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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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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"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

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

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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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~ Shai N.

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