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DimTex 01-25-2010 10:04 AM

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?

larrya1049 01-25-2010 10:30 AM

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.


Wiley 01-25-2010 10:35 AM

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,

telehort 01-25-2010 11:42 AM

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.

texassourdough 01-25-2010 12:35 PM

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!

shuboyje 01-25-2010 07:02 PM

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

vintagemx0 01-25-2010 07:24 PM

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.


dmun 01-25-2010 07:40 PM

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.

david s 01-25-2010 11:22 PM

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.

texassourdough 01-27-2010 10:19 AM

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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