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John Setzler

This is why your pizza bombed

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7 hours ago, fafrd said:

What do the folks with proper wood-burning pizza ovens do as far as lubricating their peels?

 

on a wooden peel,  here are my experiences:

 

  1. i use semolina flour (keep in in a bbq rub shaker for easy application & storage)
  2. i don't use cornmeal.  it scorches, burns, leaves a bad taste on your pizza/makes a mess on the hearth.
  3. i dont use flour, it is a very short window whereby your dough will absorb it just like you hadnt used anythng at all.

 

you know that @ckreef & @John Setzler are WFO cookers, right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, freddyjbbq said:

 

on a wooden peel,  here are my experiences:

 

  1. i use semolina flour (keep in in a bbq rub shaker for easy application & storage. 

 

 

Yes sir, course ground semolina in a shaker jar and a wooden peel. 

 

Any semolina left on the deck is easily brushed off between pizzas. 

 

Also the higher the hydration level the stickier the dough gets making it harder to peel launch. Higher hydration levels require a little more semolina compared to a lower hydration level. 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, ckreef said:

 

Yes sir, course ground semolina in a shaker jar and a wooden peel. 

 

Any semolina left on the deck is easily brushed off between pizzas. 

 

Also the higher the hydration level the stickier the dough gets making it harder to peel launch. Higher hydration levels require a little more semolina compared to a lower hydration level. 

 

 

 

I took the class offered by Chef Andris, creator of The Baking Steel & author of Baking with Steel.  He is an amazing Chef & Human Being, recommended this $10 purchase on amazon

0651D35C-83E1-4457-91ED-07B3E81B0B3C.jpeg

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8 hours ago, fafrd said:

 

It's worked pretty well for me, if the 'purpose' is having an easy time sliding the pizza off of the peel onto the pizza stone and not having it stick.

 

24 pizzas made 'lubricating' with '00' flour so far, zero issues getting the pizza to slide quickly and smoothly off of the peel.

 

Or are you referring to another purpose, like possibly keeping the dough from direct contact with the stone to reduce charring, or avoiding dough sticking to the peel even if it sits on the peel for 5 or more minutes (mine go from peel to stone immediately)?

 

What do the folks with proper wood-burning pizza ovens do as far as lubricating their peels?

 

 

 

Well why did you ask me then? lol  Just ignore me.. i obviously don't know wtf I'm talking about.

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On Sunday I tried fine cornmeal on the peel and was very happy with the result. Had been using flour before but found it left a bit of a dusty mouthfeel. Very little cornmeal stuck and I just swept the stuff left on the stone off before the next pizza. Was a 48 hour dough cooked at 650° stone temp about 5 minutes. (68% hydration).  No dustiness and there was no scorching. Crust was perfect tender yet slight chew it was awesome. 

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6 hours ago, John Setzler said:

 

Well why did you ask me then? lol  Just ignore me.. i obviously don't know wtf I'm talking about.

 

John, I asked because I was interested to understand whether there might be other reasons you use Semolina beyond simply lubricating the peel.

 

Absolutely no offense intended - I greatly value your insight and experience.

 

I'm just trying to get to the bottom of why I'm suffering from excessive charring (and suspect it might have something to do with the fact I've been lubricating with 00).

 

If virtually every other Kamado Pizza Chef is lubricating with either Semolina or corn meal, I've been off in the wilderness lubricating with '00'.

 

Forkiah just talks about dusting the peel with 'flour' so I assumed he meant 00 since he explicitly says to dust working surfaces with the same flour used to make the dough  and has no references to dusting with either Semolina or Corn Meal in his book.

 

Sounds like what I need to do is try lubricating with Semolina next pizza bake and see whether a side benefit of using that more common peel lubricant is reducing/eliminating the excessive char I've been experiencing.

 

Thanks again for all your help.

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7 hours ago, ckreef said:

 

Yes sir, course ground semolina in a shaker jar and a wooden peel. 

 

Any semolina left on the deck is easily brushed off between pizzas. 

 

Also the higher the hydration level the stickier the dough gets making it harder to peel launch. Higher hydration levels require a little more semolina compared to a lower hydration level. 

 

 

 

It's true that the only pizzas I have made have been with 59% or 60% hydratiom, so perhaps that explains why I have not had issues lubricating with 00 (along with the fact that once the dough is first layed out on the peel for topings, it's loaded into the Kamado pretty quickly (2-3 minutes).

 

As far as brushing off any Semolina left on the pizza stone (that's what you meant by 'deck', right?), is that necessary?  Will leftover semolina on the pizza stone lead to off flavors if not brushed off between pizzas?  What do you use to brush it off?

 

I have to confess that aside from the scraping action of the aluminum pizza peel when rotating or removing the pizza, I have done nothing go 'prepare' the pizza stone after one pizza and before the next.

 

Among other things, this means that once a spot of char develops on my pizza stone, it's probably still there when the next pizza is landed, for better or for worse).

 

Any guidance as to preparing the pizza stone for the next pizza appreciated, especially whatever technique is used to dust off leftover semolina.

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7 hours ago, freddyjbbq said:

 

on a wooden peel,  here are my experiences:

 

  1. i use semolina flour (keep in in a bbq rub shaker for easy application & storage)
  2. i don't use cornmeal.  it scorches, burns, leaves a bad taste on your pizza/makes a mess on the hearth.
  3. i dont use flour, it is a very short window whereby your dough will absorb it just like you hadnt used anythng at all.

 

you know that @ckreef & @John Setzler are WFO cookers, right?

 

 

I had to look up WFO (thought it might be World Food Organization :) to finally figure out it is Wood Fired Oven.

 

So no, I did not know that, but given their expertise and passion, I'm not the least bit surprised (and it also explains why John has repeatedly advised me to get a proper pizza oven if I'm serious about cooking 900F Neopolitan pizza :).

 

I've been on such a steep learning curve, I've honestly forgotten where I got the idea to use 00 instead of a larger-grained lubricant (possibly my interpretation of Forkish's instructions, possibly the input of my very-experienced pizza-cooking neighbors).

 

The only negative I've seen regarding Semolina is that it is single-use.  We have it anyway for making pasta, so lubricating with Semolina is a no-brainer for us.

 

And I appreciate the other posts regarding use of a shaker - it's a goid idea (and creates a cosmic connection between Kamado high-temp pizza and Kamado low-and-slow BBQ (rubbing ribs, brisket or butts) since I already have plenty of spare shakers for that purpose).

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1 hour ago, fafrd said:

... aluminum pizza peel...

FWIW, I use a wooden peel to make and launch the pie, metal thereafter.

 

Wood has surface texture that can hold powders and absorb moisture without sticking. Metal has a thin edge that makes it easier to slide under the pie once it's started cooking. Two peels also allows pie construction while cooking. 

 

WFOs are a different breed. The cooking chamber has 1 opening, so intake air, exhaust gas and food all use the same path. The opening starts half way up the dome cavity, so there is a large reservoir of the hottest air trapped in the dome. There's a short tunnel from the opening to the outside that features a chimney on top for exhaust air. Fresh air comes in low, as does food. Here's a side-view pic of @ckreef installing his, so you can see the dome, tunnel and chimney locations. Just remember the 6-8" wall thickness when trying to figure out the internal layout. 

 

installB.thumb.jpg.76b0dab286b10434b9d1ebb29fd00f7f.jpg

 

A wood fire runs 1100-1500 F, and hot air rises, so the dome traps air at about 1000F. Over time, the fire-brick floor equilibrates, giving you the fast cooking crust. Experienced cooks will lift a pie that's done on the bottom into the hot air in the dome to brown the top. Check out their thread if you're interested. 

Have fun,

Frank

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For what it's worth, when you get some experience with it, you don't need any lubrication to launch a pizza from a peel.  60% hydration and below launch from a wooden peel without any help.  I use semolina flour ONLY when I'm cooking a dough that is 65 or 70% hydration, which is what I do most of the time.  

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The deck I was referring to was the floor of my WFO. I use a long handle brush to clean it off between pizzas. 

 

A pizza stone in a kamado is basically the same thing. Just use a small dry towel to do a quick wipe of the stone between pies. That would remove any residual lubricant and char flakes between pies. Just a quick wipe. 

 

If you are constantly burning the bottom before the top is done then your stone temperature is too high for the dough you're using or your dome temperature is not high enough compared to the stone. It could be a combination of both. 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, John Setzler said:

For what it's worth, when you get some experience with it, you don't need any lubrication to launch a pizza from a peel.  60% hydration and below launch from a wooden peel without any help.  I use semolina flour ONLY when I'm cooking a dough that is 65 or 70% hydration, which is what I do most of the time.  

 

Interesting, thanks.

 

So that gives me another thing to try (with 59% or 60% dough):

 

-Nothing (to see whether the 00 flour lubricant has been contributing to my excessive char).

 

-Semolina (to see whether reducing the direct contact of the pizza dough with the stone may reduce excessive char further).

 

I’ve already given up on 900F pizza on the Kamado and may also give up on 800F after another try or two.

 

If I end up backing down to 700F, I’ll probably increase hydration to 65% and lubricate the peel with Semolina..,

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24 minutes ago, ckreef said:
Quote

 

The deck I was referring to was the floor of my WFO. I use a long handle brush to clean it off between pizzas. 

 

A pizza stone in a kamado is basically the same thing. Just use a small dry towel to do a quick wipe of the stone between pies. That would remove any residual lubricant and char flakes between pies. Just a quick wipe. 

 

 

 

 

 

Very helpful - thanks.  The char tends to be stuck on like vlcanic ash, so it may not come off with a quick wipe, but a quick scrape with the metal peel followed by a quick wipe should do the trick.

 

Quote

 

If you are constantly burning the bottom before the top is done then your stone temperature is too high for the dough you're using or your dome temperature is not high enough compared to the stone. It could be a combination of both. 

 

 

 

I've got my stone and my dome at pretty much the same temperature, so I don't think that's it.  What I'm seeing is a 'black flash' as soon as the crust hits the stone.  A cloud of 00 lubricant instantly charring would fit what I'm seeing.

 

And then even after as little as 15 seconds at 900F, I've got some overcharred spots while the bulk of the crust remains undercooked.  I's almost like certain spots on the stone (oerhaps where there is already black char marks) are cooking/charring much faster than the bulk of the area.

 

Here is what this stone looked like after the last pizza (without wiping/cleaning):

53EF79DD-4BFD-4CD7-904A-902019C87ED3.thumb.jpeg.119ea2bec5846461867942ddfee7ce79.jpeg

 

I may try flipping the stone next time to see whether using a virgin white surface unspoiled by char marks has any impact.

 

It's a weird thing - my first pizza cook was marred by an undersized heat-deflector and a pizza stone that was 900F in the center but much hotter than that near the edges (probably over 1000F, I did not think to measure).

 

Ever since those first overcharred pizzas and the black char marks they have left behind, excessive char continues despite assuring uniformity of temperature and lowering to 800F.

 

At 700F the crust cones out perfect but lacks the char we seek.

 

Has anyone ever heard of a pizza stone being ruined from char stains that cannot be cleaned off?  Is there any way to clean pizza stones back to a virgin surface?

 

Appreciate your help.

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1 hour ago, fbov said:
Quote

 

FWIW, I use a wooden peel to make and launch the pie, metal thereafter.

 

Wood has surface texture that can hold powders and absorb moisture without sticking. Metal has a thin edge that makes it easier to slide under the pie once it's started cooking. Two peels also allows pie construction while cooking. 

 

 

Yes, I use a wooden peel for launching/loading and a metal peel only for unloading.  Should have made that clear.

 

1 hour ago, fbov said:

WFOs are a different breed. The cooking chamber has 1 opening, so intake air, exhaust gas and food all use the same path. The opening starts half way up the dome cavity, so there is a large reservoir of the hottest air trapped in the dome. There's a short tunnel from the opening to the outside that features a chimney on top for exhaust air. Fresh air comes in low, as does food. Here's a side-view pic of @ckreef installing his, so you can see the dome, tunnel and chimney locations. Just remember the 6-8" wall thickness when trying to figure out the internal layout. 

 

installB.thumb.jpg.76b0dab286b10434b9d1ebb29fd00f7f.jpg

 

A wood fire runs 1100-1500 F, and hot air rises, so the dome traps air at about 1000F. Over time, the fire-brick floor equilibrates, giving you the fast cooking crust. Experienced cooks will lift a pie that's done on the bottom into the hot air in the dome to brown the top. Check out their thread if you're interested. 

Have fun,

Frank

 

Fantastic thread - thanks.  My very experienced pizza-cooking neighbor (and beer brewing partner) is a contractor and has promised to build his wife a WFO.p (eventually).  I'll forward them this thread to hopefully get them moving :).

 

I suppose the concept of the Pizza Porta is to convert a Kamado into a configuration closer to a WFO (pizza door, venting from the sides of the feltline rather than through the top vent) but with the pizza stone raised to within 2-1/2" of the dome, I'm pretty happy with how close I'm getting the stone temperature to the dome temperature.  Closer to the felt line, seems like it would be much more difficult to get the dome as hot as the stone.

 

I just need to figure out what's causing this infernal excessive charring in certain spots...

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An alternative to flour or semolina for “lubrication” is parchment paper. I assemble my pizza on parchment paper cut to approximate size on a wooden peel. Launching is no sweat, at pie and parchment slide right into my rig (DoJoe). After a few minutes, I give the pie a turn and remove the parchment as it will likely burn around the exposed edges. 

 

Some others around here use this approach. 

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