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sarah h 01-30-2008 05:03 PM

The Highs & Lows or Heat Management
I havenít posted for a while, so first, the high point Ė

A few weeks ago, we got our insulating blanket installed and had the first fire with it on Ė wow! Even without a vermiculite layer, does that ever make a difference! The coals from a white-dome fire went out around 8 PM and even though the temperature was far below freezing, by the next day at 5 PM the inside of the oven was still not just warm, but hot.

And now for the lows Ö

I donít know whether itís our inexperience or various winter factors, or both, but the cooking was dismal that day Ė

We ruined a batch of bagels.
Ended up cooking the bread the indoor oven when we couldnít seem to get the FWO heat right.
I burned my arm (scab gone, scars still fading).
The pizzas would NOT slide off the peel.
We burned the first two.
The next ones were undercooked.

Disgusted with my incompetence, I gave up and thatís been it. I turned my attention to reading some great books, perusing on-line seed catalogues, conducting herb research, hunting for reputable dog kennels and studying a map of the ski runs at Whistler (Iím headed there for Easter).

I will get Ďback in the saddleí again soon. I know the oven itself is functioning just fine and we will eventually get a better grip on heat management, but being overly ambitious, in a rush, in the dark, in bitter cold, just does not work. As for getting pizza off a peel without inadvertently folding it into a calzone or smushing it accordion-fashion while dumping the toppings all over the oven floor, Iím not sure if Iíll ever master that!

Now Iím going to look through posts to see what youíve all been doing in the last month.


gjbingham 01-30-2008 06:20 PM

Re: The Highs & Lows or Heat Management
Whistler will be an awesome trip, I think. It's supposed to be really nice these days, with great night life.

Don't get too frustrated with the poor cooking results. I still deal with that on a daily basis, even with my conventional oven.

Acoma 01-30-2008 07:52 PM

Re: The Highs & Lows or Heat Management
Sarah, sorry to hear about the oven experience. Practice, practice. Also, there are some good threads on how to approach this issue.

As for Whistler, it is our family's favorite place to board. As for favorite city, Vancuver, B.C. What a combo!

asudavew 01-30-2008 08:02 PM

Re: The Highs & Lows or Heat Management
I know nothing about whistler. And not much more about snow.

I went skiing once......
New Mexico...

Doesn't skiing require practice, patience, and more practice, and more patience?
I wasn't good at it, but I sure had fun trying to figure it out.
The journey...... i love that part.

Life's a roller coaster... enjoy the ride.
Can't wait to see pics of the skiing and the perfect pizzas


Frances 01-31-2008 01:47 AM

Re: The Highs & Lows or Heat Management
Don't feel downhearted Sarah!

My experiences haven't been uniformly successful either. Getting the oven to the right heat and the dough risen at the same time is a real challenge.

What I've worked out so far is: leave plenty of time for rising and then if the oven doesn't cool down fast enough, put the dough in the fridge for a couple of hours... makes everything a bit more flexible.

For sticking pizzas, maybe try smaller ones to begin with. Probably lots of people will disagree with me on this one, but I find that if you add some wholemeal flour to the dough (or even a lot - I LIKE wholemeal :)) it sticks less. Admittedly it doesn't go as thin either. And wholemeal flour is also great for putting under the pizza dough while shaping it.

Not cooking in the dark and the cold has to be an absolute winner, great advice for any WFO user! ;)

Acoma 01-31-2008 10:18 AM

Re: The Highs & Lows or Heat Management
Sarah, rice flower or something mentioned in previous thread speaks of flours to help with pizza release methods. Take some time to locate it, unless someone provides the link to that thread. Trust me, worth the read and benifit.

dmun 01-31-2008 12:36 PM

Re: The Highs & Lows or Heat Management
Sorry about your injury, I hope it heals quickly and well. Burns are a nuisance.

Here's the thread on release agents:

arevalo53anos 01-31-2008 01:37 PM

Re: The Highs & Lows or Heat Management
I use a little corn flour or semolina between the dough and the peel.
However, the big secret is to shake your peel and sligthly move the pizza just before it goes to the oven.


n2iko 01-31-2008 01:46 PM

Re: The Highs & Lows or Heat Management
When I first started making pizza getting it off the paddle was a chore. We developed a technique using a piece of monofilament fishing line wound on my two fists. Anything to save your beautiful creation! :D


asudavew 01-31-2008 01:51 PM

Re: The Highs & Lows or Heat Management
scatter corn meal on peel
Place dough.
shake it, make sure it's loose

Sauce dough.

shake it, make sure it's loose

Add cheese

shake it, make sure it's loose

Add toppings.

shake it, make sure it's loose

Head toward oven...
keep shaking

Place peel on oven floor,

Pull peel out quickly.
The pizza should sit right on the floor.
Practice with just dough and no toppings.
Make pitas.

Good luck Sarah!!


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