Author Topic: A stone material with a lower thermal capacity? Or any other ideas?  (Read 916 times)

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Offline m_pizza

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I have been using the cleaning cycle in my oven (which is fan-assisted and gets up to roughly 900F) to make approximations to Neopolitan pizza for some time.

A continuous problem I have problems overcoming is the heat balance. The stone (a fibrament) simply gets too hot and the bottom will burn before the cornice has browned properly.

I have tried placing heavy iron cookware ontop prior to adding the pizza, wiping the stone with a damp rag before adding the pizza, moving the stone to different shelves (makes no difference as a fan distributes all the heat equally). The problem is as soon as I open the oven door, all the heat from the oven escapes, meaning that even if I can decrease stone temp a bit, I have lost all the temperature from round the oven too meaning that proportionally the stone is still too hot!

I have tried adding the stone after the cleaning cycle has run for 20 mins, didnt seem to help much but experimenting with that would also risk the stone cracking.

A final idea I have had - I am not knowledgable on this but I would assume different materials have different thermal capacities. Is there a type of material I could use as a pizza stone which would not heat up to such a high temperature - ie have a lower thermal capacity? If anyone can suggest anything I would be greatful.

If anyone else has any better ideas as to how to balance the temperatures please let me know.


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Re: A stone material with a lower thermal capacity? Or any other ideas?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2011, 12:16:03 PM »
M_pizza, does your oven have a broiler? Will the broiler go on during the cleaning cycle? If it does, move the stone as close as possible to it (2-3") and use that to broil the top (with about a 800 deg. preheat for the stone).

Without a broiler, it gets especially difficult.  With an oven within an oven setup (using a stone as a ceiling), depending on the bottom burner output, it's possible to do NY style, but reaching the necessary ceiling temps for Neapolitan is close to impossible.

It's a bit of a long shot, but perhaps, with the right material and enough of it, you can build a ceiling with enough thermal mass that it radiates enough energy to give you a quick bake.  Dark materials tend to radiate heat better, so I'm leaning towards soapstone slab or possible 3/4" steel plate.  If you could get a nice dark red 1" thick quarry tile, that might work as well.  Conductivity is less important than color and thickness.

For the hearth, this may be one of those rare times when the $10-ish 3/8" Walmart stone might actually cut it.  If the vertical space between the cheap stone is tight enough (<3"), there's a small chance, with a thick, dark ceiling, you might be able to do a Neapolitan bake with both stone and ceiling at 800. You'd need a long pre-heat for that thick ceiling, though.  That could be stressful for the oven, though, not to mention drive up your energy bill.

You could pre-heat your stone ceiling to 900 and slide in a light gauge (read; low thermal masss) piece of steel, maybe 1/8" thick, wait for the steel to hit ~750 and launch, but that's only going to work for one pie.  In order to do more pies, you'll most likely have to remove the steel from the oven to let it cool a bit.

Offline m_pizza

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Re: A stone material with a lower thermal capacity? Or any other ideas?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2011, 12:43:55 PM »
Hi, thanks for the tips. The set up of my oven is a single element at the top, and a fan which will always run regardless, during the cleaning cycle. This means all the heat from the top of the oven is distributed evenly round the oven, rather than me being able to have an increased heat source from above.

I am not sure how well the additional stones will work but I will have a think about it - if anyone else has suggestions let me know.