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Help - Burnt pizza bottom!!

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  • Help - Burnt pizza bottom!!

    Hi all, ok I'll try to explain as best I can

    I have cooked 7 nights about 15 pizza per night, and the last 3 nights I have had burnt pizza bottoms/dough problems (I am making Neapolitan pies).

    Dough formula:
    flour 100% (80-90%pastry-10-20%bread)
    water 66, 63, 60, 61%
    salt 2.7%
    fresh yeast 0.2% (average)

    All room temp rise, 2 hour bulk followed by 6-8 hour balled until cooking time. First day was over-proofed but had no burning problems. I hand mix with three 5-min rest periods at the end.

    I slid pizza in at a 440șC hearth temp, steam escaped, turned at 30secs, again at 60 and out at 90. Perfect pizza, leoparding and all (pic attached)

    Did that routine happily for 3 more day, then I got burning day 4-5-6, having to cook the pizzas at the oven opening where the floor is around 370șC.

    The best I can describe it is like this. When I have proper dough, you get tiny air bubbles that fill up on the pizza bottom, effectively "raising" the pizza off the cooking floor, sort of like bubble-pack or a waffle grid. This allows only the little bubbles to be in contact with the floor, and you have airflow to reduce burning. You only get black spots where the tiny bubbles are, the rest is golden.

    Last three nights, those little bubbles burst and therefore the pizza lay flat on the floor, and had massive burning (burnt halos where the bubbles burst), and burnt where the pizza was flattest on the floor (anyone ever noticed this?). The nice bubbles that don't burst probably have a tighter gluten structure?!?)

    The gluten development hasn't been good either; the dough has become watery when stretched out (thin parts will shine), and toppings will wet it and have it stick to the peel or create holes when in the oven (this is a mess).


    Can this all be a mixing problem? I changed my technique ever so slightly (but then again I work by feel usually not being a machine mixer).

    We can't afford a mixer right now, and truth be told, I have never had this problem this persistently. I though first it was yeast freshness, then too little bread flour in my mix (but my first four days were fine with my flour formulation - can't get caputo here), but now I'm at a loss.

    We're in the final stages of testing, opening in about two weeks and now I've gotten nervous.

    Any help and/or ideas will be greatly appreciated. Sorry for rambling on, but for the third night I have lived out my nightmares with no way to fix them (and with patrons expecting great pizza).

    Tenorio
    Attached Files
    May your Margheritas be always light and fluffy.

  • #2
    Re: Help - Burnt pizza bottom!!

    I had the same problem. Went through many frustrating cycles. Simply could not figure out why some pizzas burned and others did not. I ended up watching a lot of youtube videos to watch how the pros did it. What I found was that the pros pay special attention to ensure that there is a minimal amount of flour on the bottom of the pizza. My problem was that I was so afraid that the pizza was going to stick to the peel that I put way too much flour on the peel. When I move the pizza from the peel to the hearth, all that flour ended up between the hearth and the pizza dough. In the end, it was the excess flour that was burning and causing the crust to burn. Once I started tapping all excess flour off of the peel before moving the dough onto it, I rarely burn a pizza. If I burn a pizza now, it is usually the first of the night. Another secret is to make sure that when you rotate the pizza that you do not move it around on the hearth. Keep it in the same location. When you put the dough on the hearth, you immediately start taking heat out of the hearth. If you move the pizza during rotation, you are moving the dough to a hotter part of the hearth risking bottom crust burn. One more thought is to consider letting the hearth cool until it is in the mid 700 degree F range. When I try to cook pizzas at higher temperatures, I found that the risk of burning the crust was simply too high. Hope this helps!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Help - Burnt pizza bottom!!

      Thanks Tusr,

      My oven's heating up as I type, so in a while I will be able to put your suggestion into practice (I always rotate the pizza to the same spot).

      I think relative humidity here has skyrocketed and may be affecting my dough (or maybe I'm grasping at straws)...
      May your Margheritas be always light and fluffy.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Help - Burnt pizza bottom!!

        440c = 884f sounds a bit on the hot side for the dough I mix up (68percent hydration). I like to run my oven at about 700f and it cooks a pie in under 2 minutes. golden brown with some leapording.






        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Help - Burnt pizza bottom!!

          Tenorino, you have a Private Message
          Lee B.
          DFW area, Texas, USA

          If you are thinking about building a brick oven, my advice is Here.
          Our One Meter Pompeii Oven album is here.
          An album showing our Thermal Breaks is Here.

          I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Help - Burnt pizza bottom!!

            Joey, very nice looking pizza's...I'm with you, 700f is the perfect temp.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Help - Burnt pizza bottom!!

              Originally posted by JoeyVelderrain View Post
              440c = 884f sounds a bit on the hot side for the dough I mix up (68percent hydration). I like to run my oven at about 700f and it cooks a pie in under 2 minutes. golden brown with some leapording.
              Thanks Joey, nice pies!

              At 750F and under I can do fine. I just don't know why my first days I WAS able to cook at around 830F without burning. I don't know where I veered off track...

              I find it easier to keep the oven floor at 830+ over the entire surface, than at 750F and lower. At lower temps, with 51" internal diameter, the middle and back near coals will be at 750 but sides will be at 700, too far from the small flame.

              At roaring flame covering halfway+ across the dome, I can keep a pretty steady 800+ floor average....
              May your Margheritas be always light and fluffy.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Help - Burnt pizza bottom!!

                Originally posted by Lburou View Post
                Tenorino, you have a Private Message
                Thanks Lee, I replied and expanded!!
                May your Margheritas be always light and fluffy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Help - Burnt pizza bottom!!

                  This has been what's been happening at over 770F+ aprox....
                  Attached Files
                  May your Margheritas be always light and fluffy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Help - Burnt pizza bottom!!

                    Hi Ten, I have a 60" oven and I understand how the perimeter can be a little cooler than the center of the oven. That said, I still keep my oven temp. down in the 650 to 750F range during cooking pizza. Maybe I'm a novice and can't manage the pies at the higher temp but I get the same result at the higher temps. If you feel you need to cook at those higher temps, you can lift the pizza up to the dome to do the final browning once the bottom is done. You also might try raising the hydration level to 70% and see if that is better.
                    Our Facebook Page:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stoneh...60738907277443

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                    • #11
                      Re: Help - Burnt pizza bottom!!

                      Originally posted by lwood View Post
                      Hi Ten, I have a 60" oven and I understand how the perimeter can be a little cooler than the center of the oven. That said, I still keep my oven temp. down in the 650 to 750F range during cooking pizza. Maybe I'm a novice and can't manage the pies at the higher temp but I get the same result at the higher temps. If you feel you need to cook at those higher temps, you can lift the pizza up to the dome to do the final browning once the bottom is done. You also might try raising the hydration level to 70% and see if that is better.
                      Thanks Lwood, you were a big help figuring out my initial fires. Now after many many firings, I KNOW my oven is poorly insulated (except for the floor). I will have to live with it until the operation can afford a fix.

                      I don't have to cook at 800+, and I think most people like pizza cooked at around 750 or lower. It's just that I love the 1:30 pies, perfectly puffed and creamy. Although for this business I think I will have to make what people like.

                      My recipe is 66% hydration, but can't knead the 14+ lbs properly by hand, I'm messing up the gluten. So I've gone down to 58% and having an easier time with the hand-mixing. My third big day I did 59% and had no burning or sticking. I guess I'll figure it out sooner than later. I at least understood why my doughs were shining when I stretched them out (broken gluten) and was able to fix that!!!

                      I do lift it up, but more than I'd like. Maybe I'm just damn fussy.
                      May your Margheritas be always light and fluffy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Help - Burnt pizza bottom!!

                        Things will get better with experience. The dough kneading situation is very typical, stay at the lower hydration levels until you get more comfortable with handling the dough. I have just recently moved up the hydration level on my dough to 70% because I like the light and puffy crust it gives me. But boy did my kitchen help complain. They got used to it... Lower hydration will help you stabilize your process and be more consistent. When opening a business that's what you need. I'm getting very picky about pizza these days also and want it perfect, so don't feel bad. That pickynesss is what makes you strive to get better.
                        Our Facebook Page:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stoneh...60738907277443

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Help - Burnt pizza bottom!!

                          Originally posted by lwood View Post
                          Things will get better with experience. The dough kneading situation is very typical, stay at the lower hydration levels until you get more comfortable with handling the dough. I have just recently moved up the hydration level on my dough to 70% because I like the light and puffy crust it gives me. But boy did my kitchen help complain. They got used to it... Lower hydration will help you stabilize your process and be more consistent. When opening a business that's what you need. I'm getting very picky about pizza these days also and want it perfect, so don't feel bad. That pickynesss is what makes you strive to get better.
                          Thanks for the encouragement!

                          Are you operating commercially as well? Or do you just have "help" in the kitchen?
                          May your Margheritas be always light and fluffy.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Help - Burnt pizza bottom!!

                            Yes, we are a resort in the Philippines http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stoneh...60738907277443. Right now we are just getting started, opened in Dec. Yes, I have kitchen help, it's a team of three people.
                            Last edited by lwood; 03-21-2011, 04:24 PM.
                            Our Facebook Page:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stoneh...60738907277443

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Help - Burnt pizza bottom!!

                              Originally posted by lwood View Post
                              Yes, we are a resort in the Philippines Welcome to Facebook - Log In, Sign Up or Learn More. Right now we are just getting started, opened in Dec. Yes, I have kitchen help, it's a team of three people.
                              That's a lovely place you have there!! Congratulations!!!

                              I find that I need my dough "over-proofed" and full of gas, to get the light pizza I want.... I'm wondering who opens up their pies at double volume from balling... I still find the dough fights me at that point. When I'm about triple size and lots of gas, the dough lets me have my way (although I can't throw it around for show more than once).... But that's another topic.

                              I'm thinking that my floor is also hotter (although I always use my IR thermometer). Maybe when I just started, I was measuring reflected heat from the flames more than true brick saturation.... I know that happens with IR guns. If I have a 700 floor, but feed the fire and have huge flames around the dome, it will read 800 some seconds later.
                              Last edited by Tenorio74; 03-27-2011, 12:19 PM. Reason: added comments
                              May your Margheritas be always light and fluffy.

                              Comment

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