Pizza Making Forum

Pizza Making => General Pizza Making => Topic started by: johnamus on November 15, 2011, 09:42:28 PM

Title: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on November 15, 2011, 09:42:28 PM
Black char spots, big and small, along with a cornicione filled with giant voids.  That is my goal.  I've slowly identified this goal and have posted some documentation of my results in various threads, but rather than clutter other people's threads with my attempts, I'll gather pictures of my pursuit in this single thread.  Any help and comments you can offer will be appreciated.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on November 15, 2011, 09:51:57 PM
First up is tonight's pie, it was based around Petezza's Papa John's clone but adjusted for a lower thickness factor. I wanted to see how my oven would handle high levels of sugar and oil and his recipe has good amounts of both.  I carefully measured all the ingredients, but ended up with a pie that was way too high in the thickness factor department.  I must have entered 14 inches instead of 12 when using the dough calculator.  Regardless of that error, I ended up with a few contrasty spots, but the dough was much too thick and bread-like to heat up fast enough to develop much more.  My crumb also suffered from the high thickness factor as well.  i posted pictures of the pie along with a shot of the bottom of the crust that charred much faster than the top.  To me, the fact that the bottom charred so quickly indicates that the "hearth" temperature on my cast iron pizza stone is good, and perhaps my broiler failed to deliver enough top-heat.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on November 15, 2011, 09:55:24 PM
This picture of a thin-crust attempt from a week ago exhibits the type of leoparding that I am looking for.  My goal is to obtain a greater amount of the spots, but on a thicker New York sized crust depth.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on November 15, 2011, 10:13:07 PM
Johnamus, that's not leoparding.  I wouldn't even call it charring. I would call it more along the lines of uneven browning.

This is leoparding:

http://slice.seriouseats.com/images/Dellavecchia_8-14-2010_Frozen%20Dough%20Leopard.jpg

If all you're looking for is uneven browning, then move the pizza closer to the broiler, don't par-bake it and reduce the sugar and oil, as sugar and oil (oil especially) tend to promote even browning.

My recommendation to use 3/4" steel (or 1/2" steel with an oven trick) was based on an assumption that you wanted to move toward Neapolitan pizza because of your interest in leoparding. If your goal is an unevenly colored NY style crust, then you should be able to do that with 1/2" steel without tricks. I do think, at the end of the day, your cast iron stone is going to be too anemic to give you the best possible bake times.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on November 15, 2011, 11:13:29 PM
If I understand you correctly, the difference between uneven browning and leoparding is contrast, right? In other words, relative to uneven browning, leopard spots are darker and the surrounding cornicione is lighter.  If that's the case then leoparding is indeed my goal, I don't want a Neapolitan per se, just an emulation of the Neapolitan cornicione.  Sorry if I got the terminology wrong :)

With that said, do you still think that I should purchase a thicker baking surface?  Based on the charring (or browning) on the bottom of my pie it appears that increasing bottom temperature is intuitively counterproductive. But as a beginner, my intuition isn't always correct. 

Lowering the amount of oil and sugar was going to be the focus of my next experiment. The pie in the second post was a gauge of high oil and sugar in the dough.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on November 16, 2011, 02:38:17 AM
Johnamus, yes, leoparding is very high contrast relatively tiny spotted charring. The thing about Neapolitan leoparding, though, is that you really can't 'emulate' it without actually going all in and making Neapolitan pizza.  Leoparding generally is a malt-less 00 Italian pizzeria flour combined with less than 90 second bakes.  There's a little flexibility on the flour (Craig use to make pretty killer Neapolitan pizza from King Arthur All Purpose), but the less than 90 second bake is in stone.

With the right flour, a traditional Neapolitan recipe and the steel plate/oven setups we talked about earlier, you can most definitely make Neapolitan pizza. You just can't mix and match flours and temps and expect to see the precious pox. Peter Reinhart has done a tremendous disservice to Neapolitan pizza with his 'Neapolitan' recipes that convey the impression that bake time isn't critical for success. It is. It's like posting a recipe for chocolate chip cookies and omitting the chips.

Edit: Neapolitan pizza not only has high contrast spotting on the rim, it also has leoparding on the undercrust:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/slice/2142802813/

You really can't have leoparding on the rim but uneven browning on the undercrust.  If you want leoparding, you've got to take the whole Neapolitan package (to an extent).
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: Tscarborough on November 16, 2011, 07:54:14 AM
Leoparding is the charring of  the thin skin of bubbles in the crust.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on November 16, 2011, 03:36:12 PM
Based on the advice I'm going to attempt a Neapolitan style pizza.

What is a good starting point?  Questions that I am faced with: You mentioned that there is room for a little flexibility with the flour, without 00 flour available should I use AP flour, bread flour, or a combo of the two?  What level of hydration should I use?  Since I'm not concerned with the Neapolitan rules, should I add anything in addition to flour, water, salt, and yeast? 

Thanks for your help!
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: TXCraig1 on November 16, 2011, 04:16:22 PM
Unless you have an oven that can hit Neapolitan temps (800F+), you might start here (both are worth reading even if you do - good pics too):

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10024.0.html
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11654.0.html

CL
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on November 16, 2011, 04:51:00 PM
The pies in those threads are amazing :o, if I can achieve something remotely close to that I will have reached my goal.

The following recipe is mentioned in the Nearlypolitan thread:

00 Flour (100%)
Water (62.5190%)
Salt (2.44309%)
Total (164.96209%)
Thickness factor (0.103927)



A preferment is used so there isn't a yeast value, what percentages would you recommend for ADY?
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: TXCraig1 on November 16, 2011, 04:59:02 PM
I'm not a good one to ask. Barring better advice, my reccomendation would be to make a preferment. I would try 1C water, 1C flour, and a package of ADY. Mix it up and let it get good and bubbly.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: Jackie Tran on November 16, 2011, 11:12:12 PM
Johnamus, my own quest for the elusive leoparded rim was born out of a desire to emulate Toby's beautiful nearlypolitans pies and always with limited success.  You should be able to find some good clues in those threads and others throughout the forum.

You can do a google search at the bottom of the home page for "leoparding", which should lead you to posts from various members discussing different factors that have lead them to that look.

Scott123 is right in that if you desire that look, only high and quick heat coupled with the proper dough conditions will reveal leoparding, which means NP or a hybrid style.   Basically, under a 2.5 minute bake, and 2.5m would probably be pushing the limits.   

From what I remember of the few conversations I had with Toby about leoparding, he recommended organic and unbleached AP flours or caputo.  I have had some success with bleached AP flour as well, but King Arthur AP flour maybe a good choice in that it is a bit stronger than other AP flours.  The extra strength should make your journey a bit less daunting.   You may also consider extended (modified) autolyse techniques to aid in gluten development as well.  Read and experiment, as there are different ways to achieving the same result.

As far as a preferment with commercial yeast, 0.3% IDY at RT (75F) will be bubbly in about 6hours.  Increasing the % of yeast will shorten the time.  For ADY, maybe try just a tad more yeast, so perhaps 0.35-0.4% ADY.

Good luck,
Chau
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on November 17, 2011, 08:05:28 PM
Thanks for the help Chau. I feel like I'm headed in the right direction, but I'm coming to the realization that pizza making is indeed more of an art than a science.  As a technical-minded person in a high precision industry I find that aspect frustrating at times... where's the manual! >:( But with low expectations I'm going to attempt a Neapolitan recipe.  It should serve as a baseline and hopefully it will help me observe incremental improvements in later attempts.  Kind of like taking a before picture prior to engaging in a diet and exercise regimen.

I used Peter's translation from the Nearlypolitan thread along with your ADY estimate to come up with the following recipe for a 12" pie:

Total Formula:
Flour (100%):
Water (58%):
Salt (2.44309%):
ADY (.35%):
Total (160.79309%):

Preferment:
Flour:
Water:
Total:

Final Dough:
Flour:
Water:
Salt:
ADY:
Preferment:
Total:

207.24 g  |  7.31 oz | 0.46 lbs
120.2 g  |  4.24 oz | 0.26 lbs
4.92 g | 0.17 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.88 tsp | 0.29 tbsp
0.71 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.19 tsp | 0.06 tbsp
333.22 g | 11.75 oz | 0.73 lbs | TF = 0.103927
 
 
36.71 g | 1.29 oz | 0.08 lbs
27.53 g | 0.97 oz | 0.06 lbs
64.24 g | 2.27 oz | 0.14 lbs

 
170.53 g | 5.82 oz | 0.36 lbs
92.67 g | 3.47 oz | 0.22 lbs
4.92 g | 0.17 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.88 tsp | 0.29 tbsp
0.71 g | 0.02 oz | 0 lbs | 0.19 tsp | 0.06 tbsp
64.24 g | 2.27 oz | 0.14 lbs
333.22 g | 11.75 oz | 0.73 lbs  | TF = 0.103927

I'll use generic AP flour and my Lodge 1/4 inch cast iron pizza "stone".  According to the wisdom of the forum both of these items are not optimal, but they will help me set the bar low for later attempts.

Is there wiggle room in the preferment and ferment stages?  Because this recipe requires a significant dedication of time! For example I'll need to mix the preferment at work around 3:00pm in order to mix the remaining flour at 9:00pm that night, then I'll need to let it rest and proof overnight for 14 hrs at which time it will be ready for the oven at 11:00am.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: Jackie Tran on November 17, 2011, 08:22:29 PM
There is always wiggle room.  Lots and lots of ways to skin this (leoparded) cat.  Many ways to achieve this look.  Basically breaks down to a well kneaded and well fermented dough (I think) plus HIGH heat.  Just keep experimenting and reading.

Chau
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on November 17, 2011, 09:10:54 PM
Scott, what are your thoughts on an aluminum plate vice steel? Is the higher thermal mass of steel better suited for the baking task than the higher thermal conductivity and lower thermal mass of aluminum?
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on November 18, 2011, 07:15:47 AM
Is the higher thermal mass of steel better suited for the baking task than the higher thermal conductivity and lower thermal mass of aluminum?

Yes :)

In theory, one might be able to get a Neapolitan-ish looking undercrust in a 400 (or even lower) oven with very thick aluminum (more than 1"), but the extreme conductivity would most likely cause it to deliver too much of it's heat at the beginning of the bake and possibility result in too much contrast.

And then there's the outrageous price of aluminum as well.

Regarding the recipe, generic AP has a lower absorption value than Caputo Pizzeria, so I'd go lower than 62 (maybe 58).  As far as the fermentation regime goes... Malted flours (such as AP), develop more sugar the longer you ferment them, and more sugar tends to be counterproductive to leoparding, so, for the AP, I'd keep the total ferment time to less than 24 hours. Other than that, though, there's a good deal of flexibility.  Pick a regime that fits into your schedule. The most important aspect is that you use enough yeast so the dough doubles by the time you form it. As I've mentioned before, yeast quantities in recipes are only rough ballparks and, once you change around the fermentation times, they get even rougher.  In other words, don't plan a party around this next bake, because the dough might be ready quickly or it might take too long. Make notes of all your temps- water, ambient/flour, post mix dough, as well as pay attention to your yeast age and, to an extent, flour age. If you're aware of all the variables and your dough doubles in too short or too long of a time, the next time you can match all those variables while adjusting the yeast accordingly. Eventually you'll be able to predict yeast activity to almost the minute in different conditions/seasons, but, for now, it's a lot of trial and error and note taking- lots of note taking.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on November 18, 2011, 03:23:11 PM
What is the best method to measure the doubling of the dough?  I've seen the poppyseed method mentioned in another thread, but my guess is that it would be more accurate to measure the dough diameter top-bottom and side-side to calculate volume.  Is this something that can be eyeballed? What method do you use?
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on November 18, 2011, 03:58:19 PM
I've given thought to using water displacement, but was concerned that the pressure would deflate the dough. These days, I just do it by eye.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: norma427 on November 18, 2011, 05:32:12 PM
What is the best method to measure the doubling of the dough?  I've seen the poppyseed method mentioned in another thread, but my guess is that it would be more accurate to measure the dough diameter top-bottom and side-side to calculate volume.  Is this something that can be eyeballed? What method do you use?

johnamus,

If you are interested in seeing how to use the “poppy seed trick”, this is where Peter posted about it at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6914.0.html

Norma

Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: Jet_deck on November 18, 2011, 05:39:38 PM
What is the best method to measure the doubling of the dough?  .....

Some people use the old rubber band around the container trick....
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7225.msg78742.html#msg78742 (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7225.msg78742.html#msg78742)
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: Jackie Tran on November 18, 2011, 06:39:06 PM
I use a piece of masking tape.  I can write notes on it like dough weight, hydration, type of dough, and time and date.   I usually do different types of doughs for the same bake, so this helps keep them straight.  Plus the tape won't migrate like rubber bands can.

Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on November 23, 2011, 12:48:41 PM
A 3/4 inch steel plate has been ordered! It was $75 total including the plasma cut and it should be in my hands early next week.  For shiggles I got a quote on stainless - $250  ::)

Hopefully I can help take the speculation about thicker steel and put it into practice. If 3/4" lives up to its billing then I think my biggest challenge (besides reinforcing my oven shelf :D) will be to get the top of the pizza to bake as fast as the bottom.

Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on November 23, 2011, 12:52:53 PM
That's fantastic news. Going where no man has gone before  ;D

What size did you get?
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on November 23, 2011, 02:17:18 PM
Being a NYC guy you might be disappointed, but I went with 13 x 15.  This size will fit into my convection oven and will handle my normal tester pie size of 12".  If things work out well I'll buy a larger size for my non-convection oven to be used for larger pies.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on November 23, 2011, 02:54:37 PM
Well, actually, I'm a bit disappointed from a Neapolitan perspective as well (12" is too small for Neapolitan, imo), but, if this is how you want to do it, I'm behind you.

Does the convection have the same broiling element with the same number of watts as the main oven?
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: buceriasdon on November 23, 2011, 05:07:40 PM
If memory serves me right carbon steel is several times more thermally conductive than stainless so it's the best choice regardless of cost.
Don


A 3/4 inch steel plate has been ordered! It was $75 total including the plasma cut and it should be in my hands early next week.  For shiggles I got a quote on stainless - $250  ::)




Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on November 23, 2011, 07:50:22 PM
Scott, the size problem is only an aesthetic cornicione-center ratio issue right?   In other words the small diameter won't screw up my bake times, right? 

Both my convection and standard oven use a similarly sized broiler element. When I'm back at my house I'll refer to the manual to give you a wattage spec. They both shutoff around 550 F.

Don, until you mentioned it I wasn't aware of the difference in conductivity, good thing I didn't pay for the "upgrade".  My preference for the stainless was based on its corrosion resistance properties. Do you have any idea on how to handle and store the steel in order to minimize corrosion?
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on November 24, 2011, 05:42:00 AM
Yes, Johnamus, it's an aesthetic thing and won't impact your bake times. I shouldn't have even brought it up. Right now, this isn't about size-  it's about Neapolitan bake times and leoparding, which, now that you're getting 3/4" plate, should be within your grasp.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on November 24, 2011, 06:12:25 AM
If memory serves me right carbon steel is several times more thermally conductive than stainless so it's the best choice regardless of cost.

For what it's worth, for NY, I wouldn't mind an affordable material in the conductivity realm of stainless.  Between soapstone at around 6 and carbon steel in the 50s, there's not much in between.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: buceriasdon on November 24, 2011, 06:21:04 AM
I never wash my steel plate, just brush off the flour residue with a dry towel. If the plasma cut edge is a bluish color then it has left an oxide layer which will resist rust. Since you are not cooking, as one would with a cast iron skillet, no seasoning is required. I season because I live on the beach with lots of salt air to contend with.
Don



Do you have any idea on how to handle and store the steel in order to minimize corrosion?
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on December 20, 2011, 08:14:57 AM
My 3/4" steel plate is ready for pickup, I should have it in my hands by this weekend.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on December 20, 2011, 08:30:10 PM
Sounds good!  You are still the very first to breach the 3/4" steel Neapolitan barrier, so what you're attempting is very exciting stuff.

How are you doing for flour? Do you have Caputo?  Do you have a solid Neapolitan recipe?
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on December 21, 2011, 09:01:06 AM
I don't have 00 flour or a Neapolitan recipe; this experiment will start from square one  :) (on the positive side, I do have an infrared thermometer). 

Do you have any good ideas for a starting point recipe?  My on-hand flour selection is "Better for Bread" and a generic AP, but KAAP and KABF are available at the local supermarket.  There are a few restaurant suppliers in the area (St Louis MO) that I assume would offer more varieties, but their websites indicate that a membership is required.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on December 21, 2011, 09:29:10 AM
Johnamus, here's a source for Caputo pizzeria flour in St. Louis:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=10786.0

There doesn't really seem to be a definitive Neapolitan recipe in the forum, at least, not the last time I looked.  I would probably suggest, since you're starting out, to avoid sourdough/starters. Other than that, if you can score the Caputo, then I go with something along the lines of 60% hydration, 2.5% salt and an overnight coolish room temp 12 hour bulk fermentation and then maybe 12 hours balled with enough yeast to double the dough during those 24 hours.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on December 21, 2011, 10:12:47 AM
Scott,

Thanks for the link to the St Louis Caputo thread. The market mentioned in that thread has a website here: http://www.digregoriofoods.com/ (http://www.digregoriofoods.com/) and looks promising.  Hopefully they offer caputo in a smaller size bag - The last thing my wife needs to see is a 50 lb bag of flour to go along with the 50 lb plate of steel  :D -.

Should I start with 100% 00 flour, or mix in a little AP or BF?  My main concern is that I'll be able to achieve Neapolitan temps on the hearth (i.e. steel plate) but my dome (i.e. broiler) won't be able to keep up.

-John
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: sum1else on December 21, 2011, 10:26:38 AM
I'm excited to see what this 3/4 steel can do.
FYI, I saw Caputo (2.2# Red bag) at Whole Foods this week.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on December 21, 2011, 11:17:27 AM
The best case scenario would be that you could preheat the plate to 550, then turn the broiler on and have it stay on for 90 seconds until the probe hit 585. If my calculations are correct, you'll probably need 550 on the hearth.  If the extra thermal mass of the steel really delivers and you can work with 525, then you should be in good shape, as the broiler should stay on for a while with a 525 to 585 jump. 

John, could you take a photo of the probe in your oven? I've spent some time with Tyler (Sum1else) going over some gentle mods to get a slight temperature bump, and, while he's still finding the one that's best for him, he needs a few more degrees than you do and he's working with a far weaker gas broiler. Shielding his probe with a foil pouch didn't seem to buy him enough degrees to keep his broiler on, but, in your case, it might give you just enough a bump to do the trick.

Could you also take a shot of your broiler element?  Beyond making sure the element stays on, you're going to want to shrink the space between the broiler and the stone as much as humanly possible- 2.5" or less.

You had mentioned earlier that you were going to look into the wattage on the broiler element in the top (and bottom) oven. That will go a long way in telling us how much of top heat it can deliver.

If the broiler does end up being a bit anemic, there's workarounds we can try, like using a malted flour such as KAAP.  Until then, though, I'd try starting the with the Caputo, if you can get it.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on December 21, 2011, 12:19:54 PM
My oven is a few years old and no longer stocked, but the published specs for the current comparable model list the broiler element wattage as 3600w. 

I'll post a photo of the oven temp probe when I have a chance. There is a piece of metal directly in front of the probe which makes the sleeve placement process very difficult.  This metal piece is connected to the broiler element and could possibly be removed, but more investigation is due on my part.

As a side note, I've done the oven calibration tweak a few times to increase the dial temp by 30°, but the problem with my oven is that the broiler element shuts off at 550° regardless of the oven calibration to 580°.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: sum1else on December 22, 2011, 06:35:26 PM
Quote
As a side note, I've done the oven calibration tweak a few times to increase the dial temp by 30°, but the problem with my oven is that the broiler element shuts off at 550° regardless of the oven calibration to 580°.

I think that's what my oven does too, although there is no way to know for sure.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on December 23, 2011, 10:18:32 AM
Here's a couple photos of my oven's temperature sensor.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on December 23, 2011, 04:02:07 PM
I picked up the 3/4 inch steel plate ;D.  Upon picking it up I was disappointed to see both sides were filled with rust  :(.  I asked the guy at the warehouse about it and he said that "is how they usually look".  Since the metal supplier is in the business of selling pieces of steel and not pizza baking surfaces I let it slide.  Any opinions on the rust? i.e. is this something that can just be grinded out with an orbital sander, or is this a gamechanger?  One side is better than the other (looking at the photos, the side with the supplier's name on it is the good side).

Either way this plate is a heavy mutha, tipping the scales at over 40 lbs :o I knew it was going to be around this weight before I picked it up, but a theoretical 40lb steel plate doesn't quite have the same impact as the genuine article.  Maneuvering this in and out of the oven takes some strength!  I purchased 4 pieces of 1/2 inch steel tubing to support the plate in the oven, and these pieces do a great job of preventing any bowing by the oven rack.  I highly recommend this as an oven reinforcement strategy.

I'll wait to hear your opinions about the rust situation before attempting a bake.  Either way, I'm $90 invested and I'm definitely going to give it a shot, if nothing else I can always bake a few throw-away pies in the name of science!
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on December 23, 2011, 04:09:29 PM
I also picked up some Caputo 00 flour at DiGregorio's.  It's a great old-fashioned neighborhood market that I hope to revisit soon.  The market stocked a bunch of small relabeled bags of "Caputo" "00" at around $1 a pound, I guess I'll take their word that it is actually Caputo. There also isn't an expiration date on the bags, but the market was extremely busy so I think it's safe to assume the flour is relatively fresh.  There was another bag of 00 with retail packaging but I didn't recognize the brand.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on December 23, 2011, 05:02:22 PM
It looks like "Evapo Rust" is exactly what I am looking for.  It should remove the rust without leaving the scratches of an orbital sander.

http://www.evapo-rust.com/ (http://www.evapo-rust.com/)

http://www.amazon.com/Evapo-Rust-Rust-Remover-1-Qt/dp/B001BNZGY0 (http://www.amazon.com/Evapo-Rust-Rust-Remover-1-Qt/dp/B001BNZGY0)
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: buceriasdon on December 23, 2011, 06:11:55 PM
Me, I'd pickup a round paint stripper pad, 3M brand in the paint dept. of the box stores, that can be chucked up in a drill, goggles, gloves and go at it. They are black with a 1/4" shank. Since I recommend seasoning the one side the scratches are a none issue. I doubt you can get all the rust off if deeply pitted but the seasoning will seal it off in any case. Anyways, that's what I have done.
Don

It looks like "Evapo Rust" is exactly what I am looking for.  It should remove the rust without leaving the scratches of an orbital sander.

http://www.evapo-rust.com/ (http://www.evapo-rust.com/)

http://www.amazon.com/Evapo-Rust-Rust-Remover-1-Qt/dp/B001BNZGY0 (http://www.amazon.com/Evapo-Rust-Rust-Remover-1-Qt/dp/B001BNZGY0)
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on December 24, 2011, 09:22:34 AM
Here's a couple photos of my oven's temperature sensor.

It's tricky to tell from the photo, but is the probe right smack dab in the middle of the forking broiler element?  Could they possibly get the probe any closer to the broiler?  No wonder why your broiler won't stay on for long.

That being said, I'm 99% certain that you can remove that bottom screw, which will then allow you to pull the probe out (there will be excess wire) and possibly even set it on the shelf below the plate. With the plate shielding the probe, the broiler will stay on for the whole bake. When you're done, you should be able to push the wire back in, reattach the screw and it will be as good as new.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: Jet_deck on December 24, 2011, 10:00:41 AM
My minimalist approach to removing the rust (if it is not pitted deeply) would be to wipe it down with vegtable or olive oil and put it in the oven at high temps for an hour or so.  If it doesn't look better, do it again.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: Jet_deck on December 24, 2011, 10:07:53 AM
You need to knock the slag off of the plate before you cook on it.  :chef:
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on December 24, 2011, 10:26:35 AM
There's a common belief that once steel or iron begins to rust, unless you remove all the rust, it will continue.  This being said, I've known lots of people that have inherited rusty iron pans, given them a light sanding, seasoned them and used them for years.

Now, in this particular scenario, where the plate is this close to the broiler, I'm relatively certain that the surface temps will hit sufficient temperatures to cook off any seasoning.  I'm not 100% certain that a little bit of embedded rust on a lightly sanded, unseasoned surface would be the end of the world, but, since I've never tried it, I'd probably go the extra mile and remove the rust.

If the rust wasn't deep, I'd sand by hand, using a sanding block. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like I can maintain a flatter surface using a sanding block than an orbital sander. As far as the scratches left by sanding go... I don't think they're a big deal.  As long as you get the rust off, that's all that matters.

The evapo-rust just looks like an expensive mild acid.  If the rust was moderately deep, I would probably just use Naval Jelly, rinsing it carefully and baking it quickly to hopefully prevent embrittlement, although, on a hunk of steel this size, I kind of doubt embrittlement would make any difference. 

If the rust was especially deep and the surface was pitted, I might opt for something like

Rust Removal using Electrolysis (http://antique-engines.com/electrol.asp)

One benefit of electrolysis is that it should tint the surface black, which would be good for heat absorption, although not completely necessary.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on December 24, 2011, 10:30:20 AM
I also picked up some Caputo 00 flour at DiGregorio's.

I hate to say it, but Caputo makes a variety of 00 flours, many of which are unsuitable for pizza.  The 00 designation only defines the size of the grind, not the protein content.  You can have low protein 00 flour that's suitable for pasta, but not pizza.  The only way to know for certain is to have the bag in front of you- Caputo pizzeria flour will have a picture of a pizza on the bag.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: buceriasdon on December 24, 2011, 11:55:57 AM
Rust is simply oxidized iron, it's just another form of iron, called iron or red oxide, makes sense,huh? :P Seasoning as one would season a cast iron skillet, or a blue(carbon) steel pizza pan or a carbon steel wok occurs at an atomic level, the oil bonds with the iron atoms and seals the surface making it difficult for free oxygen molecules to enter and cause the conversion known as rust.
Don
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on December 24, 2011, 12:13:38 PM
Don, according to this page here:

http://www.cookingforengineers.com/article/50/Smoke-Points-of-Various-Fats

the cooking oil with the highest smoke point is avocado, at 520 F.

Seasoning will not survive at the temperatures we're talking about here.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: Tscarborough on December 24, 2011, 12:16:39 PM
Food safe mineral oil should work.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on December 24, 2011, 01:04:10 PM
I can't vouch for its legitimacy, but this article http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/ (http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/) recommends using a drying oil such as flax seed oil.  The article recommends heating the cooking surface above the smoke point so that polymerization occurs.

Scott,

Jet-deck,
Yeah that slag is nasty. Its on the bottom side but I'll have to grind it off before it scratches up my oven.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: buceriasdon on December 24, 2011, 02:00:01 PM
My experience has been you have to get over 600 degrees to burn off the seasoning. It can be done of course, I've done it and measured the point at which the black starts to turn gray. I still say season the plate.
Don
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on December 24, 2011, 02:24:35 PM
Don,

What's your seasoning procedure?

Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: buceriasdon on December 24, 2011, 04:34:56 PM
I'm a light coat of Crisco, stick in the oven, heat up to 400, hold for thrity minutes, let cool down kinda guy.
Don


Don,

What's your seasoning procedure?


Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on December 24, 2011, 05:11:39 PM
Don, with the proximity of John's steel plate to his broiler, it's guaranteed the surface of his stone will exceed 600.  It won't be a sustained 600, but it will be long enough to burn off any seasoning.

Tom, mineral oil won't polymerize/harden into a baking surface, ie, it will go straight from liquid to smoke.  The pizza will just soak up the mineral oil as it bakes on the plate.  Mineral oil is only good for extended storage:

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cooking/msg1021083911510.html

John, that's great news about the pizzeria flour box cutout in front of the flour bags.  The insulation on the probe wire, on the other hand, is really bumming me out.  Most probes have thick, uninsulated wire behind the wall.  I really don't see the insulation surviving the heat from the broiler element.  I don't see how you have any choice but to screw the probe back into place. As far as a gentle way of taking the probe out of the equation... I wouldn't put foil that close to a broil element. Perhaps something else will come to me, but I'm leaning towards a insulating firebrick tube. Cut down an insulating firebrick to a rectangular rod (1" x 1" x 6"?) and then drill a hole down the center.

Hmmm... I wonder how much weight the probe could support?  A cordierite kiln post might work beautifully for this scenario.  Something like this:

http://www.sheffield-pottery.com/TRIANGLE-KILN-SHELF-POST-p/cp5506.htm

The hole at the end wouldn't be a problem. It's just a matter of blocking the IR from hitting the end of the probe.  When you get a chance, could you measure the length of the probe?
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on December 26, 2011, 10:57:58 AM
Scott, I like the way you think, the temp probe is 6 inches long.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on December 26, 2011, 05:54:50 PM
Thanks, John  ;D

I happen to have two 3" square kiln posts

http://www.anythinginstainedglass.com/fusing/94804.jpg

hanging around so I weighed them- total weight 7 oz. The 3 corner one that I posted a link to should involve less material overall, so maybe that might trim it down to 5 oz.

I then did a little research on oven sensors.  Apparently there's different technologies involved, but, for your sensor, I'm relatively certain that it works pneumatically- the tube contains a gas or a liquid that expands or contracts when heated/cooled.   The reason I looked into this was because I wanted to see what might happen if the weight of the kiln post bent the sensor.  Because of the pneumatics, even a slight bend would most likely irreparably damage it.  If you did bend it, it would be relatively inexpensive to replace.  I don't know, it's up to you.

One thing that did occur to me was that you might be able to take a bent piece of metal (90 deg.), drill a hole through it, attach it to the back wall using the screw for the bracket and use that as a little shelf for the kiln post to sit on/be supported by.

Or, you could say whatever, roll the dice and slip the 5 oz-ish 6" 3 corner post over the probe and see how it goes.  Those probes really aren't that flimsy.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: buceriasdon on December 26, 2011, 06:10:32 PM
Scott and John, If weight is a concern I would make a cover block from soft insulating brick. Think condom for the probe.    http://www.traditionaloven.com/articles/81/insulating-fire-bricks  
very easy to shape with hand tools.
Don
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on January 02, 2012, 10:53:04 PM
First test run on the 3/4 steel plate will take place for lunch tomorrow.  Its going to be a 14 hr turnaround for the dough so I'm going with a recipe from the nearlypolitan thread adjusted for ADY, a 11.5" pie, and .08 thickness factor:

"00" Flour (100%):
Water (65.519%):
ADY (.7%):
Table Salt (2.44309%):
Total (168.66209%):
141.77 g  |  5 oz | 0.31 lbs
92.88 g  |  3.28 oz | 0.2 lbs
0.99 g | 0.04 oz | 0 lbs | 0.26 tsp | 0.09 tbsp
3.46 g | 0.12 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.62 tsp | 0.21 tbsp
239.11 g | 8.43 oz | 0.53 lbs | TF = 0.0812

I'm going to cover the oven temp probe with foil to try to get some extra heat on the plate.  Breadman_NZ had success in leaving the foil over the probe for the entire bake so I'll copy his method instead of trying to place the foil on the probe mid-bake.  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,16889.msg165777.html#msg165777 (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,16889.msg165777.html#msg165777)

Eventually I want to cover the probe with something more substantial than foil such as the kiln shelf post or insulating brick that Scott and Don mention.  What do you guys think about oven gaskets over the probe, specifically a thin one (5/16") covered by a thicker one (1").  And I'm thinking out loud here, but how about inserting two layers of oven gasket inside a fire brick for the ultimate mod  :P

here's links to the oven gaskets:
http://www.amazon.com/Rutland-Inc-Gasket-Rope-91N/dp/B000H5SXOI/?tag=pizzamaking-20 (http://www.amazon.com/Rutland-Inc-Gasket-Rope-91N/dp/B000H5SXOI/?tag=pizzamaking-20)
http://www.amazon.com/Rutland-94-Grapho-Glas-Stove-Gasket/dp/B000S6TMUU/?tag=pizzamaking-20 (http://www.amazon.com/Rutland-94-Grapho-Glas-Stove-Gasket/dp/B000S6TMUU/?tag=pizzamaking-20)
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on January 02, 2012, 11:32:15 PM
John, before you mess with the foil trick, try getting a baseline for what this oven can do unmodded.  Pre-heat to 525 for 1 hour (using convection), broiler on, and when it's starts glowing read (about 15 seconds), launch the pie. As the pizza bakes, check and see how long the broiler stays on for.  If the broiler does shut off, open the door.  If you do open the door, turn the pizza 180.

There's a small chance that 3/4" steel at 525 might give you a 90 second bake, and there's also a small chance the broiler will stay on long enough to produce leoparding.  I think it's a long shot  ;D but Rome wasn't built in a day.

Salvatore is working with soapstone and an anemic gas broiler and I notice that he gets a bit more out of his configuration by dropping the thickness factor a bit.

Water, as discussed elsewhere, takes a lot of energy to convert to steam, so if either your stone or top heat are anemic, you might be working against yourself with 65% hydration. Next time, try something more traditional like 62 or possibly even lower.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on January 02, 2012, 11:55:56 PM
Oh, and the gasket.  With the proximity that it will be to the broiler element, there's a chance it might actually reach 1000 f, so no, I wouldn't mess with it.

Btw, I just thought of two more options for the kiln post

1. Is there anything above the probe that you could hang a wire from?  Hang a steel wire loop and use that to take most of the weight of the post

2. Run steel wire through the two holes in the sensor mount (above and below the sensor) and then run the wires around the length of the post pulling it in tight against the wall.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on January 03, 2012, 12:32:55 AM
Scott,
I'll go with the unmodded bake and post the results.  I'll also decrease the hydration next time around; you told me to do that earlier in the thread but it escaped my mind this time  :-[.

Regarding the oven probe cover, what are your thoughts regarding insulating fire brick? Will it heat up less than the kiln shelf post? I like Salvatore's method of setting the probe cover in place prior to a bake, but if I copied his technique would the shelf post warm up with the oven and transfer even more heat than an otherwise uncovered probe? 

A picture of the fully kneaded dough ball is attached.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on January 03, 2012, 01:02:13 AM
John, I guess, in the generally scheme of things, the insulating firebrick would probably guarantee you full duration broiling better than the kiln post, but I kind of the like the kiln post because it's an existing item that doesn't require any modification.   If, say, the broiler cuts out at 550, you can pre-heat the oven to 545 (most likely enough for a Neapolitan bake on the bottom), then crank the broiler, and, by the time the heat makes it through the post to raise the probe 5 degrees, your pizza will have been baked.

The other appealing aspect about the kiln post is that eventually it will heat up and the element will shut off- for both the baking element and the broiling element. The insulating brick will block out the heat so effectively that you're going to have to watch the pre-heat carefully so that the oven doesn't burn up. With the insulating brick in place, neither element will ever cut off.

I don't know, maybe the foil will turn out to be viable.  It's been hit and miss for Tyler, but perhaps there's a way to craft it a bit better. The nice potential thing about foil is that, unlike insulating brick, it will let heat through, and, unlike cordierite, if it heats up, it won't stay hot for long.  All you really need is a material that's just insulating enough to keep the broiler on for 90 seconds when the oven is at it's peak temp- and no more.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: Jet_deck on January 03, 2012, 01:46:48 PM
.....  What do you guys think about oven gaskets over the probe, specifically a thin one (5/16") covered by a thicker one (1").  And I'm thinking out loud here, but how about inserting two layers of oven gasket inside a fire brick for the ultimate mod  :P....


IIRC, these type gaskets don't really perform as insulators.  They are merely a type of material that can withstand the heat.

Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on January 03, 2012, 03:20:22 PM
Well, I made the pizza and made a big mistake in the process.  The mistake was that after dressing the pie I immediately launched the pie into the oven without starting the broiler  :o.  After launching the pie I realized my mistake and turned on the broiler, but it didn't glow red until the last minute of a 6 minute bake.  For my next attempt I'll remember to fire the broiler up prior to launching.

Although the crust didn't meet the goal of leopard spots or a huge amount of oven spring it was a delicious pie nonetheless.  It was crispy on the outside and slightly less crispy, bordering on tender on the inside.  While the oven spring wasn't dramatic, it definitely wasn't dense. As you see in the attached pictures there was one leopard spot ;D.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on January 03, 2012, 03:23:20 PM
I also successfully stripped the rust off the plate using the "evapo rust" product.  Before and After photos are attached:
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on January 03, 2012, 03:41:30 PM
Temperatures over the course of a 80 minute preheat are listed in the following table.  Plate temps were recorded with an infrared thermometer and oven temperatures were observed on the oven's display.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on January 03, 2012, 03:59:42 PM
An hour and a half after the bake the steel plate was still 350°F.  Here's a video of the plate quickly melting some ice  ;D:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6WP-ffpIwA&context=C328aaa7ADOEgsToPDskKnoTYWPR-XPhPtJw5x4k3U (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6WP-ffpIwA&context=C328aaa7ADOEgsToPDskKnoTYWPR-XPhPtJw5x4k3U)
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on January 03, 2012, 05:21:28 PM
6 minutes?! 6 minutes?!  Oh, man! I was thinking the other day how, with really thick materials, it might take some time for the heat to travel from one side to the other, and that we might see diminishing returns as thicknesses increase, but 6 minutes?! If 1/2" steel plate can do 3.5 minute pies at 530, how can 3/4" steel plate take 6 minutes at 525?

As disappointing as these results are, I think there may be one or two mitigating factors.  The hydration is most likely extending the bake clock.  I also think that, due to the sheer heft of the plate, that 80 minutes might not be quite enough. Is it worth doing again with a lower hydration and longer pre-heat, though?  I guess if you really want to be thorough and don't mind longer baked caputo pizza, go for it (for long baked caputo, it really doesn't look half bad), but I don't think the mitigating factors are going to resolve the issue.

I really thought there was a chance this could be easier, but I guess the pizzamaking gods feel otherwise. I'm not giving up completely on 550, but it might be 575 for the hearth.  I guess it's time to begin the aluminum foil pouchmaking (or start shoppping for insulating brick and/or kiln posts).  Remember, air is the insulator, so big bubbles= good.  Also remember, though, that aluminum melts in the 1200s, so try not to let it actually touch the broiler.

And it took 5 minutes for the broiler to glow? That's also a bit of head scratcher.

Oh, well, bring on the mods  ;D
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on January 03, 2012, 10:58:17 PM
Yeah, the bottom was finished sooner than the 5 minute mark but since the top of the pie was pale white I had to extend the bake time.  Is it possible that there are diminishing returns beyond the 1/2 inch steel mark?  I found a local insulating firebrick supplier here http://www.hitempincusa.com/index.asp (http://www.hitempincusa.com/index.asp).  My plan is to pick up a brick tomorrow and fashion it into a probe sleeve this weekend. 

On a side note I discovered that I'm a fan of overbaked 00 pizzas  :P. I've read a few posts advising against the use of Caputo in the home oven so I never tried it until today, but I guess I'm in the minority and actually like the resulting crispy texture.  Then again I haven't found many pizza styles that I don't like  ;D. WHat luck is it that the only pizza style that I'm not too fond of, St Louis style, is the one served up in my current location  ::).
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: salvatoregianpaolo on January 05, 2012, 07:15:40 PM
Just started reading this, and because Scott mentioned I was using soapstone, thought I could chime in.  For the last few months I've been using my 1.25" soapstone placed on the top shelf under the broiler, preheating for 1-2 hours, then firing the broiler and baking.  I keep the oven door propped during the bake because it enables my broiler to stay active.  Unfortunately, my broiler is weak and therefore I've been compensating most recently by reducing pre-heat times to get a more balanced approach.  My last pies were baked in 2:00 flat, with great undersides but, nonetheless, no leapording.

I've decided for this week's attempt I'm going to return to my original design and drop the stone to the floor of the oven.  When it is up top, it only gets to 550ish degrees, but on the floor I know it will exceed 700.  (I have found these temperatures can be a bit misleading because the soapstone is so conductive)  My goal is to forgo any attempt at leapording and instead concentrate on the tenderness inherent in pizza Napolitana.  Omid posted some revealing pictures highlighting the differences that occur with temperature, and therefore I'm inclined to go for max heat. 

I will create a barrier of sorts above the stone using some jelly-roll pans and aluminum foil, or perhaps place an older stone directly above in an attempt to get some heat reflection.  Ideally I can create a dome shape using what I have on hand, and it goes well I'll see where to take it next.

Grazie,
Salvatore
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on January 06, 2012, 02:45:07 AM
Salvatore, if you put in a false ceiling, it doesn't have to be dome shaped.  What would benefit top browning the most is if your ceiling were a dark color, like a dark saltillo tile. Dark and as close to your pizza as you can get.

It will also help drive the heat of the ceiling up a bit if you can completely isolate the area above the ceiling, either by filling the whole shelf with the ceiling material or by covering most of the shelf and covering the rest with foil. This could also, in theory, drive up the temp of the soapstone a bit, so you'll want to keep a close eye on temps, but it might give you half decent browning from the ceiling. What I'm describing is basically the workaround for gas oven owners without broilers in the main compartment, which, considering the weakness of your broiler, is pretty much your situation.

As you ramp up the stone and ceiling temps, though, the conductivity of the soapstone might end up burning the bottom of your pizza. In these kinds of scenarios it sometimes helps to have a less conductive hearth rather than a more conductive one.  Before you get a new stone, see what the soapstone can do.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: buceriasdon on January 06, 2012, 07:04:57 AM
Salvatore, As Scott recommends, I use a unglazed ceramic tile above my hearth tile also. By all means if your oven is electric seal off the upper shelf as well as possible.
Don
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: salvatoregianpaolo on January 06, 2012, 09:00:08 AM
Don,
It's a gas oven, but I like your setup and will try something similar.

Scott,
You are correct that my #1 concern is burning.  This is a different approach to what I've been doing, but frankly my broiler is so pitiful it's worth a shot.

Grazie a voi,
Salvatore
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: buceriasdon on January 06, 2012, 09:18:00 AM
Salvatore, I have found with the gas ovens here in Mexico it is important to leave some hot air to circulate up to the vent at the top of the stove, when I sealed the top off my burner would not operate correctly and I lost temperature in the oven. Both ovens had to have some air circulate out the vent. Your oven may be different so try it both ways.
Don
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on January 08, 2012, 02:05:42 AM
6 minutes?! 6 minutes?!  Oh, man! I was thinking the other day how, with really thick materials, it might take some time for the heat to travel from one side to the other, and that we might see diminishing returns as thicknesses increase, but 6 minutes?! If 1/2" steel plate can do 3.5 minute pies at 530, how can 3/4" steel plate take 6 minutes at 525?

As disappointing as these results are, I think there may be one or two mitigating factors.  The hydration is most likely extending the bake clock.  I also think that, due to the sheer heft of the plate, that 80 minutes might not be quite enough. Is it worth doing again with a lower hydration and longer pre-heat, though?  I guess if you really want to be thorough and don't mind longer baked caputo pizza, go for it (for long baked caputo, it really doesn't look half bad), but I don't think the mitigating factors are going to resolve the issue.

I really thought there was a chance this could be easier, but I guess the pizzamaking gods feel otherwise. I'm not giving up completely on 550, but it might be 575 for the hearth.  I guess it's time to begin the aluminum foil pouchmaking (or start shoppping for insulating brick and/or kiln posts).  Remember, air is the insulator, so big bubbles= good.  Also remember, though, that aluminum melts in the 1200s, so try not to let it actually touch the broiler.

And it took 5 minutes for the broiler to glow? That's also a bit of head scratcher.

Oh, well, bring on the mods  ;D

I'm making a new dough tonight and I'll follow your suggestions.  Namely I'm going with a lower hydration of 60%, oven calibration 35° higher (585°), and I'll try not to forget to crank the broiler before launching the pie.  I haven't heard back from the insulating fire brick supplier, but since I'm only looking to spend around $1 I can see why there's no hurry on their end  ;).  Hopefully this bake can serve as a better baseline before employing the oven probe cover mod.  Either way I'll post photo's of the results.

Flour (100%):
Water (60%):
ADY (.7%):
Salt (2.44%):
Total (163.14%):
159.59 g  |  5.63 oz | 0.35 lbs
95.75 g  |  3.38 oz | 0.21 lbs
1.12 g | 0.04 oz | 0 lbs | 0.3 tsp | 0.1 tbsp
3.89 g | 0.14 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.7 tsp | 0.23 tbsp
260.35 g | 9.18 oz | 0.57 lbs | TF = 0.0812

Note to self, next up:
Flour (100%):
Water (61%):
ADY (.5%):
Salt (2.8%):
Total (164.3%):
165.88 g  |  5.85 oz | 0.37 lbs
101.19 g  |  3.57 oz | 0.22 lbs
0.83 g | 0.03 oz | 0 lbs | 0.22 tsp | 0.07 tbsp
4.64 g | 0.16 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.97 tsp | 0.32 tbsp
272.54 g | 9.61 oz | 0.6 lbs | TF = 0.085
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on January 08, 2012, 07:31:04 AM
John, sounds good.  Lowering the water will definitely give you a faster bake and a much better point of reference for what 3/4" steel can do.  I'm also highly curious as to your feelings on the 2-3 minute caputo bake that you'll most likely achieve.

Sourcing the brick really shouldn't get that complicated.  Look up 'Brick' in the yellow pages and start calling each listing to see if they have insulating bricks in stock.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: buceriasdon on January 08, 2012, 07:47:18 AM
Most all ceramic supply stores carry insulating brick for kiln building/repair. Very expensive but jewelry making suppliers carry them for silver soldering on.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on January 08, 2012, 08:54:36 PM
Argh! This attempt wasn't much better than the last despite the adjustments.  Bake time was less than 4 minutes, although it could have probably come out of the oven sooner than that at the expense of some crispiness. The bottom of the pie exhibited a bit of charring, but the top was an albino leopard.  I'm going to focus on creating an insulator for the probe before making any more attempts.

Pictures are attached.  On a side note, I opened up the dough without using any bench flour, does it matter that the dough resembled the surface of the moon, or is it optimal to achieve a smoother dough surface?
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on January 08, 2012, 10:36:15 PM
I should clarify that my top element was on, but the only way I could get it to turn on was via the "roast"setting.  My guess is that the roast setting puts out less heat than the broil setting of my oven even though they both involve the top element. 

The frustrating thing is that the 35 degree oven calibration registers for the bake and roast settings but not the auto shutoff for the "broil" setting, it remains fixed at 550 regardless of calibration.  Either way, the temp probe mod should resolve this issue.

-John
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: scott123 on January 09, 2012, 01:29:57 AM
Well, look on the bright side, the only way to go is up.  :)

I'm curious, how long of a pre-heat are you doing?
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on January 09, 2012, 08:11:41 AM
This time I did a 2.5 hour preheat. A bit of overkill but I wanted to make sure that insufficient preheat time wasn't an issue.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: salvatoregianpaolo on January 09, 2012, 08:20:33 AM
What I was forced to do was leave the door open during baking in order to keep the broiler on.  That is why the soapstone is nice... It retains so much heat leaving the door open wasn't detrimental to bottom heat.  After a 90min preheat it would be around 570deg.  That was good enough for a 2min bake.  Unfortunately, as i've discovered, 2min is too long for true Neapolitan.  It results in too crisp a crust. 

Salvatore
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: johnamus on January 09, 2012, 08:34:06 AM
Bottom heat wasn't an issue for me this time; my infrared gun showed a plate temp of 650° when I launched the pie.  I'd guess that the bottom of the pizza was completely baked at the 2 minute mark, but the top of the pie was still rawish.  I'm really hoping that the probe cover will solve my top-heat issue.

If it doesn't ;D, then soapstone might be my next hearth substitute.  I'd use it as the hearth in an oven-within-an-oven setup that has gotten Omid some simply amazing results.
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: salvatoregianpaolo on January 09, 2012, 08:43:23 AM
Omid's setup is a perfect example of what needs to be done. He also shows what I believe is the defining factor of pizza napoletana: suppleness.  Too many people are hung up on charring the top, when tenderness is the key.  Of course, putting the two together in a home oven is a real challenge.  I believe in order to get it right, bake times have to be sub-90sec at the least. 

Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: dellavecchia on January 09, 2012, 12:24:00 PM
He also shows what I believe is the defining factor of pizza napoletana: suppleness.  Too many people are hung up on charring the top, when tenderness is the key.

Salvatore - One of the great characteristics of a perfectly cooked NP pie, in my opinion, is the contrast in a charred, slightly crispy outer rim and a supple, tender interior and middle. The middle of the pie becomes naturally supple from the toppings and sauce, and the inside of the crust is light as a feather. Cook times for such a pie varies from 40-60 seconds in a very hot oven. But this is just my ideal. I agree though, it is much harder to achieve overall suppleness as they covet in Naples.

John
Title: Re: Pursuit of leopard spots and light airy crust
Post by: salvatoregianpaolo on January 09, 2012, 12:29:15 PM
John,

I am in complete agreement with you.  The charred, ever so slightly crisp top crust has just a tiny bit of "bite," and this does contrast perfectly with such a soft interior.  And yes, most definitely, featherweight!  I remember sitting in Gino Sorbillo and remarking to my wife how light the pizza was. 

Thanks for expounding on what I was trying to convey.

Grazie,
Salvatore