Old 01-08-2011, 01:15 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: Burnt crusts

Just as mixing dough by the cup is imprecise and invites problems, so is trying to proof bread or decide when an oven is ready by time. There are way too many variables for time to be consistent. And your oven, the wood (and size) you burn, how long you fire, etc. are all factors.

Your comments suggest you don't have an infrared thermometer, which is nice, but IMO not necessary. You quite simply want to wait until the hearth temperature reaches the appropriate temperature (which is a function of your personal taste, the dough, the style of pie (thicker/thinner/etc). A good rule of thumb which I have repeated way too many times on this forum is to toss about a quarter to half teaspoon of flour or semolina onto the hearth. And count by seconds with the toss at zero. The flour will suddenly turn black at some point. The goal on my oven with my dough etc. is for the flour to turn black at count "three". If you toss the flour in and it instantly turns black (and I am guessing yours will) it is WAY TOO HOT! Counts from 2 to 5 typically work okay.

There is NO WAY to tell how hot the hearth is without doing something like the above, having an infrared thermometer, or having a lot of experience. And if you don't have any idea how hot the hearth is how can you expect to get consistent results? You can't!

I have been doing this for six years and I always check the hearth (with flour) before I start baking pizza because I don't see any point in guessing and serving pizza that is below my ability. (Once you are too the right range it should stay there a while...but if it the oven gets slow the flour approach also gives you an idea how cold the oven is so you can rake coals back over the floor, recharge, and get back in the zone.
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:31 PM
david s's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Townsville, Nth Queensland,Australia
Posts: 5,158
Default Re: Burnt crusts

I agree, I also use the semolina on the floor as a temp. gauge. All the fancy electronic temp equipment is not necessary. For baking and roasting the fist in the centre of the oven is also highly reliable. Hold your arm in for 3 secs before discomfort and your oven will be arounf 250 C
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Old 01-08-2011, 03:59 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: Burnt crusts

Hi David!

Good rule of thumb! Only weakness is variation in "discomfort" but...as for semolina, a bit of experience can help one hone in on the right answer.

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