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Author Topic: Burnt crust troubleshooting  (Read 483 times)

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Offline onedash

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Burnt crust troubleshooting
« on: February 09, 2022, 01:28:42 PM »
I posted this first in intro but moving it here where it seems to be better fit.
It seems that the bottom of my pizza wants to burn very fast. We started putting them on a screen and it will still burn in 2 minutes or less.  Once the stone cools to 700F or so i can make a pretty great crust and put under broiler about 60 seconds because the top doesn't get done enough on the grill when the stone cools down. When the stone is around 900 the top is great but the bottom is completely black.
Using Anna 00 Neopolitan flour, 30g salt, 2.5 cups water, 1 1/2 teaspoon caputo dry yeast.  the first time I over proofed the dough, I didn't know it until after but those burnt the least. then I started cold proofing (24 hours or more) and the first time they didn't warm up enough. last night i warmed them at room temp for 2 hours before stretching and making.
I can get caputo flour if that might help. My pizza stone is 16" 5/8" thick and we make 12" pizzas.
I use jumbo lump charcoal and have a smoker stone above the coals. then the pizza stone is on the grill rack a few inches above that. that bottom stone is over 1000F.  I pre-heat the stone at least an hour. We also have a nightmare of a time getting the pizza on and off the peel so the screen made that part easier. I thought the semolina used to make the pizza slide on the peel would contribute to more burning.
If I have to keep a cooler stone and finish under broiler in oven I guess I can live with that since it is already the best pizza within an hour of my house.
Based on some other posts I guess not all stones are made the same. Mine is a 5/8"Cast Elegance Durable Thermal Shock Resistant Thermarite Pizza and Baking Stone.
Would adjusting the amount of water help reduce burning? Would I want more or less?

Offline scott r

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Re: Burnt crust troubleshooting
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2022, 01:52:39 PM »
There is nothing wrong with your recipe or your flour.   You just need a pizza oven!   Bel aria flour will burn the same amount as caputo.   More water will juts take longer to bake which will not help.

try launching at no higher than 800 degrees on the stone (I personally prefer 650ish).   

One thing to try is to let the grill preheat and then slide the stone in there.   Shoot the stone with a laser thermometer and launch when you hit something in that 650-800 degree range.   Let it sit for a minute and then slide screen under it.    Even with this setup you will still probably need to move inside to your broiler.

Have you considered just using normal grocery store flour instead of 00 and using the stone in your home oven?   It might be better than what your getting now.   I personally really have good luck with   a pizza STEEL (not stone) in a home oven.   The steel transfers heat faster to the bottom of the pizza and you can get a really great NY or New Haven style pizza with this method.

Offline onedash

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Re: Burnt crust troubleshooting
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2022, 02:03:46 PM »
so the pizza oven is more efficient at heating it from all directions than a grill?  That's what seems to be the secret. so the whole thing is cooked to perfection before the bottom has a chance to start burning?
I have thought of using a pizza steel in the oven. I kinda thought that this 00 italian flour was part of the secret to great crusts but saw that caputo said to use the red bag when baking at lower temps.
So in the oven with a steel or stone would the broiler be used on a preheated steel/stone? How close to the broiler would I want it?

Offline scott r

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Re: Burnt crust troubleshooting
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2022, 02:26:58 PM »
Caputo and other 00 flours only give the advantage of burning less quickly.  So in your situation with lots of bottom heat and minimal top heat its a good thing.  Other than that, its not needed.  It is helpful if you want to make a pizza in 1 minute or less, but 2 minute pizzas on up do not need 00 flour.

Yes, a balanced bake in a pizza oven is more top heat than bottom heat.  A grill gives more bottom heat than top heat.

There are a number of ways people use steels in a home oven.  Some use a broiler, some dont.  Some put it in the middle and some at the top. 

I would start your journey of home oven pizza baking by taking the stone you already have and putting it in the highest rack in your oven.  Let it preheat for at least an hour with you oven all the way up.    Try that and see how you like it.

Offline onedash

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Re: Burnt crust troubleshooting
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2022, 09:02:41 AM »
Using one of my existing dough balls I made a pizza last night. Looked great until I went to take it off the screen. It was stuck like cement. so I had an un-pizza along with the outer crust (which tasted great). Is it because of the flour type? or maybe I need to work on getting it on and off the peel and not using a screen.

UPDATE: This one was in my oven. The stone got up to 575. It was on convection roast. I kept it in there about 6 minutes.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2022, 12:12:12 PM by onedash »

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Offline scott r

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Re: Burnt crust troubleshooting
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2022, 10:12:20 AM »
Its not the flour type, although wet doughs and screens dont generally get along.  I have had that happen as well when using a screen even with a moderately wet dough.  One thing that may help is to wipe with a little oil before pizza goes on it.  Also make sure (just as you need to do with a peel) that all your ingredients are out and ready to go on there so you can have the pizza sit on the peel or screen for the least amount of time possible.  When I have a pizza on something for more than 2 minutes I start getting really nervous lol!  Also make sure you never push down toppings onto the pizza.  I have noticed that some people tend to want to do that. 

Learning to launch with a peel will get you the best results, but there is no shame in using a screen if that is what you want to do.   The bottom of the pizza won't be quite as nice, but it will still be good pizza if done right.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2022, 10:14:38 AM by scott r »

Offline SHB

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Re: Burnt crust troubleshooting
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2022, 10:46:29 AM »
You mention you are using a grill, grills are pretty tough because of how much direct heat onto the stone there is and how little ambient/radiant heat there is above the stone. The only time I've really got it to work is grilling the dough, flipping it and topping it. Pretty much treating it like a par bake. I dont think there are many who have gotten more traditional pies to turn out well on a grill.

That being said if you are determined, according to Dan Richer hydration has a big affect is browning (and in your case potential burning). The lower the hydration the less conductive the dough will beat to heat and thus less browning. So  maybe go for a very low hydration dough?

Offline onedash

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Re: Burnt crust troubleshooting
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2022, 12:09:52 PM »
I wouldn't say I am determined but I want to at least make a valiant effort before shelling out the $ for a pizza oven like an Ooni.  I was thinking if I could raise the stone higher in the grill it might cook slightly slower from the bottom and slightly faster from the top.
Or if I can get excellent pizza in the oven that would be just fine too.  I did find myself thinking that it was taking forever to get the pizza made on the screen and the dough did seem a bit stickier (maybe because its older??) I still have 5 dough balls that are now 3 days old out in the garage which has been pretty cold. Would semolina burn in the oven if I use a lot of it on the peel?
I updated my last post to say it was in my oven.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2022, 12:13:00 PM by onedash »

Offline scott r

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Re: Burnt crust troubleshooting
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2022, 12:21:50 PM »
Semolina does work well, and is a signature of a new haven style pizza.   You might want to try 50/50 with flour too (that works better for me).   Moving the stone higher is a great idea.  And when you open the lid to launch maybe have a helper that only opens as little as possible as quickly as possible to retain the heat in the lid.

SHB has a great suggestion, that usually the best practice when making pizza on a grill is to grill the dough and flip it. This style of pizza was made popular in providence RI and has since moved throughout New England.  2 of the tricks are to keep the sauce warm, and to grind the cheese as small as possible so it melts easier.  Put dough right on grill, flip when brown, quickly top and you will have a nice pizza.  Here is a great write up on how they do it at Al Forno.  https://www.eater.com/2014/3/19/6266361/the-grilled-pizza-margarita-at-al-forno-in-providence

Dont feel like you need an Ooni.  Home ovens are great for pizza, especially with a steel!
« Last Edit: February 10, 2022, 12:24:25 PM by scott r »

Offline onedash

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Re: Burnt crust troubleshooting
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2022, 12:58:47 PM »
So how does this sound? Spread crust on screen, place face down on pizza stone (This would require opening the grill all the way), bake for 30 seconds remove (opening as little as possible). take in the house if screen is still on top, remove it. 

Which side should I put my toppings on? the uncooked side i think in this case right? Now it should move so good people might think I know what i'm doing?  the heat escaping past the stone is too hot to be trying to add toppings to it on the stone. 

Additional question. I grabbed a dough ball that had spread out probably 6" and formed back into a ball and covered to let it sit about 4 hours this time.  What should I expect doing that instead of bringing the dough in and leaving it in its original shape.  Is it good for it or bad for it or no matter as long as it doubles in size again before making my pizza.

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Offline scott r

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Re: Burnt crust troubleshooting
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2022, 02:25:42 PM »
So how does this sound? Spread crust on screen, place face down on pizza stone (This would require opening the grill all the way), bake for 30 seconds remove (opening as little as possible). take in the house if screen is still on top, remove it. 

Which side should I put my toppings on? the uncooked side i think in this case right? Now it should move so good people might think I know what i'm doing?  the heat escaping past the stone is too hot to be trying to add toppings to it on the stone. 


Do me a favor and read the article in the link, I think it should shed some light on the process. It doesn't use a stone at all.

Additional question. I grabbed a dough ball that had spread out probably 6" and formed back into a ball and covered to let it sit about 4 hours this time.  What should I expect doing that instead of bringing the dough in and leaving it in its original shape.  Is it good for it or bad for it or no matter as long as it doubles in size again before making my pizza.

It all depends on how far your dough has fermented already. Without lots of pictures it would just be a guess on my part, but I will say this.  Yes, if a dough ball has risen enough to be usable, it usually has enough life left in it to be able to be reballed and used again. The reball resets the gluten matrix, moves food to the yeast that has depleted the food surrounding it, and gives it a better end product than simply using a really old dough ball.  It will be harder to open because the gluten will have been made stronger and will need to rise again.  For this reason dont mess with it much during the reball, two gentle folds are fine here.. mess with it as little as possible.  Reballs are tricky, though, because you have to wait enough time to let it relax and easy to open, but you run the risk of the ball being too far into fermentation to be awesome.  I dont let my reballs rise as much as a fresher dough would rise in ball form.  Sorry there are so many if's but a lot depends on so many factors (flour used, how much yeast, how far it has fermented already etc.)
« Last Edit: February 10, 2022, 04:18:24 PM by scott r »

Offline SHB

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Re: Burnt crust troubleshooting
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2022, 03:18:15 PM »
Alton Brown grilling a pizza.


Offline onedash

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Re: Burnt crust troubleshooting
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2022, 06:56:20 PM »
I got it on the peel and then on the stone in the oven tonight.  It probably could have stayed on a minute longer.   I forgot to add garlic so I added it then broiled about a minute.   

Offline onedash

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Re: Burnt crust troubleshooting
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2022, 02:26:36 PM »
I upgraded to a 3/8"X16"x16" steel.  Works even better than the stone. I tried using the stone above the pizza but I think that did more harm than good. maybe I will just put it in the bottom of the oven to let it hold some extra heat and let the convection roast or broil cook more from the top.   I bought a 55lb bag of Caputo 00 Pizza Flour today.  That's about 150 pies!!! my family is growing tired of pizza. I suspect I might at some point.

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