The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pizza lovers: Easy to recalibrate home oven up to 35° hotter

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Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

Pizza lovers: Easy to recalibrate home oven up to 35° hotter

Like many I don't have room for a brick oven (condo) and have tried various ways to try to emulate same.  The 550° max setting on my oven makes very good pies, but not nearly as well as my dream 2 minute brick oven pie, nor as good as my 4 minute 650° but "not for everyone" method posted below.  I'm happy with the variables re dough, sauce, and toppings, thus the oven temp being the issue.

I just found a link (see bottom of post) that shows how you can calibrate your oven for up (or down) by 35° in 5° increments.  This feature is common as it is not unusual to find that ovens are off by up to this amount from the factory, thus the manufactuers provide an easy way to calibrate to the correct temp assuming you tested oven with an accurate themometer.  Once that is done, the fun begins:

I have a better use for this feature since my oven is accurate - increase by the max 35° adjustment and hope that my 550° max turns into 585°.  That should result in a 5-6 minute pie vs. 9-12 minutes at 500-550°.  Given my GE oven has a self cleaning function with insulation designed to withstand 900+ degrees for hours on end, there is no danger with a mere 35° increment- nor would the manufactuers provide for this feature if the insulation could not handle it.

For the adventurous- The above approach will be a departure as I usually run my oven at 650°-675° with a 90 minute preheat resulting in a 3 1/2 to 4 minute pizza as explained in this post: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/18417/pizza-baked-home-650-degrees  Those pizza's rock and gets me as close as I can absent the real deal.  This method works very well for me when the stone is near the bottom of the oven, and after the pre-heat I turn on the broiler (which is on the ceiling of the oven, about 12 inches above stone/pizza.  The retained heat of the stone combined with the broiler flame is the closest I've come to emulating a 2-3 minute brick oven bake.  Also at these hotter temps the hydration percentage needs to be in the 70-75% range (I use natural leavan and 3 day fridge per the above link) to ensure a moist geletinized inner crust and slightly chared outer crust. 

But 90 minutes is a long time to get my stone to 650° thus my interest in trying out what will hopefully be a 585° oven and likely a 45-60 minute preheat.  And at 585° I will just let the oven bake rather than trying the broiler after the preheat (but may have to revisit that and try!).  Hopefully this weekend...

The following link talks about GE ovens, likely that most manufactuers have this feature either in the owner's manual or on Google.  Easy to reset back for traditional baking...

http://www.appliance411.com/faq/temperature-calibration.shtml

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Great timing!  Tonight is pizza night and I'm in the mood to tinker.  Thanks for the tip!  My oven only goes to 500F so every little bit helps.

Marcus

tssaweber's picture
tssaweber

Done, and it worked, looking forward to my next pizza.

Thanks

Thomas

foodslut's picture
foodslut

.... but although this is a great idea, I wonder what this does to any warranty should something go wrong.

If the warranty's expired, I guess it's only a potential fire risk.  I'd love to hear from others with more experience re:  cranking home ovens up way higher than they're usually cranked up to to find out long term effects.

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

Hi Foodslut,

Stove warranties are only one year, so I do not worry about that on my 8 year old stove.  Other reasons why I don't:

1) As mentioned, the 35° max is by design from the manufactuer to calibrate the oven easily. No voiding of warranty here.

2) The only mod on the self cleaning cycle per http://www.varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm website is grinding off the small latch piece that keeps the oven door locked while self clean is on.  Yes this mod will invalidate the warranty but after one year there is no warranty. 

3) Be mindful that the insulation in a self clean oven is designed to withstand the 900°+ oven temps reached during the three hour self clean cycle - designed that way as it literally burns off any spills into fine carbon dust that is easily wiped off.  If you see Varasano's link embedded in my first link above and the 20+ pages of pizza heaven (which are a worth read on flour types, dough methods, sauce, cheese making and much more), his passion is very apparent which led me to try this mod - which is surely not for everyone... 

Living in the NY/NJ/Conn metro area I have been fortunate to sample some of the finest pizza short of Italy (and surely same is in other parts of the country, not trying to be a snob on the northeast but the standards are rather high for what is good and what is not) .  I have friends in other parts of the country where Domino's, Pizza Hut, or Papa John is held up as their only reference point for good pizza.  Making my own ala Varasano style is just another evolution on the never ending quest for perfection and foodie passion.  As said earlier, a method not by a long shot for everyone, but well worth it for those that do... My kids and friends are amazed at what comes out after a few minutes so that alone is enough to keep me going!

Thanks for your concerns...

foodslut's picture
foodslut

Keep enjoying the high heat, then!

heidyheins's picture
heidyheins

Have you tried a coal fired Pizza? www.nypizzeria.com offers delicious pizza !