The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pizza amazing but house full of smoke!

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

Pizza amazing but house full of smoke!

I have been working on an 'authentic' pizza from wholegrain spelt sourdough for a while. I have the dough just how I want it - it's lovely and thin and I'm cooking it so it is airy, crunchy and gorgeous.

BUT in order to get what I want, I'm filling our house with smoke!

This is the set up. I'd really like advice on how I can find a way to get rid of the smoke whilst still cooking it the way I want.

I put my pizza stone in at oven max (fan, around 290C which is 550F) and preheat for an hour. I press/stretch my dough on a wooden board which is floured with kamut semola. I top the pizza minimally. I flour my pizza pala with kamut semola. I transfer the pizza to the pala, open the oven, thrust it in, close the oven and turn the oven down to 275C which is 527F. The pizza cooks in 5-6 minutes. It is not burnt on the bottom.

In that short 5-6 minutes all the loose kamut flour burns black and fills the house with smoke. 

I have tried so many other ways to get the pizza in the oven. The pala is relatively new. Before that I was taking the stone out when hot and placing the uncooked pizza dough on it (which I had to do without toppings; I then removed it after 2 minutes to top it). It is so much more satisfying this way. I have also tried turning the oven down. But the crisp on the bottom is just not as nice. I have an aluminium pala.

Any ideas?

Many thanks.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

There are several options.  One is to use a pizza screen, you form the pizza on the screen, then load it into the oven, no flour needed. https://smile.amazon.com/Winco-APZS-16-Winware-Seamless-Aluminum/dp/B001CI8VHS/ref=sr_1_5?ascsubtag=1ba00-01000-a0047-win10-other-smile-us000-gatwy-feature-SEARC&dchild=1&keywords=pizza+screen&qid=1589725179&sr=8-5  I am not a fan because of the texture it gives on the bottom. On the other hand, it is much easier to launch and recover without any issues.

Others use parchment paper, though I have never done it.

The best option ,  though priciest, is the superpeel.  https://superpeel.com/    I checked a few of the listings and it said unavailable, though there is one seller on Amazon, not sure how it compares to the normal pricing.  https://smile.amazon.com/EXO-Non-Stick-Super-Peel-Composite/dp/B00CLS8LLE/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=super+peel&qid=1589725255&sr=8-1    I have a home made version using his fabric, and you need no flour, and it never sticks.   I use a different peel to retrieve.

Another option it so go with a different dusting flour -  Semolina may be less resistant to burning at that temperature.  

 

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

I like the Superpeel (though would be sad to not use my new Pala anymore), but cannot find it in stock anywhere in Europe. Not available on Amazon UK or IT or on BakeryBits in the UK. Cool that you made you own!

I'm with you on the base and the indentations that screen would make.

I think I'm going to start with another flour on my board and pala and see if that makes a difference. Maybe in a few months the peel might be available again...

MichaelLily's picture
MichaelLily

Rice flour is fairly resistant to burning. It does burn eventually though.

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

Thanks. I had some kamut left over, but I'll go get some rice flour.

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

Rice flour made SUCH a difference. Thank you!

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

"That's not a bug. That's a feature."

--

If you are using freshly or recently milled Kamut, the oil could be causing some of the smoke.  

Letting the Kamut semola sit out, but covered with a paper towel, or coffee filter, or cheesecloth (just to keep dust and vermin off), letting the "volatiles" evaporate for 2 or 3 weeks might reduce the smoke.

Freshly milled wheat is oily.

--

BTW, Kamut, as a durum-like wheat, makes great flatbreads, including pizza crust.

 

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

The kamut came from a mill. Don't think it's that new. But that's good info as I'm about to start milling my own berries. I'm completely sold on spelt, so despite kamut's hardness am not tempted. I bought it midst lock-down here in Italy as I couldn't get anything else...but was sad to see it was imported when this country is a bread bowl!

naturaleigh's picture
naturaleigh

I also initially started making pizza at home in the oven, on a large pizza stone and experienced some of what you are describing.  However, after purchasing an enameled pizza stone made specifically for an outdoor grill, I've switched to baking outside with fantastic results.  I can get the grill temp up to 700+ degrees if I want, but find keeping it around 600-650 turns out the best results.  I'm also using a sourdough pizza crust recipe with some wholemeal thrown in for flavor.  Although you will still get some burning of whatever material you are using to keep the pizza from sticking on the peel (I use durum or semolina) it easily brushes off in between bakes.  It's been a game-changer in my home pizza making adventure.  We honestly feel our homemade pizza is as good if not better than anything we've gotten in restaurants.  And, all the heat and smoke stays outside!  Not sure if you are in the US or not, and I promise I'm not affiliated with this site, but providing a link in case you are curious:https://www.bbqguys.com/weber/porcelain-enameled-grilling-stone-8829

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

I'm in Italy. I don't have an outside space that could do this (although, I do have a bread oven built into one of the walls of my apartment. I've yet to use it - only been here a few months, and have very minimal experience with real fires). 

I looked at your link, it didn't work for me, but I found that Emile Henry (I have one of their ceramic loaf tins) do an enamelled pizza stone. Is the difference between this and a normal pizza stone solely the temperature it can be used at? Or it is also easier to slide dough on and off?

We have often eaten alternative-to-wheat long fermented dough pizzas here in restaurants and all three of us agree mine is much better. A year and a bits worth of work has been worth it. Just to get rid of the smoke now :-)

naturaleigh's picture
naturaleigh

Oh wow!  A bread oven...that's a dream come true for me!  Yes, I believe the 'enameled' part of the stone helps with things not sticking, although if you spill sauce or cheese on there, it will stick.  So long as the underside of each pizza has some semolina and you give it a pre-slide/jiggle on the peel to make sure it is moving before you place it on the stone, I haven't had too many mishaps.  The immediate, direct contact with the stone is what gives the crust that wonderful char and texture...I have not found using parchment paper to be comparable.  Sounds like you have a dreamy crust recipe.  Good luck on your ongoing pizza adventures!

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

...shame I can't enlist your help with my bread oven!!

Prairie Ranger's picture
Prairie Ranger

I've used parchment paper for my pizzas for quite awhile with good success.  I form the dough on the paper, top it, load it (pizza and paper) on the peel, and transfer the pizza and paper into the oven onto the hot stone.  After a few minutes, I give the pizza a quarter turn, pull out the paper, and cook for a few more minutes.

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

I'm wondering if opening the door makes a difference to the result?

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Alison,  I don't think a stone would make a difference, though it is ironic that you are in Italy, the home of pizza ovens, and yet you use your home oven.   Another tip to decrease the amount of flour, but avoid sticking, include keeping the pie on the peel for the shortest amount of time possible.  Before I had a super peel, I would stretch the pie on a work surface, get it to the right side, then line up the sauce, cheese, and spices,  then hit the peel with a light dusting of semolina, then put the dough on the peel and load it as fast as possible -I didn't time it,  but I went full speed, then while bringing the pie to the oven, I would shake the peel a time or two to keep the pie moving.  I found that the longer it sat still on the peel, the more likely it would stick.  

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

And I will get to trying the bread oven in my apartment soon! Thanks for the speed tip. I do try and be quick, quick, but reckon a few shakes in there might help too. I enlist the help of my hubby, but my 6-year old often wants to do the toppings, so that slows us down!!

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Alison, you might end up having to make 2 pizzas,  one that you load quickly and launch onto the pizza stone, and one smaller one that your child helps load, that is baked at a lower temp or using a pizza screen.   Look forward to hearing more about your bread oven.   

AlisonKay's picture
AlisonKay

Thanks. I have sent you a DM with a pic of the oven! I literally have no experience with them. I did have a small cucina economica a few years back, but struggled to light the fire in it every day!