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Old 03-27-2006, 05:37 PM
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Default Pizza screen experiment

Instead of posting in Pizza and kicking out the other thread, I thought I'd just start a new one here - I am, after all, cooking on a stone.

This is still the 75% King Arthur, 25% Softasilk cake flour (which I'll probably stick with a while). I was testing whether I was losing oven spring by cooking on a pizza screen. The results were conclusive: I lose a lot of spring that way.

I bought screens because we always used them at Domino's (where I worked in college), and it made it easy to make 15" pizza on a 15" stone. One gentleman suggested using parchment paper, but I think I'm just going to make smaller pizzas for now (and buy a bigger stone soon).

Here's the third pizza I made, a simple pepperoni & red pepper, where the oven had already cooled quite a bit. Still, cooking right on the stone definitely gave me a thicker crust...
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Pizza screen experiment-precook.jpg   Pizza screen experiment-cutup.jpg   Pizza screen experiment-slice.jpg  

Last edited by parsley; 03-27-2006 at 05:39 PM. Reason: attachments
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  #2  
Old 03-27-2006, 06:45 PM
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Isn't the basic principle that the stone turns dough moisture into steam, which allows the pizza base to spring in the oven? I've always thought that putting a pizza directly on the stone was the way to go. It definitely works that way in a brick oven.

Don't forget that FB carries a nice 15"x20" stone.

Also, what type of mozzarella are you using? I think it well worth the effort ot use fresh (packed in water) mozzarella. The vaccuum sealed stuff (can you really call it cheese???) just ins't the same.
James
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Old 03-27-2006, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james
Isn't the basic principle that the stone turns dough moisture into steam, which allows the pizza base to spring in the oven? I've always thought that putting a pizza directly on the stone was the way to go. It definitely works that way in a brick oven.

Don't forget that FB carries a nice 15"x20" stone.
Well, the loss of oven spring may not be as great with a much hotter oven (550 F is pretty cool for pizza) - at least, most pizza places I know seem to use screens.

The 15"x20" stone looks like a nice big target to hit. It looks like the edges are bevelled - is the flat surface on top 15"x20", or smaller? (I'm guessing you use one of those at home?) The 3/4" thickness sounds nice, my current stone is about 3/8", and cools down very quick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by james
Also, what type of mozzarella are you using? I think it well worth the effort to use fresh (packed in water) mozzarella. The vaccuum sealed stuff (can you really call it cheese???) just ins't the same.
James
Yup, been using vacuum sealed whole milk mozzarella, the 'best' I can get from Wegman's, I believe (though I'll look harder next time for fresh). Note that the whole milk mozzarella still beats the heck out of the low moisture part skim pre-shredded stuff I was buying. It's just a pain having to stick it in the freezer to shred it.
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Old 03-27-2006, 07:48 PM
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One of the nice things about fresh mozzarella is that you can tear it by hand, so you don't even have to grate it (or your knuckles). It bakes and tasted better too. The only bad thing you can say about it is that it costs more.

The big stone is 15"x20". The wider side is up, not down (that's a marketing photo that needs an upgrade).

I think pizza screens are popular because they are convenient, not because they make good pizza. Right?

I'm going to start doing a series of tests on our stones using an Infrared thermometer to track heat up time, and how long it takes a stone to recharge, how much heat is left after a pizza, etc. Should be fun. I have already confirmed that our stone heats up a lot faster than my old kiln shelf I was used before.
James
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Old 09-02-2006, 05:53 PM
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My father cooks his pizzas, on a screen type pan ,on stones. I dont like his way . I thought screens are for when pizzas come outa the oven .
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Old 12-09-2007, 08:56 PM
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Default Re: Pizza screen experiment

Quote:
Yup, been using vacuum sealed whole milk mozzarella, the 'best' I can get from Wegman's, I believe (though I'll look harder next time for fresh). Note that the whole milk mozzarella still beats the heck out of the low moisture part skim pre-shredded stuff I was buying. It's just a pain having to stick it in the freezer to shred it.
If you have to freeze your cheese to shred it, you're probably using cheese that either: 1) Is overaged, or 2) Has not been handled properly (for example, it may have been left in a warm environment for a while).

Grande mozzarella is the best stuff you can get. One place I know you can get it is [vernscheese dot com]. (Sorry, I can't post links yet.) However, the smallest amount you can get from them is probably 5 lbs. If you don't make pizza frequently enough to justify buying 5 lbs or more of cheese, check specialty shops or e-mail Grande to find out where you may find it in your area.

If you are able to get your hands on some Grande mozzarella, you will be very happy. (By the way, I have no affiliation with Grande.)

Ryan
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