When we cook pizza at shows and events, we are frequently asked for our dough recipe. We are happy to share recipes that we have tested, but that is not the key to our great pizza. Our quest for that perfect, crunchy, light crust in the Big Green Egg® started with tweaking multiple dough recipes. The results all seemed pretty average, regardless of the ingredient proportions. It wasn't the dough recipe that was holding us back.
Pizza is a wonderful, simple food consisting of a few ingredients placed on a bread base. Dough is made from only a few ingredients: flour, yeast, water and a little salt. Fantastic crust is the result of getting the chemistry and physics exactly right. Here is a link to a detailed article on the subject click here. There are hundreds of postings that endorse cooking pizza at temperatures above 600ºF, but they don't explain why. This article explains the importance of temperature on the dough baking process. Here is a recap of the action taking place as dough reaches temperatures in an oven.
Step by step, the dough metamorphosizes from a gooey pale dough blob into a crisp, airy, browned crust. The challenge of making extraordinary pizza versus average pizza is that the dough must make this journey at a certain pace. A pizza dough placed in a high-temperature oven (>600ºF) will heat from the outside in. As the outside of the crust reaches 150ºC (302F) it forms that beautiful toasted brown color and puts off that wonderful bread aroma. Then, as it touches 200º (392ºF) it begins to show that black char, hallmark of a wood-fired oven pizza. Meanwhile as the internal temperature reaches 100ºC the moisture in the dough turns to steam which cooks the internal portions of the dough leaving it soft and slightly chewy. It is just like searing a tuna or a steak - At high temperature the outside gets nicely charred and the inside does not have time to soak in heat and remains lightly cooked.
For hundreds of years, wood fired pizza ovens have cooked at 700ºF-900ºF. This high temperature takes dough through all of these steps in about 2 minutes.
Pizza cooking in a kamado grill (without a Pizza-Porta) often progresses too slowly or inconsistently. The temperature may be low, it may be too concentrated in the stone, or the delicate heating process is interrupted by opening the dome, causing a sharp drop in temperature. These factors interrupt the steady progress and lead to a tough, chewy, and dense character. This can not be overcome with a different dough recipe.
After numerous average pizzas, we decided to take on this problem. Our crust needed steady, intense heat on the top and bottom so that the dough temperature would increase steadily and rapidly. Our solution is to maximize the radiant energy potential available from the dome by keeping the lid down and closing off the chimney. Further, we capture the rising heat and create a convection flow over the top of the pizza by placing the chimney vents below the dome. And finally, we balance the three energy sources by deflecting the intense heat from under the pizza stone . These modifications, made possible with the Pizza-Porta, enable any kamado grill to perform like a wood-fired pizza oven. An easy-to-install accessory is all it takes.
We are happy to share dough recipes. But, our crunchy, light crust is as much a result of the Pizza-Porta as the dough ingredients.
Life's too short to make average pizza.
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Thank you to www.classofoods.com for the detailed resources on bread making.