Oven gets too hot

Hello all,
Hoping for some advice, I’ve recently purchased a pizzeria with two old stacked double-deck blodgett ovens that reach the high 600 degree range. Once they get going they really kick off alot of heat, to the point that I’m having handle covers made from thick hot pad material as the handes get hot enough to burn by the end of the day. Just walking in front of the oven gets you nice and warm right away!
I’m having a difficult time getting sufficient browning on my cornicione(the bottom browns first) and it doesn’t puff up to nice open holes. I’m using 60% hydration, I’m wondering if the browning issue doesn’t have something to do with the oven giving off too much heat- is my oven poorly insulated? My oven tech is at a loss

Are you baking the pizzas at 600 degrees F? If so, the pizzas may be baking too fast with the bottoms getting done before the rims of the crusts get adequate browning. You might try a temperature of around 500-525 degrees F and adjust the bake time to get the desired results.

I am curious what model ovens you’re using, and whether deck or conveyor. Please also give your dough handling prior to putting in oven . . . like how long at room temp, then do you roll dough/hand stretch/mechanical roller/dough press, then how does it go into oven. How old is dough when it is made into pizza skins? Issue may be in the dough as well as the ovens (temp is most likely way high for good oven spring).

I use a 981 unit with a steel deck . . . baking at about 525-550 on the “wish-o-stat” . . . for around 10 to 12 minutes. We use screens to slow bottom browning; we spin & deck for last 2 or three minutes. Big pies with huge numbers of toppings we may put two to three screens under to give top a chance to cook beofre burning the bottom crust.

Sometimes the dough age will slow the collar browning, but then a couple more minutes usually does the trick. If we have one spot that is too light colored, we put it right next to the wall for 30 to 60 seconds, and it browns right up. Stupid Pizza tricks with an under-powered oven.

Thanks for the input. Myoven is also a 981 deck, two of them stacked actually. I take the dough out of walkin about 2 hours before baking. The dough is made the day before baking. the dough is stretched by hand and enters the oven on a wood peel dusted with small amount of flour. I have tried screens in the past and I found that the results are more incosistent- greater amount of thin and thick spots, but all of my baking has been done around 600-620. The bake is about 5 minutes w/o screens, used to be 7 or so w/screens;at the advice of others in the past I have tried to shorten bake time as many seem to feel the dough dries out and toughens at longer bake times.

Will try longer bake at lower temp tomorrow(in the process of opening now so i can tweak stuff for the next week or so)

By far, we have always had the best quality pizzas from a deck oven when the baking temperature was in the 500 to 525F range when a crispy crust is the target. If we are looking for a crust that is crispy for the first minute or so after baking, then soft (I like to refer to this as a Pittsburgh) style crust, then you will want to go to the higher temperature, but just remember to go easy on the amount of toppings. Also, if your dough formula has sugar in it, you might want to consider deleting the sugar for the crispiest crust, if that is what you are looking for.
One other thing, since you don’t have any history with these ovens, pick up a cheap oven thermometer from your local hardware store just to verify your thermostat settings.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

My experience with the Blodgett 981 ovens is that they have a wide range of temperatures, regardless of the thermostat setting. These ovens are NOT pizza ovens, but can play one on TV. They’re baking/rosting ovens whose single 50,000 BTU burner for two decks just lack the muscle for the open and close and open and close of a pizza operation. Pizza ovens run closer to 80K-120K BTU PER DECK. 981’s are SLOW to recover heat, and that makes for hot/cold spots and inconsistencies in the bake character of the pizzas. When we fill our oven with pies, even totally at room temp, the temp dives, and takes a good 7 to 8 minutes+ just to recover to the original setting. So, we are not baking at 550F, but at a temp rising between 400F to 500F for the majority of the bake time. If doing one or two pies . . . like one per deck . . . the temp holds truer, and we get a faster bake.

We have the same thing happen that you describe. Pizzas started right on the deck will burn on bottom before edges are browned. The steel deck is FAR hotter than the air around the oven. Sounds like you need to match your dough to your oven temp/bake personality. If it takes a longer bake to get cooked, then find a way to tenderize the crust??

Your issue, from your descriptions, now seems to have started out as a tough and dry crust that you tried to solve with a hotter/shorter bake right on the deck. Is that right? It may be a simpler solution to go back to screens/7-minute bake at 550F thermostat setting and adjust your dough formulation as needed. This may turn into a dough formulation thread after all :slight_smile: These guys are the bomb-diggitty on dough formulations and trouble shooting.

I have some experience with the 961 model blodgett double stack. I had the burner changed to a 50K BTU. It was still useless when it came to making pizza.
I have to agree with NicksPizza. These ovens are not a good pizza oven. Mine would very in temperature as much as 150 degrees below settings and 50 degrees above settings.

You could still use the ovens by rotating between decks but as soon as you get busy the pizza will be inconsistant. A lower temperature could help but only when you are using the oven sparingly.

POM, you are using the next better oven than we are :frowning: The 981 has a 50K BTU burner to run TWO decks instead of the one deck for the 961’s. The 961-P is designed for pizzas, and even it is a bit under powered for large volume going through it. Great for roasting and for bread baking, though.

Just confirming the views of all the guys who responded; The ovens you have are not up to the task.

George Mills

Hey everyone,
I really appreciate everybody chiming in. I’m trying adding some olive oil and sugar to my formulation to see what happens, you were right NP, I am having toughness issues. I am going to try this first and see the results, I’m starting to think the situation is hopeless based on everyone’s feedback about the oven. It is interesting that when I search used restaurant equipment sites/e-bay I can find most pizza ovens used but no Marsal and Sons- must be a pretty good product if no one is getting rid of them, right?

could be that they have not sold alot of them, RE middleby has sold , they claim,a million.
George Mills

You can find a set of 981’s on eBay nearly any day of any week. LOTS of them out there, and lots of people selling them off. They are not a total “lost cause” if you have them already in place . . . they just take a whole lot more attention and fiddling to get the pie you want and matching the dough formulation to it. You can certainly do a reasonable volume with 4 decks of these . . . but replace when you can, and you’ll probably be far happier with your product in the end.

When I get a true pizza deck in, my 981’ will be relegated to the job they were designed for: roasting and baking (general baked goods). Maybe a travelling pizza demo oven onj propane, but not heavy pizza loads.

A friend of mine, right here in Manhattan, Kansas recently found a Marsal, double decker on E-bay and snagged it for a song. It was essentially brand new. The Marsal is one of the newer ovens on the market, yes, they have been around for a number of years, but not as long as the Baker Pride and the Blodgette ovens, and also, when a newbie goes out to buy an oven, many times they just look around at what the others are using and that’s what they go with, right or wrong. Remember, years ago we didn’t have the luxury of web sites like this to help us make the right decisions.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

You might trying googling restaurant supply new york city bowery. I grabbed a marsal off ebay, but if I couldnt find it there I know there were a few up in New York. When you google that it will give you listing of used equipment places. Give them a call and ask what you are looking for.