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gic
09-15-2013, 04:19 PM
Modernist cuisine has gotten a lot of people interested in using 1/4 to 1/3 A36 carbon steel plates for cooking pizza. (Some people even claim it makes big green egg pizza even better though that is hard to believe :- ) )

A company now sells this "baking steel" although it wouldn't be too hard to wander down to a local metal store and pick up a sheet of what is, after all, ordinary structural steel, I suspect for a lot less.

Anyone try this??

Dusty
09-15-2013, 06:16 PM
I haven't, but I have retrofit domestic ovens to increase thermal mass which helps a lot with pizza. Last night I made some frankly pretty good pizza buy pre-heating my thickest cast iron pan and cooking on that - same principle.

gic
09-15-2013, 07:41 PM
Yep, Lodge in fact makes a cast iron pan that works pretty darn well

but the claim for the baking steel is that A36 steel transfers heat better than cast iron so works even better...

don
09-15-2013, 07:58 PM
I have used the baking steel, and it works. Since you're in the Bay Area, you can borrow mine if you want to try.

UCChemE05
09-15-2013, 09:24 PM
For the price, I'm going to stick with my Lodge pizza pan for now. Heat capacities are very similar but the thermal conductivity of cast iron is better. (didn't look much into the TC due to time... different cast irons can seem to vary here) Depending on the cast iron, it can be up to 15% less dense than A53.

That being said, the lodge unit isn't very thick so it doesn't hold as much heat as the thicker steel plates you can get.

Good comparison: http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2012/10/the-pizza-lab-baking-steel-lodge-cast-iron-pizza.html?ref=search

gic
09-15-2013, 10:04 PM
So here is my crazy idea of the day get 4 8x8 1/2 plates with smooth sides and use those. that way I get the thermal mass I want but the plates weigh about 8 pounds each instead of 30+
Welcome peoples thoughts on this idea

EdipisReks
09-16-2013, 12:19 AM
I'm going to pick up the 3/8 version some time, I think. I'm not sure my oven racks will support the big one.

Mucho Bocho
09-16-2013, 12:03 PM
I've been using a piece of 1/4 in sheet of carbon steel for about a year now. Before that i used a baking stone and or a large lodge skillet. The carbon steel plate is in another league altogether.

It releases heat very quickly and will be ripping hot to the touch two hours after the oven has been turned off. I heat the oven for 30 minutes at 550. The plate will usually be between 650 to 630 degrees. Will cook a neopolitan pizza in under two minutes

18673

Zwiefel
09-16-2013, 12:09 PM
I'm going to pick up the 3/8 version some time, I think. I'm not sure my oven racks will support the big one.

Why not use the floor of the oven?


I've been using a piece of 1/4 in sheet of carbon steel for about a year now. Before that i used a baking stone and or a large lodge skillet. The carbon steel plate is in another league altogether.

It releases heat very quickly and will be ripping hot to the touch two hours after the oven has been turned off. I heat the oven for 30 minutes at 550. The plate will usually be between 650 to 630 degrees. Will cook a neopolitan pizza in under two minutes


I know you already told me once, but I can't remember....Where did you source your plate?

Mucho Bocho
09-16-2013, 12:14 PM
Danny, I bought it locally at an Ironworks company. He only charged me $50 for a 19" X 12" X 1/4. They grinded any rust and deburred the edges. I would estimate it weighs about 30--35lbs.

Zwiefel
09-16-2013, 12:54 PM
Danny, I bought it locally at an Ironworks company. He only charged me $50 for a 19" X 12" X 1/4. They grinded any rust and deburred the edges. I would estimate it weighs about 30--35lbs.

Along the lines of what occurred to me: go to a local welding shop. Any guidelines/advice about how to select the right kind of steel? Just ask for "structural, plate steel?"

EdipisReks
09-16-2013, 01:22 PM
Why not use the floor of the oven?


The bottom of my oven is warped, and the pizza would slide off. True story. :)

Zwiefel
09-16-2013, 01:28 PM
The bottom of my oven is warped, and the pizza would slide off. True story. :)

hahahahahaha....I mean, WHAT?!

Just put some shims/bricks under the feet when you want to use the oven, and take them out when you want to use the stovetop. I guess you could split the difference if you need both.

More seriously...maybe you could use some bricks to create a platform for the plate? Might lose a significant amount of usable space though.

gic
09-16-2013, 01:35 PM
a36 standard structural steel

Zwiefel
09-16-2013, 01:50 PM
Perfect! Thanks.


a36 standard structural steel

Mucho Bocho
09-16-2013, 02:33 PM
Gic, Right on. I couldn't remember it and wat thinkit it wa 8A but I believe A36 it it. Another interesting thing about this material is that it doesn't stain or change color at all when cooked on. I just washed the plate, rubbed a very light coat of saffour oil and bvrought it to full temp then cooled it.

apathetic
09-16-2013, 04:47 PM
Great thread! I was curious about this as well :)
@Mucho Bocho: Can you make more than one pizza in a row once the plate is heated?
Also, you say it doesn;t stain, does that mean you didn't need to season it?

Mucho Bocho
09-16-2013, 05:31 PM
Ap, Yea it doesn't stain and I really didn't do anything more than to it other than washed it with hot water and soap, rubbed it with a table spoon of high heat oil on a paper towel. The coating was really really light. Then I put it in the oven full crank. Like I said I've had it for a year or so and have made bread, pizza and scones. Its virtually a non-stick surface. One time I put too much on the pizza and the crust was too low so the cheese, sauce and toppings came over the crust wall and spilled out on the bare metal. I used a pizza scraper to get the spillage back on to the pie. Not only did the toppings and cheese not stick, but it didn't even leave a stain on the steel. I don't flip it either as with all the cooking i've done, I still cant tell the top from the bottom.

You can do pizza's till the cow come home. You can load them as fast as you can make them. But you can only cook one pizza at a time.

Here is my feble attempt at making baquetts. My crumb could be better but the steel plate reall came through as you can see.

http://i1051.photobucket.com/albums/s426/dennismpintoii/photo2.jpg (http://s1051.photobucket.com/user/dennismpintoii/media/photo2.jpg.html)

http://i1051.photobucket.com/albums/s426/dennismpintoii/photo3.jpg (http://s1051.photobucket.com/user/dennismpintoii/media/photo3.jpg.html)

apathetic
09-16-2013, 05:58 PM
Thanks for the pics & explanations!
I would have thought that the plate would cool down too much to be able to do more than one or two pizza in a row. Impressed with how non stick it is with no need for seasoning as well.
I am going to look into making one.

apicius9
09-16-2013, 06:23 PM
Very nice. I never got around to buying stones, maybe I'll find a metal plate out here somewhere. Looks like there will be issues with shipping the prefabricated ones out here, I may have to follow up on that.

Stefan

EdipisReks
09-16-2013, 07:07 PM
hahahahahaha....I mean, WHAT?!

Just put some shims/bricks under the feet when you want to use the oven, and take them out when you want to use the stovetop. I guess you could split the difference if you need both.

More seriously...maybe you could use some bricks to create a platform for the plate? Might lose a significant amount of usable space though.

Bricks might work, but I'd have to reconfigure stuff a lot, and I'm not sure it's worth it over just getting the 3/8 and keeping it on the rack at all times (like I do with my cordierite stone, currently).

Marko Tsourkan
09-16-2013, 10:35 PM
Looks pretty cool.

Anybody on the forum got a business idea of making these metal plates and offering them to the community?

I wold love to get my hands on one (preferably inexpensively). Need to talk to Aldo, but I doubt 30lb of carbon steel in 1/4 will cost $50.

M

JMJones
09-16-2013, 10:41 PM
Next up Damascus

mhlee
09-16-2013, 10:48 PM
I have the Baking Steel, the original thickness. It does stain. One of the reasons why I bought this is because (1) I didn't want to go the DIY route where I don't know the source of the steel, (2) didn't want to buy a plain sheet of steel and have to resort to some method to remove mill scale, and (3) buying from a company that backs the product. This is a great product in my experience.

If you're going to use something like this, you shouldn't be cooking a pizza on the bottom shelf of the oven as you will not get enough radiant cooking to cook the top of the pizza as fast as the bottom. Because the steel has so much thermal mass, once it's up to temp, it cooks pizzas anywhere from 4 to 6 minutes depending on the thinness/thickness of my dough. On the bottom of the oven, you'll never cook the toppings as quickly as the bottom. I actually put my Baking Steel on the second to highest rack of my oven, or highest rack. I've tried every rack height in my oven. The highest ones work best. (You can use the broiler method to cook the top, but that's another story, and still, based on my experience, if you're cooking a pizza on the bottom of the oven, and using the broiler method, you're still likely not going to cook the top as quickly as the bottom.)

JohnnyChance
09-16-2013, 11:37 PM
What temp oven are you using when cooking w the steel plate?

mhlee
09-16-2013, 11:42 PM
What temp oven are you using when cooking w the steel plate?

My oven dial goes to 550 - I have a DCS gas range which has been pretty accurate. But, for the Baking Steel, I'll preheat the steel for 30 minutes, and then run the broiler for another ten minutes with the Baking Steel on the second highest rack before putting a pizza on it.

I just got a laser thermometer, so the next time I do it, I'll message you with the actual steel temp.

gic
09-16-2013, 11:56 PM
I was going to get the baking steel but decided I want a 16x16 which fits comfortably in my oven. I also wanted 3/8" so getting it from a steel place seems like the route to go. In my case my house contractor was willing to get it for me as he deals with the local steel place a lot and I assume he will get a really good price for me. As soon as he gets around to doing it I'll report back on how hard the mill scale is to get off. But from what I read we should be pretty good at it, as it seems to be rather like an overgrown patina- atleast according to Wikipedia:

"Mill scale, often shortened to just scale, is the flaky surface of hot rolled steel, iron oxides consisting of iron(II,III) oxide, hematite, and magnetite.

Mill scale is formed on the outer surfaces of plates, sheets or profiles when they are being produced by rolling red hot iron or steel billets in rolling mills. Mill scale is composed of iron oxides mostly ferric and is bluish black in color. It is usually less than 1 mm (0.039 in) thick and initially adheres to the steel surface and protects it from atmospheric corrosion provided no break occurs in this coating."

Marko Tsourkan
09-17-2013, 12:09 AM
I will give Aldo (NJ Steel baron) a call tomorrow. He gets steel in sheets, so hopefully he has right thickness. W could cut to size, deburr and grind scales off on a wide belt grinder.

Will report tomorrow.

gic
09-17-2013, 12:10 AM
For those who are interested, I looked up on the web the weight per square foot of a36 steel...

10.3 (1/4)

12.8 (5/16)

15.4 (3/8)

20.5 (1/2)

so my 16x16 in 3/8 should come in at right around a manageable 24lbs

Marko Tsourkan
09-17-2013, 11:55 AM
Would it not make more sense to have the plate round? My oven can accommodate 15.75" round or 15.75"x18" square.

Mucho Bocho
09-17-2013, 12:11 PM
Marko, Sure you could make a round plate. I wanted rectangular because its more forgiving when you're sliding pizza's off the peel.

Marko Tsourkan
09-17-2013, 12:13 PM
on a second thought, I think you are right, as rectangular gives more surface.

What peel are you using? Any preferences on what wood the peel is made of?


M

Mucho Bocho
09-17-2013, 12:22 PM
Marko, I'm a wood peel (cheap pine) kinda guy. I like to be able to sand them to make them smooth.

gic, I know that so many time in life a little must be good so over kill must be even better--right. Not always. Their is no real advantage to getting a plate thicker than 1/4 inch. It will only take longer to heat (specific heat over time), heavier to move and more expensive. Just becuase its thicker doesn't mean its going to perform any better?

I heat my oven on convection to 550 for 30 minutes w/ infrared thermo. temp gets between 650 and 630. Like Mike Lee said, I cook my pizza's in the top third of the oven. Before I put the pizza in, I shut off convection. Also, I don't do the broilier thing, and with the thickness of my pizzas (very very thin), even with generous topings, they cook in about 2 minutes.

Marko Tsourkan
09-17-2013, 12:32 PM
3/8" thick might be an alternative for those who are dead-set on the heavier one. It will add 50% to the weight of 1/4" thick, so 14x16" will be approximately 22lb, 15.75x18" ~ 30LB. I think the rack should handle the weight fine, as long as you keep it static with the plate on and load your pizza with a peel. Pulling it out to load or remove the pizza might put a strain on it.

The advantage of a thicker plate is that it will keep the temperate better once it got up to the temperature. I don't think it will make that much of a difference over 1/4, but even a small difference is a difference nevertheless. Thicker stock is also less prone to warping.

I have seen adler used for wood peels. Any other species?

M

don
09-17-2013, 12:44 PM
I have the 1/2" Baking Steel (http://bakingsteel.com/) and should have gotten a thinner one. At 30#s, it's quite unwieldy getting in and out of the oven. However, I'm happy with the performance.

Mucho Bocho
09-17-2013, 12:55 PM
Don, Sounds like you got the Work Horse steel plate. If thats the case, I guess you could call my Steel Plate a LASER ;-)

Works for me cause thats exactly how I like my knives. Thin, nimble but perform like a mofo.




I have the 1/2" Baking Steel (http://bakingsteel.com/) and should have gotten a thinner one. At 30#s, it's quite unwieldy getting in and out of the oven. However, I'm happy with the performance.

Marko Tsourkan
09-17-2013, 01:03 PM
Don, Sounds like you got the Work Horse steel plate. If thats the case, I guess you could call my Steel Plate a LASER ;-)

Works for me cause thats exactly how I like my knives. Thin, nimble but perform like a mofo.

Can you observe any warpage from all this time you have been using it?

don
09-17-2013, 01:04 PM
Lol. I thought I needed a workhorse steel, but a laser would indeed have been more fitting. In knives, I also gravitate towards thinner knives.

don
09-17-2013, 01:07 PM
Can you observe any warpage from all this time you have been using it?

No warpage that I can discern, and my steel lives in the oven. I routinely bake bread so the steel sees 500 degrees at least once a week. Have had the baking steel since end of January.

Mucho Bocho
09-17-2013, 02:27 PM
Marko, Warpage? The thing is a 1/4 thick X 19 X 14. Its a bohemith, plus my oven only goes to 550 degree. Its flat, flat, flat. I'm going to take some pics tonight. this post need more pics.

As of note, I do remove the plate when I'm using the oven unless I'm cooking something long and slow, which I never do anymore cause I'm into sous Vide now. I realise that it increases the thermal mass of the oven but it like I said earlier, takes days to cool the plate down.


Can you observe any warpage from all this time you have been using it?

apathetic
09-17-2013, 04:49 PM
Its flat, flat, flat. I'm going to take some pics tonight. this post need more pics.


More pics can never hurt :thumbsup:

To those knowledgeable: is A36 structured steel the best option, or is there any point in using something else like say pure iron as used in the Debuyer mineral pans? Or anything else for that matter?

Mucho Bocho
09-18-2013, 11:30 AM
Pics as promised

1870418705

I have other files but the uploader sucks. Does anybody else have problems uploading files? Sometime it works sometime it doesn't. I had a pic of the steel in the oven but it wont upload.

El Pescador
09-18-2013, 05:58 PM
Just priced a carbon steel 1/2", 18" diameter from my local metal supply shop-$48

EdipisReks
09-18-2013, 08:01 PM
Just priced a carbon steel 1/2", 18" diameter from my local metal supply shop-$48

is that dressed, or just raw slab? if it's dressed, i think i'll find a local metal supply shop in Cincinnati. :)

Marko Tsourkan
09-22-2013, 02:51 PM
I spoke to Aldo at NJ Steel Baron. He has 1018 in 1/4 with 15.75" width. I will call him on Monday for the price. 1018 has better surface finish than A36 steel and he said he would finish the steel to 320 grit I think.

A36, followed by 1018 are the least expensive options. Everything up from there will be more money without much advantage.

M

Bill13
09-28-2013, 04:35 PM
Marko,

Thanks for getting us this info!

UCChemE05
09-29-2013, 09:45 PM
I thought this is kind of cool...

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/250320055/great-wok-kamado-grill-conversion-kit

Could use the griddle for in the oven then take it out to the grill when needed. I'm going to measure my Kamado and order one of these kits... this will kill two birds with one stone for me.