Last night we had the first actual pizza dinner with the new WFO. Time management was a big issue for me, because people were late and then cooking took a long time overall (longer time between each pizza than I anticipated) so dough sat out too long and overproofed. Curious: how do people compensate for that? We figured out some things we need right away, like a heatproof washable rug or pad for right in front of the door; we need to figure out if we want a floor stand or a wall rack for the peels and get it ASAP, and we need a hook for a heat pad for the door. I still had big issues with the GI peel, and used a cheapie aluminum solid one from Sur la Table for a lot of the loading because it was easier than the GI. I want to try a wood one as has been suggested, AND I need to practice a lot with the GI peel.
I made 4 different doughs to try, and cooked a total of 12 balls. I made 2 neapolitan style doughs with Caputo red bag flour based on a couple of Chau's formulas, one with IDY and using "effective hydration" at 63%, one with fresh yeast at 66% (both of those were overnight RT ferment). I also made 2 BF doughs: Peter Reinhart's Neo-Neapolitan dough using OG KABF and IDY, and Kenji's NY-Style dough using the same flour and yeast, overnight CF for those two. I cooked the 00 doughs first at high heat (when I was ready to cook the IR just said MAX which means I was over 932, and I was still around 850 when I finished those doughs). The Caputo doughs were very difficult for me to work with. Very soft, almost impossible to get onto the peel and to get off of it, but it was my first time working with 00 dough and I'm sure that it is just my low skill level with the peel and will try again later. I did manage to get one very good one and a couple somewhat-salvageable ones from those doughs, but they were very frustrating for me and most of the pizzas were inedible. Several were just a mess from loading and/or launching disasters. I also had issues with a couple burning on the bottom, but I think that was various things like too hot deck, too much bench flour which burned, and tearing of the middle when launching causing the toppings to catch fire, all things I can work on. After the 00 doughs, I let the oven cool a bit and started on the 2 NY-style doughs. The Reinhart dough was a problem for me from the initial mix, I never enjoyed handling it start to finish, and the cooked crust was very bready and soft and wouldn't color well, probably due to overproofing. I managed to get a couple nice small, very puffy pizzas from that dough, but it wasn't very popular, too bready. The winner last night was Kenji's NY-style dough. I only made 3 balls of that, and they were the easiest to work with, came out great even over-proofed (I thought they were a bit dry and tough, but nobody else thought so) and made nice big good-looking pies that were the easiest to load onto the peel and to launch. The hydration of that dough is in the same ballpark as the others (66%) so I don't know exactly why that dough performed so well for me. I freely admit the pizzas were not the end result I personally wanted, but they were crowd-pleasers AND the easiest for me to make, so that made them wonderful in my eyes. Oven was still at 500+ this morning, and tonight I cooked an eggplant parmesan in it at ~375. We still don't have the enclosure up which we will fill with perlite for even more insulation, but we're not losing much heat as it is. It is functioning well, and I'm super-pleased with that
I love having it in the house, even though it WAS hot cooking last night. But it's only hot here a few months out of the year, and even then we get cool spells. The convenience of having it inside is really nice and I will definitely use it more because of it's proximity, and the pleasure of seeing it in the wall is awesome. In the Winter it will be a joy to have. It's been very efficient, and holds heat well.
Photos: First is the 00 Margherita that was my best of the 00 doughs. I'm happy with that one
Then a Reinhart small pizza - that one I cooked for a long time and domed for literally MINUTES to get the color you see, and trust me, it wasn't lack of heat. Then the Kenji dough in a sausage pizza, and a couple crumb shots of that one. Finally my favorite of the night, a dessert pizza. Kenji's dough topped with brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and sliced bananas. Really good and a fun end for the evening, AND the best crumb photo of the night - why do
scissors make for a better photo than a knife? It doesn't make sense to me...