Author Topic: Steel Pan FAIL  (Read 2829 times)

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Offline Puzzolento

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Steel Pan FAIL
« on: January 28, 2010, 06:30:22 PM »
This month, I somehow managed to come up with absolutely perfect Sicilian pizza. Of course, I mean "perfect" by my tastes. It was exactly what I want Sicilian to be.

I made it in a cheap stainless cookie-sheet-type pan from Gordon Food Service. I was unhappy, because I wanted a smaller pan. This one is 12 x 18. I ordered some square 12" cold-rolled Sicilian pans from Zesco.

Tonight I did a double trial. I made a pie on a new pan, and I put faux San Marzano (Nina brand "San Marzano REGION") tomatoes on half the pie, to see how they stacked up against Stanislaus Saporito. To my surprise, the pan was no good, but the tomatoes weren't bad.

My method is to bake on the lowest rack of my oven, at 550 degrees. With the thin GFS pan, I get a perfect Sicilian pizza in around 10 minutes. The heavy steel pan refused to cook the bottom of the crust. After almost 20 minutes, I had to put the pan on the stove and heat it to get some browning. If this pan won't brown on the bottom rack, there is no hope for it.

The tomatoes were a shock, because when I first tried them, they tasted like the can they came in. In the finished pizza, they were harmless, which is more than I can say for virtually all of the grocery-store tomatoes I've tried. They had almost no flavor, but there was nothing offensive about them, so the pizza was okay. I would never buy them again, unless I couldn't find Stanislaus sauce, but they gave me a pie considerably better than any Sicilian I've had here in Miami in the last twenty-five or thirty years.

I'm going to have to get a couple of cheap 9" square steel pans that are very thin. That seems to be the best answer for single-person Sicilian pies.


Offline GIBBY

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Re: Steel Pan FAIL
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2010, 07:13:11 PM »
The thickness of the pan might be at fault. Check out the other threads. One about black steel pans and the Buddy's vs Sheilds thread. The pans the gang here on the forum that live near the Detroit area use a black steel pan thats about 10x14. Washed once initially then never again. Seasoned using oil or Criso. I bake my pies at 490 on second from bottom rack for 13 minutes. I bought mine at Rosellis on Groesbeck in Fraser Michigan. they also have smaller pans like 10x8? or so. The large ones are $6.95. Hope this helps.

Offline Jose L. Piedra

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Re: Steel Pan FAIL
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2010, 09:43:29 PM »
One of my steel pans has exactly the opposite problem: the bottom of any pie I bake in it will turn jet-black before the top is adequately baked at any temp in excess of 450- and that's for the middle rack. With my other pan, I bake on a stone on the bottom rack at 550 and get a perfect result every time. I plan on borrowing some calipers off my bro in and measuring the actual thickness of the bottom of each pan in the near future.

-JLP
Scarsu d'ogghiu, e riccu di provolazzu ::)

Offline Puzzolento

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Re: Steel Pan FAIL
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2010, 10:19:20 AM »
Quote
The thickness of the pan might be at fault.

You are absolutely right. My GFS cookie sheet works because it's so thin. I'm going to get cheap cake pans. I know they'll work. No point in buying quality, when cheap works better.

I'm thinking of trying a disposable aluminum pan, for kicks. I really think it will work. The bottom will be brown in a hurry, and the high sides might keep the cheese from cooking too fast.

To be clear, I already make perfect Sicilian in a cheap pan, so I don't really need a solution. I'm just complaining that the expensive pans don't work.

Offline BurntEdges

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Re: Steel Pan FAIL
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2010, 02:35:27 PM »
These heavy gauge steel pans are often used by commercial bakers and pizza operators with stone deck ovens.  They are extremely durable, will not warp, and bake evenly.  In a residential setting, it will never need to be replaced.  However, to replicate the commercial baking environment for which these pans are designed, it's probably best to bake with it on a preheated pizza stone.  I have the 16" X 16" version of your Zesco pan and it performs beautifully on a pizza stone (preheated @ 500F for 1 hour on lowest oven rack).  One thing I actually appreciate about this pan is that it's difficult to burn the bottom of the pizza - a function of the even heat from the stone and the heavy gauge steel.

If you're already making sicilian pizza to your liking with other pans, that's fine - but if you want to get some satisfying performance from your expensive commercial pan, give it a try on a hot stone. 

Offline Puzzolento

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Re: Steel Pan FAIL
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2010, 07:23:01 PM »
Thanks for the help, but the stone was the first thing I tried. I heated the stone at 550 and put the pan on it. No luck. The cheap pans are performing great.

Offline steel_baker

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Re: Steel Pan FAIL
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2010, 04:09:28 PM »
I use liberally oiled 12x15 blue steel plans on the bottom rack at 475 for about 10 mins. They brown up beautifully.

steel_baker
steel_baker  :chef:

Offline Puzzolento

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Re: Steel Pan FAIL
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2010, 04:16:45 PM »
That sounds more in line with my results. Seems like the heating element, up close, does a better job of heating the steel than a stone would.

Offline scott123

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Re: Steel Pan FAIL
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2010, 04:35:13 PM »
It depends on the specs of the oven and the make up of the stone, but, generally speaking, a stone will transfer more heat than an element that isn't in contact with the pan.  Direct contact with the heat source (conduction) is superior to radiation or convection.

Now, in order to get the benefit of conduction, though, both the pan and the surface of the stone have to be perfectly flat. 

Offline Puzzolento

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Re: Steel Pan FAIL
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2010, 05:56:13 PM »
The pan I used (the one that didn't work) was a commercial cold-rolled steel pan. Very flat.


Offline Polymandius

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Re: Steel Pan FAIL
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2010, 04:36:38 PM »
I've been using a plain old thin commercial baking sheet (cheapest possible) for some time now, with excellent results in an Imperial range/oven(non-convection). However, this pan/oven combo ONLY works with the baking sheet on the top rack. The lower rack just won't cook the crust to that nice crunchy texture I want. The best time temp combo for me has been 25min @ 425 starting with a cold oven. Under 15 min with a hot oven, but I haven't timed that one out to be exact.


 

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