Have a couple projects outside of testing different dough recipes - for starters, been working on a DIY dry-stacked brick oven. 3 goals:
1. Large enough to fit a 16" pizza
2. Heats up FAST
3. Uses a steel plate
That rules out using wood, since it takes so long to heat up, as well as eliminating most budget-oriented commercial offerings since they typically only do smaller 12" or 14" pizza sizes. I picked up a hundred clay bricks and some 3" angle iron to get started & used my bayou burner with my Baking Steel as the test rig. It can heat the steel up to 700F in under 5 minutes, which is pretty awesome - a lot faster than my indoor kitchen oven, which takes 45 minutes to get it up to 500F. The next step is to get another 100 or 200 bricks to extend it out & add a second burner - one to get the steel up to 500F or so, then one in the back to heat up the air to 700F. I picked up a 1000F oven thermometer off Amazon for monitoring air temps & have my IR temp gun for checking surface temp on the steel, for whatever that's worth (IR vs. metal usually isn't so accurate, apparently). Once I get the extra bricks & verify that I can actually get the temps I want, then I can order up a monster steel for the cooking surface. Toying with the idea of doing a simple cob oven as well. Don't want to do a chimney (don't want to do a door!), just a simple ratio'd entrance/exit for the cob or brick oven. Still in progress, but results have been good so far! Found another user, KK_Mick (great name!), with a similar idea - "DSBGFO" (Dry Stacked Brick Gas Fired Oven):https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=26688.0
Second project is I picked up a PizzaQue (the cheaper PC6500 model) at Home Depot yesterday. I've never seen one in the store before, and for $169, I figured why not. Turns out it works AWESOME! Easily hit 700F & in under 15 minutes to boot. Pizza sizes are a little small, but it only takes 7 minutes to do a nice crispy pizza, so we cranked out 4 of them in no time last night using the Todd English dough recipe. Really really like it, great value & performance. Their metal peel was a waste of money (handle lock works like crap & the bottom ring on the swivel likes to slice your skin open) & it's a pain to load pizzas in the tiny hole...easier to just lift off the lid, load the pizza on (yay Super Peel!), and put the lid back on. Using welding gloves to lift it right now, but I'm scouting around for a tall grill handle to add to the top to make lifting the lid not a chore. It retains 95% of the heat as long as you don't tilt the lid when you remove it, so it doesn't really affect the pizza cooking at all. I was also able to use it on top of a plastic table outside because it doesn't torch the ground underneath the unit, which is nice. Bonus, you can lift the pizza up into the lid to get the hotter air up there to put a bit of a burn on the cheese. Also, rotate halfway through with a fork to get even cooking. Pretty simple gadget, works like a champ!