Author Topic: Kenji likes the baking steel  (Read 17595 times)

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Offline Jackitup

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2012, 09:58:59 AM »
I'm thinking Scott123 will pipe in here on this with more info than I could give you, but I'm guessing he will lean towards the steel if you're okay with the weight.

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Offline pizzaneer

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2012, 10:00:24 AM »
Scott will fully answer this I'm sure.  ;D

Summary:
Steel and SC are comparable in conductivity and thermal loading.
Steel is heavier.
SC is more expensive.
It's a choice between the health of your back and your budget, but either will work all right (for NY) in your new oven.
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

enter8

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2012, 10:22:43 AM »
Hey we can sit here all day taking criticising this Lagsdin guy but you can't knock him for trying to realise the steel sheet as a commercial product. Is it overpriced? may be. If that's true, then someone else will probably come along and make a cheaper one. Regardless, it's great that the idea is now out there and not just us pizza freaks  :-D

Offline pizzablogger

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2012, 10:56:32 AM »
Hey we can sit here all day taking criticising this Lagsdin guy but you can't knock him for trying to realise the steel sheet as a commercial product. Is it overpriced? may be. If that's true, then someone else will probably come along and make a cheaper one. Regardless, it's great that the idea is now out there and not just us pizza freaks  :-D

+1
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Offline bfguilford

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2012, 11:04:25 AM »
John,  thanks,  I wasn't using the right search.  now the big question.  It looks like the SiC shelf price may have dropped,  Unless RN had included shipping in the 127 price.  I was expecting to see 127+ shipping.  Now the big question.  Electric oven,  convection option,  550 max temp,  no more information yet.  Steel or Silicon,  and why?  Thanks -Marc

Marc:

I went through the same analysis (with much help from Scott), and ended up opting for 3/4" SiC... until I discovered that I couldn't source one in a size that would fit in my oven, and was big enough to bake a NY pie. The closest I could find is 16x16x5/8" which may or may not have the thermal mass required. Unlike cordierite, SiC can't easily be cut, so I ended up buying a 17.5x17.5x1/2" steel plate. It weighs in at a little over 40 lbs, and after a couple of attempts putting it into and removing it from the oven, I've found that my back just can't take it. It's just really awkward to try to move 40 lbs with my arms extended.

I see that you're in New Hampshire, so if you're planning on passing near New Haven, you can have my steel plate... cheap. On the other hand, if you do end up finding a 3/4" SiC shelf in a reasonable size for NY pizza, please post your source. You'll be a really popular guy.

Barry
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Offline scott123

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2012, 11:41:37 AM »
Regardless, it's great that the idea is now out there and not just us pizza freaks  :-D

Steel is not a magical material that automatically bakes superior pizza.  1/2" steel, in certain settings (electric, 550 deg.) can't be beat, but 1/4" steel is only feasible for a small portion of oven owners.  1/4" steel is a bad idea. It was bad when Nathan and Chris included it in the advertising for Modernist Cuisine and it continues to be bad. When bad ideas get propagated, it's anything but great.

Offline pizzaneer

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2012, 11:50:49 AM »
How about 1/4" steel on top of a baking stone? 
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline scott123

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #27 on: August 30, 2012, 11:55:10 AM »
Marc, the very first thing a Neapolitan obsessive like yourself should do when changing over to an electric oven, is to take a long hard look at the broiler specs.  Wattage, number of passes, coil thickness.  If you're one of those lucky 1 in 200 people who has a broiler strong enough to do Neapolitan, then you should be buying a stone that can do Neapolitan as well, ideally without modding.  If you fall into the group of 199, then the stone selection changes up a bit.

As you move into non Neapolitan bake times, steel has a considerable edge over SiC.  It's quite a bit heavier, but it's less expensive and has a far more proven track record.  You can find a metal distributor, and $40 or so later, you'll be baking beautiful 3-6 minute NY style pies- guaranteed. On the SiC side, you could, in theory, spend $100 on a shelf, and bring it home only to find out that the 5/8" thickness (on the 16" square shelf) doesn't have sufficient thermal mass for 3 and 4 minute bakes. Lightness is nice, but guarantees are better.

I'm not completely ruling out stacking the 5/8" SiC with something else (such as lighter weight steel), but that's uncharted territory as well.

I've contacted a few ceramic suppliers/kiln shelf manufacturers in hopes that I can find a happy medium of lightness, thermal mass and conductivity, and I'm relatively optimistic, but it's going to be a process- my guess is 6 months at least.

So, for now, for a lightly charred 3 minute bake, with enough leeway in temp to allow for some broiling during the bake, 1/2" steel is king.

Offline scott123

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #28 on: August 30, 2012, 11:58:43 AM »
How about 1/4" steel on top of a baking stone?

I've been giving a tremendous amount of thought to stacking, and, while I think there are some materials that might work in this regard, whenever you stack, there's always the chance for a gap between non flat stones/plates. The moment you have air, you have the potential for uneven heating.

Offline pizzaneer

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #29 on: August 30, 2012, 12:04:00 PM »
Graphite adhesive would take care of that gapping problem.  I can see 1/4" or 1/8" warping, and lamination seems to be the way to go.

I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.


Offline scott123

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #30 on: August 30, 2012, 12:13:15 PM »
Sorry, Brian, I had forgotten that we've already discussed this.

While I'm sure that graphite adhesive could take the heat, I'm not sure how much conductivity it brings to the table.  I also can't find any graphite adhesive that's reasonably priced. Unless you could get it for less than $20, it would make for a very expensive setup.

Offline pizzaneer

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #31 on: August 30, 2012, 12:27:04 PM »
Taking us back to the "L on the forehead" moment...

Seriously, if someone wanted to manufacture just such a laminated baking surface, the key elements would be cheap in quantity.

A. $21 Kiln stone, square (bleh, all I could find) http://www.axner.com/cordierite-shelf-16x16x34square.aspx
B. piece of 1/8" steel cut to same size - price will vary, get a big roll and cut it? Depends on your tooling.
C. Graphite adhesive @ $85 per quart (use about 2 oz each product) http://ceramaterials.com/graphitecement.html

Whaddaya say Scott?  Wanna get some quotes outta China?  Or get a prototype made?


Key benefits:
1. higher heat transfer rate than just a kiln stone
2. far higher heat retention than 1/8" steel
3. overall lighter weight than 1/2" steel

« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 12:38:02 PM by pizzaneer »
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline akuban

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #32 on: August 30, 2012, 12:36:35 PM »
Whaddaya say Scott?  Wanna get some quotes outta China?  Or get a prototype made?

DO IT!
¡Hasta la pizza!

enter8

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #33 on: August 30, 2012, 12:41:29 PM »
Steel is not a magical material that automatically bakes superior pizza.  1/2" steel, in certain settings (electric, 550 deg.) can't be beat, but 1/4" steel is only feasible for a small portion of oven owners.  1/4" steel is a bad idea. It was bad when Nathan and Chris included it in the advertising for Modernist Cuisine and it continues to be bad. When bad ideas get propagated, it's anything but great.

Struggling to find where I made any sort of comment on thickness. Just trying to keep it positive and appreciate how far we've already come that folks are even talking about this. I get that you're passionate about it and I get that youve put a lot into this whole steel thing - doing all the experimentation with steel etc. I was just expressing how cool it was  that a wider circle of people are talking about and working on it now.

Offline scott123

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #34 on: August 30, 2012, 12:46:45 PM »
Whaddaya say Scott?  Wanna get some quotes outta China?  Or get a prototype made?

Actually, I just shot off an email to a Chinese kiln shelf manufacturer last night.

A lot of the members in that part of the world say some pretty disparaging things about Chinese manufacturer's commitment to quality and safety. I'm going to see if they'll test their shelves for heavy metals before I commit to buying anything, but it's a long shot.

Adam, if you're worried about remnant nastiness on sanded down to the bare metal steel, you shouldn't be going anywhere near Chinese kiln shelves of unknown origin. Unless you're talking about combining two domestic materials.

This is pretty wild conjecture, but I kind of like the idea of aluminum powder mixed with tin powder.  At pizza baking temps, the tin would melt, but there would be enough aluminum to keep it from flowing- kind of like a milk and confectioner's sugar icing.  Just think pizza stone Oreo :)

I'm also not completely giving up on plain old crushed pencil lead.  That stuff is complete non toxic.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 12:48:31 PM by scott123 »

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #35 on: August 30, 2012, 12:55:18 PM »
Graphite adhesive would take care of that gapping problem.  I can see 1/4" or 1/8" warping, and lamination seems to be the way to go.



I don't think 1/4" would warp at 600-700.  It would need to be cut with a water jet and not a plasma torch though.  Why not use some small stainless bolts and just bolt them together?  I would think 4 would be plenty.
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Offline pizzaneer

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #36 on: August 30, 2012, 01:00:47 PM »
I don't think 1/4" would warp at 600-700.  It would need to be cut with a water jet and not a plasma torch though.  Why not use some small stainless bolts and just bolt them together?  I would think 4 would be plenty.

How about 1/8"?  If the stone is providing the thermal sink, then why waste the metal?

Actually, I just shot off an email to a Chinese kiln shelf manufacturer last night.

A lot of the members in that part of the world say some pretty disparaging things about Chinese manufacturer's commitment to quality and safety. I'm going to see if they'll test their shelves for heavy metals before I commit to buying anything, but it's a long shot.

Adam, if you're worried about remnant nastiness on sanded down to the bare metal steel, you shouldn't be going anywhere near Chinese kiln shelves of unknown origin. Unless you're talking about combining two domestic materials.

This is pretty wild conjecture, but I kind of like the idea of aluminum powder mixed with tin powder.  At pizza baking temps, the tin would melt, but there would be enough aluminum to keep it from flowing- kind of like a milk and confectioner's sugar icing.  Just think pizza stone Oreo :)

I'm also not completely giving up on plain old crushed pencil lead.  That stuff is complete non toxic.

No, no, get the prototype made locally, out of KNOWN materials.  That way, there is a quality spec to hold the manufacturer to. 

IDK about the oreo adhesive... why not use something that has been already used for the application?  Simple is better...
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline scott123

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #37 on: August 30, 2012, 01:02:15 PM »
Gene, I don't think any of the materials we're looking at are at a risk of warping at the temps we're baking at.  What I'm thinking about is any potential unevenness from the factory.

It just occurred to me that the two materials could have varying rates of thermal expansion.  Bolts might not be friendly in that regard. Just to be safe, I think the thermal compound should have some flexibility.

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #38 on: August 30, 2012, 01:06:40 PM »
What happened to the guy that used to be here that made the kiln shelves?
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Offline pizzaneer

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Re: Kenji likes the baking steel
« Reply #39 on: August 30, 2012, 01:08:23 PM »
Gene, I don't think any of the materials we're looking at are at a risk of warping at the temps we're baking at.  What I'm thinking about is any potential unevenness from the factory.

It just occurred to me that the two materials could have varying rates of thermal expansion.  Bolts might not be friendly in that regard. Just to be safe, I think the thermal compound should have some flexibility.

Precisely, Scott.  It's not a metal warping in a vacuum, after all, but being exposed to high heat on one side and not the other during preheat, and then the opposite happens every time the oven door opens during baking.  Lots of relative thermal shock.   The graphite adhesive has flexibility to it.
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.


 

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