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Can an oven be too hot for Pizza

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  • Can an oven be too hot for Pizza

    I've been wondering what is the secret to the right temperature for the oven. Mine has plenty (900+ degrees) but I've found my crust burning before the cheese melts or browns and the sauce thickens. Should I build a smaller fire or is there some other variable I am not taking into account?

  • #2
    Re: Can an oven be too hot for Pizza

    Hey Tex you may want to try a higher percentage of water in your dough. Also try using less sauce and you can hold the pie up close to the dome, to brown the cheese, with the peel before pulling it out. You may also want to try cooking the sauce longer to thicken it some if it's really watery.

    Ciao
    Larry

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    • #3
      Re: Can an oven be too hot for Pizza

      Dim Tex,
      This is a part of learning your WFO. I would not even consider placing a pizza made using my recipe into my WFO at that temperature. Balancing the recipe (especially hydration of the dough) with temp (both hearth and dome) is somewhat variable WFO to WFO. Find that sweet spot for your oven and you will produce consistant quality.

      I would suggest you wait a bit and let the temps moderate; try placing the pizza with a hearth temp of 700 F and see what results you get. I am not ashamed to say I cook pizza at a hearth of 700 and dome running around 800. Others may be able to do 900F but I can't do that in my WFO using my recipe.

      Hope this helps,
      Wiley

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      • #4
        Re: Can an oven be too hot for Pizza

        Wiley - I do the same with my recipe as well. I have tried in the 850-900 degree range, but find i have much more success in the 750 range.

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        • #5
          Re: Can an oven be too hot for Pizza

          The proper temperature for the oven is a mix of many things. In general the thinner the crust and the sparser the toppings the hotter you can (and should) bake it. Conversely, thicker crusts and more toppings need lower temps and longer cooking times. If you try to bake a conventional (say Pizza Hut) pie at 900 degrees it will burn on the outside long before the center is baked so you will get burned and raw dough. Most of us seem to shoot for around 750 (with a range from 700 to 800) on the hearth and say 850 to 950 for the dome. That will give you about two minutes for thin crusts to bake.

          Good Luck!
          Jay

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          • #6
            Re: Can an oven be too hot for Pizza

            I agree there are variables that effect this. I use an 80% hydration dough and hate when my hearth drops bellow 900F. Using a more traditional dough it takes a good balance to have everything cook evenly at these temperatures, but it is doable in my oven at least. I've used as low as 60% hydration without burning

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            • #7
              Re: Can an oven be too hot for Pizza

              I put a pie in only a few minutes after pushing the fire off to the side and sweeping the hearth clean. The bottom burned badly. I've since then waited about 30 minutes after moving the fire (maintaining a live-fire on the side) and have not had that happen since. This is a slightly different problem than explained above, but one to consider.

              Ken

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              • #8
                Re: Can an oven be too hot for Pizza

                I agree with Ken: I find that moving the fire to the side as it burns down, well before time to cook, reduces the burnt bottom problem. There's still lots of heat in the floor bricks as long as you keep small wood burning on top of the bed of coals.
                My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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                • #9
                  Re: Can an oven be too hot for Pizza

                  Wood fired pizza is a bit like the first pancake (never the best one) some folk use a damp cotton mop to clear the floor of ash and this cools the floor a bit. I usually treat the first pizza as a bit of a test and the bottom usually burns a bit, by the third pizza the oven iscooking just where I want it.
                  Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Can an oven be too hot for Pizza

                    There is a simple test for evaluating the temerature of the hearth. Toss a quarter or eighth teaspoon of semolina or flour on the hearth and count by second. It will sit for some time and then suddenly turn black. If that time is around 3 seconds the hearth is about perfect temperature. If it turns in one second it will burn the bottoms before the top can bake - at least for conventional doughs but I doubt even 80 percent doughs can withstand that heat!

                    If it takes more than say five seconds the hearth has cooled a lot and you probably should rake some coals over the hearth to recheat it a bit.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Can an oven be too hot for Pizza

                      Pizza in my WFO often burns when I have added an additional log or two of wood. I have learned to read the fire over time and aim at getting quite a consistently good charring effect underneath. I also make the dough quite wet which also seems to help.

                      To answer your question, yes I believe the oven temp can definitely be too hot but over time when you learn the workings of your particular oven this shouldn't be a problem. I rather start with a lower the temp and increase it as necessary than trying to get it too hot to begin with. I am a "back" fire man BTW!!

                      Rossco
                      / Rossco

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                      • #12
                        Re: Can an oven be too hot for Pizza

                        I have to add a funny story here.

                        My three year old got a hold of my thermocouple reader and switched the units to C. I not knowing this got the oven and read 520 degrees. Massively under fired? I loaded a bunch of wood in the oven and got it up to 875 degrees. It would have to do. When I put the first pizza in it was like a storm cloud came over it. It blackened from the outside in towards the center and at about 10 seconds it burst into flames.

                        At that point my buddy asked if I really wanted the reader in C and we all had a good laugh. Now I know you can get a pizza oven to 1600 F and yes it's too hot to cook pizza.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Can an oven be too hot for Pizza

                          Man, I might have to try that just for the entertainment.

                          Website: http://keithwiley.com
                          WFO Webpage: http://keithwiley.com/brickPizzaOven.shtml
                          Thread: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f21/...ttle-7878.html

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                          • #14
                            Re: Can an oven be too hot for Pizza

                            Ha enz I believe has provided the definitive answer to this question.

                            If there is any confusion still out there ... YES - a pizza oven can be too hot to bake pizza (or any other bread for that matter)!!!!!

                            Still sniggering BTW - great story!!

                            Rossco
                            / Rossco

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Can an oven be too hot for Pizza

                              Now I know you can get a pizza oven to 1600 F and yes it's too hot to cook pizza.
                              We are, after all, using the identical materials that potters use to build wood fired kilns. There's no reason you can't take them up over a thousand degrees, but I'm surprised you can do it without a forced air blast furnace effect.
                              My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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