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Spin Me Some Pizza

RhumAndJerkRhumAndJerk Posts: 1,506
edited 6:44AM in EggHead Forum
Ok, so I am still learning this whole kiln shelf setup. [p]When I arrived home on Friday, my wife meets me at the door and said, “Here is the dough. Here is the sauce. Here is the cheese. Go fire up the egg.” Well, I think that I can do that. [p]My wife taught me that the only true way to judge a pizza is for it to be plain, as in just cheese. That way you know the quality of two of the most important parts of a pizza, the crust and the sauce. Also, when a pizza is loaded down with stuff, the top of the crust has tendency to not cook completely. Stepping off soap box …[p]My hand was almost healed from last Sunday’s Jamaican Meat Patties, so I knew that I had to make some changes. I used a double load of fresh lump and light it. This time I stacked the spacers together in order to give height to the shelves. Then I placed the two shelves together. After I did this, I realized that I had forgot to replace KennyG’s Turbo Grate with the standard ceramic grate. Oh well, too late now.[p]“Where did sit that beer down?” The beer was Coors Extra Gold. I quickly found that one and a couple more. I had to transfer some beer from the downstairs beer fridge to the upstairs fridge.[p]The next change that I made was to close the bottom vent to about half way and I put the daisy wheel on at full open. About one hour later, the dome temperature read only 250 but I figured that the stones had to be hot. The egg base was not as blazing hot as it was last Sunday. [p]Time for the First Pizza[p]I rolled out the first pie. I even tried to do the old toss and spin trick, even tough it did not seem to do any thing. I sprinkled the pizza peel with corn meal and built the pizza. I transferred the pizza to egg without any difficulty. I figured that I needed about 10 minutes. At 10 minutes, I peered in the top of dome with a flashlight and I figured that I needed about 10 minutes more. At 20 minutes at about 250-300, I declared my first Egged Pizza done and went back inside for the next pizza. The resulting pizza was devoured in short order. The top of the crust was still a little undone, but the bottom was crispy and the cheese was melted. It was more of a thin crust; the dough had not raised any more. Not bad, but I have better, way better. [p]Pizza Number Two[p]While we were eating No.1, No.2 was cooking. I set my polder to 20 minutes and let it go. This time the dome was read more in the 300-350 range. I retrieved the pizza and we ate a majority of it. It was definitely better than the first, but it still had a long way to go. At this point, I figured that I needed a change in setup. I removed the top kiln shelf. [p]Pizza Number Three[p]The dome temp was ranging up to 400-degree mark for this pie. I figured that I had better check the pie at ten minutes. At ten minutes, I figured that I needed another five minutes. It was five minutes too much. I had burned part of the bottom. The pizza was getting better even with the burned crust. I did like the slight smoky flavor of the pizza. We only ate one piece each from this pizza; we were getting full.[p]Pizza Number Four[p]Finally, the dome temp was approaching the 450 mark. Of all of the pizzas to have a peel problem, it had to be the last. I should have known that I needed more cornmeal on the peel because I checked and raw pie stuck a little. The pizza went to the edge of the stone. I briefly tried to get it back in the center. My advice: once a pizza is on the stone, leave it alone and close the dome. There is nothing that you are going to do about it. Fortunately, I realized this before I ruined the pizza. Twelve minutes is what I figured and I was right. This pizza came out best, but it still needed something more. That something is a dome temperature of 500. [p]In Closing …[p]The next time I am near the Ceramic Supply Store, I am going to get the hexagon shaped kiln shelves. My hope is to improve the heat transfer by decreasing the surface area of the grill that is covered by the kiln shelf. I also want to thank Spin for making the suggestion of not letting the fire burn out of control. My egg maintained a more constant temperature between the base and the dome. When I get it right, I want to bake some bread. I will be eating the rest of the pizza for lunch today.[p]Like I said, I am still learning.[p]RhumAndJerk

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Comments

  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    RhumAndJerk,[p]I am not sure what your kiln shelf setup is like having never seen one. You can see a plate setter on my webpage and I assume it looks like that. Do you also have a pizza stone? You mentioned the stones getting hot.[p]I have done a few dozen pies now on the Egg - everyone was using Spin's dough recipe almost to the letter each time. I have "never" burnt a crust yet and I even tried once. It came out hard and crispy but not a black spot on it. I use the plate setter on the main grid and a pizza stone on it. That gives me about 1.25-1.5" of ceramic under that pie. I start my fire, let it get done smoking and I add the setter and the pizza stone. Close dome and let it come up to 550-575. Bottom vent about 7/8 open and no top or the slide/daisy wide open. Note: the daisy top will allow only a max temp of 350-400 deg and that is not hot enough IMHO. I use a large Egg so this is my setup. I have used firebricks with equal results although I greatly prefer the plate setter (which is close to your kiln shelf I assume). In my opinion you need a high dome temp as that is what will bake the toppings. If you allow the toppings to be cooked from the pie heating up you will have a hard or maybe burnt crust. I assume that the ceramic under the pie keeps the high heat from burning my crust - but the dome temp of 575 will burn the toppings sometimes a tiny bit - but we like that. One note on the toppings. Spin suggested to me some time ago to lay down the sauce, then cheese and then add any meat or veggie toppings. This way they are on the cheese rather than under it so they can cook more easily and faster. 10-14 min per 10-12" pie is perfect. I took one to 18 or 20 min once to see if it would burn. It didn't but the crust was to well done - like biting a dog bisket. Also my dough is pretty dry - I can easily pick it up and it is not tacky wet at all. I use a fair amount of corn meal on the peel and stone. Some may not like the gritty feel but I feel it gives that real hearth oven taste. Good luck with the next batch.[p]Tim
  • RhumAndJerkRhumAndJerk Posts: 1,506
    Tim M,
    My Kiln shelf setup is pretty normal and what you would expect. I did not buy pizza stones, but the kiln shelves, they are the same thing and I use the term interchangeably. If you looked at them, you would not know the difference. I chose the Kiln Shelves because of the ability to take the high heat of the egg. They are made for firing pottery at 2000 plus degrees, the same as the plate setter. The kiln shelves are 13 inches round. On my small Egg, they cover all but faction of the entire grill surface. This is what the majority of the problem is. I hope that if I get the hexagon shaped kiln shelves, they will cover less surface area and allow more heat into the dome. Right now, kiln shelves are acting more like insulation.[p]At some point, I may get a plate setter but I also purchased kiln spacers. They are made of the same ceramic material and I can stack them or arrange them however I need to. They serve a similar purpose as the plate setter.[p]Maybe I need KennyG to take some pictures.[p]RhumAndJerk[p]

  • Tim M, nearly the same here. I used Spin's recipe, and it turned out very good, even though I had never made pizza dough before. It seemed to be a little labor intensive the first time, but I was trying to keep in mind all the times for kneeding, resting, punching, cooling, etc. Was I nervous,, yes. I couldn't very well have drink during my first solo pizza could I? During the shaping of my crust,, I was very tempted to do the toss thing, but without a cool one to steady my nerves, I opted to behave. I used the whole wheat recipe. My first pizza was kinda oblong and I made it larger than my plate setter. Then I moistened the entire edge and placed grated cheese around the edge. I folded the edge over and created, yes,, "stuffed crust pizza. It worked great but next time I'm using some browned and dried Jimmy Dean Sausage in the crust too since I keep a bag of the sausage pre-cooked and frozen, ready for use as part of the topping for pizzas. I cooked my pizza right on the plate setter, taking care not to allow any part of the crust to overhang. I use a wide open bottom vent and close down the top vent after everything is up to operating temp. I think it got up to over 400 before I placed the pie in. It was great. The bottom of the crust was slightly browned and just shy of crispy. The captured heat in the top of the dome cooked the topping perfectly. It had so much sauce, cheese, and sausage,, a couple of pieces and we were full.. The outer edge of the crust was mity-fine. The whole wheat has a good taste, but I like whole wheat and whole grain breads. I still have three big balls of dough in the fridg and if it keeps, I plan on doing another this week.

  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,399
    RhumAndJerk,
    Great story. I love the details like "I had to transfer some beer from the downstairs fridge....". Really paints a nice picture of you rolling up your sleeves and gettin down to business. Sounds like you learned a bunch seeing how they cook at different temps.[p]It really does take a lot of time to heat that mass up. I think the combined factors of reduced airflow, on top of the energy required to heat the mass. I have also found that my pizzas get better as I go, and the last one is always best.[p]Thanks for taking the time to share those results.[p]NB

    DizzyPigBBQ.com
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
  • CatCat Posts: 556
    King-O-Coals,[p]Pizza dough can be frozen; wrap it airtight. Defrost it in the fridge overnight.[p]Stuffed-crust pizza is a great idea. How about calzones?[p]Cathy

  • King-O-Coals,
    If they've got you cooking pizza's on the Egg, a die hard "Butt" man, I've got to try it! Has anyone tried bread machine pizza dough mixes? We've found that dough to be as close as we can get to real authentic pizza restaurant dough as we've ever found. I like yours and the other post about putting the cheese directly on the sauce and then adding the toppings. I also like the "stuffed crust" idea. Gotta try it on the Egg![p]Dr. C

  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    King-O-Coals,
    I have done the pizza flip a few times but only for show - I can't make it stretch into a circle - I get oblong. One trick someone told me about - probably my pizza guru Spin - was to roll the dough out and let it sit there and rise a little. I never made any dough except bread once so I was like you - a dough novice but Spins recipe worked the first and every time. I have a large stand mixer with dough hooks and that helps make the job easier. Another trick I learned is to freeze toppings. I love red and green peppers but all to often they go bad before I use them up. Now we slice them and toss them in the freezer. We pull out 10-15 for a pie and let them sit at room temp while the dough is rising. Perfect every time. Works for peppers (red, bananna, green). [p]Tim

  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    Cat,[p]
    Ooooooo, calzone. I drooled on the keyboard. That's a great idea. Ooooooo you have me thinking now!![p]Tim -- I have a special place for stomboli and calzone (my waiste line)

  • Dr. Chicken,I've been chsing pizza dough recipes for years, and finally came up with one that is right; you might try it. It requires a high gluten (protein) flour - hard winter wheat flour. You can find this at specialty baking supplies. Also needs a machine to knead, I use a stand mixer. Last weird thing is you let it rise in the refridgerator. 7.5c flour, 2T sugar, 1oz shortening, 3/4t salt,3c warm water, 1.5 t granulated yeast, pinch sugar. Place yeast and pinch sugar in with water for 15min. Mix dry ingredients, shortening, and water/yeast using dough hook for 12min. Then knead by hand for about 5 min. Ball it up, wrap in plastic, and refridgerate for 1hr or more before using.

  • KennyGKennyG Posts: 949
    Tim M,[p]Your setup is interesting and I guess you can't argue with success. I had been having good luck with just the BGE pizza stone sitting on 3 thick firebricks standing on edge in a spoke pattern. The typical 10-12" pie would bake up nicely in about 10 minutes at 550*. A couple of times, I tried the stone sitting on the plate setter as you describe. The Gods of pizza were not smiling upon me on those two occasions, the pies were bad and I had the same flashback problems that all the newbies experience in their first attempt at high temp grilling. The difference might be that I generally use store bought crusts or bobolis.[p]K~G
  • KennyGKennyG Posts: 949
    RhumAndJerk,[p]Not a problem. KennyG, master Q'r, coal grate designer, and amateur digital photograper is available for parties, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, pizza bakes, etc. Just give me a call.[p]K~G

  • Tim M,
    Jalapeno's, cayenne, Thai hot and habanero's too![p]Dr. C

  • FrozenChosen,
    I copied the post. I will look for it. Strange, letting it rise in the refrigerator! I know where you're at, its got to be good, or you'd have put it out to pasture! (Maybe I should have said "tundra")[p]Dr. C

  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    KennyG,[p]I used firebricks several times before I got the plate setter and had great results - I layed two flat and 3 on their sides to support the pizza stone. This got the stone up to the level of the Egg so the pie goes on and off easily. I have used a bobolis crust 2 times and once with firebricks and once with the setter - both were excellent. I am not sure if its better for the stone to be higher or more ceramic under the pie - but it works for me this way. It seems you want more dome heat than radiant heat from under the pie to avoid burning. You gotta try mixing that dough though!! [p]Tim - hoping you can maske eggfest2000
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,399
    KennyG,
    I will try your spoke pattern. I have been using 5 firebricks, 3 flat, 2 on their sides holding second grate. It works great, but maybe a lot more mass than I need. You have to open the egg very carefully when it is anywhere over 400 with all that mass, and it takes forever to cool. Your method also sounds like it would use less lump.[p]NB

    DizzyPigBBQ.com
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
  • KennyGKennyG Posts: 949
    Nature Boy,[p]Give it a try. No flashbacks and you will use less lump. The stone will quickly get a lot hotter as you might expect.[p]K~G

  • RhumAndJerkRhumAndJerk Posts: 1,506
    Kennyg,
    Now that the weather is back to the norm for Cleveland, how is the new egg sanctuary (house) coming?[p]RhumAndJerk[p]

  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,399
    KennyG,
    Sounds great. Do I still cook at 500-550??

    DizzyPigBBQ.com
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
  • KennyGKennyG Posts: 949
    Nature Boy,[p]These are the temps I shoot for. The toppings coincide with the crust cooking on the hotter stone. Works for me.[p]K~G

  • KennyGKennyG Posts: 949
    struc11.jpg
    <p />RhumAndJerk,[p]At last the siding is going on as I type. I shot some images and posted to my website this weekend. I hope to be moving in 6 weeks. Here's the future home of Humpty, his little brother and their friends. You have to use your imagination since the deck is still just a dream right now.[p]K~G

  • Dr. Chicken,
    If I used those hot ones, I'd have to use icecream as a topping too.

  • King-O-Coals,
    No guts! No glory! I would not put it past you! Them things sometimes have a "triple" kick to 'em![p]Dr. C

  • FritzFritz Posts: 179
    RhumAndJerk,[p]Pizza on a small BGE is a trick. First thing you need to do is opent that bottom vent all the way and leave the chimeny wide open too. Get that temp to 500* or 550*. That is going to be hard with the amount of mass that covers the grill surface. If you can elevate that a bitit will help the circulation.[p]I have done successfull pizza onthe small, but it is much easier on the large BGE.[p]Keep trying. One technique is to let the egg heat up like ou do for steaks and then put your ceramic mass in there.[p]Fritz
  • Nature Boy,[p]Three bricks, on their side. That's how the master, Spin, suggests arranging the bricks. I've used that method with great sucess.

  • GfwGfw Posts: 1,598
    Teslamania, I'm with you I followed Spin's directions - three bricks on their sides - works every time - last Saturday I did 2 on my medium and they turned out perfect - I was going to take a few pictures, but unfortunately they disappeared before I could find the camera.

    [ul][li]Pizza ala Spin[/ul]
  • SpinSpin Posts: 1,375
    King-O-Coals,[p]Congratulations. My hat is tipped. That was an adventurous and challenging project for the first cook. I've played with stuffed crusts and like the idea. The result is basically a pizza center with a calzone crust. The options are wide open. [p]Timing on making a dough is no where near as important as making the dough right. Timing on "proofing" the yeast is not critical as you just want to be sure that your yeast is viable. Good dough (before rising) has a smooth, even, pliable texture after kneading. It can be torn apart and kneaded back into a whole. Take the time you need to achieve this texture. Dough is a hands on thing. Gaining the feel for making a good one rewards you with the shortest time needed to make it. After rising it just gets softer and more workable.[p]Spin
  • SpinSpin Posts: 1,375
    KennyG,[p]The pie you made at EGGtoberfest looked great. That was done on the setter/pizza stone combination. How were they "bad"?[p]Spin
  • Spin, thanks. I didn't want to brag,, but I was very proud of my crust (thanks to your great recipe instructions), and my wife was very impressed. She said, "how did you learn to make pizza crust like that?" I told her I've been making pizza crusts since I was a baby. ;.)

  • SpinSpin Posts: 1,375
    Fritz,[p]The little guy definitely has smaller lungs than his big brother.[p]Spin

  • SpinSpin Posts: 1,375
    Nature Boy,[p]If each pizza is better than the last and the last is the best - wait for your mass to heat up more before cooking. They all will be better. You use a large amount of mass that takes longer to heat up. Just a thought.[p]Spin

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