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aeneas1 12-14-2007 08:07 AM

Burnt / Overdone Crust Bottom...
do any of you folks ever have problems with the bottom of your pizzas turning too black while cooking? i'm not talking about expected charring but, rather, very black bottoms. i know that over-fermentation might case this due to the increased sugars caramelizing or even excessive bench flour - but are there any other obvious problems that might cause this?

so far it's been hit and miss for me - i haven't had any problems with the top of the pizza cooking but much too often the bottoms become just too blackened even when the rest of the pie is perfect. any thoughts?

asudavew 12-14-2007 10:02 AM

Re: Burnt / Overdone Crust Bottom...
It would help to know what procedures you are using while firing your oven.

Such as: how long of a firing, how hot, how much wood, etc.

Do you have a way to measure floor temps?

How long are you cooking the pies?

Do you allow the oven to rest a bit between firing and cooking? The resting period helps to even the heat out.

After my dome goes completely white. The floor is very hot. If I put pizzas in at that time, they will burn on the bottom as well. Sometimes I just watch the bottom. When it is done to my liking, I lift the pie up with my peel, and hold it close to the top of the dome, allowing the top of my pizza to "catch up" with the bottom.


CanuckJim 12-14-2007 02:04 PM

Re: Burnt / Overdone Crust Bottom...

It might be helpful to know what dough formula you're using as well. Some enrichments, additions, are not suited to high heat WFO baking. Are you using in infrared gun? If not, probably time to get one.


edschmidt 12-14-2007 03:09 PM

Re: Burnt / Overdone Crust Bottom...
It also woud be helpful to know what you are using on the bottom of your peel/pizzas. I found that cornmeal has lots of sugar and tends to burn. I switched to rice flour and now have no problems. I also mop the floor with a medium wet towel to drop the floor temps prior to placing the pizza's. Last thing is that when I initially place the pizza in its not overly close to the coals. After the crust begins to set and I feel safe sliding the peel underneath. I rotate the pizza and place it a little closer to the coals.

aeneas1 12-16-2007 04:30 AM

Re: Burnt / Overdone Crust Bottom...
thanks for the replies guys and i apologize for not being more specific. i've tried many different formulations and have had burning with all - frankly, i believe it must have something to do with the heat balance in my oven.

types of formulations tested:

flour - caputo 00 pizzeria
hydrations from 58%-65%
2.5% starter (camaldoli or ischia) or .5% fresh yeast
2.7% sea salt
24 hour room temp rise @ 68f-72f
24 hr cold rise w/ 3 hr room temp proof
48 hr cold rise w/ 3hr room-temp proof
240-260gr dough balls

mix 75% flour 3-5 min, 30 min autolyse, 20 minute knead with addition of remaining flour
oven floor 800f-900f
oven wall 6" mark 900f-1000f+
cook time 45-180 sec

dough - perfect extensibilty, very easy shaping, great oven spring, great flavor and texture. minimum amount of bench flour used during shaping and on peel for transfer to oven.

here's a photo of the type of burning i'm getting much too frequently:

types of charring i've also achieved, which i want, but much too INfrequently:

note: i obtained the above photos from different sources on the net - they aren't mine but very closely resemble my experiences.

CanuckJim 12-16-2007 07:08 AM

Re: Burnt / Overdone Crust Bottom...

This kind of thing tends to be tough to answer, because all our ovens have their own personalities. It may be that you have a serious hot spot in your oven floor, but I doubt it. Baking pizzas at above 800 F on the floor takes practice. Given your formulas, I'd say, for a start at least, to begin your pizzas with a floor temp of 750 F. Once you're confident at that heat, you can move up. You should be rotating your pizzas to make sure one side does not get overbaked, while the opposite is under baked. Do you have a round peel for this purpose? If not, you should probably get one.

Hope that's some help.


dmun 12-16-2007 07:41 AM

Re: Burnt / Overdone Crust Bottom...
I get that burnt pizza effect if I fire the oven longer than when it first turns white, and then don't push the fire to the side at least 20 minutes before cooking pizza.

wlively 12-16-2007 09:52 AM

Re: Burnt / Overdone Crust Bottom...
Agree with others in that you really need to know what your floor temp is.

Once my dome is 1/3-1/4 white (approx 1.5-2hrs) I push the fire to the back, wrapping it around if I have a big one. I then brush the floor clean and soak a terry shop towel and mop the pizza area. Let it sit for 10 minutes and start the pizzas. My floor thermocouple (center of brick, 9 inches from dome) has never been above 350 deg F at this point and the one time I used the gun to shoot a temp of the floor, I got about 600-650 if I remember correctly. Pizza's always under 2 minutes done and never had a burned one yet.

RTflorida 12-16-2007 11:45 AM

Re: Burnt / Overdone Crust Bottom...
That is pretty seriously burned on the bottom even for the 800-900 degree range. Personally I prefer making pizza in that range, I'm getting the perfect char on both the top and bottom in about 90-105 seconds.
I tried the 750-800 range and it just wasn't to my liking.
Also, I never let my pizzas sit more than 30 seconds without rotating at this temp. Usually turning twice for a 10-12 pie, three times for anything larger.
I shoot the floor temp immediately before and after each pizza and again before the next.....and regulate by raking coals over any cooled down spots between pizzas.
Just my opinion, but I have to question the accuracy of you tempuratures - could they be higher than you think? Also, are you rotating the pizza a couple of times at these temps? I think mine would burn too, if I left them in the same spot for a 1 1/2 - 2 minutes.


aeneas1 12-16-2007 05:23 PM

Re: Burnt / Overdone Crust Bottom...
very helpful replies folks and much appreciated....

to answer some of the questions:

- i'm fairly certain my temperature readings are correct unless there is something very wrong with my laser thermometer, which i doubt.

- i do not let the pies sit in one place longer than 15-20 secs and always rotate. the severe burning seems to occur almost on contact with the oven floor. because of this i first assumed that it was excessive bench flour that was becoming singed on contact.

- i have an arsenal of professional pizza tools including several perforated and non-perforated "turning" peels.

- i have never mopped the oven floor. ever. just good brushings from time to time with my copper-bristled brush. could it be that what i think is a clean oven floor is actually one that is covered with soot or ash? perhaps this is the case but i have to say the floor appears spotless at time of bake. and, also, if this was the case how would one explain the few bakes that come out perfectly? i'm certain that it's not a matter of the good bakes happening to hit the only "clean" spot in the oven.

- as far as having an excessively hot spot in the center of the oven is concerned due to where the fire was started, this isn't an issue in my case. i've been experimenting with my oven for use in a commercial application and have not let it cool in the last month or so. each day the oven is at about 500f-600f when i begin my testing - with the old logs and ashes from the previous day already pushed to one side, i add some more wood and it gets up to temp rather quickly. i do remove some ash before adding new logs (although there is not a great deal to remove) and brush the floor well.

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