• #61 by Aimless Ryan on 13 Apr 2014
  • In the last hour or so I've felt compelled to try a considerably higher-hydration dough in the MPO than I'm used to. Like maybe 5% higher hydration than what I've been doing lately. I can't really explain why, but I guess it would be to see how a wet dough handles floor temperatures that are hotter than ideal for me. Last night's pizza was a little burned all the way around the outside-bottom. Nothing horrible, but burned enough to make me wonder if some extra water would provide something of a buffer. (There's probably a better word than 'buffer.')
  • #62 by Bert on 13 Apr 2014
  • This pizza is from last night. I made one change with this batch of dough: I decreased the ADY from 0.3% to 0.25%. Although my dough is meant for 48 hours, this dough was only 24+ hours old. I took it out of the fridge about 6 hours prior to baking. I made it for a couchsurfing guest whose bus was scheduled to arrive in Columbus at 10:00 but didn't arrive until after midnight. Once I knew he was going to be so late, I decided to make the pizza before picking him up (at about 11:00).

    I cut my disposable aluminum pan to fit in the MPO and placed it in the top slot, all the way forward (with the stone all the way back), to divert hot air above the top stone. Not sure if that made a difference. 5-minute bake. I think the preheat only took 25 minutes to reach 600 on the bottom stone, which I now know is a definitely a little hotter than I want for NY style. (Once again, I forgot to check the top stone temp, but I'm pretty sure it was at least 500.) I have two more dough balls left from this batch, and I expect to use at least one of them tonight.

    Ryan, I prefer to have one shelf empty between the stone and the insulation sheet, but due to your stone height it is not possible. You can see the difference when you are ready to use the 13" stone. 

    Your pepperoni looks like they got more heat than the last time.

    Did you cover you grill like the pic below?
  • #63 by Aimless Ryan on 14 Apr 2014
  • Upon further review, the original call has been reversed. (That is, you're probably right, Bert.) The top of the previous pizza was more done than it originally seemed to me. Certainly the top of the rim was more done, and the pepperoni was probably a little more done than previous pizzas. The thing that made me say the hot-air diversion didn't seem to make much difference is the fact that the cheese on the last pizza didn't seem any more done than the cheese on previous pizzas. However, if the cheese really didn't get as done, that could be explained by any of a lot of different reasons that have nothing to do with how much top heat there was for this pizza. (For example, slightly thicker crust, more sauce than previous pizzas, etc.)
  • #64 by Aimless Ryan on 14 Apr 2014
  • Last night's pizza (same dough as previous pizza but 24 hours older) was much better than the one from the previous day, even though I felt kinda under pressure because I made it for a new couchsurfer (from Long Island) who arrived somewhat late last night. I was careful not to let the bottom stone go above 600 last night; I think it was in the 580 range. Also, I think I've determined that the top stone temperature stays pretty much in line with the temperature of the bottom stone when I preheat the whole MPO at the same time. (I still like this method, by the way.)

    Bert, I haven't tried putting a piece of cut-out foil in the front yet, mostly because I have a somewhat hard time getting foil to stay where I put it. I may have more to say about this later.

    Anyway, here are a few pics from last night's pizza. Even though the rim was much puffier than a true NY style pizza, I like how it came out, probably because my NY style pizzas tend to have rims that are too small/flat.
  • #65 by Bert on 14 Apr 2014
  • Looks good Ryan.

    I think your 15.75" stone gets hotter due to the large feet which creating additional surfaces to absorb heat.
  • #66 by Aimless Ryan on 15 Apr 2014
  • I'm surprised to have already done this, but I made deep dish in the MPO last night. Despite the fact that this was my first time doing deep dish in the MPO, it turned out very satisfactory. The pizza was good, but it would have been great if I had pulled it 5 minutes earlier. However, I had to make decisions based on a lot of guessing, and I guessed a little wrong when I chose to let it bake for those extra minutes. Since the top/cheese didn't necessarily appear done at 24 minutes, I left it in for 29.

    These pics are not very representative of the entire pizza. The pizza was better than the pics look. Which is why my guest and I each ate three whole slices of the 14" pizza (8 total slices).

    One thing that worried me about making a 14" pizza is the fact that my 14" pan is 2" deep, which left very little room between the top of the pan and the top stone. In fact, until I placed the pan inside the cold MPO to see if it would fit, I didn't think it would fit. (My smaller pans are only 1-1/2" deep, so I considered making a 12" pizza.) Due to the tight fit (I assume), the top stone lost a lot of heat during the bake; at least 100 degrees. But the bottom stone seemed to maintain 450-470.

    In the end, here's the most important lesson I learned: The pizza would have been great if I had pulled it 5 minutes earlier. I expect the next one to be much better.
  • #67 by Aimless Ryan on 15 Apr 2014
  • Deep Dish
    100% Pillsbury AP flour
    56% Water
    0.4% ADY
    21% Corn oil
    • While yeast is hydrating, using KitchenAid flat beater on speed 2, slowly pour corn oil into flour in mixer bowl.
    • Leave mixer running.
    • When yeast water is ready, pour it into the mixer bowl.
    • Slowly pour the rest of the water (cold) into the mixer bowl (with flat beater still on speed 2).
    • Immediately after pouring all the water, stop mixing.
    • Put the whole batch of dough in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate until a couple hours before baking.
    • Scale the proper weight of dough and place any remaining dough back in bag, then in fridge.
    • Put the scaled dough in an oiled pan and cover for a couple hours at room temperature, until baking time.
    • Shape the skin, top with cheese, toppings, and tomatoes, then bake the pizza at 450 for 22-25 minutes, rotating when necessary.
    6" pizza
    3.97 oz Dough
    3.34 oz Cheese
    3.96 oz Tomatoes

    9" pizza
    8.2 oz Dough
    7.79 oz Cheese
    9.21 oz Tomatoes

    12" pizza
    13.91 oz Dough
    14.08 oz Cheese
    16.66 oz Tomatoes

    14" pizza
    18.55 oz Dough
    19.31 oz Cheese
    22.85 oz Tomatoes

    I need to decrease the yeast; maybe by half. Also, I think a little more cheese would be better than the numbers I have shared above.
  • #68 by Bert on 15 Apr 2014
  • Ryan, That looks really good, nice job.
  • #69 by Aimless Ryan on 15 Apr 2014
  • Thanks. Tonight's was much better. Pics later tonight or tomorrow.
  • #70 by Aimless Ryan on 16 Apr 2014
  • Pics from last night. The bottom of this pizza was not burned; the dark spot is from liquid that must have "jumped" the rim while the pizza baked. Stone temp seemed to be around 420-450 throughout the bake this time. 25-minute bake. Very good pizza, but I think I used a little too much tomato. (I made this pizza for my mom, to-go, but I took two slices before she left.)
  • #71 by Bert on 16 Apr 2014
  • This is really awesome, great Job Ryan. What is next on the menu :chef: ?
  • #72 by Aimless Ryan on 16 Apr 2014
  • What is next on the menu :chef: ?

    I'm not sure. Back to NY style, probably. I definitely want to do some laminated cracker style, but I'm not in any hurry to start rolling stiff dough again. Besides, I've been having a lot of pain in my shoulder for at least a few months (which could possibly be a direct result of rolling stiff cracker style dough).

    This one was really good. I think I said above that it was better than the pictures look. It was as good as any deep dish pizza I've ever made, even if it is not perfect-looking. I need to figure out what kind of camera angles to use to create better-looking pictures.

    Also, it was tough to do this last night, first of all because it was cold outside; low 30s probably. That affected me a little, but it seemed to have affected the MPO considerably. Although I did want to bake at a lower temperature than I used for the previous night's pizza, I ended up baking at a lower temperature mostly because the grill didn't seem very interested in getting any hotter. (I did start baking when the stone was barely over 400, though, so that may have kept the stones from getting as hot as they could have gotten if I'd given them a little more time to preheat.)

    One thing I still want to do is bake a deep dish pizza in the MPO with the MPO's original stone, to create more room above the pizza for convection. Also, I want to do deep dish in one of my smaller pans, since the smaller pans aren't as deep as my 14" pan, which will create even more room for convection above the pizza.
  • #73 by Bert on 17 Apr 2014
  • Laminated cracker, Sicilian and Detroit style on my list to do...

    Using MPO stone will give you more space inside MPO and allow you to do few more things with MPO like bread and brisket. Plus you will be able to experience making pizza at higher temperatures.
  • #74 by Aimless Ryan on 17 Apr 2014
  • Using MPO stone will give you more space inside MPO and allow you to do few more things with MPO like bread and brisket. Plus you will be able to experience making pizza at higher temperatures.

    Yeah, but it will also limit my pizza size to less than 13", which is a big deal to me and is probably a big deal to plenty of other prospective MPO owners. I know that's not a big deal to you, but it might be a big enough deal to other people that you should consider offering a bigger bottom stone (perhaps as an option or upgrade). That is, unless a bigger stone compromises the MPO's ability to do its job. Which, in my experience so far, is not happening. That is, the bigger stone seems to work just fine. I should find out whenever I take out the big stone and put the original stone back in.

    Here's a question I think you should consider heavily: Aside from people who wish to make Neapolitan or maybe NY elite style, who needs temperatures over 575 or 600?

    I like to think I'm pretty knowledgeable about a lot of different styles of pizza (which does NOT include either Neapolitan or NY elite), but none of the styles I make require temps over 600 (or probably even 550). I'm not sure about cracker yet, especially since old Shakey's ads claim that they bake(d) at 700, but I know you can make a fantastic laminated cracker style pizza at 500 degrees.

    I get the feeling (based on your entire body of work on that your preferences lean toward higher-temperature pizza, but I also kinda feel like maybe you are so focused on what you want to make in the MPO that you can't necessarily see that your target market may be more interested in pizzas that don't require such high temperatures, which includes almost every style of pizza. The fact that the MPO can do such high temperatures (700-800?) is probably not it's #1 selling point; rather, it's a bonus to be able to bake at those temperatures. And most people cannot bake at such high temperatures without: 1) spending thousands of dollars for a wood-fired oven; 2) risking burning down the house by screwing with their oven; 3) burning the hell out of every pizza they try to bake in an unmodified grill; 4) ending up with a pizza that's not done on top, even after employing every grill mod possible; 5) more things that I can't think of???

    You've been trying to generate interest in the MPO here for at least two years now, and I know it's been frustrating. Although I've always been a fan of your work and how you operate, I was never interested in an MPO until recently; mostly because I'm not interested in making pizzas that are smaller than 13". Now, however, I know what the MPO can do, and I know it can do even more than what I've already done with it. And the biggest revelation so far is that I can make a 14" or 15" NY style pizza that is infinitely better than any NY style pizza I can make in my oven or grill, modded or not. And I hope people will read what I'm saying here and understand that I'm not BSing. (No pun intended, although I think it is a great pun. And it's also true, because I have no intention to buy a Blackstone. I can do everything in the MPO that I think I could do in a Blackstone, without having two grills taking up space on my patio.)

    I'm just worried that my pictures haven't done the MPO any justice. Because I know I'm not a good photographer, I have a really cheap camera, and the lighting in my home is less than ideal. Furthermore, I can barely walk or maintain my balance without holding on to something, and that makes it much harder to get good pictures than when I could walk like everyone else. It also makes it harder for me to make picture-worthy pizzas. But still, I think I've shown some really good-looking pizzas in this thread so far, and I'm surprised that most people seem to be ignoring the thread.

    And I'm not the only who thinks the pizzas I've made lately in the MPO are awesome. My first deep dish pizza the other day wasn't up to my standards because some of it was burned (which was my fault, not the MPO's fault). Still, my guest loved it, even though he's from New York (Long Island). Yes, LOVED it. And the one I made a day later was phenomenal. I wish he had been able to try that one.
  • #75 by cylint on 17 Apr 2014
  • I'm not ignoring your thread...these pizzas look amazing.  Although, most of your pizzas in general look great.
  • #76 by Aimless Ryan on 17 Apr 2014
  • Thanks. I appreciate it. I didn't mean to sound whiny or anything. Just trying to help Bert because he has put his heart and soul into the MPO, and the MPO is really good. He deserves so much more positive attention for it than I think he has received.
  • #77 by Bert on 17 Apr 2014
  • Hey Ryan, Your pictures and pies looks great. I wish all MPO owners would share their MPO experience as much you did.

    My original prototype that Craig tested had 14.25" stone, I decided to go with 13" to allow more direct heat to top stone. MPO size is compatible to all other pizza oven inserts in the market today. Next MPO will definitely have a larger stone. Based on the pies that being made in other oven with large base, it seems majority of the pies are between 11 and 14".

    MPO can be used at any temperature, so far I had best success at temperatures below 800s. Neapolitan is MPO last challenge, once I figure that out, MPO can be used for anything you want. No other pizza oven or pizza oven insert can do what I have been able to do with MPO.

  • #78 by Bert on 18 Apr 2014
  • Thanks. I appreciate it. I didn't mean to sound whiny or anything. Just trying to help Bert because he has put his heart and soul into the MPO, and the MPO is really good. He deserves so much more positive attention for it than I think he has received.

    Thank you Ryan, you can tell from the number of times your post has been read that there are lots of interest even though there was few feedback.

    Your pies look awesome, I hope you continue sharing your MPO experience.
  • #79 by Aimless Ryan on 19 Apr 2014
  • Last night's MPO pizzas. I didn't have much opportunity to take pics from all my normal angles, but I wanted to get at least one pic of each pizza.

    I went with 2% higher hydration than usual with this batch (64%), mostly to see if it would help me keep from getting any burned spots. I'm not sure if it made a difference, though, for many reasons. I didn't end up with any burned spots, but that's probably because I think I was finally able to keep the bottom stone temperature in what I consider my comfort zone (550-575?). I'm really not sure, though, because I get distracted when I have guests to entertain. Also, my guests' arrival was delayed a little over an hour, which means the dough sat out at room temperature for over four hours, instead of the three hours I planned. Combined with the fact that I used slightly wetter dough than normal, which changes a lot of things when you are unable to follow your original plans, last night's conditions were not even close to being the conditions I originally planned for.

    Still, good pizzas.

    Funny thing happened while I was baking the second pizza. As my friend Julie and I chatted and tended the pizza on the patio (which is outside my front door), a pizza delivery guy pulled into the drive (about 20 feet from my grill), which is a common driveway for me and three other condo units. I think it was a Domino's driver. Julie and I both laughed or chuckled when we saw the vehicle because my neighbor (who I've never met) obviously hasn't figured out yet that I make much better pizzas on my front porch, or that I'm very willing to make pizzas for my neighbors. I thought the driver made the delivery right away, but he pulled into the drive again a few minutes later, apparently unable to find the address he was looking for. (Or maybe he just smelled the REAL pizza that was baking on my grill and wanted to see if he could find a way to make it his.)
  • #80 by Bert on 19 Apr 2014
  • Good looking pies Ryan. What kind of pepperoni  do you use.