Author Topic: 3/8" 6061 aluminum  (Read 4103 times)

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Offline widespreadpizza

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3/8" 6061 aluminum
« on: November 09, 2012, 10:11:41 PM »
Calling all conductivity experts.  Stumbles into a 17'x18'x3/8" 6061.  What should I be attempting to do with this?  All I have for testing is an electric oven,  and a super hot electric broiler.  Lemme know what to try will you and I will document any attempts here as a thank you.  Shooting for NY/NH Hybrid BTW.  -Marc


Offline c0mpl3x

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Re: 3/8" 6061 aluminum
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2012, 11:24:35 PM »
find a way to cycle broil and bake, put on bottom element protector rack, broil from high above.
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: 3/8" 6061 aluminum
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2012, 09:14:36 AM »
Steel is 3X as dense, but Al has 2X the specific heat, so AL will hold a little less heat than steel of the same thickness, but it is 5X more conductive. Given the greater conductivity, is it possible that the AL would effectively utilize heat from areas not directly under the pie in a way steel can not?

I'd be curious to know what happens if the AL plate is employed under the broiler exactly as one might with a steel plate targeting a "nearlypolitan" bake. Less total heat, but dumped into the dough much faster. Could the faster heat transfer make sub 2-min possible?

edit: typo
« Last Edit: November 10, 2012, 09:45:51 AM by TXCraig1 »
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Offline pizzaneer

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Re: 3/8" 6061 aluminum
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2012, 09:22:32 AM »
Put it on top of a stone, second from top position. 
Heat the oven as high as it will go for an hour to soak the mass in the stone.
Switch to broiler.
Top the skin with NP toppings.
Launch the pie.
Watch it like a hawk, pull when blisters char a little.
 
You will get a NP bake (90 sec) out of this.  Please post some pics.

I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline widespreadpizza

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Re: 3/8" 6061 aluminum
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2012, 08:31:18 PM »
update here on this one.  Had a couple decent attempts with this setup,  this is the best one so far.  Been working with lower hydration dough lately,  mainly aiming for crisp.  This dough is 4 days old and 55% made from rex royal. This is with the plate on the bottom rack right above the electric element oven preheated to 500.  7 minute bake total,  last three with hi broil all the way from the top.  It ate very nicely.  I am starting to get some residual char/coating on the plate,  not sure how this will affect performance over time,  but the idea of getting a nice coating going works for me.  though I would give you the update.  Not sure if this rig will ever come close to 2:00.  Even at max temp etc.etc. etc.  -Marc

Offline widespreadpizza

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Re: 3/8" 6061 aluminum
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2013, 10:43:18 PM »
Hey all.  quick update.  I am down to about 4 minutes with this setup preheated to 550,  then broiler@ launch,  actually bakes pretty even this way.  Next time around I will post some pictures.  Also,  even at these temps a really nice glazed is coming across the top of this piece.  -marc

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: 3/8" 6061 aluminum
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2013, 11:06:19 PM »
That thing is a leaker....try it like Brian suggested.  ;)
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Offline scott123

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Re: 3/8" 6061 aluminum
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2013, 11:14:18 PM »
4 minutes at 550 on 3/8" aluminum? Hmmm... interesting. I have been predicting the need for thicker aluminum than that to achieve those bake times. It looks like the conductivity might be utilizing more heat from further parts of the plate than other materials.

Are you taking plate temp readings with an IR thermometer? This feels more like 600ish. How about the post bake plate temp?  I'm guessing there's a pretty big drop there.

Let me guess, pretty fast pre-heat, right? Less than 30 minutes?

Re; Neapolitan at 550- I don't think it's going to happen with a stacked stone.  I'm predicting 3/4" aluminum at 550 will do 90 seconds.


Offline widespreadpizza

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Re: 3/8" 6061 aluminum
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2013, 12:53:18 AM »
Scott,  no ir readings at the moment,  I am in between IR guns.  I do need one soon.  But yes,   there is a drop after the bake,  and it seems that towards the end the bake gets a bit weaker.  That being said,  it recovers rapidly.  You are about spot on with heat up time about 25-30 minutes.  Best thing i have going for me now in this new oven is a broiler that doesnt care about what temp the ovens at.  -Marc

Offline scott123

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Re: 3/8" 6061 aluminum
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2013, 11:50:55 AM »
Marc, while you might not be the first person online to experiment with aluminum for pizza, you're definitely the first person that knows what they're doing when it comes to pizza making. Please track down a thermometer.  This is truly pioneering work here.

I'm sure you've seen my thermometer recs, but, just in case you haven't:

NY temps
http://www.dealextreme.com/p/1-2-lcd-digital-infrared-thermometer-orange-black-123695?item=8
http://www.amazon.com/Etekcity-Temperature-Non-Contact-Infrared-Thermometer/dp/B00837ZGRY/?tag=pizzamaking-20

Neapolitan temps
http://www.dealextreme.com/p/gm700-1-5-lcd-non-contact-infrared-thermometer-yellow-black-1-x-9v-104614?item=32


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Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: 3/8" 6061 aluminum
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2013, 06:17:43 PM »
Or just stop by your local Harbor Freight...these are always on sale(even less than the online price ;) )

http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=infrared+temp+gun
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Offline widespreadpizza

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Re: 3/8" 6061 aluminum
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2013, 08:06:15 PM »
Hey guys,  order placed through amazon,  went with the Neapolitan temp gun,  for when I use my 2 stone pro.  BTW if anyone is looking for a used 2 stone pro,  please let me know.  Thanks  -marc

Offline widespreadpizza

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Re: 3/8" 6061 aluminum
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2013, 09:07:53 PM »
Hey all,  IR gun came in today,  made an emergency dough to do some testing.  Please not this is not my best work,  but for the sake of some preliminary testing,  here are the results.  For the record,  60% hydration,  rex royal,  2% salt,  1% sugar,  1% oil,  .5 ady,  fermentation time,  7 hours.  oven, and plate preheated rather nicely.  the highest temp I saw tonight was 590,  that was for a minute while the broiler was on,  no pie in the oven.  Both launch temps were 560-570.  To my surprise,  after the first pizza came out,  the top of the aluminum was reading 550ish,  it really was.  the second pizza, the onion,  was launched 5 minutes later.  This is all I can tell you for now....  Thoughts?  Questions?  -marc

EDIT:  both pizzas were pulled at 4 minutes.

Offline scott123

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Re: 3/8" 6061 aluminum
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2013, 09:38:17 PM »
Hmmm... interesting.  Not the 600ish I was expecting, but not exactly 550 either.

Thanks for raising the hydration- 55% felt a little below the norm. For that flour, I think 60% is perfect for testing.

While I was previously erring on the side of caution and recommending 3/4" aluminum, now that I see this, I will definitely no longer be making that recommendation. I think 3/4" might be viable for a 500 degree dialed oven that only actually goes to 500, and I also think 3/4" could produce Neapolitan bake times at 575+- with a freakishly hot broiler that only 1 in 100 people possess, but 3/4" is way overkill for NY in a 550 oven.

Now, you might find an oven with a 550 dial that only goes to 550, so I might err on the side of caution and recommend 1/2" though.  Weight really isn't an issue here, and the extra thermal mass should help with recovery- for perhaps 4+ pies at a time, as, for 2, you don't seem to have an issue.

Btw, it really boils down to your oven's wattage/BTUs, but aluminum is such a fast conductor, your pre-heat times, in theory, should be lightning fast. I would, at some point, give 15 minutes a shot.

Thanks for doing this. This is truly groundbreaking work. As of this moment, I'm now recommending aluminum for those that are willing to shell out the extra cash for a lighter option.

Offline widespreadpizza

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Re: 3/8" 6061 aluminum
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2013, 09:49:02 PM »
Scott,  glad I could help.  Honestly,  I may at some point throttle it down to 500 and go for about 5 minutes to gain a little more crispiness,  or loose the sugar,  and maybe oil.  Either way,  this oven seems to be working out pretty well for NY style.  I did find out tonight that my broiler does indeed shut off at points,  and aligning when it is going to be on,  and my launch will help with my top color.  I do have a fibrament that I could try under it,  but not sure it would yield an improvement.  One thing I left out was a picture of the rig,  the plate is taking on a nice patina. The best part of all of this,  some local welder I know,  hooked me up with this plate for nothing,  cut to my desired size.  I was looking for steel when I got in touch with them.  -marc

Offline scott123

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Re: 3/8" 6061 aluminum
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2013, 11:14:18 PM »
That's a nice welder.  If you went to a shop and paid for that plate, it would most likely be $100 minimum.

Nothing wrong with 5 minute bakes.  I'll sometimes do 5 myself.

Re; the fibrament, are you talking about stacking the aluminum on top of the fibrament? If so, then, if you're entertaining and doing a bunch of pies, the fibrament, if it makes pretty good contact with the plate, will go a long way with recovery for more than 3 pies.

As I continue to look at your photos, I've decided that I'll be recommending aluminum with one slight caveat- that it might produce slightly more contrasty bottoms.  Not a huge difference, but something people should be aware of. At 4 minutes, lower conductivity baked undercrusts will generally be a bit more uniformly brown. As you lower the temp and go to 5, you should see a step up in uniformity.

Aluminum plate aside, what are your feelings on the cheese? I'm sure it would be great for Neapolitan, but it doesn't appear to be that happy with 4 minute bakes.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2013, 11:22:54 PM by scott123 »

Offline widespreadpizza

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Re: 3/8" 6061 aluminum
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2013, 11:25:51 PM »
Scott,  the cheese is lioni fresh mozz,  one of the better ones I recently had access to.  Not what I am looking for for NY style.  It was what I had on hand,  and it needed to be used up.  I much prefer wmlm for the style.  Lastly,  I hear you on the contrast,  I think the sugar and or young dough may have played a roll here.  To add to the problem,  I mishandled these doughs,  and they were no where near what they should have looked like,  very uneven bottoms which does account for some of the appearance IMO.   I will post some pictures next bake and see if it reappears.  -marc

Offline scott123

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Re: 3/8" 6061 aluminum
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2013, 11:50:59 PM »
Marc, I've heard other members talk about sugar contributing to contrast/potential char, but I'm not sure I'm on board with that.  I do know that oil is very effective at reducing contrast/increasing golden brown.  Hydration might be a factor as well, with less water creating potentially less contrast. 60% for 12.6% protein flour seems like a pretty happy number, but there's nothing wrong with tweaking the hydration to accommodate the material- maybe to the 58% realm. I'm not making any guarantees, but if you're thinking of tweaking the water, that's the direction I'd take. As far oil goes, anything up to 3% is still authentically NY, imo, although 4% might be a gray area.  I know Kenji gets pretty amazing browning in a 450 oven with 1/4" steel and 5% oil, but I think 5% is outside the parameter and more American/NY hybridy. I'm not pushing you towards high 3-4% oil, but I think it's worth keeping in mind that some contrast defeating oil might be part of the equation for producing less contrasty undercrusts with aluminum.

Re; mishandling, I alluded to this before, but I think it's worth repeating that you're part of a very small group of people that can make a pie of this caliber. I have no doubt that we have countless members who would love to mishandle a skin as well as you're doing :)
« Last Edit: January 09, 2013, 11:55:14 PM by scott123 »

Offline deb415611

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Re: 3/8" 6061 aluminum
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2013, 06:53:33 AM »


Re; the fibrament, are you talking about stacking the aluminum on top of the fibrament? If so, then, if you're entertaining and doing a bunch of pies, the fibrament, if it makes pretty good contact with the plate, will go a long way with recovery for more than 3 pies.



scott - do you think this might be true with 1/2" steel also ?  I have done my first pies on steel and need to find time to write up and post them