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**The Sauce Blog**
February 11th, 2017, 11:49 am
#1
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Since the weather was so nice I decided to do an experiment with a thick, 2 crust, Papa Murphy's stuffed, take and bake pizza on my Yoder Smokers YS640 pellet cooker.

environment.JPG

The instructions for the pizza said to cook it at 350 degrees for 20 to 40 minutes. After cleaning the ash from the burn grate utilizing the optional 2 piece diffuser (mine is the first prototype made at the beginning of 2013), I removed the regular cooking grates out of the cooker, and put in a 3 Grill Grate set, attached together, with the flat side up. I then put another 3 Grill Grates set, attached together, on the top shelf with the flat side down. This creates a direct heat surface for the pizza to sit on and a radiant heat surface for the top of the pizza.
cooker setup.JPG

I then plugged the cooker into power (you always start a cooking session with plugging the cooker into power, as you should never leave the cooker plugged in after the cool down cycle), flipped the power switch to the ON position, and left the default temperature setting of 350 degrees. After I verified that the fire was lit I closed the lid and walked away from the cooker. Within 30 minutes (you should always let the cooker warm up and normalize for a minimum of 30 minutes before putting food on the cooker) the cooker was stabile at 350 degrees.
cooking temp.JPG

This was the temperature of the center of the 3 Grill Grate set (it was a little higher to the left and a little lower on the right).
temp of surface.JPG

To make the pizza easier to manipulate in the cooker, I used a perforated pizza pan.
pizza pan.JPG

I unwrapped the pizza and put the paper plate and pizza on the pizza pan.
murphy pizza on pan.JPG

The pizza was then placed on the cooker.
pizza in the cooker.JPG

The pizza cooking instructions said to let the pizza cook for 20 minutes and then rotate every 10 minutes until it was golden brown and the cheese on top was melted, and if a crispy crust was desired, to remove the paper plate after 20 minutes. Well, I took this under consideration and did it this way; I rotated the pizza 1/4 turn every 10 minutes after putting it on the cooker. Since the temperature of the surface differed slightly from the left (hotter) to the right (cooler), I decided to use my self taught ninja culinary cooking skills and knowledge to change the cooking instructions to adapt and overcome to the cooking environment (take that Mr. Murphy!)
At the 2nd 1/4 turn rotation (20 minutes into the cook), I did check if the pizza would slide off the paper plate onto the pizza pan underneath. Nope, the dough was too sticky to release from the paper plate. At the 3rd 1/4 rotation (30 minutes into the cook) I again tried to remove the paper plate, and with just a little nudging, it came right out, and the pizza was now directly on the pizza pan (I did not oil the pan, nor did I use any flour or cornmeal - remember, this is an experiment).
removed paper pan.JPG

My wife insists on a crispy bottom crust, so the pizza wasn't to her liking until 70 minutes into the cook.
finished pizza.JPG

bottom crust.JPG

Cooking a pizza this thick is a balancing act, as you want the pizza hot on the inside as well as having the crust finished. This is why I choose to cook it the way I did. After letting the pizza rest for a few minutes, we cut into it, and you could immediately hear the crackling of the crispy lower crust, but the crust around the pizza was like soft breadsticks. The pizza was cooked thoroughly, and was hot enough to burn your mouth even after the short rest. Our opinion is that the crust around the outside was a bit too much bread, but this is a trade off for the type of pizza it was, stuffed, take and bake.

Next time I may raise the temperature up a tad to compensate for the addition of the pizza pan, but otherwise, I will use the same process.

Yoder_Herb
February 11th, 2017, 1:09 pm
#2
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: August 24th, 2014, 7:46 am
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I would suggest using a cast iron pizza pan for a crisper crust.

February 11th, 2017, 2:40 pm
#3
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: August 15th, 2014, 7:24 pm
  • Posts: 6
  • Location: Langley, BC

I too wonder about using a stone.... however as you mention, cooking the top ingredients is important. As an alternative, a thinner crust might be best... just an idea.

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HouseofQ.com
February 11th, 2017, 2:53 pm
#4
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If I was going to make a pizza like Papa Murphy's I would do lots of things a little differently. But, since your are buying a take and bake pizza, you get what you get and have to make due and adjust.

Yoder_Herb
February 11th, 2017, 3:03 pm
#5
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: August 15th, 2014, 7:24 pm
  • Posts: 6
  • Location: Langley, BC

So here's the next experiment.... you need to buy 2 pizza's... on in the kitchen oven as Papa Murphy's describes to do and the same pizza in a Yoder with "Ninja-Herb" cooking skills.... then compare. They could be the same....

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March 9th, 2018, 2:31 pm
#6
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: February 21st, 2018, 4:56 pm
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I make my own dough and it is more of a Neapolitan crust (though it does use part whole wheat flour and a little honey). I also bake on a 22lb piece of steel to transfer the heat quicker.

I wonder if this pizza (and maybe all others too) would be better on the upper shelf a little way from the diffuser and using the lid as the radiant heat source? I'm going to try your setup first and see how it goes. Thanks!

March 9th, 2018, 8:38 pm
#7
* Wichita ** Wichita *
  • Joined: July 25th, 2015, 1:21 pm
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My method is a little different. I have not tried the deep dish so I am sure that's a whole 'nother animal. I preheat a pizza steel in my oven at full throttle while warming up my ys640 to 400. When the steel has been at max temp in the oven for 15-20 minutes I put it on the top shelf and put the papa John's on the bottom shelf. I too like the crunchy almost burned crust and as long as you watch closely you can achieve. Gotta have good gloves and make a fast run through the house to the yoder but other than that pretty basic.

March 20th, 2018, 9:25 am
#8
* Abilene ** Abilene *
  • Joined: February 21st, 2018, 4:56 pm
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I tried Pizza. 22lb Baking Steel on 2nd shelf and loaded the 15"x13" pizza on it. Diffuser door closed, Temp set at 600F and preheated for an hour. Ambient was only about 53F. Pizza baked great in about 6 min (first one), next 2 took 7.5 min. But, the top was not browned. Was trying to use the lid as the radiant heat source for the top of the pizza. Solved the issue by 45 seconds under the broiler in the oven. Assume a higher ambient temp might help reduce heat loss at the lid or maybe the insulation jacket.

Westemess1, did putting the steel above did the top brown and bubble the cheese? What do you mean by "put the papa john's on the bottom shelf"?

March 21st, 2018, 12:02 pm
#9
* Wichita ** Wichita *
  • Joined: July 25th, 2015, 1:21 pm
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Oops, my mistake! I did mean Papa Murphy's not Papa John's and to answer the first part I would say it melts the cheese just fine for my liking and warms all other ingredients. As far as browning I really cannot remember but pretty sure the bread browned even on top but maybe I never waited to see if the cheese browned up.

From my point of view, its a smoker. Doesn't really get to pizza oven temps and will never get as perfect as a perfectly cooked pizza. But as we all know when it comes to take and bakes or even take out...there are more misses than hits when it comes to perfection.

April 19th, 2018, 8:02 pm
* Cheyenne ** Cheyenne *
  • Joined: March 11th, 2018, 7:11 pm
  • Posts: 52
  • Location: Morrill, Nebraska

dwswager wrote:I tried Pizza. 22lb Baking Steel on 2nd shelf and loaded the 15"x13" pizza on it. Diffuser door closed, Temp set at 600F and preheated for an hour.

Westemess1, did putting the steel above did the top brown and bubble the cheese? What do you mean by "put the papa john's on the bottom shelf"?


600? Are you supposed to leave the diffuser in when your taking it up that high?

I believe Westemess1 was referring to a set up where a baking steel would be heated in the oven while the grill was heating up and then put on the second shelf. The pizza would go on the bottom grates directly underneath the preheated baking steel to take advantage of the radiant heat generated by the baking steel. I did an original crust using Herb's setup (GrillGrates on top shelf for radiant heat and upside down grill grates on bottom shelf) and crust browned nicely Papa Murphy's at 450, but the top didn't brown. It was hot and cheese was melted, but not bubbling and brown.

Yoder 640 on a Husker themed comp cart. Go Big Red!

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