Napoletana Dough is not Caramelizing


I own a Forno Bravo primavera 60 woodfired oven. I've been practicing traditional neapolitan pizzas for years. I'm able to turn out some fantastic pizzas, but I can't seem to get the darkening I'm used to seeing in the napoletana pizzerias I visit. I have access to the correct ingredients, and I make a traditional dough with caputo/san felice 00 flour, fresh yeast, sea salt. I've used cold and warm rise fermentation periods. I've played with hydration levels. My dough will leopard, but doesn't want to darken. I use filtered tap water, it's great for drinking and not too hard or soft. My oven doesn't seem to hit that sweet spot where the floor and heat from the dome cook the pizza evenly. It's driving me crazy. Is it my oven? Do you have any suggestions? thanks for taking the time to answer.

Grant A.
posted over 2 years ago

Save 0

Why post the same stuff four times?

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Mike K.
posted over 2 years ago


Sorry Mike, just joined and was trying to post. I kept seeing an error message that said posting failure. I did not realize that it posted every time I tried again. If at first you don't succeed...
Any suggestions on the content of the question?

Grant A.
posted over 2 years ago


I figured something like that happened. Where's our technical director Raj when you need him? :)

Regarding your question, I will have to leave that to someone with more experience on WFO, like Tony or other members on here.

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Mike K.
posted over 2 years ago


Hi Guys :-). Not sure what happened, but I removed the duplicate threads.

As with most troubleshooting, some details would help. First off, do you have any pics of your pizza? You can attach them to a reply on this post. A picture of what you're going for will also be very helpful. Once we have those two things, we can dig into it a little more.

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Raj Irukulla admin
posted over 2 years ago


Here's two pics. I'm showing the best side of the pizza, because that's the picture I took at the time. The other sides of the pie are a bit lighter in color. They don't look bad, but i would like a little more darkening. I'm having trouble including two images at a time, so I will post the pics in separate replies. I'm also leaving these pies in the oven for more than 90 seconds to get the little darkening that I have.

Medium photo  3

Grant A.
posted over 2 years ago


2nd pic. These pizzas are well cooked on the bottom, more than i'd like them to be. this is due to leaving them in a bit longer and doming them to get the little carmelizing that they have.

Medium pizza2

Grant A.
posted over 2 years ago


this is a picture of my goal pizza, what I'd like my pies to look like

Medium goal 2

Medium goal1

Grant A.
posted over 2 years ago


Thanks for sharing pictures Grant. It's definitely helpful. Question for you:

Have you tried leaving a pie in until the top further darkens? It'll likely ruin the bottom of the pie. But, I'm curious to know what the pizza will eventually look like if left in long enough.

If the top of your pie ends up looking the way you want it to if left to bake longer, then there's a couple options: you could use a plain (untopped) dough to lower the stone temperature.

You could also experiment with using a screen. Put your dough on the stone like you normally do. After the bottom of the pie has charred, slide a screen underneath. You can now cook the top without having to worry about the bottom getting darker.

Smaller ovens, and lower production volumes can create these kind of problems where the stones get too hot.

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Raj Irukulla admin
posted over 2 years ago


I have tried leaving pies in longer, but maybe not long enough. I will try again and see. I'm currently working a batch using a poolish with a 24 and 48 hour cold rise. I'll fire the oven hotter than I normally would and snap some photos. Maybe that will give us some more input. The poolish is ready, so weather permitting I'll cook pies tmrw and the next evening.
How early do you pull your dough in the restaurant? I will usually pull my dough from the fridge about 5-6 hours before cooking.

Grant A.
posted over 2 years ago


Oven is not hot enough. Start the fire in the middle and leave it there for an hour or so. Then move to a side and bake. Also leave your dough out for 2 hours prior to baking and try everything at room temp but use very cold cheese that is dried well.

Steve Mason
posted over 2 years ago


I did in fact get the oven much hotter and made sure there was plenty of flame licking the dome during my most recent pizza cooking. It came out much better :) My little forno bravo doesn't offer much surface area for pizza cooking and it's difficult to balance heat+bright flame, but that was the problem. Thanks for the help Steve, Raj, and Mike.
Grant

Grant A.
posted over 2 years ago


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