Author Topic: Steel plate  (Read 48280 times)

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Offline ThePizzaBiatch

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #80 on: April 01, 2011, 09:43:52 AM »
Ok, what is the best setup I can order in terms of steel plate?  I have a client and friend in the steel business that will order whatever I need.  Good news is that I have a DCS oven that has racks that are made like tanks...I have a custom fit fibrament stone 1" from all sides and it laughs at the weight.  I'm guessing 60 pounds would not be an issue.  Soooo...what type of steel, and thickness would you guys recommend? 


Offline communist

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #81 on: April 01, 2011, 01:16:10 PM »
As Don states, hot roll steel seems the best and most economical.  My 17 by 17 by half inch is a nice size for me.  I have been getting a nice New York Pie at 530 degrees, with broiler heat from above 40 seconds before launching pie, and 40 seconds after pie launched, and pie about 7 inches below broiler.  Done in 3.5 to 4 minutes. I love oven spring!  Three quarters thick is a seductive option, and yes, I do dream of it.  Beware, however, at 41 pounds my steel plate can fracture a foot if it falls.  It is heavy.  I do not think a 60 pound plate will be easy to pull in and out of an oven.  It may be the best option in theory, but I am glad with my plate.  It is seasoned nicely with oil, and is not rusting.  Forty bucks plus 2 for tax.

Offline dmaxdmax

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #82 on: April 01, 2011, 01:26:08 PM »
On occasion we've wanted our oven to be 300ish degrees shortly after the last pizza was done so I've had to remove a 400-500 degree stone and carry it to safety, usually the backyard.  I'm not sure what it weighs but I'm very thankful that it's closer to 20 than 40!
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Offline c0mpl3x

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #83 on: April 01, 2011, 01:51:23 PM »
i think that using a custom steel plate will not only reduce weight, but improve thermal conductivity.

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Online scott123

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #84 on: April 01, 2011, 05:48:42 PM »
ThePizzaBiatch, unless your oven gets a lot hotter than normal or you're open to oven tricks, 3/4" hot rolled steel is the only hope for Neapolitan bake times.  If you want Neo NY 3ish minute bakes, then 1/2" works fine at 550.

Don't do the 1" clearance on all sides thing like you did on the fibrament.  Get a square slab that touches the back wall and almost touches the door when it's closed.  Clearance on only two sides is fine for air flow. Take really careful measurements, as it's easy to misjudge where the door ends up when it's shut. I would take measurements and then cut a piece of cardboard to size, making sure that the door shuts.

Offline ponzu

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #85 on: April 01, 2011, 11:58:50 PM »
A one minute bake is definately achievable with a 1/2 inch steel stone. on the top shelf of the oven on broil.  The dough will just be quite soft.

I can demo this if you like.

I almost think that anything over 1/2 inch is overkill.  he challenge with the steel is that it is too efficient in heat transfer.  Top heat to matche the bottom heat is the limiting factor even at 1/2 inch.  I have been turning the temp of my oven temp down to achieve a steel temp close to 600 which yields a 3:00 bake.

For examples see yesterdays post in the Pizza Sputnik thread on the neapolitan board.

AZ

Online scott123

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #86 on: April 02, 2011, 03:36:06 AM »
I can demo this if you like.

Alexi, if you can do a 1 minute bake with 1/2" steel and an unmodified oven using the broiler to preheat the stone, that would be a tremendous achievement. If you're going to do this, though, we need a few ground rules.

1. The oven has to be unmodified.  Whatever trick you're using to go above 600, you can't use it for this.

2. You've got to use an oven where the highest temp marked on the dial is 550.

3. A very small handful of ovens have broilers that work independently of the thermostat.  In these types of ovens, one turns the broiler on and it stays on.  That's not the norm, though. For this experiment, you have to be using an oven where the broiler will cut off once the thermostat reaches the temperature on the dial.

4. You have to work with a vertical space that your average home pizza baker would be able to launch a pie in- no less than 2.5".

5. No convection features.


Basically I'm asking you to work with a type of setup that the majority of home owners would be working with.  If you can do 1 minute pies working within these rules, I think that would officially make 3/4" steel obsolete.

Offline ponzu

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #87 on: April 02, 2011, 04:54:16 PM »
Alexi, if you can do a 1 minute bake with 1/2" steel and an unmodified oven using the broiler to preheat the stone, that would be a tremendous achievement. If you're going to do this, though, we need a few ground rules.

1. The oven has to be unmodified.  Whatever trick you're using to go above 600, you can't use it for this.

2. You've got to use an oven where the highest temp marked on the dial is 550.

3. A very small handful of ovens have broilers that work independently of the thermostat.  In these types of ovens, one turns the broiler on and it stays on.  That's not the norm, though. For this experiment, you have to be using an oven where the broiler will cut off once the thermostat reaches the temperature on the dial.

4. You have to work with a vertical space that your average home pizza baker would be able to launch a pie in- no less than 2.5".

5. No convection features.


Basically I'm asking you to work with a type of setup that the majority of home owners would be working with.  If you can do 1 minute pies working within these rules, I think that would officially make 3/4" steel obsolete.

Here goes.

70 second pie.

as you'll see the bottom cooks too quickly at these temps.

Not my best pie!
« Last Edit: April 02, 2011, 05:02:54 PM by ponzu »

Offline Browntown

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #88 on: April 04, 2011, 06:13:18 AM »
How are you guys setting the steel plates up in the oven? Are you cooking directly onto the plate or are you putting the plate one rack above where the pizza cooks? Is anyone using two plates or stone bottom and plate on top?


Offline communist

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #89 on: April 04, 2011, 11:21:58 AM »
browntown   I am cooking directly on the steel plate, placed high in oven to utilized blast of heat from broiler for 45 seconds before and after lauching pie. 


Offline ponzu

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #90 on: April 04, 2011, 05:06:56 PM »
Me too.

Stone on top shelf.

As an aside I had people over for a pizze party last night.

I baked 8 pies on my old cracked stone with by old set up.  3-4 minute bakes.  These pies were so much superior to anything that I have made on the steel stone yet.  They had the elusive crispy veneer surrounding an tender open crumb.  In comparison the steel pies just have a floppiness to them.

I am beginning to have serious doubts about the steel method.

I am coming to the conclusion that just as Scott123 has advocated the steel is much more efficient at transferring energy to the skin.  Sadly I don't think that this is a good thing.  It just makes it too hard to get a balanced heat from above.  Reguardless of bake time (and I have gone from 60 seconds to 4 minutes on the steel) the structure is inferior tho pies baked on by lame old williams sonoma stone.

Not trying to rain on anyones parade but just reporting my own impression at this point.

If anyone in the portland area wants to experiment with the steel plate pm me.

Offline communist

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #91 on: April 05, 2011, 09:21:26 AM »
Alexi, Interesting observations.  In looking over your bake times, you seem to be in 1 to 4 minute bake times.  These are quite fast.  You are getting good oven spring.  And I like good oven spring.  And I like crisp crust, and near char.  But as Scott123 says, it is hard to have it all.  Oven spring comes from intense heat and quick bake time.  Crispness is more dependent on longer bake time.  Not that we can't get it at 3 or 4 minutes, but maybe not every time and as good as a longer bake time. I guess that New York pie lovers who have longer bake times enjoy that crisp crust and compromise on oven spring. I have had good spring and pretty good crispness on steel at 530 at 3 and a half to 4 minutes bake time.  I hear your concerns - steel is a new area and is has not proven itself with multiple users. I will have to compare this pie to a pie done on firebrick at 650 using oven tricks, and take notes on spring and crispness.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #92 on: April 05, 2011, 10:59:46 AM »
Communist though I don't have a steel plate, there does exist a happy balance between ovenspring, crispness to the shell, and a soft airy light interior.  From my many experiments of going back and forth on bake times, hydration levels, kneading techniques, different flours, etc I have found (for me) that balance exist in the 3 - 4 minute bake time.  Never mind the temperature or the exact type of oven.  As long as the heat is relatively even on top and bottom a 3-4min bake time pie is hard to beat IF the hydration and gluten development is done right.

Chau

Offline communist

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #93 on: April 05, 2011, 11:25:07 AM »
Chau!  Good to hear from you!  I have admired your passion for pizza in your earlier posts.  I think I know what you are saying.  Would you agree that, in general, intense short bake times have more puff and less crisp, and vice-versa?  I am a bit confused by your statement "never mind the temperature".  Please clarify...I thought temps are critical to baking dynamics. At 550 with firebrick, I am just not getting the spring I want.  Let me ask you a related question.  My New York pie is getting great reviews from my family.  I it is a basic Lehman recipe 2 day cold ferment documented earlier in this post.  Hydration is 63% with all trumps and my mixing is documented also.  What do you think?  Pre-ferments intrigue me.  Are you getting better crusts ( more puff or more crisp, or even both!!) from pre-ferments with your NY pie, and if you are can you describe your method or reference one reasonable straight forward one on the boards for a rookie?  Thanks,  Mark

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #94 on: April 05, 2011, 12:38:16 PM »
Would you agree that, in general, intense short bake times have more puff and less crisp, and vice-versa?  I am a bit confused by your statement "never mind the temperature".  Please clarify...I thought temps are critical to baking dynamics. At 550 with firebrick, I am just not getting the spring I want.

In general...yes an intense heat gives a short bake time and that heat gives an extreme puff even if you press the rim hard.   And in general a short bake time does tend to give a softer rim relative to a longer bake time if using the same hydration ratio/formula.   But you can still get a relative crisp shell in a short bake time if the hydration ratio is relative low.  An obvious example is if you bake a cracker crust in 60 seconds, it'd still be crunchy and relatively dry.   I have eaten a few NP pies that were on the dry side with a crispy shell baked in 70 seconds.  

Temperature, relatively speaking is important but (for me) it's easier to think in terms of bake times rather than temps b/c everyone's oven is different in baking dynamics.  Back sometime, another member and I got into a heated (pun intended) discussion of whether BF/HG flour will burn at 650F and above.  In his oven, it did.  In mine it did not, even at 725F.   The difference was in the specific oven and the fact that I was baking on Firebrick.    Perhaps member Scott123 can speak more on the specific properties of firebrick.  Firebrick tends to hold heat well but it's not as conductive as cordierite or say steel.   B/c of this characteristic, you can use it to bake at higher temps for longer periods of time without risk of burning the bottom especially if that is where your main source of heat is coming from as in the LBE/MBE.

The downside to firebrick is that it can affect the amount of ovenspring you can get compared to using cordierite or even steel.   But remember, ovenspring is affected by a lot things, not just heat.  It's mainly heat and relatively wet dough (hydration) and gluten strength.   If you can balance these 3 factors you can get huge oven spring with a smaller volume of dough and less heat!  YES!  When I get the proper gluten development/strength into the dough, it puffs up higher at relatively lower temps and a smaller proofing volume in the dough along with using a less amount of dough.  

So if you want to increase your oven spring, I'd say ditch the firebrick.   Or even better place a thin steel plate on top of the firebrick and use the firebrick for mass.  Increase your hydration by 2% points at a time.  As you increase your hydration ratio, you may need to do a few extra cycles of stretch and folds between 10m rest periods after kneading if the dough feels to soft or slack.  The dough should feel nice and smooth and hold it's shape after you ball the bulk dough mass.  Try a LONG bulk fermentation phase, divide the dough and ball when the bulk has at least doubled.  Ball gently as to not deflate the dough, and bake at a slightly higher temp if you can or by switching out the firebrick.  Aim for a bake time of 4 if you can.  You should have a more enjoyable pizza.  

ADY/IDY and CY all work great.  Preferments with ADY or IDY work great as well.  I woudn't say the spring is higher though,  but I'm not sure.  You can make stunning pizzas with ADY or IDY.  I'd just stick with that until you are so bored of awesome pizza and just want to try something new.  

Chau
« Last Edit: April 05, 2011, 12:48:48 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline ponzu

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #95 on: April 06, 2011, 01:43:45 AM »
Alexi, Interesting observations.  In looking over your bake times, you seem to be in 1 to 4 minute bake times.  These are quite fast.  You are getting good oven spring.  And I like good oven spring.  And I like crisp crust, and near char.  But as Scott123 says, it is hard to have it all.  Oven spring comes from intense heat and quick bake time.  Crispness is more dependent on longer bake time.  Not that we can't get it at 3 or 4 minutes, but maybe not every time and as good as a longer bake time. I guess that New York pie lovers who have longer bake times enjoy that crisp crust and compromise on oven spring. I have had good spring and pretty good crispness on steel at 530 at 3 and a half to 4 minutes bake time.  I hear your concerns - steel is a new area and is has not proven itself with multiple users. I will have to compare this pie to a pie done on firebrick at 650 using oven tricks, and take notes on spring and crispness.

Communist,

I think there is a lot of merit to your points about oven spring.  My observations thus far are that the steel acts at any given surface temperature similarly to a stone at a much higher temperature.

My feeling is that oven spring is chiefly determined by surface temperature (or effective surface temperature) of the cooking surface and the intrinsic dough structure or gluten development of the dough being cooked.

Given this, the oven spring will be more pronounced at a surface temperature of 550 on steel than on a stone at the same temperature.

My problem with the steel thus far is that even at comparable baking times (aka the steel at a lower temperature than the stone) the steel cooked pie is just so much more floppy than the stone cooked pie.  The cornicione may be a little taller but not noticably so.  the crumb of the stone cooked pie has superior tenderness and vastly superior texture.  And although the steel cooked pie has cool looking bottom visual charring, this doesn't really translate into textural charring, flavor, or crispiness.  The only thing I can relate this visual/textural disconnect to is the practice of "rimming" the pie under the broiler;  It gives cool spots but the visuals don't really correspond to the flavor or texture of charring on a properly cooked pie.

One final point:  I don't use any oven tricks with my current stone set up.  I dont monkey with the thermostat.  I don't cook on cleaning cycle.  I do use convection to raise the effective cooking temperature, but this feature is widely available on newer ovens.  

I think almost anyone with an oven with a broiler at the top of the oven chamber can achieve stone surface temps of 700 + before the thermostat shuts off just by positioning the stone 2-3 inches from the broiler element.

I have no regrets about experimenting with the steel, and I hope that others will carry the torch and keep on working with this novel cooking surface.  My taste buds are just directing me in another direction. (probably just a plain ole cordierite stone.)

Keep the flame alive. >:D  I look forward to your continued efforts.

-Alexi
« Last Edit: April 06, 2011, 01:47:56 AM by ponzu »

Offline communist

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #96 on: April 10, 2011, 07:44:42 PM »
Great results on half inch steel tonight.  Steel at 335 with broil 40 seconds before and 40 seconds after lauch.  Oven spring, great crumb and crisp, but not crunchy hard crust.  Pics   

Offline communist

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #97 on: April 10, 2011, 07:46:10 PM »
more pics

Offline communist

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #98 on: April 10, 2011, 07:51:21 PM »
more pics

Offline chickenparm

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #99 on: April 10, 2011, 11:21:18 PM »
Comm,
Those look GREAT to me!Nice work!
 :)
-Bill


 

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