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Author Topic: Consensus on method for home ovens?  (Read 1713 times)

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Offline mnemanic

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Re: Consensus on method for home ovens?
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2021, 05:15:40 AM »
By the way, most people here mention steels. When I look at older forum posts on the same topic stones seem to prevail. Which one is preferrable? I've only made serious attempts at three occasions so far and I know there are LOADS of factors involved but based on this extremely limited experience I got a better result (particularly bottom crust) when using the stone.

Offline Hanglow

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Re: Consensus on method for home ovens?
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2021, 07:23:42 AM »
It's to do with the heat conductivity of each material. Say you want a base with a bit of char and are cooking at 280c, firebricks would not get you there - see attached image, I tried the firebricks from my wfo in my home oven for that pizza. But a thick sheet of aluminium for example probably would char it. I think steel is somewhere in between, although don't quote me on that!  Cordeirite is another popular material for pizza stones.

If you were to use a steel at WFO temperatures, it would probably char the base of the pizza in 10 seconds, which is obviously a problem if you want the pizza actually cooked  :-D





Offline typicalsam

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Re: Consensus on method for home ovens?
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2021, 08:47:27 AM »
Oh, interesting! That's a 16 page thread and I will read through it but if you or anyone reading this knows what it boils down to in terms of method, don't hesitate to sum it up here  ;D
its a bit like karate kid or training to be a jedi  :chef:  the threads are often in depth, referring to other threads, and suddenly you're reading something Pete-zza posted in 2006 wondering where the time went. A bit like going down a rabbit whole on wikipedia! But, there's so much to learn, including following other people's trial and error, and getting a glimpse into their 10+ years of experience. In some ways, a short answer wouldn't do it justice, but I'd give you one if I had one.

As Hanglow said - metal emits heat faster than stone, so at 280c you want metal, but at 500c you want stone (a specific type that stops the base from burning for high temp short bake)

thicker object takes longer to pre heat but retains heat better if you're baking multiple pizzas ... so a thick piece of steel is generally recommended

put steel in top of oven and preheat for 30-60mins, use IR thermometer to measure surface temp so you know when its at it's hottest

use broil (grill) for direct heat, but trial and error here to see what gives you best results. it's difficult to give a definitive answer because

Every oven is a law unto itself and only itself.
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Offline mnemanic

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Re: Consensus on method for home ovens?
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2021, 04:13:41 PM »
Oh forgot to ask, what about the hot air fan (whatever it's called) in a home oven. Use it or not?

Edit: Convection oven, thanks!
« Last Edit: January 28, 2021, 02:43:11 AM by mnemanic »

Online donstavely

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Re: Consensus on method for home ovens?
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2021, 04:59:46 PM »
If you have a convection oven, all the better.  Max temp, fan, steel, and broiler will get you so close to Neapolitan that you can taste it - literally.  Don't let the doubters dissuade you for making the pizza you want to eat.  I also will take a "Nearlypolitan" pizza (like many in the thread texmex pointed to) over a pan pizza any day.

Stones will give you a brown bottom and steels will easily give you a bit of char.  You may be able to use the broiler during preheat to get a stone hot enough to char (>700F?), but mine cycles off at max temperature so it doesn't get that high.   

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Offline mnemanic

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Re: Consensus on method for home ovens?
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2021, 02:47:00 AM »
If you have a convection oven, all the better.  Max temp, fan, steel, and broiler will get you so close to Neapolitan that you can taste it - literally.  Don't let the doubters dissuade you for making the pizza you want to eat.  I also will take a "Nearlypolitan" pizza (like many in the thread texmex pointed to) over a pan pizza any day.

Stones will give you a brown bottom and steels will easily give you a bit of char.  You may be able to use the broiler during preheat to get a stone hot enough to char (>700F?), but mine cycles off at max temperature so it doesn't get that high.

Ok great, will use the fan tomorrow. Also thanks for the pep! Funny, I've only tried a few times but I'm quite sure the only time I got char on the bottom was when using my stone (1" granite) and I'm also quite sure my oven wasn't close to 700F (didn't preheat with broiler for instance). Last time I used steel and got pretty lame bottoms. Gonna go for stone tomorrow and see!

Offline mnemanic

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Re: Consensus on method for home ovens?
« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2021, 02:01:03 PM »
I know these aren't anywhere near a Neapolitan Pizza, not even near a Nearlypolitan pizza, but I was still happy with my first attempt (well, first attempt after asking here for methods). Thanks everyone who helped  :D


Offline typicalsam

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Re: Consensus on method for home ovens?
« Reply #27 on: February 01, 2021, 06:17:38 PM »
Ok great, will use the fan tomorrow. Also thanks for the pep! Funny, I've only tried a few times but I'm quite sure the only time I got char on the bottom was when using my stone (1" granite) and I'm also quite sure my oven wasn't close to 700F (didn't preheat with broiler for instance). Last time I used steel and got pretty lame bottoms. Gonna go for stone tomorrow and see!

Could this be to do with the pre heat? It's pretty hard to tell what temperature your baking surface is without an IR - mine was rarely the same as the air temp of the oven detected by the thermostat

Offline Wario

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Re: Consensus on method for home ovens?
« Reply #28 on: February 02, 2021, 04:50:36 AM »
Not bad for a home oven pizza! Have you seen the video by Vito Iacopeli?


Offline wiz_d_kidd

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Re: Consensus on method for home ovens?
« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2021, 03:08:46 PM »
I agree with other posters -- you can get close to Neapolitan using a steel under a good broiler. I position my steel as close as possible, about 2 inches below the broiler element. Then I preheat for about 20-25 mins -- the time it takes for the air temp to reach 550 which causes the broiler element to turn off. In that time, the surface of the steel gets WAY above 500 deg F. I measured mine with an IR thermometer in the low 700's. Not brick-oven, true Neapolitan hot, but still good. After I open the door to launch my pizza, there is a brief cool-down in air temp, and the broiler element goes back on, which is exactly what I want. The pizza cooks in 110 seconds, after which it has a nice spotty char on the bottom and cornicione. The pizza is so close to the element that if it gets a large bubble, it can actually touch the element and get very charred -- but I don't care, I like that!

Your oven might work differently. You may not be able to get as close to the element as I do. If not, try putting the steel on a sheet pan to raise it up. Also, if your broiler cycles on and off, try opening the door to make it kick on. Don't worry about losing hot air -- you are cooking with a preheated steel from below and direct IR radiation from above -- not hot air. And this is why you don't need a long preheat. If you preheat a long time, the steel will achieve thermal equilibrium with the AIR temp, which is only 500-550 F. You want to preheat it using direct IR radiation from the broiler, and that only takes 20 min or so (if your element stays on).

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Offline mnemanic

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Re: Consensus on method for home ovens?
« Reply #30 on: February 10, 2021, 01:34:19 PM »
Not bad for a home oven pizza! Have you seen the video by Vito Iacopeli?



Thanks! Yup, or maybe it was another one of his videos I saw. Good stuff, anyway  :D

Offline mnemanic

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Re: Consensus on method for home ovens?
« Reply #31 on: February 10, 2021, 01:36:43 PM »
Could this be to do with the pre heat? It's pretty hard to tell what temperature your baking surface is without an IR - mine was rarely the same as the air temp of the oven detected by the thermostat

Could be yeah. In my last bake I used the stone and didn't get charring on the bottom. Today I used the same stone and did get charring. Based on very limited experience I'd say it's a good idea to wait a few minutes between pizzas to get the stone surface really hot again.

Offline mnemanic

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Re: Consensus on method for home ovens?
« Reply #32 on: February 10, 2021, 01:39:12 PM »
I agree with other posters -- you can get close to Neapolitan using a steel under a good broiler. I position my steel as close as possible, about 2 inches below the broiler element. Then I preheat for about 20-25 mins -- the time it takes for the air temp to reach 550 which causes the broiler element to turn off. In that time, the surface of the steel gets WAY above 500 deg F. I measured mine with an IR thermometer in the low 700's. Not brick-oven, true Neapolitan hot, but still good. After I open the door to launch my pizza, there is a brief cool-down in air temp, and the broiler element goes back on, which is exactly what I want. The pizza cooks in 110 seconds, after which it has a nice spotty char on the bottom and cornicione. The pizza is so close to the element that if it gets a large bubble, it can actually touch the element and get very charred -- but I don't care, I like that!

Your oven might work differently. You may not be able to get as close to the element as I do. If not, try putting the steel on a sheet pan to raise it up. Also, if your broiler cycles on and off, try opening the door to make it kick on. Don't worry about losing hot air -- you are cooking with a preheated steel from below and direct IR radiation from above -- not hot air. And this is why you don't need a long preheat. If you preheat a long time, the steel will achieve thermal equilibrium with the AIR temp, which is only 500-550 F. You want to preheat it using direct IR radiation from the broiler, and that only takes 20 min or so (if your element stays on).

Great info! In today's bake I really did open the door a lot, and not even to activate the broiler but just to turn the pizzas, feel them, have a closer look. It's good to know that it doesn't affect the baking temperature too much  :D

Offline mnemanic

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Re: Consensus on method for home ovens?
« Reply #33 on: February 10, 2021, 01:46:35 PM »
Had another go today. Still a long way to go, but an improvement nevertheless...  :chef:


Offline Icelandr

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Re: Consensus on method for home ovens?
« Reply #34 on: February 10, 2021, 11:23:12 PM »
Improvements are a great thing! With each bake the pizza gets tastier, better looking and more satisfying in the challenge towards  a really great pizza . . . There are so many ways, temperatures, times, percentages but success out of the oven starts the conversation . . . Next time I want to . . .
It has kept me chasing for 5 years and what fun!
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Offline mnemanic

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Re: Consensus on method for home ovens?
« Reply #35 on: March 03, 2021, 04:31:05 PM »
Had another go at it tonight. Quite happy with the result. In all honesty, I don't know what to improve next...   ???


Offline wiz_d_kidd

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Re: Consensus on method for home ovens?
« Reply #36 on: March 04, 2021, 08:40:15 AM »
Had another go at it tonight. Quite happy with the result. In all honesty, I don't know what to improve next...   ???

So what was your final technique (steel position, time, temp, etc)?

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