Author Topic: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?  (Read 9925 times)

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Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #40 on: June 27, 2012, 07:21:44 PM »
Thanks again for all your help Scott. Don't know what I'd be doing without it :)

In case anyone else finds themselves looking for stuff in this area (Mountain View), here's what I have. I found two places that were cheapest for the steel plate in this area: Maxx Metals and Borrmann Steel. Maxx was about $10 cheaper, down at $53 or so for 14.5" x 18" x 0.5" A36 hot-rolled steel. Both places are very nice and helpful. Neither of these is in Mountain View; Borrmann is in East Palo Alto and Maxx is up in San Carlos (right up against Belmont). Other than these guys, everyone else was quoting in the $85 range. Borrmann is closer to me but I figured an extra 10 minutes' drive is worth saving the $10 (OTOH, they had a better turnaround time---Maxx said 2--3 days while Borrmann said they could do it in half an hour).

I also put in an order at Clay Planet for a 14x18x1 cordierite kiln shelf, which isn't something they had in stock and they had to order from the manufacturer, so that will take a couple of weeks before I can get it.

Regarding the FibraMent/quarry tiles, any thickness you recommend? Looking at the FibraMent website they sell them at 0.75"... I'm guessing that's sufficient?
And I know I probably don't have the broiler for it but I figure that I might in the future and it's cheaper for me to get this stuff now than back in Canada, so I figured why not. Having it around will encourage me to try and find an oven with the crazy broiler! Plus experimentation is always worth it :)


Offline scott123

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #41 on: June 28, 2012, 06:01:17 PM »
No problem, Aditya  :)

$53 isn't the rock bottom price for steel, but it's not that horrible. Even if I only had $85 options available, I'd still pay it- it's worth it for steel.

When it comes time to purchase your new and hopefully Neapolitan friendly oven, there's no way you're getting an oven with the smaller shelf size you have now, so my suggestion is to buy the stone when you buy the oven so that it can be sized for that shelf and not this one.

Btw, if you get a strong enough broiler, you don't need fibrament at all.  Marlon does all his NP pies with cordierite:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,16227.msg167250.html#msg167250

Now, his undercrust could be a bit on the dark side, depending on one's char preferences, but, I think, if you had his oven or something comparable, you could bump up the leoparding a skitch more and work with a slightly lower stone temp by raising the stone closer to the broiler.

Lastly, you never know what kind of stone materials will be available when you start shopping for ovens.  For Neapolitan pizza in a home oven, Fibrament is one of the best options that we have now, but something better could come along.  If, say, someone were to start selling traditional firebricks in a 1/2" or 3/4" thickness, those would own Fibrament- at least, they'd own Fibrament for those willing to mod their ovens to 800-900 degrees.

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #42 on: June 28, 2012, 06:23:13 PM »
Come to think of it, even if my broiler can't do a true NP pizza, I might still crank up the self-clean just to experiment---and it's good to know that cordierite will work fine. I feel like my preferences are somewhere between NY and NP. I did manage to get to an NP place (Napoletana Pizzeria in Mountain View, talked to the chef for a while too!) but from memory, I liked Famoso better, which, from what you said and what I'm seeing these days and on this forum, was not 100% NP but (IMO) did have the NP texture and shape to it (not as dark though). I really am terrified of overly-cheesy and greasy NY pies though, but I will check some out when I can in SF or when I head down to San Diego.

In another grease-related note, Maxx did mention that the plate would come greasy, but that I should be able to clean it up with a degreaser (so I'm thinking I'll just pop over to Home Depot or something and pick up some paint thinner). I found this thread:
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=19162.0

where you recommend sanding it down, but seeing as I don't have access to such equipment, do you recommend anything beyond some sort of degreasing agent?

Offline scott123

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #43 on: June 28, 2012, 06:39:55 PM »
Steel plate might come greasy, or it might not.  Paint thinner is really nasty/toxic stuff. If it does come greasy, just soak it in soap and water, scrub/rinse, give it a light sanding with sandpaper and/or a sanding sponge and then run it through the cleaning cycle.

Oil based products can be broken down easiest with other oils, so if you're having any trouble, clean the stone a few times with a heavy coat of vegetable oil.

Some people, like myself, love the orange oily goodness on a NY style pie, but, if that's not your bag, then you can minimize the oil by cubing the cheese rather than grating it (the larger the piece of cheese, the longer it takes to melt) as well as using less cheese overall.

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #44 on: June 28, 2012, 06:54:58 PM »
Yeah, back when I was still making pizza regularly (not anymore due to weight-loss objective and being out of town), I had definitely gotten into the habit of either broken-off fresh mozzarella (rarely) or else (almost always) cubed mozzarellissima. As I said before, I'm a sauce guy, and this also brought the sauce out!

Thanks again for the tips on cleaning the plate. I'll play it by ear. Most likely I'll give it a soap/water soaking and then scrub/rinse, and then let it sit around until I have the chance to get some sandpaper (any recommendations on grit?). I'll run it through my oven's self-clean back in TO as the oven I have here doesn't do self-clean. Thanks also for the vegetable oil trick, I don't have any here and don't plan on buying any but have lots that I don't usually use for anything back in TO so this would be a great use for it :p

Offline Tatoosh

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #45 on: June 29, 2012, 05:52:53 AM »
heuristicist, what is mozzarellissima?  Are you talking about the Saputo brand mozzarella?

Also, for cleaning grease residue from steel, I really suggest trying some Dawn Power Dissolver, if you can find it.  It may take a couple of applications, which you spray on, let sit for 10 minutes or so, then wash off with a bit of elbow grease.  It really works well on my stainless cookware.  So well that my wife wants to know when I am going to get a case of it shipped across the Pacific Ocean to the Philippines for her.  That's a pretty good testimony for it, I'd think.   

Banana Ketchup Is Not Pizza Sauce - Weber 22.5 OTG, Smokenator 1000, Kettle Pizza Insert, White Mountain 6qt Elec, Cuisinart ICE-20 1.5qt, FMS 1500D sous vide - Mabuhay Pizza!

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #46 on: June 29, 2012, 12:07:54 PM »
Yeah, mozzarellissima is Saputo-branded, but I think they also make regular mozzarella. I prefer the taste and texture of mozzarellissima to the regular mozzarella, at least for pizza anyways.

Thanks for the Power Dissolver tip :)

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #47 on: July 08, 2012, 03:05:12 PM »
I took a first shot at cleaning up some of the grease off the plate, but couldn't get most of it off. I'm going to try again later with something more powerful (like the Dawn stuff) but because I didn't want to mess up a towel, I didn't wipe it down. Of course, where there was water left, it started to rust a bit. Is this going to be an issue in real use?

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #48 on: July 08, 2012, 09:00:53 PM »
OK, my arms hurt...

The guy at OSH recommended Simple Green to get the grease out, which I think it did. I also picked up some 600 grit and 1000 grit sandpaper for the oxide layer, but I've already gone through most of the 600 and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. From a few scratches I can see the silver lining underneath (pun intended), but I'm wondering if anyone has any better ideas. A quick googling looks like vinegar might work (which I assume would be easier than trying to find some HCl, I have no idea where one would get that).

I've seen some posts where people talk of not worrying about it and "seasoning" the steel with a light coating of oil, but as long as I can rub my finger over it and get some black residue on my finger, I won't feel safe putting any kind of food on this thing... :\

Help! :'(

Offline scott123

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #49 on: July 10, 2012, 10:37:06 AM »
Aditya, rust will never be an issue, because your plate will not be wet for an extended period of time.

Oil breaks down oil based compounds.  Put down a piece of foil, slather the plate with vegetable oil on both sides and let it sit 24 hours.  Wash with soap and water.

I probably should have specified a grit for the sandpaper.  600 is useless in this application. You'll want something a lot coarser- maybe 40.  And you also need a good sanding block- one that clips the sandpaper in place and gives you a good grip.


Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #50 on: July 10, 2012, 01:00:12 PM »
Ah great, thanks Scott. I'll pop over to OSH or Home Depot later in the week. I have neither foil nor vegetable oil here, and I'd rather not buy stuff I'm not gonna use fully, so I might wait to do that until I'm back in Toronto---but I think I got the grease out. It's now mainly the powder that sticks to my hands that bugs me!

How much 40 grit would you recommend? I have trouble judging such things :\ And how far down do I want to take it? I looked around a bit but couldn't find a picture of a similar plate (I'm terrible at searching for stuff like this though) so I'm not sure what I'm aiming for. I should be getting a new camera soon so I can post some pictures of my plate once I have it :)

Offline scott123

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #51 on: July 10, 2012, 01:51:01 PM »
Any kind of oil is fine- olive, canola, sesame.  Creamy peanut butter would probably do the trick. I mentioned foil to keep the counter clean. If you're willing to clean the counter, nix the foil.

You might be able to get away with one piece of 40 grit sandpaper, cut in half, but, just to be safe, get two.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2012, 01:55:32 PM by scott123 »

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #52 on: July 10, 2012, 01:54:37 PM »
Thanks again Scott! I'll be sure to post some pics so that anyone else doing it can see how it goes :)

(And also, so everyone (including me) can get a good laugh when I do something wrong :p)

Offline scott123

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #53 on: July 10, 2012, 01:59:26 PM »
Photos are always nice (said by a guy that never posts pictures ;) )

Oh, if it's not too pitted, take the steel down to the shiny metal. You should be able to do it pretty quickly with coarse sandpaper.

Offline bfguilford

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #54 on: July 10, 2012, 03:00:02 PM »
Aditya: I look forward to hearing about and seeing your progress with the new steel.

Scott: After playing around with trying to move 40 pounds around in my oven, I discovered that my back (with 2 surgeries) and elbow (golfer's elbow for a guy who hasn't picked up a club in over 35 years) can't do it. So, I'm now going to source a 16x16 silicon carbide kiln shelf and see if that's a reasonable substitute for 4 minute NY bakes. I'll probably start a new thread once I get it, since november's threads seem to be geared more toward sub 2 minute neapolitan bakes.

Barry
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Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #55 on: July 10, 2012, 03:01:27 PM »
Oh, speaking of weight: I totally lightly bent the rack in the oven here. Hopefully my own holds up better >:D

buceriasdon

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #56 on: July 10, 2012, 03:19:10 PM »
Without heavy mechanical grinding, starting with 36 grit, you will never remove the oxide layer and I know of no reason to do so. The hot roll process exposes the hot steel surface to oxygen which molecularly bonds to the surface and is actually harder than the steel itself. Clean it as well as possible and season it if you're still concerned, without cause I might add. Sanding will not remove the grease in the pores of the metal. That is simply not possible.
Don

Offline scott123

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #57 on: July 10, 2012, 03:21:09 PM »
After playing around with trying to move 40 pounds around in my oven, I discovered that my back (with 2 surgeries) and elbow (golfer's elbow for a guy who hasn't picked up a club in over 35 years) can't do it. So, I'm now going to source a 16x16 silicon carbide kiln shelf and see if that's a reasonable substitute for 4 minute NY bakes. I'll probably start a new thread once I get it, since november's threads seem to be geared more toward sub 2 minute neapolitan bakes.

Barry, while I'm sorry to hear about your potential issue with the weight of steel, I'm happy that you're volunteering to be a silicon carbide guinea pig.  Two important caveats with SiC:

1. Get 3/4" NOT 1/2". As you turn down the temps for NY bakes (from November's Neapolitan temps), thermal mass is going to be a factor.  Because SiC is so light, 1/2" is not a lot of mass. If there's any hope for SiC for NY, it's going to be 3/4"

2. I wouldn't cut SiC- either yourself, or the company that sells it to you.  SiC is close to the hardness of a diamond.  Besides being incredibly difficult to cut, I believe cutting makes it fragile.

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #58 on: July 10, 2012, 03:22:46 PM »
Without heavy mechanical grinding, starting with 36 grit, you will never remove the oxide layer and I know of no reason to do so. The hot roll process exposes the hot steel surface to oxygen which molecularly bonds to the surface and is actually harder than the steel itself. Clean it as well as possible and season it if you're still concerned, without cause I might add. Sanding will not remove the grease in the pores of the metal. That is simply not possible.
Don

Yeah, I'm actually fine with that as long as it doesn't affect the conductivity, but I sure as hell don't want any of it coming off onto my hands when I rub them over it---let alone a pizza! There's less of it coming off now than before I cleaned it, but there's still some, so I'm looking to get rid of that. Why do you say that my concern is without cause? I just don't want any of this stuff in my food :p
« Last Edit: July 10, 2012, 03:24:22 PM by heuristicist »

Offline scott123

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #59 on: July 10, 2012, 03:24:18 PM »
Without heavy mechanical grinding, starting with 36 grit, you will never remove the oxide layer and I know of no reason to do so. The hot roll process exposes the hot steel surface to oxygen which molecularly bonds to the surface and is actually harder than the steel itself. Clean it as well as possible and season it if you're still concerned, without cause I might add. Sanding will not remove the grease in the pores of the metal. That is simply not possible.
Don

Don, while I agree that sanding isn't really necessary, if Aditya is starting to see 'silver' with 600 grit paper, then, with 40 grit paper, he should be able to take it down to the metal- assuming it's not that pitted.