Fio's pizza pix.
Had a few friends over this Friday. Made some pies. They are NY-style, using a dough adapted from Tom Lehmann. Toppings included sausage, pepperoni, anchovies, and even - pickles.
I'll tell ya - when the pizza is otherwise great, pickles aint bad.
I had four dough balls remaining. Left them out overnight. The next morning, they had morphed into dough monsters.
It was a blast.
Bellisimo. Everything looks great.
I am partial to putting the first in the side (the left side for me). I think it gives you better airflow, and you can see the side of the pizza more easily. It's also easier to get all the ashes out of the way before you start cooking pizza.
Shameless plug warning.
I use the Forno Bravo rake and shovel to move the fire. Shovel first for the logs and coals, then the rake to get the ash and small stuff. Then, the brush. It is the fastest way to do it, and I don't think you ever want ash on a pizza.
Fio, thanks for all the photos and comments. Keep going.
I found if I have a fire as big as the one in the picture the outside burns
before the inside is cooked....
Do others have a fire that large when cooking their pizzas?
I cook with a similar sized fire with little difficulty (but a close eye is needed), the key is to have the pizza as far from the coals as possible, at least 12 inches.
The fire should at least be reaching the middle of the dome. Three quarters is perfect. You need the heat bouncing down from the dome and recharging the floor.
I think we have videos in our future.
James, that's a great way to convey the size of the fire needed for pizza, but just to be precise, for ideal pizza heat do you mean 3/4 of the way up the vertical height of the dome (12 inches in my 18 inch high dome) or the fire crawling up the sides 3/4 of the way from where the side meets the floor to the apex of the dome (which is about 16 inches vertical)? I think I do best with something in between these two, but it may be different in a neapolitan vs a tuscan style oven.
A big fire
I like a big fire that reachs to the apex of the dome. By three quarters I meant past the apex of the whole dome. I'm not sure if that is regional - most Italian pizzerias keep a big fire going.
I find the more fire I have in the oven the higher the floor temperature must be and that gets tricky to not burn the bottom of the pizza. I have a small flame going off to the side but anything bigger than small and the top cooks too quickly, so you fire the oven longer to get a hotter floor and then the bottom burns. I have tried cooking pizza when the floor of my oven was around 550-600 using a IR thermometer and with a nice big flame, I was eating raw dough but a well cooked top. With no or small flame it just takes longer. Its all in the practice. Luckily I get to practice an average of twice a week, often more. I fire the oven 2 hours to about 800degrees and let the fire die down getting the oven to around 650-700 and go for it with a small flame off to the side.
Although I may have just made it sound hard, cooking pizzas in these ovens is really easy but the fire size while cooking is dependent on many other parts. Oh and the above temps are kind of a guess, I actually did take many measurements to get the perfect pizza consistently about 2 years ago, but then the battery on my IR thermometer died over a year ago and I have not replaced it, after a while you just know when it "feels" right.
Hell yeah Mikey.
It's all about the balance
Agreed. I think getting a good balance between the dome and floor heat is one of the most important, and difficult things to learn. There really isn't such thing as too hot, if the dome and floor are close in temperature and you cook both the top and crust together. Nothing worse than done on top, and doughy on the bottom - a problem you see a lot with the heavier brick bread ovens, where the floor in 8 inches thick, or more, and it is hard to keep the floor hot.
Don't you find that a good fire also drives heat across the floor?
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