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-   -   Pros and Cons to Seasoning a Pizza Stone (http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f24/pros-cons-seasoning-pizza-stone-9732.html)

cerreta 01-06-2010 12:34 AM

Pros and Cons to Seasoning a Pizza Stone
 
I have seen and read several Internet Cooking Stations that recommend and show you how to season a pizza stone.

I'm a little confused about the science behind doing it.

A pizza stone is porpous and this material enables the stone to draw moisture from a pizza and make it crisp.

However, I run a super hot grill with air temps over 600 deg and stone temps of well over 700 deg. I have burned a couple pizzas in 3 minute cook times and the pizza will stick to the stone.

Seasoning does offer a non-stick surface, which is enticing.

The question I have, is if the stone is seasoned will it still remain porpous enough to remove the moisture from a pizza and produce the cripsness?

Has anyone experimented and tried cooking pizzas on both a seasoned and non-seasoned stone? If so, plase share your observations.

splatgirl 01-06-2010 03:58 PM

Re: Pros and Cons to Seasoning a Pizza Stone
 
I have two stones and cooked on them for years in my pre-WFO days. I've NEVER had a pizza stick so I can't understand how that could be happening with a stone that hot. Why do you think it sticks?

Both my stones are ~20 years old, but have never been intentionally "seasoned". That said, they probably fall somewhere in the between seasoned and not given that they have had cheese, sauce, sugar, etc. burnt onto them and scraped off a gazillion times. I always get a crisp crust. I think it's as much or more about the temperature of the surface that the crust is in contact with as it is the porosity.
You could always buy another cheap stone to experiment with.

texassourdough 01-06-2010 04:11 PM

Re: Pros and Cons to Seasoning a Pizza Stone
 
I am with splatg. Sticking should not be a problem - unless you are getting sauce and/or cheese under the pizza or you have residual on the stone. Especially if you are really achieving 700 on the stone. (If you go much hotter you can't reasonably season it anyway for you are approaching the temperature that will clear all "normal" organic material.

It also sounds like you may be having other problems related to temp. A 700 degree hearth should cook the dough (assuming it is reasonably thin) in well less than 3 minutes. But "burned" seems excessive - again like you had something under it. that burned - and not the dough. But 600 air temp is awfully low. You aren't getting the 800 degree heat radiating on the top to caramelize the toppings. So you seem out of balance in temp profile.

You might try using parchment paper also. That should solve the sticking problem wherever it is coming from.

Good Luck!
Jay

cerreta 01-06-2010 10:08 PM

Re: Pros and Cons to Seasoning a Pizza Stone
 
I've NEVER had a pizza stick so I can't understand how that could be happening with a stone that hot. Why do you think it sticks?

You could always buy another cheap stone to experiment with.[/QUOTE]

It sticks because the bottom is burnt mostly black. When I use the metal peel to slide under the pizza, it cuts through the burnt dough leaving some left behind on the stone.

I cut cook time to 2 minutes and there is less burning on the pizza but still sticking. The stone is nearly new and I scrape and wire brush it after each use.

I like the idea of experimenting with a cheap stone, thanks.

Texas, I am cooking this in a Weber Gas grill, so holding air temps is difficults. I defineately have limitations, but I'm trying to get the best out of what I have.

I'm very pleased so far, just need to tweak a few things.
Cheers

splatgirl 01-07-2010 01:01 PM

Re: Pros and Cons to Seasoning a Pizza Stone
 
do you have sugar in your dough? or maybe a better question, what are you using for dough?
are you making your pizza directly on the stone and then putting it on the grill?

For the sake of clarity, my experience is 100% with homemade doughs. Premade, purchased dough and all bets are off, especially if you don't have the specifics on ingredients and hydration %. And just so we're on the same page...clean, dry, preheated stone, pizza transferred from peel to stone at the time of cooking, right?

The only way I could envision having a pizza crust sticking to ANY super hot surface (including a sheet pan or whatever) like you've described is if the dough as time to become stuck to the surface before it ever even starts cooking, which would basically mean either it's got (a lot) of sugar in it, stuff is leaking through it before the dough has had time to cook enough to be set, or it's so drippy wet that I can't imagine being able to handle or shape it at all nevermind getting it off the peel and onto the stone to cook in the first place.

In "normal" circumstances, the buffer of dry, bench flour under the dough that allows it to be transferred off the work surface and onto the peel and/or from the peel to the cooking surface would prevent sticking even on a moderately hot surface of any kind...meaning if it can be transferred it shouldn't stick no matter what you're cooking on and especially so at that temp.

Jay's advice about parchment is a great idea. Problem solved but the edges are likely to start on fire riteawayquick at those temps, so trim it even with the crust.

cerreta 01-07-2010 08:30 PM

Re: Pros and Cons to Seasoning a Pizza Stone
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by splatgirl (Post 76331)
do you have sugar in your dough? or maybe a better question, what are you using for dough?
are you making your pizza directly on the stone and then putting it on the grill?

For the sake of clarity, my experience is 100% with homemade doughs. Premade, purchased dough and all bets are off, especially if you don't have the specifics on ingredients and hydration %. And just so we're on the same page...clean, dry, preheated stone, pizza transferred from peel to stone at the time of cooking, right?

Yes, clean dry preheated stone with peel to stone transfer.

I tried with sugar and without. Same result. I am using the Forno Bravo recipe by weight: 500gr Molino 00 Flour, 325g water, 10g salt, 3g dry yeast (for bread machines) The store had regular and bread machine kind. Looks the same but the bread machine kind has smaller particle size. I doubt that matters. I do use the bread machine in dough mode to mix and rise the dough.

I certainly have not perfected the dough. I am having trouble getng good dough balls and proofing properly. When I formed the pizza, I get a very thin middle. Some holes that I patch with pinching. I think this may be the biggest part of my problem.

I think the grill gets too hot. Are you using a grill, oven, or WFO? I keep burner on full blast throughout the cooking process. I do not use indirect heat.

I tried another pie today and lowered the grill temp to medium for about 3 minutes, dropping air temp from 700 to 600, then I put in the pizza. It was better, but still some sticking.

I think the problem is that the bottom of the pizza cooks too fast and is literally burning. I think the burning of the dough is causing the ultrathin dough to break a little and maybe let some sauce hit the stone, making pizza stick.

I get much better taste and results from some dough that I buy from Vero Amore, a local italian pizzaria that uses Caputo 00 flour.

I have not tried using this dough on the super hot surface yet. Guess I should try that.

Thanks for your help on this. I will try to take some photos.

cerreta 01-07-2010 08:31 PM

Re: Pros and Cons to Seasoning a Pizza Stone
 
Oh, I am also using 200g dough balls which I think is too small. Vero Amore using 250g, so I'm making another batch now with the 250g weight.

What size dough ball do you use?

texassourdough 01-07-2010 08:45 PM

Re: Pros and Cons to Seasoning a Pizza Stone
 
Hi Cerreta!

I do grill pizzas but I do them straight on the grill. I don't use a stone on a grill but I do use stones in my indor oven and on my WFO. Sticking is really wierd. I don't EVER experience sticking! So it is hard to understand quite what is happening. I am trying to figure out why other people are 'sticking'!

Jay

texassourdough 01-07-2010 08:47 PM

Re: Pros and Cons to Seasoning a Pizza Stone
 
PS> I agree with splatgirl. Trim the parchement but I guarantee it should reveal the source of the sticking!
Jay

splatgirl 01-07-2010 08:59 PM

Re: Pros and Cons to Seasoning a Pizza Stone
 
That is the dough recipe that I use as well, and I have cooked it both in my WFO and on a stone in my regular oven. (an interesting experiment...same exact ingredients, completely different end product) I have only used a grill for pizza a few times, and not with this dough.

Anyway, I typically divide one 500g. flour batch into 4 balls. If I'm doing a lot of dough at once I scale them to around 280g. which works out to be closer to 3 balls per batch IIRC. I think 200 would be tricky unless you're making them small, say 8" or less, but I am certainly not the expert on that subject. I've used about 20kg. of Caputo and countless kilos of King Arthur which is my preferred flour at this point and the two perform very similarly in the WFO.
If your best guess is that they're leaking, try not stretching it so thin, saucing less and/or using less toppings. Cook just an untopped skin and see what happens. And if you haven't already done so, check out some of the youtube videos guys here have linked to for some good dough shaping videos.

pictures, yes please. I'm still pretty much stumped. I would also suggest to sTOP using the bread machine. It's an excellent possibility that the your dough is underkneaded and overproofed, given what I know about bread machines, plus without you having contact with the dough at any point during these processes, it's impossible to know what the state of the dough actually is. IME, kneading times are quite a bit longer using pizza flours than what typical bread flours want and with any dough, I want to feel and see it to know what it needs.


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