Author Topic: Please offer advice on my pizze  (Read 2530 times)

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Offline fabio

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Please offer advice on my pizze
« on: August 06, 2007, 01:07:54 AM »
Hi all,

I just got a new wood-burning oven from Italy and tried making pizze with it today for the first time. I tried two different doughs on it: both were made using Verasano's method, but one is about 70% hydration, using a bleached all-purpose flour, (Five Roses brand, found at safeway) and the other is about 75% hydration, using 75% of same flour, and 25% unbleached bread flour (Robinhood Best for Bread). The temperature gauge on the oven showed 420C on the first pizza with 75% hydr. (the one burnt on the bottom, the first three pictures), and 350C on the second with 70% hydr. Both doughs were made yesterday with camaldoli starter and cold-fermented for about 24hours before being at room temperature for about 2hours prior to baking. Both were beautiful to handle, were quite tear resistent, stretched easily, and didn't need much flour to keep from sticking to the handling surface, despite the relatively high hydration. I would have liked to stretch them larger (and thinner), but the pile I had available was not big enough. Take a look at my pictures and offer some advice, and see if you can tell me why they ar burning at the higher temps. Even the one that cooked at the lower temp cooked properly underneath, but did not brown as much as I would have liked on the cornicione. Please offer any advice you can! Thanks.

The batteries on my camera died, so I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked. I have 15 more dough-balls left, so I will take more pictures and post again when I have time to make more pizze.

Offline canadianbacon

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Re: Please offer advice on my pizze
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2007, 10:06:41 AM »
Hi fabio,

It's too bad you didn't post any images of your new oven, I for one would love to see it ! and I'm am sure many others would love to see your oven also.

How long did you bake the first pie for ? - you say you did it at 420 degrees *C*, which according to http://www.onlineconversion.com/temperature.htm is a whopping 788 degrees, so I'm not surprised that the bottom is burnt like that.

How did you take the temp of your new oven ? did you use one of these IR thermometers and take the temp from the surface ?

The bottom is extremely burnt, but the top is not, so that would tell me that perhaps the oven was not at that temp long enough,
or something else is coming into play here.  How long did you have the oven going before you put in your first pizza ?

One other thing is the sugar content in the dough - if yours was very low, then this would cause the pizza to stay whiter, longer, and you if you were really looking at the crust area of the pizza to brown, then this would have been quite longer in time, and this allowed the bottom to burn.

I see the pizza was on a metal tray in your images.... but was this just for slicing the pizza ? or did you use this in the oven ? ... I'm guessing from the extremely black areas, the pizza was directly on the stones in the oven, and you put it on the tray after ?

On your 2nd pizza that was done at 350 degrees C ( 662 degrees F ) you can see the temp in the oven was much more even, because the bottom is not burnt like the first one, and this tells me the upper part of the oven was now getting nearer to the bottom area of the oven ( will never be the same but closer in temps ) and this resulted in a more even bake on the entire pizza.

Lots of questions, and I'm no expert on authentic wood-burning ovens, but it's a great topic, and I'd like to see more discussion on this.  I would love to own a wood fired oven, but I just can't justify the cost, because I just don't make pizza every day, or every other day, but it would be a great toy to own, and I'm sure once you have your methods correct, you will be making some amazing pizzas !

Pizzamaker, Rib Smoker, HomeBrewer, there's not enough time for a real job.

Offline mikeintj

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Re: Please offer advice on my pizze
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2007, 10:20:05 AM »


I think the pizzas look great. You say the bottom is burnt (a bad thing!), others might say the bottom is charred (a good thing)! Varasano would probably prefer the charring - but it is all about personal taste.

I don't  have any experience at cooking at such high temperatures, I have just read threads about it. But one thing I do know is that at such a high temperature, you do not just put the pizza in the oven and forget about it for the cooking time. You have to rotate it after a certain period (2 mins?) and, more importantly for your concerns, lift it up and tilt it towards the fire - precisely because the oven temperatures will be different in different parts of the oven and at different heights.

Cooking at such high temperatures, where a few seconds is the difference between burnt and charred is clearly a skill and one that will take some practice to master.

By the way, the center of the pizza (sauce, mozz and basil) looks perfect.



Offline trosenberg

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Re: Please offer advice on my pizze
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2007, 08:32:15 PM »
I have a wood burning oven and there is a learning curve.  It seems to me that the floor of your oven was hotter than the dome.  Did you keep a fire burning off to the side?  There should be some flame going up toward the top of the oven.  Also if the bottom is charring too quickly relative to the top of the pie, put the peel under the pizza & lift it up as close to the dome of your oven as possible. This will allow the top to "catch up" to the bottom as far as charring.

Offline abatardi

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Re: Please offer advice on my pizze
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2007, 10:43:36 PM »
Do you have pics of the oven?  What kind of oven... those temps aren't that high for a wood burning oven, especially for pizza napoletana.  How long was your bake time?  What was the dome temp?

- aba
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Offline othafa9

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Re: Please offer advice on my pizze
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2007, 04:54:00 AM »
I like your first pie better.  My guess on your first "charred bottom" pizza, is that  you turned it, and when you did you put it in a different place than where you had it originally.  Next time when you turn your pizza try putting back in the same place, you should see a difference.  It should have some char, but that may be alittle excessive.

Offline PizzaBrasil

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Re: Please offer advice on my pizze
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2007, 06:59:43 AM »
Hi, Fabio:

I was baking using a wood oven since long time ago.
The 420C temperature is normal with this type of oven and this temperature point to 45 to 60 seconds maximum baking pizza dough.
Could be possible that you are having a problem with your temperature management, it is, you will need to go to the highest possible temperature (350 to 450C is ok), move the embers on flame to the right or left side of the oven and then brush and clean the oven floor for a few minutes. I like to use a wet cloth as final cleaning.
This time lets the floor temperature decrease few degrees.
The pizza dough is going to be baked with lesser oven floor temperature than ceiling one and lively flames, with a semi-rotation each 20/30 seconds.
Or, for your first pizzas, let the temperature to be homogeneous and around the 360C and keep an eye on the cornicione during baking.
Best luck.


Offline fabio

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Re: Please offer advice on my pizze
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2007, 04:06:54 PM »
Hi all,

Thanks for the analisys and the kind words. One thing I did not mention, the oven is wood-burning, but it is a barrel oven (as opposed to a dome), and the wood gets lit in a chamber underneath the stone. I think that is why I am getting such an apparent difference in temperatures (ie between the stone and the ambient), causing the burning. I am going to try lifting the pizza on the peel to the top of the oven for the last 15-20 seconds of cooking as some of you have suggested.

Also, I do need to get an IR thermometer, as the temps I'm getting are from a gauge on the oven itself, which I don't trust much. The cooking time was about 60 seconds at 420C, and just under 2 minutes at 350.

I will post pictures of the oven and more pizze the next time. Unfortunately its raining here today in vancouver. Thanks again for the comments and suggestions.