stovetop pizza questions

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I only have a small oven that doesn't really get hot enough to make a good pizza (it has no broiler and no self cleaning cycle to tamper with), ao I started experimenting with cast iron pots/skillets on the stovetop.
It actually came about after seeing a fundraiser thing on kickstarter for something called "ironate" (http://www.ironate.com/). This idea looks interesting, but seems a bit expensive....
Anyway:
I am heating my skillet and my griddle pan (of which the bottom was cleaned properly)
01 cast iron pots.jpg

And create an oven.
This set up I used to make some pita bread. When I went on to make a pizza, I actually slid the pizza onto the upside down griddle pan and covered with the skillet as I was sure that I wouldn't be able to slide the pizza in the skillet without making a mess.
But I forgot to take a picture of that set-up, so you'll have to do with this one
02 cast iron oven.jpg

The resulting pizza was fine, the rim did rise properly, but the cheese (and actually whole top of the pizza) was a bit paler than I would have liked. 05 pizza.jpg

Soooo, the question is:
What can I do to brown the top more (without using the oven)?
Would this ironate thingy work and be worth its cost?
Or how do I make a good stovetop pizza!!!!
 
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When I do it that way I put my dough in then flip it when it browns then add my toppings and cover to finish "baking". It works pretty well when I don't want to fire up the oven to 500 degrees.
 

phatch

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Heat the pan you put on top as well.

There's actually an accessory for the cast iron Dutch ovens that is a large capped tube you put over and around your dutch oven on your stove top so that it acts like an oven just from the bottom Heat. I can't remember what it's called.
 
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pete

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Chefbillyb beat me to it, but I was going to suggest making your pizza in a kettle style grill, or really any grill with a lid. When I do it this way, I start out with my charcoal in the center, heat my grate, and briefly par cook my crust, on both sides to get a bit of char on it. I then spread all my charcoal to the side out to the edges of the grill, making a ring of charcoal, top my pizza, and place it back into the center of the grill, close it up and let it "bake" for a few minutes. Can't give you time as it all depends on how much charcoal I use, ambient temperature, weather, etc.

To simplify it you could just, start with the ring of charcoal (after you have burnt it down), skipping the first step, and cook your pizza from there, although I would probably still par bake your crust, just a bit.
 
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Pete, it looks like the pizza dough in the video is real soft and able to be hand formed. I would think this dough would cook faster than most. The dome affect is like what happens in a wood fired pizza oven. I like the idea of keeping the pizza bottom farther from the heat. In turn, a lot of the heat in the dome is baking the pizza top with the bottom heat cooking the bottom in the same amount of time......I would try this, It doesn't get much more cost effective than this. A few wood stove fire bricks and your done.
 

phatch

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Cee dub's a bit low brow but a good camp cook. He had two seasons on the local PBS station doing camp cooking.
 
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I've seen people put charcoals on the Dutch Oven lids to help get enough top heat to brown cakes and breads.
 
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Bit more of a clarification:
mike9 mike9 : the dough is cooked, it's just the topping that's not bright enough to my liking. So flipping the dough is not really going to help with this (unfortunately)
phatch phatch : both pans are heated. The top pan is actually heated hotter than the bottom. I will take temperature readings the next time (I got an infrared thermometer somewhere)
chefbillyb chefbillyb P pete and peachcreek peachcreek : I do make pizza on the charcoal grill, but I don't always want to light the grill esp if it is just for a small pizza for myself. Putting lit charcoal on the lid is an outdoors thing as well.

I watched that video that phatch phatch posted. Looks interesting, but I thought you needed to have the whole thing enclosed to get that oven spring to get a nice rim. I'll give it a try.
Starting cold would at least make it easy to get the dough into the skillet :)

Does anyone have any idea what the ideal temperatures should be for my bottom and top pan?
Maybe I just have to heat the top pan a lot higher?
 

pete

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If you are doing a nice, thin crust, I don't know that you could get things too hot. Some places run their pizza ovens at 900°F. At those temps, pizzas only take about 90 seconds to cook.
 
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It could be @21TonyK .
I will look for some pots that fit closer together and heat up the top one even more!

Still wondering, does anyone think that ironate thing will work properly? It's expensive, but I suppose it doubles as a baking steel (http://www.ironate.com/).
I will also make some attempts at pizza on the kettle grill, although that will take a lot longer to heat up and for one pizza it seems like a bit of a waste of charcoal (my kettle is very old and the bottom vents don't close very well, so saving the charcoal by closing all vents doesn't work :()

<to be continued>
 
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Butzy, don't you have a propane where you are ?????? If I had to wait for charcoal to get hot I would never BBQ.
 
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chefbillyb chefbillyb : We got natural gas here, in bottles. That's what my stove runs on.
Not my braai's though. All of mine are charcoal. It doesn't long to heat them up as for grilling, I hardly use more than a starter full of lump charcoal. Just light the thing, prep your food and ready to go.
For pizza I will need to use a lot more charcoal though, to heat up everything sufficiently.
I basically live outside, warm enough here most of the year and in the winter we braai even more as we need a heat source as well :cool:
 
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