Author Topic: Stainless Steel VS Aluminum Pan  (Read 3475 times)

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Offline s00da

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Stainless Steel VS Aluminum Pan
« on: August 30, 2009, 03:08:29 PM »
As you can see from the subject, I don't know much about what kind of pans are used for making a Sicilian. The reason I'm posting this subject is because I attempted my first Sicilian on this post http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7225.msg79241.html#msg79241 and I think the stainless steel pan I used was not suitable. It produced a pizza with a very soft and white bottom.

Today I was making some burger buns and I had to use the same pan and another aluminum pan.when done, the buns baked on the stainless steel pan were as white as the pizza I baked the day before. While the buns baked on the aluminum had a nicely browned bottom.

Now is aluminum really the best pan for such pizza? are there any better alternatives?

Saad


Offline pacoast

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Re: Stainless Steel VS Aluminum Pan
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2009, 06:47:26 PM »
I don't know if there is a traditional pan material for Sicilian. But aluminum conducts heat evenly and is well known for it's general browning ability in baking. Remember that the browning is caused by a chemical (Maillard) reaction that requires heat. And stainless steel, while shiny, durable, inert, etc does not conduct heat evenly and is susceptible to hot spotting.

That is why quality stainless cookware is almost always clad to aluminum or another metal that acts as a heat sink and evens out the heat immediately below the stainless cooking surface. Stainless is good for a lot of things, but it would not be my choice for baking.

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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Stainless Steel VS Aluminum Pan
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2009, 07:39:11 PM »
Saad,

Some time ago, I researched different types of Sicilian and Sicilian-style pans and posted my results at Reply 27 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,7178.msg62338.html#msg62338. Somewhere along the way, I also found another manufacturer, Allied Metal, at http://www.alliedmetalusa.com/catalog.cfm/ses_/c,list,x,1,110,x/ and another vendor at http://www.superprod.com/product/cooking/pizza+ovens/pizza+supplies/sicilian+pizza+pan+16''+sq.do. Allied Metals does not sell direct, so you will have to find the companies they sell to, like Kerekes (linked in Reply 27 above). American Metalcraft is also a well known manufacturer of pans that might be used for the Sicilian style, including coated pans, as noted at http://www.amnow.com/Pizza-Trays/Square-Deep-Dish-Pans/Square-Deep-Dish-Pans.

In general, I think that you will find both coated Sicilian pans and uncoated Sicilian steel pans. Uncoated pans are generally seasoned before use and then develop a much darker color with repeated use in high volume applications. That is hard to do in a home setting. The anodized coatings are for those people who do not want to season their pans. Some operators try to buy used pans that have already been seasoned. I see them from time to time on eBay.

Some pizza operators also start with shiny pans that darken with prolonged use. One such operator, Malnati's, even sells pans that are said to be similar to what is used in their restaurants: http://www.tastesofchicago.com/category/105. The Malnati's pans I have seen in videos are much darker and look nothing like the ones they sell.

For some PMQ Think Tank insights on Sicilian pans and seasoning issues in general, see http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?p=29262#29262 and http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?p=30966#30966.

Peter

Offline pacoast

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Re: Stainless Steel VS Aluminum Pan
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2009, 07:58:36 PM »
After reading some of the PMQ posts that Pete-zza referenced & a quick Google search, it seems that plain steel (not stainless steel) is preferred by most, with a smaller number of people preferring aluminum. Also pans with dark coatings will usually give deeper browning, although there is a possibility that you could end up with too much browning or scorch your pizza.

Here is a comparison of thermal conductivity of some common metals
k (W/mK)
401  copper
250  aluminum
055  iron, cast
043  steel, 1% carbon
016  steel, stainless

Although thermal diffusivity is really a better measure of how evenly a material heats
(10)-6 m2/s
120  copper
100  aluminum
022  iron, cast
014  steel, 1% carbon
004  steel, stainless

Higher numbers indicate better heat transfer. Copper pot & pans are prized by many chefs because of their very even heating & durability. However they are expensive, scratch easily & hard to clean. Stainless steel is infamous for uneven heating, although it is a lot better when aluminum clad. It is durable, attractive & relatively easy to clean. You also have to keep other factors in mind, such cost, ease of cleaning & concerns (by many) of aluminum cooking surfaces. Uncoated aluminum is very reactive. So coated steel or perhaps anondized aluminum may be your best bets.

edited to add thermal info

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« Last Edit: August 30, 2009, 08:47:13 PM by pacoast »

Offline s00da

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Re: Stainless Steel VS Aluminum Pan
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2009, 06:14:12 AM »
Thanks for the info guys, it seems aluminum is the winner while I've been trying to avoid it all that time. Will probably buy one from http://lloydpans.com/C-1000029/Square+Sicilian+Pans or http://pizzatools.com/SearchByCategory.aspx?CategoryCode=158000    it's the same company anyways.

Saad