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Ranier Wolfcastle 06-02-2009 04:40 PM

Can oven/grill be too hot using pizza stone?
 
I've just ordered my 15x20 FB stone. I've crawled all over the forums, and thank you all for all the useful info. But I do have one question that remains unanswered: how hot is *too* hot?

My ancient 1962-vintage electric oven will hit some unknown temp > 700F. The thermostat is skewed, thankfully predictably. Until I figured this out, I was burning stuff to a crisp by setting the temp to 500F; turns out 425F on the dial results in 500F, and 500F on the dial results in 700+F.

The same is true of my gas grill. The other day I put a reliable oven thermo on the cooking grill surface with the sensor about 1" above the grill. With all 3 burners on Medium, the temp hit 650F. You can imagine how hot it gets with all 3 burners set to High.

Because neither my indoor oven nor my grill have the thermal efficiency of a commercial pizza oven, I am going to lose a lot more heat when I open the oven/grill to put the pizza in. But the stone isn't going to lose nearly so much heat. Thus my concern is that if the surface temp of the stone gets too high, the crust will burn before the toppings are remotely done.

I've seen a lot of mentions here of 550F, but that seems to be based on an assumption that this is as hot as most ovens go. It isn't clear to me whether 550F is a desired target temp for pizza stone surface and oven air temp, or if it would be better to go even hotter.

I know this will vary based on dough hydration, thickness, desired outcome, etc. I'm just trying to get a general guideline. For what it's worth, I like crispy thin crust pizza.

Thanks for any pointers. I know I'll be experimenting; I just want to ruin as few pizzas as possible before I get it right. :)

texassourdough 06-02-2009 05:48 PM

Re: Can oven/grill be too hot using pizza stone?
 
Hi Ranier!

Welcome aboard!

While most WFO folk prefer temps around 800 the oven folk are usually limited to 500 to 550. The difference is not IMO a big deal but hotter is better on the whole. The challenge, directionally, is that you need to heat up the stone and the hotter you want it the longer it will take. To get your stone "loaded" to 700 will probably take an hour or more.

There is one wierd item to consider. IF your oven cools excessively the primary source of heat will be from the BOTTOM which is not totally what you want. You want a balance between the bottom and the top. It will probably be okay, but it is conceivable that you might want to drop the oven/stone temp if the bottom burns before the top is speckled with caramelization. I don't think that is likely but...

I haven't heard of any home ovens having our level of heat. Please tell us of your experiences. (Even us diehards sometimes have to do pizza in the oven because it is raining...)

Thanks and good luck!
Jay

Ranier Wolfcastle 06-17-2009 10:03 AM

Re: Can oven/grill be too hot using pizza stone?
 
UPDATE: Got my stone yesterday (it was on backorder). Followed drying instructions last night. This morning conducted my first test: Put stone on bottom rack of my ancient but abnormally hot electric oven. Start temp was 75F.

After 30 minutes, stone surface temp (using IR thermometer) was 666F. After 45 minutes, it was up to 688F. I don't know the ambient air temp in the oven, because my oven calibration thermometer doesn't go that high. But you've got to figure it is north of 700F just to get the stone that hot that fast.

The stone outgassed, as expected, when I dried it to 500F last night. Taking it to nearly 700F caused it to outgas a lot more, which is also not unexpected. But I hope it gets that out of its system soon; the whole house smells like fresh paint. ;-) ;-)

I hope to try out the stone for real by making pizza no later than this weekend.

Stephens 06-22-2009 07:58 AM

Re: Can oven/grill be too hot using pizza stone?
 
Ranier,
Thanks for sharing your with us your update on the high temps with your new stone. I too have been thinking of how hot it to hot for the FB stone. Cooking my pies between 750-825 deg on my grill outside and have exploded a few stones. Yes, heat retention using one stone on your gas grill is an issue, I have been using two stone to have good results, one above the other by 2.5 inches. I have also funneled the heat to pass between the stone to have good air flow over the pizza; trying to simulate a brick oven. The results have been very good.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephen...7605432905557/

For cooking indoors, try Googling "Jeff Varasano" and see his technique of using the self cleaning feature on his electric oven to reach 900 degs! He had to cut off the door locking latch witch voids the warranty but has had great results with out burning down his house, yet.

Stephens 07-06-2009 07:36 PM

Re: Can oven/grill be too hot using pizza stone?
 
Ranier,

As for your original question of "how hot is *too* hot?", 825 degs for over an hour was not an issue for my FB stone. I too followed the drying instructions and was concerned with heating the stone 300 degs past the heating instructions. Everything turned out great.

Regards,
Stephen

leckig 08-05-2009 05:35 AM

Re: Can oven/grill be too hot using pizza stone?
 
I dont want to be boring and ruin your fun, but... if the oven was designed to reach 550 or even 500, there is a VERY serious risk of fire if you let it heat up to over 700!

With modded self-cleaning ovens the risk is not that serious as they are designed to go very high. But with your oven, well, things can start melt, possibly, this is not the pizza stone that you can smell (mine did not smell at all when I first got it, but it was a different brand).


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