Help optimizing xlt conveyor oven bake

I recently purchased an xlt 3870 oven and am making a NY style pizza, 22" pie with 32oz dough cooking on custom 22" lloyd’s quick discs. The product is good but I’m trying to get a darker browning of the crust. The real New Yorkers want it almost burnt. Presently the oven is set at 465 with 5:45 bake time.
The dough recipe is as follows:
100% unbleached 14% gluten flour
62% water
1.75% EVOO
1.75% salt
.375 ADY
I’ve changed some parameters such as higher cook temp and slower belt speed but it seems the top of pizza overcooks. The sales rep at XLT recommended trying to change belt speed and temp parameters to achieve the bake I’m looking for before playing with the oven finger configurations. Does anyone out there have experience that might help.
Thanks, Tom

Hi Tom:

You need to raise the bottom heat and keep the top heat constant with what produces the best results on the top of your pizza.

You are not gong to achieve that fiddling with the time and temperature.

Set your bake time to 6 minutes, adjust the temperature to produce the dark bottom you desire.

The next step is to reduce the air flow on to the top of the pizza to produce the desired top bake.

That will require some experimentation. You can experiment by using heavy duty aluminum foil to block some of the holes in the upper air distribution fingers. Those fingers come out quite easy . Just grasp one and pull towards you. The part of the finger with the holes can be slid off the non perforated assembly that holds the perforated part in place. Fold or cut the foil to block some of the holes. Cover all holes you wish to block all the way front to back of the finger by placing the foil inside the finger.

Using the above procedure you can determine how many rows of open holes you need per finger to produce the top bake you desire. Once you have made that decision call the factory and they will send you a new perforated plate with the number of holes you need.

The determination of the hole configuration should have been done by the installer.

George Mills

Take the sugar out of your dough…

I run some old MM360’s & I put in extra fingers both in the top & the bottom…maxed 'em out…

I run a 8.45 cook time w/the temp @ 465…

Perfect deep brown crust & crisp crunchy bottom…(till it hits the delivery box/bag…lol…)

Thanks George, Sound advice. My feeling is that changing the heat ratio of the bottom versus top fingers is what needs to happen and that playing with time and temperature won’t achieve the result I seek. I had the oven shipped from XLT and set it up myself. Admittedly, I did not discuss finger configurations before ordering the oven. It came from the factory with 7-6 row, 3/8" finger bodies on the bottom and 3-6 row, 3/8" finger bodies on the top.

Patriot, there is not any sugar in the recipe.

I block the middle finger on the top of my xlt’s. Everything else is open. I run 6:30 @ 470

Pirate, You blocked or removed the entire middle finger body? Thus, only have 2 total on the top and 7 on the bottom?
Thanks, Tom

We often do the pirate them at our events. One of our favorite female customer insult lines is: “I’ve seen better legs on a broken chair”. To the guys with a big belly: “My Lord, perhaps you could birth that keg so that we could all get drunk”. Must remember to smile and read the customer first.

My XLT top is set up, full open on the first in finger, full blocked, full blocked, and then half-open on the final. I may swap the first and final around to see if we can run our puff pastry topped pot pies through. Currently we have to remove them half-way via the door as they are too “puffed” by the time they run the full course and won’t clear the exit.

We are running a 3870, there are 7 finger slots in both the top and bottom. Thus, since we have 3 fingers in the top and 7 in the bottom, a ratio can be calculated. In our case 7/3=2.33x more finger heat in the bottom of the oven. Of coarse, this calculation is a simplification and makes a few air flow assumptions. It seems your oven is shorter with 4 slots filled in the bottom and 1.5 in the top. Your ratio would be 4/1.5=2.67 more finger heat on the bottom. Your got a little more heat on the bottom of the oven then ours. How do you pizza pies come out?

I block the fingers with aluminum tape. Its a trick I learned from a Middleby rep years ago.

Pirate, Seems like you would remove the finger body and apply the aluminum tape to the inside of the finger body. My initial thought is that the aluminum tape adhesive would melt/burn off and the tape would fall off or be blown to the far end of the finger body, but it seems, from your experience, that the tape stays attached.

Yes, You tape it to the inside. It doesn’t burn off at all, but I do remove it and apply new every time we clean the fingers. You have to use the heavy duty stuff from HD. It runs about $12 a roll and is right next to all the duct tape.


@BoulderCP…we’re doing 2 styles currently, a deep dish & a hand-tossed. The deep gets passed through 1st with just cheese, then dressed, sauce on top (where it belongs…ahem) and passed again to finish. The hand-tossed are a single pass of course. Both are 465 for around 6:15-6:30. The tossed come out fantastic with a nice firm, but not crispy/burnt bottom, great cornice/bone, and the tops are giving that nice “it’s alive” bubble as it clears the oven, nicely toasted the way we like 'em here.

We’ve been playing with using the same dough as our tossed and rolling it out ultra-thin. It gets about half the sauce as the tossed style, but runs the same time and temps. The ultra-thin comes out beyond good. Crispy thin base, but not burnt in the least.

It is truly amazing what you will be able to do as you play with your oven! We’re baking off cottage pie, pot pies, and baked pastas in it with ease. What we can cook in it has been limited only by the short height of the entry/exit.

Deaconvolker says: Regarding the XLT ovens.“What we can cook in it has been limited only by the short height of the entry/exit”.

We advise those who purchase the XLT from us that the oven can be ordered with a 4 inch opening to the baking chamber so those who wish to do so can bake a wider range of product.

George Mills

Good advise from George…as I see it there would be zero reason in NOT ordering your new XLT with the 4" openings as you will still have the ability to close that gap with the adjustable cover plate. I wish my pre-owned was set up that way, and when I finally get the opportunity to replace it, it shall be.