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  • A few questions...

    I am new to the forum! Hope I am in the right place!! I have a couple of concerns after cooking in my wood-fired oven for almost a year.

    1) Using a 65% hydration dough, I find that I have to use too much flour on the peel to prevent the pizza from sticking while itís being topped. I usually prepare the pizza on a cutting board, then transferred to the cooking peel with more flour just before putting into the oven. I get a lot of burnt flour in my oven. I need tips on prep with less flour!

    2) i am a fan of crispier crust. Understanding that different temperatures produce different results, is there a general rule of thumb of how much sauce affects the crispness? Just not sure how much is too much. A lot of times I am cooking for a larger crowd, so someone is helping me with the pizza prep, while I manage the oven and cook. Any advice on this?

    I am obsessed with my oven, and my teenage kids think itís the best thing in the world

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum...and yes, this is the right place. Your hydration level is certainly in the "correct" range and I assume you're using the long-cold fermentation technique. I do a preliminary stretch on my dough on a separate board using a light dusting of regular flour. When stretched out pretty much where I want it, I lift it and transfer to my rice flour dusted peel for topping additions. I find that less is more on toppings...especially sauces. If you spill sauce on the peel, make sure you check for "slide" on the pizza before throwing it in the oven and definitely get the peel cleaned off ASAP. (If your sauce is particularly thin/watery, you can give the pizza skin a light brush of olive oil before applying the sauce and toppings. It's just like the mayo --or butter-- on a sandwich keeping the bread from getting soggy.)

    I use a little shaker can filled with rice flour to dust my peel...makes it much easier. The rice flour is usually available at places that sell bulk foods...it's $1.09/lb at our local market. Bob's Red Mill packages it and although it may be more available, it is much more expensive that way.

    A small ladle of sauce spread lightly over the pizza dough (start in the middle and swirl the sauce around and out). Give yourself some space away from the edge so the sauce does not drip off the dough...a sure sticker! Again, a little sauce and a few toppings is my preference. I like to be able to see the bottom dough layer in several places and through the sauce. Too much topping and sauce is a good way to throw them into the back of the oven (without the pizza skin...many refer to this as the sacrifice to the pizza gods ).

    For me, smaller pizzas are easier to work and serve to crowds. A 7"-8" pizza is quicker to build, cook, and serve than going for a 12"-15" one...and you get to make more varieties to serve and taste before reaching bloat stage

    Hope the rice flour trick and my other advice is something that works for you (lots of folks are very successful using different methods...remember it's about what works for you that counts. Don't forget that using the oven at lower temps (after pizza) is great for bread, roasts, ribs, turkey, chicken, cookies, etc.
    ...It's not just about pizza anymore
    Last edited by SableSprings; 12-03-2017, 05:37 PM.
    Mike Stansbury - The Traveling Loafer
    Roseburg, Oregon

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    • #3
      Thanks for the info! I will try thr rice flour.

      Another question... my oven came with a stainless door that does not seal. Where can I get a custom door?

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      • #4
        I've had good results using semolina as a release. Many prefer corn meal. What I have found that is most important is time. The newbs will spend WAY too much time building their pizza. I don't think it matters what you have under the dough if it sits on there for 10 minutes - it's going to stick. In regard to your door - they offer a "rope" that may solve your issue. A lot of doors are just a steel plate that blocks the opening, there is not seal per se. I built mine out of aluminum and it works very well. What is the problem w/ the door?
        Check out my pictures here:
        http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/les-build-4207.html

        If at first you don't succeed... Skydiving isn't for you.

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        • #5
          I agree with Les, time on the peel is a pretty important factor to get the pizza to slip off nicely. Keeping the peel clean of sauces/water/etc. is just as critical. That little shake of the loaded pizza before it's sent into the oven is also extremely wise. If it isn't slipping on the peel before it heads to the oven, it won't be pretty...

          I've tried the flour, semolina, & corn meal variations on the peel but I still prefer the rice powder...and I use it for my bread couches, basket cloth, & bannetons, so it reduces the number of items out by the oven and in my prep room.

          I had my door built at a local sheet steel business and there are lots of folks in the forum who have done incredibly effective (and beautiful) insulated doors for baking after the pizza party is over. Enter forno bravo: oven door construction in the Google search engine and you'll get a nice block of forum threads that show and describe how they built their doors. The door I had built is my insulated stainless steel door and I had a light weight door built for pizza and times I need to work the oven (my insulated door is too heavy to lift with one hand). As Les hinted, for most cooking, your door (no gasket/no insulation) and a hot pad is just fine. It's only when you are looking at retaining the stored heat (no fire) for longer periods of time that the insulated door makes a difference.

          If you have a local community college or technical school with a welding program...try meeting with an instructor about making a better door. Often these folks are looking for student projects to assign and will only charge you for materials...worth a thought.
          Mike Stansbury - The Traveling Loafer
          Roseburg, Oregon

          FB Forum: The Dragonfly Den build thread
          Available only if you're logged in = FB Photo Albums-Select media tab on profile
          Blog: http://thetravelingloafer.blogspot.com/

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          • #6
            I find semolina and cornmeal leave a blackened mess on the oven floor... a light dusting of wheat flour on the peel works fine for me. Rice flour is better in that it doesn't burn black, but I generally don't have a problem unless I use to much flour
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            • #7
              ...and whatever release/slide agent you use, use it sparingly! No matter what you use as a slide agent, the more pizzas you do, the more it's going to build up and burn.

              Moving your cooking area and fire around during a high volume pizza party is going to be necessary...reheats the cooking floor and burns off the crud. Banjo peel (or any metal peel) will allow you to scrape and push some of that black stuff off the area you're working, but again as that stuff builds up the floor is also cooling...so move your fire and cooking area as needed.
              Mike Stansbury - The Traveling Loafer
              Roseburg, Oregon

              FB Forum: The Dragonfly Den build thread
              Available only if you're logged in = FB Photo Albums-Select media tab on profile
              Blog: http://thetravelingloafer.blogspot.com/

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