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Author Topic: Tips on stone cooking technique  (Read 1548 times)

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Offline mileniarista

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Tips on stone cooking technique
« on: January 16, 2018, 05:53:28 PM »
Today I got an IR thermometer and baked a couple of pizzas on my recently acquired pizza stone.

The stone was placed about 5" under the broiler (2nd highest rack). After pre-heating for 50 min with regular heat (up and down) + 10 min with only the broiler the top-center of the stone was 300C / 572F and the ceiling of my electric oven 340C / 644F.

Here's the recipe I used: https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=50911.0 cold fermented for 3 days. The pizza was very thin, 200g and 27cm / 10,6" aprox. I tried to cook it in one go, with tomato sauce, grated mozzarella and a bit of oil. I left the broiler on for this one. After 3:30 min the cheese was already getting brown so I took it out, but the dough was undercooked as you can see in the pictures, no crispness at all.

My second attempt went in there when the stone was 280C / 536F aprox. I cooked it first only with tomato sauce and oil and with the broiler off for 4 min. I took it out and quickly assemble the rest of the toppings (mozzarella, blue cheese, parmigiano and some jalapeos) and back in for another 3-4 min. This time only the rim got crisp, no brown spots on the bottom at all. After taking this one out the stone was 210C / 410F.

How can I get that elusive and magical combination of crispy and juicy?

Offline csnack

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2018, 06:04:06 PM »
Put stone on lowest rack, preheat for 2 hours once max temp is reached, and since your max temp is around 540 plan for a 7-8+ minute bake. Unless you're using steel and/or an oven that can go well above 540 don't expect a 3.5 minute bake w/ stone at that temp. Stone transfers heat relatively slow so being close to the broiler like that is naturally causing the top to finish before the bottom really even gets started.

Offline nick57

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2018, 06:08:17 PM »
  Not sure my advice is good. I would place the stone lower in the oven. The stone temp looks good, though being so thick I would do a 1 hour pre-heat. By lowering the stone, and maybe not using the broiler it should take longer for the top to get done while giving more time for the bottom crust to brown up. Your crust looks underdone and I think you should aim for a bake time around 7 to 10 minutes depending on your stove and set up. 3 minutes seems too short of a bake time unless you are cooking at higher temps like around 700 degrees. I just looked at the link you posted. If you can find bread flour with at least 12% protein you should get some good bottom browning.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2018, 06:18:31 PM by nick57 »

Offline mileniarista

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2018, 06:20:47 PM »
Thank you csnack and nick57. I will try the lowest rack next time and a longer pre-heat.

Offline csnack

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2018, 12:20:28 AM »
I bake on the lowest rack at my oven's max temp of 550 (which is really 575 as my oven runs a bit hot) on a 3/4" stone preheated for 2 hours. My stone's surface temp maxes/averages 584 after an hour, but despite that, the stone still could use more internal saturation. That explains why after an hour, even though surface temp reads 584, the bake time is close to 9 minutes, whereas if I preheat for at least 2 hours the bake time is close to 7 minutes even though the surface temp still reads 584 like it did an hour ago. It's the internal heat that's really getting it done. It's also practically impossible to gauge, hence the longer preheat to ensure it. If you have the broiler shining right on the stone surface it will heat up fast, but the internal temp is probably not matching it in just 40 minutes, especially with your thick stone, which looks to be at least an inch thick. Like Nick said you don't need the broiler.
If you want to really get to know your setup, try the lowest rack, preheat for 1 hour, take an IR read of the stone temp and then preheat for another hour, take temp and then go for more third hour and take the temp. You're trying to see how hot your stone will max/average out at regardless of how long it preheats (within reason; I rarely preheat longer than 3 hours and even at that duration my stone never exceeds the 584 average). Once you know what the max temp is you can probably get away with a 2 hour preheat knowing that you're getting all your stone can offer. Then plan for something like an 8 or 9 minute bake to start, and rotate pie 180 halfway through and then just keep an eye on it from there. Don't worry about getting the full 8 or 9 minutes if the pizza looks like it needs to come out sooner or later, but give it 4-5 minutes before rotating at first. Be checking the crust bottom by lifting the edge a tad w/ a spatula. Eventually, you'll have it dialed in pretty consistently q/ your rig so long as your dough recipe/procedure is consistent. Show us more pictures after you try our tips. Anyway I got like 5 McDonald's cheeseburgers for dinner tonight and I'm gonna start putting them away.

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Offline Randy

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2018, 07:30:36 AM »
And take the top rack out so it is easier for launching and recovering your pizza.

Offline mileniarista

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2018, 09:31:33 AM »
And take the top rack out so it is easier for launching and recovering your pizza.

Thanks for the tip, I always take the other racks out when I use the stone.

I baked another pizza today (3 days CF, re-balled only once yesterday). Stone in the lowest rack, pre-heated for 2 hours but no broiler; the stone was 290C / 554F and the ceiling of the oven 350C / 662F. I switched to bottom heating only for 10-15 min and temp went down both in the stone (275C / 527F) and the ceiling (245C / 473F). Back to heating up and down until stone and ceiling were 285C / 545F; at that moment I put the pizza in.

After cooking for 4 min I switched to bottom heating only again and left it for a total of 7 min. The result was better than yesterday; there was some crispness in the crust but I would like it to be a bit less dry. The mozzarella ended-up overcooked, this time it was fresh mozz, patted dry with kitchen paper towels. I don't like the flavor of the grated one you can get here.

Offline norcoscia

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2018, 10:10:41 AM »
Do you know if the flour you are using is malted - if so, on the ingredients (somewhere on the bag of flour) it should be listed. Like it is below (in red) - asking because at your cooking temps if the flour is not malted you will need to add some sugar or LDM. That will help it brown up before it dries out too much.
Norm

Offline Dangerous Salumi

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2018, 11:17:25 AM »
Thanks for the tip, I always take the other racks out when I use the stone.

I baked another pizza today (3 days CF, re-balled only once yesterday). Stone in the lowest rack, pre-heated for 2 hours but no broiler; the stone was 290C / 554F and the ceiling of the oven 350C / 662F. I switched to bottom heating only for 10-15 min and temp went down both in the stone (275C / 527F) and the ceiling (245C / 473F). Back to heating up and down until stone and ceiling were 285C / 545F; at that moment I put the pizza in.

After cooking for 4 min I switched to bottom heating only again and left it for a total of 7 min. The result was better than yesterday; there was some crispness in the crust but I would like it to be a bit less dry. The mozzarella ended-up overcooked, this time it was fresh mozz, patted dry with kitchen paper towels. I don't like the flavor of the grated one you can get here.

It looks pretty good.
Did you get the 14% protein flour? What % hydration are you using?
Are you using any oil in the dough or pre-bake?
If I understand correctly you have top and bottom heat and a broiler setting?
I would put the stone (nice looking stone btw) 1 rack above the bottom and use bottom heat all the time while baking
I use a steel plate above my pies. It helps with the recovery and browing.

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Offline Essen1

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2018, 12:07:09 PM »
That stone looks like it has a 1" thickness. It needs a significant amount of time to heat up thoroughly.

I'd put it on the lowest rack at the highest temps for at least 90 mins to two hours. Depending the type of pizza you'd like to make, you can always lower the oven temp 10 mins prior to launching the pizza, IF the stone temp should be too high.
Mike

All styles of pizza are valid. I make the best Im capable of; you should make the best youre capable of. I dont want to make somebody elses pizza. ~ Chris Bianco

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Offline mileniarista

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2018, 01:38:28 PM »
Do you know if the flour you are using is malted - if so, on the ingredients (somewhere on the bag of flour) it should be listed. Like it is below (in red) - asking because at your cooking temps if the flour is not malted you will need to add some sugar or LDM. That will help it brown up before it dries out too much.

Ingredients list is 100% wheat flour. I will try adding sugar. I did not know what it was for.

It looks pretty good.
Did you get the 14% protein flour? What % hydration are you using?
Are you using any oil in the dough or pre-bake?
If I understand correctly you have top and bottom heat and a broiler setting?
I would put the stone (nice looking stone btw) 1 rack above the bottom and use bottom heat all the time while baking
I use a steel plate above my pies. It helps with the recovery and browing.

Thank you Dangerous Salumi; I'm still not very comfortable with shaping the disc but I try to make them as round as possible. This flour is still 9% protein, and I bought a pack of 11% that I'll try next time (they call it "Harina de Fuerza" = Strength Flour) but it is very difficult to find higher than that in a small city in Spain. Hydration is 62% and oil 2% plus some oil to coat the balls and plastic boxes. In my oven I can choose between: top, bottom, top + bottom or broiler.
Just curious: Why don't you use the steel plate to cook the pizza on it? Isn't it better than the stone?

That stone looks like it has a 1" thickness. It needs a significant amount of time to heat up thoroughly.

I'd put it on the lowest rack at the highest temps for at least 90 mins to two hours. Depending the type of pizza you'd like to make, you can always lower the oven temp 10 mins prior to launching the pizza, IF the stone temp should be too high.

For what I've seen I can get the stone hotter (at least the top part) with the broiler (300C / 572F). Would you try pre-heating only with the broiler?

Thank you all for your help!

Offline norcoscia

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2018, 01:49:46 PM »
I'm surprised it is not enriched with anything since it is white flour - so, if that is all that is on the label I would recommend adding about 2% sugar or 3% if you fermenting for more than 24 hours.

Can you post a photo of the label - it might just be how it is done in Spain but most of the typical US white flour is enriched with at least some vitamins since the milling process (for white flour) removes the germ and bran which contain the many of the nutrients.
Norm

Offline mileniarista

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2018, 02:13:45 PM »
I'm surprised it is not enriched with anything since it is white flour - so, if that is all that is on the label I would recommend adding about 2% sugar or 3% if you fermenting for more than 24 hours.

Can you post a photo of the label - it might just be how it is done in Spain but most of the typical US white flour is enriched with at least some vitamins since the milling process (for white flour) removes the germ and bran which contain the many of the nutrients.

EDIT: click pictures to enlarge

Here are the pictures (click to enlarge). It may not be mandatory to list the adjuncts. I'm producing beer now and the law only obliges you to list allergens. You can write "Contains barley malt (gluten)" and that's fine, you can skip water, hops, yeast and any other adjunct. It may also be that they actually don't put anything more in there. Correct me if I'm wrong but my impression is that in Europe in general they put less stuff into our products than in the US.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 02:24:46 PM by mileniarista »

Offline yarbrough462

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2018, 02:25:46 PM »
This flour is still 9% protein, and I bought a pack of 11% that I'll try next time (they call it "Harina de Fuerza" = Strength Flour)

That stone is still not hot enough.  When I use my kitchen oven and my 1" stone, I preheat for a minimum of two hours.  There is also absolutely no need for a protein content higher than the 11% you have.  KAAP flour is 11.7% and will make a great pizza.  BTW, cooking at a temperature that is too low with a higher protein flour is going to make for a really tough pizza.  Forgot to add...If that Spar flour is anything like the one they sell here in Italy, it is un-malted.  In fact, I don't know that I have ever seen a malted AP flour here...I would take norcoscia's advice and add sugar to your mix.  Good luck and happy baking!

Offline norcoscia

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2018, 02:27:11 PM »
Thanks - I guess it would be impossible to know if they don't have a requirement to list everything but from looking at the photos of your pizza a lack for sugar might be the problem - agree, in the US it is more of a free for all when it comes to putting a lot of stuff (most of it not desirable) into products.

You have a nice thick stone and I agree with the cooking advice Essen1 (mike) gave you - start with it low and give it plenty of time to load up on heat - I don't mess with the broiler - it is too much of a hassle and sometimes does not light up fast enough when my oven is already hot from the lower element.

Try not to keep the oven door open any longer than you have to - home ovens have a big air space in them and the main burners are usually less than 20K Btus so they don't recover super fast (your stone will help with this a bit). I hope this helps you and don't forget to have fun and enjoy making and eating your pizza.
Norm

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Offline Essen1

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2018, 03:33:18 PM »

Would you try pre-heating only with the broiler?

Thank you all for your help!

In one word, no.
Mike

All styles of pizza are valid. I make the best Im capable of; you should make the best youre capable of. I dont want to make somebody elses pizza. ~ Chris Bianco

Offline Essen1

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2018, 03:34:13 PM »
Try not to keep the oven door open any longer than you have to - home ovens have a big air space in them and the main burners are usually less than 20K Btus so they don't recover super fast (your stone will help with this a bit).

 ^^^
Mike

All styles of pizza are valid. I make the best Im capable of; you should make the best youre capable of. I dont want to make somebody elses pizza. ~ Chris Bianco

Offline mileniarista

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2018, 04:37:37 PM »
BTW, cooking at a temperature that is too low with a higher protein flour is going to make for a really tough pizza. [...] I would take norcoscia's advice and add sugar to your mix.

Good to know yarbrough462. I've just made another batch with 2,5% sugar, using 11% protein flour and 62% hydration. Water was easier to incorporate into the dough, or maybe I'm getting better at this. I will cold ferment for at least 48 hours and maybe re-ball a couple of times in between.

You have a nice thick stone and I agree with the cooking advice Essen1 (mike) gave you - start with it low and give it plenty of time to load up on heat. [...] I hope this helps you and don't forget to have fun and enjoy making and eating your pizza.

I will, thanks! I wish I could eat pizza everyday but it doesn't seem like a good idea, hahaha... Now I'm playing with my IR therm and checking temps many times, I'll try to leave the oven door closed as much as possible; nice advice.

Offline the1mu

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2018, 07:08:57 PM »
Good to know yarbrough462. I've just made another batch with 2,5% sugar, using 11% protein flour and 62% hydration. Water was easier to incorporate into the dough, or maybe I'm getting better at this. I will cold ferment for at least 48 hours and maybe re-ball a couple of times in between.

That is to be expected. The more protein, the more water the flour will absorb. If you ever use your lower protein flour, you may consider knocking your hydration down a few points as well.

Offline Dangerous Salumi

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Re: Tips on stone cooking technique
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2018, 07:48:51 AM »
Ingredients list is 100% wheat flour. I will try adding sugar. I did not know what it was for.

Thank you Dangerous Salumi; I'm still not very comfortable with shaping the disc but I try to make them as round as possible. This flour is still 9% protein, and I bought a pack of 11% that I'll try next time (they call it "Harina de Fuerza" = Strength Flour) but it is very difficult to find higher than that in a small city in Spain. Hydration is 62% and oil 2% plus some oil to coat the balls and plastic boxes. In my oven I can choose between: top, bottom, top + bottom or broiler.
Just curious: Why don't you use the steel plate to cook the pizza on it? Isn't it better than the stone?

For what I've seen I can get the stone hotter (at least the top part) with the broiler (300C / 572F). Would you try pre-heating only with the broiler?

Thank you all for your help!

This how my home oven is set up. I bake on a plate on the bottom and steel on top. The steel is my fathers and he used to bake bread on it. I had the plate cut to fit my oven.
I use the steel primarily to hold heat and aid in browning of the top of the pie. I turn the oven on to 550F, 2 hours before Im ready to bake my pies.

You can see my thread about making pizza from my home grown levain here.

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=49530.0
Have a Dangerous day!


They say that competitive eating is the battleground upon which God and Lucifer wage war for mens souls my friends, and they are right.  - George Shea, Chairman, Major League Eating

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