Author Topic: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?  (Read 12159 times)

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Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #60 on: July 10, 2012, 03:26:39 PM »
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.

Actually, I didn't "start" to see some silver underneath so much as it was already there in a minor scratch. There are some pits but not too many. In any case, things should become more clear once I can post a picture of it tomorrow (I could use my phone, but the couple of pictures are pretty bad and it's hard to tell what's going on).


scott123

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #61 on: July 10, 2012, 03:27:10 PM »
Oh, speaking of weight: I totally lightly bent the rack in the oven here. Hopefully my own holds up better >:D

Ruh roh  :) Are we talking a permanent bend or is the shelf sagging a bit with the plate in place?

Offline bfguilford

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #62 on: July 10, 2012, 03:28:00 PM »
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.

Scott, I'm looking for 3/4" in 16x16. I've seen 5/8" at a couple of web sites, and I've emailed the kiln supply place that I got my cordierite shelf from to see if they can source a 3/4" oxide bonded shelf (they don't cut the shelves at this place).

Glad to be the guinea pig (I think). We'll see if I'm still squealing a happy tune in a few months  ;D

Barry
Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #63 on: July 10, 2012, 03:28:59 PM »
Ruh roh  :) Are we talking a permanent bend or is the shelf sagging a bit with the plate in place?

Good question. I'll take a closer look at home. It was a pretty minor bend when I noticed it though, the rack is still totally usable and fits fine in the oven. Again, maybe a picture would give the better description :)

buceriasdon

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #64 on: July 11, 2012, 10:45:49 AM »
I am giving you the benefit of many years of experience and knowledge in the metal fabrication trade concerning mill scale on hot rolled steel. Whether you use that experience is up to you, but I guarantee you will never remove the layer with hand sanding. The mills use a hydrochloric acid bath before proceeding to cold rolling and a Google search will prove it. Type in "Removing oxide layer from hot rolled steel."
Don

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #65 on: July 11, 2012, 11:58:35 AM »
I am giving you the benefit of many years of experience and knowledge in the metal fabrication trade concerning mill scale on hot rolled steel. Whether you use that experience is up to you, but I guarantee you will never remove the layer with hand sanding. The mills use a hydrochloric acid bath before proceeding to cold rolling and a Google search will prove it. Type in "Removing oxide layer from hot rolled steel."
Don

Even if I can't remove it, I want to minimize the residue that comes off of it. I don't want any of it coming off onto my hands or my food. There's definitely less coming off now, so I'll see what happens when I keep going. If you have any advice about how to prevent it from rubbing off onto my hands or food, I'd appreciate it.

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #66 on: July 11, 2012, 11:59:26 AM »
Ruh roh  :) Are we talking a permanent bend or is the shelf sagging a bit with the plate in place?

Must've just been sagging, I don't really see any bend in it now.

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #67 on: July 15, 2012, 10:13:13 PM »
OK, here are some pics (well... two, one per side) of my plate after I hand-sanded it. I'm pretty sure that the black powder residue was just little steel bits that were removed during sanding. After I was done sanding, I gave it a good wash and scrubbed it with a sponge and then with just my hand. Now it's pretty smooth, and there's only a small amount of residue that comes off onto my finger when I rub it over it. My hypothesis now is that this is very fine particulates left over from sanding, and that oil-soaking will help remove them. This will have to wait until I'm back in Toronto though, as I don't have any oil here and don't really wanna buy any if I have a bunch at home that I'm not gonna use. I'd love to hear if anyone else has any other advice or opinions on this. Please also let me know what you think of the plate itself given the pictures :)

Small versions attached, full versions available here (limited time only!... ish):
http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~aditya/plate/

scott123

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #68 on: July 15, 2012, 10:22:20 PM »
That's looking pretty good from my end.

How about butter, do you have any butter? Mayonnaise?

Also, have you tried baking off whatever this stuff is?

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #69 on: July 15, 2012, 11:28:01 PM »
I (unfortunately) have no fats of any sort here. If I really need to I can get some, but it just seems wasteful to not use the stuff I have in Toronto.

And yeah, I've put it through the oven at 550F a couple of times. (No self-clean here.) I'll note that sanding increased the amount of black residue, especially at lower grits, and that's what convinced me that the residue is just sanded-off steel bits (if it were mixed with water, we'd call it slurry, but I'm not sure what the dry equivalent is). Other than that---does the plate seem ready to use? There are these pits as you can see in the photos but there aren't too many.


Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #70 on: September 13, 2012, 07:48:49 PM »
Okay, my cordierite kiln shelf was totally demolished during shipping. Damn UPS!

Any way, I still have my steel plate, but I'm wondering what I should buy to replace it. I should be able to procure another cordierite kiln shelf, but I'm wondering if this is the best option. I may still want to do some high-temperature experiments, but more than that I want to experiment with breads too. Sourdoughs, for one, but I also really want to try making naan using the self-clean cycle. I expect a steel plate won't do that so well :\

Also, I've included a picture of my broiler (and the rest of the oven). Doesn't seem like it's powerful enough for the NP, but that won't stop me from experimenting anyway ;p

scott123

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #71 on: September 13, 2012, 08:00:55 PM »
Aditya, welcome back  :)

Nope, that broiler's not going to give you Neapolitan sub 2 minute leoparding.  I would say that you're missing about 4 passes of the coil.

Naan can work beautifully on steel.  Naan gets some top heat (well, technically inner oven heat), but it's mostly a hearth/wall intense heat.  A 550 stone positioned close to broiler, with the broiler on during the bake, I think you're looking at a big naan win.

As you get into bread, you're going to need something less conductive than steel. I forget, have we talked about quarry tiles? Those are good for bread, and cheap.  Firebrick wouldn't be bad for bread either, if you've got the time for a thorough pre-heat.

With that broiler and the steel plate, you're in a position to make some world class NY style pizza.  That's where I'd start.

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #72 on: September 13, 2012, 09:52:27 PM »
Thanks Scott!

Ah well, no NP leoparding I'll have to live without. What I mainly like about NP is the shape and the amount/"layout" of the cheese, so I should be OK. (I like the sauce too, but I prefer it more seasoned/spiced than straight tomatoes).

Good to know that naan should work on steel. I probably won't have be able to give anything a go over the next few weeks but I should be getting back into pizza, baking, etc. after that. I've always wanted to try for restaurant-style naan, but of course tandoors won't work in a balcony-less apartment (unless you go for the electric variety, which I hear are not so good), so I've always wondered how far I could get without one. I just need a good recipe! (I've collected a couple, but I'm looking to replicate the naan of a certain restaurant... too bad I don't live in the same city as them anymore, and I've also heard that their quality has really gone downhill since I left.)

You've mentioned quarry tiles and firebrick. If you expect that that'll be better than cordierite (or e.g. fibrament) I'll find some and pick some up next time I rent a car. I expect Home Depot should have some unglazed terra cotta tiles, according to a thread I found by googling.

At any rate, I'll be playing with the steel plate first, and that should keep me occupied (and fat) for a while. I have yet to try a true NY pizza so I will have to keep an eye out for that too.

Thanks again Scott!

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #73 on: September 13, 2012, 10:10:12 PM »
BTW, just to make sure I've got this right: the idea is to keep the stone/plate in pre-heat, and then have the broiler on for when the pizza is in the oven? So after the stone/plate has come to temperature, I would flip on the broiler, give it a few minutes to max out, and then launch the pizza?

scott123

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #74 on: September 14, 2012, 08:07:48 AM »
Yes, you use the bake feature to pre-heat, and then, during the bake, you have the broiler on.  There's a little flexibility when it comes to when you have the broiler on during the bake, though.  Depending on how high you have the hearth, you might not need the broiler on for the whole. Not to mention, the broiler will usually heat the thermostat to it's peak temp and the thermostat will shut the broiler off, so you probably can't get the broiler for the whole bake if you tried.

For my 4 minute bake, with my hearth pre-heated to a 525 dial temp (550 actual temp), I broil for the last 2 minutes of the bake. I think later broiling allows the crust to puff up a bit before setting, but that's just a theory.

Quarry tiles can actually be very difficult to find.  Some Home Depots will have them, many won't.

I think you're better off calling brick places and finding 1 1/8" firebrick 'splits.'  Those are much easier to track down than quarry tiles.

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #75 on: September 14, 2012, 04:24:13 PM »
I put the plate in the oven yesterday as a test, and when the oven said it was ready at 550, the plate was reading at closer to 450. Should I adjust the emissivity setting on my thermometer?

I'll revisit the firebrick/quarry tile issue when I get around to breadmaking.

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #76 on: December 07, 2012, 12:45:42 PM »
I had the chance to give a couple of pizzas a shot a few weeks back, and I did some naan experiments as well. In both cases, the result was pretty good, but I felt that there wasn't enough top heat. (Sorry, no pics---I was too hungry/curious to have that much presence of mind!)

My procedure is this: preheat to 550 (oven's max), and keep going until my IR thermometer tells me that the plate has reached an equilibrium temperature. Then the broiler comes on and pizza/naan goes in (sometimes with difficulty, I have no idea how people get a pizza to launch that's been sitting on the peel for a couple minutes). I haven't timed it exactly, but after maybe 3-4 minutes it's done from underneath but could use some more browning on top. The broiler is pretty weak though, presumably because of the high temperature already in the oven, and even if I hold the pizza right up to the broiler, it doesn't really help that much---I get tired/too hot before any additional browning happens.

Does anyone have any tips to help with top heat here?

TIA! I should be able to do some more documented and pictured experiments when I'm back in town in January :)

scott123

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #77 on: December 07, 2012, 01:58:24 PM »
Aditya, how far is the plate from the broiler?  If the broiler is weak, you need to get the plate as close as possible- 3" or less.

Also, since quite a few broilers won't kick in when the oven is at it's peak temp, you want to pre-heat the plate at a slightly lower temperature- 525. You should be able to get good undercrust color in 4 minutes at 525 on .5" steel. At 525, the broiler should stay on/glow red for a good portion of the bake.

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #78 on: December 07, 2012, 04:56:48 PM »
Thanks Scott. The highest rack would leave no room for me to launch it, so it's on the second-from-the-top rack, maybe 5" or 6" from the broiler (that's an approximation, I am not at home right now). Since raising it isn't much of an option, I'll try the 525 trick and see how it goes!

Offline heuristicist

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Re: Need a new stone; advice? Are two stones useful?
« Reply #79 on: February 10, 2014, 11:12:20 PM »
I hope this isn't too egregious a case of necroposting, but here goes...

As a quick update, my steel has been serving me well. Until recently I had been making mostly NY-range pizzas (bake time of maybe 3-5 minutes). But I decided I wanted to give NP another shot. I tried it with the steel on self-clean, and while it cooked well on the bottom it was severely lacking on the top as the broiler doesn't come on during self-clean in my oven.

So, the next option was the frozen paper towel trick. This would allow me to heat the steel past the oven's usual limit *and* kick in the broiler as necessary. I finally gave this a shot, and it seems to work well! Today's pizza spent no more than 90 seconds in the oven. (Probably close to 75-80, actually.) As Scott pointed out earlier, my broiler isn't powerful enough to really get the kind of colour we want on the crust on top, but I had no complaints when it comes to how well-cooked it was or its texture. In fact, the texture was exactly what I had been seeking: a beautiful, delicate crispness on the outside with soft, moist-but-not-wet inside. And I could mostly fold a slice without any cracks appearing in the crust, something which was definitely not the case with my NY-range pizzas.

I'll start another thread for pictures and comments about the pizza itself, as I do need some work on technique and will be experimenting with different doughs, but what would be most appropriate for this thread (and potentially useful to others trying to do the same) is the workflow. So:

  • I've got a 0.5" steel plate
  • I put the steel in the oven and turned it on to bake @ 550 and waited for it to equilibrate. This usually takes at least an hour, and the stone temperature stabilizes around 570, as read with an IR thermometer with emissivity set to 0.95 (which might be wrong for this plate, but who cares).
  • After equilibrium is reached, I slide the frozen paper towel (with aluminium foil around) onto the thermometer and wait for the steel to read ~620.
  • Now I turn the broiler on HI and start prepping the pizza. Opening up the ball, topping, etc.
  • Once the steel reads in the ~680-700 range, I am good to launch.
  • Bake for ~30 seconds, take it out and rotate 180 degrees (this isn't strictly necessary, I don't think), and back in until it's done. Total bake time comes to around ~80s.
  • If necessary, the pizza can be held up closer to the broiler for a bit. I don't find this necessary, and it never did anything to colour the cornicione (only the toppings).

I'm curious to hear what you guys think!
« Last Edit: February 11, 2014, 12:52:52 AM by heuristicist »


 

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