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LK BBQ

Pizza Bible Napoletana and a Question

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I saw a previous thread where Pequod recommended the Pizza Bible after trying multiple dough recipes.  

I have the Pizza Bible and am about to try out some of its recipes on the KK for the first time.  For those of you who don't know, the author is Tony Gemignani, who is a champion Pizza maker.  He has won multiple dough throwing tournaments, but also won the coveted World Championship in Naples with his amazing Margherita Napoletana.  If any of you pass through San Francisco, be sure to go to Tony's pizza.  It is truly the finest pizza in the world.  An American winning the Naples Pizza Championship was as unlikely and earth shaking as when American wines first won at blind tastings in France.  

http://tonyspizzanapoletana.com/about/

When you read his book, you will understand how he won.  He is exacting and demanding.  He recommends that people buy a kitchen scale sensitive to 0.1g.  He prefers live yeast and also recommends specific flours and dissects the advantages of each.  At his restaurant, he has a wood fired oven, a coal fired oven, and a gas fired oven for different temperatures.   He recommends either two steels or stones in the oven - one to cook the pizza on and one to move it to briefly to finish the pizza - as the slight drop in temperature from cooking the pizza would result in a slightly less crisp bottom.  He believes that pizza dough must be made slowly, as accelerating the yeast leads to bigger bubbles and less intricate dough structures.  I am not a big Pizza eater myself, but Tony's is truly special.  BTW, I do not know Tony and do not benefit from this recommendation!

I have a question for all of you.  Tony's Margherita Napoletana recipe has a version to cook at 500-600 degrees and also a version to cook at 900 degrees.  Have any of you fired up to 900 degrees and do you have any tips?  Any guidance on how long it takes to heat that high and any cautionary notes?  I'm already wary of potentially not working fast enough and damaging the gaskets at such high heat and would love advice on whether to bring the temperature that high - or whether I should just do the lower temp recipe.   

Many thanks in advance!

 

 

Edited by LK BBQ
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Have not gone to 900 in a KK, but agree on your assessment of Pizza Bible.  Other than his recipe for Chicago Deep Dish (which is a travesty) and lack of attention to Chicago thin crust, this book is the real deal. 

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Don't drive my car at 120 with the thought in mind that performance, longevity and repair issues may complicate it's future. I can appreciate the chef's knowledge and his time to prepare something so good and his generosity in a book to pass it on. For me a pizza or for that matter any cook is about putting out your best as best you can and enjoying the process. Measuring on a scale to 0.1g and transferring into different ovens to watching the yeast rise all seems over the top. Given the fact I haven't read the book and I might be doing science an injustice, I think I'll stay the course. A 500-600 degree may be the safe bet first, haven't tried 900 either. I do remember a post from Dennis some time ago associated with a warped basket and excessive heat that caused it. In relative terms if it's 5-600 up top add 8-1000 below. To get to 900 I would imagine you "may" need a forced air supply of some sort, that my friend would be a risk and void the warranty.                                       

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You have a quality piece of equipment that can achieve temps similar kamado's would fear to venture. I like it safe, I stay in my lane.  Others will comment and hopefully Dennis, Ckreef or Stiles will give you a better perspective

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I've only had my KK that hot once - by mistake, right after I got it. Only damage, fortunately, was that I over-ranged the dome thermometer and had to recalibrate it. My personal advice - stay below 600F in the dome.

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13 hours ago, LK BBQ said:

 Have any of you fired up to 900 degrees and do you have any tips?  

If you want to duplicate a 900º pie in your KK, I suggest using a baking steel. A 1/4 or 3/8" carbon steel plate will transfer heat to your crust at the same rate as a more porous stone at 900º.

The leopard-ing on the bottom of the crust will be identical, and it's much safer.

https://slice.seriouseats.com/2012/09/the-pizza-lab-the-baking-steel-delivers.html

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I got mine to 900 the other day on accident. Having three kids, twins under six months and a three year old, led to a series of multitasking that distracted me. I realized that it was too hot when after 30 minutes the thermometer still read 200. I quickly smothered the fire trying to get it under control. After a few minutes (here is where most of you are probably thinking "Hes not going to open the grill. There is no way he is that stupid.") I opened the grill to check the fire. As I was opening it, a brief thought crossed my mind, like a whisper of cloud on a bright summer day. The thought was of something I read in a grill manual once about back drafts. I heard a small "woumpf" and thought oh yes there it is. I quickly realized as I was briefly engulfed in flames that was NOT the full backdraft. After a loud expletive all that was left was the smell of burnt hair. One side burn and eyebrow look like they got a bad perm and my left arm hair is considerably shorter. Needless to say, I am a little wiser now after having gone through that.

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk

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On 9/3/2019 at 8:58 PM, Adventureman82 said:

I realized that it was too hot when after 30 minutes the thermometer still read 200.

As I noted in my "oops" moment, you've over-ranged your thermometer and it will need to be recalibrated. Mine was off almost 50F. I'm guessing that yours is similarly affected. 

Glad that singed hair was the only "injury." These flashovers can be very bad.

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19 hours ago, Adventureman82 said:

How does one recalibrate the thermometer?

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
 

On the back of the dial is a hex nut. Gently loosen that and you'll see that you're able to move the dial needle by holding the shaft and turning the dial. Place the thermometer into a boiling water bath, and being careful not to burn yourself, turn the dial until the needle is at 212F/100C. Carefully tighten the hex nut (this part is a tad tricky - don't hold onto the dial, as it will move the needle. Just grip the shaft with one set of pliers and lock the hex nut with a second pair) -  and you're done! 

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I've had both my 16" and 19" hotter than the temperature gauge shows (by accident). I wouldn't really recommend it. You can achieve great pizza results with a lower temperature range. If you really want to do Neopolitan Pizza at 900* on a regular basis you'd be better off getting a wood fired oven.

The other issue with 900* pizza cooks in any kamado is the cook happens so fast and the difference between being done and burnt is only a matter of a few seconds. You have to shut the dome and can't see what's going on. When you open it back up to look it's either done or burnt or you loose a bunch of heat and have to close the dome for more time. With a wood fired oven it's open face so you get to see the pizza as it cooks. 

I've also owned a Blackstone propane pizza oven in the past. It too is open faced and can easily get up in the 900*-1,000* range. I've done 60 second pizzas and time goes by really quickly at those temperatures. Definitely keeps you on your toes. 

 

 

 

 

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I get my best pizza results at 450-500. I do a 1/4 turn halfway through. I’ve done them hotter several times but the cook is so quick that I tend to make more mistakes... especially with a few adult beverages in me...


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