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What to do if I have no "broil" element in my oven -- 2 stones? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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What to do if I have no "broil" element in my oven -- 2 stones?

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  • What to do if I have no "broil" element in my oven -- 2 stones?

    I am new to this forum, so please excuse of this question is redundant or whatnot.

    My top element in my kitchen old-school oven is burnt out (and thus I can't "broil"), and this I think is the culprit as to why my pizzas are turning out stiff, un-bubbly, and overly-chewy. I am using the Germania flour and the beer dough recipe from Peter's Pizza Quest blog.

    Do you think purchasing a 2nd stone (my first is rectangular, filling about 3/4 of my rack) will solve things, creating more heat with its "stone roof" (if I preheat the oven at 500 for an hour)? Do you think I can just do this with tiles, maybe?


  • #2
    Re: What to do if I have no "broil" element in my oven -- 2 stones?

    You dont need a broiler to pre heat your stone
    I just leave it in the oven and let it his temp
    I have recently gone to 2 stones for 2 pizzas at once and it does seem to work better
    Bottom stone pizza is never as cooked as the top.


    • #3
      Re: What to do if I have no "broil" element in my oven -- 2 stones?

      Ted, first off, I highly suggest walking before running. Experimental flours in non traditional, elevated hydration/high sugar doughs are not good jumping off points for the beginning pizza maker. Get your hands on a sensible recipe, use that to learn the in and outs of your oven and then go crazy with non traditional approaches.

      Secondly, if at all possible, try to fix the oven. You will save yourself immeasurable angst by having a working broiler. Nothing is harder than getting great pizzas out of a bottom heat source only setup.

      One can achieve puffy tender crusts by ramping up the oil in the dough, but, generally speaking, it's preferable to achieve them with fast bake times- fast bakes where the top and the bottom of the pizza are baked in the same time. To achieve a fast bake in a bottom heat scenario, you need three things- a considerable bump in temp (higher than the dial goes), a relatively unconductive hearth and the darkest ceiling material you can get.

      The considerable bump in temp involves an oven mod. Cleaning cycle hacks have their fans, but I prefer covering the oven probe with an insulating material, which, in turn, tricks the oven into thinking it's cooler than it actually is. It really depends on how high you're willing to go, but, in a bottom heat only scenario, the higher the better. If you can push the oven, to say, 750 f., with the right hearth and ceiling materials, you could be looking at some amazing pizzas.

      In a regular oven with a broiler, the goal is to normally use highly conductive materials for the hearth- to speed up the bottom bake in order to match the intense heat you're getting from the broiler. In a bottom heat scenario, both the ceiling and the hearth have to get very hot. A typical baking stone, at these temperatures, will burn the bottom of the pizza before the radiant heat from the ceiling will have a chance to brown the top of the pie, so you have to handicap the hearth by using a less conductive material.

      One of the more anemic hearth materials is quarry tile. The thin-ish (3/8") cast stones you find at walmart are also notoriously weak. The problem with these materials, though is that they aren't very durable, especially as you ramp up the temps. Firebrick is thermally more durable, but, because it's so thick, it takes hours to pre-heat. Fibrament lacks conductivity as well, which is good for this scenario, but it's also thermally weak as well.

      Since quarry tile is the least expensive option, that's probably what I'd go with. If you do go with quarry tile, I'd watch the hearth like a hawk to make sure no pieces flake off and end up in the crust.

      The other advantage to quarry tile is that it normally runs a bit dark, making it a half decent emitter as a ceiling.

      Summing up, dark red quarry tiles for the hearth and ceiling and an oven mod that will push your temp to 750. Or... you can save yourself a load of time and trouble and just fix the broiler.
      Last edited by scott123; 03-06-2012, 05:10 AM.


      • #4
        Re: What to do if I have no "broil" element in my oven -- 2 stones?

        I find my top cooks quicker than the base ????
        A broiler would give me a raw crust and a burnt top .

        I just use the cheap round stone fan forced electric oven 250C
        only variation
        I have a tray of volcanic rocks sitting in the base of the oven I use to add water too when baking bread

        My results on pizzas are so good and convenient that its delaying my WFO building.
        and Im fussy, Ive tasted the best in Naples and cooked some in a friends WFO.


        • #5
          Re: What to do if I have no "broil" element in my oven -- 2 stones?

          TropicalCoasting, your situation is different from Ted's. Ted's 'old school' oven doesn't have a fan/convection. When you add convection to the mix, the air in the bottom of the oven is being cycled to the top, so the top of the pizza cooks a lot quicker.

          When you remove convection from the mix, the thermodynamics become much more one directional.

          Also, and this gets a bit subjective, but the major ingredient that makes Neapolitan pizza so wonderful is heat/bake time. Ted most likely won't hit a 90 second bake, even with a working broiler, but, with the right oven setup, he can hit 4 minutes, which, for the style he's making, imo, produces a better pizza than longer time frames.


          • #6
            Re: What to do if I have no "broil" element in my oven -- 2 stones?



            • #7
              Re: What to do if I have no "broil" element in my oven -- 2 stones?

              Scott123, what kind of insulating material do you use on the temperature probe? thanks...rock


              • #8
                Re: What to do if I have no "broil" element in my oven -- 2 stones?

                I use the broiler to heat up my pizza stone. Leave it on there for 30-45 minutes and I can get the surface around 600 degrees. That cooks pizza in four minutes as Scott suggests - which means I can leave the broiler on and get a nice char on the crust. I have toyed with turning the broiler off when I throw in the pizza -but find it's better to just increase the distance between the rack and broiler to avoid burning. With no broiler you get that anemic crust color.

                I have a cordierite pizza stone right now, which works pretty well. Agree with scott that quarry tile is rubbish in that they break too easily. I am toying with getting a piece of 3/8" steel. It is supposed to work very well. If you have access to a cutoff, I would try that. Even 1/4 inch is supposed to be good.

                I would bet you can fix that broiler element for not too much money. Replacements are less than $20 for many electric ovens.
                Last edited by deejayoh; 07-12-2013, 06:10 PM.
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                • #9
                  Re: What to do if I have no "broil" element in my oven -- 2 stones?

                  deejayoh, The question I had was for Scott123. I have a commercial gas oven that struggles to reach 500 degrees. Scott mentioned that he gets his oven hotter by covering the oven's temperature probe (inside the oven) with an insulating material. My question was, what "insulating material" do you use? Even though Scott's oven is electric, I thought this should work in any type of oven! Interesting idea! Would aluminum foil do the job with the shiny side out?...rock dude...


                  • #10
                    Re: What to do if I have no "broil" element in my oven -- 2 stones?

                    Originally posted by rock dude View Post
                    deejayoh, The question I had was for Scott123.
                    The answer I had was for the OP... but I didn't notice how old the thread was!

                    anyway, you might want to try a PM instead of dragging up old threads.
                    Last edited by deejayoh; 07-13-2013, 03:57 PM.
                    My build progress
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