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Baking Pizza on a Metal Plate/Baking Steel


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i think i’ve mentioned this elsewhere recently but i leave my steel in the oven 24/7 and just made peace with it. without the steel, the temperature swings are just too extreme. when the oven says it’s come to temp at 400°F, say, it might actually be at 275°F. then it’ll slowly climb until the temp probe i have dangling in the middle reads 475°F. with the steel acting as a buffer, it remains within a degree or so of the desired temperature (with sufficient preheat time, of course). 

 

i tend to leave mine on the bottom rack unless i’m cooking pizza, though, where i’ll move it to the top. 

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10 hours ago, Hassouni said:

@weinoo, I kept my Baking Steel Griddle in the oven, and despite being seasoned, it rusted - I then found out gas ovens (which I have, or had...see below), release water vapor as a byproduct. Is your oven electric?

 

Also, using said baking steel as a griddle to make tortillas and cranking the heat fried my oven controls (that were right behind the steel)...and two technicians' trips later, I need a new oven! Definitely springing for electric.

 

Gas.  And yes, if your oven has a window, you can see the vapor when the oven first fires up...I open the door for a few seconds to let it escape, and I always wipe the steel down with a cloth and the tiniest bit of high-heat oil as soon as it cools down enough to do so. I don't seem to have much problem with rust.

 

The controls on the range are not in the back, so I'm not too worried about frying them - and nothing is electronic in the controls.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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OK, stupid question here: I cook pizza on a baking stone in my (electric) oven. Would I get noticeably better results with a baking steel?

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29 minutes ago, Orbit said:

OK, stupid question here: I cook pizza on a baking stone in my (electric) oven. Would I get noticeably better results with a baking steel?

 

extremely not a stupid question at all.

 

sort of depends on what you want to invest in time, effort, and money, and whether the results you'd get are important enough for you to care. there is a noticeable difference, but it's less revolutionary (imo) over a stone than using a stone tends to be over a simple pan.

 

kenji has some good side-by-sides here if you're looking for pictures showing the explicit differences you can get between them; just search for "stone vs" in the article to jump to the comparison:

 

https://slice.seriouseats.com/2012/09/the-pizza-lab-the-baking-steel-delivers.html

 

there are some aficionados here and around the net which will also try and suggest using aluminum in place of steel. really it comes down to what you can get and how you'll use it. i admit i do like having the steel and wouldn't really want to go back without it.

 

Edited by jimb0 (log)
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11 hours ago, jimb0 said:

sort of depends on what you want to invest in time, effort, and money, and whether the results you'd get are important enough for you to care.

 

Very true of this, and many other aspects of cooking.  Like what's most important. It's like my pursuit of ingredients which are important to me and my cooking. to others, not so much.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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On 1/14/2021 at 9:37 PM, Orbit said:

OK, stupid question here: I cook pizza on a baking stone in my (electric) oven. Would I get noticeably better results with a baking steel?

 

Better is relative.  For pizza, heat is leavening and char.  You proof your dough to (ideally) load it up with as much carbon dioxide as possible, but, it's the heat of the oven that's responsible for both expanding that gas and boiling the water in the dough into rapidly expanding steam. As you bake cooler, as you bake longer, you lose puff, you lose volume. Some styles, like Chicago thin and American/chain style favor longer, cooler bakes, but, when you get into NY style, a 4-6 minute bake on steel/aluminum is almost universally favored over a 9+ minute bake on stone.

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I have a gas Viking oven. It doesn't want to get hotter than 475 or maybe 500 degrees. We used a stone for many years and then upgraded to a 3.8 inch steel. The steel shortens baking time by a minute or two and gets the bottom crust crispier. I wouldn't call it life changing, but it's definitely worth the expense. Of course it would be nice to have an outdoor pizza oven that cranks up to 700 or higher, but this is a perceptible improvement. The steel also makes it easier for the peel to slide out the pie. 

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On 1/14/2021 at 9:37 PM, Orbit said:

OK, stupid question here: I cook pizza on a baking stone in my (electric) oven. Would I get noticeably better results with a baking steel?

 

the debate on stone/steel/aluminum rages on.

seldom is asked the question:  why must a pizza bake in less than two minutes?

I use a stone, it takes 10-12 minutes.  I don't have an issue with that.IMG_0477s.thumb.JPG.471fbdda741697b242796fd5f96e64f6.JPG

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13 minutes ago, AlaMoi said:

seldom is asked the question:  why must a pizza bake in less than two minutes?

 

I think the citizens of Naples would have an answer for you ;) 

Just to be clear, though, I'm not advocating sub 2 minute Neapolitan pizza.  None of the materials being discussed can achieve that in a home oven.  

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10 hours ago, AlaMoi said:

why must a pizza bake in less than two minutes?

I use a stone, it takes 10-12 minutes.  I don't have an issue with that.

 

Just different style of pizza. I wouldn't want a thick crust pizza baked so hot, obviously. But for a semi Neapolitan pizza, this Make a different. 

It's a bit like the discussion on wok hei in home cooking. Is it necessary or even desired in every dish? - no, but for those who love it's flavor in certain dishes it's worth working for.

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8 hours ago, shain said:

 

Just different style of pizza. I wouldn't want a thick crust pizza baked so hot, obviously. But for a semi Neapolitan pizza, this Make a different. 

It's a bit like the discussion on wok hei in home cooking. Is it necessary or even desired in every dish? - no, but for those who love it's flavor in certain dishes it's worth working for.

 

Not to split hairs, but semi Neapolitan and wok hei are, for the most part, realms of the obsessive.  Steel plate was cutting edge a decade ago, but now it's pretty much become the defacto method for making pizza at home.  It's everywhere.  Every major book on pizza mentions steel.  I've even seen Chris Bianco talking about it on Jimmy Kimmel. 

In the course of my travels, I've probably run across 3000 people who've purchased steel plates.  I do spend a lot of time with obsessives, but I also brush shoulders with plenty of folks that just want have fun making pizzas with their families and not make a big thing out of it.  Out of all these thousands of steel adopters, obsessive or not, young or old, beginner or master, not a single one has ever preferred the 10+ minute bakes they were getting on stone to the  sub 7 minute bakes on steel.  Now, out of this group, a handful of people had have odd broiler configurations that didn't play well with steel, so not everyone that buys steel is grinning ear from ear, but, that's the oven's fault (and the steel plate manufacturer's fault for fraudulent marketing), not the steel itself. 

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".....realms of the obsessive......."

indeed.  I've spent lots of time in Italy - Turin/Piedmont/Sicily/Naples/'east coast'/ Venice-area-into-the- Dolomites . . .

 

methinks the issue is a local pride issue - which is actually unrelated to "tastes good"

 

regardless..... wood auto-ignition temp is 451' Fahrenheit.  there's a book about that.....

the vastest majority of home ovens design for install around wood do not exceed 500'F - for safety reasons.....

our most recent replacement says it will go to 550'F - done that - display reads 550'F - does preheat a baking stone super well.

Edited by AlaMoi (log)
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13 hours ago, AlaMoi said:

".....realms of the obsessive......."

indeed.  I've spent lots of time in Italy - Turin/Piedmont/Sicily/Naples/'east coast'/ Venice-area-into-the- Dolomites . . .

 

methinks the issue is a local pride issue - which is actually unrelated to "tastes good"

 

regardless..... wood auto-ignition temp is 451' Fahrenheit.  there's a book about that.....

the vastest majority of home ovens design for install around wood do not exceed 500'F - for safety reasons.....

our most recent replacement says it will go to 550'F - done that - display reads 550'F - does preheat a baking stone super well.


Well ...

 

I somewhat disagree with the statement of “local pride issue and not related to taste”. Cooking techniques developed from available equipment, and the taste is by necessity a combination of ingredients & techniques - which in the case of Neapolitan pizza is deemed as “good” by quite a share of people. 
 

I complete disagree with your second statement. 451’ is the alleged auto ignition temperature (actually more of a median) of paper, not of wood. There is a book about that 😉 ... Wood burns at higher temperatures - but this would not pose a significant risk, as ovens are properly insulated and will not start to ignite their respective environment. 

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21 hours ago, AlaMoi said:

methinks the issue is a local pride issue - which is actually unrelated to "tastes good"


As @Duvel alludes to, Neapolitan pizza was born out of necessity.  Poor aspiring pizzeria owners couldn't afford hulking 70,000+ lb. bread ovens.  Smaller ovens at lower temps = less output, so, if Neapolitans wanted to make money, the only option was to run the oven hotter. This is still a reality with wood fired ovens today. It doesn't hurt that Naples has been quite industrial/bustling/fast paced for hundreds of years.  What's the translation for espresso? ;)  This was fast food centuries before Ray Kroc had a glint in his eye.

 

Taste is relative, so 'tastes good' causes me to bristle a bit, but if you wanted to say something along the lines of "less crowd pleasing," I can absolutely agree that Neapolitan pizza is less crowd pleasing than American.  Not if the crowd is in Italy, obviously, but, as you move into neutral areas without much of a pizza history, longer baked pizza is generally favored. Speaking of espresso... I might go as far as to say it most likely breaks down like espresso does vs lighter roasts. The intense char, the wetness- Neapolitan pizza is not for everyone. 

But any conversation about the polarizing aspects of Neapolitan pizza, as I said before, is off topic.  1 minute Neapolitan pizza is polarizing, niche, obsessive, an acquired taste, etc. etc.  7 minute NY vs 10 minute NY- for everyone that I've ever met 7 tastes better- dramatically better- like "Oh my God, I just tried steel for the first time and my life will never be the same" better.

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I think this is my best attempt yet.

 

1609274900_Pizza01-23.thumb.jpeg.f8e8f23095a22180626bd6ef32fc9f37.jpeg

 

I say I think, because I don't know what style I'd call it. Perhaps a little too puffy for NY style.  It's around 11". I suppose with little less hydration, I could stretch it more?

 

Anyway - 50% KA bread, 50% KA Sir Gallahad, which is like their A/P, I think. Around 68% hydration. The tiniest bit of sugar, and a T or so of olive oil went into the 500 grams of flour. I'd say a gram of instant yeast. Brought together with a Danish whisk till no dry flour showed. 16 hours on the counter. Divided, shaped and put into individual containers and into the fridge overnight. I brought them out 2 hours prior to using, and started heating the oven/steel an hour before baking, at its hottest temp. Then I turned on the broiler for a few minutes while shaping and dressing the pie. Turned it back onto bake when I slid the pie in. And back onto broil for the last minute.

Total bake time  was just about 5 minutes, 30 seconds.

 

The sauce was really good, the mozzarella is via Formaggio Essex, and there was a sprinkling of freshly grated parm before I put the mozzarella on. Toppings refrigerated until the last minute.

 

We were quite happy drinking this alongside...

 

IMG_3380.thumb.JPG.06389f36a3622e8205950515a9914f90.JPG

 

We ate two pies.

Edited by weinoo (log)
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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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20 hours ago, weinoo said:

I say I think, because I don't know what style I'd call it. Perhaps a little too puffy for NY style.  It's around 11". I suppose with little less hydration, I could stretch it more?

 

 

I like my pizzas fluffy, IMO this highlight a good dough. I'd suggest that you avoid lowering hydration if you can, unless you prefer it to be a bit drier and crisper (note that stretching it wider will also have the same effect to a degree, so even more so). 

 

21 hours ago, weinoo said:

Toppings refrigerated until the last minute.

 

That's super important with fresh motz in an home oven - cold toppings and large-ish pieces, otherwise it gets dry and chewey. Soaking the cheese with a bit of milk and a pinch of salt also helps.

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9 hours ago, shain said:
On 1/23/2021 at 2:39 PM, weinoo said:

Toppings refrigerated until the last minute.

 

That's super important with fresh motz in an home oven - cold toppings and large-ish pieces, otherwise it gets dry and chewey. Soaking the cheese with a bit of milk and a pinch of salt also helps.


Or using burrata ...

 

661A59C2-67A7-4F2C-9B88-6F019B14E57B.thumb.jpeg.e42bc79a5cf852a20d797ae339c55644.jpeg

Edited by Duvel (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Bought myself a present, which arrived this week...

 

IMG_3523.thumb.jpeg.05c6462909822340e65ce7aac5ee8fac.jpeg

 

Made these for lunch yesterday, which explains why dinner didn't go exactly as planned...

 

IMG_3524.thumb.jpeg.cf53bf676b0fe99a5f12358e84b3b2de.jpeg

 

IMG_3525.thumb.jpeg.3e653c055cc727eb914ee6edfe977db3.jpeg

 

I sure seem to end up with flour everywhere!

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

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Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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23 minutes ago, jimb0 said:

looking good. the peel is a bit of a surprise to me, does no dough ever get caught in the holes?

Thanks for jinxing me!!

 

You know, I haven't used it enough yet to have that happen...;i think the idea is that all the holes reduce any friction? But I have no idea - it seems like a lot of the Neapolitan pizza places here use a peel like this.

 

image.png.9db779aa52099451f7804ec0184b768f.png

 

Keste, NYC

 

 

 

image.png

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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does khachapuri belong in this thread 

 

F301D920-FE47-4A83-88F7-FC39115484F6.thumb.jpeg.fa19aa0de6e3a28636a7a61db7ed4658.jpeg

 

fridge leftovers khachapuri (georgian cheese bread). leftover pesto, bottom of a jar of ajvar, some discount cheese curds i had in the freezer, an egg, some za’atar. 

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