This is a quick blog on a couple of more recent questions. I will do this in a Q&A fashion.
Q -Why is my Pizza sticking to the stone?
A - Raw dough will stick to a pizza stone that is less than 450F. A hot stone is needed to absorb a bit of the moisture and steam/bake the bottom of the crust. Do not put cornmeal on the stone, just preheat the stone a little bit longer.
Q- Why is my raw dough sticking to the peel?
A - Raw dough has a lot of moisture in it. When this moist dough is allowed to sit on an aluminum peel (or even a wood peel), the dough clings to the material. A couple solutions: 1) Make sure your dough is dry to the touch while stretching it. 2) Use a clean, dry wooden peel. 3) Do not press down on the dough while you are assembling a pizza. 4) Spread a bit of cornmeal or semolina on the wooden peel to act as ball bearings.
Q- Why doesn’t my crust brown in the Big Green Egg or KJ?
A - Crust must be cooked at a high, steady temperature to brown around the edge. The dough ingredients help add to the browning. Sugar, oil, and diastatic malt all aid in the browning process. Flour selection will also impact the browning. Italian style 00 flour was created to stand up to high wood-fired temperatures, so it may not be the best choice for a 450 degree home oven bake.
Q - Why are my toppings undercooked? -or- Why does my pizza burn on the bottom?
A - This is the most common question of all. At high temperatures, without a Pizza-Porta, the heat of the dome in any brand kamado grill can not match the intensity of the heat below the pizza stone. Too much heat escapes straight out of the chimney, and what is left is lost when the dome is lifted. I often found the stone to be 800F, while the dome temperature recovered to only 500F after checking a pizza. This is why we invented the Pizza-Porta, to trap the heat in the dome so that the temperature is balanced and steady.
Q - Why does my pizza crust not form those nice crust bubbles?
A- See the blog “It ain’t just the dough recipe” for the detailed story. The short version is that bubbles are formed by the yeast at a precise temperature as the dough heats up. If the temperature drops even slightly before the bubbles harden, the bubbles will collapse. At this point the yeast has already been killed by the heat so it is not able to lift the bubbles again. Another consideration is rolling out the dough with a rolling pin. This compression knocks the air out of the crust so the yeast is having to rise from a deficit.