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Advice on hitting 900F with a PB24/LG24


fafrd
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8 hours ago, fafrd said:

I'm still confised as to why you need to support your AR on a grate resting on the bowl - I thought they had hooks to rest directly on the bowl (no grill needed)?

 

The grate is not on the bowl, it is about 2” above the bowl. For normal cooks the AR sits right on the firebowl which is how it was designed to work.  I wanted to get it even higher, so I am using a CGS spider, legs down, to hold a grate up 2” above the firebowl. This gets the top of the AR 8” from the firebowl instead of 6”.  See pictures on page 4. Your ceramic spacers will get you the lift you need on top of the AR where I have been doing it from below. 

 

The large stone allows bigger (NY style) pizzas without being too close to the edge, as well as multiple calzones or breads at the same time.  I also have 16” stones and 16” half stones which I use when I want a deflector below the stone or when making smaller 12” pies.  My 2016 grill did not come with the heat deflector with legs like the newer grills, so I do not have one of those. 

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On 8/12/2019 at 5:03 AM, m-fine said:

 

The grate is not on the bowl, it is about 2” above the bowl. For normal cooks the AR sits right on the firebowl which is how it was designed to work.  I wanted to get it even higher, so I am using a CGS spider, legs down, to hold a grate up 2” above the firebowl. This gets the top of the AR 8” from the firebowl instead of 6”.  See pictures on page 4. Your ceramic spacers will get you the lift you need on top of the AR where I have been doing it from below. 

 

The large stone allows bigger (NY style) pizzas without being too close to the edge, as well as multiple calzones or breads at the same time.  I also have 16” stones and 16” half stones which I use when I want a deflector below the stone or when making smaller 12” pies.  My 2016 grill did not come with the heat deflector with legs like the newer grills, so I do not have one of those. 

 

My new CGS AR came in today and using the placesetter upside-down and my 1-3/8”  spacers on the 20” grate bring the pizza stone to 6-1/2” above the felt line:

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This gives me exactly 2-1/2” below the center of the dome and I’ve confirmed my 2” x 12-1/2” spacer block is not touching the closed dome when positioned 1” in from the edge of my 15” Pizza stone (and seems to me just making contact positioned 3/4” in from the edge).

 

So I’ll have 2” of clearance for pizzas no closer than 3/4” from the edge of the stone and since my thermometer stem is 7-1/4” from the center of the dome, it will also be clear of pizza that does not get closer than 3/4” from the edge...

 

I don’t think any of the pizzas we’ve made yet have come close the 13-1/2” diameter - closer to 12” is probably more typical.

 

For larger pizzas, the heat deflector can be removed which will give me 2” clearance over the entire 15” diameter of the pizza stone...

 

P.S.  We tried 900F pizza with the ‘old’ rig yesterday, and it was a challenge.  Crust literally charred upon contact with the stone (even before the loading peel was fully removed) and even after a 15-sec+15 sec cook, the crust was slightly over-charred while the tops were underdone.

 

So I think I’m going to forget about 900F and will focus on 800F for the next pizza cook - didn’t you say you generally cook your pizza around 800F?  For how long (typically)?

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3 hours ago, ckreef said:

Your doing a lot of tweaking - time to get her dirty B)

 

 

Well, the CGS AR and new grills just came in today, but that Kamado has now been through 3  900F pizza cooks and one quick sear of lamb chops followed by some grilled veggies.  Cooking at those temps keeps it pretty clean.  Now that I've got the AR, will finally do some low and slow (probably ribs).

 

I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with the build quality of the CGS products.

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19 hours ago, fafrd said:

 

P.S.  We tried 900F pizza with the ‘old’ rig yesterday, and it was a challenge.  Crust literally charred upon contact with the stone (even before the loading peel was fully removed) and even after a 15-sec+15 sec cook, the crust was slightly over-charred while the tops were underdone.

 

So I think I’m going to forget about 900F and will focus on 800F for the next pizza cook - didn’t you say you generally cook your pizza around 800F?  For how long (typically)?

 

If you want to do a Neapolitan style pizza at 800-900+ You MUST use a Neapolitan dough that is made with the Italian 00 high protein flour, the right hydration level, and no oil and no sugar at all. Even small amounts of oil or sugar will cause rapid charing. 

 

I generally cook a more NY style pie at 650 ish.  This is hotter than a home oven and requires some dough modifications, but is not as radical as Neapolitan style (minimal oil, just enough sugar to get yeast growing, lower hydration).  Cook time is probably 5+ minutes. 

 

 

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5 hours ago, m-fine said:

 

If you want to do a Neapolitan style pizza at 800-900+ You MUST use a Neapolitan dough that is made with the Italian 00 high protein flour, the right hydration level, and no oil and no sugar at all. Even small amounts of oil or sugar will cause rapid charing. 

 

I generally cook a more NY style pie at 650 ish.  This is hotter than a home oven and requires some dough modifications, but is not as radical as Neapolitan style (minimal oil, just enough sugar to get yeast growing, lower hydration).  Cook time is probably 5+ minutes. 

 

 

 

Yeah, I used a true Nepolitan dough with '5 Stagioni' 00 flour, 59% hydration, some sea salt, and a bit of yeast.  No oil.  No sugar.

 

So I don't think the dough is the problem.  At 900F it just cooks too fast.  Literally turns black upon contact and by 15 seconds, it's already getting too charred.

 

At 700F, the cook takes ~4 minutes, you can 'watch' for doneness of the toppings through the vent, and everything is great except there is no Neopolitan-style char on the bottom of the crust:

 

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That crust is not bad, but it lacks the flavor component contributed by more charring.

 

I'm going try 800F before giving up, but I've concluded that 900F on a Kamado is unfortunately out of reach (makes little sense, as several have warned me).

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I don’t disagree with the last sentence, but plenty of places do make Neapolitan pizzas in 900+ degree stone floor ovens without insta char.  Based on my attempts, I think it is doable, but not worth it 1) unless you make a bunch at a time and 2) really love that style of pizza.  

 

Many people and shops seem to also have success at 800-850. I found that more difficult to maintain manually compared to wide open 900+, but a HeaterMeter with a high temp thermocouple can hold it pretty well since they fixed a software bug last year.  I don’t know of any other controller that can handle over 500 without pit probe damage, so if you can handle the DIY nature of the HM, I highly recommend it and a RotoDamper 3. 

 

For crust flavor AND CHAR RESISTANCE one tip that I resisted WAY too long was to make the dough 3 days ahead.  Even if you don’t add any sugar, there are still residual sugars in the dough from the flour and the yeast consumes them during a 2-3 day sit in the fridge.  The flavor is noticeably better too.  Just make sure to take the dough out well in advance. I find I completely lack the skill to stretch it out into a crust if it is not fully room temp or preferably a bit above.  Also, the flour I have used was Caputo Tipo 00 pizzeria flour in a blue bag.  The 00 refers to fine grind, but there still is a wide variation in 00 flours and the Caputo pizzeria was the one most recommended when I searched and supposedly used in most pizza shops in Naples.  It comes in 55 lb bags, but I got a 5 lb repack from brickovenbaker.com at a semi-reasonable price (really expensive vs insanely expensive for a full bag locally). If you go to their site you will probably see a dozen different Italian 00 flours and descriptions on how they are all different.  I have only tried the one. 

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1 hour ago, m-fine said:
Quote

I don’t disagree with the last sentence, but plenty of places do make Neapolitan pizzas in 900+ degree stone floor ovens without insta char.  Based on my attempts, I think it is doable, but not worth it 1) unless you make a bunch at a time and 2) really love that style of pizza.  

 

Unfortunately, we do love that style of pizza - I lived/worked in Italy for 5 years, so that charred crust brought back memories...

 

If it's not possible on a Kamado, fine.  But if it is possible with a bit more effort, that effort is worth it to me.

 

1 hour ago, m-fine said:
Quote

Many people and shops seem to also have success at 800-850. I found that more difficult to maintain manually compared to wide open 900+, but a HeaterMeter with a high temp thermocouple can hold it pretty well since they fixed a software bug last year.  I don’t know of any other controller that can handle over 500 without pit probe damage, so if you can handle the DIY nature of the HM, I highly recommend it and a RotoDamper 3. 

 

So far, I've been realy impressed woth how easy it is to control Kamado temps with bottom vent only (once all of the lump is lit, obviously).  Wide-open, I was shootong-up at close to 10 degrees per minute and started to shut the input vent to '5' (90% of the 5.5 maximum) once the stone got to 876F and then to '4' (67% open) once the stone got to 966F 40 minutes later.  I continued to close up the input vent to '3' (44% open) to get the stone down to 900F and stayed there for the duration of our 6 pizza cook.

 

My guess is that by starting to close things down as they passed 800F and possibly shutting the inout vents all the way down to '2-1-2' (33%) or even '2' (22%) I can get the Kamado to settle around 800F for long enough to cook 3-6 pizzas.

 

(note that I write '2-1/2' because at '1', the input vent us basically closed.  So the max open of '5-1/2' is really an opening of 5.5 - 1 = 4.5 and an opening of '2-1/2'corresponds to an effective opening of 1.5 out of 4.5 or 33%).

 

I'm all for PID control of temperature and use PIDs all the time for my beer brewing.  Got a Barbeque Guru for my Fatboy over a decade ago as the technology was first emerging and it was a lifesaver for overnight brisket smokes.  But for 6-hour ribs, stability on the Fatboy was good enoug that I stopped using it (just tweak the vents every 30-60 minutes) and so far, my impression of the Kamado is that it is at least as temperature-stable as the Fatboy...

 

1 hour ago, m-fine said:

For crust flavor AND CHAR RESISTANCE one tip that I resisted WAY too long was to make the dough 3 days ahead.  Even if you don’t add any sugar, there are still residual sugars in the dough from the flour and the yeast consumes them during a 2-3 day sit in the fridge.  The flavor is noticeably better too.  Just make sure to take the dough out well in advance. I find I completely lack the skill to stretch it out into a crust if it is not fully room temp or preferably a bit above.  Also, the flour I have used was Caputo Tipo 00 pizzeria flour in a blue bag.  The 00 refers to fine grind, but there still is a wide variation in 00 flours and the Caputo pizzeria was the one most recommended when I searched and supposedly used in most pizza shops in Naples.  It comes in 55 lb bags, but I got a 5 lb repack from brickovenbaker.com at a semi-reasonable price (really expensive vs insanely expensive for a full bag locally). If you go to their site you will probably see a dozen different Italian 00 flours and descriptions on how they are all different.  I have only tried the one. 

 

That's an interesting observation, thanks.

 

I'm currently using a 59% 48-hour biga dough (modified Forkish recipe).  I've been taking the dough out of the fridge after 48-hours but the recipe says you can leave it for up to 72-hours.  So I may need to try 72-hour versus 48-hour this weekend to see if there is any difference...

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4 hours ago, m-fine said:

Many people and shops seem to also have success at 800-850. ...

That's where I get my best results. Don't always get there, but it's not for want of trying. 

 

I use a single-mix, 3-day aged dough, with minuscule yeast, flour, water and salt. It's sluggish when mixed, just softens a little during the initial proof and doesn't do much for a day after divided and refrigerated. After 72 hrs, it's about tripled in size and ready to cook. It's doing something...

 

Have fun,

Frank

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50 minutes ago, fbov said:

That's where I get my best results. Don't always get there, but it's not for want of trying. 

 

I use a single-mix, 3-day aged dough, with minuscule yeast, flour, water and salt. It's sluggish when mixed, just softens a little during the initial proof and doesn't do much for a day after divided and refrigerated. After 72 hrs, it's about tripled in size and ready to cook. It's doing something...

 

Have fun,

Frank

 

So do you ascribe to the theory that less--aged dough has more residual (natural) sugar that can cause excessive charring compared to 72-hour aged dough?

 

I hope to join the 800-850F club this weekend ;).

 

How long do you typically cook your pizzas at 800-850F?  Any pics of the resulting bottom crust?

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1638343982_IMG_20190217threepies.thumb.jpg.35f7a4dd54dddd5a96e7d1f50b748e90.jpg

I'm not big on food pics... from last February. No crust under-shots, but no burning and no sag on a wine glass. 

 

Cook time by eye, 3.5-6 min., depending, turning at least twice. I could have turned a couple of these better.  

 

Have fun,

Frank

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5 hours ago, fbov said:

1638343982_IMG_20190217threepies.thumb.jpg.35f7a4dd54dddd5a96e7d1f50b748e90.jpg

I'm not big on food pics... from last February. No crust under-shots, but no burning and no sag on a wine glass. 

 

Cook time by eye, 3.5-6 min., depending, turning at least twice. I could have turned a couple of these better.  

 

Have fun,

Frank

 

Those are some fine-looking pizzas.  What is 'sag on a wineglass'?  Undercooked crust?

 

And what is the advantage of turning more than once?  I've been turning ~90-degrees once about halfway through the cook and peaking at the bottom to decide how much longer to cook.

 

I'll be trying another pizza cook this weekend, this time at ~800F for the first time and also using my new CVS AR for the first time.

 

Any suggestions / advice for how to get my pizzas to come out looking as good as yours appreciated!

 

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Thanks! Sag is something I saw in a Neapolitan pizza video. I turn the pie a little every time I peak under the lid. I peak very quickly, to retain heat, so I can't turn much. I don't look at the bottom; takes too long. 

 

About the only thing I haven't mentioned is that I like to lubricate the peak with corn meal. Maybe the coarse texture spaces the crust off the stone a little? There's always a dusting of burnt corn meal left the next day...

 

Have fun,

Frank

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