Author Topic: This pie took 19 minutes in a 550 oven !.....why?  (Read 3082 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Crusty

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 74
  • It's all about CRUST
This pie took 19 minutes in a 550 oven !.....why?
« on: April 25, 2005, 11:57:02 AM »
I cooked a NY Style Lehman pie last night using 1/2t starter instead of IDY.  The stone was preheated on the lowwest rack for 1 hour and the oven thermometer reached 550.  I also had a second stone that was placed upside down and on the fourth rack from the bottom.

The pie took 19 minutes to cook with the oven continuing to run strong.  The stone temp was 585 degrees when I put the pie in.  This was a test (regarding the position of the bottom stone and the addition of the second stone) but I have never had a pie take this long to cook.

Also, the dough did not spring and I am attributing this to the starter I used.

Any ideas why this took so long?  My guess is the stone on top that prevented the upper heat from getting to the top surface of the pie.  I did get char on the bottom but probably too much.

Your thoughts are appreciated.


Offline chaos18

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: This pie took 19 minutes in a 550 oven !.....why?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2005, 12:23:11 PM »
I've been having the same problem with my home gas oven. I've been trying to figure out what the deal is. I tend to make great pizza in my girlfriends electric oven. I've been trying to figure out what the variables are that would effect the outcome.

1. Gas vs. Electric
2. All purpose flour vs. bread flour (which if I'm not mistaken will have different water retention rates due to the protein)
3. Location of heat source in gas oven

Please share your thoughts, and if anyone know what factors cause pizza in ovens of the same to take longer to cook, please share.

Offline Randy

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2025
  • Age: 70
  • Pizza, a great Lycopene source
Re: This pie took 19 minutes in a 550 oven !.....why?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2005, 01:03:43 PM »
An electric stove has the advantage of radiant energy coming directly from the element.  This can raise a pizza stone to much higher temperatures than the oven.  With a gas oven try using a pizza screen and take the stone out of your oven.  A big advantage is no lengthy pre heat times and the crust can come out crisp in about 6- 8 minutes.


Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 25614
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: This pie took 19 minutes in a 550 oven !.....why?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2005, 02:00:11 PM »

I have been thinking about your "problem" for the past few days. I have used a two-stone method almost exactly like yours for some time and have not experienced a problem of an overextended bake time. I have an electric oven (which I assume you have) and put the first stone on the lowest oven rack and the second stone on the 4th rack up from the bottom, just under the broiler element (I, however, don't turn the top stone upside down).

I think the problem may have been the starter or its use in such a small quantity (1/2 t.), without any accompanying IDY. If the starter was not mature enough, or even if it was mature enough, its use in such a small quantity in a dough that is subjected to retardation (as the Lehmann NY style dough is), the fermentation may have been inadequate (too little) to release the natural sugars from the flour. In such case, there wouldn't be enough extracted sugar to promote browning of the crust in the normal manner (through caramelization of the sugar), and the natural inclination would be to continue baking until the crust turned brown--which could take much longer than a typical 7-8 minute time period. You didn't indicate, but I would guess that the dough didn't rise much, either while in the refrigerator or during the warmup prior to shaping, as further evidenced by the lack of a pronounced oven spring. On the other hand, if there was a significant rising of the dough in either the refrigerator or during warmup (which is somewhat untypical of the Lehmann dough), then the only explanation I can offer for why the crust didn't brown up in the normal manner is that the dough overfermented and all the natural sugars were exhausted before bake time such that little caramelization could occur. For this to happen, the dough would have had to have been in the refrigerator for quite a long time, maybe several days. In that case, you could also experience little oven spring because the yeast was heading south at the same time as the sugar.

Does any of the above sound familiar?


Offline bakerboy

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 106
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: This pie took 19 minutes in a 550 oven !.....why?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2005, 04:40:10 PM »
crusty.  i think your absolutely right  in assuming it the amount of starter.  Thats an awfully small amount to be effective.  Has this oven worked ok in the past?  Also, how long did you let it rise.  Was there evidence of fermentation when you formed your pizza?
If you wanted to ditch the idy, i would use 15-20% of the weight of your flour as a starting point for how much starter to use.  The hydration of your starter may change the dough consistency.  If you have a soupy starter(which is fine) you may have to bump up a bit more flour.  For example my "starter" is a dough that is mixed and fermented at 60% hydration....same as my pizza dough.  That way, when i add my fermented dough (pate fermente) is doesn't change my hydration parameters of my pizza dough.  Hope this helps.

Offline Crusty

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 74
  • It's all about CRUST
Re: This pie took 19 minutes in a 550 oven !.....why?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2005, 05:34:14 PM »
Thanks all for the replies.

Chaos18 - I will continue to experiment but will tell you that I have made excellent pies in my oven (example pictured below) but want to get more char on the bottom. 

Randy - I will try the screen option again but am afraid I wont get char on the bottom.  The only time I used a screen I put the screen on the stone and later put the pie directly on the stone.  I prefer the pie directly on the stone w/o the screen.

Pete-zza - I have a gas oven and agree that I did not use enough starter.  There was not spring, rise or ferment smell.  It was in the refigerator for two days.  I went ahead and used it because I wanted to experiment with the stone/rack variables.  I will continue to move the stone/racks to see if I can improve my char.

Bakerboy - My oven has performed okay I just want more char and a higher oven temp.  I do like the idea of modeling the starter to match the ultimte dough hydration %.