Pizza and My Wolf Convection Steam Oven

janek_2009July 18, 2013

I've been using my Wolf Convection Steam Oven for about a month, and I have to say that I am not entirely happy with my experience. Some things have turned out fine, but I'm not happy with the pizzas I've done. I have baked three "from scratch" pizzas using the Wolf "gourmet" pizza setting. The first time I selected the medium brown crust, and while the crust was medium brown, the cheese was overdone. The next time I selected the light brown setting, and the cheese was still overdone. Both pizzas were edible, but I wouldn't want to serve them to company, and I'm not crazy about eating overcooked pizza myself. I used Williams-Sonoma "goldtouch" 9 x 12 pans for the first two pizzas, so I tried a Williams-Sonoma round 12" goldtouch pizza pan for the third pizza, and selected the light brown setting. This resulted in another pizza with overdone cheese, but the bottom was soft, not crispy.
I called Wolf and spoke to two different people and asked for suggestions, but they had nothing of any value to say. The first one suggested I go to the nearest showroom, but that's 100 miles away. The other suggested I use the setting for focaccia bread in the Recipes Mode, but she couldn't tell me how this setting differs from the pizza setting in the Gourmet Mode or why she thought it would be an improvement. She did say she would ask one of their chefs about this, but she said she could not guarantee that I would hear back on this. It's been a week, and I haven't heard back.
I know I could watch the pizza and remove it from the oven before it gets too brown on top, but I'm pretty sure that the bottom would be undercooked.
Has anyone had success with pizza in the Wolf Convection Steam Oven? I'd love to hear how you did it.

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I haven't done pizza in mine, we don't do pizza often. What rack number does it tell you to use for the pizza setting? What rack number did you use?

Maybe moving it up or down on the rack numbers might help, but not sure, just guessing to be honest.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 10:09AM
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Seems pizza wouldn't be a forte of the steam oven. I haven't tried it in my steam oven but do like some of the Wolf gourmet settings. I've got a Wolf convection and a big Blue Star gas oven so really don't see a need to put a pizza in the steam oven.
I actually like my pizza 'burnt', not really burnt but that's how I tell a pizzeria to cook it. I enjoy browned cheese and a dark crust. Been making them in a 12" cast iron skillet in the Blue Star lately with a little olive oil and corn meal in the bottom of the pan, delish!
I would probably just use the convection steam mode at hi-heat for 25 minutes or so (thick crust), it's worth experimenting. You can't really decipher what goes on w/the auto settings, if I don't like the results I try it with a more conventional setting. It's still the most used oven in the house and I still love it :)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 10:54AM
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Sophie Wheeler

No steam. You get soggy crusts. No "pizza pan". You get soggy crusts. Unless you like deep dish. And you'll still get a soggy crust unless you turn the heat down a bit and give the crust more time.

Use a clay pizza stone and a peel to get it onto the stone. 500ð. About 6-8 minutes.

Good pizza is simple, not complicated. You just have to have and use the correct tools. Technology isn't helping here.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 11:19AM
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Making a pizza involves balancing top heat with bottom heat, and that balance varies depending on a number of factors including what toppings are on the pizza, and type of toppings ( mushrooms give off lots of moisture), the type of flour - adding sugar will cause it to brown earlier, and the type of pie - chicago, ny, etc. While a steam convection oven would not be my first choice, it sounds like you will get it close to what you want - you just have to find the balance that is right for your pizza. If the cheese is burning, move it down a rack or two, or cook for a few minutes and add the cheese, or even put the cheese in the freezer for 10 minutes to a half hour before you put it on the pie. If the bottom isn't browning enough, go with a cordierite pizza stone ( that will transfer the heat quicker than most other materials,) or even a pizza steel, which is just a piece of steel that conducts the heat to the bottom of a pie even quicker than a stone. Finally, you can vary the time and temp for preheating, and the temp you cook at - such as preheating to get the stone to 500, then turning down to 450 when you bake it to let the pizza crust brown more, and give less heat to the top,

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 1:54PM
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My favorite way to bake pizzas is in my Weber natural gas grill using a pizza stone. It doesn't heat up the house, any topping that falls off as I transfer the pizza from the peel to the stone falls in the grill, not my oven, and the results are amazing. On a recent rainy day to avoid heating the house I decided to try the Wolf convection steam oven to bake a pizza instead of using my Wolf gas range.
The single page reference guide and the use and care guide do not provide any information about which rack to use--only that for fresh pizza the setting A8 should be used--and based on over 50 years of pizza making at home, I used the bottom rack.
Today I tried another pizza; I preheated the oven to 425 using convection only. I watched closely as the cheese and toppings browned fairly quickly while the exposed crust browned more slowly. When I decided I definitely didn't want the cheese and toppings to get any browner, I removed the pizza from the oven. The underside and the exposed upper crust weren't quite as brown as I would have liked, and the cheese and toppings were a bit overdone, but the results were better than using the automatic setting.
The most interesting thing is that I received two phone calls today from Wolf regarding my steam combination oven, and while no one has offered a solution, they're supposed to get back with me.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 4:18PM
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425 is not hot enough for pizza in any oven unless you're doing individual Neapolitan pies with paper thin crusts -- the wood burning oven style pizza.

The steam oven should be very good for fish, veggies and grains, puddings. I expect it would be ok for like soft rolls or monkey bread.

Using a pizza stone in the regular oven is a better bet. Agree on the Weber gas grill -- it does a great job with the stone because it heats up to 600 and the heat is very intense.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 7:18PM
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If you look at a commercial pizza oven, they're not very complicated. A big ole chuck of stone, gas burners, and a thermostat. The stone functions to help regulate temperature much like a cast iron pan.

If you want to make pizza at home, you need to replicate that environment. Certainly no steam. 500-550 degrees or as hot as you oven will go. And a pizza stone. The thicker the better and allow it to preheat for a very long time.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 1:43AM
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I wish I knew more about how the combi oven works, but some on this forum have mentioned the concept of "dry steam" that allows for browning. This is very different from wet steam. It would be nice if you knew exactly what was going on in these cycles and could adjust it a little. A preset button may not be optimal for your recipe or the size or thickness of the pizza. Some might like the top brown that that setting provides while you do not.

As to perforated cookware-the holes may actually cause sogginess. The holes allow steam to escape which would seem to keep what you are baking from getting soggy but cools those areas. Somewhere I saw a pie baked in one of these pans and the parts over the holes cooked less than the other parts. I think America's test kitchens did a piece on this.

It is probably more of a learning curve on this appliance because there probably is more to it than the concept of wet steam that we usually think of. At the very least you have the interaction of steam and convection which is different from most other ovens. You seem like you need a little more heat from the bottom of the oven. The trick would be how to get it from that oven. Maybe an auto baking mode would be better. The bottom rack is good only if the heat is coming from the bottom. If it is coming from somewhere else, that won't help. Maybe Wolf can tell you what cycles have heat more from the bottom, so you can make your own recipe setting.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 8:35AM
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I have a gag combi and I use a pizza stone, no steam at all. I use the shelf one up from bottom. I tried it with steam, and played with settings and temp...never got the crust right with steam.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 9:16PM
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