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Got it too hot last night! 2nd time

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  • Got it too hot last night! 2nd time

    Cooked 5 pizza'a last night. Started the fire about 3 hours before eating. Wife had friends over and I cooked for them. I was planning on a 2 hour warm up but they didn't want to eat until later so I just kept feeding wood. Well, the botton of first 3 pizza's were burned but everyone said they tasted great. I did take a wet rag and try to cool down a bit. The last two came out perfect.
    So many things to think about that can vary. Also, need to cook more often so I stay in tune.
    Do y'all experience mishaps when you get out of practice?

  • #2
    Re: Got it too hot last night! 2nd time

    Try casting some semolina into the middle of the floor next time. It should go black in 3 secs for correct temp.
    Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

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    • #3
      Re: Got it too hot last night! 2nd time

      And then maintain a fire on the side while you cook the pizzas. We always find the first pizza, like the first pancake, is often a bit of a dud. You can also cook that first one closer to the oven door where it should be a bit cooler.
      I always chuckle because it's usually some greedy little fat kid who demands to have the first pizza and they're usually less than perfect. (i mean the pizza not the kid)
      True justice.
      Last edited by david s; 07-12-2012, 11:22 PM. Reason: Misinterpretation
      Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

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      • #4
        Re: Got it too hot last night! 2nd time

        Lot's of retained heat this morning and I cooked some rustic bread. Put a couple logs on tonight and cooked 3 more pizza's for supper. I didn't get but 2 slices last night. The best pizza's yet!
        I've got a whole chicken in the oven right now cooking in a cast iron skillet with the cavity stuffed with fresh herbs.
        This is fun stuff.
        With a hot oven this evening it took very little time to get up to cooking heat.
        Going to put a pork shoulder in tomorrow morning and slow cook with low retained heat.

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        • #5
          Re: Got it too hot last night! 2nd time

          My new home built oven has a soapstone floor, and I too burned the first 3 pizzas like you Bama (unfortunately, I then ran out of dough!). Has anyone else installed soapstone as the cooking surface and do you have any tips? I'm tempted to take out the soapstone and install firebrick--assuming that this solves the problem--but am curious whether the burn problem is more related to making the fire on the cook surface and overheating the base rather than the nature of the base itself. Any suggestions?

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          • #6
            Re: Got it too hot last night! 2nd time

            Originally posted by luca View Post
            My new home built oven has a soapstone floor, and I too burned the first 3 pizzas like you Bama (unfortunately, I then ran out of dough!). Has anyone else installed soapstone as the cooking surface and do you have any tips? I'm tempted to take out the soapstone and install firebrick--assuming that this solves the problem--but am curious whether the burn problem is more related to making the fire on the cook surface and overheating the base rather than the nature of the base itself. Any suggestions?
            What temp are you at? Heat is heat, shouldn't make much difference on the product. Last night, after the dome cleared, I was ready to cook and I realized I still had the balls in the fridge. Waited 1/2 hour at room temp and I cooked the best pizza to date. Forgot to shoot the floor but I am thinking it would have been around 700 deg (usually I cook at 750). It went a little slower but worth it.
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            • #7
              Re: Got it too hot last night! 2nd time

              I used soapstone for the floor because it has the highest heat retention capacity of any material, even firebrick. So the temperature got to 950+ degrees (my laser thermometer maxed out!) I put the pizzas in around 770 degrees after waiting 20 minutes, but that was obviously too hot, and I burned another! I'm thinking I may have to "cool" the stone with a wet cloth, since letting the fire get low cools the overall oven temperature.

              You can see my floor and build at:
              Pictures by Conteparker - Photobucket

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              • #8
                Re: Got it too hot last night! 2nd time

                Originally posted by luca View Post
                I'm thinking I may have to "cool" the stone with a wet cloth, since letting the fire get low cools the overall oven temperature.
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                Just learn how your oven behaves. You should be able to let the fire " go low" and still maintain a good hearth temp. If it takes a while for your hearth to get to temp for pizza just plan for it. The fact that you are on the high side is a good thing!
                Check out my pictures here:
                http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/les-build-4207.html

                If at first you don't succeed... Skydiving isn't for you.

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                • #9
                  Re: Got it too hot last night! 2nd time

                  Soapstone is much more conductive then firebrick, therefore it will transfer more heat to your pizza at a given temperature. That said 770 doesn't seem like it should lead to excessive burning, that leads me to think the issues aren't with your oven, but your dough, shaping, toping, bake time, and expectations about high temperature pizza.

                  High temperature Neapolitan pizza is a very different animal then american pizza, even most pizza sold in America as Neapolitan isn't even close. At extreme temperatures sugar can lead to burning. Malted flour can lead to burning. Low hydration dough can lead to burning. Skins formed too thick can lead to burning. Long bake times can lead to burning. Even if everything is right many american do not consider real Neapolitan pizza "done". They over cook it trying to achieve a dryer and crisper product...which leads to burning, lol.

                  So tell us more about your dough and workflow.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Got it too hot last night! 2nd time

                    Not much to tell; I'm using Peter Rhinehart's 65% moisture recipe with King Arthur all purpose flour. I've tried overnight cold rises as well as 3-4 hour day of preparation short rises. Today for example, I started making the dough ala Peter at 2 pm and fired the oven at 3. I'll be making pizzas somewhere around 7pm when everyone is good and hungry. My plan today is to cool the floor with a damp cloth to 650 as 770 definitely burned my last batch. On the plus side, my pizzas did cook in about 90-120 seconds, so the heat is definitely there!!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Got it too hot last night! 2nd time

                      Cooked up a batch last night, and they came out perfect! My new technique is to move the fire off of the soapstone ASAP so it doesn't overheat, and I cooked the pizza farther from the heat (on a section that registered 650 degrees); any hotter than that and they want to burn. I don't think I can do a true Neapolitan pizza if the floor temp is any hotter. Thanks for all of the input!

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                      • #12
                        Re: Got it too hot last night! 2nd time

                        Happy to hear you have a result you like!

                        I think you will need a higher temperature to do a true Neapolitan pizza, but you will also need a Neapolitan dough to go along with it. Your current dough is not made for a high temperature oven, it is closer to a new York style dough, and cooked at 650 I'd assume your result is too.
                        Last edited by shuboyje; 09-01-2012, 10:23 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Got it too hot last night! 2nd time

                          That's the first time I've heard that the doughs are that different! I would like to do a true Neopolitan (that's why I made it so hot two fires ago) but the risks seem to be not worth it. I've tried 00 Italian flour before, but never saw much difference for the cost, so I've stuck with KA. Do you know what the ingredient(s) are that would make Italian flour stand up to a 750+ degree floor temp?!

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                          • #14
                            Re: Got it too hot last night! 2nd time

                            The Italian 00 flours are unmalted. Malt is a sugar and a source of browning. At high temperature it is a source of burning. My personal experience is that a malted flour can work, but you don't want to add any other sugar to the dough, and you need a high hydration to help prevent burning

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                            • #15
                              Re: Got it too hot last night! 2nd time

                              Glad to hear you got it under control and didn't remove the soapstone. Soapstone is a great surface for cooking for just the reasons you are having problems. As pointed-out previously, soapstone has better heat transfer characteristics and transfers the heat faster than firebrick. It's kinda like the difference in driving a Ferrari and a Ford Taurus. It takes some getting used to. You have a great cooking surface, play with it and see what works first. You obviously can cook pizza at lower temperature than the rest of us with a firebrick surface. Don't worry, be happy.
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