,

Corbs
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on April 30, 2009, 12:34:22 AM
Corbs,

Check out some restaurant supply stores and see if they have a wok burner. Member 'Pizzacraver' uses one, I believe, and he's in Australia, where the jet cookers are also a bit hard to come by.

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.msg62272.html#msg62272
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: CookEmHorns on May 02, 2009, 12:43:20 AM
Have to tell you how much more fun cooking pizza is with some toys!  First off is a Salter 7001DX digital scale.  Followed the Lehman recipe to a 'T' Wednesday night and had no more than a tsp. of leftover dough/flour on the inside of my mixing bowl.  Got my Raytech IR thermometer yesterday, and I was out on the muggy patio this evening making some pizzas.

I'm still having trouble getting a round pizza, but like everything else in life, it's going to take some practice.  Since my stones cracked last time, I decided to place a brick at a lower level than the cooking surface to spread the flame, placed a cracked stone on the grilling grate, and then put a new stone on top of the cracked one. 

After 20 minutes of warmup, the IR read 715 on the cooking surface, 734 on the top stone. 

First pie on and off in 3:15. 

Second pie was going onto the DLBE, and I noticed that my new top stone was cracked.  I wonder if it has anything to do with wet, 78 degree dough going onto it, since the stone I have mounted on the lid is just fine, and had a higher temp than the bottom one.  Oh well, as Essen has suggested (numerous times), I'm going to get a GOOD stone for next weekend.

Had one more little piece of dough that just didn't want to stretch, so I made a little calzone.  I have to tell you, all of it was fantastic!  The calzone especially.  I think I will make a couple of them every time I do pizzas since they will be easier to store, and eat/give away.  (The pic of the calzone is after the obligatory sample bite)!

I love this stuff!!!

Have a good weekend everyone!

CW
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: DoouBall on May 03, 2009, 03:27:14 PM
Hey guys,

I'm thinking about using my barbecue grill for baking pizzas. It is a 28,000 BTU two burner gas grill.  I would like to cover part of the top with aluminum foil to make a three to 4 inch window between the foil and the stone, but I am worried about the aluminum overheating and melting into the surface of the grill. It seems that many of you guys use aluminum foil for the little black egg set up.  Have you found it to be completely safe from melting and is there a particular type of foil that works best such as heavy-duty?

The reason I am concerned is that despite many people using aluminum foil such as Jeff V in his self-cleaning oven, my own oven states never to put aluminum foil inside because it will melt into the oven surface during self-cleaning and be impossible to remove. with the proper setup, my barbecue will get at least as hot as my self cleaning oven so I imagine this would be an issue there as well. 
I would like to make pizzas on my grill, but I don't want to have permanent silver marks all over the inside. Please let me know.  Thanks

Alex
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on May 03, 2009, 04:08:04 PM
CEH,

Nice pies!

But from the looks of them I think you could use a bit more top heat to get some char going around the cornicione (rim). I'm always looking for a good balance between top and bottom heat when I heat up the LBE and before the first pie goes in.


DoouBall,

Personally, I have had no problems using heavy-duty aluminum foil inside the LBE.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: CookEmHorns on May 04, 2009, 08:42:56 AM
Doughball,

I use plain old 'heavy duty' foil and have had my pit over 700 degrees multiple times with NO melting.  I've heard that Sam's has the old school REALLY heavy duty foil, so next trip there I'm going to get some of that.  As a note, the batch I did saturday I removed the foil, and could only get temps in the mid 600's, and the batch I did yesterday (with foil) reached 750 easily and much quicker.

CW
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on May 17, 2009, 02:06:33 PM
Oops......I did it again!!!!!!!

That's right LBE fans, I made some quick white flour pizzas. This was a test batch and I used my famous screwdriver to mix up the dough. Cooked in 2 1/2 minutes.

    Villa Roma

 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: kross on May 29, 2009, 12:15:24 AM
Greetings from a newbie!

I just finished reading through this thread (all 34 pages, wow!), and I just had to give this a try.  I didn't have any pizza stones, so I used what I had laying around, which was unglazed quarry tiles.

So I threw a chimney full of lit lump charcoal into the grill, stacked up a couple of tiles, and lined the lid with aluminum foil.

The tiles cracked from the heat (big surprise ,right!).  That didn't stop me, though.  I just cooked the pizzas on the cracked tiles.  Didn't seem to make a difference.  I didn't time it, but I would estimate it took about 3 minutes per pizza.

I used a regular pizza recipe I've been using for a while now (Alton Brown's recipe).  But man, this was some of the best pizza I've made at home!  Much better than the pizzas I've cooked in the oven on those same tiles.

I've ordered some Italian sourdough starter from sourdo.com.  I can't wait to give Jeff V.'s recipe a try!

I may even get a "proper" LBE setup by then!

Thanks!
-- Kevin
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: jasonmolinari on May 29, 2009, 07:38:21 AM
Last night the 3rd of 3 pizzas was a simple marinara.
Man, do i love the LBE. about 2 minute cook time. Dough was 72% hydration KA bread flour, aged in fridge for 3 days.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: JConk007 on May 29, 2009, 08:55:47 AM
Killer Pies Guys!!
J
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on May 29, 2009, 09:59:41 AM
Killer Pies Guys!!
J
no doubt!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on May 29, 2009, 06:59:37 PM
Jason,

Good to see you're still alive! Great pizza, bro.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on May 29, 2009, 07:02:09 PM
Greetings from a newbie!

I just finished reading through this thread (all 34 pages, wow!), and I just had to give this a try.  I didn't have any pizza stones, so I used what I had laying around, which was unglazed quarry tiles.

So I threw a chimney full of lit lump charcoal into the grill, stacked up a couple of tiles, and lined the lid with aluminum foil.

The tiles cracked from the heat (big surprise ,right!).  That didn't stop me, though.  I just cooked the pizzas on the cracked tiles.  Didn't seem to make a difference.  I didn't time it, but I would estimate it took about 3 minutes per pizza.

I used a regular pizza recipe I've been using for a while now (Alton Brown's recipe).  But man, this was some of the best pizza I've made at home!  Much better than the pizzas I've cooked in the oven on those same tiles.

I've ordered some Italian sourdough starter from sourdo.com.  I can't wait to give Jeff V.'s recipe a try!

I may even get a "proper" LBE setup by then!

Thanks!
-- Kevin


Kevin,

A good bottom stone is almost a must with the LBE. Quarry tiles and the crappy stones you can buy at Bed & Bath or Target are just that...crap.

In regards to the recipe, I'd personally would use one that's a tad higher in hydration and perhaps omit the sugar to prevent excessive burning when baking with high heat.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: kross on May 29, 2009, 07:26:05 PM
Kevin,

A good bottom stone is almost a must with the LBE. Quarry tiles and the crappy stones you can buy at Bed & Bath or Target are just that...crap.

In regards to the recipe, I'd personally would use one that's a tad higher in hydration and perhaps omit the sugar to prevent excessive burning when baking with high heat.

I agree on all counts.  I kinda just wanted to throw something together quick with what I had on hand, to see what would happen.  And it turned out quite well.  Next time, I will do it right. :)

I'm looking into buying a proper stone online.  I'll save the quarry tiles to put under the new stone, and for in the lid maybe.

I will definitely be trying different recipes.  The Jeff V. recipe I mentioned before.  I will also try some of the recipes from the NY-style and Neopolitan-style forums.  So many recipes to try!  This is the kind of experimenting I like, where even your "mistakes" are tasty. :)

Thanks!
-- Kevin
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on May 29, 2009, 11:46:20 PM
I agree on all counts.  I kinda just wanted to throw something together quick with what I had on hand, to see what would happen.  And it turned out quite well.  Next time, I will do it right. :)

I'm looking into buying a proper stone online.  I'll save the quarry tiles to put under the new stone, and for in the lid maybe.

I will definitely be trying different recipes.  The Jeff V. recipe I mentioned before.  I will also try some of the recipes from the NY-style and Neapolitan-style forums.  So many recipes to try!  This is the kind of experimenting I like, where even your "mistakes" are tasty. :)

Thanks!
-- Kevin

The tiles should work fine as a buffer underneath the stone. I'd look into a good cordierite stone, at least 3/4" thick, or a Fibrament-D. They are both good options. As a top or ceiling stone, the Big Green Egg smaller stone, I think it's 12", works great for me.

Keep us posted!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on June 06, 2009, 10:43:42 PM
I picked up a smaller Weber kettle grill from a guy on Craigslist tonight. Also bought a burner (bayou classic). I hope to get started making my LBE tomorrow, but it's not on the 'honey-do' list, so it's not a priority.

Anyone got any major advice on the project?

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on June 07, 2009, 12:01:19 AM
Ronzo...What size Weber kettle is it? They make a 14", 18" and a 22".

   Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: texmex on June 07, 2009, 06:16:11 PM
I finally got started on the egg!   :o

Seems like only a few months ago, I found this site, and was eager to make one.  Bought a fryer assembly at Academy Sports for 29.99.  I hope 58,000 btu's will be hot enough for this little smoky.

I could have had my welder friend cut the holes in the lid and bottom, but got to anxious when I couldn't get him on the phone yesterday.  I went for it with my drill, hacksaw blade, duct tape and dremel.

Cutting that side vent with a flimsy hacksaw blade was a b*tch.  I decided to just cut the bottom hole by making a series of closely spaced drill holes all around the circle I had marked, then using the dremel to grind through between the gaps. It ain't pretty, but it's smooth and it will have to do.
I need to get some L brackets to support the stone in the lid, and will probably attach that this week.  I took pics, but haven't had a chance to unload them off the camera, since my husband normally loads photos onto his computer, and I don't even know if I have software to get pics here. 

My friends who have been asking me about this for months, all have those cheap stones that they never use for anything, except taking space in the cupboard, so we will sacrifice them all (we've got about 6 total) to the experiment stages.  Now I've got to place an order for a decent stone, and an infrared thermometer, and some good fire retardant gloves, plus study all the recipes again.   

Thanks to all those  :pizza: :chef:  :chef: :-D who went before and showed the way.  I have no doubt this little baby is going to blow their socks off (my buddies, who doubt a pizza can cook in 2 minutes).

 I'll be sure to get more pics when we are up and running.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on June 08, 2009, 09:56:28 AM
Ronzo...What size Weber kettle is it? They make a 14", 18" and a 22".

   Villa Roma
I haven't measured it yet, but it's either the 14" or the 18". I think it's the 18" model, honestly. I'll have to measure it later today when I get back home.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on June 10, 2009, 02:47:34 PM
I was right. It's the 18" model.

The grill grates are a little rusty, but not a big deal.


I bought some firebricks at Acme brick for it. Got the 1" thick bricks and paid $1.20 each. Got 10 of them... overkill, I know. It's part of my personality. Blame my mom since I get it from her.

Looking to get started on making it tonight, since I've been drafted as executive pizza chef for the gf's Girls Night Out (in) at her place... which is Friday.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on June 11, 2009, 08:57:20 PM
Here are a couple of my LBE... of course, it goes without saying that it's a work in progress...
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on June 11, 2009, 09:02:31 PM
opened... and hungry for da pizza...
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 13, 2009, 02:31:29 PM
Ronzo,

Looks good so far! But I'd get a stronger grate since the factory ones tend to sag under high heat after a while. Especially with the firebricks on top.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on June 13, 2009, 04:16:50 PM
Essen,

Definitely working on that. This one is actually rusty (it's old, as you can probably tell) and it cups in the middle already.

We did pretty good with it last night. Still need to dial things in more, but for its first fire up, it did excellent.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: texmex on June 13, 2009, 08:25:58 PM




It does look like a winner!  I love seeing the pics.

 I found I can't show htm pics yet so here's my blogspot address if you guys are interested.

I put some photos of my work in progress there.

somethink2say.blogspot.com/



Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 13, 2009, 08:53:15 PM

It does look like a winner!  I love seeing the pics.

 I found I can't show htm pics yet so here's my blogspot address if you guys are interested.

I put some photos of my work in progress there.

somethink2say.blogspot.com/




TM,

Nice blog you got going there. Looks like another one succumbed to the LBE fever.  :)

The only thing I'm a bit concerned about is the way the burner is attached to the Weber. It looks not very sturdy to me, if that's the original legs and ash catcher that came with the grill and are now attached to the bottom of the burner. You might want to get an 18.5" Weber off of Craigslist for a few bucks since it's a more solid grill.

Another thing is that the burner might be too strong for the size of the grill. I think Villa went through the motions of testing a smaller LBE and found out quickly that his regular burner was way to overpowering.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: texmex on June 13, 2009, 09:35:13 PM
Thanks Essen!

Yeah, it seems sturdy enough for the moment, but the heat may change that. :-\ 

The burner is 58,000 btu's, I think Roma sized his down to 60,000 from over 100,000.
I specifically chose this one because of the lower output he talked about.  We'll see how the firebrick works out as a buffer, and I will take the suggestion about finding a sturdier grill. 

Heck, I've been watching this thread for months.  Glad I finally got moving on it.

This is an adventure.  Can't wait to actually try it out.

Thanks for all the great advice here. 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: smarttowers on June 13, 2009, 10:51:52 PM
Texmex I'd be nervous of a used Kiln shelf for your LBE, you never know what may have dripped on the shelf during its prior use. I've looked around at kiln shelves and they actually seem pretty reasonably priced ~20-30 for a 16" round one but shipping charges not included so not sure on final price. Also I don't have a LBE but from some of the ones I've seen some people put a smaller stone on the top to help hold the heat not sure if that's what you are doing but if it is may be more reasonable ordering 2 shelves at the same time.

Good luck with your project and liked how you throw the visuals in for words on your blog.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on June 15, 2009, 11:15:47 AM
Texmex I'd be nervous of a used Kiln shelf for your LBE, you never know what may have dripped on the shelf during its prior use. I've looked around at kiln shelves and they actually seem pretty reasonably priced ~20-30 for a 16" round one but shipping charges not included so not sure on final price. Also I don't have a LBE but from some of the ones I've seen some people put a smaller stone on the top to help hold the heat not sure if that's what you are doing but if it is may be more reasonable ordering 2 shelves at the same time.

Good luck with your project and liked how you throw the visuals in for words on your blog.

I'm picking up a 16" kiln shelf --> here (http://www.sheffield-pottery.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=JD1658&CartID=1) <--. It's overstock priced at $17.20 currently.



**** EDIT ****

I think I'm a dummy... lol

I was thinking "quarter round" applied to the edge of the stone, but after re-reading the description, I'm pretty sure it's meaning the shelf itself is a quarter round, as in the shape of two slices of pizza...

ugh...

Trying to see if I can cancel the order... *slaps forehead*
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on June 15, 2009, 02:22:03 PM
Ronzo,

Looks good so far! But I'd get a stronger grate since the factory ones tend to sag under high heat after a while. Especially with the firebricks on top.


Went to HD today on my lunch hour and picked up the charcoal grate for the 22" Weber to use as the top grate for my LBE. It's just slightly smaller than needed, but still fits on the tabs on the top of the bell to hold it in place. I might take it to a metal shop or someone who has a welder to see if they can weld some extending tabs on the grate to give it a little more stability. It's heavier duty steel than the standard chromed grate. Cost me $11.


I think I got it just in time too because that nasty ol' rusty thing was sagging big time when I took it off the LBE. :)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on June 17, 2009, 02:18:03 PM
Anyone have any ideas for hardware to hang a 12" Saltillo tile from the lid of the LBE? I'm having some difficulty finding hardware that looks like it will work, and stand up to the high heat.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on June 25, 2009, 11:49:18 PM
anyone? Bueller?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: smarttowers on June 26, 2009, 01:10:17 AM
Get a ceramic bit for your drill and put holes in the tile then use them to bolt it to the top. Would try to find the most heat resistant bolts you could. I would think that the Hardened steel bolts that are sold in hardware stores would resist the kind of heat you are going to be applying.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on July 05, 2009, 07:44:14 AM
Barny, one of the members asked me to post some pictures of the mini LBE. Here they are along with some basic instructions to build a Mini LBE.

1. Cut a 6" hole in the centered on the bottom of a 14" Weber Smokey Joe grill.

2. Cut a 1"x6" slot in the side of the cover. See pictures for placement. I used a quarter to define the rounded ends.

3. Mount the burner, I used an aluminum plate but you can use the ash catcher that comes with the grill. You'll have to drill some holes depending on which burner you use. I used the Revolution burner from Eastern Outdoors. It's high quality and uses very little fuel and will get this grill over 1000+ degrees. You'll see them on Ebay from time to time.

4. Cover the inside of the Weber base with HD aluminum foil.

5. I mounted a series of aluminum discs on the top inside lid. This is optional or you could use a stone or tile.

6. Cover the inside of the lid with HD foil.

7. I hung a 8" corderite stone about 1" below the grate to act as a heat buffer to prevent the top stone from getting too hot. Look close and you'll see the wire that I used to hang it with.

8. Cover the bottom of a 12" corderite stone with HD foil and place it on the grate. I cheated it toward the side vent.

FYI....the first picture shows the Mini LBE with the Eastman burner and the last picture shows it with the Bayou Classic burner.

   Now you're cooking with gas!!!.....Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: slimjim on July 06, 2009, 03:03:48 PM
Villa Roma,

What purpose does the HD aluminum foil lining serve?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on July 07, 2009, 10:48:04 AM
slimjim.....The foil reflects the heat away from the grill and concentrates it on the pizza.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: slimjim on July 07, 2009, 11:40:14 AM
How hot does the outside of the grill get during cooking?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on July 07, 2009, 06:07:29 PM
How hot does the outside of the grill get during cooking?
REALLY hot.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: CookEmHorns on July 20, 2009, 09:33:16 AM
Howdy Folks!

Finally got the DLBE back up and running.  Was cleaning up some junk at my folks house, and luckily found a 16" x 16" x 1" piece of granite that fit perfectly on the top of my grill (on top of a broken stone).  Followed Villa's dump & stir whole wheat recipe and had fantastic success.  Easiest pizza to work with to date.  Temps were 796 on the cooking surface, 815 on the top stone.  The pies were all about 9-10 inches and cooked in 90-120 seconds. 

Followed the following recipe courtesy of Villa Roma (His recipe listed GM flour, I used the KA):

400 gm King Arthur whole wheat flour (100%)
200 gm water (50%)
200 gm cold milk (50%)
8 gm honey (2%)
8 gm sea salt (2%)
8 gm lite olive oil (2%)
1/8 tsp IDY
small pinch ascorbic acid (vitamin C)

Like he mentioned, dump and stir.  A few (perhaps minor) variations.  Started the dough Friday night, dumped and stirred.  Went to dinner w/ girlfriend, then came home and started it in my mixer with spiral hook.  We got distracted, and 15 min. later I walked back in the kitchen, and the mixer was still running.  Turned it off, and let dough rest on counter overnight (with wicker paper plate holder over it).  Stirred a few more times the next day, into refer at 1:00, pulled it out and started shaping at 4:00.  Whole wheat pizza!  Yea!!!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on July 20, 2009, 11:00:54 AM
Great lookin' pie, bro.


I did some updates on my LBE. Gave the it a high heat paint job, and new cedar handles since the old ones were rotting off. You can't see it well, but there's also a 15" kiln shelf on top of the fire bricks to help keep the surface from getting too hot and scorching the bottom of the pies. And I finally installed a top stone on the lid. A 12" Saltillo tile.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: CookEmHorns on July 20, 2009, 03:40:51 PM
Very nice!!!  Cedar handles are next on the list for me!   One of these days we're going to have to get together for a pizza and (Tea Party) Party! 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on July 20, 2009, 05:55:42 PM
Very nice!!!  Cedar handles are next on the list for me!   One of these days we're going to have to get together for a pizza and (Tea Party) Party! 
Name the time and place, bro. BTW my GF loves Tennis. Maybe we can come hang out with you when you play.


And I still have over half of the cedar plank I used for those handles if you want it. It's still like 3 feet long or so.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: texmex on August 01, 2009, 11:12:03 AM
Thanks for posting the dump & stir recipe again cookemhorns...saves me having to search for it!

I finally purchased all of the remaining items to complete my LBE mini.  I found a new 12" circular kiln stone on ebay for $18.00 plus shipping. Got my pizza peel, and long leather gloves.  I also purchased a high temp thermo-gauge like you see on smoker grills, and was going to try installing that instead of using the infrared gun, but Harbor Freight has the gun on sale for $26, so I'll pick one up today.  I am excited about completing the finishing touches, and trying this baby out. 

Thanks to all who have posted to this thread. 
It's been a fun project, and I can hardly wait to share the end results.
I'll take pics, and post to my blog.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: anton-luigi on August 01, 2009, 11:51:10 AM
$26  ???  its not 26 online?  they still show 59.99 on the site
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: R2-Bayou on August 04, 2009, 05:10:25 PM
The Little Black Egg has landed in Oregon!! I'm an east-coast transplant and pizza maniac. When I found this website, I found my new project. I really wanted to clip the self-cleaning latch off my home oven to achieve optimal pizza making temps, but I don't think my security deposit would have survived any move out inspection! The Little Black Egg was the perfect solution for my space...

My materials:
Classic Bayou Cooker SP-10 from Amazon (delivered)   $57.11
18" Weber Grill from Craigslist   $25.00
16" Old Stone Oven Pizza Stone from local kitchen store    $42.00
13" & 15" Sunbeam Pizza Stones from eBay (delivered)   $30.00
Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil, Nuts, Bolts, & Bits   $15.00
Neiko Tools Non-Contact IR Thermometer from Amazon (delivered) $37.99

All tolled, the project cost about $200.

I started by cutting an 11" hole out of the bottom of my weber using a dremel tool with the cutting wheel attachment: one pass to take off the paint, and another pass to cut through the steel. I then cut an 8" x 1" vent in the side of the lid. I used a course grit sand paper to smooth all the rough cut edges. I then used a tile/metal drill bit to drill a 1/4" hole through the center of the 13" pizza stone and then the lid. I lined the weber's body and lid with heavy duty aluminum foil, as well as wrapping the 15" pizza stone with foil. The foil wrapped stone was placed directly on the grill grating to act as a flame buffer for the cooking stone. The OSO 16" stone was placed on top of the foil wrapped stone and cheated toward the side with the vent. Finally I bolted the 13" stone to the lid using a 1/4" x 3" steel bolt and several nuts and washers. I placed the whole rig onto the burner and voila! The R2-Bayou has been born!!

My pizza recipe was inspired after studying Jeff Varansano's NY Pizza recipe website, and reading Ed Wood's, "Classic Sourdoughs". I've gotten pretty handy using sourdough cultures, and I think its been a big upgrade in my doughs. For the launch of R2-Bayou, I made 5 pizzas: 2 margaritas, 1 spinach and gorgonzola, and 2 pies topped with marinara, muzz, carmalized onions, kalamata olives, and home smoked chorizo. The first couple pies were my beta test, getting used to the temperature and general methodology. The first pie's shape had some thinner spots that created big bubbles that over charred. My temperature was also well over 850 degrees on the top and bottom stones. I reduced the temperature to 725 on the bottom stone and 750 on the top stone, and I found this to be the optimal temperature for me. By the fourth and fifth pies I had perfected my method. I hope you enjoy the pics! THANK YOU LBE THREAD!!!!!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: CookEmHorns on August 10, 2009, 11:18:51 AM
Welcome to the forum!  Awesome job, awesome tutorial, awesome photos, awesome looking pies!!! 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on August 10, 2009, 11:24:46 AM
Great job! Pie looks awesome!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: aiannar974 on August 17, 2009, 03:43:49 PM
Hello Everyone,

I have read through the post and see it is over 2 years old.  A lot of information in that time and its sounds like a lot of you have had a lot of fun with the project.

In some cases there are ideas mentioned and I cannot tell if they were implemented and if I missed it, what the results are.  That being said, what has been determined to be the ideal configuration to date?

Side vent, rotating egg, double pizza stone with or without a gap, ceramic briquettes or not, etc.

Please advise.

Thank you,

Anthony
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: R2-Bayou on August 18, 2009, 06:29:27 PM
I believe some of the basic tenants for a good LBE is:

High Pressure Propane Burner
High Quality Baking stones; one as a flame buffer and one for a cooking surface
Side vent
Using an infrared temperature gun to gauge how hot everything is getting

I haven't tried installing an aluminum disc in the lid as opposed to bolting a stone, so I'd imagine there's some differences there. My lid stone gets hotter than the bottom stones, and I believe is instrumental to cooking the pie through in the short window of oven time. I'd love to experiment with the aluminum disc technique. The side vent forces much of the hot air out and over the pie, so I can envision how the different aluminum discs aid airflow and cooking.

That being said, I originally installed a cheap stone in the lid and it recently broke. Going to replace it with an Old Stone Oven 13 inch stone. Lesson learned.

My bottom cooking stone tends to have consistent hot spots, which forces me to rotate the pie to even out the cooking. So, I can see the benefit of the lazy susan mod some have done.

Another lesson learned is that even though your propane tank might still have some fuel in it, it needs a certain amount to achieve the pressure required to achieve 700+ degree temps. Both my tanks were low last week and, although I got a flame, it wasn't powerful enough to get the oven past 500F. A newly filled tank cured the prob.. I'd like to figure out what the fuel threshold is to maintain pizza temps.

I made two pies on Sunday: One with pesto, artichoke, muzz, and shrimp, and a second with white sauce, muzz, ricotta, heirloom tomato slices, and salami.. Both were delicious.. The pesto was a surprise hit..
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: carbon on August 20, 2009, 01:21:58 PM
Maybe these have been covered already as I did not have the chance to read the entire thread.

Can you use 1" firebricks as cooking surface in place of the stone and not bother with the flame buffer?  Has this method been experimented with?

Also, on average, how long do 5 gal LP tanks last with this setup using the SP-10 cooker?  I'm currently using my gas grill to do pizzas, but with all my burners on high my tanks don't too long.

Thanks!!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: DenaliPete on August 21, 2009, 04:55:44 AM
Well I always thought that by now birds would be preparing to fly south for the winter, but somethin laid me a little black egg all the way up in Alaska.

I christened it for the first time today by cooking 3 simple mozzerella, tomato, and basil pies.  It was undoubtedly a learning experience.

I will post pics as soon as my egg has cooled down enough to manhandle a bit, but here's my setup in a nutshell;

Bayou Classic SP10 w/ 20psi adaptor

2 old stone oven pizza stones, one resting on the grate with HD foil underneath, the other sitting on top of the first (these stones have legs)

HD aluminum foil lining the top and bottom of the innards of the LBE

3 inch vent with soup-can flange ala villa roma

8 by 1.5 inch  side vent on the upper lid just above the lip

standard weber adjustible vent grate

10 inch steel saw blade bolted to lid

Whew, think I listed everything.  I wanted to be sure and list my hardware because I suspect that some of the experts here can help troubleshoot with me.

I should have kept better record keeping with the temperatures, but here is roughly what I encountered;

I slid in my first pie at around 725-750 degrees on the top stone with the infared gun.  Roughly a 3 minute bake.  As I was turning the pizza in intervals I noticed that my top stone was charring a bit on top, which was odd to me because my recipe has no sugar. 

All 3 pies ended up with a burn ring around the bottom.  Nothing that I wouldn't eat, but also not the pristine leopard spotting that I am searching for.  Very encouraging, but still lots of room to grow.  With the third pizza I actually got better results using low moisture tilamook instead of the fresh mozz I'd used on the previous 2 pies.

I think my problem lies in that my heat in the dome area wasn't matching/exceeding the heat on the stones.

What changes would you guys suggest?  There are several things I'm pondering but I'm hoping someone can give me a nudge in the right direction;

1. Lower the sawblade so that it is closer to the bottom stone or replace the sawblade with a small round stone in the hopes that it will absorb more heat and shoot it down
2. increase the space between the two stones using tin foil spacers as villa roma has mentioned prior in the thread
3. Replace the HD aluminum foil underneath the bottom stone with a steel pizza pan for a better buffer
4. Replace the top or bottom stone with 1.5 inch fire brick splits.  I don't know if it would be better to replace the bottom or top stone.

I knew that there was going to be a learning curve to this, but I'm hoping to bring myself up to par soon and do the egg justice.

One more question; what are you guys using for sauce on your pies?  I used some tomatoes I crushed myself (canned plum tomatoes), I expected to be wowed by them,but the flavor really fell short.  Sauce is the weakest part of my game, and I'm hoping to correct that also.

Thanks all,

DenaliPete
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 22, 2009, 03:15:08 PM
Well I always thought that by now birds would be preparing to fly south for the winter, but somethin laid me a little black egg all the way up in Alaska.

I christened it for the first time today by cooking 3 simple mozzerella, tomato, and basil pies.  It was undoubtedly a learning experience.

I will post pics as soon as my egg has cooled down enough to manhandle a bit, but here's my setup in a nutshell;

Bayou Classic SP10 w/ 20psi adaptor

2 old stone oven pizza stones, one resting on the grate with HD foil underneath, the other sitting on top of the first (these stones have legs)

HD aluminum foil lining the top and bottom of the innards of the LBE

3 inch vent with soup-can flange ala villa roma

8 by 1.5 inch  side vent on the upper lid just above the lip

standard weber adjustible vent grate

10 inch steel saw blade bolted to lid

Whew, think I listed everything.  I wanted to be sure and list my hardware because I suspect that some of the experts here can help troubleshoot with me.

I should have kept better record keeping with the temperatures, but here is roughly what I encountered;

I slid in my first pie at around 725-750 degrees on the top stone with the infared gun.  Roughly a 3 minute bake.  As I was turning the pizza in intervals I noticed that my top stone was charring a bit on top, which was odd to me because my recipe has no sugar. 

All 3 pies ended up with a burn ring around the bottom.  Nothing that I wouldn't eat, but also not the pristine leopard spotting that I am searching for.  Very encouraging, but still lots of room to grow.  With the third pizza I actually got better results using low moisture tilamook instead of the fresh mozz I'd used on the previous 2 pies.

I think my problem lies in that my heat in the dome area wasn't matching/exceeding the heat on the stones.

What changes would you guys suggest?  There are several things I'm pondering but I'm hoping someone can give me a nudge in the right direction;

1. Lower the sawblade so that it is closer to the bottom stone or replace the sawblade with a small round stone in the hopes that it will absorb more heat and shoot it down
2. increase the space between the two stones using tin foil spacers as villa roma has mentioned prior in the thread
3. Replace the HD aluminum foil underneath the bottom stone with a steel pizza pan for a better buffer
4. Replace the top or bottom stone with 1.5 inch fire brick splits.  I don't know if it would be better to replace the bottom or top stone.

I knew that there was going to be a learning curve to this, but I'm hoping to bring myself up to par soon and do the egg justice.

One more question; what are you guys using for sauce on your pies?  I used some tomatoes I crushed myself (canned plum tomatoes), I expected to be wowed by them,but the flavor really fell short.  Sauce is the weakest part of my game, and I'm hoping to correct that also.

Thanks all,

DenaliPete

Pete,

First off, I'd get rid of the saw blade and install either a high-quality stone or go with Villa's aluminum disk in the top.

Second, the burning comes most likely from excess flour if you don't use sugar in your formula. But it's normal. The trick is to control excess burning. You don't want to have a totally charred bottom and an under-cooked top.

Here's what I do during heat-up time:

Start with a low temp and gradually increase it. I always measure the top stone in 10 min intervals to make sure I get an even heat, from top to bottom. Air circulation is also important. Check and see if there's a steady somewhat forceful stream of hot air coming out of the side vent. That would mean, basically, to leave the top vent all the way closed and only open it during baking if temp should be too high. The top vent is a nice little addition to control air flow and the temperature, imho.

Look at some of the posts on here from members Jasonmolinari, Pizzacraver and, of course, Villa and his videos on Youtube. Very helpful...

Happy Baking.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: DenaliPete on August 22, 2009, 08:31:32 PM
Mike,

Thanks so much for the quick reply.  I'll get to work on finding some aluminum discs right away, funny enough, only one place in town here sells pizza stones and they only sell in 16" rounds and 16 by 18" squares, both of which would probably be too big for what we're after.  Appreciate your help.

I'll keep you guys posted.

Pete

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 23, 2009, 02:06:52 PM
Pete,

I got my top stone, a 13" from here:

http://www.biggreenegg.com/setters.html

Scroll down to the bottom.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: texmex on September 16, 2009, 01:07:02 PM
Finally!
The maiden voyage...
I did it and it was amazing.

http://somethink2say.blogspot.com/2009/09/are-you-ready-for-some.html (http://somethink2say.blogspot.com/2009/09/are-you-ready-for-some.html)

That's the link to my blog with all the gory details.

I have a few modifications to make,
but the thing works, by golly!

Did I ever doubt it? 
No, not after all the success stories here.

Thank you to all who have come here to tell their stories of LBE creation.
I expect to see a few more of these cropping up amongst my friends.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 18, 2009, 03:47:24 PM
Finally!
The maiden voyage...
I did it and it was amazing.

http://somethink2say.blogspot.com/2009/09/are-you-ready-for-some.html (http://somethink2say.blogspot.com/2009/09/are-you-ready-for-some.html)

That's the link to my blog with all the gory details.

I have a few modifications to make,
but the thing works, by golly!

Did I ever doubt it? 
No, not after all the success stories here.

Thank you to all who have come here to tell their stories of LBE creation.
I expect to see a few more of these cropping up amongst my friends.


Nice job. Congrats!

In regards to the lack of oxygen, I'd cut the bottom hole where the burner sits somewhat bigger to create an updraft. That should take care of that problem.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: milka on September 20, 2009, 11:20:30 PM
G'day all!

First off, my sincere thanks to Villa Roma, essen1, pizzacraver, etc (where in Oz are u pizzacraver? i'm in Melbourne). What you've achieved is incredible.

Avid reader of many many pages on here, and am attempting something a little bit "different". I already have a large Big Green Egg, and am attempting to create the effect of the Little Black Egg within the BGE... thus, the Matryoshka! (yeah, might need to google, i certainly did)

Photos will come later, to give you a better appreciation of how much I suck at the handiwork. Sufficed to say, within the Big Green Egg I have the standard BGE porcelain grate with a 13" pizza stone on top of it. With a fair bit of experimentation, I've ended up with a 18" domed stainless steel colander (yes, a colander), with another 13" pizza stone screwed into the roof of the colander. I'm heading out ASAP to buy yet another pizza stone to use as a buffer (last nights cook resulted in a pizza that caught on fire in under 2 minutes, in addition to nearly killing me - this bitch can get a bit hot). My fuel source is currently mangrove hardwood charcoal, which I'm getting for $AU23 / 20kgs bag, and I'm having a lot of fun lighting it with a MAPP torch (something I may end up using on the top of the pizza if I don't have luck with the 3rd stone).

Over the course of my experimentation, I've managed to get the lovely leopard spots on the base of a pizza but am still struggling to get enough heat onto the top of the pizza. I'm hoping that the 3rd stone (the buffer), will help out by moving the pizza up and closer to the top stone, which I manage to get fairly hot by putting it on before the bottom stones to get some flame directly on it.

I'm seriously hoping that the buffer is all I need to get that 2 minute pizza-heaven. I'm trying to hold off purchasing an IR thermometer, because I also need to buy a Thermapen Instant Read thermometer for everything else I cook on the BGE. I'd rather not drown in expensive add-ons!

Will report back with a photo or 10 and my findings after adding the buffer into the mix!

Cheers,
milka

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on September 26, 2009, 09:22:18 AM
G'day Milka

Thanks for the kind words.......

It's great to here that there are other Aussie LBE enthusiasts out there.

Look forward to checking out your pics.

PS    I'm in Sydney.



Pizzacraver  :D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 26, 2009, 05:59:09 PM
G'day Milka

Thanks for the kind words.......

It's great to here that there are other Aussie LBE enthusiasts out there.

Look forward to checking out your pics.

PS    I'm in Sydney.


Pizzacraver  :D


Jesus Christ...are you still alive???  ;D

Well it's good to see you posting again! How's it hanging down under?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on September 27, 2009, 05:02:54 AM
Yes I am alive, and well........  hanging a little to the left today if you really must ask :-D

All jokes aside I'm well thanks Essens, summer is just around the corner and things here are good down under bro.

How you going?

Still pumping out  great pies in your LBE?

I've been a little  pre occupied with family things and works been real busy so not much time for pizza making at the moment for me.

Still like to check out what some are doing with their LBE setup's though.

It keeps me motivated.

Anyway take care for now bud and if you get a chance post some more pics of your your pies!!!!

Pizzacraver.

 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 30, 2009, 07:17:44 PM
Yes I am alive, and well........  hanging a little to the left today if you really must ask :-D

All jokes aside I'm well thanks Essens, summer is just around the corner and things here are good down under bro.

How you going?

Still pumping out  great pies in your LBE?

I've been a little  pre occupied with family things and works been real busy so not much time for pizza making at the moment for me.

Still like to check out what some are doing with their LBE setup's though.

It keeps me motivated.

Anyway take care for now bud and if you get a chance post some more pics of your your pies!!!!

Pizzacraver.

 

I'm doing fine, Bro. Thanks for asking.

I haven't had much of a chance, to be honest, to use the LBE since I moved. I'm living up in the hills and there's always a good amount of wind in the evenings that has prevented me so far from using it. But the brighter side of it is that I got to tinker around with formulas for my home oven.

For what it's worth, the weather should calm down a bit this time of year and hopefully this weekend I can fire it up again. That reminds me, gotta get myself a new bottom stone... :-\

Mike
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: smarttowers on December 10, 2009, 03:52:30 AM
Thanks,
Hope that WFO turns out great for you .I may pick one up from northern just to have for the beach pizza. That would be way cool, and as I said a big hit!  I would not expect to get more than 2 seasons out of it. Matter on fact $50 was our last pizza delivery to the beach! So It would more than pay for itself quickly and I can get prpane from work too. I could also continue cranking high heat pies thru the NJ winter without damaging my Baby.
Do I need a stone on top too? a cheaper thinner one perhaps. and Go witht the Fibrament 16" for the grate right?
Thanks again
John

John did you ever get one of the brinkermann's and if so how did it work for the pizza? I'm thinking of trying out a LBE myself and if it worked well may be what I look into.

If John didn't get on any chance anyone else took Matt's suggestion and tried it out?

http://www.amazon.com/Brinkmann-810-5000-0-Outdoor-Cooker-Black/dp/B00006WS5E

140.61 shipped to your door from an amazon seller.

Any input on this would be great.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Matthew on December 10, 2009, 06:28:10 AM
John did you ever get one of the brinkermann's and if so how did it work for the pizza? I'm thinking of trying out a LBE myself and if it worked well may be what I look into.

If John didn't get on any chance anyone else took Matt's suggestion and tried it out?

http://www.amazon.com/Brinkmann-810-5000-0-Outdoor-Cooker-Black/dp/B00006WS5E

140.61 shipped to your door from an amazon seller.

Any input on this would be great.

Unfortunatelly I never ended building it because I built a WFO instead.  I still think though, that it would work extremely well as a LBE.

Matt
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on December 15, 2009, 02:35:19 PM
hotsawce.....I believe I'm the only one that has made a Mini LBE. Go to this link and most of your questions will be answered: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.msg76692.html#msg76692

The Mini LBE will go well above 900 degrees and it uses very little gas. I used corderite stones (kiln shelves) in mine and they take the direct flame just fine. I usually make whole grain pizzas that I cook at 650 degrees but this weekend I'm going to make a batch of white flour pizzas and crank up the heat and see what the MLBE can do. I'll start out around 800 degrees and go up from there. I'll post some pictures of the results.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on December 16, 2009, 12:52:26 AM
I got the 12" stone here: http://www.tracysworkshop.com/p-4415-kiln-shelf.aspx?affiliateid=10050

This place has a  9" round stone: http://www.sheffield-pottery.com/Round-Cordierite-Kiln-Shelves-s/319.htm

The 12" stone is 5/8" thick and the 9" stone is 7/16" thick.

I used an 8" stone for the buffer stone because that is what I had on hand.

You may want to search locally and save the shipping charges.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: R2-Bayou on December 30, 2009, 02:59:49 PM
I really feel like I've dialed in my LBE technique! Here in Portland we've had our first snow, and as such I decided to fire up the LBE last night. I made 3 pies using dough that I thought would be past its prime. The dough was over two weeks old in my fridge, normally I don't go past 5 days of cold aging.. The dough is made with high gluten flour, water, salt, and a San Francisco sourdough poolish, with just a pinch of fleischmann yeast to give that extra oven spring... Its about a 65% hydration.

Part of the technique relys on loading the pie onto the peel so that it still slides off, but does not have excess flour that will burn on the super hot stone. I have a 3 stage method here: first, I have an aggressively floured bench that i do the initial dough shaping on. The dough comes out of my proofing container onto the floured bench, using my fingers to push down the dough, turning the dough over and around on the floured bench to create a basic shape. Then I transfer the dough to a barely floured marble surface where I finish the shape, then add any sauce and toppings. Finally I transfer the topped dough to the peel. The key here is to pull the pie onto the barely floured wooden peel by using both hands, and pull the pie onto the peel by beginning the drag with a 90 degree turn. The turn is key here, it will prevent the dough from sticking, and stretching your dough shape into some weird contortion. 

I made two white sauce and clam pies, and one regular cheese & marinara. For me, I gently heat the LBE up for about 30 minutes until the bottom stone registers at about 600, and the top stone hits 700. After I slide my pizza onto the stone, I then turn the gas way up to blast a hot air wash over the entire pie. I let cook 1 minute and then turn the pie, then let cook for one more minute b4 pulling the pie out (2 minutes total cooking time). I turn the gas almost all the way down between cooking each pie so as not to get the LBE too hot. Perfect leoparding and not overly charred, excellent cornicione; I was just thrilled. I'll get some pictures up next time, but I was sooo excited about this LBE run that I just had to share....
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on December 30, 2009, 03:28:03 PM
R2 it sounds like you really have your LBE dialed in. I'm looking forward to seeing some pics of the finished pies. In the meantime here's a few pies I made this morning on my MLBE. 3 1/2 minutes at 650 degrees. I used a como of Feta and fresh mozz.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: DenaliPete on January 20, 2010, 01:02:24 AM
This cold alaska winter has got me wanting to tinker in order to avoid cabin fever.  I'm buckling down and making some adjustments to my LBE. 

Firstly, that saw blade I used on top really didn't do much for me, but I wasn't able to find a medium sized stone or aluminum disks (as villa uses) locally, so I instead mounted the lower grate from my LBE to the dome with 4 bolts and slid firebricks inside.

The results from that had been okay, I'm making good pie.  However, aesthetically it looked terrible, the grate just wouldn't level, and I'm feeling the need to experiment.

Here's what I'm looking at now;

Using the standard lid I have taken a chapter out of Essen's book and purchased some fiber blanket insulation.  I was unable to get high temperature spray adhesive locally but one of the employees at home depot assured me I would be able to do what I needed using Rutland Furnace Cement;

http://www.rutland.com/productinfo.php?product_id=24

It is supposed to be able to withstand temperatures over 2000 degrees F.  I'm hoping he was right. I was able to complete the task with a $2.00 10.3 fl. oz container that operated with a caulking gun.  It was hard to feather it and spread it thin and even as the directions indicated, but so far all the fiberblanket seems to be sticking, I just hope it holds. 

The next step that I will deal with tonight is to give the fiberblanket a coating of ITC 100 HT Ceramic Coating as I believe Essen did. 

I'm in the hopes that this will conserve fuel for me.  However, this may blow up in my face.  I have the fear that by installing the 1" thick fiber blanket that I may be restricting the flow of air too much.  Only time shall tell how well I'm able to cook with such a lowered dome.

Also, since I was kinda disgusted the look of my firebrick splits at the top of the dome I have opted to remove those and for the time being I will replace them with a 14" metal pizza pan.  Ideally I'm wanting to get a stone to have mounted from the dome, but Villa has great success without one.

I still really haven't been able to address my stones getting too hot around the edges.  I think I'm giving an appropriate warm-up time to the egg, and I've got two OSO stones, which seem to be regarded well enough, its probably a simple thing and I'm just unable to see the forest through the trees.  If I could get the heat more uniform throughout the stones though I'd be much happier.

I'll keep you guys posted on how things turn out.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: DenaliPete on January 21, 2010, 10:20:02 AM
Unfortunately, the modifications to my oven didn't work out quite as well as I'd have hoped.

1. The first thing I'd noticed (that I didn't think about beforehand) is that now with the 1" fiber blanket attatched to the dome the walls come into direct contact with my pizza stone where it is cheated toward the front vent.  This in itself isn't a terrible thing I don't think, but I should have seen it coming.

2. I need to raise my steel pizza pan in the dome up some, a few of my pizzas tonight rose high enough to hit the edge of the pan, searing the site where they touched.

3. The dome of the oven still gets really hot, the 1" fiberblanket didn't keep it cool to the touch by any means.  Its been a long time since I had cooked with the LBE, so I'm not sure if my warmup time is significantly less.  I may have been a little too conservative with the heat tonight.

4. This is the biggest issue still, the heat is not being evenly distributed on my stones.  This is probably the biggest frustration for me because I really feel like I've hit a brick wall here.  The outer edge of the stone remains at least 140 degrees hotter than the center.  Sure my pizzas still cook, but they are woefully pale compared to what I would like and to some of the results I see from the other fine folks here.

I feel as though I'm running out of ideas at this point.  If anyone has any ideas please hit me with them.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: spacelooper on January 23, 2010, 09:58:56 AM
I am thinking about making one of these babies and was wondering. Do you feel that the Kiln shelf works better than the Old Stone Pizza stones? I was also wondering if anyone has tried a larger top stone? larger than 13"? Maybe even 16"?

thanks,
Todd
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 23, 2010, 02:12:16 PM
I am thinking about making one of these babies and was wondering. Do you feel that the Kiln shelf works better than the Old Stone Pizza stones? I was also wondering if anyone has tried a larger top stone? larger than 13"? Maybe even 16"?

thanks,
Todd

Todd.....I've used both and really didn't notice any difference. The advantage of the kiln stone is you can get them in thicker sizes. The OSO stones are usually 3/8" to 1/2" with raised feet. The kiln shelves can be had up 3/4" plus. The largest stone I used on the top of my LBE is 8" but now I use the aluminum disks.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: spacelooper on January 23, 2010, 02:19:12 PM
Do you find the Aluminum disks work better? and where do you get those at?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 23, 2010, 02:29:56 PM
It doesn't seem to make much difference whether the top surface is stone or aluminum. The aluminum is nice since it's light and can be cut to any size. I made mine from 1/8" sheet aluminum.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: DenaliPete on January 24, 2010, 02:10:56 AM
Villa do you have any problems with odd head distribution on the OSO stone you use?  I mentioned my problem a few posts above and am scratching my head.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on January 24, 2010, 03:12:23 AM
Villa do you have any problems with odd head distribution on the OSO stone you use?  I mentioned my problem a few posts above and am scratching my head.

No problems but I'm using a double stone on the bottom. The lower stone buffers the heat and keeps the cooking stone fairly even.

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: spacelooper on January 25, 2010, 08:51:22 AM
Has anybody else tried the larger mountain smoker lid design or just Essen? I was also curious how safe that Fiber Blanket and spray coating is to be cooking with it? Does anyone have any clue? I was also curious if the LBE has lasted the test of time as far as Usage? Or was it merely an experiment for most. Seems as it would be a pretty handy Pizza oven. I Have been looking for the most economical way to make a portable pizza oven and this looks pretty solid.

thanks,
Todd
Title: Re: Little Black Egg - 22" or 18"
Post by: TONY on January 25, 2010, 02:39:16 PM
Would you recommend the 18" Webber or the 22"???.....Does the 22" take that much more fuel to heat up and operate????

Thanks,

Tony
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on January 26, 2010, 05:43:41 AM
I was also curious if the LBE has lasted the test of time as far as Usage? Or was it merely an experiment for most.

Hi Spacelooper

My LBE has been a solid little work horse for quite some time now and I've had trouble free motoring since the day she was first fired up. I'd well recommend building one.

Pizzacraver :)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: spacelooper on January 26, 2010, 07:51:24 AM
PizzaCraver... which design did you follow? Did you make any Mods etc?

thanks for the advice and info,
Todd
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: spacelooper on January 26, 2010, 04:13:14 PM
also wonderin... how fast does this rip through gas?.. smile
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on January 27, 2010, 01:24:25 AM
Spacelooper

My version of the LBE differs slightly from the others in that I used a 22'' weber and cut it down to around 19''.

The Smokey Joe version I built quite some time ago worked great also but the size of the pies just weren't large enough for me or the rest of my family.

The idea behind  19'' version was to be able to produce a decent size pizza while still  keeping the overall  internal volume to a minimum.

This in my opinion produces a great pie. The cooker keeps an even heat flow,it has a fast warm -up time and uses minimal gas.

Adding a lazy-susan and an opening at the front that is large enough take the pies in and out with out having to remove the lid during the bake is more on the lines of the 2Stone  design but once again in my opinion a far superior option, that is if you are prepared to put the extra effort into the build.

Anyhow good luck with your LBE

Which ever way you take it ........ well you really can't go wrong.

Pizzacraver :)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on January 27, 2010, 01:51:25 AM
Here's a pic of the current burner I use.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: TONY on January 27, 2010, 11:25:24 AM
PizzaCraver,

I am going to get the 18 1/2" Webber grill. Would you recommend the 16" stone, or another size?

Thanks,

Tony
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: DenaliPete on January 27, 2010, 12:38:52 PM
No problems but I'm using a double stone on the bottom. The lower stone buffers the heat and keeps the cooking stone fairly even.

    Villa Roma

I was afraid you were going to say that Villa.  I use 2 stones myself.  Both are OSO stones.  I just can't wrap my head around the uneven heating.  On my next set of days off I'll snap some pictures, perhaps you folks will see something I don't.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on January 28, 2010, 02:24:33 AM
Hey Tony,

The 18  1/2'' Webber with a 16'' stone sounds great.

The bigger the better I reckon.

Pizzacraver.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: TONY on January 28, 2010, 10:22:20 AM
Thanks PC,

I was concerned that a 18 1/2" grill, with a 16" stone would have enough air flow.

Tony
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: WaterDog on February 06, 2010, 12:52:02 PM
Hi folks. Another noob here. Stumbled across this incredible thread and have been soaking it all in. 38 pages and counting...

Villa, you are the man!  :D  And the experimentation and refinements by Essen, PizzaCraver, Mike, Jason, et al, has made this a very interesting read. Looking forward to elevating my game!

Getting ready to start this project and I have one question that I haven't quite resolved. The Bayou Classic in on it's way and now I need to get the Weber. I already have a 22 but I'm going to leave that for the other BBQ chores. My question is trying to decide on whether to use an 18 or a 22. It seems most of the size choices made by others was based on the size of the pie they wanted. I'm wondering which size makes the most sense from an air flow perspective. With the improvement of bringing more heat to the toppings by adding the side vent and increasing convection, I'm wondering if the larger chamber of the 22 would create a more effective turbulence even with a 16" stone. After all, domed brick ovens have a lot of air moving around in there.

I realize that the extra surface area would increase heat loss but it sounds like the burner has the capacity to compensate for that, no? 

This is all just my curiosity and I know I can do quite well by following the collective wisdom here but if anyone has any thoughts on this I'd really appreciate it.

 :pizza: Jeff


Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on February 17, 2010, 02:51:58 PM
We recently got a new smoker/grill so we have a 22" kettle grill sitting idle now... I'm considering making it into an upgraded LBE. One thing is standing in the way... the cooking grate. It's too weak to handle the firebricks and weight of a top stone after being hammered by the high heat of the burner.

Anyone have any ideas as to where I might find a heavy duty grate to fit it, or perhaps something I could work with? I don't have access to a welder or cutter, and don't know anyone with metal working skills... so those options are out...

I found this... http://www.cast-iron-grate.com/onlinestore/store.html but not sure I want to spend $100 for that and shipping...


Anyone have any better ideas?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: TXCraig1 on February 17, 2010, 03:58:13 PM
Home Depo or Academy maybe?

Craig
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on February 17, 2010, 04:03:41 PM
already looked there (both places). All either of them have are the standard weaker grill grates.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: TXCraig1 on February 17, 2010, 04:07:04 PM
Stack two on top of eachother?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on February 17, 2010, 04:08:04 PM
Stack two on top of eachother?
That's something I have thought about... and I think that's the route I'll end up going (perpendicular to one another to add strength).

Just wondering if anyone had any other ideas.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: TONY on February 17, 2010, 04:54:15 PM
Probably the most inexpensive way to go is to get some 3/8" rebar from Home Depot, drill some holes in the grill, and run the bars about 2" apart.  You have to make sure the holes are all drilled at the same level....that should be enough to support the stone.......Just a thought

Tony
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on February 17, 2010, 05:21:21 PM
Probably the most inexpensive way to go is to get some 3/8" rebar from Home Depot, drill some holes in the grill, and run the bars about 2" apart.  You have to make sure the holes are all drilled at the same level....that should be enough to support the stone.......Just a thought

Tony
It's a good thought, Tony. Thank you!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on February 18, 2010, 02:45:54 AM
Hey Ronzo

All you need to do is use the smaller heavy duty grate that sits on the bottom of your 22'' Weber (the bit that holds the charcoal) suspended up by four or five 3''  bolts tighten with washers and nuts or alternatively you could place your bottom buffer stone directly on top of the bolts.

Too easy :D

Pizzacraver.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on February 18, 2010, 06:23:04 PM
Pizzacraver...

this is exactly why I love this forum! That's a good idea. I think, initially (when I get my larger kiln shelf shipped) I'm going to do the double grate thing, but eventually, I might go the route you did.

Thanks!

I got the bottom of the bigger kettle cut off, and the side vent on the lid cut too. Waiting for that bigger shelf to come in, then we're gonna christen it... and I already have a willing recipient to take my old one. It goes to future_itisnow. We're going to have a little ceremony at one of our favorite local pizza joints (or my place!) and I already warned him I might shed a little tear as I hand my baby to him. ;)
Title: Lazy Susans?
Post by: RnR on February 25, 2010, 07:24:16 AM
Greetings all ~

I just opened up my 14" Smokey Joe and looked over the hardware.  As
I want to get all my purchasing duckies lined up, I wanted to ask if lazy susans are currently used in these smaller Webers?

I'll be heading out to search for an Eastman burner as well, and perhaps take a peek at the heavier duty stuff at Home Depot for possible use in the soon-to-be LBE.  :~))

Gettin' excited!!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on February 26, 2010, 05:25:56 PM
Guess what just came on the UPS truck!?!?!

MWUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

The new BIG Black Egg is almost finished!

Up til now, I've been using the upgraded Egg with the 15" kiln shelf I was using on the 18" LBE. But... Here's my new 19" kiln shelf sitting atop the BBE which just got dropped off at my door. I have to fill in most of the rest of space with firebricks, but this sucker is almost complete.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: R2-Bayou on March 29, 2010, 02:55:20 PM
I read this article on slice and thought I should point it out to the LBE thread:

slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/03/my-pizza-oven-pizza-hacker.html

Its basically the wood fired version of the LBE. Check out the video as well. He sells a conversion kit for weber grills and call's it the "pizza forge". Has anyone tried this yet? It seems pretty cool.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: canadianbacon on March 29, 2010, 05:36:51 PM
thanks for posting that, it was indeed interesting.

Here's the link to the Youtube video of PizzaHacker

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLC-SIGpZkE&feature=player_embedded
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: 8-slice on April 06, 2010, 06:46:52 PM
The LBE has landed in Peru!

I just want to say thanks to Villa Roma, ehanner, essen1, pizzacraver and everybody who's chipped in on this thread for more than 3 years!! ;)

I found this thread over a year ago, while searching for recipes, and at the time considered making the LBE too complicated.... I was wrong! And although I didn't manage to find a weber down here, I did find an 18" stainless bbq, so I guess I'm the first Little Silver Egg!

Anyway, I had my first go with the egg some weeks ago, before all the mods were done, alas with limited success for lack of proper cooking technique. I have since finished the egg (sort of), and have had two successful pie nights with the GF. I'm posting some egg pics: I used a wok ring burner, lava rock as flame buffer and a heavy aluminum alloy cookie sheet + heavy duty foil as a brick buffer, so my split firebricks dont overheat during the cooking phase.... And having no top stone, I lowered the cieling with a foil-wrapped pizza pan @ about 7" from the deck.

Pizzas pictured, marinara with olives & margherita.

Thanks all, and keep cookin'
8-slice :chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on April 06, 2010, 06:56:49 PM
Mighty fine!! Congrats to your first LSE  ;D

Have fun with it, Bro.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pehanlon on April 08, 2010, 07:15:11 PM
...some basic instructions to build a Mini LBE.

1. Cut a 6" hole in the centered on the bottom of a 14" Weber Smokey Joe grill.

2. Cut a 1"x6" slot in the side of the cover. See pictures for placement. I used a quarter to define the rounded ends.

3. Mount the burner, I used an aluminum plate but you can use the ash catcher that comes with the grill. You'll have to drill some holes depending on which burner you use. I used the Revolution burner from Eastern Outdoors. It's high quality and uses very little fuel and will get this grill over 1000+ degrees.

4. Cover the inside of the Weber base with HD aluminum foil.

5. I mounted a series of aluminum discs on the top inside lid. This is optional or you could use a stone or tile.

6. Cover the inside of the lid with HD foil.

7. I hung a 8" corderite stone about 1" below the grate to act as a heat buffer to prevent the top stone from getting too hot. Look close and you'll see the wire that I used to hang it with.

8. Cover the bottom of a 12" corderite stone with HD foil and place it on the grate. I cheated it toward the side vent.

Villa Roma-

I have a Smokey Joe and Bayou SP10.  Is the high heat output of the SP10 burner able to be regulated if one makes the MLBE using the SP10 burner?

I've been trying to find a smaller output burner such as the Eastman revolution but not have much success.

Thanks in advance,
Pete (pehanlon)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzacraver on April 08, 2010, 08:55:59 PM
Great looking LSE -8 slice

Well done buddy!!!

What temp did you cook those pies at?

Pizzacraver
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on April 09, 2010, 10:53:46 AM
Villa Roma-

I have a Smokey Joe and Bayou SP10.  Is the high heat output of the SP10 burner able to be regulated if one makes the MLBE using the SP10 burner?

I've been trying to find a smaller output burner such as the Eastman revolution but not have much success.

Thanks in advance,
Pete (pehanlon)

Pete, I haven't used my mini LBE with the SP10 burner so I can't help you there. I think the Eastman burner is no longer made and a few years ago you could pick them up on Ebay but I too haven't seen any in the last year. You can give the SP10 burner a try and see how it goes.


        Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on April 09, 2010, 11:26:35 AM
8-slice....Great looking pizza! What is the BTU rating of your propane burner?

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: 8-slice on April 09, 2010, 03:09:13 PM
Great looking LSE -8 slice

Well done buddy!!!

What temp did you cook those pies at?

Pizzacraver

Thanks PC! You guys laid the way for the rest of us...

That was my first successful run.... and with all the excitement I forgot to write the temps and couldn't maintain a stable stone temp during the 3 pies.... but my GF who remembers everything better than me (don't they always!! >:() said first was 550, second was 650 and third was 750+ (got my best results top/bottom on the 2nd).... On the last one I had to lift the pie with my metal peel and hold it for the final minute so the bottom wouldn't get burnt to a crisp (it was a little over charred)... still great though!

I do have to turn the pies like crazy though, 'cause they only char properly near the back, because of my big loading door (I don't open the egg to load)

My cook times were around 3 mins.... I think on the first though, it was like 4:15...

I've got my first pizza party on sunday with the new LSE... smallish, round 8-10 guests. My glee now is that with 3 min pies, I won't have to spend 2 hours in the kitchen while everybody's munching away!  :chef:

Cheers!
8-slice
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: 8-slice on April 09, 2010, 03:21:38 PM
8-slice....Great looking pizza! What is the BTU rating of your propane burner?

    Villa Roma

Thanks Villa! You're invention has definitely reinvented my  :pizza:!

Unfortunately down here, they don't sell these guys with BTU ratings... I wish I knew. I can tell you that the ring diameter is 12.5 cms, and it's connected to a 10kg natural gas canister via a Fisher Valve that just snaps on (it does have a little regulator screw/dial on top)...

8-s :chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: sparetire on April 13, 2010, 10:37:15 AM
New LBE landed in Balch Springs Texas...

I used the 19" one touch Weber with the SP10, 12 inch hole in the bottom of the Weber,  two OSO 16 pizza stones, lined it with HD foil, cut the side vent ala Villa Roma, cut the lip off the ash catcher and installed that in the lid.  First firing was last night and with a new tank you no doubt could get up past 900 deg.  I burned all the bottoms of 3 pies to some degree, all edible... but I definitely need to work on technique.  Cooked at about 850+ degrees and they all cooked in 1.5 minutes or so.  I used too much bench flour and had lost too much moisture from the dough.  Is a simple unbleached ap, water, salt, ADY recipe... the one for Neopolitan out of American Pie.  I will have to start weighing my ingredients and going for a higher hydration level.

The oven is amazing, thanks VR and those that worked out the bugs...  it is such a huge improvement over my Cuisinart Brick Oven Toaster Oven.  Now I have to get my technique up to what this beast can do.  I will post some pics once I figure out how to. 



Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: 8-slice on April 15, 2010, 01:23:02 PM
Good job, sparetire!  ;D

Post some pics to appreciate your beast..... Proper cooking technique is a MUST!!  :chef:

The best temp ranges are a bit lower, so as to get an even pizza.... Napolitan pizzas are raised by the pizzaiolo in the final stretch to get the proper burnt cornicione.... If you leave it on the floor you'll get charcoal pizza!

8-slice
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on May 12, 2010, 04:50:12 AM
OK. In the past 24 hours I've gone from 'hey, people seem to have good things to say about that Weber grill pizza oven thing' to reading all 40 pages of this thread, to pricing parts from craigslist, harbor freight, Amazon, and a dozen other places. At this point it's late, I'm a little twitchy, and I have questions. Forgive my enthusiasm and my overthinking.

I'm starting to pick up the importance of, and difference between, adding thermal mass and adding insulation. Traditional WFOs have got a lot of thermal mass above, and a lot below. The LBE has got plenty below (as beefy a stone as you want, firebricks, and the added benefit of the heat source being down there) but is by default lacking above (just the optional mini stone). Traditional WFOs have also got a bunch of insulation both above and below. Of course, they've also got a lot more space and a much less forgiving heat source, so a direct comparison isn't quite fair. The LBE is essentially completely without insulation (except for the couple with ceramic blankets added).

As such, one of the more common stumbling blocks seems to be effectively dialing things in so that the top gets heat commensurate with the bottom.

My question: Would there be a benefit to more closely mimicking the action of a traditional oven? My thought is to attempt to build a layer of insulation (either ceramic blanket or perlite/vermiculite-cement) and a layer of thermal mass (large stone or refractory mortar) into the lid of a 22" weber (I prefer a big pie). Have I got any chance? Or will it be just too tight? Can I get enough insulation in there to make a difference? I'm not really sure how much clearance I'll need in the end. Also I've got basically no experience with working with these things, so I'm really just completely guessing based on theory rather than practice.

I notice the pizzahacker design gets around the clearance issue by building up a spacer between the lid (in his case, a newly fabricated refractory cement and perlite lid) and the grill. That's an appealing possibility, as it's also an easy(-ish) way to make a vent/door through which to feed the pizzas. I'm curious what he used to build his replacement top from, as it seems like something like that plus all the great ideas here could work together quite well.

I feel like adding insulation and relying on more radiant heat from the top should lead to a more even, more fuel-efficient cooking device. But I do wonder if these steps would counteract the simple conductive/convective cooking power of the LBE. I guess it's just something that'll require testing after I get around to assembling a first attempt. Now if those folks from craigslist will just email me back...

Thanks for all the great ideas in this thread. Clearly, they've got me going.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: 8-slice on May 16, 2010, 04:45:43 PM
Ok, it's sunday so I'll keep my opinions short and sweet.

About thermal mass. In a brick oven, bottom cooking = conduction. Hot bricks, nice char. To get the brick nice and hot, and have a steady temperature, their thermal mass is important, as it helps them maintain their high temp. regardless of variations in the amount of heat being produced at a given time (as in fresh logs vs. dying out logs).

Top cooking = convection. Hot air flow, nice spotted cornicione. The heat retained by the dome bricks is important for the air not to lose it's heat as it swirls round the oven, thus transmitting more of that heat to the pizzas inside.

Now for the LBE. If you take the lid off your oven, when the bricks are about 400ļC, and you hover your hand about 6 inches above, the heat in the bricks WIIL NOT burn or even heat your hand up (remember, with the lid off). In a brick oven, the distance between the dome and the pizzas is much greater. What WILL scorch you out, is the hot air flowing around the oven, same as in the LBE. The high BTU output (as you blast up the heat) creates that convection style for top cooking, while the bottom stone (or firebricks in my case) does the base cooking.

It's MY belief that top stones don't carry much weight with top browning/scorching. I don't have one, I just have a lowered ceiling wrapped in foil, and I can burn the top of my pizzas to a crisp if I crank up the gas higher than I should. :P

I will say this: it's up to everyone to express their beliefs and ideas, I just want to chip in with my 2c :-[.... I in no way believe that top stones are wrong, or insulation is wasted. My mindset just comes from my humble observations, and I hope it helps somebody out. God knows I thank all the people who did this before me, and showed me the way.

8-slice :chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Tampa on May 16, 2010, 07:05:45 PM
8-slice is right on with his comments.
Dave
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on May 16, 2010, 08:33:56 PM
8-slice, I can tell you my own experience... when I added the top stone to my LBE, I got much better spotting on the top of the pie. While your assessment about it not being due to thermal mass may be spot on, it could definitely be due to the hot convection air being forced closer to the pie. Either way, I'm sticking with my top stone.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on May 16, 2010, 08:49:57 PM
8 slice, not sure if you posted this elsewhere but can you discuss the dough formulation and methods you used? 

Thx
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on May 16, 2010, 11:37:03 PM
8-Slice: Thanks for the feedback. I agree with you that the LBE seems to cook primarily with convection on top; I can't tell how important radiation is in any of the models I've seen.

I Imagine a real wood fired oven, however, does provide significant radiant heat from the top, and comparatively less convective action (though, once again, I don't have any REAL knowledge, and I'm just guessing). The bricks on top of a WFO get white-hot (at least, that's how I've seen it described), and it'll keep on providing even cooking even with a door over the front, which must leave the air much less turbulent (though still scorchingly hot).

Anyway, picked up a couple weber grills off craigslist and a burner and regulator from Academy. Started cutting with a hacksaw blade, but that was too miserable and my cuts were looking ugly (it's hard to get that curve), so I'm waiting to pick up a dremel bit (which makes me feel embarrassingly lazy). Gotta go check out insulating blankets, fire bricks, kiln shelves and soapstone this week. And maybe start sweet talking some of my friends with metalworking tools/skills. Free pizza should be a compelling offer.

On another note, this hasn't been mentioned here, and I think it's worth checking out. I stumbled on another interesting take on the LBE concept (though this one isn't so little) at Forno Bravo: the "Forno Clamshell" (I'm too new to post the link-- search google or Forno Bravo's forums). It uses 2 grills in a matryoshka style, with insulation between the two, and the burner mounted within the larger grill. Uses a top vent rather than one on the side, but other than those variations, it's not far off from the canonical designs here. It looks like a real monster -- might give you folks even more clever ideas.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: 8-slice on May 18, 2010, 02:30:10 PM
8 slice, not sure if you posted this elsewhere but can you discuss the dough formulation and methods you used? 

Thx

Tranman,

I haven't mentioned it yet.... I have tried all sorts of percentages and yeasts (except natural starters - wasn't successful with the one I tried to create).  :(

I've tried 55-70% hydration, and tried Italian 00, bread flour and pastry flour (which has a very fine mill much like 00). I currently use a 80/20% mix of pastry/premium bread flour from local suppliers, at about 67% hydration. I've used IDY (at first), then for a long time ADY, and now, I love fresh yeast (fleischmann's). Also various types of mixing/kneading methods (and NO kneading too)...

In my years of experimenting (like most folks here), my personal opinion is that proper hydration (slow incorporation of flour into water, plus rest periods - I hand mix) followed by flour mill and quality, AND freshness of the yeast are key. Also important is properly risen dough. I do natural rises, @ aprox. VPN times, about 1-2 hr bulk and 6-9 hrs ball rise (this last depending on room temp. In winter I can go 12+ hrs, or compensate with a little more yeast or raising room temp). Now that I read this, that's sort of everything.  :P

My formulation is straightforward (% | 3 pizza)

Flour 100% | 540 gr
Water (I use mineral water) 66.6% >:D hahahaha | 360 gr
Salt 2.77% | 15 gr
Fresh yeast 0.27% | 1.5 gr

Hope this helps some,

8-slice  :chef:

Last weeks "spanish" pizza (needs more sausage)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: 8-slice on May 18, 2010, 02:38:59 PM
8-slice, I can tell you my own experience... when I added the top stone to my LBE, I got much better spotting on the top of the pie. While your assessment about it not being due to thermal mass may be spot on, it could definitely be due to the hot convection air being forced closer to the pie. Either way, I'm sticking with my top stone.

Ronzo,

If I could get a cheap round stone down here to hang from my egg instead of the foil-wrapped pizza pan, I would! But as you say, probably more important is forcing the air closer to the pies by reducing upper chamber space...

That said, I definitely think pizzaiolo LBE expertise far outweighs the subtle differences between our eggs.... none of my friends could even warm up toast in my silver beast! :chef:

8-slice
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on May 18, 2010, 05:01:16 PM
8 slice, thank you for sharing your experience and insight.  I have fooled around with pastry flour a bit without much success.  I will have to retry with your methods.  I have also recently acquired caputo 00 and without much luck either. 

I will definitely keep at it until I get there someday.  Your post is a [email protected] good starting point tho so thanks for that.  I know that same info can be found in the volumes of posts on this forum, but I only have so much time to read as I'm making pizza the other hours I'm not here. 

Ah yes, the infamous 66.6%.  I have seen it several times and always think twice about it.   :angel:  Do I have to sell my soul to the  >:D to make a neopolitan or what?

Say what?  you hand knead?  that's awesome.   PM sent.  Just sitting here contemplating on pulling the trigger again on a Bosch but don't want to give up on hand kneading yet.  I have hand kneaded at least 100 pies and always wonder what I'm missing out on by not having a mixer.  geez.   

OK thanks again.  BTW, your pies look killer.

Tran
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on May 19, 2010, 08:30:49 AM
8 slice, I tried your method and formulation with much success!  I was also experimenting with a new oven set up and a new technique with the food processor. Everything worked out well lastnight and came together nicely. Thank you very much. I don't have a LBE/LSE so I posted the pics in ....
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11015.0.html (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11015.0.html)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on May 19, 2010, 08:56:39 AM
Ronzo,

If I could get a cheap round stone down here to hang from my egg instead of the foil-wrapped pizza pan, I would! But as you say, probably more important is forcing the air closer to the pies by reducing upper chamber space...

That said, I definitely think pizzaiolo LBE expertise far outweighs the subtle differences between our eggs.... none of my friends could even warm up toast in my silver beast! :chef:

8-slice

Practice! Practice! Practice! is making me Fatter! Fatter! Fatter! :)

Check out your local pottery supply store. The 15" kiln shelf that used to be my 18" LBE's surface stone is now my 22" LBE's top stone, and cost about $25-30. Not "cheap", but... cheaper than the 19" kiln shelf that's the new surface stone ($50)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on May 19, 2010, 09:01:21 AM
These were my latest pies... week and a half ago...

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10917.0.html
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on May 20, 2010, 11:24:42 AM
You pizza freaks have me wanting to make a LBE now.  Thanks a lot!!! Gonna stop by Lowes and Sears to check out the supply of pre LBE's. 

Looked in CL's but all I see are 22" kettles.  Too big for me since I already have a dedicated grill.   I would think 18" is perfect since I have a 16" stone and rarely make a pie bigger than that. 

My hesitation in making one is that I like leoparding on the cheese and most pics I'm staring at have little to no leoparding on the cheese.  I saw that Ronzo was able to achieve that with a top mounted stone and 8 slice by covering the inside with HD foil.

What about a top mounted metal disk to lower the ceiling.  You guys with LBEs think that would work?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on May 21, 2010, 08:52:42 AM
What about a top mounted metal disk to lower the ceiling.  You guys with LBEs think that would work?

Tranman, I think that will work.

I got my original 18" Weber on CL for $10, but I know CL is hit or miss with stuff like that.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: scott123 on May 21, 2010, 10:04:59 AM
Just make sure the 'metal' disk is steel and not aluminum.  Aluminum, as has been mentioned before, will start melting in the 1200 range.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on May 21, 2010, 10:17:18 AM
So I found an 18" weber silver?  Has a wooden handle though but owner says it's in great condition and only used for 1 season. He's asking $30 for it. Thinking of offering $20 for it. The brand new ones are $70.

There's also the 14" weber Smokey Joe that would fit a 12" stone nicely for $30 new. If I go that route, I'll call it the MBE (mini black egg). The only limiting factor is 12" pies max.   The dome ceiling on the 14" model is nice and low so wouldn't need a mod there. 

Scott, I was thinking of using 18-20g sheet metal. It seems to hold up okay inside BBQ grills but seems to have a short life span as it can rust.

Ronzo have you done any of VRs mods yet? Specifically the lazy Susan mod or increasing air flow from above?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on May 21, 2010, 01:29:43 PM
Could you season the sheet metal to keep it from rusting? I've been thinking about doing that with the rebar crosspieces I just picked up. (Although I can't decide yet if I'm going to use them). Just a light coating of lard or oil, let them come up to temp, and you're left with a nice coating of carbon. Works for cast iron.

...though I guess the carbon might just burn off at pizza temps.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: R2-Bayou on May 21, 2010, 02:54:07 PM
Does anyone have some advice on how they wrap their top lid with foil? My lid foil never seems to stay on correctly, and just slips down on top of the top stone....
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on May 22, 2010, 12:27:42 AM
So I found an 18" weber silver?  Has a wooden handle though but owner says it's in great condition and only used for 1 season. He's asking $30 for it. Thinking of offering $20 for it. The brand new ones are $70. ...

Ronzo have you done any of VRs mods yet? Specifically the lazy Susan mod or increasing air flow from above?

My first one had wood handles that were rotting off, so I got some 1x2 cedar and made new handles for it.

I haven't done any of those mods like that, no. Just the top stone on the lid. I have bought some cinder blocks to lift it up off the ground, though.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on May 23, 2010, 01:04:23 PM
Fired up the egg for the first time tonight. An instructional and promising failure. Easily pushed 700-750 degrees on the stone, and never turned the burner past halfway. If that's what I can do with just tinfoil and no insulation, it speaks well for being able to use it economically in the future.

But there was simply not nearly enough heat from the top. This was just a rough first test, and there were a few problems. I made the vent/loading door by building up a space between the grill and the top with tinfoil (leaving ~1/3 of the circumference exposed), but it didn't provide enough seal to get a good wind tunnel effect. I have no top stone, or even a tray as reflector. I didn't have a couple chunks of wood to throw onto the stone to provide some radiant heat from the top/sides, as I had contemplated.

It also didn't help that I did this out and about, and totally spaced on bringing my peel. An insulated cookie tray does not let go of a round of dough with the same fluid motion as my trusty old wooden peel. Lesson learned -- make a checklist of necessities for a portable pizzaiolo.

So, next step is either to mount a 2nd stone in the top, or a pan, or something. I'm a little afraid to take the angle grinder to the new 18" square stone to make it fit, but... it can probably be done. Wish I had a tile saw. Also wish castable refractory wasn't so bloody expensive.

A few pics... missing some of the important stuff. The first pizza, before, entering, at ~1min, at ~2min, out of the egg, and after about 4 minutes under the broiler in the regular oven. You'll have to take my word for it, but the bottom was pretty much perfectly cooked, nice char, the whole thing, after 2 minutes in the egg. But the top was nowhere near right, and, in fact, was still undercooked in the center even after the time under the broiler. There is certainly a learning curve here.

After this one, I started cooking them under the broiler, and then finishing the bottom crust on the egg. It worked a little better... but not my best work.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on May 23, 2010, 08:04:49 PM
Does anyone have some advice on how they wrap their top lid with foil? My lid foil never seems to stay on correctly, and just slips down on top of the top stone....

I didn't have any trouble with this, personally. I'm not sure it's useful, but my advice is to use more foil than you think you need. Then you can push it down into the curve of the top, and give it a bit of a crinkle so that it holds that shape a little more. I also used Heavy Duty foil, which is generally happier to hold a shape.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on May 23, 2010, 08:49:39 PM
I thought I posted this earlier but don't know where my post went?  ???  Your pie looks very good to me.  I love the look of the crust how it's big and small in different areas.  I hope you can figure out how to do the complete cook in the LBE and not have to broiler to finish although I have done that many times myself.  That is using a different heat source to finish the job.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on May 23, 2010, 09:26:42 PM
I didn't have any trouble with this, personally. I'm not sure it's useful, but my advice is to use more foil than you think you need. Then you can push it down into the curve of the top, and give it a bit of a crinkle so that it holds that shape a little more. I also used Heavy Duty foil, which is generally happier to hold a shape.
Ditto to everything R2 says here.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: 8-slice on May 24, 2010, 11:51:48 PM
But there was simply not nearly enough heat from the top. This was just a rough first test, and there were a few problems. I made the vent/loading door by building up a space between the grill and the top with tinfoil (leaving ~1/3 of the circumference exposed), but it didn't provide enough seal to get a good wind tunnel effect. I have no top stone, or even a tray as reflector. I didn't have a couple chunks of wood to throw onto the stone to provide some radiant heat from the top/sides, as I had contemplated.

Hey Mako,

It seems you know what the problem is. You need to reduce the upper chamber volume with a pan, or a stone if you can do it (4 me pan was easier, I'll try to mount the stone sometime in the future).

I also see that you didn't cut your lid, but raised it with some sort of spacers? As you said yourself, you really need a tight seal. My best advice is to cut the lid just enough for your peel to enter (or your turning peel if you will uncover to load), and just below your lowered inner roof.

When you load the pies, you have to blast up the heat to get the hot air flowing. Don't worry, your stone won't heat up in the time it takes to cook your pizza (also the reason for the buffer stone). When your pie is done, turn the heat down to keep the stone @ temp (sort of like keeping boiling water at a simmer..... 100% egg-cooked is by far the easiest and fastest way to go....

8-slice  :chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on May 25, 2010, 12:51:06 AM
Thanks. I didn't think to try pumping the burner up to full volume. I'll give that a shot. I started to heat it up again tonight, after making a few adjustments... but I ran out of propane before I hit 300 degrees.  :( I'm not good at judging the level of my propane tank.

I'm not willing to cut the lid before I have an idea of what I want my permanent design to be, so, for now, it's spacers/other designs. But I didn't try to get a real tight seal before -- I'll know not to bother with that method from here on out. I did try to get a better seal tonight. More results in a few days once I've got more propane and can give it a real shot.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on May 27, 2010, 02:00:31 AM
OK, made some tweaks, big improvement in usability, but still not QUITE there. Perfectly serviceable, but not quite stabilized between top and bottom yet.

Sort of built up everything with fire bricks and a second pizza stone (which I had cut down from a square into an octagon). From a certain angle, the whole thing looks like some sort of scarab beetle now. Still using the gap between the cover and base, but this time I securely sealed it with aluminum foil. Stuck a lot of thermal mass up top, but the stone with the air center just wouldn't get or stay quite hot enough (or maybe it was hot enough, but not close enough to throw sufficient heat down onto the pie). Not sure a different stone would work any better. The bricks on the side (helped by the airflow) caused lovely charring around the edges, but the color didn't come up over the top very much.

Heated the stone to 750F at maybe 1/4 power on the burner. Cranked it up to full power for the actual baking. By the later pies, I think the stone was holding closer to 800-850F. I was shooting for ~55-65 seconds (plus another 10 holding it up near the top stone to get a little more color on the top). This was probably a touch too hot, for a couple reasons.


About five pies in, I started to really get the hang of it and know when and where they'd need to be rotated to keep from getting too much char. There's a learning curve here, no question.

Next round: flip the firebricks onto their sides, making a tight 2.5" slot for the pizza. Or maybe toss a few chunks of wood in the back to throw some direct radiant heat. For some reason the pizzahacker and pizzahacker-clone ovens have me really interested in this. Maybe I just like fire.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on May 27, 2010, 08:50:05 AM
I see a little leoparding.  How long was that pie cooked for?

I like the set up, it looks similar to my mini oven within an oven. It's in the "Primo" thread.

I would lose the bricks at the very top. They are only going to suck up heat. What material is the ocatagonal piece made from. Experiment with a metal pizza pan as well with 1 layer of bricks over that. It should give good reflective heat.  I've also been experimenting with different gap lengths. 2"-2.5" seems to work best.

I'm not surprise you're having issues with matching the top and bottom temps. To do that there needs to be a small gap between the bottom stone and the walls to allow heat to travel up and across the under surface   of the top stone.  To create this all you really need to do is replicate what Ronzo has done. He's got it right. Get rid of all this excess stuff and just mount a stone within the lid so it hangs about 2" above your bottom stone and make sure there's a gap between the bottom stone and side wall. 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on May 27, 2010, 01:33:14 PM
I didn't have an actual timer out on the patio with me, but I put it in, counted to 30, spun it around, counted to 30 again, picked it up with the peel, counted to 10, and pulled it out. So let's say 70 seconds, with the caveat that my counting speed could've been off a good deal in either direction.

Agreed on the bricks on top. I was hoping that I could get enough heat into the stones where I wouldn't need the direct propane. I sealed up the front before I let it come up to temp, hoping that the heat would rise into the top and get as hot/hotter than the bottom -- but it never happened. Top stones never really got above 750 degrees.

Octagonal piece was an 18" square of corelite kiln shelf. Interesting extruded material, very economical. Nice for making bread in the oven... but terrible for making pizza in the oven (even worse than my ancient, thin stone).

I accept that I'll have to drop the top somehow -- I just wanted something that I could access with the peel without too much unpleasantness, and I know 2" is going to be a bit tight.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on May 27, 2010, 02:01:17 PM
Mako, I'm surprised and impress that the bake time was so short.  That's a lot of heat to do that. What material is your pizza stone?  Without the space between the wall and the hearth it will only take longer for everything to heat up is all.  Your setup will work it just may take a longer preheat time than needed.

2" is tight to work with but I think it'll give you better results. You'll get use to it after loading a few pies.

Keep posting pics of those pies and setup. I'm curious to know what setup you ultimately settle on.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on May 27, 2010, 02:10:55 PM
The bottom stone is a 21"x.75" cordierite kiln shelf. Like the biggest, most beautiful pizza stone I've ever seen.

I think I can probably work with the 2" gap... but I might need a thinner peel. Probably a metal one, so it won't catch fire.

I took the egg apart today, and the top grate, on which I had the big stone (and a cast iron griddle used as a heat diffuser) sitting, has gotten warped to the point where I probably can't use it any more. Probably time to install some rebar supports.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on May 28, 2010, 08:59:26 PM
Mako,

I like your idea but I'm afraid you won't get the most out of your pizzas simply because there's not enough space on the sides for air circulation.

In regards to your lack of top heat, try to heat the egg up in stages for about 45 mins before use and with enough air circulation and venting your top stone will sport a nice temp in no time. It also helps if it's close to the pizza.

Hope that helps.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Iyor on June 01, 2010, 08:24:17 PM
New here, but I'm in the middle of building a lbe. I'm going to add something which nobody here mentioned, and I'm curious what the people with experience think. You can get for the weber Kettle something called a bbq guru which is a fan for the weber which I thould would give great convection effect. Also for those of you who want do a similiar mod to Essen1 you can buy the ring for the weber rotisserie for $60, I'm thinking of doing this one as well.

Essen do you think there will be a difference without insulating?

Also is there a way to make 18" pizzas without taking off the lid, or will a 20" hole be to big, and allow for heat to escape.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Mick.Chicago on June 07, 2010, 10:31:41 AM
Just had to say, the way you handle the Pie's in the first video's is inspiring! 

When that three minutes was up I was nose to the screen in awe of your Little Black Egg!

I just acquired my own Weber and had a wood fire in it the other day to clean it, I do intend to cook pizza in it at some point but now your Jet Engine Pizza Oven has my mind wondering!   
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on June 08, 2010, 09:01:38 PM
New here, but I'm in the middle of building a lbe. I'm going to add something which nobody here mentioned, and I'm curious what the people with experience think. You can get for the weber Kettle something called a bbq guru which is a fan for the weber which I thould would give great convection effect. Also for those of you who want do a similiar mod to Essen1 you can buy the ring for the weber rotisserie for $60, I'm thinking of doing this one as well.

Essen do you think there will be a difference without insulating?

Also is there a way to make 18" pizzas without taking off the lid, or will a 20" hole be to big, and allow for heat to escape.

I don't really know since I have never heard of that particular device. So I cannot comment on it, sorry.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on June 09, 2010, 01:19:57 AM
Well, my 6th attempt (or thereabouts) was finally worth writing about. Tried moving top stone around, messing with heat settings, changing the way the airflow across the stone worked -- I just hadn't managed to get anything satisfactory. So I moved on to... dual fuel. Propane to bring the stone and chamber up to temp; a few chunks of wood to get the flame-licked over-the-top heat.

Though it's still very much a work in progress, and tricky to maintain (I made 6 pies tonight, and I'd only say 2 of them were really worth an A grade, and neither of those were worth an A+), this is as close as I've gotten to pizza nirvana with my LBE. (Honestly, still not that close. But I'm learning.) Plus, looking at the chunks of wood burn is always sort of hypnotic, so that's a bonus.

Pix: the best pie, cooked in ~2:20, stone temp ~720F, top stone reading ~930F; and a couple shots of the embers sitting at the back of the weber.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: 8-slice on June 09, 2010, 02:28:29 AM
Nice job Mako, that pie looks like it was very nicely proofed!  ;D

Nice temp. control also!

8-slice  :chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on June 09, 2010, 02:39:15 AM
Thanks. I've been playing with sourdough for the last few weeks... with that pie I went back to my tried and true ADY recipe... so easy to work with, extensible, strong... not the myriad rips and tears and constant heartache (but great flavor) of the sourdough.

Temp control -- still not quite there. Perfect for that pie... a little off for most of the pies before and after it.  :) But I'm getting there.

Edit: Also, in that last pic, you can see a piece of rebar sticking out through a hole I drilled for it. Works better than the grate... but it got hot enough that they got soft and started to bow a bit -- like I said, temp control's still not quite there.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: qwerty on June 13, 2010, 02:38:14 AM
First of all great info on here guys. I am taking the plunge and attempting a mini-lbe using a smokey joe. I need some help.

Villa you said you use a Revolution burner from Eastern Outdoors. I can't find that one anywhere can you or anyone else suggest another? Possibly one currently on ebay. Also I need a  recommendation on the stones to use from ebay or an online place. I don't want to screw this up. I am a stoner college kid who has a tendency to do that.  I want this to look as professional as possible to impress the ladies on a college budget. I just ordered an infrared gun and the smokey joe. What else do I need like am I forgetting something? Oh yeah a peel recommendation from ebay. One that will hold up to a frat's worth of use. I had a budget of 350 I have 270 left after the smokey joe and infrared temp gun.  All the help is really appreciated.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: qwerty on June 13, 2010, 03:01:02 AM
Sorry for the double post but I also saw that guys charcoal pizza video in san francisco using the perlite and refactory cement or something like that to build a lid. Any on got any ideas on how to go about making a lid like his. Thought it might look cool first mini lbe with a cement/stone lid.

First pimp on the block with my new toy.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on June 13, 2010, 09:09:37 AM
I just made a MBE (mini black egg) and still trying to work the kinks out for a decent bake. You can search "MBE" to read about it. I followed some of Villa's suggestions by cutting a new vent in the lid to redirect airflow.

Whatever stone you end up with, you'll need to shield the bottom using a another stone, ceramic briquets, or lava rocks as the stone has a tendency to get much hotter than the air above it resulting in a burnt crust.

You can buy whatever burner you want. I don't know if the 60k btu is enough heat. You may want something higher.

These MBE/LBE would be great around the frat house as you can use it as a portable gas gril as well.  Good luck and don't forget to post some pics. 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: qwerty on June 17, 2010, 01:09:19 PM
I just made a MBE (mini black egg) and still trying to work the kinks out for a decent bake. You can search "MBE" to read about it. I followed some of Villa's suggestions by cutting a new vent in the lid to redirect airflow.

Whatever stone you end up with, you'll need to shield the bottom using a another stone, ceramic briquets, or lava rocks as the stone has a tendency to get much hotter than the air above it resulting in a burnt crust.

You can buy whatever burner you want. I don't know if the 60k btu is enough heat. You may want something higher.

These MBE/LBE would be great around the frat house as you can use it as a portable gas gril as well.  Good luck and don't forget to post some pics. 
Thanks for the tips. I am still undecided on a burner for the mini, and which I should get wood peel or metal peel?

Any help guys or girls out there?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: andreguidon on June 17, 2010, 01:10:49 PM
get  GImetal peel... they are great !!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on June 17, 2010, 02:16:32 PM
For the frat house you should really consider an 18" LBE. That would allow for 16" pies. The MBE will get you 12" pies which isn't really enough for a bunch of hungry guys.  I would get both a wooden and metal peel.  Wooden for loading pies and metal for unloading pies. 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on June 17, 2010, 02:32:18 PM
Agreed with Tranman on both counts. a 12" pizza feeds one person.

As for peels, if you've got the funds, get both. Wood is superior for forming and delivering the dough -- the way it holds flour and absorbs moisture keeps the dough from sticking. But metal is better for turning and removing the pizza, because it's thin and won't burn (also you can use it to lift up the cornicione to brown after the bottom is done, if your temperature differential is a bit off -- I believe this is called 'doming').

(Though, depending on your design, that'll be tough to do in the LBE.)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: qwerty on June 17, 2010, 10:50:31 PM
i figured making each person an individual 2 minute pie would be easier may have to rethink this a bit
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on June 17, 2010, 11:07:59 PM
Agreed with Tranman on both counts. a 12" pizza feeds one person.

As for peels, if you've got the funds, get both. Wood is superior for forming and delivering the dough -- the way it holds flour and absorbs moisture keeps the dough from sticking. But metal is better for turning and removing the pizza, because it's thin and won't burn (also you can use it to lift up the cornicione to brown after the bottom is done, if your temperature differential is a bit off -- I believe this is called 'doming').

(Though, depending on your design, that'll be tough to do in the LBE.)

This is good advice. I have two peels. Wood and aluminum. Wood is the way to go for forming pies, and delivering them. I used to have one peel, a metal one, and I had a major problem with pies sticking to the peel when trying to deliver the pie to the stones. Bought a wood peel for forming and haven't had that much of a problem with it any more. Most of my stickage problems now are due to letting the pie sit too long on wood peel.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on June 18, 2010, 01:10:59 AM
i figured making each person an individual 2 minute pie would be easier may have to rethink this a bit

That's not a bad or unreasonable idea... just get two peels (or maybe more). You'll definitely want to have one on-deck while one is baking. And don't forget your mise en place.

I just used my metal and wooden peel combination for the first time tonight -- it's such an improvement. A bunch of the rice flour I used to lubricate the wood peel would stay on, so I wouldn't have to add much more between pies (and less bench flour == less burnt flavors), and the metal peel slipped effortlessly under the pies once they firmed up, and easily slid them all around to get all sides hit by the direct heat.

In other news, my other experiments (lower heat deflector placement, more hardwood on top of the stone and no top stone) were complete failures... I couldn't get the stone above 550F, which meant I couldn't get the wood to really ignite, which meant sad pizza. (Though they still all got eaten and complimented.)

I need to get some refractory cement and take the next step before I fire up the grill again. (Which is what I said last time...)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: secordpd on July 04, 2010, 09:41:16 AM
Hi everyone, well I was watching a Kitchen/bath show and saw this Kalamazoo Pizza Oven, so I looked it up and it's 6 grand!!!  But the design is what it seems like everyone here is shooting for, getting heat up to the ceiling to cook the top of the pizza.  Here's a pic, and you can just google Kalamazoo Pizza grill.
 
They have 2 burners, 1 to heat the bottom stone and 1 in back to heat the top stone.  How can we replicate that?

Just want to say thanx to everyone, esp. VN, You've got me excited about making my own pizzas!!   I have the burner, two webber grills, and am searching for a pizza stone that will not break...

Will post pics when i get closer to starting the project...Just wanted to share the pizza grill link ...
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on July 05, 2010, 05:05:16 AM
As far as replicating that 2nd burner (an idea I've toyed with), my thought was to salvage a long flat burner from a propane grill, or to use a log lighter for a fireplace (which is basically just a steel pipe propane burner).

These are the result of internet research, with no actual expertise (or even trial and error testing). I'm not sure how you'd need to modify things to feed enough air to the burner, and it's all pretty far afield of the LBE concept. I love the idea of being able to tweak the top and bottom completely independently, but it feels like a bit of an engineering challenge to put something like that together.

Armchair Internet Criticism Time: That Kalamazoo oven is pretty... but a purpose-built pizza oven that has a listed top temperature of 800F? I don't get it. If I were gonna spend crazy money, I'd just get a 2Stone. Or, at that price, 3 or 4 2Stones.

Anyway, I doubt anyone who reads 40+ pages about cutting holes in their weber grill is the target market for that polished stainless behemoth.  :)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 05, 2010, 08:03:24 AM
I agree Mako.  I doubt the quality of pie I can make in that is that much better than i can do in my MBE and not worth the $5800 difference. 

But the concept is worthy of consideration.  To be able to add an additional independant top heat source would be really ideal.  And that oven does look cool.  But for that price tag, I'm pretty sure a motivated individual could replicate that thing at a fraction of the cost. 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 06, 2010, 02:10:32 PM
That is exactly the modification I am going to make to my converted pottery kiln/oven soon. Add a second burner similar to a broiler under the top.You will need to find a Y connector to be able to run twin lines going to two valves so each can be seperately adjusted.
Don


Hi everyone, well I was watching a Kitchen/bath show and saw this Kalamazoo Pizza Oven, so I looked it up and it's 6 grand!!!  But the design is what it seems like everyone here is shooting for, getting heat up to the ceiling to cook the top of the pizza.  Here's a pic, and you can just google Kalamazoo Pizza grill.
 
They have 2 burners, 1 to heat the bottom stone and 1 in back to heat the top stone.  How can we replicate that?

Just want to say thanx to everyone, esp. VN, You've got me excited about making my own pizzas!!   I have the burner, two webber grills, and am searching for a pizza stone that will not break...

Will post pics when i get closer to starting the project...Just wanted to share the pizza grill link ...

[/quote]
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: secordpd on July 10, 2010, 11:01:40 AM
What about making a channel(out of sheet metal) so half the burner shoots up to the top (on the backside), to heat the top stone?  Or maybe a damper type flap that directs the flame away from the bottom stone (to the top) after the bottom stone gets up to temp? 

Does the bottom stone really need to be continued to be heated after you put the pizza on it?

Any thoughts?  Just fishing for info before I start constructing....
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 10, 2010, 11:12:59 AM
How would you control the damper flap and what material would you use to make it out of? It's good thinking but may require more tinkering than you realize.  If the stone isn't continuously heated you may get an uneven bake. If anything you need it hot for subsequent pies.

As it is you can channel some of the bottom heat to the sides and top by using a diffuser bowl under the stone.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: scott123 on July 10, 2010, 12:48:55 PM
Does the bottom stone really need to be continued to be heated after you put the pizza on it?

Not if it's thick enough (1/2" or more).

Instead of redirecting the heat with some sort of deflector or diffuser, I'd like to see someone move the heat source entirely to the top of the grill/above the stone.  You'd need a special burner that would be large enough to cover the whole pie and have lots of surface area for even cooking, but I think it can be done.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 10, 2010, 01:05:02 PM
Not if it's thick enough (1/2" or more).

Instead of redirecting the heat with some sort of deflector or diffuser, I'd like to see someone move the heat source entirely to the top of the grill/above the stone.  You'd need a special burner that would be large enough to cover the whole pie and have lots of surface area for even cooking, but I think it can be done.

Now that would be a great idea.  I could see that working better than the current setup fo sho.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: scott123 on July 10, 2010, 01:22:00 PM
I'm wondering if you could take the broiler burner out of an old gas oven (or get a replacement part) and plumb it to a propane tank.

The other day I spent about an hour googling outdoor standalone broiler burners, without any luck.  I'd be really surprised if something like this doesn't exist.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on July 11, 2010, 03:24:21 AM
Log lighters. You might need 2 or 3 of them, and a little cleverness to mount them and distribute the propane, but I think they'd do the job. I think the broilers from a gas oven would work, too, but those haven't been as easy to find. I guess you could go scavenging at a junkyard.

Also, there's a whole lot of instruction out there on how to make your own propane burner out of pipe. Seems a little scary to me, but you could probably fashion something really perfect. (Read up on the Venturi effect first, though.)

At that point, though, you're pretty close to dropping the weber grill entirely. It'd be mostly just wasted space.

Edit: By the way, I think you're totally right. I still can't get as good a pizza off my LBE as I can from my oven, with an electric broiler and a cracked 1/2"-thick stone. That is to say, having the heat coming from the top instead of the bottom seems like a better setup to me. Easier to adjust temp. Easier to dial in the top/bottom differential.

That said, having heat on the bottom is good, too. Especially if I can sort of modularize the top, get a little more headspace, and have not just a traveling pizza oven, but a traveling hearth for full-height breads as well.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 11, 2010, 08:10:36 AM
Those are some good ideas Mako.  That's interesting that you can bake a better pie in the home oven than your LBE.   At one point that was true for me but now I can make a better pie in the MBE.  I can get more concentrated and more even top and bottom heating which gives me better oven spring. Also a much shorter preheat time to boot.  It did take some tinkering and modding though.

Can you show us a pic of your current setup. I'm fairly sure we can get it working better than your home oven.

JT
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on July 11, 2010, 12:52:04 PM
I'm traveling for a few weeks, so I can't take pictures. My problem is that I have been unwilling as yet to cut into my lid, and thus haven't been able to get the airflow totally right-on. Also, I might be having trouble getting the burner screaming hot enough to cover 22" of stone with hot air.

On the flipside, my decrepit home oven has become great for pizza -- as the thermostat has gotten less and less reliable, it'll hold higher temperatures on broil, and now it'll heat the stone up to 750F in 20 minutes and make a nigh-perfect pie.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 11, 2010, 01:14:58 PM
Mako if that's the case and you are happy with your pies then I probably wouldn't cut the lid unless you want a mobile pizza oven.   

A stone temp of 750 in the home oven definitely will put you in the ball park for making elite NY pies if you wanted.  Sounds like your home oven is doing a great job with pizza.  I'd just save the kettle grill for outdoor grilling and call it a day.  Do post up some pics of the oven and and pies when you get a chance will ya?

JT
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 11, 2010, 02:22:24 PM
Greetings from Mexico, I started work on my 18" LBE clone today. I purchased a Chinese kettle grill from the local big store,$700 pesos, and a high pressure burner at the local market for $130 pesos. As the grill came with legs I merely laid out and cut out a circle which allows the burner to sit in the cutout. I will have to drill a hole near the burner to light it. It being Sunday I will have to wait till Monday to buy some flat bar to fabricate a support for the burner tube that is outside the kettle. I will have to make a drive into Puerto Vallarta to acquire some hard firebrick splits for the baking surface. Hopefully the place still carries them. The firebrick will be supported by a steel plate having a large bolt welded to the center. The bolt will then sit in a tube in the center of a X brace which will be bolted to the inside of the kettle so the whole affair can turn. I sold my welder so I will have to farm some of the work out. Hopefully later in the week I will have more to say.
Regards, Don
ps. the peso is around 12 pesos to one dollar
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 11, 2010, 04:00:32 PM
Don welcome!  We anxiously await for pics. :)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: bocci on July 11, 2010, 06:09:00 PM
Greetings to all LBE posters... I bring glad tidings!  :)

Another LBE has successfully landed, in Oakland, CA.

BACKSTORY (you can skip if you'd like):
I have been searching for about two years for a great way to make great pizza at home. I started out making pan pizzas in a small baking tray in my apartment oven. My girlfriend from Texas loved these, but as a NYC-native transplant I wasn't very happy. Compounding my shame were the occasional trips to local pizza restaurant Pizzaiolo, which makes an amazing Neopolitan pie (definitely one of the best I've ever had, and definitely in the top 50 US pies).

Around the time I moved into my first home I started looking aggressively for a way to replicate my Pizzaiolo culinary experience (and that of their sister spot, "Boot & Show Service") without leaving the house. I stumbled onto Jeff Varasano's site. I bought a nice pizza stone for my oven and used it to test some of Jeff's ideas in my kitchen. I was making better pies, sure, but nothing coming close to what I was seeing online. The question of heat was constantly on my mind, but nevertheless I didn't want to cut the lock off my oven and run it on the cleaning cycle... this just seemed too dangerous!  ???

Then I found the Pizza Hacker.  :pizza: This guy really inspired me with his Pizza Forge. I love my Weber charcoal grill, and the idea of converting one into a pizza oven really got me excited. However there is limited information online about how to mold a refractory cement / perlite hood, and I've also never been good with clay. Nevertheless I was willing to give it a go, and with vacation time pending I put it on my to do list this week to make a Pizza Forge at home.

But when the time came to begin, I just never felt like I had enough knowledge about how to build the Pizza Forge without failing (like that great Youtube vid where the whole weber is shattered on the floor).

That's when I found this forum, and Villa Roma's inspired Little Black Egg design. After reading the whole thread twice and taking notes, I ditched the idea of building the Pizza Forge and decided to make my own LBE instead!

SPECIFICATIONS & PROCESS:
First I'd like to thank everyone on the forums for all their great contributions of knowledge.
But I'd like to add special thanks to a few key posters who directly influenced my LBE rev:
Villa Roma, R2-Bayou, jasonmolinari and sparetire... thank you all for your contributions (noted below)  :chef:

Materials:
- Bayou Classic Cooker SP-10 (from local-ish Ace Hardware)
- 18" Weber Silver One-Touch Grill (Ace Hardware)
- x2 16" Old Stone Oven Pizza Stones (from East Bay Restaurant Supply Co)
- 3/8" x 3" Socket Screw w/ x4 Washers and x2 Nuts
- Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
- Propane Tank

Tools:
- Variable Speed Dremel 300 Rotary Tool (Ace Hardware)
- Dremel EZ406 EZ Lock Starter Kit (Extra Metal-Cutting Blades; Ace Hardware)
- Black & Decker Corded Drill w/ 3/8" Drill Bit
- Wrenches
- Sand Paper
- Gloves and Goggles
   
Process (generally inspired by VR):
1. Cut 11.5" hole out of the bottom of the weber using the Dremel with the cutting wheel attachment (thanks R2-Bayou). About 40 min.
2. Used Sand Paper to Smooth Out Edge. 5 min.
3. Covered interior with HD Aluminum Foil. 15-20 min.
4. Reversed grill grate and placed charcoal grate on top, also upside down, for reinforcement. This also fixes the issue of the handles on the grill grate affecting the placement of the stones. Put x2 OSO stones on top. This will likely be replaced with a cast-iron grate once I see these grates start to sag. 5 min.
5. Buffered one side of stones with aluminum foil. This completed the lower part of the LBE. 3 min.
6. Cut 8.5" side vent out of weber lid using Dremel with cutting wheel attachment. 20 min.
7. Used sand paper to smooth out edge. 5 min.
8. Ripped out (by hand, not too hard) odd "hook" element that was below the factory-installed lid vent. Maybe this is standard on new weber grills? 2 min.
9. Drilled a 3/8" hole in the center of the weber lid. 5 min.
10. Took Aluminum Ash Catcher that came with the weber and drilled a single 3/8" hole in the center. 5 min.
11. Covered lid interior with HD Aluminum Foil. 10-15 min.
12. Mounted reversed Aluminum Ash Catcher into center of lid using 3" Socket Screw w/ washers and nuts (thanks jasonmolinari and sparetire). 10 min.
13. Placed everything on the burner and did a dry run burn... another Little Black Egg is born!

The whole things was completed in about 3 hours, including testing. The part that took the longest was getting all the materials, which for me in a well-stocked urban area was about a day, and could have been 4 hours if I didn't keep forgetting things and having to go back.  :-[

As someone who is definitely not DIY-inclined, I would say making an LBE is not too difficult a project at all - especially if you use a tool like a Dremel for cutting the metal - and would recommend it to anyone who is interested. Pictures of the O-Town LBE and its parts are below.

PIZZAS:
I made 3 pizzas for the inaugural run, using VR's 400gm/400gm AP/Bread recipe from the thread (I use King Arthur flours), and VR's Youtube techniques (30 min autolyse, 6 hour rise, etc). I could tell as I was making the dough it was going to be one of the better pizzas I've made, LBE aside.

I made a standard margherita, a sausage/pepper/onion pie, and a marinara/garlic/caper/anchovy pie. All pies cooked from 1-3 minutes at +630'F heat (took about 30 min for the LBE to heat up with the BC burner valve at 135' open).

They were the best pies I've ever made, hands down! They were a little burnt in places, and the undersides were a bit burnt as well, but I attribute a lot of this to my own errors. I think if I can learn to use less flour on the dough, improve my pie-stretching (needs a lot of work, as you can see from the last pie), and pull the pies out a bit sooner I can get something really wonderful. But the pies last night were really great (pictures in next post), with a rise I've never been able to achieve before! I'm very, very happy.

THANKS!
Thank you again to everyone who contributes to this thread, and a special thanks to Villa Roma for sharing his knowledge with the world... :) Best of luck to everyone, and spread the love of LBE far and wide.  ;D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: bocci on July 11, 2010, 06:09:57 PM
Here are the pictures of the pies I made...
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 11, 2010, 06:27:15 PM
Welcome bocci. Excellent write up and excellent looking pies!  I hope you keep posting those nice pics.

JT
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: secordpd on July 12, 2010, 05:45:44 PM
Thanx Bocci, I've been procrastinating, but now you got me going... (Course this summer heat is not fueling my interest in hot pies)

Great job with instructions... I'm getting excited about getting the LBE made...I was just trying to decide whether to run around looking for a kiln stone or just go with pizza stones  - either way have to drive 30 miles round trip to purchase either...

Also is the ash tray aluminum?  Will it melt at such high temps? Was hoping to find something a little more heat resistant  like a gas grill accessory  - a cast iron flat grill or something like this   

 Bayou Classic Large Bacon Press (8x5 cast iron)   from Walmart website
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: R2-Bayou on July 12, 2010, 05:47:01 PM
Your pies look great bocci, awesome write-up too..

Just wanted to let people know that Amazon has a sale on the bayou classic now..

Classic Bayou Cooker SP-10 from Amazon (delivered)   $39.96!

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: bocci on July 12, 2010, 07:42:37 PM
Thanks guys, especially R2_Bayou: I can't stress enough how much easier I think the LBE is to make using a Dremel per your suggestion... I've used a hacksaw before and cutting through about 3 feet of metal to make the bottom opening is not something you want to do manually if you can help it!

Also is the ash tray aluminum?  Will it melt at such high temps? Was hoping to find something a little more heat resistant  like a gas grill accessory  - a cast iron flat grill or something like this   
I think it is aluminum, yes, but so far it has held up fine. After two firings (the dry run and the initial pizza run), so far the parts that seem least likely to hold up are:
   * the orginal weber grill grate, which is already sagging
   * my deck!

The deck material (a wood composite) actually darkened under the BC burner. I'll likely fashion a little platform under the burner to keep things a bit safer. As for the sagging grill grate, I already have on order a cast iron grate to replace it which will hopefully arrive today.

Either way, the LBE seems like the kind of device that will require occasional replacement parts to keep in good working order over its lifetime... I mean we're asking it to work with some serious heat!  ;) That being said I will definitely keep an eye on the ash catcher and see if I notice any warping or melting, and will let you know if I do. Otherwise my hope is that the ash catcher proves a solid revision to the LBE lid such that other mod-ers can forgo buying another pizza stone, grill plate, etc.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 12, 2010, 08:08:11 PM
Bocci, what is the preheat time and what temps and how long are you baking those at?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: bocci on July 12, 2010, 09:46:50 PM
Bocci, what is the preheat time and what temps and how long are you baking those at?
Preheat time was 1/2 hour to ~640'F stone and +750'F ambient environment. BC burner valve was set at 135' open (from fully closed)

Once preheated, dropped valve to 90' open and put in 1st pie.

1st Pie, Margherita, was about 3.5 min.

2nd Pie, Sausage/Pepper was about 2 min @ ~720'F stone and +820'F ambient environment.

I lowered the valve to 45' open before the third pie.

3rd Pie was also about 2 min @ ~720'F stone and +820'F ambient environment.

...

I think I could get more accurate temp readings next time... this time I honestly was so excited at the visual rise of the dough being so far superior to previous bakes in non-LBE ovens that I was less strict with recording the temps and times. Now that I have real-world experience about what to roughly expect I can spend more time getting my data in order!  :D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 13, 2010, 01:02:08 AM
Thanks for posting the time and temps as lots of ppl can use those as a guideline. They are inline with my bakes in the MBE.   

And about the tremendous oven spring in the egg, I completely understand. I remember the feeling well not long ago.  Ive been posting  about it recently. It's due to more even top and bottom heating compared to the home oven.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: garyd on July 14, 2010, 04:45:52 AM
I've been reading this LBE tread for the first time and I want to tell of my old grill set up that made great 3 minute neo pies. I had a Masterbuilt Veranda grill that I bought at Sam's club about 7 years ago. The Masterbuilt Veranda is a pedestal gas grill with a round gas burner below the grate and a hinged dome lid. This is the current model:

http://www.masterbuilt.com/prod-propveranda.html

It is a little different than the model I had but essentially the same. Mine was all chrome. With a 30 minute warm-up, I could get the temp up to 900 degrees according to the lid thermometer. I used 2 stones stacked on top of each other placed on the grate. The bottom bowl had a chrome stainless heat reflector. I lined the lid with foil. When I first got it I could get those temps without the foil because of the stainless chrome lid but with use it darkened so I had to use foil. I could make great 3 minute pies after a 30 minute warm up. When I first tried pizza on it, it instantly burned the bottom of the dough when I was only using one stone, which promptly broke the first time. I now use that stone as the bottom stone and an Old Stone Oven stone on top of that. I was always amazed at how high of temps I could get it up to. I bought a Vermont Castings big gas grill and I could only get it to get up to 450 degrees.

Unfortunately, my Masterbuilt Veranda was destroyed last summer when a freak tornado and baseball size hail came through our neighborhood. The hail pummeled it to a pulp and the tornado picked it up and deposited on my neighbor's roof. I have thought of buying a new one but from what I have seen, I am not 100% happy with the newer design.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: secordpd on July 14, 2010, 06:12:42 PM
Hi everyone!       Just a couple quick questions - if anyone could help please...   

I have the 18' Weber &
Oklahoma Joe Turkey fryer (10 psi?)

1) Could this stainless steel vegetable basket possibly work as a diffuser in the bottom with lava rocks?

2) Would this stainless steel 16' pizza pan work for the lid instead of a stone?

3) Is the big Green Egg baking stone 15' big enough for the 18' Weber? (All I could find around here)

4) can I just use a broken pizza stone under the BGE stone to buffer? Or would a another ss pizza pan work better (or a saw blade?)

5) Should I get a better regulator for the burner?

6) How about using rebar to reinforce the top grate?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 14, 2010, 06:20:25 PM
It should be fine as long as you have an air gap b/t that and the stone. I would also use the lava rocks instead of ceramic briquettes. 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 14, 2010, 06:41:11 PM
I have a new laptop and camera, so we shall see if I can get the picture thing going. I have the burner mounted. The metal shelf supports in. Acquired the steel shelf and a new ceramic tile.12" square. 30 x 30 cm. Trial firing on Thursday.
Regards, Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 14, 2010, 07:52:00 PM
Very nice Buseriasdon. So it's a MBE? first one Ive seen with a square stone. I like how you did away with the grate and just used the supports. Looking forward to seeing a pie come off of that. Please post pics on Thursday. I wish you luck.

JT
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 14, 2010, 08:38:51 PM
thanks JT, It's locally made clay tile, cost me about $1.20 US dollars.I also bought a new sixteen inch tile for $1.80 US dollars.  I am trying a different approach than others and having more gap at the tile steel plate level to enable more heat to rise to the top. I also have not cut a slot in the lid. My thinking is to try and locate the hot spots then drill vent holes in the areas of the lid needing more venting. Trial and error. Trial and error. I left out the al. foil for the sake of clarity in the pictures.
Regards, Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on July 15, 2010, 12:34:32 AM
Looks nice, buceriasdon; tight construction. I'm not sure you'll get complete combustion/sufficient airflow with your burner fit so tightly in there, though. At full blast it can suck in a whole lot of air -- the people upthread who mentioned it sounding like a jet engine were not overstating by much. If you have trouble bringing it up to max, I'd start by looking there. (It might be able to pull all the air it needs through the venturi tunnel, but I'm not sure.)

Curious to see how your design works out. Alternative methods to deal with getting the top heat up are always appreciated.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 15, 2010, 06:04:10 AM
Good morning, Thanks for the kind words mako. I failed to mention I need to cut a slot near the burner for lighting. The idea is to pull air through the slot as well as the venturi. The burners here have a threaded jet and a large area washer for gas to air mixture adjustment. Takes a bit of fiddling to get a good blue flame. I will include a picture of the working end of the burner as I have no idea if it is the same as burners available up north. Till this afternoon.
Regards, Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 16, 2010, 07:40:52 AM
morning, Yes mako, you were correct. I will have to open the hole in the bottom and fab a support for the burner. Once the lid went on the flame died.
Don
Looks nice, buceriasdon; tight construction. I'm not sure you'll get complete combustion/sufficient airflow with your burner fit so tightly in there, though. At full blast it can suck in a whole lot of air -- the people upthread who mentioned it sounding like a jet engine were not overstating by much. If you have trouble bringing it up to max, I'd start by looking there. (It might be able to pull all the air it needs through the venturi tunnel, but I'm not sure.)

Curious to see how your design works out. Alternative methods to deal with getting the top heat up are always appreciated.
[/quote]
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 16, 2010, 08:03:13 AM
thanks JT, It's locally made clay tile, cost me about $1.20 US dollars.I also bought a new sixteen inch tile for $1.80 US dollars.  I am trying a different approach than others and having more gap at the tile steel plate level to enable more heat to rise to the top. I also have not cut a slot in the lid. My thinking is to try and locate the hot spots then drill vent holes in the areas of the lid needing more venting. Trial and error. Trial and error. I left out the al. foil for the sake of clarity in the pictures.
Regards, Don

Don, I have a lot of fun experimenting.  Exploring new frontiers is also very exciting but should be balanced with current knowledge.  Unless you have a bunch of grill lids to switch out or find a way to plug up the holes you've drilled, I would stick with what works on this one.  Cutting an 1"x6" airvent as VR has shown and others have done seems to work well.  Just a my 2 cents. 

Once you get your setup working, I would love to see pics of the set up and pies coming out of it. 

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 16, 2010, 08:10:25 AM
Hi everyone!       Just a couple quick questions - if anyone could help please...   

I have the 18' Weber &
Oklahoma Joe Turkey fryer (10 psi?)

1) Could this stainless steel vegetable basket possibly work as a diffuser in the bottom with lava rocks?
yes - just leave an airgap between that and the stone. 

2) Would this stainless steel 16' pizza pan work for the lid instead of a stone?
Yes it should.  You can use stone or metal up there.  I have an aluminum disk in my lid.  VR, bocci, and others are using the aluminum disk ash catcher in the lid.  Member 8 slice is using metal up there as well.  it works fine.

3) Is the big Green Egg baking stone 15' big enough for the 18' Weber? (All I could find around here)
It should be fine.  If that 3" gap is too big you can place ceramic briquets along the innerwall of the grill to lessen the gap between stone and wall.  experiment and find out what works.  Then post your results so others might learn something. 

4) can I just use a broken pizza stone under the BGE stone to buffer? Or would a another ss pizza pan work better (or a saw blade?)  See #1
5) Should I get a better regulator for the burner?
Whats wrong with your current one?

6) How about using rebar to reinforce the top grate?
Good idea, it's been done before.  Go back and read, it's in this thread midway I think.  There are other solutions as well. 

JT
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: secordpd on July 16, 2010, 09:57:38 AM
Thanx JT, I'm on my way to go get a couple kiln shelves today.  I'm going to try both steel top and kiln shelf on top and see which one works best.  I'll be posting pics this weekend.  I was going to go with the BGE bake stone but it only measures 14', not 15'(she said the box measured 15'). So off to Portland Maine to Portland Pottery Supply, will make a day of it with my boyfriend, stop somewhere to eat etc...

I'll keep you all posted  :pizza:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: secordpd on July 16, 2010, 11:06:02 AM
Oh yea, the reason I was wondering about the regulator is because some people on here say they changed to a better one...
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 16, 2010, 11:20:26 AM
I guess it depends on the regulator/burner you have.  Mine is very simple.  The stem of the burner has an air intake cover that you can adjust how much air is taken in. Downline there is a small knob to allow more or less propane.  Works fine. I can regulate the flame/heat pretty easily.  I wouldn't replace it unless there is a problem.

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 16, 2010, 01:43:39 PM

Yep, I am not one to reinvent the wheel. I did enlarge the area surrounding the burner but the flame still goes out when the lid is put on. Starved for oxygen. 1x6" vent is next. thanks, Don

Don, I have a lot of fun experimenting.  Exploring new frontiers is also very exciting but should be balanced with current knowledge.  Unless you have a bunch of grill lids to switch out or find a way to plug up the holes you've drilled, I would stick with what works on this one.  Cutting an 1"x6" airvent as VR has shown and others have done seems to work well.  Just a my 2 cents. 

Once you get your setup working, I would love to see pics of the set up and pies coming out of it. 

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 16, 2010, 02:05:33 PM
Don the 1x6" lid vent is for the MBE.  It may be a bit bigger for an LBE. You can get the exact dimensions in this thread. Once you get these things dialed in they are AWESOME for making pizza.  THANK YOU Villa Roma!!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on July 16, 2010, 04:56:23 PM
Thanx JT, I'm on my way to go get a couple kiln shelves today.  I'm going to try both steel top and kiln shelf on top and see which one works best.  I'll be posting pics this weekend.  I was going to go with the BGE bake stone but it only measures 14', not 15'(she said the box measured 15'). So off to Portland Maine to Portland Pottery Supply, will make a day of it with my boyfriend, stop somewhere to eat etc...

I'll keep you all posted  :pizza:

Funny; I'll be in Portland, Maine in 3 days. ...maybe I'll try to improvise a pizza grill while I'm there.

I'll echo Jackie's sentiments on regulators... unless you just can't crank out enough flame, you're probably fine. The burners can crank up really high... but I don't really ever need to go near top-end on my regulator to get the cooking chamber hotter than it'd ever need to be.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 16, 2010, 06:00:33 PM
Actually my idea is to have vent holes around the upper lid, rather than in just on area. What I observed and measured temp wise led me to that conclusion. I easily got to 700 in 15 minutes. I use a two stage actelene regulator. It allows me to see how much propane I have as well as more precise flame control. I should mention that I have built other gas fired ovens in the past. Now to experiment with a dough that works with the flours available here in Mexico for this oven. More to come...........

Don the 1x6" lid vent is for the MBE.  It may be a bit bigger for an LBE. You can get the exact dimensions in this thread. Once you get these things dialed in they are AWESOME for making pizza.  THANK YOU Villa Roma!!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 16, 2010, 06:14:08 PM
Actually my idea is to have vent holes around the upper lid, rather than in just on area. What I observed and measured temp wise led me to that conclusion. I easily got to 700 in 15 minutes. I use a two stage actelene regulator. It allows me to see how much propane I have as well as more precise flame control. I should mention that I have built other gas fired ovens in the past. Now to experiment with a dough that works with the flours available here in Mexico for this oven. More to come...........


Don, you sound like you have a lot of tinkering experience.  I have found that my experience with other charcoal grills and ovens have helped me quite a bit with the MBE as well.  I'm sure you can make it work.  For me, I love to try new things but often find that much of it has been tried and just aout perfected already.   Villa really did a fantastic job with the LBE so there was really very little I had to tinker with to get mine baking properly. 

I'm excited to see how your bakes come out with the square stone.  I think with a front lip top vent as commonly used will work fine with your stone setup.  You'll likely need to rotate the pie a few times but that shouldn't be an issue.  Good luck and post up some pics. 

Also I don't think the flour will be an issue.  YOu can make pizzas with just about any type of flour.  You just vary your hydration ratio, kneading times, bake times and temps to make up for the protein difference.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: secordpd on July 16, 2010, 08:46:39 PM
Hey Mako, no need to make your own pizza, Flatbread is right on the waterfront in Portland and in my opinion makes the best pizza I've ever had and I've eaten pizza all over the USA....It's on the north end of Route 1A ( which runs along Portland's 'Old Port' waterfront.  Right next to Ri Ra's Irish Pub overlooking Casco Bay.) I've never eaten at that paticular Flatbread, But have eaten at the Portsmouth, NH & Amesbury, MA ones.   In fact my whole reason for building the LBE is to replicate Flatbreads pizza!  (They have a woodfired ovens right in the restaurant).

I'm not even going to try and make my own dough at first, because you can buy dough from Flatbread, and after I get the whole LBE process done then I'll work on making my own awesome dough like VR & you all... Esp. VR whole wheat dough!!!!

Have fun, Portland is a great place  8)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: widespreadpizza on July 16, 2010, 08:51:52 PM
Secordpd,  its all a matter of opinion,  but I would argue that flatbread only pretty good.  There is much better to be had out there.  If you play your cards right,  you may eclipse them with your own pies in not all that long of a time.  -marc
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on July 17, 2010, 03:12:05 AM
I've eaten at Flatbread twice, and both times I found it a bit expensive and not at all memorable. Maybe I've just been unlucky.

Flatbread's way off my radar, since I had some Modern Apizza from New Haven yesterday, and there isn't much that can compete with that -- it's a constant competitor for #1 on my personal list. (Although at this point I'd prefer a fresh pie out of my oven at home to a slice from Modern that had to travel 40 minutes from the oven to my mouth. My friends called me arrogant when I said that last night. They're probably right.)

Getting pretty far afield from the topic at hand, so I'll shut up now. (I think I've seen the moderators cut out off-topic bits from threads -- this could probably go.)  :)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 17, 2010, 06:50:52 AM
Mako, you're in good company. This place is full of arrogance!  Ppl claiming they can make better pizza than their local pizzerias. Geez.   ;D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: secordpd on July 17, 2010, 12:52:50 PM
Has anyone wished they would have made the side vent bigger or smaller?   Big enough to take the pizza in and out or smaller with just enough room to insert peel and turn pizza? (and lift lid to remove)

I see some have cut a whole section on the lid where as some have just cut a slot in the cover, leaving the cover rim intact....

Is it better to make the slot big enough to use as a means of inserting/removing pizza, so as not to remove lid, resulting in quicker reheats for future pies? 

What would be the best for getting the heat up to the top stone/air flow?

Just don't want to say shouda/woulda after I cut it today.

Any thoughts..

Will post construction pics tonight....
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 17, 2010, 12:56:32 PM
This photo was taken after running the burner for 15 mins with a piece of steel holding the front lip of the lid up creating a vent. You can see the darker areas in relation to the vent side. Temp wise they measured between 50 to 75 degrees hotter than the front. To my way of thinking this  indicates multiple smaller vents in the lid would create a more even baking surface over a single large vent. My next step will be to cut a 10" disc of plywood to simulate a pie. This would better show the hotter areas.....I think.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: secordpd on July 17, 2010, 01:14:06 PM
That shows that the hot air flows up around the edges, but what about cooking the top. If it can flow out in several spots, would it not flow fast & hot over the top of the pizza, but rather up the sides, right out the vents, rather then across the top of the pizza? What are your thoughts on multiple vents, small vents all around or wider slots in selected areas?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 17, 2010, 01:32:59 PM
Has anyone wished they would have made the side vent bigger or smaller?   Big enough to take the pizza in and out or smaller with just enough room to insert peel and turn pizza? (and lift lid to remove)

I see some have cut a whole section on the lid where as some have just cut a slot in the cover, leaving the cover rim intact....

Is it better to make the slot big enough to use as a means of inserting/removing pizza, so as not to remove lid, resulting in quicker reheats for future pies? 

What would be the best for getting the heat up to the top stone/air flow?

Just don't want to say shouda/woulda after I cut it today.

Any thoughts..

Will post construction pics tonight....

oohhh tough question.  I haven't done both.  I have only cut a smaller vent and happy I did.  I don't plan on widening it.  To widen it to the point of being able to load a pie through the slot is ludicrous in my mind.  It would create too much loss of heat.  Maybe it's a great idea, I don't know but I'm having a really hard time seeing it.

As it is I'm getting great bakes in my MBE so no desire to change much at this point.  I just tried a 820F bake this morning and it didn't work.  The top was underbaked compared to the bottom.  In my MBE the max bake temps is about 725F to get an even top and bottom browning.  Sure I could crank it up and probably get 900+ temps on the hearth but I doubt it would cook evenly on top. 

JT
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 17, 2010, 03:41:20 PM
Hi, Just returned from a test firing where I cut a 10" cardboard disc,laid it on the tile and supported the lid as best I could evenly.  I bent up some rod to support the lid, not the best system but it did show very even charring around the rim after a five minute burn, with even temps taken with an infrared. Very promising results. Came back to my place to get some al. foil , make some balls from it and hopefully support the lid better and go for a longer burn.
Don

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: secordpd on July 18, 2010, 10:45:43 AM
Well, I tried to post pics twice, and it kept kicking back as to big, so I guess I have to figure out how to resize my photos.  But to nice a day out.. gotta get outside!!

I started working on my LBE yesterday, but some friends stopped by for a swim(I live on a small lake) with a cooler full of beers so needless to say, I only got half way through...

Will post pics soon.....
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 20, 2010, 07:21:46 AM
Baked up two 10" same day pies last evening for a trial run. I prefer cold ferment but the crust was good, better than I expected. I only had the oven ramped up to 650 so the pies took maybe 4 to 5 minutes to bake. Wanted to get a feel for loading and turning plus I had an unexpected dinner guest so I didn't want to burn the pies. One thing I am going to do is have a hinge welded up so the lid will tilt back rather than find a place to put it while loading and turning if necessary although I didn't have to last night. My rim didn't puff up as much as other's photos show, I'll work on that. If I bake early enough today to take some pics without flash I'll post pics of pies. later..............
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: secordpd on July 20, 2010, 09:21:48 AM
Well, lets try again...  I made the LBE over the weekend and made a couple pies last night, but it was too dark so the pics didn't come out very good and since I had some company, it didn't take long to eat them up.

So here's the pics building the LBE

1) I used a jigsaw with a metal cutting blade and it worked awesome!  Was a little finicky because it was a circle, but other wise pretty fast.

2) Only cut hole the size of the burner ring, figured if needed to make a larger hole, I could make it the size of the outer ring of the burner. Cut slots so it fit over the burner better.

3) Used a old grill pan (the kind you use on your gas grill to prevent small food from falling through) and put lava rocks in.  It sits at same height as the bottom rack where the charcoal would go.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: secordpd on July 20, 2010, 09:26:07 AM
Would not allow me to post more all the pics, so here's the rest.

4) When I was cutting the side vent with the jigsaw, towards the end of the cut, meeting up with the vertical cut, it started vibrating to much to continue..

5&6) So I finished with the roto-zip with the metal disk. Then I used the roto-zip like a mini angle grinder and ground down the cut nice and smooth...  (A girl & her tools :)

6) I used a masonry bit to drill holes in the kiln shelves/pizza stones that will be attached to the lid.

7) Here's a pic of the side vent cut out.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 20, 2010, 09:30:50 AM
Looks good! Yea, I had the same problem with taking pics last night, the flash bleached the color out.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: secordpd on July 20, 2010, 09:43:34 AM
Don't have a IR thermometer yet so I don't know what the temp was, but the top of the pizza got pretty well cooked, as the top stone is only 1 1/2 inch high. I do have to turn the pie a few times, but it really blows some heat out that side vent pretty good.  

I may have to cut the bottom kiln stone down a little as the space for the heat to come up is only an inch or so..  It is octagonal shape (all they had, no round shelves) so may just round it off.  Will post more pics in the coming days.  Thanks to Jackie Tran, I used his easy to remember pizza dough recipe (THANX) last night.  Pretty darn good for my first attempt.  

Sunday night I bought a store bought dough, just to practice with and it was so bad (worse then cardboard -couldn't eat!), but browned up pretty good...
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: secordpd on July 20, 2010, 09:44:54 AM
buceriasdon, that's what happened to my pics both nights, so will do a little earlier tonight.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 20, 2010, 10:53:49 AM
Looking good secorpd! You're better with that rotozip than I am. That thing is a very useful tool. Well worth the $ IMO.  1" b/t the stone and walls should be sufficient. An IR thermogun is a must.  Looking forward to pics of those pies.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 21, 2010, 02:07:45 PM
Some quick pics of newest additions to my LBE. The complete unit, the new tile, and the inside of the lid showing the aluminum discs and the vent holes. I am waiting on the fab shop for the hinges I am having them make for me so the lid stays attached and folds back. I'm making some quick dough for this evenings trial firing. later then.............
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 21, 2010, 02:13:18 PM
Sorry, not sure why it didn't load...............
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 22, 2010, 02:47:50 PM
Another trial bake and and a major oops, must have made a mistake when measureing. Need to back off the aluminum plate another inch or so. Quite simply it was too close to the pizza, the black burnt looking stuff are pizza toppings. Some fine(cough, cough) tuning is in order. I suspected that my larger tile was, and proved to be true, too large, as it cut off hot air to the upper area. It was cut down to have an inch and a half clearance all the way around. Tonight........another pizza trial.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 22, 2010, 09:57:23 PM
Bit overbaked, I don't care for this much char on the rim, but very good tasting. Still had to turn the pie three times. Peanutbutter! I'll turn more frequently Friday for Margherita pizza night. I think three minutes would have been better than four. Jamon,(ham).....con(with) queso(cheese) oxaca(a state in Mexico) y championes(mushrooms) y(and) jalapenos pimienta(pepper). 15 minutes to 700 F. Still waiting for my hinges..........sigh.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on July 22, 2010, 10:22:22 PM
impressive first bake.  Nice work.  I'm glad the lid vents worked out great.  Is oaxaca cheese similar to mozzarellla?

JT
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on July 22, 2010, 11:31:42 PM
  Is oaxaca cheese similar to mozzarellla?

JT, oaxaca is about as close to mozzarella as you get in Mexican cheese. Tasty stuff.



buceriasdon, I love the look of the char on that pie. It looks good. I prefer the char on my pies.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 24, 2010, 07:38:41 AM
I had a "Ah-HA!" moment while baking last night's Margherita pizza. Flames coming up over the top of the tile is the cause of the edge burning. It appears I will have to install some sort of diffuser in the burn chamber. I used panela cheese, which was weighted and dried with paper towels,fresh plum tomatoes marinated in olive oil and thai basil I grow in pots. It just so happens the colors of the Mexican flag are white, green and red. My dinner guest and I loved it. She even ate my crust!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 25, 2010, 12:48:24 AM
Tonight's pizza. A light fresh tomato sauce with oaxaca cheese and fresh squash blossoms. Very subtle, very sublime. Not burnt edges. I seem to be getting the hang of this new oven.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Tampa on July 25, 2010, 04:26:27 PM
buceriasdon,

Thanks for sharing the photos of your egg build.  I found it interesting that you drilled holes in the lid.  I donít remember seeing this before, but in the 45 pages and 897 posts to date, I may have missed something.

I thought that the ideal heat flow plan was exhausting all the hot air over the pizza and out the slot in the front.  I guess if that front slot is too small, pressure (theoretically) could cause a slight back up and heat could flow out the bottom or other cracks.  Is that part of your vent-hole strategy?  The opposite would also be true: low pressure above the stone could draw all the heat and a little cold air in from the bottom Ė the cold might compromise the effectiveness a bit.

Iím not trying to get too scientific on this, just wondering: did you have a reason for drilling the vent holes on the lid?

Dave
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 25, 2010, 05:55:01 PM
Good afternoon Dave, I have to make a confession here, I didn't look much past the first maybe six pages of posts, if that. Too much ramblings, not enough substance. My burner sets inside the lower kettle, not below it, so I found it necessary to increase the oxygen supply for clean efficient combustion, but I also wanted a even baking area with a minimum of turning hence the symetrical vents around the lid. I drilled one set of holes and ran a test, then the second run of holes to achieve a good burn. My thinking was to keep as much hot air as possible in the bake area, but to exchange it at a slower rate. I may at a later date decide a diffuser of some sort above the burner would be good but for the moment the steel plate with the tile alone is working out for me. I may also purchase a duplicate grill and cut a vent like I have been told is better. Problem is, I'm kinda one of those lone wolf kinda guys who have to go it alone at times. Actually the single large vent would be easier to do and I would recommend it to others. Out of the four propane ovens I have built this was the easiest to complete and I am very pleased with it. Very portable! On a side note, it seems I will have to build my own hinges as the metal shop keeps putting me off. I'll post some pics when finished installing.
Respectfully, Don Thompson


buceriasdon,

Thanks for sharing the photos of your egg build.  I found it interesting that you drilled holes in the lid.  I donít remember seeing this before, but in the 45 pages and 897 posts to date, I may have missed something.

I thought that the ideal heat flow plan was exhausting all the hot air over the pizza and out the slot in the front.  I guess if that front slot is too small, pressure (theoretically) could cause a slight back up and heat could flow out the bottom or other cracks.  Is that part of your vent-hole strategy?  The opposite would also be true: low pressure above the stone could draw all the heat and a little cold air in from the bottom Ė the cold might compromise the effectiveness a bit.

Iím not trying to get too scientific on this, just wondering: did you have a reason for drilling the vent holes on the lid?

Dave
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pdxsds on July 25, 2010, 11:43:23 PM
Another newbie from Portland...  Thanks to all for this great thread.  I've read through most of the posts, but may have missed some, and I don't see anyone who's tried the LBE with charcoal.  So in a first attempt at this endeavor, I've left my 22" Weber kettle as a charcoal fired grill but otherwise modified per the accumulated recommendations here.

So I started with a 22" inch old, hand-me-down kettle, lined with HD foil, and decided to go with a 20" aluminum pizza pan ($10, amazon) as the top reflector.  Drilled a 4" bolt through the lid and hung the pan, and lined the lid with foil.  The pan fits snugly - see pics.  Then cut a 8" x 2" vent in the lid with a Dremel - best use of this tool ever.  For the supporting grate, I took the standard cook grate and cut about 5" off of one side and flipped it upside down.  On top, I have a layer of "gas grill blocks" to diffuse and even out the heat (Gas Grill Company, $20, True Value).  Then I have a Old Stone Oven pizza stone in a shape I've never seen before: 20.5" x 15.5", with one edge squared off to fit a 22" inch kettle with the hinged grate ($55, amazon).  Unfortunately, my grill didn't have the hinged grate, so I used the Dremel to cut off 5" of the grate to provide access for adding more charcoal (unnecessarily, see below).

I wanted to get the stone temp up to 700F, and I wasn't sure how much lump hardwood charcoal to use, so I probably overdid it with 2 thick layers of blazing hot coals.  At 30 minutes, the stone was at 550 and the aluminum pan was about the same. So far so good.  Got the pizza's ready, using the Lehmann recipe, and by the time I slid the first one from the peel the stone was at 850+ and the pan was 750. Ack!  Not unexpectedly, the bottom crust was toasted as you'll see, and the top was just done.  For the second pie, I shut all the bottom vents and took the lid off to drop the temp.  Couldn't get it below 800, so cooked it and got about the same results.  Two hours later the stone was still at 850 with all the vents closed.  Needless to say, lump charcoal will get the stone as hot as propane.

So, I need to reduce the stone temp significantly at the time of baking.  The options I see are to start cooking much earlier in the rising temperature curve, reduce the amount of coals, raise the stone higher, or lower the level of the top pan.  Any other thoughts?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Tampa on July 26, 2010, 08:57:39 AM
Don,

Thanks for the kind reply.  I too am motivated to try things.  I love that you moved the flame inside and tried one set of holes before adding another set.

Iím a big fan of the innovation in the egg team, although Iíve not built one myself.  I have spent a fair amount of time messing with heat flow.  You might take a quick look at my last post on rotisserie pizza grill and see the rear deflector pictures.  I think this may be applicable on LBE designs.

Please share what you learn with these holes.  Many will be interested (including me).

Dave
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 26, 2010, 01:08:15 PM
Hi Dave, I don't think I have the search engine thingyamajig figured out,, I copied and pasted into it but just directed me back to this post from you. It might be close to the flame shield I temporarily put in mine. Could you direct me towards the post your are refering to? Thanks, Don

Don,

Thanks for the kind reply.  I too am motivated to try things.  I love that you moved the flame inside and tried one set of holes before adding another set.

Iím a big fan of the innovation in the egg team, although Iíve not built one myself.  I have spent a fair amount of time messing with heat flow.  You might take a quick look at my last post on rotisserie pizza grill and see the rear deflector pictures.  I think this may be applicable on LBE designs.

Please share what you learn with these holes.  Many will be interested (including me).

Dave

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Tampa on July 26, 2010, 02:21:50 PM
This url should get you there: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10241.20.html

You will see that my oven is different from your oven, but I think some of the heat flow principles are the same and I was amazed at the difference a deflector made.

Given what I remember from your setup, there is a fairly large gap between the stone cooking surface and the weber sidewall (1-2" ish).  If it were me, I put some vanes in that gap area similar to the ones used on a turbine or jet engine (think 747).  The idea being that hot convection currents are zooming up near the stone and the vanes could create a swirl above the pie.  Itís a little wacky, I know, but it makes some sense to me.  Why?  Because LBE designs are usually handicapped in that they require buffering/insulation on the underside of the stone (or it gets too hot) and yearn for heat above the stone.  Swirling convection currents of hot air on the top would be a good thing.

Iím not an expert here, just trying to help.  Iíd summarize my expertise as a forum member that has made more mistakes than most people.

Dave
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on July 26, 2010, 06:41:30 PM
Here's my latest mod. I call it the waffle iron mod. When I cranked up the heat (700+) on my whole wheat crusts the bottom would tend to get a little more toasty than I liked so I scored the stone with about one hundred grooves to limit the contact with the dough. I won't be able to road test this for a week or two. I just hope the grooves don't encourage cracking.

    Get your groove on, Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 26, 2010, 06:52:31 PM
Dave, Thank you for the link, I put it in favorites so I can refer back to it. Yes I had to open up the gap between the stone and the edge of the kettle to get more heat above the tile and to get a good burn. The gap is 1.5". What I what to do, once I figure out how, is to install some sort of a metal ring below the steel plate and the tile resting on top of it that stops the flame from burning the edges of the pie as it licks over. I could just turn down the flame of course while baking but my aim is to find a setting that will consistently bake well with a minimum of gas usage , which is something I don't know has been addressed.  Actually I should mention I rather like the shield as it makes it very easy to stop the pie with a peel while turning. I am not having any problems with uneven cooking but with excessive char.
Don

 
This url should get you there: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10241.20.html

You will see that my oven is different from your oven, but I think some of the heat flow principles are the same and I was amazed at the difference a deflector made.

Given what I remember from your setup, there is a fairly large gap between the stone cooking surface and the weber sidewall (1-2" ish).  If it were me, I put some vanes in that gap area similar to the ones used on a turbine or jet engine (think 747).  The idea being that hot convection currents are zooming up near the stone and the vanes could create a swirl above the pie.  Itís a little wacky, I know, but it makes some sense to me.  Why?  Because LBE designs are usually handicapped in that they require buffering/insulation on the underside of the stone (or it gets too hot) and yearn for heat above the stone.  Swirling convection currents of hot air on the top would be a good thing.

Iím not an expert here, just trying to help.  Iíd summarize my expertise as a forum member that has made more mistakes than most people.

Dave

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 26, 2010, 06:57:52 PM
Villa Roma, I have pondered the same thing . I look forward to your tests.
Regards, Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 26, 2010, 08:10:04 PM

Dave, I have pondered the same thing, vortex generators.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vortex_generator :angel:

A method by which to keep the hot air moving for the longest time possible. Hmmmmmmmmmm

This url should get you there: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10241.20.html

You will see that my oven is different from your oven, but I think some of the heat flow principles are the same and I was amazed at the difference a deflector made.

Given what I remember from your setup, there is a fairly large gap between the stone cooking surface and the weber sidewall (1-2" ish).  If it were me, I put some vanes in that gap area similar to the ones used on a turbine or jet engine (think 747).  The idea being that hot convection currents are zooming up near the stone and the vanes could create a swirl above the pie.  Itís a little wacky, I know, but it makes some sense to me.  Why?  Because LBE designs are usually handicapped in that they require buffering/insulation on the underside of the stone (or it gets too hot) and yearn for heat above the stone.  Swirling convection currents of hot air on the top would be a good thing.

Iím not an expert here, just trying to help.  Iíd summarize my expertise as a forum member that has made more mistakes than most people.

Dave

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Tampa on July 27, 2010, 08:09:33 AM
Roma - love the scores idea.  Let us know how it works.  Props to you for coming up with LBE and innovations.

Don - I wasn't really thinking about the vortex generator as in the wiki post.  I don't think we have the air speed, but maybe in your setup.  I was more thinking about the outer row of blades in what's shown as a "turbine" in this picture (http://www.secondchancegarage.com/articles/images/torque/converter_exploded_view.jpg).  This could change the flow dynamics in your upper chamber.  Of course you could always reinstall the cutout on a hinge to close the door after loading the pie, which would create a more symmetric swirl chamber.  (I know, you only have a few minutes of total cook time, but given the amazing heat flow in LBEs the swirl should start quickly.)

Dave
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 27, 2010, 09:35:58 PM
I would suggest cutting back on your coals. Myself, I would shoot for a temperature range that I could bake several pizzas and not feel rushed though the heat retention is poor in a kettle,but once the coals have grayed over the temps should stay fairly constant. Hope this helps and do tell us of your progress  :D

So, I need to reduce the stone temp significantly at the time of baking.  The options I see are to start cooking much earlier in the rising temperature curve, reduce the amount of coals, raise the stone higher, or lower the level of the top pan.  Any other thoughts?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on July 28, 2010, 12:04:55 PM
Last night's pie with olive oil and more gluten added. Me like better.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: norma427 on July 28, 2010, 12:50:11 PM
buceriasdon,

Your pie looks great!  :)

Norma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pdxsds on July 28, 2010, 07:30:35 PM
I would suggest cutting back on your coals. Myself, I would shoot for a temperature range that I could bake several pizzas and not feel rushed though the heat retention is poor in a kettle,but once the coals have grayed over the temps should stay fairly constant. Hope this helps and do tell us of your progress  :D

So, I need to reduce the stone temp significantly at the time of baking.  The options I see are to start cooking much earlier in the rising temperature curve, reduce the amount of coals, raise the stone higher, or lower the level of the top pan.  Any other thoughts?


Thanks for the feedback.  I tried again with half the coals and a layer of firebrick under the stone, but this might have been overkill.  The temperature curve was much slower and never got above 580.  With the lid off to rotate the pizza, the temp dropped to the 300s and had a hard time getting back to 550.  Needless to say, the first pizza took 4-5+ minutes and never got a good bottom crust.  The second pizza was paper thin and was nearly perfect but still took too long.  Next try will be with a few more coals and will just use 2 firebricks on the sides to prop the stone up a couple inches.  I also dropped the top pizza pan down a couple inches with a longer bolt to get a faster top sizzle, which seemed to help.  One nice thing about the foil wrap is the ash cleanup is quite easy.  Tonight will experiment with making naan.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 01, 2010, 08:04:52 PM
Added foil to the bottom section. Yikes! Got way to hot, 975 degrees in 20 minutes. Turned it down as much as possible, must replace the regulator as it is difficult to control the flame without one. I also set an old grill with lava rock around the perimeter as a flame deflector, worked well, need a more permanent solution. I tried a pesto, tomato, panela cheese at 800, burnt bottom but didn't taste burnt. Quite good, sorry, no pics. I turned the flame off and waited to cook the Thai chicken, took six minutes but didn't like it as well. My guests thought the the first one had a better tasting crust. Tonight I'm trying my first sourdough. The devil is in the details...............
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 02, 2010, 09:49:05 PM
A somewhat costly day, I bought a new adjustable high pressure regulator for $1010 pesos, about $85 US dollars, och! :o Imported items can be sooo expensive here in Mexico. Worth the cost, much easier to control my flame. This pie was baked at 865 degrees, three minutes. I was going to do a sourdough but thought I better use this dough up in the fridge. Manana. Two friends dropped by, barely got these shots. Oh yea, I included that all important crumb shot. Homemade BBQ sauce chicken pizza with Mexican cheese.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on August 02, 2010, 09:57:17 PM
Nice looking pie (with crumb shot  ;)) Buceriasdon.  Your temp readings may be off a bit.  Hard to believe that pie lasted 3 min at 850+ without some serious burning.  Especially if you used a BF or a HG flour.  If it is a true temp, you may want to lower the heat so that you get a bit more even top vs bottom heating.  Nice work.

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 02, 2010, 10:12:28 PM
Yes, The bottom was quite charred. Nothing wrong with my readings. My aluminum plate in the lid read 415 degrees. I am thinking about placing some spacers( washers) between the steel support plate and the tile. Manana...........


Nice looking pie (with crumb shot  ;))Bucierasdon.  Your temp readings may be off a bit.  Hard to believe that pie lasted 3 min at 850+ without some serious burning.  Especially for a BF or a HG flour.  If it is a true temp, you may want to lower the heat so that you get a bit more even top vs bottom heating.  Nice work.

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on August 02, 2010, 10:24:36 PM
Yes, The bottom was quite charred. My aluminum plate in the lid read 415 degrees. I am thinking about placing some spacers( washers) between the steel support plate and the tile. Manana...........



Buceriasdon,

I have a feeling the problem lies with heat management. Baking a pie at 865įF for three minutes is way too long. Especially if that's the stone temperature. It shouldn't be longer than 90-120 seconds. But that's just my experience.

Also, if the top only showed 415įF, that's not hot enough, either. It sounds to me that you have a problem with air circulation. I always shoot for a somewhat balanced top heat/bottom heat ratio even though that's hard to come by sometimes...especially the top. But it's definitely doable.

Sounds like you'd need more mass in the top and with perhaps a little better air circulation and you should be good to go. Getting a regulator where you can go to the smallest flame with is essential.


VR,

Bro, you never cease to amaze me!  ;D  Grooves in the stone...that's a first. Hope it works out.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: chascates on August 03, 2010, 07:23:48 PM
From a link on amazingribs.com I found this guy who makes adapters & blowers for Weber & other grills:
rocksbarbque.com
Has anyone tried anything like this to boost the temperature on a Weber conversion? it looks like it might help but I'm too new at this to have a real clue.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 03, 2010, 08:08:25 PM
I have thought of such a modification myself. Not to get more heat. With the high pressure burner being used, heat is no problem. I can get to 1000 degrees in under a half an hour. At least not to me it isn't. If in some way a blower can be utilized to get EVEN heat I would look into it. Like a convection oven. Still I think properly executed venting is the answer to even heat on the stone and the air above it. I willl of course look at your link and thanks for posting it.
Regards, Don



From a link on amazingribs.com I found this guy who makes adapters & blowers for Weber & other grills:
rocksbarbque.com
Has anyone tried anything like this to boost the temperature on a Weber conversion? it looks like it might help but I'm too new at this to have a real clue.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 03, 2010, 10:09:36 PM
Sorry about the blurry pic. I suffer from essential tremor and tonight was particularly bad for taking pictures and for that matter turning pizzas.. Anyways, not a terribly successful sourdough, no rise, but a successful pizza because of the toppings. This is my Mexican pizza, Cuitacoche base( corn fungi) plum tomatos,jalepano, red onion and avacado with cilantro and oxaca cheese. I pulse the cuitacoche in a mini blender to get the lumps out to be able to spread it thinly. I raised the tile above the steel plate about 3/8ths of an inch but my tile temp and the aluminum plate were still far apart. 876 to 415. I may have to go into Puerto Vallarta and locate some thick aluminum sheet to create a lid that seals off the upper part of the lid. The devil is in the details.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 04, 2010, 07:08:19 AM
Ok, so today is cut a large single vent and cover the inside of the lid with foil. More to follow tonight then.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 05, 2010, 06:35:22 AM
Any ideas on how to get an accurate reading using a infrared gun on shiny foil. A spot of high temp paint?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Tampa on August 05, 2010, 08:21:15 AM
I think you are wise to seal the inside so airflow doesn't leak out before it gets a chance to flow over the topside and cook the pizza.

One of the lessons from my grill setup (rotisserie pizza grill post), is that the design of the deflector that redirects heat from the underside burner is quite important.  A difference of 15 degrees in the deflector made the difference between a nicely browned rim with char points to "all char, all the time".  Actually, that is a bit overstated, but the result was that the top and rim was cooked at least 2 minutes before the bottom of the pie- not a good thing.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 05, 2010, 06:55:46 PM
To answer my own question, yes a spot of paint gives a more accurate reading.


Any ideas on how to get an accurate reading using a infrared gun on shiny foil. A spot of high temp paint?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 05, 2010, 09:38:04 PM
Tonight's pizza, Nice crust, some edge char when I experimented with turning it up briefly, not burnt on the bottom, had the burner at it's lowest possible setting through most of the bake. I am thinking about replacing the high pressure burner, just seems like overkill. The temps just continue to climb upwards. Frustrating................
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on August 05, 2010, 10:55:38 PM
Don was tonight's pie done with the new top air vent mod?  If not I would do that first before changing out the burner.   Fustrating???  Join the crowd Don.   :-D  Many of us have had more than our fair share.   ;D  I'm not relishing in your fustration, I'm just saying I've been there. Actually I'm back there again.  I'm working on NP now.  ;)

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 06, 2010, 08:46:08 AM
Hi Chau, Yes, the single vent has been cut and the other holes covered. My next step is to cut a lid tile and attach it, hopefully today, not looking forward to the dust it raises.  :( I also wanted to avoid the weight in the lid, oh well..............
Don


Don was tonight's pie done with the new top air vent mod?  If not I would do that first before changing out the burner.   Fustrating???  Join the crowd Don.   :-D  Many of us have had more than our fair share.   ;D  I'm not relishing in your fustration, I'm just saying I've been there. Actually I'm back there again.  I'm working on NP now.  ;)

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on August 06, 2010, 09:05:20 AM
Don several members have also had luck using a metal disk up there. I think folks are also using inverted metal ash catchers/bowls.

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 06, 2010, 09:20:18 PM
Thanks, I have had the disc installed since the beginning.
Don

Don several members have also had luck using a metal disk up there. I think folks are also using inverted metal ash catchers/bowls.

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 08, 2010, 03:31:56 PM
 I removed the high pressure burner and installed a star low pressure burner. Initial heat up test was promising, in twenty five minutes the tile was 675 and the lid read 450. I made some emergency dough to try tonight so I shall see how steady I can maintain the heat, recovery time etc. I don't have the steel plate under the tile at the moment, but will try that at a later time. Untill then.............
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on August 08, 2010, 04:00:44 PM
Nice looking burner. Thought about mounting it above the stone instead of below? I was about to buy some cast iron bar burners to mount in the top of mine. The whole airflow thing isn't working for me... I want some direct heat. :-)

Big star burner like that might be even more suited than bar burners, though. I'll have to look around.

Here's what I'd been near to pulling the trigger on:
http://grillparts.com/burners/cast.asp?Product_ID=CIF&Category=&Action=&Brand=&Order_Flag=1&Model=&Quantity=1&Description=Fire+Magic+Cast+Iron+Burner&Alert=0
http://grillparts.com/burners/cast.asp?Product_ID=CIKR&Category=&Action=&Brand=&Order_Flag=1&Model=&Quantity=1&Description=Sears+Rail+Style+Cast+Iron+Burner&Alert=0
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on August 08, 2010, 04:41:40 PM
Nice star burner mod Don.  Mako, I've been thinking along the same lines.  I need to find a round electrical heating element that I can mount in the lid.

JT
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on August 08, 2010, 06:24:53 PM
Don, is that a homemade burner? A quick internet search doesn't reveal anything remotely similar for sale. I still think my flat cast iron burner idea will work (and be pretty flexible in case I decide to rework it down the line), but it'd require distributing the fuel and mounting all the parts, which I'm not great at.

And Jackie, a big electrical element is sort of appealing (so much easier to work with)... but it doesn't compare with the portability of propane. Not sure where I stand on that trade-off.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 08, 2010, 07:09:19 PM
The upper burner idea, sorry guys, it's been done..............
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Presto-Pizza-Oven/3218

dangit, I could have brought one home when I went back to the states.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 08, 2010, 07:26:04 PM
I plan to modify my ceramic kiln oven converted to gas pizza oven to have a small top burner. I want to get the little portable oven(LBE) up and going first so I have an outside oven then do the modification to my other. Here in Mexico we have to design and build our own ovens so there are stores that sell burners of many styles. They don't have anything like these stores in the US. Sometime I'll take some photos and post them. I bought this burner at the local Sunday market for about $10 US dollars. Most likely such a thing is not available online. I am getting anxious to try out the new setup tonight. Once I get my hinges installed I may design an overheat burner.
Don

 
Nice looking burner. Thought about mounting it above the stone instead of below? I was about to buy some cast iron bar burners to mount in the top of mine. The whole airflow thing isn't working for me... I want some direct heat. :-)

Big star burner like that might be even more suited than bar burners, though. I'll have to look around.

Here's what I'd been near to pulling the trigger on:
http://grillparts.com/burners/cast.asp?Product_ID=CIF&Category=&Action=&Brand=&Order_Flag=1&Model=&Quantity=1&Description=Fire+Magic+Cast+Iron+Burner&Alert=0
http://grillparts.com/burners/cast.asp?Product_ID=CIKR&Category=&Action=&Brand=&Order_Flag=1&Model=&Quantity=1&Description=Sears+Rail+Style+Cast+Iron+Burner&Alert=0
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: scott123 on August 08, 2010, 07:58:34 PM
The upper burner idea, sorry guys, it's been done..............
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Presto-Pizza-Oven/3218

dangit, I could have brought one home when I went back to the states.

You're joking, right?  :)

Quote
My advice is to let the dough cook alone for about 15-20 mins prior to adding your toppings and then let it go for another 15-20 to get everything nice and delicious.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on August 08, 2010, 08:26:55 PM

And Jackie, a big electrical element is sort of appealing (so much easier to work with)... but it doesn't compare with the portability of propane. Not sure where I stand on that trade-off.

If I can get it to work with propane it wouldn't be a trade off.  I would have the propane burner running on bottom, and the top heating element would be the electrical element on a roll switch.  Flip the switch and instant top heat!

Now, even if I could make it happen, it still doesn't guarantee even heating or proportionate heating between the top and bottom.  Who knows, the stone may get too friggin hot!  I should just build me a WFO and get it over with already.  :-D

And Don, it wouldn't be the same thing as the Presto pizzazz oven.  Not at all.

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: mako on August 08, 2010, 08:33:28 PM
You're joking, right?  :)

I assume he was joking. (I hope he was joking.) That said, I've always thought the overarching design of that funny little device wasn't ENTIRELY foolish. If you could deliver some truly scorching heat to one spot at a time without too much bleeding out, it could probably work. And be cheap and super portable. (How hard can it be to heat 12 cubic inches to 850 degrees?)

Of course, that thing's probably got a 60 watt EZ Bake oven bulb in it. And would just flat-out melt (or possibly explode) if you got it to real pizza temps.

If I can get it to work with propane it wouldn't be a trade off.  I would have the propane burner running on bottom, and the top heating element would be the electrical element on a roll switch.  Flip the switch and instant top heat!

Now, even if I could make it happen, it still doesn't guarantee even heating or proportionate heating between the top and bottom.  Who knows, the stone may get too friggin hot!

Well, you'd have another variable to adjust, which can only help with getting the heat more even (and the learning curve ever steeper.)

Quote
I should just build me a WFO and get it over with already.  :-D

Quoted for truth.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on August 08, 2010, 09:11:50 PM
Actually controlling the top heat may not be that big of an issue if I installed a dimmer switch to the electrical element.   :P  Could it work? ???
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 08, 2010, 09:37:39 PM
I should have been turning the pizza more often, but friends stopped by, do they smell pizza perhaps? It appears that the temps top out at 745 tile, and 420 top lid. Way to much yeast I had to stab it with a knife to get two bubbles down. Eh....same day dough. I can't wear a watch to time things(heat rash time of year) but I could have been topping another pie while this one baked if not for turning. Personally I'm much more comfortable with this setup, not so stressfull. No two minute pie, but excellent crust, at least to us. Few minor changes, it's a keeper. Actually there was more browning than the picture indicates.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on August 08, 2010, 09:43:08 PM
It's funny you said no more 2 min pies.  Seems like a lot of ppl (including myself) get into the hobby after becoming enamored with the many tales of the sub 2 min pies at blistering temps, only to venture back into a bit more of a sane time and temp bake. 

Stay there awhile and you'll be itching to go exploring those 2 min pies again.  That's where I'm currently stuck at.  The sub 2 min pie dream world.  At least i can dream... :-D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Tampa on August 09, 2010, 08:18:34 AM
Don, I love that star burner design.  Are the ends of each star point plugged or open?  Any chance you could post a picture of the regulator area?  I'm especially interested to know if/how this design draws air after the regulator & volume control.
Dave
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 09, 2010, 01:44:38 PM
Dave, right? Dave, one pic of my homemade wok burner stand with a low pressure cast iron burner. I love that thing. The other is the kettle oven burner end. The holes are the air inlets, similar to any gas stove. Yes, all the ends of the star burner have what look like engine freeze plugs in them. Hope this helps.
Don


Don, I love that star burner design.  Are the ends of each star point plugged or open?  Any chance you could post a picture of the regulator area?  I'm especially interested to know if/how this design draws air after the regulator & volume control.
Dave
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 09, 2010, 01:56:55 PM
I guess we all have our reasons for chosing the pizza making path we go down. Actually a two minute pie doesn't float my boat. Neither do big rims for that matter. I'm a thin and crispy fan and that's the kind of pizza I like to make.
Regards, Don


It's funny you said no more 2 min pies.  Seems like a lot of ppl (including myself) get into the hobby after becoming enamored with the many tales of the sub 2 min pies at blistering temps, only to venture back into a bit more of a sane time and temp bake. 

Stay there awhile and you'll be itching to go exploring those 2 min pies again.  That's where I'm currently stuck at.  The sub 2 min pie dream world.  At least i can dream... :-D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 09, 2010, 02:03:55 PM
Greetings Mako, Looking at the height of the lid on my kettle I don't think I have the room for a burner mounted there. Your setup may have room. I have gone thru my flour I had on hand so I need to make a trip to the store, I will be putting the steel plate back under the tile for the next test.
Don


Nice looking burner. Thought about mounting it above the stone instead of below? I was about to buy some cast iron bar burners to mount in the top of mine. The whole airflow thing isn't working for me... I want some direct heat. :-)
 
Big star burner like that might be even more suited than bar burners, though. I'll have to look around.

Here's what I'd been near to pulling the trigger on:
http://grillparts.com/burners/cast.asp?Product_ID=CIF&Category=&Action=&Brand=&Order_Flag=1&Model=&Quantity=1&Description=Fire+Magic+Cast+Iron+Burner&Alert=0
http://grillparts.com/burners/cast.asp?Product_ID=CIKR&Category=&Action=&Brand=&Order_Flag=1&Model=&Quantity=1&Description=Sears+Rail+Style+Cast+Iron+Burner&Alert=0
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Tampa on August 09, 2010, 03:16:58 PM
Thanks Don.  Those are great photos.  Also I fully understand the freeze plug insert comment.  I love the innovation here.
Good stuff.
Dave
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jet_deck on August 09, 2010, 05:42:08 PM
Nice looking burner. Thought about mounting it above the stone instead of below? I was about to buy some cast iron bar burners to mount in the top of mine. The whole airflow thing isn't working for me... I want some direct heat. :-)

Big star burner like that might be even more suited than bar burners, though. I'll have to look around.

Here's what I'd been near to pulling the trigger on:
http://grillparts.com/burners/cast.asp?Product_ID=CIF&Category=&Action=&Brand=&Order_Flag=1&Model=&Quantity=1&Description=Fire+Magic+Cast+Iron+Burner&Alert=0
http://grillparts.com/burners/cast.asp?Product_ID=CIKR&Category=&Action=&Brand=&Order_Flag=1&Model=&Quantity=1&Description=Sears+Rail+Style+Cast+Iron+Burner&Alert=0

Here is a DIY pipe burner that I have built.  Pretty simple, and HOT.  You would just need to "T" into your bottom burner hose where it screws onto the bottom burner and have a needle valve to adjust the gas going to the top burner. It would be best if this pipe burner had some firebrick above it to radiate the heat downward.  Here is a link on how to build it, make it as long or short as you want. :http://www.hobartwelders.com/weldtalk/showthread.php?t=28224 (http://www.hobartwelders.com/weldtalk/showthread.php?t=28224)

Picture #2  I ripped this burner out of a natural gas home oven, and use it for top heat on the 10 stone.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 10, 2010, 09:34:33 PM
Jet Deck, Thanks for the link, slitting the pipe is sooooooooooo much easier than using a drill press to drill those pesky 1/16" holes.
Don


Here is a DIY pipe burner that I have built.  Pretty simple, and HOT.  You would just need to "T" into your bottom burner hose where it screws onto the bottom burner and have a needle valve to adjust the gas going to the top burner. It would be best if this pipe burner had some firebrick above it to radiate the heat downward.  Here is a link on how to build it, make it as long or short as you want. :http://www.hobartwelders.com/weldtalk/showthread.php?t=28224 (http://www.hobartwelders.com/weldtalk/showthread.php?t=28224)

Picture #2  I ripped this burner out of a natural gas home oven, and use it for top heat on the 10 stone.


Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 10, 2010, 09:45:32 PM
well alrighty then, I removed the foil covering my extra holes and found I need to plug them, I have an idea for that. Too much lost heat now. I will be taking the present tile and will be putting it in the lid and then recutting a new bottom tile about an inch wider as I am still getting too much edge burn. If that doesn't work then I will cut the ends of the burner down and cap them off and be able to lower the burner down more. Except for the edges being burnt I was very happy with tonight's pesto pizza.
PS. sorry for the blurry pic, I may have to buy a tripod to overcome my shakes.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 12, 2010, 06:12:42 AM
So I had this idea to make 8" to 9" pies rather than my 12" and see if by getting away from the edge of my tile would stop the edge burning. Nope, didn't change a thing. Edges still burned. hmmmm. Sorry, too dark out for pics. I guess my next step is to get a new tile today and cut it down with less gap between the kettle and the tile, so if there is still edge burning the problem lies elsewhere. Later then.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 13, 2010, 08:14:03 AM
AAAAAAHa! It was not the air gap between the tile and the kettle edge, but the burner being to close to the tile that was burning the edges of the crust. Simply too much concentrated heat at the tile. I removed a smaller burner from another oven, same shape but shorter arms and with the aid of firebricks set it in the kettle. The burner was slightly higher on the side the entry tube is but I decided to leave it slanted and see if that side baked first, and it did! Progress! No pics as it was dark but I will try to get some taken by baking earlier in the evening today. I noticed my Canon camera is right handed, the pop up flash makes it difficult to press the shutter left handed and see the view screen.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 13, 2010, 09:34:01 PM
Homemade sauce from fresh tomatos plus a dab of paste,panela and oxaca cheese, my thai basil. Success............I am very pleased with my LBE.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 15, 2010, 05:41:53 PM
I made a test run of the waffle iron mod which was putting grooves on my stone (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.msg104661.html#msg104661) to limit contact so I could crank up the heat. This pizza cooked at over 800 degrees and took 2:15 minutes.

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 21, 2010, 08:16:59 AM
Last night's pizza, a Thai style and the first time I have used carrots on them. Carrots? On pizza? I was pleasantly surprised, nice crunch and not that strong of a taste. I tried a different peanut sauce, added some Thai green curry.......eh, too overpowering and I didn't use that much, a tablespoon, next time I'll cut that amount in half. The chicken was marinated in soy overnight and then smoked in my wok using coffee, brown sugar and rice. I love the flavor as it is not too strong. The dough was by far the easiest to work by hand, 61% hydration and two days in the fridge, with maybe three minutes kneeding. I believe it was Scott who wrote about this method. If I am in error, sorry, but I do want to thank whoever pointed me in that direction. This was with out a doubt the wettest stickiest dough I have ever started with but quickly hand worked out, though I did have a bit of a fight getting it off the peel using rice flour. I'll work on that. When the LBE hit 700 (twenty minutes) I backed the heat off slightly and the pie baked in just over four minutes turning four times. My company loved it, I thought the sauce was too strong. Many thanks to all that have contributed to this project, though I don't use a high pressure burner in mine.
Warm regards, Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: gtsum2 on August 23, 2010, 12:54:30 AM
wow, great thread!  Thanks to Tran for pointing me to this.  I have a 22 inch weber sitting here not being used, as well as a Bayou CLassic burner from my turkey fryer...I just as well build me one of these things and cook some pies!  First question - how are you securing the kettle to the burner?  I am sure I will have more as I go along in the build..I should have it built up in a day or two...I am looking forward to it!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on August 23, 2010, 01:31:11 AM
Gtsum, before you go commiting yourself to this by cutting your weber, just make sure you won't mind pitching it out if you're not happy.   As much info as we have on these little pizza cooking orbs, they can be a little fustrating tweaking and getting it right.   Not deterring you but rather giving you a heads up.  Good luck with the build and do post some pics.

The eggs are just sitting on top of the burner.  The weight of stone(s) helps secure them on.  I cut slots/slits in my so that it securely sits onto the burner and gets it rather close to the burner without having to cut a really big hole. 

You may also consider a lump coal/burner combo approach.  A hole just big enough to fit the burner head in, a small grate about 2" over the burner head, then coal on top of that.   You can start the coals with the burner and augment the heat.  I think most members do one or the other and not a combination of both, but heck...why not right?

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: gtsum2 on August 23, 2010, 08:18:48 AM
Gtsum, before you go commiting yourself to this by cutting your weber, just make sure you won't mind pitching it out if you're not happy.   As much info as we have on these little pizza cooking orbs, they can be a little fustrating tweaking and getting it right.   Not deterring you but rather giving you a heads up.  Good luck with the build and do post some pics.

The eggs are just sitting on top of the burner.  The weight of stone(s) helps secure them on.  I cut slots/slits in my so that it securely sits onto the burner and gets it rather close to the burner without having to cut a really big hole. 

You may also consider a lump coal/burner combo approach.  A hole just big enough to fit the burner head in, a small grate about 2" over the burner head, then coal on top of that.   You can start the coals with the burner and augment the heat.  I think most members do one or the other and not a combination of both, but heck...why not right?

Chau

agreed on the combo...it would give it a bit of the smoky, wood fired oven flavor we all like I think (like the Primo does).  I am going to give it a whirl...this is an extra grill in great shape, but seeing as I have the Primo, I never use it, so I just as well try and make a pizza cooker out of it!  I will keep you updated.  Thanks for the help!

Shaun
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: 8-slice on August 26, 2010, 06:38:01 PM
I finally got around to it!!

I mounted my broken round stone (was in 2 pieces, after drilling it ended up in 3) to the top of my egg!

I have a 12-pizza thing on friday, and will try out the "top stone thing" vs. the pan. I have "long" advocated hot airflow as being the significant (in my case only) heat source to cook the top of the pie.... (as a few posts with ronzo I believe demonstrate).

After my friday pizza fest, I will be glad to share my new insights! And, if I was wrong, will pledge allegiance to the top stone!

Cheers!
8-slice  :chef:

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on August 26, 2010, 06:48:45 PM
8 slice.  Good to have you back bud.  I will wait for your results before chiming in. 

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: 8-slice on August 27, 2010, 01:00:55 PM
Thanks JT!

I was absorbed by life and work these past few months! I've got a project on the brink of coming through, and a GF who's pulling a Gollum (she wants THE ring!! :o)

Anyway, I've been able to sneak a few pizzas in 'bout every other weekend, but that's about it.... And for some reason not concerning this thread, my pies haven't been their usual selves.... I think it's got to do with the cold (about a 13-15ļ difference) and extremely high humidity we have down here with our winter season...

I will post back next week with the results of my new addition!!

Good weekend to all!!
8-slice  :chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: gtsum2 on August 27, 2010, 03:07:51 PM
well, I got mine together and did a dry run today (will cook pies tonight).  I am using a 22 inch weber with a 12 inch hole cut out on bottom.  Using a Bayou classic burner (only 50k btu, as I have a 10psi reg on it).  Put the main cooking grate on, then my Primo D plates, then my Primo pizza stone.  Lined the top of the lid with AF and I tried using a slate tile up there with a bolt, but it broke, so I put a 12 inch alum lid op there - I have it about 2 inches from the top of the pies.  I have to believe that this little 12 inch lid is not going to work real well, since I have the 22 inch weber, but we will see how it goes.  After 10 minutes my stone temp was 300, after 15 it was 450 and after 20 minutes it was 625 or so and then I shut it down.  I have the d plates and stone up front (near the side vent) as much as possible.  It is certainly hotter in the rear (where the gap is, but I think that is what I want, right?  To force the heat over the pie and out the front??).  I have 4 pies to try tonight so I will report back later
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 27, 2010, 03:47:16 PM
A two inch gap sounds good to me. Best of luck with tonight's pies. I had to spray a spot a spot of high temp paint on my lid to get a better temp reading from the aluminum.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: gtsum2 on August 27, 2010, 04:47:02 PM
well, I could not wait to try it..so, I have 4 dough balls here, and I am also making 2 more as I type...so I thought I would go ahead with a test run.  Within 15 minutes the stone temp was 600 and the dome temp read through a thermo in the lid was 750 (this is not accurate, but it gave me a general idea).  I prepared a skin and found out I had NO pizza sauce...not enough time to make any, but we did have spaghetti last night, so I thought why not?  Spread the skin out, slathered on the "sauce" or "gravy" as some call it and topped with whole milk shredded mozz.  Slid it on and stood back to see what would happen.............I rotated every 45 seconds and after 3 minutes the bottom was perfect, but I had a ways to go on top yet, so I slid an cold aluminum perforated pizza pan underneath the pie directly on the pizza stone and cooked him another 45 seconds...took him off at 3 min 50 seconds and I must say, it came out fantastic.  This was the best crust I have made (and that includes maybe 30 pies on the Primo ceramic cooker).  It was charred nicely (no pics...only one I got was blurry) and the rim was nice and crunchy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside.  It was actually quite good with pizza sauce (meat sauce to boot!).  For a first time on a rattle trap put together cooker, I am quite surprised it came out better then anything I have done on the Primo....

A few thoughts - I need a larger disk or stone up in the lid...I need more heat on top of the pie to get the nice leopard pattern on the rim and cheese - I need about an 18 inch stone though (hard to get).  I think that will help me on heating the top.  Once I get that fixed up, I will attempt higher heat pies (720 stone temps, etc).  I am going to have to get a different grate as well, as the stock cooking grate is going to warp with the heat and the weight of the D plates and the Primo stone on it - I might use the 18 inch charcoal grate and drill long bolts in the side of the cooker to hold it....here are some pics - I am going to clean up some of the rough spots, but I was too anxious to try it out today!



Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: gtsum2 on August 27, 2010, 05:14:29 PM
anyone think this would work for inside the lid???:

http://www.overstock.com/Wholesale/American-Metalcraft-18-inch-Straight-Pizza-Pan/4782975/product.html?cid=123620&fp=F&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=12682410

Am I correct in assuming that the purpose for something in the lid is more to take up volume and make the ceiling closer to the pie, as opposed to having a heat mass up there? 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on August 27, 2010, 05:59:46 PM
Nice work, especially on your first pie. I can tell you've been practicing since the basic NY recipe.   The idea behind the top stone/plate is more for concentrating the airflow. Although the crust does benefit from
the heat reflecting off the top plate. When I did the test, I noticed no difference in the plate material.

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on August 27, 2010, 06:07:56 PM
I like aluminum in the lid for weight reduction. Lots easier to handle.
Saludos, Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 27, 2010, 06:58:05 PM
OooH, I like bright shiny things, that's why I use aluminum!   ;)

     Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: gtsum2 on August 27, 2010, 07:23:29 PM
cooked a few more pies tonight...first one cooked in 4 1/2 minutes..stone temp was about 550 when I put him on I think and thermo in the lid said 700...it came out alright, but I obviously need more airflow across the top of the pie - I need a larger lid to take up more space in the top of the kettle.  The second one was put on at stone temp of 590 and cooked in 3 min 15 seconds.  They both had a nice crunchy crust and rim, moist and chewy inside.  I need to get better at making my shells (gasp..I actually used a roller on these! :-X :-X).  I could not get them stretched out without it!  I imagine I would get a lot bigger rim not using the roller, eh?  I am going to get an 18 inch alum lid and try it again..regardless, the pies came out better on this then any I did on my Primo cooker, so I am a believer!  Thanks to all the BBE, LBE, and MBE pioneers out there for the info! 

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on August 27, 2010, 07:37:17 PM
Gtsum, the reason you couldn't open the dough is b/c it was either cold when you opened it or it was overkneaded.  The man who posted above you is the father of the LBE. ;)

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: gtsum2 on August 27, 2010, 07:42:08 PM
I see that Villa Roma commented (and thanks to him for starting this whole thing!).  I am thinking it was over kneaded.  I have been using the bread machine to make my dough - it has a pizza dough setting on it that is 55 minutes long...it churns it for awhile and then lets it rest, and then churns it again and then rests it....I imagine using this along with Con Agra HG (from Sam's club) flour is resulting in too much kneading??
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 27, 2010, 07:56:52 PM
LBE....I AM YOUR FATHER!!!  :-D 8) :-D

    Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on August 27, 2010, 11:22:28 PM
LBE- Who's yo Daddy?!?  :-D

Gtsum even for regular flour that is wayy to much kneading.  5m for cold ferment and 8m for same day is plenty.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: gtsum2 on August 27, 2010, 11:26:17 PM
LBE- Who's yo Daddy?!?  :-D

Gtsum even for regular flour that is wayy to much kneading.  5m for cold ferment and 8m for same day is plenty.

Thanks..I will give it a try again tomorrow!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 27, 2010, 11:37:33 PM
LBE- Who's yo Daddy?!?  :-D


Why it's Papa John of course!!  :-D :-D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: DenaliPete on August 30, 2010, 05:59:37 AM
So Villa, would you mind going into a little more depth about your waffle iron modification?  From what I gather you're just looking to limit contact between the pie and the stone?  Your pies with the mod looked great, but your pies generally look pretty amazing, so do you feel that the waffle iron mod is making any improvements?

I'm still always fiddling with my LBE.  I insulated the interior dome (ala Essen) and have since moved a small cast iron pan (handle lopped off) filled with ceramic briquettes down below to serve as a heat buffer.  I have also swapped out my 2 old stone oven rounds for firebrick splits that I cut with an angle grinder. 

Only fired it up once since the mods (my posts in this thread in the past concentrate on my woes with achieving even heating), and the results seem very promising.  However I may have just been extra cautious because it'd been so long since I made pizza and I was cooking for friends, so I probably initially put the pies in at a lower temp than I normally do, certainly lower that you cook at.

I've found in the past that cooking at 800ish is death for my pizzas, even with no sugar in the dough they char way too quickly and the hotspots killed it for me.

I think that I will have to make a few more batches to determine if the firebrick splits are truly helping my cause, but I don't know what to do for my dough to make sure it doesn't scorch so easily.

Promise pics on the next batch.

DenaliPete
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Tampa on August 30, 2010, 08:45:31 AM
Quote
So Villa, would you mind going into a little more depth about your waffle iron modification?

I am also hoping for more comment here.  The waffle was such a unique experiment I'd love to hear your thoughts.  What I notice is that the rim is especially crispy, the center - not so much.  It is especially interesting to me that the groves themselves are darker than the area where the crust was in direct contact with the stone.

Props as always for the LBE idea.

Dave
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: gtsum2 on August 30, 2010, 02:50:18 PM
taking scott's advice, I split up my doughball and made 2 small 13 inch pies today.  Dough had been in the fridge for about 40 hours.  Made a basic pepp pie and then I was out of sauce so i sprinkled a 5 cheese mix on it along with chedder and topped with EVOO - sprinkled with some ital seasonings and sea salt. It actually was quite good.  Both pies cooked in about 2:45 - stone temp was 650, dome temp read 750.  The bottom of the pepp was too charred...the cheese/OO pie was good on bottom, but did not have the same nice top coloration.  I did swipe the stone with a damp rag before putting the cheese pie on - could that be why I had such a nice spring???  My setup is Primo D plates on the cooking rack, 1/2 inch spacers (broken pieces of old pizza stone), and then my primo pizza stone.  I seemed to have a bit better results getting the pie stone up off the d plates (I do not have a deflector right above the burner).  I have thrown out the bread machine for kneading my dough and my results are improving quite a bit (thanks to Scott and Jackie Tran for the help!).  Digital scale and larger top alum lid are on the way to me today, so hopefully I can get this tweaked a bit!

PS - I really dont see how my current dough/configuration is going to be able to cook at 700 plus degrees without incinerating the bottom??  I am going to make tweaks to the dough/kneading etc to see if that helps and maybe it will help with the larger top plate in the lid?  I dunno ???

PPS - I should say for whatever reason, this dough had the lightest taste I have made yet (I really liked it, although it could have had a bit more crunch on the rim)?  I cut way down on the kneading and used less yeast then before...would that be why? 

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: scott123 on August 30, 2010, 04:18:45 PM
Gtsum2, in most instances, cold fermentation increases a dough's sugar content.  More sugar = more propensity to burn.  You could, in theory, bake a same day dough at 700 and not burn the bottom, but, since your goal is a crisp crust, then you'll want to be going with lower bake temp/longer bake times, not higher/less.

High heat/high-ish water promote oven spring, but they decrease crispiness.  What you witnessed this last batch was the superior oven spring you get from short baking times.  What you're going to need to do is dial back the heat/increase the bake time until you find that happen medium of good spring and good crispiness. I would try 4 minutes, which with your setup, might be somewhere in the 600 realm.

The one thing that I would stick with is the low thickness factor. As you witnessed, you can stretch a pizza really thin and still achieve a thick puffy crust.

Regarding the damp rag- it lowered the temp of your hearth, which, in turn, gave you a better hearth to dome heat ratio. I think the damp rag technique is a good one, but... I'm not sure it's ideal for use with a primo.  This is a glazed stone, right?  A damp rag can involve a good amount of thermal shock for a pizza stone, and, although I think cordierite might do fine, the glaze is not that thermally strong.  TBH, I have no idea why anyone would put glaze on a baking stone.  Glaze is extremely close in composition to glass- and glass is about as thermally weak as you can possibly get.  Anyway, I'd seek out a piece of unglazed cordierite or soapstone- those should hold up better to wiping with a damp rag.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 30, 2010, 09:33:53 PM
If anyone is looking for a really good propane burner there is an Eastman Outdoors Revolution burner for sale on EBAY. You get the burner and a 30 quart aluminum pot for $29.99 plus shipping. This is the best burner and the one I recommend. It burns hot, clean and is very efficient. You don't see these very often.

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/e11011.m43.l1123/7?euid=8449413394471089779&loc=http%3A%2F%2Fcgi.ebay.com%2Fws%2FeBayISAPI.dll%3FViewItem%26item%3D280555184485%26ssPageName%3DADME%3AB%3AWNARL%3AUS%3A1123

Get it while it's hot!!  Villa Roma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on August 30, 2010, 10:47:26 PM
Shaun, I'm gonna save you some time and a few burnt pies and share with you what I've learned.  :-D

We get top heat by directing the bottom heat up instead of providing the top heat from above like in the ideal situation of a WFO.   The ideal scenario is actually the opposite of what we have.  A higher top heat compared to the bottom.   The best we can do in the LBE is to equalize the top and bottom heat by using heat barriers and low heat conducting stones like firebrick or quarry tile, or scored FB/QT as VR has done. 

Many of us pizzageeks are hooked when we see pictures of charred rims, leopard patterns, etc much like what happens to men when we see [email protected]@bs.  We tend to get the deer in the headlights syndrome.
In our minds we equate charring with high heat and so down the wrong path we go.  The problem with high heat, and short bakes is that they can give you that nice looking rim but it will often soften up shortly after the bake.  To get a nice crisp rim in the LBE, we have to actually do the opposite from what we think is right.  Lower or keep with a temp of 625-650F and bake it for 4-5min as Scott says.  It'll be around 4 ish min, and you'll get that nice crisp charred rim.  You may have to tweak the hydration ratio a bit. 

It's all balance.  You can cook a pie at 700 for 3-4m and get a crisp rim but you would have to go with a moderate to low hydration dough.  You may like that I don't know.   Either that or use a less conductive stone.  What works for me is a high hydration, 650F, 4+ min bake on FB or QT. 

The 2nd issue with burning in the LBE is HG flours.  They can tolerate up to about 725F.  Higher than that and you are looking at a burnt bottom.  And that's if you have your heat equalized already. 

3rd cause of burning is overfermentation.  The more the dough is overfermented the more residual sugar is available to burn.   Scott, Peter, and I discussed this in my MBE thread somewhere.  Overfermentation coupled with high heat of 725F+ and you're toast.

4th issue is sugar in the recipe.  For the LBE type cookers, I would avoid sugar in the formulation.  Hope that helps.

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: gtsum2 on August 31, 2010, 07:15:21 AM
Thanks Scott and Chau,

Yep, I was going down the wrong path..I see the pics of great char, leoparding rims and cheeses and I think high heat, 2 minute cook...apparently I am wrong!! :D  I have some dough in the fridge and will begin making some of the changes you recommend (bit lower heat, 4 minute cooks.  I have gotten away from using any oil or sugar in my dough lately (this latest batch has none of either).  I will keep you updated on the progress.  Thanks again for all the help... I am sure you have both saved me many a frustrating cooks!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on August 31, 2010, 08:01:38 AM
Shaun no problem.  I still get that deer in the headlights look when I see some nice looking  :pizza: :pizza:  :-D You are a fast learner and a go getter. I like that. You wanted an egg and had that thing done and up and running immediately. Your first pies look great.  Even with help, we all have moments of fustration when things just don't work. No worries about mistakes though. I wish more members would post up their mistakes so we all can learn.  Just stick with it and you'll be making those varasano-esque pies soon enough.

Btw a little oil in a NY pie is a good idea. Many of us have this preconceived notion that oil is wrong or bad. Gee I wonder where we've gotten that idea.  ::) it's an ingredient and a good one.  Use and balance it in appropriate quantities like you would anything else.

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Villa Roma on August 31, 2010, 12:52:05 PM
So Villa, would you mind going into a little more depth about your waffle iron modification?  From what I gather you're just looking to limit contact between the pie and the stone?  Your pies with the mod looked great, but your pies generally look pretty amazing, so do you feel that the waffle iron mod is making any improvements?

DenaliPete
I had a close encounter of the pizza kind!  :o :o
The waffle Iron mod (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.msg104661.html#msg104661) was a great step forward but I also fabbed a heavy aluminum buffer plate to replace the foil I originally had under the waffle stone. The only problem was the center of the pizza was slightly under cooked. I drilled some holes in the center for the first test run and then cut an alien head patterned hole to allow more heat to reach the center of the pizza. This worked great and the stone temp was very even over the entire surface. I'll be taking a four day weekend over Labor day so I should have ample time to test the new plate.

     The truth is out there and I will find it, Villa Roma
   
Title: Equalizing top and bottom temps
Post by: vanderlyn on September 04, 2010, 12:07:52 PM
Hi all,

I've been tweaking my little black egg for a few months. It's pretty basicógrill atop propane burner, with a slot to slide the pizzas in. (See pics.) A Fibrament stone is suspended from the top of the grill, and another one sits on the bottom. My pizzas are improving drastically, but I'm still hung up on one thing: the top of the pizza is cooking quite a bit faster than the bottom. A beautiful pizza (like the one below) will have an undercooked bottom, even while the top is beautiful and crisped up and leopard-spotted and so on.

I've tried a few fixes, to varying degrees of success. I've heated up the bottom stone to high heat (~750), and then turned down the burner once the pizza hits the oven. This improves the situation somewhat, though not enough. I've also taken to taking off the top of the grill once the top of the pizza is cooked enough. This, too, is not ideal. I'd like a solution that doesn't involve dismantling the grill or making minute adjustments to the heat.

My dough is the Rinehart recipe, so not outrageously +/- re: hydration. One potential problem: I can't really raise the top stone anymoreóimprovements would have to involve altering the airflow/the heat source. Thanksó

Vanderlyn
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Tampa on September 04, 2010, 02:11:40 PM
Vanderlyn,
Seems to me yours is a good problem to have.  Most of us grill folks struggle with burned crust and raw cheese.  You just have too much insulation between the stone and the flame, IMO.  I havenít seen the details of your design, but can offer a few suggestions.  The above picture shows an (aluminum?) pan, and a stone or two.  Iím not sure if the pan has holes or not, but if not, try a pizza screen with holes.  If you use two stones on the pan, try only one.  After that, perhaps your diffuser blocks too much heat and forces it around the stone.  If so, reduce the stones on the diffuser (if you use stones).  I think you get the idea.
Dave
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on September 24, 2010, 08:05:48 AM
I had the tile and a bit of time so I mounted it to my lid, replacing the aluminum disc. This pizza had cherry tomatoes and panela cheese on a bed of spinach. I think the next step is to grind the back of the tile to be able to raise it up more. A bit too much heat on the top now. Sigh.........
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on September 24, 2010, 10:00:31 PM
I raised the tile close to an inch into the lid. Messy job, glad that is done. This was a 9" SD, 24 hour cold proof spinach, cherry tomato, panela and pistachio pie. 650 and now the top tile matches very closely the bottom tile in temp, the bake took six minutes. Not near the amount of edge burning. My next step is to remove the steel plate under the bottom tile which will increase the space between the two tiles plus heat the bottom tile more. Until tomarrow night then, this was excellent pizza. ;D
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on September 24, 2010, 10:06:46 PM
Don,

I think your top heat is too much.

Try to adjust it to get maybe 550įF instead of 650įF given the fact that the tile is closer to the pizza than the ceiling is in a WFO.

But it looks like you're getting the hang of it. ;)

And keep in mind the infrared heat you create. It's important.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on September 25, 2010, 12:31:56 PM
Shot of the cut down tile mounted in the lid. I think it's an adequate gap. It occured to me last night that the way I top these pizzas may also be the cause of some of the charring which on the tomatoes is great. I squirt some olive oil first then pile on a couple layers of spinach, then the rest of the toppings, so when it goes in the oven the height is high. I bet if I cut the spinach more the toppings won't be so high. I could also do the covered awhile with aluminum foil trick. I am shooting for an earlier bake this evening, maybe I can get a better pic.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on September 25, 2010, 08:02:16 PM
Simply because I have had the same pizza for a few nights now I made up some Alfredo sauce for a change. Eh, should have spead it thinner, the spinach got a bit lost. Outside of that it was a good 23 cm pie. For me, perfect charring. Next step, scale things up to a 31 cm. Same dough as last night which I thought was better than tonights. I'm not complaning, I would have to travel thousands of miles to get better. Think of the money I'm saving. ;D
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on September 26, 2010, 08:12:21 PM
Sometimes my computer has a mind of it's own. Anyways, tonight's 14" kimchi pie. This is where I realized I had to turn the pie about every 30 seconds to avoid burning the edge for this size of pie. Just to close to the flame in too close a confined area. Next mod, a metal barrier at the rear. Same day dough with SD and a pinch of ADY. 55% hydration, next time more water, or perhaps add some olive oil, the crust cracked when taking photo.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: HASassin on December 11, 2010, 11:49:57 AM
Hello guys, ive been a long time lurker, and this is my first idea.

I have always wondered if there was a specific reason people only used kettle grills (does it have to do with airflow?)
I had an idea on an easier build, and wanted to get some professional opinions.

what about taking an old firebox, or propane grill of craigslist (the burners dont have to work or anything)
then simply making the hole at the bottom of that, and using that as the oven. - you can use the same racks, and same stones and everything

the advantages are
1 - there is a hinge, so less of the oven air is exposed, when you open to put a pizza in
2 - they are cheap - all you need is a burnt out old propane grill which are a dime a dozen
3 - they usually come with propane tanks
4 - they have have work space arms, and room at the bottom, for the burner and the LP tank to sit

(now please fill me in if there are any disadvantages)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on December 11, 2010, 11:58:45 AM
Hi, I plan on doing just that when I get the time. Taking a square grill and putting a high pressure burner in. A hearth of tile and a tile mounted in the lid. Several folks here use their grills for baking pizza. The first 2Stone used a grill for the heat source.
Don



Hello guys, ive been a long time lurker, and this is my first idea.

I have always wondered if there was a specific reason people only used kettle grills (does it have to do with airflow?)
I had an idea on an easier build, and wanted to get some professional opinions.

what about taking an old firebox, or propane grill of craigslist (the burners dont have to work or anything)
then simply making the hole at the bottom of that, and using that as the oven. - you can use the same racks, and same stones and everything

the advantages are
1 - there is a hinge, so less of the oven air is exposed, when you open to put a pizza in
2 - they are cheap - all you need is a burnt out old propane grill which are a dime a dozen
3 - they usually come with propane tanks
4 - they have have work space arms, and room at the bottom, for the burner and the LP tank to sit

(now please fill me in if there are any disadvantages)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jet_deck on December 11, 2010, 12:15:45 PM
This is a great place to start, whether or not you do the rotisserie part. http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10241.msg89856.html#msg89856 (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10241.msg89856.html#msg89856)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: HASassin on December 11, 2010, 06:45:54 PM
This is a great place to start, whether or not you do the rotisserie part.


thanks for the link, the issue is that i dont have a grill with a rotisserie burner, and - to get a nice one that would be able to get to temperatures of 750 would be expensive no?

-------------
how does airflow affect the way the grill cooks? would an air chimney or vents be enough, or does there have to be a front loading slot. i dont think im proficient enough with a pizza peel to work through such a small peel
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on December 11, 2010, 07:18:10 PM
If you are going to use a high pressure burner as a heat source, ala the LBE,a large vent is required for complete combustion and highest heat. As an experiment I made my vent smaller in mine to see how well it worked but went back to the vent opening I had. Also the hot rushing over the top of the pizza is an aid to even baking, which can be tricky to obtain. It may be a larger grill will get more hot air above the baking tile.  I don't have a brand name Weber grill and the square ones are different also and that requires lots of experimentation to get them dialed in for an even bake. I will build a larger square one when time and money permits as the largest pizza I can bake presently is 30 cm. I can get to baking temp. in about 20 minutes for an even bake. I pull the lid off to load and turn.
Don

how does airflow affect the way the grill cooks? would an air chimney or vents be enough, or does there have to be a front loading slot. i dont think im proficient enough with a pizza peel to work through such a small peel
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: HASassin on December 12, 2010, 11:54:12 AM
If you are going to use a high pressure burner as a heat source, ala the LBE,a large vent is required for complete combustion and highest heat. As an experiment I made my vent smaller in mine to see how well it worked but went back to the vent opening I had. Also the hot rushing over the top of the pizza is an aid to even baking, which can be tricky to obtain. It may be a larger grill will get more hot air above the baking tile.  I don't have a brand name Weber grill and the square ones are different also and that requires lots of experimentation to get them dialed in for an even bake. I will build a larger square one when time and money permits as the largest pizza I can bake presently is 30 cm. I can get to baking temp. in about 20 minutes for an even bake. I pull the lid off to load and turn.
Don


so for getting air flow in a cheap propane grill like the one i have posted, would just a cut in the front of the dome, for a slide in pizza oven type opening be enough for air flow? - do i need a chimney, if i have that front cut?

does the fact that this grill is rectangular, and alot of air will be allowed to come into the dome, unlike in a LBE where it is inhibited bc the pizza stone takes up almost all the room?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on December 12, 2010, 12:35:26 PM
http://lifehacker.com/5459718/build-a-pizza-oven-out-of-a-weber-grill
Very informative video on the Frankenweber that loads through the front opening. My thought for mine is to have the front vent just large enough for a good hot flame from the burner(s) and to help direct the heat from below. Also look at this link for ideas: http://2stonepizzagrill.com/
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jet_deck on December 12, 2010, 12:37:02 PM
thanks for the link, the issue is that i dont have a grill with a rotisserie burner, and - to get a nice one that would be able to get to temperatures of 750 would be expensive no?

I think you are saying that your grill doesn't have the InfraRed (IR) rotisserie burner in the back.  Even so, the existing burners in the grill probably will get you enough heat.  If they don't you can easily ($20) replace them with what we call a turkey fryer burner.  It will get hot enough for sure. Start looking here:  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11126.msg110001.html#msg110001 (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11126.msg110001.html#msg110001)

How does airflow affect the way the grill cooks?  Most of your square cooking surface will be covered.  All of the heat will be forced up to the stone, then towards the rear of the oven, then up over the stone, then out the front.  Look at what jgame did : http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10241.msg101062.html#msg101062 (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10241.msg101062.html#msg101062)

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: HASassin on December 15, 2010, 02:21:52 AM
why do people use kettle grills for the black eggs? - is the dome and circular shape good for heating? better than a barrel grill?

also, isnt there a propane grill on the market that can at least match or come close to the BTU s put out the by pressure cooker?
i mean why would we have to build one?

also, a kettle grill with a hinge would also be a good idea right? - less heat escapes
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: 8-slice on December 15, 2010, 11:37:09 AM
I believe it's about cubic volume of air contained. The high pressure burner forces a great deal of air through the LBE, so the initial hot air loss is no problem, because its volume is not great.

That's how you get 90-120 second pies (if that's your thing). And the circular shape also should get better airflow than barrel. Although whichever you use, they will always be better than the "pizza" you get at most pizza places...

8-slice  :chef:
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzablogger on February 18, 2011, 05:51:04 PM
Let me preface this entire reply of mine with the following caveats:

1. I think this whole LBE thread is just about the bees knees. Like Parliament-Funkadelic landing in the Gosh-damned mothership on stage cool, capische?

2. I am clueless when it comes to thermodynamics, air flow properties, etc.

3. This has probably already been discussed and dissed as unfeasible.

4. The fact that there are, as we speak, 100 Belgian beers ON TAP, as well as that many in bottles for the annual Belgian Beer Fest a couple of blocks down the street from where I love is really just about skull-effing me right now after partaking in the festivities (and in intermission to going back for more before the kegs and casks start running out).

Blah, and blah, blah. Okay
---
It seems the challenge is always about getting air up over the pizza and out the side vent, with equalizing the temps being a worthy goal as the heat of the stone on the bottom tends to get hot, being tha the cajun cooker is placed under the grill (hence some peopel using diffusers, bowls, etc)

How well would the heat from that cooker travel up some type of ductwork or tubing so that the largest exitpoint of heat is at the top of the grill, meaning more heat over the pizza?

Is the ductwork or steel which would be tolerant of the heat too expensive?

Could you put a Y-Valve on a tank of propane and have two burners, one putting heat up through the bottom, as usually, but at a lower flame and the other jetting hot heat up through some type of ductwork and ramming hotter air than the lower burner is over the pizza?

Could something like that work, or would it just be a propane hog?

I made a super quick theoretical pic showing a ROUGH idea of what I am thinkin about (although this doesn't show a hole in the bottom...guess it would be a one burner...oh well you get the friggen point).

Thanks for entertaining my ramblings. Have a great weekend! --K :-[
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzablogger on February 18, 2011, 05:51:33 PM
How about the picture dummy?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on February 18, 2011, 06:32:58 PM
When friends are over for dinner they are amazed when I tell them to place their hand a foot in front of the vent and feel the hot air rushing out. In the last minute of baking I have to turn at least twice to make sure the edge is not cremated. Note: my kettle is NOT a full sized Weber but smaller requireing perhaps more attention. I find my tile in the lid lags by about one hundred degrees F. behind the hearth tile. Close enough for me.
Don




It seems the challenge is always about getting air up over the pizza and out the side vent, with equalizing the temps being a worthy goal as the heat of the stone on the bottom tends to get hot, being tha the cajun cooker is placed under the grill (hence some peopel using diffusers, bowls, etc)

How well would the heat from that cooker travel up some type of ductwork or tubing so that the largest exitpoint of heat is at the top of the grill, meaning more heat over the pizza?

Is the ductwork or steel which would be tolerant of the heat too expensive?

Could you put a Y-Valve on a tank of propane and have two burners, one putting heat up through the bottom, as usually, but at a lower flame and the other jetting hot heat up through some type of ductwork and ramming hotter air than the lower burner is over the pizza?

Could something like that work, or would it just be a propane hog?

I made a super quick theoretical pic showing a ROUGH idea of what I am thinkin about (although this doesn't show a hole in the bottom...guess it would be a one burner...oh well you get the friggen point).

Thanks for entertaining my ramblings. Have a great weekend! --K :-[
[/quote]
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Tampa on February 20, 2011, 11:05:26 AM
Blogger,

I love the duct idea esp if you put a butterfly valve to throttle the amount of heat going to the topside vs underside.  If you decide to embark on this quest, please share along the way.  I think you are on to something.  You might look to fireplace ducting as it is insulated between inner and outer shells, available, and inexpensive.

Dave
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzablogger on February 21, 2011, 08:37:39 AM
From a quick look, one company offers bendable fireplace ducting which can tolerate temps up to 800įF. I would imagine the heat from a propane cooker is much hotter than that.....particularly right at the exit point from the burner? And the ducting would probably need to enclose, or be very close to, the burner ring to capture and direct the most heat?

I don't know.

There is also bendable tubing, in up to 12" diameter, made of 316Ti stainless that can tolerate up to 1650įF, but it gets somewhat costly as the diameter increases (up to $50-ish per foot)

http://www.ducting.com/files/Bendaway_Series_Ductng_Price_List.pdf
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Tampa on February 21, 2011, 02:52:57 PM
I'm pretty sure that hot exhaust gas from a car reaches something on the order of 1450F.  Steel starts to get red hot about 1200F.  I think you are wise to plan a little headroom.

Double-wall stove pipe might put you in the ballpark.  I found this comment on a quick search.

The UL103HT chimney is tested to a maximum continuous operation temperature of 1000F and a maximum short term temperature of 2100F. That is why this type of chimney is often mistakenly referred to as ď2100 Chimney.Ē

Dave
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzablogger on February 23, 2011, 02:50:06 PM
Thanks for the additional info Tampa.

From what I can tell, and please correct me if I am mistaken, the hole is cut in the bottom of the grill to accomodate the burner....meaning the hole is cut in a position so that it will fit the burner relatively snug...the flame goes directly into the grill bottom and the grill bottom can rest on the burner plate/support.

What about cutting a bigger hole to get the burner closer to the stone and dome?

A super quick conceptual picture, not so good (not to scale, etc):

A. The MBE set-up as it is most often constructed, with the burner/burner plate in red. The grill rests on this.

B. What if the grill were cut higher and the burner placed higher as well (red). This would of course create a hole much to wide to rest on the burner plate of a Bayou Classic. The green is a hypothetical support of some type that the grill would lay flush on for support...some type of hole would need to be cut in this support to fit the burner, but something like this should allow the burner to be moved higher and keep air from escaping the bottom as well.

Would this make the entire set-up too hot?

Finally, has anyone tried the "Double Jet" Bayou Classic burner with a 40psi regulator?

http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/sp40-bayou-classic-double-jet-propane-burner.htm

Thanks! --K
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on February 23, 2011, 03:40:55 PM
PB, my lbe is such that the burner is fairly close to the stone and dome.  I'll have to remeasure and post a pic later if you want.  The advantage of this is that there is a smaller volume of air to heat up and move around.  I would think this has a concentrating effect on the air flow if the front vent is large enough allowing for higher temps.  

If the stone gets "too" hot, the user can either add in air buffers by way of buffers, heat deflectors, a secondary stone under the main stone separated by a layer of air.   Or just load pizzas at lower temps which may affect oven spring if that temp is too low.  

Another good idea which I have implemented is to put a deflector shield (of sorts) in the lid to divert the hot air coming up the backside and down onto the crust to promote charring.  

I have not tried the double jet burner, but my burner does put out 170K btu's though.

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on February 23, 2011, 04:16:07 PM
Hi PB, I've included a pic of my setup, granted mine is different than others however I don't see a need for elaborate ducting, what have you.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzablogger on February 23, 2011, 04:53:51 PM
buceriasdon, that is the actual flames jetting up (which would hit the lid and be directed over the pizza if the lid was placed on)?

If so, Idios mio!  :o

Thanks --K
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on February 23, 2011, 04:58:05 PM
Yes, that is an actual photo, no tricks involved.
Don


buceriasdon, that is the actual flames jetting up (which would hit the lid and be directed over the pizza if the lid was placed on)?

If so, Idios mio!  :o

Thanks --K
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzablogger on February 23, 2011, 05:39:23 PM
Yes, that is an actual photo, no tricks involved.
Don



I didn't think there were tricks, I just wanted to make sure that was actual blue flame....and not just hot air moving upwards.

Thanks Don! --K
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: scott123 on February 23, 2011, 06:07:41 PM
Kelly, instead of going through all the machinations and expenditures of directing the heat above and below via ductwork, take Muhammad to the mountain and put a burner below and a burner above. Get two of these:

http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-SP10-High-Pressure-Outdoor/dp/B000291GBQ

Attach one to a hole in the bottom and the other in a whole in the lid. On the top burner, you'll need to add a section of copper or brass tubing between the flexible tubing and the iron burner in order to take the flexible tubing away from the heat. You'll also need two steel bowls (stainless might work) to deflect the heat outwards.

No, I haven't done this, but, in theory, it should work fine. A steel and iron propane burner should function perfectly fine above another burner pumping out heat.  It's like a broiler in a gas oven.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on February 23, 2011, 07:07:06 PM
scott123, What you are describing is an idea I laid out last year, I called it the over under burner oven. My LBE works so well for me I have not acted on my idea however. I discounted the flexible hose concept and would go with a solid gas line in for the upper burner and have the upper burner cantilevered out over the hearth stone just below the lid tile. The lid would have a tile in the top with the upper burner just below it. Even though the ramp up time might be longer my idea was to use a burner I call a star burner for the lower burner and perhaps a smaller version for the top. Maybe it's time to put my money where my mouth is.....
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: scott123 on February 24, 2011, 07:11:04 AM
Don, now that I see the star burner, it jogged my memory and I do recall you talking about this last year. That's probably where I got the idea from. Subconsciously driven imitation is the greatest form of flattery?  ;D

It's exceptionally difficult to test a new method when the method you're using currently works.  For instance, after being such a strong proponent for steel plate, I really wanted to go out and test it, but, being happy as a clam with my soapstone, I couldn't really justify the time or the expenditure.  Fortunately, someone else took the ball and ran with it. I think the over under burner oven concept is a very promising idea- hopefully someone doing a grill mod will see it's potential value and give it a try.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on February 24, 2011, 08:09:10 AM
scott123, My reasoning behind going with low pressure burners for above and below is simplicity, I would use a Y splitter for the two lines and have a seperate valve for each burner. To use a high pressure burner below would require another regulator for the upper burner and I would think with two burners and a steel plate as a hearth heat up times would be short. May have to go to Home Depot for a grill this Sunday. I'll start a new thread then.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg - Rookie Questions
Post by: skyno on February 27, 2011, 03:05:55 PM
I couldn't resist anymore and had to dive into the LBE universe - I've read most of this thread and finally put together my own basic setup this weekend.

The setup:

Used 18" weber lined w/ HD foil with a 1.5" x 8" side vent, Bayou Classic SP-10, ash catcher with quarry tile pieces trapped between catcher & lid(for more heat retention), 1 layer of split firebricks, followed by a top layer of a workhorse of an old unglazed quarry tile that has proven its durability so far on the clean cycle - I will eventually get a better top stone, but this is the best I had on hand for now

The cook:

I followed the standard procedure of slowly ramping up the heat - I let it burn for a bit since this was the 1st run and I wanted to burn any unsavory elements out - when the stone was reading about 575 and the dome was reading almost 800, I threw a basic pie on - traditional dough - starter, flour, salt - since this was a test pie I used cheap moz cheese - it cooked in 3.5 minutes w/ a couple turns

The results:

Great cook on the top and on the outside crust but undercooked in the middle of the bottom - I'm thinking the firebrick is too much of a buffer.  Also got this funky white residue that settled on the surface of the burner and on the ground under the LBE

The next step:

I need to distribute the heat better - I would love to not have to buy 2 high-end stones to do this - I do have a couple of old cheapo stones - one 14x14 which is cracked in half (after 1 use) and one 12" circular which has no business being a primary stone but maybe could come in handy as a buffer - not sure I have the proper equipment to cut the pizza stones though!

The advice needed:

If anybody has any suggestions on how to more evenly distribute the heat w/out having to buy a bunch of stuff, I would love to hear it.
Has anybody ever seen this residue before?  I was thinking that it was some of the old particles just burning out.  
Also, any suggestions on the most economical option for a stone that hold up well in an LBE?
Any other suggestions to make this a better operation are of course welcomed!

Thanks in advance for any assistance for this rookie!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on February 27, 2011, 03:17:49 PM
Made these on the LBE Friday evening... 25% white whole wheat (KA), Murphy's Stout. Diced Prosciutto topping.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on February 27, 2011, 04:50:38 PM
Wow, nice first bake Skyno.  That ash on the ground is likely from the paint that was burned off of the stand.  A few more bakes and you shouldn't have that issue any longer.  

As far as stones go, any 16" stone will do.  The thicker the better as it will unload more heat into the pie and give a better spring.   The trick that works for me is to use 2 stones.  One for baking on and one underneath separated by a layer of air.  I separate the 2 stones by using some metal nuts.  Search for "My new LBE and pies" for a picture of the setup.  I use to use firebricks in my MBE, but have abandoned them b/c of their weight and increase likelihood of warping the grate.  I used them before b/c I had issues with the bottom crust burning but that can be mitigated with the air buffer mentioned above and/or loading the pies at a lower temp and then cranking the burner up. 

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on February 27, 2011, 05:09:23 PM
Ron, Great looking pizza! You've got that down pat ;D
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: skyno on February 27, 2011, 05:29:33 PM
Thanks a lot Chau!  - which reminds me, I guess at the start of my original post I should have sent big props and respect out to all those whose I ideas I snagged and learned from - THANKS!

That makes sense what you said about the paint burning off -I was experimenting with closing off a portion of the side vent in hopes of getting the stone hotter faster, but quickly realized that this was just sending the heat straight back down toward the burner.

Any leads on a good, economical, top stone for my 18" Weber set up that will hold up?  What do you favor Chau?  I did read pretty much this whole thread but there was so much info that it becomes a haze!

Thanks again!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on February 27, 2011, 05:50:30 PM
Skyno, Nice first effort! Yes, I think your hearth is too thick. Have you tried baking on the split firebrick? Also you didn't say what you have in the lid.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on February 27, 2011, 05:59:10 PM
Skyno, there are 2 camps regarding using a stone in the lid.  There are those that use them and those that do not.  :-D  I think you can get great results with either method.   Those that don't use a top stone, will simply attach the ash catcher tray under the lid.  

I may be wrong, but I think member Bucierasdon uses a saltillo stone on top with good results.  If i remember correctly, Ronzo uses a cordierite stone.   Others like Essen1 have also added insulation to the lid above the lid stone.

In my MBE, I have done tests with a stone versus an aluminum plate and didn't find a difference for my particular setup, so I went with the plate b/c it was lighter.  I now have an LBE which is set up very similarly to my MBE so I just attached the ash catcher.

Personally if you are interested in using a stone, I would try with the cheaper materials first and if it doesn't work then upgrade.  No sense in trialing an expensive $30-$40 stone when a cheaper alternative may work.  Because the top stone doesn't get direct heat, I don't think you have to worry about chips flaking off, but it is something to consider.   You wouldn't want to bite into a stone chip that is hidden in the cheese or toppings.  If you have an extra pizza stone laying around and some ceramic drill bits, it may be perfect for that purpose.  

If you look around, you can likely find a 12" cheapie pizza stone for around $10 at Bed bath and more or Sears that should work fine.  

Good luck and do post up some more of those good looking pies.

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on February 27, 2011, 07:16:05 PM
Skyno, If you want to install a stone in the lid here is the method I recommend. Invert the lid and lay the stone down centered. Mark four equal locations 3/8" away from the rim of the stone. Drill four 1/4" holes and using bolts and nuts with 1/4" large area, sometimes called fender, washers tighten snugly only. The washers will hold the stone in place This method insures you don't have to drill the stone and risk cracking. If you find you don't like it, it's easy to plug the hole with a short bolt and nut.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: skyno on February 27, 2011, 07:29:35 PM
Thanks a lot for your replies!  For my lid I used the good-ol' inverted ash-catcher technique, but I put a few small chunks of quarry tile evenly scattered in the "bowl" part of the catcher and secured w/ some HD foil before attaching it to the lid - my thought was that this may add a little heat retention to the ceiling w/out having to add all the weight of a whole stone - of course it's hard to tell if this really did anything, but the top seems to be cooking nicely so far.

To answer your ? Don, the reason I didn't just go directly on the firebrick is that I wasn't impressed w/ the crust results I got compared to the quarry tile in the conventional oven - maybe it would be different in the LBE?  

I have already cracked a few cheapo pizza stones in conventional ovens so I figured these wouldn't stand a chance in the LBE - so far my trusty $1 unglazed quarry tile has held up in many conventional oven bakes and a whopping 2 bakes in my new LBE - can't imagine it will last, but I guess you never know.

Here is my report on test pie #2:

While I was waiting for the pros to respond, I tried a a simple approach - I wrapped a grill from an old smoker, which was about 16", w/ HD foil and cutout a small circle approx. where the center of my 10-11" pie will sit w/ the idea that the air space of just having the grate there will insulate a bit overall and then the layer of foil will insulate just a bit more around the edges, resulting in relatively more heat to the center of the pie - then I just set the 1 quarry tile on top of that and let er' rip.  

I noticed it heated up faster w/out the firebrick and, while I still have a lot of tweaking to do, I was fairly happy w/ the result but I still need more char - I am wondering how long a grill wrapped in HD foil alone will last as a buffer though?

On a tangent, I toyed w/ the idea of trying to make my old 16" smoker into an LBE - this thing is like a tank and would probably have some serious insulating properties, but I don't have any tools that will cut through this thing!

Thanks again!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on February 27, 2011, 08:24:04 PM
Skyno, in that last pic am I seeing a gum line?
don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jet_deck on February 27, 2011, 09:57:25 PM
Skyno, if you have a chance post a picture of the inside of the lid.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: skyno on February 28, 2011, 01:29:21 AM
Good one Don! - that pic does kind of resemble Jabba-The-Hut's tongue!

Here are a couple of pics that may help elucidate what I attempted to do to control the heat flow:

I was too lazy to remove the ash-catcher that I bolted on to the underside of the lip but if you removed it and looked at the concave surface facing the lid, you would see a layer of HD foil covering about 4 chunks of quarry tile - again, the hope was that this may radiate a bit of heat from the ceiling.

The "diffuser" is just a smaller grill wrapped in HD foil w/ a circular window cutout to allow more heat through the center - I put a quarry tile right on top of this and cook on this surface - it still needs work but I think it's heading in the right direction - gets better on each round and I'm getting a better feel for the hot spots.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzablogger on March 01, 2011, 06:23:28 PM
About burners.

Is too much burner heat overkill?

Bayou Classic SP-10 = 185,000 BTU
http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/sp10_propane_burner.htm

Bayou Classic Kick A Banjo = 210,000 BTU
http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/kab4_banjo_burner.htm

Bayou Classic Double Jet = 180,000 BTU @ 20psi, but mentions the potential to run @30 or 40psi, which could be monster BTUs
http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/sp40-bayou-classic-double-jet-propane-burner.htm

Would center point hotspotting be hard to control with a monster burner? If I wanted to have the option of cranking out a 90 second to 2 min Neapolitan pie, more heat would be a good thing I would imagine.

Any thoughts from you LBE warriors? Thanks.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 01, 2011, 06:40:42 PM
About burners.

Is too much burner heat overkill?

Bayou Classic SP-10 = 185,000 BTU
http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/sp10_propane_burner.htm

Bayou Classic Kick A Banjo = 210,000 BTU
http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/kab4_banjo_burner.htm

Bayou Classic Double Jet = 180,000 BTU @ 20psi, but mentions the potential to run @30 or 40psi, which could be monster BTUs
http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/sp40-bayou-classic-double-jet-propane-burner.htm

Would center point hotspotting be hard to control with a monster burner? If I wanted to have the option of cranking out a 90 second to 2 min Neapolitan pie, more heat would be a good thing I would imagine.

Any thoughts from you LBE warriors? Thanks.

Pizzablogger,

I have the SP-10 in my 18.5" LBE and that thing gets hot. I mean seriously hot. I don't know what size you have or are contemplating building but I'd stick with a 50,000 BTU Bayou burner. It provides plenty of heat and is easier to control.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on March 01, 2011, 06:50:01 PM
I second Mike's recommendation. 50,000 is more than enough.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on March 01, 2011, 07:30:35 PM
About burners.

Is too much burner heat overkill?

Bayou Classic SP-10 = 185,000 BTU
http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/sp10_propane_burner.htm

Bayou Classic Kick A Banjo = 210,000 BTU
http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/kab4_banjo_burner.htm

Bayou Classic Double Jet = 180,000 BTU @ 20psi, but mentions the potential to run @30 or 40psi, which could be monster BTUs
http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/sp40-bayou-classic-double-jet-propane-burner.htm

Would center point hotspotting be hard to control with a monster burner? If I wanted to have the option of cranking out a 90 second to 2 min Neapolitan pie, more heat would be a good thing I would imagine.

Any thoughts from you LBE warriors? Thanks.

I have this one: http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/sq14_propane_burner.htm
Square High Pressure Propane Burner
Item #:  SQ14
55K BTU

It's heating a 22" Weber Kettle LBE and works just fine. If i had more heat, I think I'd be burning a lot of pies.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: skyno on March 02, 2011, 12:18:35 AM
Update:

Just fired up my LBE for the 6th time and the $1 unglazed quarry tile finally started to crack - I figured it was just a matter of time - it's still usable & I managed to cook a pie on it, but I guess that answers the question of it's longevity in an LBE - it had survived many rounds in the oven clean cycle

In case anyone is curious, I've found my "diffuser" of HD foil wrapped around a 16" grill with a hole in the middle to be a pretty good and simple way to manage heat levels - at least underneath this thick quarry tile - it seems to provide the right amount of buffering to allow for an even cook in about 3.5 minutes - a layer of firebrick under a tile or 2 tiles was just too much of a buffer - we'll see if it works when I get a proper stone

Here is a pic of a basic pie cooking on my setup - you can see the heat in the background - I only let this dough rise for an hour or so in a warm environment (usually I allow for several days of a cold rise) - I finally purchased some buffalo moz though after testing things out w/ some cheap moz. - tasted ok but the crust wasn't great - Lesson: can't rush the dough - sorry for the poor quality pic - only had my phone handy
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on March 02, 2011, 12:25:04 AM
The grate you're using will eventually bow and cup because it's not made to handle the heat put out by the burner. You might want to look into getting a charcoal grate to use as your base for the stone, and also buy some firebrick to put on top of your grate.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 02, 2011, 12:34:53 AM
I agree with Ron.

I'd recommend a heavy-duty porcelain-coated grate or better yet, a steel plate, which most small metal shops should be able to cut to your specifications.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: skyno on March 02, 2011, 01:47:07 AM
Thanks for the tips guys - do the metal shops typically sell the steel plate material or do I need to buy it elsewhere & bring it in?  or where can I pick up a charcoal grate that will be the correct size?  does weber sell it?

Thanks a ton in advanced!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on March 02, 2011, 01:56:33 AM
I agree with Ron.

I'd recommend a heavy-duty porcelain-coated grate or better yet, a steel plate, which most small metal shops should be able to cut to your specifications.

The plate will be my next upgrade. Need to find a shop local that can do it. 1/4" thick seem about right?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Mmmph on March 02, 2011, 02:01:55 PM
About burners.

Is too much burner heat overkill?

Bayou Classic SP-10 = 185,000 BTU
http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/sp10_propane_burner.htm

Bayou Classic Kick A Banjo = 210,000 BTU
http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/kab4_banjo_burner.htm

Bayou Classic Double Jet = 180,000 BTU @ 20psi, but mentions the potential to run @30 or 40psi, which could be monster BTUs
http://www.bayouclassicdepot.com/sp40-bayou-classic-double-jet-propane-burner.htm

Would center point hotspotting be hard to control with a monster burner? If I wanted to have the option of cranking out a 90 second to 2 min Neapolitan pie, more heat would be a good thing I would imagine.

Any thoughts from you LBE warriors? Thanks.


I bought the Bayou Classic SP-10. At 185,000 BTU...It's a freaking rocket. Sounds like a jet plane when cranked. Plenty of heat and my guests love the sound (Or is it the beer?). Even at it's lowest seting, my stone hits 600 degrees+. I use a 10 inch round cast iron griddle, with the handle hacksawed off, as my heat diffuser directly above the burner. Works great!

If I find the the stone is getting too hot, I just lift the lid and set it back down at a rakish angle, a la Frank Sinatra's fedora, to allow some of the heat to bleed off into the atmosphere.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 02, 2011, 03:53:08 PM
The plate will be my next upgrade. Need to find a shop local that can do it. 1/4" thick seem about right?

1/4" is what I have installed. Works great.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 02, 2011, 03:53:59 PM
Thanks for the tips guys - do the metal shops typically sell the steel plate material or do I need to buy it elsewhere & bring it in?  or where can I pick up a charcoal grate that will be the correct size?  does weber sell it?

Thanks a ton in advanced!

They should sell the plate to you. Most have something like that in stock. Ask for some scrap metal plates.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: bernie516 on March 03, 2011, 05:54:48 PM
I'm looking to make my frist LBE sometime this week, what are your thoughts on the American Metal Craft Pizza Stones?  Thinking abouting us two of them stacked on top of each other... here's a link:

http://www.webstaurantstore.com/american-metalcraft-stone15-15-round-ceramic-pizza-baking-stone/124STONE15.html (http://www.webstaurantstore.com/american-metalcraft-stone15-15-round-ceramic-pizza-baking-stone/124STONE15.html)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: skyno on March 03, 2011, 08:10:00 PM
Bernie

I would definitely look for a higher end and probably thicker stone - I bought this exact stone from this exact site b/c of the low price and good reviews - it never even made it past the conventional oven to get it "warmed up"  for the LBE (no pun intended) - cracked in half on the second bake at about 550 - if it can't even handle a regular oven, it definitely won't last in the LBE - I tried to use the 2 halves as a buffer on the LBE and it cracked further

I'm still looking for the ideal stone and got some suggestions a few pages back, but I haven't made a purchase yet - still using my old $1 unglazed quarry tile which just recently started to crack as well

Let's keep each other informed on what we find in our stone research

Take care

LJ
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jet_deck on March 03, 2011, 08:54:38 PM
I'm still looking for the ideal stone and got some suggestions a few pages back, but I haven't made a purchase yet....


I highly recommend the Primo pizza stone.  They are made in several sizes.  I use it on the 10 stone that I built here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11402.0.html (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11402.0.html)

It takes all the heat that I throw at it.  Also, several times the rotisserie motor has quit when I was indoors.  The burner blasts the stone in one small spot and it gets very, very hot.  Google around for the best price on the size that you need. Good luck.

This is an example: http://www.fredsmusicandbbq.com/PRIMO_GRILLS_PRIMO_PIZZA_BAKING_STONE_FOR_OVAL_J_p/pripr340.htm (http://www.fredsmusicandbbq.com/PRIMO_GRILLS_PRIMO_PIZZA_BAKING_STONE_FOR_OVAL_J_p/pripr340.htm) 
I have no relationship with freds music and bbq, but he seems to run a stand-up operation.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on March 03, 2011, 09:06:06 PM
This is the stone that I use only b/c I have a Primo ceramic grill.  That aside, it is light weight for it's size and was told by the manufacturer that they are kiln fired around 2000F.  So no worries about it taking the heat.   I have also removed it from an 800F primo grill and set it on concrete outside without it cracking from thermal shock.   Don't ask me why I did that, but it can handle the stress.   The side that is not glazed can dust off if scratched or rub against a hard object.   

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg - some advice please!
Post by: skyno on March 04, 2011, 12:30:51 AM
I'm really trying to hone my LBE game - this is about my 7th bake and if somebody can advise me on what I can do to really elevate my pies, I would really appreciate it.

Overall, I'm pretty happy w/ my results & still delicious, but I'm consistently getting too much char on the rim of the my crusts while all other areas of the pie could use just a bit more char.

Here's my technique:

1. LBE w/ SP-10 - gradually preheat for about 15 min. until stone is about 600; above the burner is only the main grate, a 16" grate wrapped in foil w/ a hole punctured through the middle & the cooking stone on top of that - the lid is an ash catcher as shown & described as I posted in the middle of the page here:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.1020.html

2. Use a fairly high-hydration dough w/ a slow 2-6 day cold ferment from San Francisco wild starter - no sugar / oil - bring all ingredients to room temp

3. Cook for 3-4 minutes (average of 3.5) turning about 2-3 times throughout

If I crank the heat a bit more, the center on both the top and bottom comes out perfect but the crust rim on the top is overdone & I'm not sure how to solve it since I seem to need more heat on both top & bottom but only in the center & not on the periphery

Any tips / ideas / comments?  Thanks again in advanced!  If anyone can diagnose this, it's you guys because I've seen some beautiful results!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on March 04, 2011, 12:45:55 AM
Dude, the char looks great!  I wouldn't change anything about the look personally.  Maybe 30sec less if you want less char.  Your coloring is balanced.

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: skyno on March 04, 2011, 01:39:52 AM
Dude, the char looks great!  I wouldn't change anything about the look personally.  Maybe 30sec less if you want less char.  Your coloring is balanced.

Chau

Thanks Chau - that's really good to hear! - I guess that I should have mentioned that it is also the taste - for my taste, it seems like the center of the pizza should be cooked just a bit more & it would be right where I want it to be, but I'm not sure how I would achieve this localization in cooking though

Here's another example in the middle of a turn where I also accidentally broke the egg in the middle - too aggressive on the turn I guess - I feel that the middle could use a bit more cooking but the edges are pretty much ready

Maybe if I turned down the burner a little during the cooking process that this may slow the stream of hot air coming over the top and maybe reduce the hotspots on the rim? Or would this just cook the center even less?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on March 04, 2011, 02:09:20 AM
Skyno, I think I misunderstood you earlier.  I thought you wanted more heat to the bottom center crust.   You are talking about more heat to the top center of the pie correct? 

If so, you may try getting the pie closer to the lid ash catcher dome as that portion will catch more of the heat radiating off of the plate.  You may consider switching to a stone up above in the lid if you aren't doing that already.  I believe there are also some posts  (towards the beginning of this thread) about adding insulation inside the ash catcher or up in the dome of the lid.  That may also solve your problem.   

Yes, I think lowering your heat output overall may give the top of the pie more cooking time but that may also lengthen your overall bake time which may give a different crust texturally.

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzablogger on March 09, 2011, 08:07:03 AM
As mentioned elsewhere, I have a somewhat "ideal" kitchen range in that my broiler does not cycle...it can stay on continuously. However, after several mishaps while experimenting with the set-up and the exterior of the oven now sporting yellowish stains (un-removable) from olive oil flareups, my wife has finally put the kabash on all broiler cooking.

My Weber grill has become nervous at this development. :P

Lo and behold, in the alleyway behind a row of houses across the street, a discarded grill was awaiting its future destiny. I ran over with a tape measure and took some pictures yesterday. Then, after confirming with neighbors that the grill did not belong to any of them, I just now lugged it to our house.

This is a potentially good candidate for a LBE?

1. The dome profile is definitely "flatter" than my weber grill, which is more conical. The dome profile is almost more reminiscent of a neapolitan-ish oven profile than a vaulted oven.

2. It is relatively large in size, at about 22" diameter. This is good in that I would like to be able to play with larger form factor pizzas like 16".

3. There is already a 6" diameter hole in the bottom where the ash catcher is.  This should make cutting the hole for the burner easier to do.

4. From grill grate to dome top is approximately 7". From reading various posts on LBEs, I am going to target an initial cooking floor to dome height of 3". So, whatever steel, stone combo for the cook floor and ash catcher, stone action I put in the dome needs to total about 4".

5. The lid is hinged, with handles in the front....right where the front vent would be cut  :(  I'm thinking maybe to cut the vent in the side of the grill, allowing me to still use the handle to quickly open the lid while rotating pizzas....any thoughts on this?

Any comments or thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!  :)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: norma427 on March 09, 2011, 08:14:14 AM
Kelly,

I donít know if you are interested, but Steve (Ev) did really build a nice Franken Weber oven, at Reply 6 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10071.msg109972.html#msg109972

His ďlittle beautyĒ works well.

Norma
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on March 09, 2011, 08:40:11 AM
That's a great find. ;D My kettle is not a Weber but I got it to work with trial and error, mostly error :P It makes no difference where the side vent is placed however I'm sure you will require something in the lid to cut down the volume there and have the side vent work correctly as you mentioned. I look forward to your project.
Don

As mentioned elsewhere, I have a somewhat "ideal" kitchen range in that my broiler does not cycle...it can stay on continuously. However, after several mishaps while experimenting with the set-up and the exterior of the oven now sporting yellowish stains (un-removable) from olive oil flareups, my wife has finally put the kabash on all broiler cooking.

My Weber grill has become nervous at this development. :P

Lo and behold, in the alleyway behind a row of houses across the street, a discarded grill was awaiting its future destiny. I ran over with a tape measure and took some pictures yesterday. Then, after confirming with neighbors that the grill did not belong to any of them, I just now lugged it to our house.

This is a potentially good candidate for a LBE?

1. The dome profile is definitely "flatter" than my weber grill, which is more conical. The dome profile is almost more reminiscent of a neapolitan-ish oven profile than a vaulted oven.

2. It is relatively large in size, at about 22" diameter. This is good in that I would like to be able to play with larger form factor pizzas like 16".

3. There is already a 6" diameter hole in the bottom where the ash catcher is.  This should make cutting the hole for the burner easier to do.

4. From grill grate to dome top is approximately 7". From reading various posts on LBEs, I am going to target an initial cooking floor to dome height of 3". So, whatever steel, stone combo for the cook floor and ash catcher, stone action I put in the dome needs to total about 4".

5. The lid is hinged, with handles in the front....right where the front vent would be cut  :(  I'm thinking maybe to cut the vent in the side of the grill, allowing me to still use the handle to quickly open the lid while rotating pizzas....any thoughts on this?

Any comments or thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!  :)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on March 09, 2011, 08:51:25 AM
Yo K.  It's a 22" uniflame.  Turn that muther into a franken weber.  If you don't like, you can always cut it up into an LBE.
But for it's size, you'd be one step closer to a WFO making smallish pies. 

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzablogger on March 09, 2011, 05:37:41 PM
Thanks for the comments Norma, buceriasdon and Chau.

I am likely looking to move from my current house sometime this summer, but that of course is dependent on being able to sell our current home....so it could take a while to move out into a new home.  My wife has already given me a hearty thumbs up to build a brick oven in a new home, when we finally have an actual yard (rowhome in downtown baltimore now).

So I am definitely looking for something more portable to compliment an eventual WFO and I think the LBE set-up is perfect. While it may be true this sized grill would be perfect for a Franken-weber type application, l think I'm going with the LBE set-up.

With regards to regulators. If I got a 30psi instead of the standard 20psi regulator, would that allow me to shorten the pre-heat times in the LBE and potentially save some gas? Thanks --K
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on March 09, 2011, 06:25:00 PM
Kelly, Is you high pressure regulator adjustable or a fixed type? Mine is an expensive for here in Mexico made in the USA 0 to 60 lbs. I barely have mine cranked open so your 30 lb. regulator should be fine. I have a made in Mexico HP burner and for the first five minutes or so I can't really open the valve up, it seems the burner has to heat up some before I get complete combustion and high heat output otherwise it wants to blow out, which is bad. This may also be because my burner does not sit below the kettle lower part but is inside the lower part. I get an average of twenty five firings from my tank. I have no access to heavy duty foil so I have no foil inside but I do recommend it's use. I just found it was a hassle to keep changing the foil every few firings. Keep us posted.
Regards, Don

Thanks for the comments Norma, buceriasdon and Chau.
With regards to regulators. If I got a 30psi instead of the standard 20psi regulator, would that allow me to shorten the pre-heat times in the LBE and potentially save some gas? Thanks --K
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 09, 2011, 06:50:21 PM

So I am definitely looking for something more portable to compliment an eventual WFO and I think the LBE set-up is perfect. While it may be true this sized grill would be perfect for a Franken-weber type application, l think I'm going with the LBE set-up.

With regards to regulators. If I got a 30psi instead of the standard 20psi regulator, would that allow me to shorten the pre-heat times in the LBE and potentially save some gas? Thanks --K

30psi? You might as well get a jet engine!  ;D

I started out with a 10psi burner and then upgraded to a 20 psi for my 18.5" Weber. Imho, a 20psi regulator valve is plenty of power, even for a 22" kettle grill.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on March 09, 2011, 07:00:58 PM
Yep Mike, I barely have mine turned twice so Kelly should be fine. I've played around with mine and found too much pressure only makes it harder to control the secondary valve at the burner and no gain in heat output.
Don

30psi? You might as well get a jet engine!  ;D

I started out with a 10psi burner and then upgraded to a 20 psi for my 18.5" Weber. Imho, a 20psi regulator valve is plenty of power, even for a 22" kettle grill.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 09, 2011, 11:17:53 PM
Yep Mike, I barely have mine turned twice so Kelly should be fine. I've played around with mine and found too much pressure only makes it harder to control the secondary valve at the burner and no gain in heat output.
Don


Don,

What I was getting at was that more power doesn't necessarily translates into better pizzas, or pizze. Nor does it mean one will save gas by upgrading to a more powerful reg valve. Yes, the heat up times will be significantly shorter if operated at full blast but it is also more difficult to control an adequate stone & ambient temperature to bake those pies and simulate the Neapolitan look without burning the hell out of it.

The LBE is a bit limited when it comes to authentic Neapolitan pies but with the right valve, it's a lot of fun and can produce pizze that rival the ones baked in a WFO. At least by looks.

A 20psi valve is more than sufficient. I cannot crank mine up more than quarter without turning my pies into black Frisbees.

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Mmmph on March 09, 2011, 11:53:49 PM
Bayou Kitchen SP-10. Anyone sorry about their choice of this unit, or its performance, post up.

Forget worrying over a couple hours of tank life or the cost thereof.

20 PSI, 180K BTU...Boom, all good.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Essen1 on March 10, 2011, 12:20:39 AM

20 PSI, 180K BTU...Boom, all good.

Agreed.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzablogger on March 10, 2011, 07:05:31 AM
I hear everyone about the SP-10 and am already leaning in that direction. Thanks.

But I'm trying to clarify exactly what is happening inside of the LBE during cooking.

My understanding from reading the posts is that the topside heat is the result of hot, moving air as it comes up, out from behind the back of the pizza stone/floor, hits the dome and is directed out of the grill through the front vent.

However, at Reply #1010 in this thread (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.msg128206.html#msg128206), Buceriasdon showed a picture of his LBE with the actual flames coming up out of the bottom half of the grill. I'm extremely curious if in this picture the flames are "shooting" this high because:

1. The grill top is removed and more oxygen is available to help the flame reach a higher intensity....meaning the flame will not reach this level during cooking?

2. The fact that Buceriasdon does have a higher psi regulator and the higher pressure is aiding this flame to reach this high, which may be the case in his LBE even with the lid on:

Quote
Kelly, Is you high pressure regulator adjustable or a fixed type? Mine is an expensive for here in Mexico made in the USA 0 to 60 lbs

Buceriasdon, what is occuring inside of your LBE when the lid is on?

Hypothetically, if one could in fact rig the LBE in such a fashion, either by using a higher psi regulator, introducing more oxygen to the equation and/or placement of the propane burner so that actual flames are coming up the backside of the floor and are licking the ceiling/dome, I would imagine that would create an environment where a 90-120 second pizza could be cooked in the LBE and with potentially more heat radiating down on the top of the pizza?...something I would be very much interested in.

Blah, blah.....just break out the hacksaw and start putting something together already! :)

Thanks. --K
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on March 11, 2011, 05:05:13 PM
Kelly, Hi, Sorry I missed this post of yours. If you read my last posts as well of those of Mike and others, my regulator is cranked down only a couple of turns as these HP burners can only use up so much propane and if cranked farther the flame just blows away. In other words you can have TOO much pressure. You reach a point of diminishing returns. I can buy an even larger, burner but I doubt I will get any better bake times. Until I have access to flours that can actually do a subminute pie, which is doubtful unless I have it shipped here, I'm content with four minutes with barely passable AP flour. I believe in combination with the hot air rushing into the top part of the upper chamber heat is radiated off the top of the hearth. At first I had a steel plate under my tile but that only led to burnt bottoms. When I removed it I got much more even bakes. Trust me, like my kettle which is different, you will have to figure out the same balancing act for yours.
Don

I hear everyone about the SP-10 and am already leaning in that direction. Thanks.

But I'm trying to clarify exactly what is happening inside of the LBE during cooking.

My understanding from reading the posts is that the topside heat is the result of hot, moving air as it comes up, out from behind the back of the pizza stone/floor, hits the dome and is directed out of the grill through the front vent.

However, at Reply #1010 in this thread (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.msg128206.html#msg128206), Buceriasdon showed a picture of his LBE with the actual flames coming up out of the bottom half of the grill. I'm extremely curious if in this picture the flames are "shooting" this high because:

1. The grill top is removed and more oxygen is available to help the flame reach a higher intensity....meaning the flame will not reach this level during cooking?

2. The fact that Buceriasdon does have a higher psi regulator and the higher pressure is aiding this flame to reach this high, which may be the case in his LBE even with the lid on:

Buceriasdon, what is occuring inside of your LBE when the lid is on?

Hypothetically, if one could in fact rig the LBE in such a fashion, either by using a higher psi regulator, introducing more oxygen to the equation and/or placement of the propane burner so that actual flames are coming up the backside of the floor and are licking the ceiling/dome, I would imagine that would create an environment where a 90-120 second pizza could be cooked in the LBE and with potentially more heat radiating down on the top of the pizza?...something I would be very much interested in.

Blah, blah.....just break out the hacksaw and start putting something together already! :)

Thanks. --K
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Mmmph on March 11, 2011, 05:24:57 PM
True dat 100%

Trust me, like my kettle which is different, you will have to figure out the same balancing act for yours.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on March 15, 2011, 09:27:10 PM
Very out of practice even if it did taste excellent, too much edge char. 750 degrees and Mexican AP flour just don't go well together. May have to do some fine tuning again to the LBE, sigh..... too much top heat it seems or just give up on that high of temps.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on March 15, 2011, 09:32:16 PM
Those are phenomenal, Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on March 15, 2011, 09:56:10 PM
Don that crumb looks great!  Nice work.

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzablogger on March 22, 2011, 03:19:07 PM
Saw these at Costco last night....$95 for a 100# propane tank. So much for portability, but bombs away with this puppy  :D



Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on March 22, 2011, 03:41:03 PM
Kelly, Much better buy for sure.
Don

Saw these at Costco last night....$95 for a 100# propane tank. So much for portability, but bombs away with this puppy  :D




Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Wallman on March 27, 2011, 08:00:36 PM
Took the plunge today and made a Big LBE using a 22" Weber kettle grill that's been sitting in my backyard for about a decade.  Invested $25  in an angle grider to make my cuts and $50 for the Bayou Cooker (SP-10). I used unglazed tile for my flame deflector (on the charcoal grate) and baking deck.  I lined everything with foil and used the ash catcher to lower the lid. 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on March 27, 2011, 08:10:05 PM
Wallman, great looking LBE, buddy. Now, the obsession begins!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Wallman on March 27, 2011, 08:36:51 PM
First bake on the big LBE.  I preheated for about 22 minutes with the gas at between 1/3 and 1/2. The temp on the baking surface was between 700 and 730 F.  I used 2 different types of dough, the first was some store-bought dough for experimentation. I also made 2 pies using homemade Lehmann NY Style dough made with GM All Trumps Flour at about 64% hydration. Each pie was about 11-12 inches in diameter.

My initial thoughts, I need to figure out home to even out the temps between the baking surface and above the pizza. Iím getting fast bakes, all four pies were done in under 3 Ĺ minutes, but the rim and bottoms are getting over baked.  The last pie burned a fair amount due to release four burning on the tiles.  Still, the pizzas, especially the NY Style pies, were tasty with decent oven spring and crumb.

Any tips from the LBE pros out there on a better flame deflector setup? Iím thinking I might need to raise the tiles on the charcoal grate, the bottom tile (a Ĺ quarry tile) cracked.
Plus I need to figure out how to get more heat above the pizza. Do you guys think a bigger flame deflector would help? Or maybe less space between the baking surface and the lid?

Ron, you are right, this is going to become an obsession.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Wallman on March 27, 2011, 08:48:47 PM
Here is the 4th pie. Too much char on the bottom  :P. Some of the sauce leaked through a tear, which didn't help. 
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: gtsum2 on March 27, 2011, 08:57:45 PM
try a stainless steel bowl filled with sand (about 1/2 way to start) for the deflector.  Also, use foil to block all gaps in the front and sides of the hearth - only leaving opening in the rear - that way all the heat is forced to the rear and then over the pie and out the front.  This will help a lot.  Then you can experiment with lowering the ceiling more or raising the hearth if you need more top heat (I have realized I finally need to lower my ceiling some more after cooking on mine for more then 6 months)...those pies look good for your first attempts also!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Wallman on March 27, 2011, 10:03:06 PM
Gt, what size bowl do you suggest?  This LBE is from a 22" Weber.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: gtsum2 on March 27, 2011, 11:42:10 PM
I think the one I used was about 6 inches across
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jet_deck on March 28, 2011, 12:31:59 AM
Your setup looks pretty good. Someone correct me if I am wrong but, I dont think a straight All Trumps dough likes that much heat.  I have done AP flour at 750, but I have not seen good results of AT at higher temps without blending it with another flour... :)  Again, I love the setup, you have done your homework.  Good luck. :pizza:

Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Wallman on March 28, 2011, 06:42:05 PM
Good point, I'll have to give my "00" flour a try. Or lower the heat, which seems almost sacrilegious!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on March 28, 2011, 08:57:58 PM
Good point, I'll have to give my "00" flour a try. Or lower the heat, which seems almost sacrilegious!

Yeah 00 can handle those temps. I haven't had good luck with ap or bf above 600. Too much char, as in charcoal. Not good.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on March 28, 2011, 09:19:14 PM
Another alternative is to raise the hydration level for AP flour.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: skyno on March 28, 2011, 10:15:11 PM
Wallman

Your setup is almost identical to mine except mine is 18.5" and I do not use the same "heat diffuser" on the charcoal grate, but instead I wrapped some HD foil around the charcoal grate (on the 18.5" it is about 16" in diameter) and placed this directly below the tile. 

I have some of the same issues as you - too much char on the rim and our crust & crumb look identical, but, unlike you, I actually wanted a bit more char in the bottom-center, so I actually cut a round hole in the center of my makeshift diffuser and this seemed to help, but I cannot cook a pie in less than 3.5 minutes w/out over-charring the rim-  I'm actually pretty happy w/ my 3.5 min. pies, but I'm still fine-tuning my technique

The point that several have made about the different types of flour is a good one (I currently use about a 50/50 blend of good quality AP & BF - I haven't converted over to 00 yet for a # of reasons, but maybe someday) - but if I recall, our founding father Villa Roma & others were able to get great results w/ AP, so maybe it also has to do w/ variety w/in the brands or maybe there's other factors at play? - based on the pattern that it chars, I'm pretty convinced that the "jet-stream" of hot air coming up over the perimeter contributed to the increased char on the rim - so, contrary to some others, I actually blast the burner just before I put in the pie & then back off a bit once the lid goes on & this gets pretty good results

A couple other notes:

1. Sounds like the tiles have already started cracking - mine have as well but they still work great - especially for $1

2. As the veterans here pointed out to me, your main grill will probably start to sag soon - especially since yours is 22" - they have posted some great solutions, but a quick and cheap one that I used was to reinforce w/ a couple rods of rebar - just drilled a few holes lined up along the sides and threaded the rebar through - make the holes only slightly bigger than the rebar and it will mechanically lock in - so far this has held up very well
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Wallman on March 29, 2011, 07:57:42 AM
Sky, Good tips thanks.  This weekend I'm going to blend some of by 00 with the GM All Trumps and probably try a straight 00 Neapolitan dough.  The rebar idea is a good one for holding the baking tiles.  Another idea is to use a charcoal grate from a Weber kettle (you have to go a size up), so for the 18.5 use the charcoal grate from the 22.5. I've ordered the grate for the 26.75 to use in my 22.5 kettle.  The guy at Weber was confused why I just wanted the grate if I didn't have the corresponding grill. I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd just sawed big holes in their product!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: skyno on March 29, 2011, 02:40:13 PM
Wall - great minds think alike! - that was actually my 1st thought - while I was the hardware store, I tried the the charcoal grate from the 22.5 to reinforce the main grate on the 18.5 but I found that it was just slightly too small in diameter and it just barely rested on the supports, but was not stable - hopefully the grate from the 26 will fit just right for you, but let me know if figure out a mod that allows you to fit it

Thanks!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on March 29, 2011, 02:58:27 PM
I drilled some bolts into the perimeter of the MBE and LBE and attached some nuts to help hold up the undersized grate.

reply #92
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11126.80.html (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11126.80.html)

Reply #10
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,13036.0.html (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,13036.0.html)
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on March 29, 2011, 02:58:44 PM
For supports I used 90 degree angle brackets from the hardware store to hold up my tile. They come in sizes up to four or five inches. The brackets come with two or three holes on each leg. Because of the curve they do have to be shaped with a hammer for a tighter angle, under 90 degrees. I laid out where the four needed to go then placed masking tape in that location which makes it easy to measure down and mark the top of the bracket. Hold the bracket to that mark and mark the two hole locations. Repeat for the rest. Center guide punch and drill the holes for all. Remove the tape and mount the brackets using screws and bolts. One can then tweak the brackets with heavy pliers or tap them so the tile, stone doesn't rock.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on March 29, 2011, 05:32:13 PM
Speaking of LBEs, today's pizza. Hummus made with cilantro mixed in, tomatoes and onion with some Asadero cheese. Two day CF at 75% hydration which appears to be the majic number for the AP flour I get. I got some nice leoparding and a very tender crust.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on March 29, 2011, 08:16:36 PM
Don, that looks great. By the way, I LOVE red onion on pizza.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on March 30, 2011, 09:04:06 AM
Thank you Ron. The jump to 75% hydration has elevated my pizza to another level. I am glad I learned on smaller dough balls how to handle the wetter dough, though I know more practice is needed to get good round pizzas. It's really cool to see the steam come off the pizza when it hits the tile. ;D I can only repeat to folks that are having burning problems with their LBEs, reply 1079, to try higher hydration dough as that has been the only change between my reply 1064, March 15 and now.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Mmmph on March 30, 2011, 12:12:36 PM
Nice looking pies...

@Ron - Ditto on red onion, especially sliced super thin on my mandoline..
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on March 30, 2011, 01:15:09 PM
Nice looking pies...

@Ron - Ditto on red onion, especially sliced super thin on my mandoline..
makin' me drool just thinking about that...
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on March 30, 2011, 01:17:15 PM
Thank you Ron. The jump to 75% hydration has elevated my pizza to another level. I am glad I learned on smaller dough balls how to handle the wetter dough, though I know more practice is needed to get good round pizzas. It's really cool to see the steam come off the pizza when it hits the tile. ;D I can only repeat to folks that are having burning problems with their LBEs, reply 1079, to try higher hydration dough as that has been the only change between my reply 1064, March 15 and now.
Don
Yeah, I'm working on the Reinhart Neo-Neapolitan right now and it's about 70%. It's made a huge difference in my pizzas. I'm sticking here for awhile for the LBE pies. Nice and light.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on March 30, 2011, 01:28:35 PM
Thank you Ron. The jump to 75% hydration has elevated my pizza to another level. I am glad I learned on smaller dough balls how to handle the wetter dough, though I know more practice is needed to get good round pizzas. It's really cool to see the steam come off the pizza when it hits the tile. ;D I can only repeat to folks that are having burning problems with their LBEs, reply 1079, to try higher hydration dough as that has been the only change between my reply 1064, March 15 and now.
Don

I agree, the moisture may have some protective qualities against burning.   I routinely use HG flour for my high hydration pies and bake them in my LBE at 600-625F for 3+ minutes without burning problems.  
Title: Re: Little Black Egg - Rotational capabilities on the brain
Post by: skyno on March 31, 2011, 12:32:18 AM
I am getting to the point where I'm fairly consistently happy w/ my LBE pies, and now I'm completely fixated on adding a mod that allows me to rotate the cooking surface as it cooks since I think everyone will agree that the constant opening the lid & turning is a bit inefficient.  Oh, and did I mention that I would love for this mod to be cheap and easy!  I definitely don't need it to be auto - something where I can just stick an instrument through the side vent and spin it like a record player.

The best basic design strategy that fits this bill that I have come across in searching this forum is probably compatta's basic approach with the screw and a bunch of washers:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,13036.msg127396.html#msg127396

I'm still struggling w/ exactly how to put this approach into action, especially w/out having to put a thick piece of steel under the stone, which probably wouldn't conduct well.  Maybe I could just clamp something directly to the grate to retain a rotational widget of some kind? Any advice or thoughts on this mod?  Also, any experience or guesses on how well something like this would hold up at high heat over time?

Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Wallman on March 31, 2011, 10:24:55 PM
If you are looking for a base for your baking surface, I have good news for 22.5" LBE builders. The charcoal grate from the Weber 26.75" One Touch Gold Grill fits perfectly and is very sturdy.  I ordered directly from the Weber customer service phone line (this grate is not listed in their website catalog), cost me $26.70 including shipping.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on March 31, 2011, 10:35:44 PM
If you are looking for a base for your baking surface, I have good news for 22.5" LBE builders. The charcoal grate from the Weber 26.75" One Touch Gold Grill fits perfectly and is very sturdy.  I ordered directly from the Weber customer service phone line (this grate is not listed in their website catalog), cost me $26.70 including shipping.
I just used the original charcoal grate for the 22" kettle, and installed some 3 inch bolts to hold it up securely.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Mmmph on April 01, 2011, 02:29:06 PM
If you are looking for a base for your baking surface, I have good news for 22.5" LBE builders. The charcoal grate from the Weber 26.75" One Touch Gold Grill fits perfectly and is very sturdy.  I ordered directly from the Weber customer service phone line (this grate is not listed in their website catalog), cost me $26.70 including shipping.

Do not tell them that you have modified your Weber grill!!! They will refuse to sell you the grate.

Note, there's two models of this 26.75" grill charcoal grate.
The older one is 19.5" $40.00, plus shipping. The newer one (Part #63040) is a little lighter duty and is 21 5/58" 19.70, plus shipping
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Wallman on April 02, 2011, 02:58:35 PM
Here's a few pics of my 22.5" LBE with the new grate from the 26.75" Weber Kettle. I used a ss dog bowl as a flame diverter (with a few broken tiles).  For the baking surface I have a layer of 1/2" tiles and then a 19" kiln shelf (5/8" thick).  It's a lot cheaper to by these from a pottery store than a comparably sized pizza stone. This is made of cordierite and cost $32.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Wallman on April 02, 2011, 03:21:40 PM
First pie on the new kiln shelf surface. This was a Lehmann NY-Style dough using GM All Trumps at 70% hydration, no oil in the dough. Approximately 15 hour cold rise, 12" diameter.  The surface temp was around 600 F, I had to get the pie on a little earlier than I wanted due to rain. Bake time was 4:15.  Oven spring wasn't quite what I was hoping for, but the char was ok, not really burnt. Later today, assuming the rain stops, I'm going to try some Caputo 00 Neapolitan style dough.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on April 02, 2011, 06:57:31 PM
My first 90 second pizza using AP flour and two day CF. Italian canned tomatoes only blended from Wal Mart and Panela cheese and my basil. I am happy.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: skyno on April 02, 2011, 07:10:46 PM
Hey Wallman

Nice job - that looks pretty damn good - especially for a 1st bake!  I'm actually impressed that you got that much char on the center part of the underside - I would have thought that thick quarry tile, which is very absorptive + super-thick stone would've been too thick to really get a good heat transfer & get that much char - I tried a similar setup and got zero char on the the underside - what were your approximate heat up times and did you blast it to get to those temps?

Also, would you mind sharing where you got the kiln shelf?  Was shipping a killer?  Or did you buy local?

I think you will see improved oven spring if you cold ferment for longer - it probably depends on what yeast your using as well - I usually use a SF wild-yeast starter that is pretty active and I need at least 2 full days (6 is better) cold or 8 hours room temp - even with quickrise yeast, the cold ferment takes a while w/ no additional sugars.

Thanks a lot for sharing

LJ
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: skyno on April 02, 2011, 07:13:05 PM
That looks great Don!  How do Wal-mart tomatoes taste?  I wouldn't even have thought they would have imported Italian tomatoes.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: buceriasdon on April 02, 2011, 07:24:07 PM
Thank you skyno, Quite honestly I don't know why they are on the shelves in a Wal Mart here in my part of Mexico. I know when ever I see them I buy every can on the shelf. They may never stock them again.
Don
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Wallman on April 04, 2011, 09:07:58 PM
- what were your approximate heat up times and did you blast it to get to those temps?

Also, would you mind sharing where you got the kiln shelf?  Was shipping a killer?  Or did you buy local?

LJ

Sky, I heated the LBE up for about 25 minutes on that bake. I don't think I was much past 1/4 power, I haven't exactly figured out how to calibrate the gas controls, but it doesn't seem like the SP-10 needs too much to generate some heat. Later that day I tried some 00 dough and the rest of my NY-style dough. If anything I had too much heat on the bottom (again with about a 25-30 minute pre-heat to get the temps between 725-750 F), I was getting burning on the bottom before the top was well cooked. I think I need to work on my heat diffuser design, I don't think the dog bowl is working that well! Plus may use less release flour, although with the high hydration doughs, it can be tough to get them off the peel.

 I bought the kiln shelf from a local pottery store here in Virginia.  Their prices seem reasonable especially since they will order any size I want and not charge for shipping.

Here are some pictures of the 2 Neapolitan pies, both about 63% hydration.   Did not get any good crust or bottom shots because everyone was too busy eating and drinking beer.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on April 04, 2011, 09:23:07 PM
Wallman, there may not be anything wrong with your heat diffuser set up.  Try loading your pies at a lower hearth temp and then cranking the burner up for the bake.  You should be able to find a happy medium there where the top and bottom cook evenly in the desired bake time.

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Mmmph on April 04, 2011, 09:32:51 PM
I received a PM regarding my LBE setup, so I thought I'd post pics. My 22.5" setup uses a Bayou Kitchen SP-10 burner. On the charcoal grate, I have a 10" round cast iron griddle with the handle hacksawed off. This is my heat deflector/diffuser. On the cooking grate, I have four "half pound burger" sized pieces of crumpled heavy duty aluminum foil. They're 4" x .75". They support my stone high enough to make it's surface flush with the rim of the LBE. I use a D-shaped stone from Old Stone Pizza Stone Co. 20.5" x 15.5". It really allows unimpeded airflow and consistent temperatures. The base of the LBE is lined with HD foil.

http://www.amazon.com/Stone-20-5-Inch-Pizza-Grill/dp/B002JPJ078/?tag=pizzamaking-20 (http://www.amazon.com/Stone-20-5-Inch-Pizza-Grill/dp/B002JPJ078/?tag=pizzamaking-20)

The dome is also lined with HD foil, and I have an 18" aluminum pizza tray suspended with a 4.5" bolt. This really lowers the roof and forces the hot air closer to the pie. I did try the design with the ash catcher suspended underneath the pizza tray, but I struggled with the inside diameter of the cornicione coming out too blonde.

I recently switched to a 15" pizza pan that I've cut and bent to direct airflow. Chau showed me his MBE deflector, and mine was built based on his inspiration.

Reply #269 - http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11126.260.html (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11126.260.html)

Upskirt cooking is no problem with my setup. I've rarely burnt one. The crust/char underneath is thin and beautiful.

The dome is the key... It's a common trait amongst LBE pies that the outside diameter and top of the cornicione browns and leopards nicely, but the inside is pale. It's not undercooked, per se, but too blonde. Proper and accurate re-direction of the hot air will really elevate the look of LBE pies.

Taste-wise, I'll put my pies up against anybodys, but I still have a way to go in evening out the heat during the baking process and creating eye candy that passes critical examination.

Here's the pics.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Mmmph on April 04, 2011, 09:34:05 PM
Pics of the top deflector and how it looks from the front when operating
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: pizzablogger on April 05, 2011, 10:02:40 AM
Mmmph, thanks for posting pics of your set-up.

The bent pizza-pan airflow deflector is about as jacked up a rigged thingy that I've seen in a while  :P :)  Love the creativity.

On the air-deflector...it's interesting how you bent the front portion down so the airflow gets directed for a second time (after the initial block in the back) closer to the pizza before exiting the oven. It's hard to tell looking at it, but the backmost portion of the deflector...Mmmph, are those outermost "dog ears" bent inwards to serve two purposes? Meaning, the bent in ears would likely force the airflow down hard on the back of the pizza, while also allowing some airflow to continue towards the front of the oven, where it will get directed downwards again.

Is that the idea?

Thanks --K
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Ronzo on April 05, 2011, 10:26:07 AM
So, in your experience, is the deflector helping?
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Mmmph on April 05, 2011, 10:33:05 AM
....are those outermost "dog ears" bent inwards to serve two purposes? Meaning, the bent in ears would likely force the airflow down hard on the back of the pizza, while also allowing some airflow to continue towards the front of the oven, where it will get directed downwards again.

Is that the idea?

Thanks --K

Give that man a cigar! That was my thinking. I'm just trying to push air onto the inside of the cornicione to help bake it harder.

Check out replies 19 and 20 here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,13140.0.html
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Mmmph on April 05, 2011, 10:36:02 AM
Ron,

It's working better than what I had...It's a design in progress.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: cityman on April 05, 2011, 04:45:39 PM
Since I first saw the Little Black Egg video about a week ago I have been totally intrigued. I will build one but have a couple of questions for the veterans. It appears that the design has changed somewhat from the original Villa Roma model. Specifically, the vent/opening in the lid, the flame diffuser, and the heat reflector design in the lid. Are these necessary or beneficial? I was thinking that putting a stone on top of fire bricks would negate the need for a flame diffuser. I'm not sure what purpose the opening provides. And the small stone mounted in the lid seemed to work just fine.  I appreciate your knowledge and guidance.
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: Jackie Tran on April 05, 2011, 04:54:05 PM
Welcome cityman.  Good questions.  The vent in the lid is original and not new.  The flame diffuser is optional, use it if you feel it helps.  I had one in my MBE and currently not in my LBE.   It really depends on how close the burner is to the stone I think.  The closer it is, the more sense it makes to use a diffuser of some sorts.   A stone or aluminum plate mounted in the lid is original as well and works just fine.  An air deflector works better IMO but I'm bias as I maybe the first to install one base on ideas provided by member Jet deck and buceriasdon.  If the pale inner rim doesn't bother you, then you don't need a lid air deflector.  If it does, then the lid air deflector should help with that.  

You'll find that there are a lot of small variations from the original in different setups.  It's mostly a learning process.  Tweak it until you get the desired results.  You'll have to do some experimenting to find what works for you.  Good luck and don't forget to post up some pics when you can.

Chau
Title: Re: Little Black Egg
Post by: cityman on April 05, 2011, 05:10:14 PM
Thanks for the response JT. On the opening/vent question, I was referring the cut out(as pictured by Mmmmph) not the adjustable vent built into the lid. I'm not sure what you're referring to as the pale inner rim.. Thanks!!

I found a really nice (like new) 18.5" Weber kettle on Craigslist for $25, picking it up tonight. Masonry supply is nearby and has fire brick for $2 each. I already have a charcoal grate for a 22.5" kettle, I'm hoping it will work in the 18.5" in lieu of the thinn