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Showtime and the oven is too hot-- what to do?

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  • Showtime and the oven is too hot-- what to do?

    Is there any safe quick way to cool off the oven floor? I know better fire management will prevent the problem, but I'm still learning. Last night I had a dozen people standing around and a floor temp of 950 deg. The first pizza burned instantly, by a half hour later it was fine and the pizzas were coming out well. I thought about tossing some water in, but that seemed dangerous.
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  • #2
    From my limited experience, i've found that floor temps of 850 F burn the pizza in under a minute. (My cooking plan has me rotating the pizza after ~1 minute. Now i basically gauge that on when the side of pizza closest to the fire is browning or getting a little bit of char).

    I've found that the sweet spot for me is about 750 to 800 F. With that said, my last time cooking, my floor was over 900 F as well after i moved the fire to the side. In that case i waited another 5 to 10 minutes. At that point the floor temp was below 850 F so i proceeded to cook & made a point to turn pizza a little more quickly than i usually do.

    Another "trick" i've taken to is cooking pizzas closer to the front of the oven (door) when the middle & back of the oven is too hot. When i do this, i find that i need to move the pizza to the middle after the turn or I don't get the browning of the crust the way i like.
    David in Calgary
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    • #3
      Outside of having a couple extra beers in the meantime, you could try to throw something heavy on the floor for a couple of minutes to soak up some heat. Cast iron or some loose firebricks?


      • #4
        When bread baking it is suggested to "damp" mop the floor to remove ash, lower the temperature and add some moisture. I don't do it for pizza but using a damp cotton mop or wrung out cloth on a stick would help cool without the sudden shock of throwing in an uncontrolled amount of water. Hitting with mist from the spray bottle might help too. For pizza I usually move the fire over to the side before I start stretching dough and making pies. This tends to put me in the upper 600's when I start, which works for us as we tend to load up our pizza. The slightly cooler floor lets the top cook/melt before the bottom burns.
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        • #5
          FWIW, true neapolitan pizzas are cooked at mid 800s floor temp. It shouldn't burn, unless you are using a lot of flour on your peel. that's the only way to get 60 second pizzas!

          One trick I learned from a naples-trained pizzaioli that we hired is to wrap a wet rag around your turning peel, and use that to clean the oven floor before you fire your first pizza. Works really well to get the ash off the floor and might work to cool it a bit as well.

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