Author Topic: What type of Steel Plate is Safest?  (Read 6864 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline PapaJon

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 144
  • Location: SoCal
  • "That's amore"
Re: What type of Steel Plate is Safest?
« Reply #40 on: June 28, 2013, 06:17:11 PM »
Does anybody know if 2 quarter-inch plates laid on top of each other would have noticeably different baking performance than a single 1/2 inch plate?

It seem like there shouldn't be much thermodynamic difference, but the two lighter plates would be easier to move when necessary than one heavy one. thanks

Thermal dynamically speaking any interface (break/gap) between materials will create thermal impedance or in simpler terms, will transfer heat slower.  Likely stacking two 1/4" on top of each other will cook better than just a single layer, but it won't be the same as 1/2".  How big a difference it would be I do not know.

Get a 1/2in. plate cut in half.  :)

This is the perfect solution to anyone having issues with carrying or moving a 1/2" plate.  Ingeniously simple!  Of course if your issue is oven related (i.e. rack bending, insufficient support) then that probably won't solve it.


Now while my day job is dealing with specialty materials used as heatsinks or heatspreaders in the semiconductor industry, I have absolutely no experience with baking on steel.  That however I am looking to change.  I've had a fairly long hiatus from baking pizza's but now I'm catching the bug again, and made 3 pies earlier this week and have 12 assorted dough balls fermenting in the fridge in preparation for this weekends pizza party.  I have my eye's on a Industrial Materials house that will be open tomorrow morning and which I plan to visit, but I'm not sure of the quality (i.e. cleanliness) of products they may have and so whatever I get may not be good enough for me to use that evening.  We will see though.   >:D

I was initially chickening out and considering only going with 1/4", but now I'm leaning more toward 3/8" and possibly the whole enchilada (1/2").  My concern isn't so much being able to manage moving it about, but as I noted above, the strain it may put on the oven.  This is particularly a concern for me as I will often (will plan to more often at least) throw pizza parties at friends houses and would prefer not to damage their oven.

So the question is... how much weight can a typical oven rack safely hold?  I think one site I Googled claimed that said the industry standard was only 25lbs.   ???  :-\

What is the typical size (X" x Y" x Z") steel sheet that people are using? 

Some numbers (or calc your own HERE):
16" x 16" x 3/8" = 27lbs
20" x 16" x 3/8" = 34lbs
16" x 16" x 1/2" = 36lbs
18" x 16" x 1/2" = 41lbs

Cheers!

-Jon
Jon


Offline dmcavanagh

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1912
  • Location: Glenmont, NY
Re: What type of Steel Plate is Safest?
« Reply #41 on: June 28, 2013, 06:27:11 PM »
Jon, I recently bought the "Modernist Cuisine" steel plate, 16"x14"x3/4" and it weights 22 lb. My oven is a very new model and the rack that holds the steel does bow slightly from the weight. Now enough to cause damage, but I myself would hesitate to go much heavier without some how reinforcing the rack. As for the benefits of the steel itself, I make thin NY-ish style pizzas and I still much prefer my old stone!

Offline scott123

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6638
Re: What type of Steel Plate is Safest?
« Reply #42 on: June 28, 2013, 07:22:36 PM »
Jon, you would have a lot of home oven owners screaming murder if 30#ish Thanksgiving Turkeys caused their oven shelves to fail.

A good number of forum members have purchased very heavy steel plates, and, so far, the only sign of shelf impact has been a bow- and, when it's occurred, the bow hasn't been permanent.

If you are worried about the shelf, as you fully know, there's always steel bar/square steel tubing.  You're one of the only forum members who's gone this route.  There's no way that steel of up to 60 lb. would bend square tubing.  If this isn't for your own oven, bring a long piece of tubing and cut it at your friend's house with a hacksaw after you've taking the measurement.

Are you still working with the same gas oven?  Steel is not recommended unless you have a broiler in the main compartment.

Offline PapaJon

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 144
  • Location: SoCal
  • "That's amore"
Re: What type of Steel Plate is Safest?
« Reply #43 on: July 02, 2013, 01:38:18 PM »
Jon, I recently bought the "Modernist Cuisine" steel plate, 16"x14"x3/4" and it weights 22 lb.

Thanks for the response, but I'm Curious what kind of "steel" that is.  A36 alloy steel in those dimensions would come in at 47.5lbs

Jon, you would have a lot of home oven owners screaming murder if 30#ish Thanksgiving Turkeys caused their oven shelves to fail.

A good number of forum members have purchased very heavy steel plates, and, so far, the only sign of shelf impact has been a bow- and, when it's occurred, the bow hasn't been permanent.

If you are worried about the shelf, as you fully know, there's always steel bar/square steel tubing.  You're one of the only forum members who's gone this route.  There's no way that steel of up to 60 lb. would bend square tubing.  If this isn't for your own oven, bring a long piece of tubing and cut it at your friend's house with a hacksaw after you've taking the measurement.

Are you still working with the same gas oven?  Steel is not recommended unless you have a broiler in the main compartment.

Hi Scott.  Great point regarding turkeys, thanksgiving hadn't even crossed my mind, but that is so true.  America would be up in arms.
Additionally, good memory and great point regarding the broiler.  My home oven is still an old gas unit which has a separate broiler compartment/drawer at the bottom of the oven.  I've found out that it is pretty much useless for baking cakes as it just tends to heat up and keep heating up until it maxes out around 700.  Great for high temps but a bit of a pain in the butt if you are trying to regulate or tweak your temps.

I ended up going to the scrap yard on Saturday morning and had them cut a 18" x 16" x 1/2" steel plate for me.  Although they had to make two cuts, they only charged me for 1 and I neglected to complain.   :-[  I also couldn't pass up a perfectly sized piece of scrap that was 20" x 16" x 1/4".   All said and done I think I paid $49 for both.  The 1/2" one needs a little more work cleaning it but I was able to clean up the 1/4" in time for the pizza party I threw at my friends house (500F electric with broiler in main compartment)

I prepared some DKM cracker crust as well as some NY Style dough.  I unfortunately only got a picture of one of the pizza's which I think was the first NY one and as you can see it's alright, but it could have used a tad more char.  I had positioned the 1/4" steel on the second rack slot down from the top (roughly 7") and was trying to switch on the broiler prior to launching the pie.  I think I was only able to get about 80% of the potential from the setup, but with a bit more practice and possibly moving it up to the top I might get some better results.

Unrelated to steel plates, but of the 15 dough balls I had I only made 9 pies I think.   The next day though I tossed my stone in the oven and decided to see if I could make some bread from the left over NY dough balls.  This was inspired by Chau's "Lazy Man's Bread" and all I did was flour the dough ball, roughly shape it into a bowl, threw it on the stone at 500F, covered with a metal mixing bowl for 20min, remove mixing bowl for 20min at 450f and wow!  NY pizza bead!  I got fancy and stuffed cheese in one and chocolate in another and they were a big hit. 

-Jonathan

P.S.  Scott, I'll be on the East coast the week after the 4th and will likely hit up Pizza Town USA on the 10th :)  Can't wait.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 01:43:27 PM by PapaJon »
Jon

Offline scott123

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6638
Re: What type of Steel Plate is Safest?
« Reply #44 on: July 02, 2013, 02:48:56 PM »
So, Jon, I tell you not to buy steel, and, what you do? Buy two pieces.  I'm glad we're both on the same page here  :-D

I can see that you bought this for a friend's oven that does have a broiler, so it's not a total waste, but, as far as your home oven is concerned, as far as what we've seen people do with steel in a broilerless setup, you just bought a paperweight.

Now, the operative words in this statement are 'what we've seen.'  Claims have been made that quality pies can be achieved.  While I trust the people making these claims implicitly, I don't think we can declare broilerless steel viable for safely (without having to handle a 550+ degree plate) baking pizzatown quality pies.  At least not yet.

On the other hand, my broilerless setup (vs. 3.0  ;D ) is showing tremendous promise:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,15856.msg262732.html#msg262732

He's dealing with Mexican flour and an altitude of 8,000 ft (the highest of anyone in the forum), but within a month, he'll be making better than pizzatown quality pies.

I know you just bought the steel and most likely want to play with it, but, if you really want the most of your oven, my setup will get you there far faster.

Btw, many 500 deg. ovens exceed 500, but, for those that can only reach 500, steel won't brown the bottom fast enough.  For this crowd, the only option is 3/8"-1/2" aluminum.

Offline PapaJon

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 144
  • Location: SoCal
  • "That's amore"
Re: What type of Steel Plate is Safest?
« Reply #45 on: July 02, 2013, 04:11:20 PM »
Hah, you know what, you could be right.  I didn't reread my old thread but although I don't recall you telling me not to get steel you very well could have. 

I may see if I can fit either of the plates into the bottom broiler drawer.  I do need to clean up the 1/2" plate first though.
Jon

Offline scott123

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6638
Re: What type of Steel Plate is Safest?
« Reply #46 on: July 02, 2013, 04:37:01 PM »
Are you still working with the same gas oven?  Steel is not recommended unless you have a broiler in the main compartment.

Translation: Don't buy steel!  :-D

If there's a chance that steel will get you quick balanced bakes, it's going to be in the drawer, not the main oven, so definitely check the drawer. Broiler drawers tend to be a bit smaller, so your plate might not fit, but see if it does.

Offline PapaJon

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 144
  • Location: SoCal
  • "That's amore"
Re: What type of Steel Plate is Safest?
« Reply #47 on: July 02, 2013, 04:39:40 PM »
Oops, that does in fact translate very well.  Actually I failed to subscribe to the post and didn't see your response before I went buying on Saturday.

Jon

Offline scott123

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6638
Re: What type of Steel Plate is Safest?
« Reply #48 on: July 02, 2013, 04:59:23 PM »
No worries, Jon.  You'll get plenty of use out of your plate at other people's houses, and, who knows, maybe you're the guy to crack the broilerless steel code. If anyone can do it, my money would be on you.

If you do take this path, you might want to PM Ben Lee

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=3554

to get his thoughts on broiler drawer baking. He's taken it the furthest

http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2012/10/the-pizza-lab-baking-steel-lodge-cast-iron-pizza.html#946490 (his comment is on the bottom of the page)

Offline PapaJon

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 144
  • Location: SoCal
  • "That's amore"
Re: What type of Steel Plate is Safest?
« Reply #49 on: July 02, 2013, 06:15:34 PM »
Yeah, as I do more than half my baking at friends places with there more modern ovens I'm sure I'll put the steel to good use.  I'll also measure out my broiler drawer tonight and see how the plates fit.  I may not get any baking done for a couple of weeks though as I'm out of dough and I've plans for the 4th and a business trip to the east coast directly after that.

I checked out BenLee's posts here on pizzamaking and didn't see any real mention of his setup or pictures.  He does go into a bit more detail on the seriouseats forum you linked though.  It appears he is only using stone and isn't really sold on steel, at least at higher temps.  I think for his purpose since he is pulling out a tray with the stone on it and resetting it lower after it has been heated, doing that with heavy steel would be much more dangerous if not impossible.  We'll post up if/when I make any experiments.
Jon


Offline scott123

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 6638
Re: What type of Steel Plate is Safest?
« Reply #50 on: July 02, 2013, 09:34:37 PM »
Jon, the principles governing a broiler drawer stone approach are no different than those governing a broiler drawer plate approach.  There may be a distance that will allow the broiler to sufficiently pre-heat the stone, while not burning the top of the pizza. On the plus side it sounds like your broiler stays on for quite some time if your oven is making it to the 700s.

But, yes, moving a hot plate isn't an option.  That's why I talked about the safety aspect earlier.

Offline PapaJon

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 144
  • Location: SoCal
  • "That's amore"
Re: What type of Steel Plate is Safest?
« Reply #51 on: July 03, 2013, 12:33:02 PM »
Checked out the broiler drawer last night and the 1/4" plate I got fits in one way and could probably be hacked off with a grinder the other way.  That said I think it's just a tad small width and depth wise.  A 14" pie would be rubbing edges... I think I may pass on trying to utilize it but may change my mind.  Meanwhile I'll just keep the plates for use at friends places.  :)

EDIT:  The 1/4" thick plate in below pic is 15.5" wide.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 12:36:36 PM by PapaJon »
Jon

Online Chicago Bob

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 9599
  • Location: North Carolina
  • Easy peazzy
Re: What type of Steel Plate is Safest?
« Reply #52 on: July 03, 2013, 01:24:12 PM »
Checked out the broiler drawer last night and the 1/4" plate I got fits in one way and could probably be hacked off with a grinder the other way.  That said I think it's just a tad small width and depth wise.  A 14" pie would be rubbing edges... I think I may pass on trying to utilize it but may change my mind.  Meanwhile I'll just keep the plates for use at friends places.  :)

EDIT:  The 1/4" thick plate in below pic is 15.5" wide.
I have same type of oven Jon. That broiler drawer is waay down there and you would probably have to stay kneeled down there the entire cook time. My broiler is a single straight tube and would probably require one to almost constantly be turning the pizza for an even top bake.
Use a diamond tip cut-off wheel if you decide to give it a go.  :chef:
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"


 

pizzapan