Author Topic: Steel plate  (Read 53352 times)

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Offline Meatballs

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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?

scott123

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2011, 10:20:25 PM »
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, I've talked about it before, but I firmly believe that, at high temperatures/quick bake times, the absorptive ability of the stone is meaningless. Water doesn't stay in the liquid phase long enough to be absorbed into the stone. And that's assuming the stone can absorb much.  The most common pizza stone in the industry is cordierite and that can barely absorb any liquid- at any temperature. As to the 'glassy' surface you're getting, I think this all relates to the smoothness of your plate.  The soapstone I work with has almost zero absorption and I get a very traditionally rough and blistered undercrust with that.

I have to admit that, with a quarter inch plate and convection oven, you're working a little bit outside of the paradigm of this thread. When I talk about steel plate, it's within the context of being thick enough to store all the necessary heat to bake a pizza. A quarter inch of steel won't store that much heat. That being said, you've peaked my curiosity. With the aluminum plate, since aluminum is too conductive to pre-heat (the moment you open the oven door, the temp of the aluminum plummets), you're basically relying completely on the circulating hot air to heat the aluminum as the pizza is baking. The quarter inch steel is probably a combination between the two (some stored heat, some convected heat).  Since Rotoflex ovens combine thin steel along with convection, I would think that your setup probably comes closest to those.

Where are you at with your bake times?

Offline Meatballs

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2011, 11:27:00 AM »
Scott,

The oven maximum is 500 F.  I heat the plates to 485 F since as the temp delta gets narrow heat transfer slows greatly.  I use a screen for 2 1/2 minutes and finish on the plate for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes longer. I use 0.5% sugar in my usual dough.

I don't think I've described the bottoms I achieve very well.  Let me try again.  My bottoms cook to medium dark brown, kind of splotchy.  The surface is rough but overall its crunchy.  It will steam once the pizza is taken off the cooling rack and placed on a smooth surface.  The crunch is that of a fresh French bread just out of the oven for about 5 minutes but much coarser.  the glass like crunch I'm referring to is like there are small hard plates in the crust that shatter when put to the tooth. Its really nice and I never got anything  like it with a stone,and I've had 4 different ones over the years.  Those are the years of being lost in the wilderness and making bad pizza going back to college (1975).

Ron
« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 12:38:33 PM by Meatballs »

Offline communist

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2011, 03:27:08 PM »
Scott, I do not have a IR thermometer for this weekend.  I am planning on getting one.  For the run this weekend, I am using a cheapo oven metal thermometer.  I will upgrade soon.  I will keep accurate time of bake.  I will try for photos.  My wife was on the timer last time, and at 650 on firebrick, the pies took three and a half to four minutes.  The four minute was the favorite.  I sanded some of the sharp edges of the steel, and took off minor rust.  Thinking of my first run at 500.  I have a need for heat.   My plate is A36 steel.  Planning on Saturday!
« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 03:28:51 PM by communist »

Offline TONY

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2011, 03:42:47 PM »
I used a 12" x 12" paver tile under my broiler to make Neopilitan pizza.  It worked fine for a couple of bakes but eventually cracked.  I tried using a steel plate, which was 1/4" thick by 12" square.  I put under my broiler the same as the tile.  I was able to get the temperature up to 700 degrees pretty fast.  Unfortunately the dough stuck and the pizza burnt very fast.  I guess the steel does not let the moisture escape fast enough.

Tony

scott123

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2011, 04:11:16 PM »
Ron, 5 minutes, half of which it's on a screen.  Interesting... That's a pretty respectable time. I guess it's safe to assume that the Cadco, as far as ovens go, is very powerful, right?  I get the feeling that we're looking at a different ball game for convection ovens and metal baking surfaces.  Since convection is very rare in NY pizzerias, when I see convection baked pies, they look a little off to me (a strong propensity for golden, brown, delicious), but there may be ways of using the convection with metal plates that make it act more like a deck.

My journey wandering through the wilderness doesn't go quite so far back (80s), but I can certainly commiserate.  Those were dark dark times  :)


scott123

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #30 on: February 03, 2011, 04:23:33 PM »
Mark, I went back and read your original post, and, although you're new to the forum, you seem to have a pretty advanced grasp of the process.  That being said, since you are 'going where no man has gone before', just to be sure that your recipe is in the right ballpark, could you post it?

Ebay has used IR thermometers with auctions ending about every couple days.  I got mine for $18 shipped, but it took me a few weeks. I recommend bidding $20, waiting to see if you win, and, if you don't, bid $20 for the next one.  Eventually you'll win.

Honestly, you can try 500, but I really think 475 will get you closer to the 4 minute mark.  It might even be 450.  If 450=4 minutes, then 500 could translate to 2 minutes, so watch that bottom carefully.


Offline communist

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #31 on: February 03, 2011, 04:34:15 PM »
Thanks Scott.  Will go with 475 and post recipe tonight.  Mark

buceriasdon

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #32 on: February 03, 2011, 04:47:29 PM »
Tony, I have question for you. Did you season the plate as one would for cast iron using oil to coat the surface then baking it? Thanks, Don
Also, I'm not surprised you had problems at 700.

I used a 12" x 12" paver tile under my broiler to make Neopilitan pizza.  It worked fine for a couple of bakes but eventually cracked.  I tried using a steel plate, which was 1/4" thick by 12" square.  I put under my broiler the same as the tile.  I was able to get the temperature up to 700 degrees pretty fast.  Unfortunately the dough stuck and the pizza burnt very fast.  I guess the steel does not let the moisture escape fast enough.

Tony
« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 04:51:27 PM by buceriasdon »

Offline TONY

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #33 on: February 03, 2011, 06:04:39 PM »
Buceriasdon,

No, I did not season the plate.........But I did use alot of bench flour as I did when I baked with the tile........

Tony

Offline Meatballs

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #34 on: February 03, 2011, 06:49:03 PM »
Scott,

The oven is a Cadco XAF115, a 220 volt commercial convection oven.  Most all commercial ovens are not appropriate for a household and but this is one of the few.  The MFG link is here:  http://www.cadco-ltd.com/ovens-full.html   I bought the oven for my wife for bread making about 3 or so years ago.  I got her the Fakiro plate for bread some time ago and then found out that it was designed for pizza in a convection oven.  Before I made good pizza, I used a stone.  Recently I decided to give myself a masters degree in pizza and did extensive research on PMQ and Pizza Today and at other commercial sites for convection pizza cooking.

Below in the photo of the oven you can see the two plates I now have. The bottom plate is the Fakiro and the bumps on its bottom are visible.  The top plate is the "Aluminized Steel" plate that costs a fraction of the Fakiro.  Both seem to operate identically, heating times are the same but I have not investigated how good recovery rates compare, but I suspect they are the same.  Both plates are high tech items in either construction or materials.

By the way, the Cadco oven costs less (by 1/3 to 1/2) of a top quality home wall oven.  I'm redoing my kitchen and will be working it into the decor better this year.

I've included two photos of a diet (0.8TF) stuffed pizza I made today at 420 F for 13 minutes.  Eight minutes in the tart pan and 5 minutes on the Fakiro plate with the other plate over.  I cook this pizza slow to allow the center to cook, its a calzone in pizza shape really, the wife loves them and the calories are low.  You gotta get pizza any way you can, know?  Saturday is Pizza day and I can get accurate IR thermometer temps of the plates heating and during and after cooking to try to see heat loss and recoup.

Ron

Offline communist

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #35 on: February 03, 2011, 08:10:08 PM »
Tony, I would imagine seasoning a steel plate at 700 would just result in smoking of the oil.  Scott, here is my dough recipe I just mixed up.    All Trumps Bromated bleached 100%  34 ounces        63% filtered water  21.5 ounces   1.5% salt  0.5 ounces   olive oil  1%  0.32 ounces  IDY 0.2%  0.064 ounces ( I use one teaspoon )  Combine water with salt, mix with flour and yeast with spoon for 30 seconds, KA mixer on speed one for 1 minute, Then speed 2 for another minute, then add oil  and mix for 4 more minutes.  Remove dough ( temp at 85 )  Cut into five equal 11 ounce pieces, and hand knead each piece for about 45 seconds into nice balls.  Grease plastic tupperware containers for individual balls with scant olive oil.  Cover and refrigerate.  Will remove in 2 days from refrigerator and leave at room temp for 2 hours.  Stretch dough to about 8 inches, and allow to rest for approximately 15 minutes.  Then stretch into 14 inch pie.  Add sauce and 5 ounces of Grande whole milk mozzarella.  Slide onto stone. 

Offline communist

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #36 on: February 03, 2011, 10:33:39 PM »
Ron, Nice crust!   Mark

Offline communist

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #37 on: February 05, 2011, 08:47:10 PM »
Pizza community, I experienced a crushing defeat tonight in my trial of half inch steel plate in pizza baking!  The numbers on steel looked great, with excellent heat transfer.  I heated by electric oven to 475 with my steel plate high in the oven, and my firebrick stone low.  I had a good one hour preheat.  My cheapo oven thermomter inside read 480.  I assembled my pie, and slid it onto steel.  I watched for that magic oven spring.  Nuttin.  I watched.  At five minutes my pizza was pale and the bottom just mildly brown.  I slid it to the stone below, and waited another 3 minutes for it to finish.  Taste was good.  Crust very crisp.  But weak oven spring.  And 8 minutes.  No where near a 4 minute bake.  Complete defeat.  Not even close.  Stunned, but not comatose, I cranked my oven up to 550.  And I waited for 20 minutes. I slid my next pie onto the steel.  Some oven spring, decent crust at 5minutes, but not as crispy as the first pie I had to put on the stone. Poor consolation.   I am disheartened.  Anybody want a piece of 40lb steel?  For the man who has everything!  A great gift!   Well, after a good cry and a good night sleep, perhaps I can revisit the challenge.  I need an infrared thermometer - I just don't trust my cheapo metal one. And maybe I can use my steel at 550 for 2 minutes, and then slide it onto my firebrick stone for another 2 or 3 minutes.  Maybe...

scott123

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #38 on: February 05, 2011, 09:20:50 PM »
I was just about to be really bummed out and then I reread your post again (bold mine):

I heated by electric oven to 475 with my steel plate high in the oven, and my firebrick stone low.

Firebrick is a major insulator. It takes forever to pre-heat, sucks up a ton of heat and shields the steel plate above.  Get rid of it.

As to the cheapo thermometer reading 480- it's going to reach 480 before the interior of the steel plate will. The steel plate really needs to be saturated- and you won't get that with firebrick in the way. Btw, would you happen to recall where the thermometer was placed?

It's a little discouraging, but, until you get rid of the firebrick, I'm not giving up hope.

Offline communist

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #39 on: February 05, 2011, 09:41:05 PM »
I won't back down, no I won't back down ( Me and Tom Petty! )  O.K. Scott, I see your point.  I will try again, without the firebrick, and armed with an infrared thermometer.  I did have the cheapo thermometer next to the steel plate, but it was very slow in getting up to 475.  How was my dough mix I posted earlier?  I think there is still hope.  I need a better handle on my oven temps.  I will plan for next weekend.  Thanks for the help.   Mark
« Last Edit: February 05, 2011, 09:46:06 PM by communist »


 

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