So anyone else have the issue of sliding a pizza into a nice pizza-hot WFO, and finding the parchment paper either burned or partially-burned-and-glued-to-the-crust?
My guess is that a WFO runs too hot to use Parchment paper safely. You should look on the box to see how high the temperature it's rated for.
I use unbleached, silicone coated paper I get at Whole Foods (the brand is called "If You Care". The packaging implies it's better for the environment because it's not bleached (dioxins) and silicone is "naturally occurring in the environment". It also says that papers coated with Quilon contain metal (chrome) and it becomes toxic when incinerated. It does not burn up at home oven temps (up to about 500) and does not irritate my lungs. I reuse pieces several times.
I still wouldn't want to eat even the "environmentally friendly" version. Since you're presumably using a WFO outdoors anyway, the smoke produced by flour or cornmeal or other edible substances on the bottom shouldn't be too irritating to your lungs (I can't use them in my indoor oven beause they do irritate my lungs) and will prevent sticking with less risk.
WFO too hot for parchment? Au contraire, mon ami. I use parchment every time I bake bread, and sometimes for other things as well. I generally load bread at a hearth temp of around 600°.
My reason for doing so is pure laziness on my part -- it means I don't have to mop the oven floor clean after I rake out the fire. I also use the parchment for a couche, so I can use very wet dough without worrying whether it'll stick to the couche or adding extra flour. For bread, there is no issue. I just slip the loaf, couche & all, into the oven. The paper sometimes turns brown & crispy, but releases from the loaf with no problem. If it's sticking to the bread (or pizza), it probably means the dough isn't cooked yet. The parchment I use, like yours, is paper treated with silicone and everything I've ever read says it's perfectly safe.
Parchment Paper Couche:
That said, I don't think I'd use parchment for pizza. First, a pizza is broiled as much as baked, which would tend to burn the paper no matter how hot the hearth is. Second, having the dough in direct contact with the brick hearth is good for crisping the dough on the bottom because it allows it to release steam that otherwise stays in contact with the crust, making it soggy.
The OP doesn't say why (s)he wants to use parchment for pizza, but if it's because of issues releasing it from the peel, I'd recommend additional practice with the peel, or precooking the crust a bit before loading on the toppings. I like to form my crusts and slip them onto a floured peel, making sure it can still slide around on the peel before loading it into the oven for about 30 seconds. This firms up the crust enough so it's simple to slip a fully-loaded masterpiece into the oven like a pro & impress the guests. ;-)
The parchment I've always bought was rated for 400-450F. I'm surprised that your parchment looks so unburnt at 600F, maybe its because of a quicker bake?
Well, it's pretty toasted -- look at the edges around the laoves. Ceartainly too crispy for re-use. It pretty much falls apart when bent after use. And bake times for these loaves is about 25 mins.
Different brands seem to be rated for different temperatures--maybe you have a brand that can deal with hotter temps??? 600 degrees--WOW!
I've tried some recipes in my regular gas oven which have the stone on the very bottom of the oven OR on the bottom rack and the oven cranked up to 500 degrees, and my parchment paper just can't handle that. It gets very brown and crispy and falls apart. I'm scaling those recipes down to 450 degrees and baking for longer on nothing lower than the lower rack.
I try to avoid burning the paper because I have asthma and the aerosolized products of burning anything (corn meal, flour, or parchment) seem to really irritate my lungs (I'd rather avoid the trigger than take the meds!). I use parchment so I don't have to use grains that tend to burn, but there's no advantage to me if the paper is also burning.
Outdoors in a WFO, it seems to make a lot more sense to use grains to prevent sticking than in my little kitchen.
i think one of the problems with using parchment vs linen or fabric couche is that parchment is significantly less porous and absorbent than the linen, which has the added advantage of not sticking to most doughs. i find that when i couche in linen (i don't like cotton because the dough adheres too easily), it wicks the surface moisture away, so that my baguettes develop a skin that's somewhat drier than the inside of the dough, which in turn leads to a better crust, much more controlled oven spring via the slashing, and a more pronounced grigne.
obviously, any sticking problem on parchment is moot since the parchment releases once it hits the oven, but i think you can get a much better effect couching with linen.
Thanks for your comment, Stan. I have, and on occassion use, a linen couche. I find no noticeable difference between the two. And, as I indicated, the main reason I use the paper is just that it saves me a step or two and makes cleanup easier.
if your dough isn't excessively hydrated, say at 60-65% max, your pizza should slide very nicely off a lightly floured peel.
I was thinking the same thing Stan!
Thanks for the input everybody. I use a metal peel due to the narrowness of my door. And yes, my doughs tend to stick to it more than they would a wooden peel. I like the idea of just precooking the crust a bit. It seems to be more of an issue when I try to do "production line" of many pizzas for a party, and some of the prepped pizzas sit for a while, and would sort of absorb flour or cornmeal on the peel. It's those fully loaded pizzas that start inadvertently becoming semi-calzones as they crumple and start folding over on themselves when the front edge comes off while the back edge sticks. On the plus side, that's truly when I first decided to try making some calzones, on purpose, and my family loved them. Anyway, thanks all, I'm precooking the crust a bit next time.