Author Topic: Steel plate  (Read 48645 times)

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Online scott123

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #180 on: October 06, 2012, 04:30:42 PM »
I've done both ways, using broiler and not.  Turned out better when I turned the broiler on for a min or two before launching pizza and for a minute after being in oven.  Still had to go right around 10-12 minutes to get what I wanted, forgot to check steel temperature last night but I'm guessing it was in the 530 range.

How long are you pre-heating the steel for?


Offline PuRowdy

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #181 on: October 07, 2012, 03:24:55 PM »
How long are you pre-heating the steel for?

Had a good 45 min at 500 preheat last time.

Online scott123

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #182 on: October 07, 2012, 10:12:31 PM »
Colin, that could be the other 20% of the issue. 45 min. should be plenty of time to pre-heat 3/8" steel, but I've seen and worked with gas ovens that were pretty anemic.  Just to be safe, I'd push it to 80 minutes and see what kind of undercrust char you're getting.

You're letting the dough warm up a few hours after being refrigerated, correct?

This oven has no convection feature, right?

Position the steel about 4-5" from the broiler, and, besides going with a 80 minute pre-heat using the highest bake setting, turn the broiler on about 4 minutes prior to baking and give it a blast of heat from above.  Monitor the broiler and see if it stays on. Take temps of the top of the plate and bottom. I'm not a huge proponent of this extra broiler pre-heat, but it does seem like it helps a few of the members here push a little more heat into the plate.

Try, if possible, to get a clear, well lit photo of the undercrust, as the undercrust color is the most important component of using steel.

Oil helps browning.  3% oil will help browning while still being within the parameters of NY style.

Offline PuRowdy

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #183 on: October 07, 2012, 11:21:29 PM »
Colin, that could be the other 20% of the issue. 45 min. should be plenty of time to pre-heat 3/8" steel, but I've seen and worked with gas ovens that were pretty anemic.  Just to be safe, I'd push it to 80 minutes and see what kind of undercrust char you're getting.

You're letting the dough warm up a few hours after being refrigerated, correct?

This oven has no convection feature, right?

Position the steel about 4-5" from the broiler, and, besides going with a 80 minute pre-heat using the highest bake setting, turn the broiler on about 4 minutes prior to baking and give it a blast of heat from above.  Monitor the broiler and see if it stays on. Take temps of the top of the plate and bottom. I'm not a huge proponent of this extra broiler pre-heat, but it does seem like it helps a few of the members here push a little more heat into the plate.

Try, if possible, to get a clear, well lit photo of the undercrust, as the undercrust color is the most important component of using steel.

Oil helps browning.  3% oil will help browning while still being within the parameters of NY style.

Thank you for all the input, I will definitely give these recommendations a try next time I make pizza's, probably later this week.

My highest bake setting is 500, 525 with broiler and it stays on no matter the temp from what I've been able to tell so far, and yes no convection.  I am pulling the doughs out at least 2 hours before I cook to allow them to warm up. 

My dad made some over the weekend that he claims were the best he's ever made.  He had been doing some reading about lowering the steel and placing the old stone on a rack above the steel.  He was very happy with the results.

I will for sure get some better pictures and steel temps above and below next time.  Till then happy pizza making everyone!

Offline PuRowdy

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #184 on: October 12, 2012, 11:51:45 AM »
Had a bit of a setback last night, really frustrating as I feel these were the best doughs I've made.  Guess I will make another batch up tonight for Sunday and give it a go.

Though with this setback I believe I have stumbled upon a few things that are really good to know and be observent of in the future.  In the past I have never actually measured the size of the pizza I was making, just stretched it out to the size of my wooden peel.  My peel is 13", I've been using doughs that were about 500g for 16" pizza's, I have a feeling this has some to do with my prolonged bake times.  In the pictures the first pizza was way to thick all the way through, nothing near what I would consider NY style, once having a piece I measured the size of the pizza and then realized I was only making 13" pizzas all along.  So for the 2nd pizza I cut 80g off the dough and had a much more appropriate thickness throughout the pizza.

Also for the first time I measured the amount of cheese I put on the pizza's.  6.5 oz on the first and I felt it was to much, the cheese didn't cook to the level I like before the crust did, the bottom of the crust was a bit overdone in my opinion for the amount of time it had to cook to even get the cheese close.  I reduced the amount of cheese down to 5.5 oz for a 13" pizza on the 2nd and it was much better.

As for oven setup, my dad had luck last weekend with his steel in the middle of the oven with his old brick located above it 6-7 inches, thought I would give it a try.  Preheat the oven for close to 2 hrs by the time my first pizza went on.  Steel temp was 540 with the brick above slightly lower, 530 range I would say.  Took 12-13 minutes to get to what you see in the pictures in the album.  Just wasn't happy overall with the way this one cooked so I took the old stone out for the 2nd pizza and let the steel get back up to a temp of 540.  However when I launched the 2nd pizza I turned the broiler on, I was distracted while I was cooking and forgot to turn the broiler off.  Its a gas broiler so it just kept going the whole 8 min.  Opened it up and was shocked as I had forgot to turn off the broiler and burned the thing slightly.

So even though the night was full of screw ups, I'm glad it happened.  My take aways from this round is to know the size of the pizza I am making and have the proper size dough.  Pay attention to the amount of cheese I am using for the size of pizza I am making.  To much cheese and it doesn't seem to cook to a level I like by the time the dough is finished.  I'm moving my steel back to the top of the oven about 7" beneath the broiler, and if I use the broiler I need to really monitor that.

Here is a link to the pics.

http://imgur.com/a/27h1J

Offline shuboyje

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #185 on: October 12, 2012, 12:27:14 PM »
420 grams is still a lot of dough for New York style.  Somewhere between 250 and 300 grams for a 13" pizza is where you should be.
-Jeff

Online scott123

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #186 on: October 12, 2012, 12:33:22 PM »
Colin, I think you and I need to have a talk about the definition of the term 'setback.'  ;D

That second pie is a little further than I take it, personally, but we have plenty of forum members who do cartwheels for that kind of color on the rim. I definitely think that's your best pie to date, the bake time is incredibly encouraging and you seem to be grasping some concepts that will push you into another realm on future bakes.

I am also highly encouraged by your discerning palate in relation to thickness factor.  There are countless home bakers that make pizza #1, are pleased as punch, and never strive for anything better. I'm guess that between your time in NY and your father's upbringing here, you've developed a keen understanding of what pizza can be . Bravo.

I think you're on the right track.  Besides Jeff's suggestion for an even thinner thickness factor, the only suggestions that I'd make is to put the plate closer to the broiler- within 4", if possible, and give it some broiler time before launching (if you haven't already).  I also think you could benefit from the faster browning you get from more oil.  3% oil is the peak quantity for the NY spec, imo.  With your plate and oven setup, that's where I'd go to.

Offline PuRowdy

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #187 on: October 12, 2012, 03:44:18 PM »
Thank you gentlemen, I will take all the words of advice and move forward.  I will see how close I can get the plate to the broiler and definitely get the broiler running a couple min before launch.

And yes will drastically cut back on the dough, I was just cutting a decent size chunk the first time to see how it handled.

On to the next batch!

Offline a.stauff

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #188 on: October 25, 2012, 06:59:51 PM »
OK guys and gals, here is my first steel plate attempt. 1/2" steel, pre-heated to 550 for an hour and blasted with the broiler. I need to work on the dough and my shaping. I'd like a thicker rim and thinner middle, but for my first attempt I'm pleased.

Thanks Scott123 for your advice on how to heat the steel. And my IR thermometer is in the mail! 

Offline communist

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #189 on: November 24, 2012, 05:52:16 PM »
Baking on 1/2 inch steel at 530 4.5 min bake broiler assist 1 minute.


Offline communist

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #190 on: November 24, 2012, 05:55:49 PM »
Baking on 1/2 inch steel at 530 4.5 min bake broiler assist 1 minute.

Offline spazster

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #191 on: January 21, 2013, 06:42:48 PM »
I just got my steel plate and the current plan is to bake 2 pizzas this Saturday (and maybe experiment with some garlic bread on the steel as well).  The first pizza is going to be a 16 inch using this screen on top of the plate. After two minutes, I plan to remove the screen and place the pizza on the plate directly.  The second pizza is going to be a 12 inch and I'm just going to use a peel to launch it onto the plate.  Other than that I plan to use Communist's technique, but I am not going to have a stone in the oven.

So, I was wondering, how much will the screen slow down my bake time and affect my rise? Is there any point in putting it directly on the steel plate or is it just going to take away extra heat from the plate?

Also, usually when I used to bake my pizzas on the stone, they would start out crisp and then they'd start to get soggy - especially when I would put them in a sealed container.  About how long do I have with the fast bake times using the steel plate before the moisture begins to spread out and make the pizza soggy?

Online scott123

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #192 on: January 22, 2013, 12:30:32 AM »
Steel is a bottom browning accelerator. Screens are bottom browning inhibitors.  Using the two together is kind of counterproductive.  If you're more comfortable using a screen than a peel, then, for now, I guess a screen is not the end of the world, but eventually you're going to need to lose the the training wheels of the screen if you want to witness what steel is capable of.

The faster the bake, the less moisture has a chance to evaporate, the less moisture is driven off, the less crispy the pizza.  If crispiness is your goal, especially crispiness after cooling (water is driven into the interior of the rim during baking and then migrates back out to the exterior during cooling), then the fast baking nature of steel might not be for you.

You can mitigate the anti-crisping effects of fast bake times by

1. Dialing down your hydration a bit. Less water in the dough translates into less water in the finished crust.
2. Cooling the crust on a wire baking rack. Don't put the pizza away until it has entirely cooled.
3. Lowering the pre-heat temp and finding a happier middle ground bake time- not the fast 4 minute NY bake, but also not the oven spring depriving 8+ minute bakes.

You can also, as many member here have done, learn to love the merits of a puffy chewy non crispy pizza :)

Offline spazster

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #193 on: January 28, 2013, 02:19:01 PM »
So, all week I was very anxious and excited about cooking a pizza for Saturday while watching UFC.  When Saturday came, I wasn't really in the mood for pizza, but I  baked them anyway. It wasn't a very good experience for me, but I was able to enjoy them more on Sunday.

Anyway, I made three pizzas at around 64% hydration with King Arthur Flour.  Usually I make them at 75% hydration with gold medal better for bread flour.  The KA flour is definitely worth the extra $1.  The first one I made with the pizza screen. 

After two and a half minutes I took it off the screen and let it cook on the plate for another 2 minutes.  The pizza crisper I placed it on is not what I used to cook it.

I tried the second and third pizza without a screen.  That didn't go so well.  I left the second one on the peel for too long and the dough bonded to the wood.  It was really hard getting it onto the plate. I had to lift up part of the pizza and blow a bunch of flour under it.  The end result was burned flour at the bottom of the cooked pizza.

I got the third pizza off the peel alright, but I didn't quite launch it in correctly and it landed on the plate all scrunched up.

So, all in all, I'll probably use a pizza screen for now on.  I tried a slice of the first pizza immediately after it got done cooking and I liked the texture.  By the time I got done with the other two pizzas though it went soggy.  On the up side, it didn't go leathery like the other pizzas I've made in the past.  Also, next time I'll probably only leave the broiler on for maybe 10 to 15 seconds and not have the plate at the top rung.  After the pizzas were done, the sauce dried up and I like the pizzas to have wet sauce oozing off.


Offline jsaras

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #194 on: January 28, 2013, 06:53:37 PM »
Obviously, your issues are centered on your underdeveloped peel skills and not with the use of steel. 

I often use parchment paper on top of my peel when working with high hydration dough.  After a couple of minutes just pull it out with some tongs. 

You may also want to try semolina flour as your peel "lubricant or a mix of flour, fine cornmeal, and semolina. 
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Offline spazster

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #195 on: January 28, 2013, 07:12:25 PM »
Obviously, your issues are centered on your underdeveloped peel skills and not with the use of steel. 

I never meant to imply otherwise. I'm just saying that I didn't have a good overall experience.  It was mostly because I wasn't in the mood to eat pizza that day.

Offline Morgan

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #196 on: February 02, 2013, 06:34:11 AM »
I will test the granite stone today, but if its no good i think i might get a iron plate. Do you season it so it wont rust or just get stainless steel ? Stainless is expensive i think.

Offline Johnny Harley

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #197 on: February 02, 2013, 08:24:03 AM »
(http://uppix.net/1/8/f/11f44c0946cbf400639a070c10ce6.jpg)
(http://uppix.net/f/4/4/f83d2a7498ebdf95eed8ec02f3740.jpg)
(http://uppix.net/5/c/1/29446dfcaa6485b9d0e338980a6fb.jpg)

Hi folks. I'm still inexperienced in pizza making but had a real turning point today.

My previous attempts on my steel plate at 525f with the top oven and grill/broil compartment were quite long bakes, little browning underneath and limp/soggy. With my new dough done at 63% using the Lehmann calculator yielded a slight more browning underneath, like a fine tuning of the dough but still a long bake and only slightly improved, not looking to great for the steal I thought.

I moved my steel near the top of the lower oven without the grill at 490f (was in a hurry) in hope of some increased heat but not expecting much and boom the pizza just explodes into life. After just a few minutes the bottom is nicely charred with the dough soft airy on the inside. The oven spring was incredible and I was scrambling to move the pizza under the grill it all happened so fast.

Don't know how long it took exactly, seemed like 4mins. Easily my best tasting yet. I was starting to think these quick bakes at home were an exaggeration. previously they were 10mins+ and quite anaemic looking underneath.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2013, 08:37:14 AM by Johnny Harley »

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #198 on: February 02, 2013, 08:34:11 AM »
(http://uppix.net/1/8/f/11f44c0946cbf400639a070c10ce6.jpg)
(http://uppix.net/f/4/4/f83d2a7498ebdf95eed8ec02f3740.jpg)
(http://uppix.net/5/c/1/29446dfcaa6485b9d0e338980a6fb.jpg)

Hi folks. I'm still inexperienced in pizza making but had a real turning point today.

My previous attempts on my steel plate at 525f with the top oven and grill/broil compartment were quite long bakes, little browning underneath and limp/soggy. With my new dough done at 63% using the Lehmann calculator yielded a slight more browning underneath, like a fine tuning of the dough but still a long bake and only slightly improved, not looking to great for the steal I thought.

I moved my steel near the top of the lower oven without the grill at 490f (was in a hurry) in hope of some increased heat but not expecting much and boom the pizza just explodes into life. After just a few minutes the bottom is nicely charred with the dough soft airy on the inside. The oven spring was incredible and I was scrambling to move the pizza under the grill it all happened so fast.

Don't know how long it took exactly, seemed like 4mins. Easily my best tasting yet. I was starting to think these quick bakes at home were an exaggeration. previously they were 10mins+ and quite anaemic looking underneath.


You can't use HTML tags here  :'(  You have to post pictures using the 'Attach:' box below the post tet editor box.

Your pie looks very nice, but I really don't understand what is the difference between your two ovens?
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Offline Johnny Harley

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Re: Steel plate
« Reply #199 on: February 02, 2013, 08:44:58 AM »
Thanks. I've fixed the images now.

The difference is the top oven is about 7inches high and includes a grill aka broiler. Bottom oven is double the height and more a traditional size.

I've also tried the steel plate on the lower part of the lower big oven and didn't get much action, another 10mins anaemic bake, typically its recommended to put the pizza on the lower compartment. Just moving it high up transformed the cooking.

I thought there'd be more heat high up but didn't expect such a difference. The pizza just sprang up and charred really quickly underneath.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2013, 08:52:42 AM by Johnny Harley »