Author Topic: Steel plate  (Read 59642 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline communist

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 486
Steel plate
« on: January 30, 2011, 07:56:36 PM »
I have been pursuing New York Pizza, with good oven spring, by heating my 20 year old Pizza Gourmet stone to 650 by fooling my thermostat on my electric oven.  I am interested in not raising my oven above 550 and still getting good oven spring and char.  Cordierite seems the best option, but Scott123 has mentioned steel plate.  Any experience out there with steel/cast iron?   Any sources of steel?  I like a 14 to 16 inch pizza.  There are pizza ovens with steel decks.  Do they cook at lower temps because of the unique qualities of steel?  Can you tell the difference between commercial ovens with steel versus firebrick?


Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 23212
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2011, 09:14:17 PM »
communist,

You might check out the threads at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4223.msg35178.html#msg35178 and
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,12568.msg120327.html#msg120327.

Maybe the best/fastest way to learn about the differences between baking on steel rather than stone is to call the folks at Roto-Flex (http://www.rotoflexoven.com/) since they make a rotating deck oven that can use steel decks or stone decks (I believe the stone decks are a retrofit).

Peter

buceriasdon

  • Guest
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2011, 07:31:57 AM »
Any fair sized city will have metal suppliers. Ask for the cut price for hot roll steel.
Don

scott123

  • Guest
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2011, 07:18:37 PM »
Mark, the threads from Peter are a useful read, but it's important to remember that Heston is working with a 1/8" thick cast iron pan and Outatime's pan, although the edge of the base is 1/3", the pizza baking surface, like most cast iron, is 1/8" as well. Rotoflex is also relatively light gauge, relying on the convecting hot air to feed the deck/bake the pizza rather than the heat stored in the steel deck itself.  My 1/2" steel plate suggestion is based on the premise that 1/2" will give you the necessary specific heat to store enough energy to cook the entire bottom of pizza. At 16 x 16 x .5, we're talking a beast- about 40 lb. of mass.

It's best to obtain the steel plate locally.  40 lb can really drive up the shipping charges.

To be honest, although iron and steel have some history with pizza, 1/2" plate is an entirely new frontier.  It's all theoretical.  I stand behind the theory and the math, but, until someone actually buys a plate and starts baking with it, it's just theory. My soapstone slab gives me 4 minute pies at 525, and, with some futzing, 2.5 minute pies at 550 (the broiler keeps shutting off, but if I baby it, I can get good top browning). Since 4 minutes is my ideal bake time, I'm not running out to get steel.  Soapstone doesn't really help sub 525 oven owners, though, so I've started recommending steel.  Right now, if someone's oven doesn't go above 500, steel is their only hope.

I'm cutting it a little close on the thermal mass, but, because of the weight of the steel, I have no other choice.  As I said before 16 x 16 x .5 weighs around 40 lb.  As you go up to 3/4" thick, that jumps to 60 lb. As much as I like that much thermal mass, I can't recommend people put a 60 lb. plate on an oven shelf. 1/2" steel has about the same specific heat as 1/2" cordierite.  The steel should be far more effective at transferring more of it's heat to the pizza, though.  With cordierite, after 4 minutes, the part near the pizza will be much cooler than the outer extremities of the stone. The cordierite will have hot and cold areas.  With the increased conductivity of the steel, their will be a greater equilibrium in temperature- and thus more overall transfer of energy.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2011, 07:33:08 PM by scott123 »

Offline communist

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 486
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2011, 07:43:05 PM »
Thanks for the input guys.  Pete, I read the old posts using cast iron.  I suppose my desire for a 14 to 16 inch pie makes using cast iron difficult, and the thinness does concern me.  I called Lodge cast iron today, and they were of no help with the potential of a custom large pizza cast iron pan.  Scott, the idea of steel fascinates me.  I have been making pizzas for years off and on, but when I cranked up my oven to 650 to heat my Pizza Gourmet stone (firebrick?), the oven spring blew me away.  I stepped into the big leagues, and don't want to go back down.  Unfortunately, because of a fire years ago with a lot of property damage, I just don't sleep well at night after monkeying around with my oven.  I will be on the hunt for steel ( hot rolled, that is ) and will report on my findings.

Offline widespreadpizza

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1245
  • Location: NH
    • my beer store opening in june 2011
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2011, 08:15:54 PM »
Scott,  I was just thinking,  I think I have such a unit of steel in my basement.  It was here when I got the house,  never used it for anything at all.  hmmm.  I am going to measure it now....

Offline widespreadpizza

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1245
  • Location: NH
    • my beer store opening in june 2011
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2011, 08:27:01 PM »
Scott,  it is 16"x16"x3/4"  need to sand it and have no idea what type of steel it is,  but it has surface rust and is extremely heavy.  Scott,  how long do you think it might take to heat?  You know i am always up for something new right?  -marc

scott123

  • Guest
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2011, 08:57:47 PM »
Wow, Marc, you just had this piece sitting around?  :o

Pre-heat time is where steel really shines.   I don't have any numbers to crunch for this, but I'm guessing your piece should preheat to 475 (a ballpark of what I'd recommend for a 4 minute NY style pie) in less than 30 minutes.  It might even be up to temperature in as little as 15. I'd also be very curious to see how it performs for Neapolitan.  In theory, with a 550 degree preheat and a position close to the broiler (to maximize top browning speed), breaking the two minute barrier is more than possible. If I can do 2.5 minutes with soapstone @ 550 and steel is as much as 10 times more conductive, breaking the two minute barrier is a piece of cake.  A minute and a half is firmly in the Neapolitan territory, right?

Are you relatively certain that your oven shelf can handle the weight?  Like I said before, you could be dealing with a 60 lb. hunk of metal there. You also might want to consider the logistics of getting it into the oven, as you definitely don't want to slide the shelf with the steel on it, nor do you want to slide the steel on the shelf.

scott123

  • Guest
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2011, 08:58:52 PM »
I will be on the hunt for steel ( hot rolled, that is ) and will report on my findings.

Please do.  Once you get a taste of a short baking time pie, you can never go back.


Offline c0mpl3x

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1144
  • Age: 28
  • Location: north of pittsburgh PA
  • crumb bubbles!
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2011, 01:19:14 AM »
oh how i love living in a steel mill belt.  this stuff is laying all over  :-D
Hotdogs kill more people than sharks do, yearly.

Offline widespreadpizza

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1245
  • Location: NH
    • my beer store opening in june 2011
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2011, 08:12:05 AM »
Scott,  this sounds like a good project for a noreaster while being trapped in the house.  Turns out thats today and tommorow.  Due to the weight,  I may start with it on the bottom of my oven,  that is where the gas burns anyways.  I'll adjust for balance as needed,  if it does not take out one of my shelves.   I'll let you know what happens.  -marc

Offline communist

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 486
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2011, 07:02:22 PM »
Located hot roll steel in Scranton.  Company will cut 17 by 17 by half inch tomorrow and I will pick it up  in the afternoon.  $40 bucks, plus $2 for tax.  Did a try weight test on my cheap Kenmore electric oven shelf and it held 40 pounds of weights fine, with just moderate flex.  Oh baby, can't wait for a trial run!

Offline c0mpl3x

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1144
  • Age: 28
  • Location: north of pittsburgh PA
  • crumb bubbles!
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2011, 07:23:33 PM »
i suggest attaching angle iron to the bottom of the rack to aid in deflection from weight and having the rack bow so much it falls in the oven
Hotdogs kill more people than sharks do, yearly.

Offline communist

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 486
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2011, 08:01:02 PM »
Good idea!

Offline Meatballs

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 196
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2011, 12:50:32 PM »
I've been looking for a thread like this...I have a Cadco convection oven 1/2 size with steam injection/control.  Cadco has designed something they call a Fakiro plate.  Its a Teflon coated aluminum plate in 1/4, 1/2 and full size, that has nubbins coming off the bottom for pick up heat.  They recommend it for pizza.  Recently they introduced a plate that is "aluminized steel", Teflon coated in the same sizes and a much lower price that is just a plate.  I've used the Fakiro plate for some time and the results are stunning.  I just received the lower cost steel plate yesterday and will be trying it in the next few days, I hope its as efficient as the Fakiro with the nubbins.

I've been wondering lately (after giving up on pizza stones) if absorption of moisture from the bottom of a pizza is a falacy.  After using the conductive plate I think the moisture is driven out the top of the crust and not absorbed by the hot stone underneath.  I have a very crispy crust on my pizzas that's almost glass like in nature.  I'm really interested to hear what others who have tired conductive plates have to say. 

The Aluiminized Steel plate is available on amazon.com here:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003TSTBA0/?tag=pizzamaking-20

Mangiare,

Ron

Offline communist

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 486
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2011, 01:07:12 PM »
Interesting Ron.  The 20inch aluminized steel plate will not fit in my oven.  The depth on my cheap electric Kenmore is about 18 and one half inch.  What is the thickness of the aluminized plate?  At what temp have you been cooking your pies? I just picked up my hot roll 17 by 17 by half-inch plate today.  It looks pretty clean, without much rust, so I may just wash it with soap and water, and dry it well.  Maybe a light coat of peanut oil, but I am not sure if it will burn at 500.  The surface should be food safe to cook on, or I could wrap with aluminum foil.  Well, tonight, I will mix my dough, cold ferment for 2 or 3 days, and crank up my oven this weekend.   Mark

Offline hotsawce

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 640
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2011, 01:38:09 PM »
Meatballs,

Any pictures of your pies? Would love to see what you're doing!

Also, how do you guys think steel will perform in relation to cast iron? I have a lodge cast Iron pizza pan, but I think I know a way we can get some steel "stones" or something...just give me a thickness and size or something!


Offline c0mpl3x

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1144
  • Age: 28
  • Location: north of pittsburgh PA
  • crumb bubbles!
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2011, 01:43:26 PM »
I've been looking for a thread like this...I have a Cadco convection oven 1/2 size with steam injection/control.  Cadco has designed something they call a Fakiro plate.  Its a Teflon coated aluminum plate in 1/4, 1/2 and full size, that has nubbins coming off the bottom for pick up heat.  They recommend it for pizza.  Recently they introduced a plate that is "aluminized steel", Teflon coated in the same sizes and a much lower price that is just a plate.  I've used the Fakiro plate for some time and the results are stunning.  I just received the lower cost steel plate yesterday and will be trying it in the next few days, I hope its as efficient as the Fakiro with the nubbins.

I've been wondering lately (after giving up on pizza stones) if absorption of moisture from the bottom of a pizza is a falacy.  After using the conductive plate I think the moisture is driven out the top of the crust and not absorbed by the hot stone underneath.  I have a very crispy crust on my pizzas that's almost glass like in nature.  I'm really interested to hear what others who have tired conductive plates have to say. 

The Aluiminized Steel plate is available on amazon.com here:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003TSTBA0/?tag=pizzamaking-20

Mangiare,

Ron

in my experience the super hot surface imitates that of boiling dough in water.  IE the chewy 'bagel' crust.
Hotdogs kill more people than sharks do, yearly.

buceriasdon

  • Guest

buceriasdon

  • Guest
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2011, 03:40:09 PM »
I conducted some pizza experiments last month in my old toaster oven for the monthly challenge, tops out at 410F, using 1/8" hot rolled seasoned steel plate and 5/8" unglazed ceramic tile both 12" square. I guess I could have built up a stack of steel to match the tile but even at the reduced thickness the steel outperformed the tile in every respect that I thought was important, heat up time and eveness of baking. With the tile I had to turn the pizza more frequently for even baking but never turned the pizza on the steel. This same piece of steel used to be under the tile in my LBE but I removed it as the bottom was getting done too quickly. OK, that's all I have to offer. :D
Don

Offline Meatballs

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 196
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2011, 03:47:21 PM »
Meatballs,

Any pictures of your pies? Would love to see what you're doing!

Also, how do you guys think steel will perform in relation to cast iron? I have a lodge cast Iron pizza pan, but I think I know a way we can get some steel "stones" or something...just give me a thickness and size or something!

I've only posted one pic here:  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,12674.msg124522.html#msg124522  Not a real good pic I was trying to show some bubble formation.  I'll do pictures on Saturday (Pizza Day) of my bottoms, they are awesome (well for me at least).

As to getting bagel like crust on pizza bottom, well I make lye bagels (See my posting on The Fresh Loaf here:  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10877/lye-bagels ) and the crust is achieved by boiling in lye water to a lesser extent than soft pretzels to get the crust formation without excess pretzel flavor.  The lye hydrolyzes proteins in the flour. My pizza crust is glassy and crunchy without being like a cracker, good chew but not excessive unless i work the dough too long, not chewy and leathery.  I've never really seen what you are referring to.  They don't seem fried either, that's what I was worried about.

I got to try my new plate today at lunch on a pair of 8 inch thin crust (diet?) pizzas with a TF of 0.08.  The new smooth plate heated at the same rate as the more expensive Fakiro and cooked just as well as far as I can tell from a diet pizza.  The bottoms were equal but...I had to alternate the pizzas half way through because of an effect I was not expecting.  With two plates in the cadco one pizza has a plate above and below and the radiant energy was cooking the top of one of the pizzas too fast.  I switched places and they evened right up.  Baking was done at 500 deg. F after the plates warmed to around 485 deg. F, in the cadco that takes about 15 minutes or less.

The new smooth plate is 0.250 inches thick and the Fakiro plate is 0.251 without the nubbins, right now performance seems to be about equal.  I'm quite interested to hear how the steel plates work in regular ovens since there is a huge plate steel fabrication industry around here and I'm sure I could get a plate cut for my gas convection also and increase my pizza size to 16 inches (the perfect size for a New York style in my opinion.)

I really believe the steel/metal plate is far superior to any stoneware type, don't know about actual stone.  I just don't buy the theory that any kind of stoneware or even brick can absorb moisture after being heated to 500 deg. F.  I believe the secret is thermal mass and infrared radiation that makes the crust crisp.  The water is driven up through the dough steaming it and the toppings and metal delivers both thermal mass and infrared better than earthen materials which are actually insulators, just my tow cents.  I also think cast iron will perform about as well as rolled steel or the aluminum/steel plates but have no experience with it.

Ron


scott123

  • Guest
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2011, 09:21:29 PM »
Scott,  this sounds like a good project for a noreaster while being trapped in the house.  Turns out thats today and tommorow.  Due to the weight,  I may start with it on the bottom of my oven,  that is where the gas burns anyways.  I'll adjust for balance as needed,  if it does not take out one of my shelves.   I'll let you know what happens.  -marc

Hey, Marc, did you survive your Noreaster?  ;D We didn't get a real snowstorm (for a change  :P), but we did get the worst ice storm than we've gotten in years. That was fun.

With that size plate, I wouldn't even try putting it on a shelf, and just make a makeshift shelf out of angle iron.  Two pieces of angle iron and perhaps an additional rod on the shelf lip to distribute the weight.  I don't think angle iron with cut into a shelf lip, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

Does your oven have a broiler in the main chamber or is it separate?  If it is in the main chamber, you're probably going to want to use it, so putting the plate on the floor might not be ideal.

scott123

  • Guest
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2011, 09:33:11 PM »
Interesting Ron.  The 20inch aluminized steel plate will not fit in my oven.  The depth on my cheap electric Kenmore is about 18 and one half inch.  What is the thickness of the aluminized plate?  At what temp have you been cooking your pies? I just picked up my hot roll 17 by 17 by half-inch plate today.  It looks pretty clean, without much rust, so I may just wash it with soap and water, and dry it well.  Maybe a light coat of peanut oil, but I am not sure if it will burn at 500.  The surface should be food safe to cook on, or I could wrap with aluminum foil.  Well, tonight, I will mix my dough, cold ferment for 2 or 3 days, and crank up my oven this weekend.   Mark

Actually, while most stones are used at temps that would burn off seasoning, because of the drop in temp with steel plate, you might be able to keep the seasoning intact.  Not that you'd really want to, though. Unless the pizza burns, it won't stick.  If there is any rust, you might hit it up with some sandpaper, otherwise, just use it.

Do you have an IR thermometer? If you do, take lots of temp readings- maybe 10 minute intervals for the pre-heat and then top and bottom of the stone before and after the bake. Also, clock that bake time religiously.  I don't want to hear it took 'about 5 minutes.' A lot is riding on your experiments. No pressure ;D

scott123

  • Guest
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2011, 09:44:30 PM »
Also, how do you guys think steel will perform in relation to cast iron? I have a lodge cast Iron pizza pan, but I think I know a way we can get some steel "stones" or something...just give me a thickness and size or something!

Iron is less conductive than steel, and, since we're, in pizza terms, working with pretty extreme conductivity, iron might be a little better.  Unfortunately, I haven't come across any 1/2" thick cast iron plate. Anything thinner (like a lodge pan), isn't going to store the necessary heat to bake the entire pizza.  Once you begin to rely on the bottom burner to feed the pan, you're talking extended bake times.  Whether it be iron or steel, it's got to be 1/2" thick- at a minimum. It might require 3/4"- we'll know better this weekend after Mark (Communist) does his thing.

scott123

  • Guest
Re: Steel plate
« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2011, 09:45:29 PM »
I conducted some pizza experiments last month in my old toaster oven for the monthly challenge, tops out at 410F, using 1/8" hot rolled seasoned steel plate and 5/8" unglazed ceramic tile both 12" square.

Interesting.  Any idea what bake times you were getting with the steel?


 

pizzapan