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Author Topic: Oven Rack Position?  (Read 483 times)

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Offline machineman

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Oven Rack Position?
« on: February 16, 2021, 09:39:46 AM »
I am a newbie in trying to create my own home pizzas (in the Buffalo NY style) and have done 4 of them so far.

Each time, I feel the bottom of the crust was not as crispy as it could be (though, it was cooked, and certainly edible). At the same time, the top of the pizza was pushing "way done!" which is what prompted me to pull them out as well.

My home oven goes to 550 degrees.

My first 2 pies were baked at 550, middle oven rack

3rd pie was baked at 500, mid bottom oven rack

4th pie was baked at 525, bottom oven rack

The 550 gave the nicest char of all of them as far as the pepperoni is concerned. The lower temps more "cooked" the pepperoni through, rather than a quick edge char.

My question is, is there a secret to getting a browner bottom, at the same time not burining the top? 

Does the top rack of the oven provide more heat at the top, or less? (feels like it would be more, with the reflection?)

Anyway, just looking for any advice on home oven rack positioning you all may have!



Offline Peter B

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Re: Oven Rack Position?
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2021, 11:34:24 AM »
Have you been putting the pan on a preheated stone or steel?  Or just the oven rack?  If just the oven rack and you have a stone / steel, try putting the pan on the preheated stone/steel and see where that gets you.  Hope that helps-
The Broz
I said to my little one, "come here so I can change you".
He said "change only comes from within".  :-/

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Oven Rack Position?
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2021, 11:52:32 AM »
machineman,

Here are the reoriented photos from your last post. The stated list of photos in your last post was different than the order of the photos actually shown and I did not want to lose any of your photos.

Peter

Offline nickyr

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Oven Rack Position?
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2021, 12:05:54 PM »
Most ovens heat from the bottom so bottom rack will cook the bottom more and top rack will cook the top more. However, some people preheat a stone with the broiler to get good stone heat, so then they put the stone higher.

But yeah, we could use some more info about your baking process, including the surface youíre baking on, preheat time, and time between pizzas.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2021, 12:08:30 PM by nickyr »

Offline scott r

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Re: Oven Rack Position?
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2021, 12:07:12 PM »
Machineman, the pizzas look really yummy!  I see that there is not enough bottom heat and you definitely want the lowest rack position possible.  Also make sure your oven is set to bake (heat only coming from the bottom element) with no convection feature engaged.  How preheated your oven is can also help or hurt you here.  You could try something like getting the oven "almost" preheated but not quite all the way there.  Then when you put the pizza in the bottom element will be constantly engaged while it is trying to heat to the specified temp.  This will be a guessing game, and hard to nail down, but it does work if you get good at it with experimentation.

Another very easy option is to turn down your oven, probably to around 400 degrees, but then I dont think you are going to like the oven spring in your dough.  Higher heat makes a great texture, so this is probably not the best idea.

Next easiest would be to get yourself a pizza screen.  They are very inexpensive.  They are a wire mesh that allows the heat to get to the bottom of the pizza rather than being blocked by a pan.  Just be careful to move quickly when the dough is put onto the screen, and dont push toppings down into the wire mesh or it will be hard to remove the screen.   Wetter doughs cause more problems here than dryer ones.  This is a great and easy option, especially in the hot summer months where my next option will heat up the kitchen a lot.

The best thing to do is to get a pizza steel or a pizza stone.   Let the steel or stone preheat for a long time (I let it go for an hour once preheated).  Make your pizza on a "peel" and then slide it onto the hot steel or stone.   This will probably give you your favorite crust.

Good luck and have fun experimenting!


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Offline machineman

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Re: Oven Rack Position?
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2021, 01:37:14 PM »
Thanks all for the replies and thoughts!

I have been baking this only on a pan, as that is the Buffalo method. Now, I understand that and the end of the baking cycle, they remove it from the pan and "deck it" for a minute or so...

It's possible I may get what I seek with a pizza stone that I move the pie onto at the end (but right now the pizza doesn't want to come out of the pan very easily, so that will be a challenge!)

Or, perhaps setting the pan right on top of a heated stone?

I am otherwise super satisfied with the bake on the crust.

I might try a lower temp again for longer but the char pepperoni on the top is very crucial to this edge-to-edge style, so I will have to see how that goes!

Offline Peter B

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Re: Oven Rack Position?
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2021, 02:04:27 PM »
Or, perhaps setting the pan right on top of a heated stone?

That is my suggestion.
I said to my little one, "come here so I can change you".
He said "change only comes from within".  :-/

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Oven Rack Position?
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2021, 02:07:06 PM »
Get yourself a dark/black steel pan. Fighting the reflection of a shiny silver pan isn't going to get you what you want.

Offline foreplease

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Re: Oven Rack Position?
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2021, 02:51:00 PM »
There are many good suggestions above. Here is one more if you happen to have a cast iron skillet and donít want to buy anything else yet. Make a pizza just like you have but press the dough into your lightly oiled cast iron pan, build the pizza and bake in that. I think your bake will be much more balanced. If the top still gets done first you can give the pan a minute or 2 on stovetop to bake more, then adjust on your next bake.


In any event, the shiny aluminum pan is the root of your problem, IMO. Good luck
-Tony

Offline machineman

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Re: Oven Rack Position?
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2021, 12:09:29 PM »
Just to loop back a bit (I have yet to try the suggestions above, next weekend! :)

Aside from the browner, crisper crust bottom...  this is the zen I am trying to achieve. Melty cheese but also crisp/char pepperoni. How's it done? Does the secret lie somewhere other than the oven technique?


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Offline Peter B

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Re: Oven Rack Position?
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2021, 12:58:12 PM »
The type of pepperoni will have the biggest impact IMO.  There are others who are more expert at pepperoni than I, but I previously had good luck with a stick (i.e. uncut) of Boars Head that I cut myself.
Also - there is a market here in Columbus where you can by Ezzo pepperoni in consumer size amounts.  There is a "cup and crisp" and a "cup and char".  I believe the difference between them is the fat content.  If you can find this pepperoni, I think it would be what you seek.
Some other things to try:
  • This will sound weird, but trust me on this.  Put your pepperoni slices in between a couple pieces of paper towel and nuke them for maybe 10 seconds.  Then dress the pie with them. 
  • Get your cheese really cold (i.e. nearly frozen) before dressing the pie.  The cheese will have a longer thermal trip to make than the pepperoni, which could help you get extra rendering of the fat, crisp, etc.
Hope this helps.  Keep us posted on how you do.
The Broz
I said to my little one, "come here so I can change you".
He said "change only comes from within".  :-/

Offline 02ebz06

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Re: Oven Rack Position?
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2021, 01:26:38 PM »
I use the Ezzo Cup & Char.  I believer Hormel has a Cup & Char as well.
Bruce here... My cooking toys --> FGM 800-B Pizza Oven, Pellet Grill, Pellet Smoker, Propane Griddle, Propane Grill

Offline scott r

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Re: Oven Rack Position?
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2021, 01:38:21 PM »
It could be ezzo, boars head, hormel, carrando, or a few others.  Margarita brand is supposedly the most widely used roni in buffalo NY.  I think thats the style you are going for.  The secret is to hand chop from a stick and not buy pre sliced. 

Offline machineman

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Re: Oven Rack Position?
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2021, 04:24:28 PM »
Thanks! In the original pictures, (except for one half of the first one) that is actually Boar's Head stick that I sliced myself... I was happy with that!

What I would like though is for the CHEESE to be meltier, like in this last photo. Trying to achieve both... enough heat for long enough to get the pepperoni charred, but also so the cheese remains white and melty seems like a tall order!

I may try some different pepperonis... I will try Margherita, there is also Battistoni out of Buffalo (who make a pre-sliced cup and char like Hormel)

I did find Penn Mac sells consumer amounts of Ezzo, 1lb and 5lb.

Testing will be fun! ;)


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