PyroCeram on the left; HB II glass (“heat barrier II” – glass treated with a IR reflective coating) on the right.
I am now the proud owner of one tricked-out oven. Some tinkering with the lock mechanism, a hundred bucks and one sheet of PyroCeram later, and my oven now reaches a blistering 900F.
Why would I want to take my oven to 900F? To make the perfect pizza! I had a fantastic phone interview yesterday with a geek-turned-chef, Jeff Varasano, who’s thought about pizza way more than anyone else this side of the Atlantic. Take a look at his extensive write-up to get an idea of what I mean by “extensive”: www.varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm
Oh, and if you’re wondering “What’s PyroCeram?” — it’s a high-heat, thermal-shock resistant glass-like substance that was used in the 50’s to coat missile nosecones and is now used for industrial furnace “view panels”. It’s rated to 1400F, unlike the “normal” glass used (HBII – “heat barrier II” – IR reflective coating), so shouldn’t crack or break in my oven. In testing the “perfect” pizza recipe, I “broke” the glass in my oven door: thermal shock from cold air (or a drop of cold tomato sauce?) hitting it while the oven was at 900F. Definitely not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.