Here is some information about my oven setup and stone setup. This may be helpful for many interested in baking on a steel plate. I bought a steel plate because of posts I read on this site. I ordered it from MetalsDepot.com. I took various measurements over a heat cycle using an oven thermometer and an infrared thermometer. Unfortunately the data is not as “controlled” as I would like it to be, however it should still provide useful information.
A photo of my setup is below. I have a simple gas oven in a NYC rental. It is not a quality unit, probably the cheapest digital oven available. Before lighting the oven, I set the oven temperature at neutral calibration--0 degrees adjustment. I have no oven modifications. My ˝” x 12” x 12” A36 steel plate sits on the top rack of my oven, just under the broiler.
Here is some background info to provide a benchmark for others to compare to, because its likely that 1) my cheap laser gun is not perfectly calibrated and 2) you will get different numbers:
At .95 emissivity (ignore all this if you don’t have an IR thermometer), the back of my hand registered at 95F. An ice pack (black polyester) from my freezer registered at 18.4F. Water at a rolling boil correctly measured between 210 and 212F. At .80 emissivity, the same pot of water registered at 227-230F. I took measurements on the top of the stone, bottom of the stone, and the ambient temperature of the oven. You can see the oven thermometer’s position in the photos. All at .80 emissivity, with the oven light on. It is was very hard to get a stable reading on the steel in the oven for a few reasons. Most important was that there is burnt up flour/oil on my plate that affected the readings. To compensate, I set my thermometer on “average” mode for readings, and moved the laser around the surface for a few seconds on each reading.
My oven was set to 525F. It goes up to 550, but I’ve been using 525 lately because of trouble keeping my broiler lit. I opened the oven each time I had to take readings, letting out heat. At the 40 minute mark, I opened the oven for 2 minutes (way too long, because I was taking various other measurements with the laser). Each time I opened the door to take a reading, the oven thermometer dropped by approx. 25F.
After taking the 70 minute reading, I calibrated my oven by +35 degrees. I then re-set it to bake @ 525 degrees, and took more readings. I lit the broiler 20 minutes later. It would not light, so I let out some air for a minute. I then ran the broiler for 6 minutes, taking measurements in 2-minute intervals. I suspect the temperature dropped so rapidly because I kept opening the door to measure. I measured the broiler’s flame at 975 degrees
Here are the data points, and graphs are attached as images. The most encouraging part of this is that my oven was not maxed out at the 550 setting, and was not recalibrated during the entire preheat. I think I could get another 50 degrees out of the plate if I had it set at 550 +35 calibration the entire time.
I hope this is of use to someone. I would love to hear some comments about your predicted bake times, and how you are running to buy a steel plate!