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Substitute for MC's 1/2"-Thick Pizza Steel

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its a heat sink, a large one at that. or an energy capacitor  etc

 

unless you use it specifically  for something,  you are adding energy to it when its not needed, and then that energy

 

returns to the room once you have finished w the oven.


Edited by rotuts (log)

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its a heat sink, a large one at that. or an energy capacitor etc

unless you use it specifically for something, you are adding energy to it when its not needed, and then that energy

returns to the room once you have finished w the oven.

I get that part. But there are many other knowledgeable people who will argue that the price you pay is worth it in the results you get. I've seen it argued that home ovens are inherently inefficient and a pizza stone can address some of that inefficiency. So I am asking for the argument against that.

Edited to improve sense.


Edited by Anna N (log)

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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Can you explain your reasoning?

 

As Rotuts explains exactly.

 

Not only that, there is no need to pre-heat your oven for many baking/broiling/heating/roasting recipes. Pre-heating oven is a big waste of energy. 

 

I think making naan bread, pizzas, dough proofing, etc., you do need to pre-heat.

 

dcarch


Edited by dcarch (log)

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I get that part. But there are many other knowledgeable people who will argue that the price you pay is worth it in the results you get. I've seen it argued that home ovens are inherently inefficient and a pizza stone can address some of that inefficiency. So I am asking for the argument against that.

Edited to improve sense.

 

By definition (science), all gas and electric ovens are 100% efficient. The so-called inefficiencies are actually meaning poorly insulated ovens, In that case keeping an unused stone inside makes even less sense. It's like people keeping lots of sandbags year round in the trunk to get good winter snow traction.

 

dcarch

 

(To be clear, efficiency means a lot for induction cook tops and microwave ovens.  The ability to convert Watts to BTUs)


Edited by dcarch (log)

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I get that part. But there are many other knowledgeable people who will argue that the price you pay is worth it in the results you get. I've seen it argued that home ovens are inherently inefficient and a pizza stone can address some of that inefficiency. So I am asking for the argument against that.

Edited to improve sense.

Just depends what you're using it there for. If your goal is to stabilize the oven temp, then it can help. But if you're planning to use the oven quickly and temperature variation doesn't matter as much for the dish, the steel will increase the pre-heat time, thus increasing the cost. 

 

If you're keeping it in there for storage purposes, it may be a waste. If you are doing it for other reasons, never mind. 

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""   it argued that home ovens are inherently inefficient ""

 

if by this you mean there are wide swings in temperature due to the On / Off cycle not being designed to be very accurate, then OK.

 

a heat sink will help stabilize a temp into a somewhat tighter range, at the cost of the energy that's going into that sink.

 

thats what all those patio brinks did in my home made bread oven many years ago.  took forever to heat up, but then stayed at the temp I 

 

wanted for the 4 hours or so of baking.  with spritzers of energy added from time to time by the gas oven, the only heat source.

 

but Id take them out, when not baking 8 loafs of bread, two at a time, about an  hour each batch.

 

toasty Kitchen in the winter, very nice.

 

not so nice in the summer.

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I'm guessing a 3/8" thick steel pan would be more efficient (in terms of energy cost and preheat time) unless you're planning to cook a lot of pizzas back to back.


Notes from the underbelly

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Steel provides one single advantage to the home baker over traditional baking stones- it's superior conductivity shortens bake times. In a typical home oven, 1/2" steel can trim off as much as 5 minutes in the time it takes for the pizza to bake. Faster bakes produce better oven spring/puffier crusts. This improved heat transfer, though, only occurs on the bottom of the pizza. In most home ovens, if you pre-heat the steel to max temp and bake the pizza on it without adding any top heat, by the time the top of the pizza is nicely colored, the bottom will be black.  If you shorten the bake time to accommodate the undercrust, the top will be pale.

 

Steel, by accelerating undercrust browning, introduces an inherent heat imbalance to the home pizzamaking equation. The only truly effective means for countering this imbalance is using the broiler during the bake, and the only way the broiler can be effective is if the steel is in the upper quadrant of the oven.

 

Why do I bring this up?  Because if you're using the steel on one of the top shelves, leaving the steel in the oven while you're baking other items becomes completely nonviable.  In an upper oven placement scenario, any arguments regarding  temp stabilization/heat distribution, pre-heat time extension or energy efficiency become moot.  If you're baking something other than pizza, the steel has got to go.

 

Removing and inserting a heavy steel plate can be a backbreaking experience.  You can completely bypass all of this angst by cutting the steel plate down the middle and inserting/removing a piece at a time.

 

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=31267.msg311009#msg311009

 

This extra cut allows for far easier handling of 1/2" steel, which, for the best oven spring, is what you want, since the decreased thermal mass of 3/8" and 1/4" extends bake times- which runs counter to the point of buying steel.  3/8" is kind of a no man's land, where, depending on your oven, you might hit fast NY bakes, but 1/4" barely outperforms far less expensive cordierite baking stones.


Edited by scott123 (log)

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DSC00502.jpg

This is our first attempt at pizza using a 1/2 inch steel plate.  Heated it up at 550 degrees F for one hour.  Switched to broil about six inches from the element and baked Peter Reinhart's Napoletana Pizza Dough from "American Pie".  Didn't take long...maybe 8 minutes and wow.  It was so crispy especially the cheese on top.  This is our new way cooking pizza for sure.  

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I was wondering has anyone tried to make the MC baking steel out of stainless steel (316)? I know most of home made ones are from A36 steel, and guys at pizzamaking.com tried the copper ones as well.

I know they have the same thermal properties, do you think the stainless steel would be as good as the A36 one?

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Perhaps not but I love crispy stuff.  It was gooey between the crispy top and the actual topping ingredients.

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Weinoo,

 

No I don't like dried out, burned, "crispy" cheese at all, but love a little browning on top of gooey cheese.

 

Everybody Else, and Weinoo, too!  

 

Anyone ever thought about using a cast iron enameled reversible grill, like I got with my Charbroil gas grill? One side has grill ridges, the other's a flat griddle, perfect for pizza, on the grill or in the oven. A really good heat sink. They're much cheaper than plate stainless, and much easier to access for most of us.

 

It's what I use, and so far, after four years, seems pretty indestructible.


> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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I was wondering has anyone tried to make the MC baking steel out of stainless steel (316)? I know most of home made ones are from A36 steel, and guys at pizzamaking.com tried the copper ones as well.

I know they have the same thermal properties, do you think the stainless steel would be as good as the A36 one?

 

Why? You can season the A36 so that it's nonstick. Its much cheaper than stainless.

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Weinoo,

 

No I don't like dried out, burned, "crispy" cheese at all, but love a little browning on top of gooey cheese.

 

Everybody Else, and Weinoo, too!  

 

Anyone ever thought about using a cast iron enameled reversible grill, like I got with my Charbroil gas grill? One side has grill ridges, the other's a flat griddle, perfect for pizza, on the grill or in the oven. A really good heat sink. They're much cheaper than plate stainless, and much easier to access for most of us.

 

It's what I use, and so far, after four years, seems pretty indestructible.

 

Lodge has made a cast iron pizza pan for ages, and Kenji on SE did some stuff with broiling atop the bottom of a preheated cast iron pan. It works quite well, but Kenji's conclusion is that the baking steel is superior (I haven't used one, only cast iron). This was the result:

 

 

 

31835_578084631971_5809401_n.jpg?oh=0c09

 

31835_578084641951_7559031_n.jpg?oh=1471

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Why? You can season the A36 so that it's nonstick. Its much cheaper than stainless.

I can get my hands on stainless for free :) so i was wondering is it as good as the A36? Has anyone tried?

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A36 is a low carbon steel used for structural shapes.

I guess it would depend on the stainless grade's heat retention


Dwight

If at first you succeed, try not to act surprised.

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Actually stainless doesn't conduct heat as well as mild steel, but not sure whether that' s a plus or a minus as we're concerned about retention...

 

If its free, I'd give it a go.

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aluminum.thumb.jpg.d9dfc8eb4c566c3ed8e8e

 

eBay: 1 Aluminum Disc, 1 1/4" thick x 14 3/4" dia., Mic-6 Cast Tooling Plate, Disk (21.6 lbs, $54 USD)

 

Some people prefer aluminum for pizza steels. One can find aluminum blanks on eBay, typically scrap from cutting holes in aluminum plates. I'm using an aluminum disk to help with even heat distribution for my custom 1/2" x 15" Baking Steel, which I use both stovetop and in the oven. It needed modest cleanup, to smooth edges and remove residues, easily accomplished with premium very fine sandpaper on a power sander, and then paper towels and rubbing alcohol. 

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Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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2 hours ago, Syzygies said:

aluminum.thumb.jpg.d9dfc8eb4c566c3ed8e8e

 

eBay: 1 Aluminum Disc, 1 1/4" thick x 14 3/4" dia., Mic-6 Cast Tooling Plate, Disk (21.6 lbs, $54 USD)

 

Some people prefer aluminum for pizza steels. One can find aluminum blanks on eBay, typically scrap from cutting holes in aluminum plates. I'm using an aluminum disk to help with even heat distribution for my custom 1/2" x 15" Baking Steel, which I use both stovetop and in the oven. It needed modest cleanup, to smooth edges and remove residues, easily accomplished with premium very fine sandpaper on a power sander, and then paper towels and rubbing alcohol. 

How do you like the aluminum? It obviously heats up much faster but it also loses heat much faster than steel. I'm wondering if you see anything against the disadvantages using it compared to steel? We've been using a steel plate and we are thinking about getting a 2nd one and I'm considering a little but I would like to hear some feedback from somebody who uses one.


I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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22 pounds of aluminum stays at whatever temperature it's at. The box had been in trucks for days, and if my hands had been wet they would have frozen to the disk when I unpacked it. (Poor man's anti-griddle? Seriously.) It then took forever (well, an hour) for the above stack to reach griddle temperatures. Then I went off for office hours for several hours, and when I came back the aluminum was still too hot to touch.

 

They make disks half this thickness, for $25. That may be a better bet, in which case what do you have to lose, trying experiments yourself? Not like investing in a Baking Steel.

 

56 minutes ago, MSRadell said:

How do you like the aluminum?

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Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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On 9/23/2013 at 8:18 AM, weinoo said:

I've always thought that the oil used to season the slab would burn and give an-off taste to the finished product.

This doesn't happen?

Yes.  It ends up like a cast iron skillet that's been used for very high searing.  There's just a touch of polymer left, enough to keep the plate from rusting later.  But no off-taste--it's pretty much all carbonized like the leopard spots on the crust.

 

I too have a 1/2" scrapyard steel.  I would not go any thicker than that. 3/8" is a pretty good balance between the crust and topping doneness. Thicker is not always better here.

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Has anyone tried a steel in one of those ovens that has a separate broiler compartment? The thing that looks like a drawer below the main oven chamber? 


Notes from the underbelly

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I need your opinion. I have an old chamber stove. It never occurred to me to bake pizza in there because it doesn't have a broiler. But it keeps the heat VERY well and this is the oven floor. A very, very heavy cast iron sheet.

 

I guess my only way to find out is to try to bake directly onto it. But meanwhile any other tip is welcome.

 

56ceee8a05f36_ovenfloor.thumb.JPG.db379a

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