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Kamado - scorched pizza crust

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Old 07-10-2018, 10:17 AM
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Default Kamado - scorched pizza crust

Been trying to perfect pizza on the kamado (cheap Lowe's version). I use the temp gauge on the unit as reference, located higher up near the top vent. I don't regularly check the stone temp, but will from now on. I load the coals, put in a small grate, then a pizza stone as a deflector, then the top grate, then the pizza stone. Trying to get the heat around the stone not directly at it. Seems that if I keep the temp at 400-450 things work okay, just not a blazing fast cook time, much slower like an oven. If I raise the temp to 600 the bottom of the crust scorches, not some crispy black marks -complete black soot across entire bottom of crust. FAIL

It seems like the stone needs to be higher in the grill to get the convection of the hear rolling around the top of the dome. I am thinking of putting a layer of brick on top of the top grate then the stone on top of the brick.

Any suggestions from those who have it nailed?
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:28 AM
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You could also try an additional layer between the flame and cooking stone to reduce the temperature on the stone. Something along the lines of a stainless perforated baking tray or lava rocks... Perhaps overkill but a thin layer of firebricks under the stone surface will certainly reduce the amount of heat getting to the stone.

Ironically I have the opposite issue, our stone surface loses heat too quickly and doesn't cook the base sufficiently. Looking to double up on the stone thickness to retain the heat longer...
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Old 07-10-2018, 11:02 AM
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Its been a while but I'm pretty sure I used the heat deflector and got the pizza up high in the egg as far away from the fire as I could. Had it very hot like over 700.
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Old 07-10-2018, 11:02 AM
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I've had same issues with you, but the little bit of research I've done is different dough recipes can be better/worse for higher temp cooking. The few I did that turned out well were done at somewhere around 350-400 degrees. The pizza/stone do need to be higher in dome. I flipped my deflector with legs up to try and still burned. I'm pretty sure I used the Publix pre-made dough.
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Old 07-10-2018, 11:52 AM
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Try using a pizza screen...it slows the cooking down on the crust until the topping is where you want it then snatch it out to put on the crust you want....don't take your eyes off it though....GL
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Old 07-10-2018, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by swampr View Post
Been trying to perfect pizza on the kamado (cheap Lowe's version). I use the temp gauge on the unit as reference, located higher up near the top vent. I don't regularly check the stone temp, but will from now on. I load the coals, put in a small grate, then a pizza stone as a deflector, then the top grate, then the pizza stone. Trying to get the heat around the stone not directly at it. Seems that if I keep the temp at 400-450 things work okay, just not a blazing fast cook time, much slower like an oven. If I raise the temp to 600 the bottom of the crust scorches, not some crispy black marks -complete black soot across entire bottom of crust. FAIL

It seems like the stone needs to be higher in the grill to get the convection of the hear rolling around the top of the dome. I am thinking of putting a layer of brick on top of the top grate then the stone on top of the brick.

Any suggestions from those who have it nailed?
From what I've read. most people who manage to make good pizza in an egg end up doing it at that 500 degree or so point. The dome is so high that it's tough to get enough reflective heat to cook the top in the shorter time in takes to cook the bottom at higher temps.

I have seen some people having good results by pushing the pizza higher in the dome by elevating the rack/pizza stone a couple more inches. Depending on the size of your stone and overall dome diameter, this may or may not work for you.

We tried all sorts of different pizza stones, pizza steels in the oven, kamado, Weber kettle and Weber gas grill and they all had a similar limitation.

We ended up picking up an Uuni 3 and that makes better pizza than all of them combined and is almost stupid simple to run.
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Old 07-11-2018, 04:20 AM
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YouTube kamado Joe pizza...you need a heat deflector with your stone on top of that but you don't want the stone to be touching the deflector. Some videos suggest spacers of some sort.
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Old 07-11-2018, 08:12 AM
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I use this rig to get the pizza stone higher in the Big Joe and the 2nd link is the flour I use. I do not use the heat deflectors with this setup, just pizza stone on top of rig.

https://ceramicgrillstore.com/collec...nt=39933274957

https://www.cento.com/recipes/pizza/...dough_ball.php
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Old 07-11-2018, 08:29 AM
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Thanks folks.

Since I am already using a deflector my next step will be to add bricks under the top stone to both raise it and insulate it more from the direct heat. I'll also shoot the temp of the stone and add it to my notes about the heat settings.

I have a good dough recipe, I use Caputo OO and follow a DOC recipe with water, yeast, salt, flour.

Next chance I get to fire things up I'll let y'all know. But not this weekend, we are running down to the Keys for a house inspection and some beer drinking and a short fishing charter.
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Old 07-24-2018, 02:07 PM
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I use a Joe, not and Egg, but here's my method. Load charcoal and get rolling - I aim for 600 dome temp. After fire is lit I put in the heat deflectors and the grates in top position then three pieces of brick on top of the grates and a pizza stone on top of the bricks. I use parchment between the pizza and stone and then pull it out after the crust sets, usually only a minute. My pizza cooks are usually about seven to eight minutes with a few turns of the pizza on the stone for even cooking. Not sure why but one side or the other always seems to cook a little faster. I like to get a little bit of char on the crust.
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Old 07-24-2018, 02:22 PM
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Depending on the dough you maybe cooking it as too high of a temperature. I use the Publix dough from the bakery fridge and cook it at the temp directed on the label. One trick I do in addition to elevating the stone as high as possible is to use parchment paper for the first 8 minutes of the cook. I let it cook for another 3-4 minutes before I pull it off. The pizza is always a hit.
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Old 08-02-2018, 01:17 PM
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Swampr, How long are you baking it at 600*? What cheese are you using? How are you stretching the dough? By Hand, with a roller or press? Are you docking the dough? You shouldn't. Are you baking the dough straight from the refrigerator, or do you let it temper a bit?
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Old 08-05-2018, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by cheeseman View Post
Swampr, How long are you baking it at 600*? What cheese are you using? How are you stretching the dough? By Hand, with a roller or press? Are you docking the dough? You shouldn't. Are you baking the dough straight from the refrigerator, or do you let it temper a bit?
Dome temp was 600, the issue is I didn't check the stone temp. It scorched the bottom in the first 30 seconds. Stone must have been really ripping hot.
Fresh mozz. Cheese not a problem.
Stretch by hand, with a little roller help.
No docking.
Dough sits at room temp, 77 climate controlled comfort, for 2 hours.

I adjusted my stone height with bricks and that helped some.....but the temp was then too low, dome was 400-425, stone never got much above that Having it up higher was better. So, today I will keep the stone raised up and jack the dome temp to 500-550. I will watch the stone temp at that level and see what happens. Hoping to get the stone to 500 this try. Thanks.
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:58 PM
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Try moving the coals to one side, and move the stone to the opposite side. You want to create an oven, not a direct heat cooking surface. Using 00 flour you should be able to bake at a dome temp of 900-1000*, providing the stone is not also the same temperature. Try for a surface temp of 450-550*. You will also have to turn the pizza at least once during the bake so that the side closest to the fire does not burn. Don't expect the crust to be golden brown when the pie is done. It will be more well done, but should not be black.
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Old 08-13-2018, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by swampr View Post
Dome temp was 600, the issue is I didn't check the stone temp. It scorched the bottom in the first 30 seconds. Stone must have been really ripping hot.
Fresh mozz. Cheese not a problem.
Stretch by hand, with a little roller help.
No docking.
Dough sits at room temp, 77 climate controlled comfort, for 2 hours.

I adjusted my stone height with bricks and that helped some.....but the temp was then too low, dome was 400-425, stone never got much above that Having it up higher was better. So, today I will keep the stone raised up and jack the dome temp to 500-550. I will watch the stone temp at that level and see what happens. Hoping to get the stone to 500 this try. Thanks.
Originally Posted by cheeseman View Post
Try moving the coals to one side, and move the stone to the opposite side. You want to create an oven, not a direct heat cooking surface. Using 00 flour you should be able to bake at a dome temp of 900-1000*, providing the stone is not also the same temperature. Try for a surface temp of 450-550*. You will also have to turn the pizza at least once during the bake so that the side closest to the fire does not burn. Don't expect the crust to be golden brown when the pie is done. It will be more well done, but should not be black.
I think you can make good pizza on a KJ.

But I don't think you can make high temp true neo style pizza. Why? Too big a difference between stone temp and dome temp. The stone is going to block radiant heat from heating the dome suffficiently to cook the top in the time it takes to cook the bottom.

We cook quite often on the Uuni at 800+ degrees, but there are some fairly major differences. The head space on the Uuni is 4 or 5 inches and the way the burner works, hot flame is literally right over the top of the pizza. The other biggest difference is that we take the pizza out and spin it to face the burner at the back every 15 - 20 seconds. The pizza gets a quick rest from the hot floor and doesn't have a chance to burn.

Even given all that, if we left 00 dough on the pizza stone in the Uuni for 30 seconds it would definitely not be charred. We run at 60-65% hydration too, which gives you a bit more space.

I just don't think the KJ is the right tool for really fast pizza cooking.
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Old 08-13-2018, 07:36 PM
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I do frozen pizza all the time on my 18 inch Weber charcoal , right on the grill, no stone no nothing. It's all in knowing how to cook. Control the vents (heat) is the key. You can get frozen pizzas and add what you want, I do.
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Old 08-15-2018, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by JimPend View Post
I do frozen pizza all the time on my 18 inch Weber charcoal , right on the grill, no stone no nothing. It's all in knowing how to cook. Control the vents (heat) is the key. You can get frozen pizzas and add what you want, I do.
Thanks, but trying to avoid frozen pizza. But it sounds delicious, in its own special way.
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Old 08-15-2018, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by MattGoose View Post
I think you can make good pizza on a KJ.

But I don't think you can make high temp true neo style pizza. Why? Too big a difference between stone temp and dome temp. The stone is going to block radiant heat from heating the dome suffficiently to cook the top in the time it takes to cook the bottom.

We cook quite often on the Uuni at 800+ degrees, but there are some fairly major differences. The head space on the Uuni is 4 or 5 inches and the way the burner works, hot flame is literally right over the top of the pizza. The other biggest difference is that we take the pizza out and spin it to face the burner at the back every 15 - 20 seconds. The pizza gets a quick rest from the hot floor and doesn't have a chance to burn.

Even given all that, if we left 00 dough on the pizza stone in the Uuni for 30 seconds it would definitely not be charred. We run at 60-65% hydration too, which gives you a bit more space.

I just don't think the KJ is the right tool for really fast pizza cooking.
Yeah, based on my recent attempts I see the 90 second pizza won't happen. I'm getting closer and will keep tweaking the temp higher each time. Raising my stone higher has helped with the stone vs dome temp difference.

On another note, I made a second batch of dough using bread flour and wheat flour. Came out perfect on the same day the OO dough didn't work. the 50/50 was crisp, the dough bubbled and charred on top, had a very good texture overall. A very pleasant surprise considering the OO didn't do that.

Thanks for the input folks.
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Old 08-15-2018, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by swampr View Post
Yeah, based on my recent attempts I see the 90 second pizza won't happen. I'm getting closer and will keep tweaking the temp higher each time. Raising my stone higher has helped with the stone vs dome temp difference.

On another note, I made a second batch of dough using bread flour and wheat flour. Came out perfect on the same day the OO dough didn't work. the 50/50 was crisp, the dough bubbled and charred on top, had a very good texture overall. A very pleasant surprise considering the OO didn't do that.

Thanks for the input folks.
The journey to something you are happy with is most of the fun!

You highlight a good point though - finding the right dough for your time and temp is a big part of getting a result. Also, as you say, the higher in the dome you can get the pizza, the better.

Enjoy!
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Old 08-15-2018, 11:43 AM
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00 flour needs to be cooked at a high temp although I recall that there is at least one 00 flour made for sub 700 degree temps.
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