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Pizza Failure. Suggestions Welcomed

AuburntgrAuburntgr Posts: 61
edited July 2013 in EggHead Forum
First of all I would like to thank everyone on the forum for all the great posts. It has made my two week marathon on my new medium egg very successful. I have had great success with multiple cooks. ( 3 Baby Back Cooks, 2 TRex Sears, Beer Can Chicken, Spatchcock Chicken (wow), Hamburgers, and Sausages). Tonight was not as successful with my first pizza, actually it was a total failure. As my wife was telling me it wasn't that bad, I just kept on thinking this is what it must feel like to get a participation trophy. I have been reading all the posts on pizza making and tried to come up with a quick and dirty way to start. I started with the plate setter legs up, grill grate, with a pizza stone directly on the grate Pizza stone was actually 15 inches in the medium which is only 16 inches in diameter at the seal. This is probably an issue with only 1 inch showing between the egg and the stone. Also, the pizza stone was a pampered chef which had seen plenty of use in the oven over the past few years. I did not have an issue getting the temp stable at 550. I had the pizza stone in while stabilizing the egg at 550. I made the pizza on the parchment paper for easy transfer to the egg and pizza stone. Took the easy way out and used Pillsbury Classic Pizza dough that we had in the house. Probably mistake number 2. Green egg was at 550 when I transferred the pizza and parchment paper to the egg and stone. Waited 2 minutes and tried to pull the parchment paper but the crust was not done enough in order to pull the parchment paper. This is where I noticed when I might be in trouble and my wife commenting that it smelled burnt. Actually the parchment paper was burnt but I was able to pull it out. One minute later the bottom of the pizza was black but the top was completely raw. I pulled the pizza stone and pizza from the egg and decided to finish the pizza under the broiler in the oven. (Oven use as a savior is a definite sign of a failed cook). I left the pizza stone on 4 ceramic coasters in order to cool it off and try a second cook. Came back fIve minutes later and the stone was cracked in half. Talk about kicking a guy when he is down. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. With the medium egg and trying to utilize some of the setups I have seen with other pizza cooks it is presenting a challenge with closing the dome. Diameters of pizza stone, grates, and risers would be helpful. More successful cooks to come with picture posts next time. Once again thank you for all of your help.
Germantown, TN Medium Green Egg

Comments

  • AuburntgrAuburntgr Posts: 61
    Not sure why the paragraphs are not separating. Sorry for the block of words.
    Germantown, TN Medium Green Egg
  • michigan_jasonmichigan_jason Posts: 1,293
    Parchment paper burns at lower temps than what your egg was. You can use it, but make sure you do not let much overhang, also do not allow to much air in the egg to let it flare up. You didn't do anything wrong IMO, just be more aware of the power of the egg and try a lower temp and longer time until you get better. I do not use parchment paper at all and put my pizzas in at 700+



    "Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage."

  • AuburntgrAuburntgr Posts: 61
    Definitely still learning. Parchment paper was actually burning under the pizza. Just need to keep on trying with different setups, temperatures, and obviously a new pizza stone.
    Germantown, TN Medium Green Egg
  • I'm thinking the pizza stone was larger than the platesetter.  That being so, then the pizza stone was in someway not sheltered by the platesetter from direct heat.  The direct heat super heated the pizza stone and burned your crust before the toppings were cooked.  Cooling the super heated Pampered Chef stone shocked it and induced failure.

    Next time try a beefier stone like BGE's medium pizza stone.  I've had their large and it's top notch.  Also it will be slightly smaller than the platesetter so the stone will remain sheltered and super heating will not occur.  Pampered Chef stones are great for indoor use, but they are known to crack while using with the egg. 

    Don't get discouraged.  Give it another try with the proper equipment and you should be golden!

    ........................................................................................

    Flint, Michigan.  Named the most dangerous city in America by the F.B.I. three years running.

  • blukatblukat Posts: 32
    The big problem I have had with my 2 pizza attempts it transferring the raw pizza to the stone. Always sticks to the pizza peel or cutting board no matter how much corn meal I try putting under it. Recommendations eagerly anticipated. Loving this forum as I'm a new BGE owner!
  • B&BKnoxB&BKnox Posts: 223
    Try lower temp for pizza, I cook most mine at 475-500.  parchment paper burns at 550.  I wait 4-5 minutes to pull paper and sometimes I don't pull, don 't notice much difference.  My guess stone was to hot and maybe to big not allowing enough air above the stone, maybe stone was closer to 600-650 crust burned very fast and toppings not done.  Next time do same but shoot for 475 temp.
    Be Well

    Knoxville TN
  • jfarleyjfarley Posts: 142
    edited July 2013
    I'm pretty much with Fred. Here is a link to my first pizza cook. You must use a BGE stone or equivalent. Get it as high in the dome as possible. I still use a setup similar to this. Fill the firebox with a lot of lump. This cook uses lots of fuel by filling it even a bit above the firebox you should get four pizzas done. This is a very hot cook - around 600 degrees. Let it heat up enough to get the dome good and hot as that combined with the stone high up cooks the top better. You are basically converting the Egg into a wood fired pizza oven. Jettison the parchment paper. You can get a relatively cheap pizza peel at Bed Bath and Beyond. Use corn meal to keep the dough from sticking. I like to make a from scratch dough using the recipe from the BGE Cookbook (there are a lot of other recipes out there too). The toppings are wide and varied. Hope this helps...

    http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/1142141/getting-ready-for-first-pizza-cook#latest
    LBGE - July 2012
    Valencia, CA
  • jfarleyjfarley Posts: 142
    My first high temp cook of pizza did fry my gasket. I bought the large one year ago. Perhaps the newer ones come from the factory with the Nomex gasket. At any rate the mothership sent me a new Nomex gratis and it has survived several high temp cooks. As NOLA suggests in the above link I now move the bricks as far out as possible while still supporting the stone.
    LBGE - July 2012
    Valencia, CA
  • smokesniffersmokesniffer Posts: 1,550
    Here's is my setup. PS legs down, then I put the 3 little green feet that came with the egg onto the PS, pizza stone on the feet. I cook at 500. Let the pizza stone get good and hot. I use corn meal on parchment paper. After about 4-5 minutes I pull the parchment out from under the crust, I use thongs to grab it. I check the crust a few times during the cook and spin it around on the stone, just to avoid hot spots. Don't give up, keep trying, you will nail it and once you do, you can toss out any pizza delivery phone numbers. You won't be getting any more delivered. ;) ;)
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,213
    blukat said:
    The big problem I have had with my 2 pizza attempts it transferring the raw pizza to the stone. Always sticks to the pizza peel or cutting board no matter how much corn meal I try putting under it. Recommendations eagerly anticipated. Loving this forum as I'm a new BGE owner!
    @blukat  You can buy a "Super Peel" (google it) or make your own.  You can lift the most delicate dough creations and deposit them where ever you want with no flour or parchment paper. 

    http://eggheadforum.com/discussion/1145966/mega-peel-project-for-unadulterated-dough-transportation/p1
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • calracefancalracefan Posts: 473
    I would bet with the stone being that big ,it was a lot hotter than your temp reading. With the restricted air flow the dome temp gauge was probably substantially lower than actual temp. PC stones air alright below 500 degrees F, above that and they seem to fail ( experience !) BGE stones are very hearty. Second the dough may not have helped you, all doughs are not high temp. Keep trying , failures will make you stronger !
    Ova B.
    Fulton MO
  • MklineMkline Posts: 175
    blukat said:
    The big problem I have had with my 2 pizza attempts it transferring the raw pizza to the stone. Always sticks to the pizza peel or cutting board no matter how much corn meal I try putting under it. Recommendations eagerly anticipated. Loving this forum as I'm a new BGE owner!
    get yourself some parchment paper. it helps tremendously, just pull it from under the pizza when it releases from the dough about 2 or 3 minutes into the cook. 
  • 55drum55drum Posts: 76
    To the OP.........your egg set up & temp's are exactly like mine......I also roll the dough on parchment for easy transfer and most times leave it on for the entire cook...yes the paper edges burn but I don't notice any taste differences.

    The only difference in cooking the pizza that I found that works is to use 2 pizza screens stacked on top of one another...this keeps the dough from burning while you wait on the top to crisp up or get close to finishing (this is usually when I throw on the cheese to melt)

    Once you're satisfied with the top you can now concentrate on the crust...I usually pull one  of the screens and see how the crust progresses...if its obvious that its catching up with the top...I leave it alone...if it appears to be lagging...I pull the remaining screen & paper and finish directly on the stone...but you really have to keep an eye on it or it'll burn very quickly...hope this helps....GL
  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 6,351
    I'm going to go ahead and suggest it was your pizza dough and temperature. From what I was able to scour off the interweb, the instructions for that dough say to cook it at 425. You were a good 125F over their recommended temp. I don't think most people realize that there are different types of dough out there and that they have specific temps they should be cooked at. They see that people are cooking pizza at 500, or 550 or 650 and think that is what they should aim for. I think the dough you used would be better off at lower temp for longer periods of time to come out right. How you cook it really is all about the dough. You wouldn't cook a deep dish at a high temp and quick cook time like a Neapolitan pizza, nor should you cook a Neapolitan pizza at a low temp for a long time. Try it again at 425, or better yet, make your own dough. It will be far superior.

    Richardson, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings

     

  • CaptpabloCaptpablo Posts: 50

    My two cents - I recommend a pizza peal and some cornmeal. No parchment paper. Also don't load up your pizza's with heavy toppings. You have to have a crust to support whatever you put on there so think less is more!

    I put my BGE placesetter legs down and put my BGE pizza stone on top of that. Sometimes I lay the grate down for barrier, but no need. Since I am often cooking  5 - 10 pies per cook, this allows me to load up the egg with lump and get and keep 550- 600 degrees.

     

    Finally, I don't use store bought dough. For a long time I used a bowl and my hands. IMHO better result. As mentioned whatever you used was probably only supposed to see 400- 450 degrees.

    Good luck and PM me with any questions.  

  • RGBHVRGBHV Posts: 1,317
    I've tried numerous set ups for Zah on the LBGE (including the one you mention) and always fall back on - plate setter legs down with some copper pipe (couplings) to raise the pizza stone above the gasket line. 

    I try to get the pizza higher into the dome to accomplish two things: 1) create more airflow between the plate setter and the pizza stone, and 2) the temp is hotter higher in the dome. Fire bricks work well too. IMHO BGE feet don't allow enough airflow between the plate setter and pizza stone - which could be the reason you're having some challenges burning the bottom. 

    Another thing I've tried is placing the pizza on a pan for the first few minutes of the cook. Then directly onto the stone. This has given me a little wiggle room when the stone gets too hot. I don't know about you, but I can sure use a little wiggle room on such a short cook.  I have used parchment and corn meal - I found that if the stone was too hot, the corn meal burned.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
    imageimage

    Good luck,

    Michael
  • Auburntgr said:
    Definitely still learning. Parchment paper was actually burning under the pizza. Just need to keep on trying with different setups, temperatures, and obviously a new pizza stone.
    I've had outstanding luck with the Emile Henry Pizza Stone.  I got it at Bed, Bath & Beyond and at $50 and a 20% off coupon, it turns out to be decently priced.  I tried it for the first time with Pilsbury pre-made pizza dough and it worked out fine.  Make sure you flour the hell out of it though!  

    Large BGE
    GR
  • AuburntgrAuburntgr Posts: 61

    Thank you everybody for the great suggestions.  I believe the main culprit was pointed out by Fred19flintstone about the size of my pizza stone.  The pizza stone I was using was definitely bigger than the plate setter causing the super heating of the stone.  While the dome was about 550 I believe the fire underneath trying to get around the pizza stone was much higher.

    I will have to try the peal, pizza pans, and different setups for the best results.  One great thing about the egg is we have so many options with setups and techniques to find the best results for everybody.

    One last question.  What are the pros and cons of having the pizza stone below or above the seal?

    I am amazed by the amount of participation on these forums with helping each other with any challenges or successes with the egg.  Other forums are notorious for always bringing up the search functionality instead of helping each other be successful

    Once again thank you everybody for the input and I will definitely not give up on my pursuit of successful cooks on the BGE!!!!

    Germantown, TN Medium Green Egg
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,213
    Higher up in the dome the faster the toppings will cook relative to the dough, all other things being equal.

    If you mix up the Caputo Tipo 00 style flour with no sugar and oil, the resulting dough can take some very hot temps.  Making thiner pies allows you to cook at hotter temps.  For thick pies and using general purpose or bread flour, you want to keep the temp down a bit.  A lot of that store bought dough has sugar, which makes it burn at lower temps.  Some has oil, which makes it darken.

    You really can't go wrong cooking at 450F with any dough/flour (except for deep dish, you might want to go lower).  I'd recommend cooking at the lower temps first, then experimenting with thin crusts and Tipo flour and hitting the higher temps.  When you finally get it dialed in, it's fun to be able to cook pizzas as fast as you can make them.  You can really feed a crowd.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • ChubbsChubbs Posts: 3,590
    I bet it was the dough. That was was probably too high of a temperature for the pillbury dough boy to handle.  
    Columbia, SC --- LBGE 2011 -- MINI BGE 2013
  • JamieoroJamieoro Posts: 180
    edited July 2013
    blukat said:

    The big problem I have had with my 2 pizza attempts it transferring the raw pizza to the stone. Always sticks to the pizza peel or cutting board no matter how much corn meal I try putting under it. Recommendations eagerly anticipated. Loving this forum as I'm a new BGE owner!

    Try semolina flour, liberally, instead of cornmeal and make sure the sauce you put on isn't hot. I made that mistake before... Otherwise, your dough may just be too wet and you might need to add a little flour. Good luck!
  • RGBHVRGBHV Posts: 1,317
    Auburntgr said:

    One last question.  What are the pros and cons of having the pizza stone below or above the seal?

    By seal, I guess you mean the gasket.

    - There's a temp difference below and above the seal

    - It's difficult to get a peel below the seal

    - if the heat deflects directly into the seal, you'll blow your gasket.

  • RyanRyan Posts: 2
    Hi, I do Pizza/pool parties for my daughters about twice a month. We typically crank out about 8-10 pizzas every time and they always come out great. It took a lot of trial and error to get there with the egg. Tried the plate setter with pizza stone, putting bricks under the stone to raise it up, different temps, etc... In the end, I ended up using some of the 3rd party add-ons I picked up online (see photo) to get the right height. I keep the temp at 500-550, any higher than that you are going to burn through gaskets like crazy. Make your own dough/sauce, this is the most critical aspect of making good pizza. As far as using parchment paper, i have never even heard of that but it appears to be quite popular looking through the thread. I have always had bad luck with corn meal, and stick to just throwing some flour on the peel. If you really want to see the pie fly off the peel try some rice flour, it's like laying your dough on ball bearings...
    photo.JPG
    1632 x 1224 - 729K
  • RyanRyan Posts: 2
    Higher up in the dome the faster the toppings will cook relative to the dough, all other things being equal.

    If you mix up the Caputo Tipo 00 style flour with no sugar and oil, the resulting dough can take some very hot temps.  Making thiner pies allows you to cook at hotter temps.  For thick pies and using general purpose or bread flour, you want to keep the temp down a bit.  A lot of that store bought dough has sugar, which makes it burn at lower temps.  Some has oil, which makes it darken.

    You really can't go wrong cooking at 450F with any dough/flour (except for deep dish, you might want to go lower).  I'd recommend cooking at the lower temps first, then experimenting with thin crusts and Tipo flour and hitting the higher temps.  When you finally get it dialed in, it's fun to be able to cook pizzas as fast as you can make them.  You can really feed a crowd.
    The Caputo 00 flour took my dough to a new level, that stuff is amazing!!!
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,213
    Ryan said:
    Higher up in the dome the faster the toppings will cook relative to the dough, all other things being equal.

    If you mix up the Caputo Tipo 00 style flour with no sugar and oil, the resulting dough can take some very hot temps.  Making thiner pies allows you to cook at hotter temps.  For thick pies and using general purpose or bread flour, you want to keep the temp down a bit.  A lot of that store bought dough has sugar, which makes it burn at lower temps.  Some has oil, which makes it darken.

    You really can't go wrong cooking at 450F with any dough/flour (except for deep dish, you might want to go lower).  I'd recommend cooking at the lower temps first, then experimenting with thin crusts and Tipo flour and hitting the higher temps.  When you finally get it dialed in, it's fun to be able to cook pizzas as fast as you can make them.  You can really feed a crowd.
    The Caputo 00 flour took my dough to a new level, that stuff is amazing!!!
    It's good stuff, I'm on my second 22 pound shipment.  BTW, welcome to the forum!
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 1,646
    Griffin said:
    I'm going to go ahead and suggest it was your pizza dough and temperature. From what I was able to scour off the interweb, the instructions for that dough say to cook it at 425. You were a good 125F over their recommended temp. I don't think most people realize that there are different types of dough out there and that they have specific temps they should be cooked at. They see that people are cooking pizza at 500, or 550 or 650 and think that is what they should aim for. I think the dough you used would be better off at lower temp for longer periods of time to come out right. How you cook it really is all about the dough. You wouldn't cook a deep dish at a high temp and quick cook time like a Neapolitan pizza, nor should you cook a Neapolitan pizza at a low temp for a long time. Try it again at 425, or better yet, make your own dough. It will be far superior.

    +1

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

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