Author Topic: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?  (Read 6015 times)

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Offline PizzaBinge

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Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« on: December 14, 2012, 10:49:38 PM »
I received my 12x17 steel pan a couple of months ago, washed it really well, seasoned it even better, then started baking. The first one or two trays had minor sticking as expected, then the next few trays I was able to slide right out of the pan w/o any seperating needed, then the next few trays needed a little assistance from a spatchula, now I can't even seperate the pizza from the pan with a spatchula w/o mutilating it. The pan is seasoned really well, and after the major sticking occurances I've scraped every bit of debris from the pan. Any suggestions? Below are the ingredients & processes I use (from steel_baker).

Second question; not as important... What would I have to change to make the baked pizza less pliable & more easily held? Right now I love how moist the crumb is and don't really want to change that, but at the same time I'd like for the cuts to be a little more sturdy...?

water        274g
sugar        8g
olive oil    8g
flour        409g
salt        8g
idy        8g

•mix until ball forms then let sit for 15 minutes
•knead in machine for 6 minutes
•put 2oz of peanut oil in pan
•put dough on top of oil & spread
•after 2 hours knock dough down & stretch
•after 1 hour knock dough down & stretch
•after 30 minutes spread a pinch of kosher salt on top of dough
•top with desired sauce & onions
•bake at 475 degrees on second to bottom rack until done



Online Chicago Bob

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2012, 12:02:50 AM »
Sounds like you have lost your seasoning.....I mean, if it is in fact seasoned then it will not stick. Right? In between your bakes have you been possibly washing too vigorously?
Dial back your oil if you want less "pliability".
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline PizzaBinge

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2012, 12:21:36 AM »
Sounds like you have lost your seasoning.....I mean, if it is in fact seasoned then it will not stick. Right? In between your bakes have you been possibly washing too vigorously?
Dial back your oil if you want less "pliability".

Thanks, Chicago Bob. I actually don't wash it; I use a plastic piece meant for scraping to remove any debris and oil, then wipe it down with paper towels to get any left over oil. The pan is still coated with the black/dark brown from seasoning.

Dialing back on the oil; you mean the olive oil, yes?

Offline Ev

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2012, 09:58:21 AM »
I suggest eliminating the olive oil completely and try canola oil in the pan.

Offline Skee

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2012, 11:40:06 AM »
Thanks, Chicago Bob. I actually don't wash it; I use a plastic piece meant for scraping to remove any debris and oil, then wipe it down with paper towels to get any left over oil. The pan is still coated with the black/dark brown from seasoning.
After you've scraped it out and wiped clean, apply a thin coat of fresh oil and stick the pans back in the oven while it cools.  If the crust still sticks, you might be stretching and pressing the dough too vigorously or not using enough oil in the pan, or both.

Offline PizzaBinge

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2012, 11:54:05 AM »
After you've scraped it out and wiped clean, apply a thin coat of fresh oil and stick the pans back in the oven while it cools.  If the crust still sticks, you might be stretching and pressing the dough too vigorously or not using enough oil in the pan, or both.

Hmmm. I feel like pressing the dough too vigorously might be the culprit. I guess in order to achieve the amount of stretch I need and not press to hard I would need to increase proofing time?

Offline Skee

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2012, 03:02:02 PM »
Allowing the dough to rise a few hours before stretching does make it easier to handle and you won't have to vigorously stretch or press it into the corners.

Offline steel_baker

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2012, 05:49:36 PM »
Pizzabinge,

On the pans, after you have baked in them, just scrape & wipe, nothing else. If they seem dry to you, trying adding a coating of oil.

I've had pans get sticky after they've worked well before. I've always found that a very stiff metal spatula (just as in the video) to scrape the "stuck" sections up helps a lot. I then focus on baking in that pan my next few baking sessions to try to keep adding more "coating" to it and scraping as necessary. IOW, I guess I just baked my way thru it, but then I'm stubborn that way.

If you are getting a nice crumb but the finished dough is soft, bread like, and falls apart when you try to scrape the "stuck" sections after you take it out of the oven, cut back on the sugar, and quite possibly the olive oil in the dough as well. Variations in the flour you're using may have some impact here as well. So less sugar, less oil, & make sure you're at high heat on the bottom rack to really get the bottom of the pan frying. Everybody's oven is different so I can't really account for yours but this is how I would approach that with mine. I tried some thicker steel pans in the past and they took so long to heat up that instead of creating a sealed "crust" around the edges, it was open crumb all the way around the outside edge. it was essentially bread because it didn't get hot enough or cook fast enough. I knew I needed thin gauge steel pans to heat up quickly and I found the blue steel pizza pans from PA products at that time. They were the exact pans I needed.

And yes, allow plenty of time for rising & stretching. I make my dough and put it in the pans in the morning. It then sits in the pans covered for at least 4-6 hours. This allows it to completely fill the pan on it's own after you've made the first stretch when you put it in the pan. This way, you're just knocking it down. Any time that the dough has pan risen to the corners, it's ready to top & bake. I just knock it down with my fingertips, top it, and bake it. The oven spring will give you a nice bit of rise and open up the crumb. This is exactly how Victory Pig themselves do it. The dough is made in the morning and put into the pans where it sits all day until opening, when they knock it down, top it, and bake it tray by tray as the orders come into the kitchen.


Keep Baking!

s_b

 :chef:
« Last Edit: December 23, 2012, 06:01:32 PM by steel_baker »
steel_baker  :chef:

Offline PizzaBinge

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2012, 11:52:14 AM »
Pizzabinge,

On the pans, after you have baked in them, just scrape & wipe, nothing else. If they seem dry to you, trying adding a coating of oil.

I've had pans get sticky after they've worked well before. I've always found that a very stiff metal spatula (just as in the video) to scrape the "stuck" sections up helps a lot. I then focus on baking in that pan my next few baking sessions to try to keep adding more "coating" to it and scraping as necessary. IOW, I guess I just baked my way thru it, but then I'm stubborn that way.

If you are getting a nice crumb but the finished dough is soft, bread like, and falls apart when you try to scrape the "stuck" sections after you take it out of the oven, cut back on the sugar, and quite possibly the olive oil in the dough as well. Variations in the flour you're using may have some impact here as well. So less sugar, less oil, & make sure you're at high heat on the bottom rack to really get the bottom of the pan frying. Everybody's oven is different so I can't really account for yours but this is how I would approach that with mine. I tried some thicker steel pans in the past and they took so long to heat up that instead of creating a sealed "crust" around the edges, it was open crumb all the way around the outside edge. it was essentially bread because it didn't get hot enough or cook fast enough. I knew I needed thin gauge steel pans to heat up quickly and I found the blue steel pizza pans from PA products at that time. They were the exact pans I needed.

And yes, allow plenty of time for rising & stretching. I make my dough and put it in the pans in the morning. It then sits in the pans covered for at least 4-6 hours. This allows it to completely fill the pan on it's own after you've made the first stretch when you put it in the pan. This way, you're just knocking it down. Any time that the dough has pan risen to the corners, it's ready to top & bake. I just knock it down with my fingertips, top it, and bake it. The oven spring will give you a nice bit of rise and open up the crumb. This is exactly how Victory Pig themselves do it. The dough is made in the morning and put into the pans where it sits all day until opening, when they knock it down, top it, and bake it tray by tray as the orders come into the kitchen.


Keep Baking!

s_b

 :chef:

Great post, Steel Baker, thank you! I'm now allowing more time for rising instead of working the dough too hard, and I also ran the pan through another hour of seasoning. I think it's possible that I was scraping the pan too hard after bakes. As it stands now I'm able to shake the pizza right out of the pan w/o assistance. I do still intend to play around with the amount of olive oil / sugar amounts one gram at a time, and see what happens.

I've been making about 4 pizzas a week with one pan (I bought boxes to start giving them away - everyone loves your recipe!). I just got a few more pans, so I'll really be able to start experimenting to fine tune the ingredients & processes to my environment (I recently made a tray in a colder environment with a gas oven.... the difference was noticeable).

I'll keep you posted with my findings; I know you've already gone through all of these trials & tribulations, but I love to talk about them, and my wife can only take so much shop talk :)

All the best,
PizzaBinge

Offline steel_baker

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2012, 12:03:38 PM »
Great stuff Pizzabinge. This pizza is always well received, especially by people who've never had it before like my neighbors & friends here in the Pittsburgh area. Glad you're having fun with it!

s_b

 :chef:
steel_baker  :chef:


Offline Tracydr

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2013, 02:37:28 PM »
I know this was a little while ago but for your steel pan, I have a suggestion. I would scrub with fine to medium grain sea salt, then kosher salt, with a paper towel. Scrub until its really, really polished. Between each round, feel with your fingers to make sure it's completely smooth, no tiny rough spots. The final round, you will use kosher salt. think of this as using finer and finer sand paper. If you have calluses, ask someone with soft hands to check for you.
If you can't get it totally smooth with salt you may need to get the big gun out and use barkeepers friend.
Don't worry, seasoning is easy on steel. I've re-seasoned one of my blue steel frying pans several times.
Once it's slick, slick, apply a thin coating of shortening and bake at a low heat, around 325.
Should be good.
If it ever gets a sticky coating of oil, I scrub it off with salt and do this again. I also clean and polish with salt whenever anything is stuck to it.
I cook only with blue steel and stainless steel. My omelettes and fried eggs slide right out of the pan.

Offline gschwim

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2013, 03:56:10 PM »
I know this was a little while ago but for your steel pan, I have a suggestion. I would scrub with fine to medium grain sea salt, then kosher salt, with a paper towel. Scrub until its really, really polished. Between each round, feel with your fingers to make sure it's completely smooth, no tiny rough spots. The final round, you will use kosher salt. think of this as using finer and finer sand paper. If you have calluses, ask someone with soft hands to check for you.
If you can't get it totally smooth with salt you may need to get the big gun out and use barkeepers friend.
Don't worry, seasoning is easy on steel. I've re-seasoned one of my blue steel frying pans several times.
Once it's slick, slick, apply a thin coating of shortening and bake at a low heat, around 325.
Should be good.
If it ever gets a sticky coating of oil, I scrub it off with salt and do this again. I also clean and polish with salt whenever anything is stuck to it.
I cook only with blue steel and stainless steel. My omelettes and fried eggs slide right out of the pan.

My problem is, no matter what I use - canola, olive oil, Crisco - thick coat, thin coat, whatever temperature or bake time, the inside of the pan feel sticky.  Should it?  I was expecting it to feel slick, like my cast iron skillet or a non-stick pan.  How should the inside of the pan feel and how do I get it that way?

Thanks.

Gene

Offline steel_baker

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2013, 04:15:45 PM »
Perhaps at this point you may want to scrub them clean using hot water & kosher salt or sea salt. They don't need to be perfect but you do want to remove the stickiness. Then re-season. I found that my blue steel pans needed more oil the first half dozen times or so I cooked in them. Now that they're fully seasoned, I only use 1oz of oil in a 12x17 pan and the pizza mostly slides out after I run a metal spatula along the sides and shake the pan.

Here is a picture of some of my pans while still relatively new. This shot they each have 2oz of oil in them. The dark spots around the center of them are where they used to stick the first half dozen times or so I baked in them. I scraped and basically just baked through it several times and it became as slippery as the rest of the pan.

steel_baker  :chef:

Online Chicago Bob

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2013, 04:22:29 PM »
fwiw, I have seen some "sticky" seasoning on non- cast iron baking pans. Don't know what that means or if it even applies here...just say'in.
Bob
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline gschwim

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2013, 11:42:26 PM »
Perhaps at this point you may want to scrub them clean using hot water & kosher salt or sea salt. They don't need to be perfect but you do want to remove the stickiness. Then re-season. I found that my blue steel pans needed more oil the first half dozen times or so I cooked in them. Now that they're fully seasoned, I only use 1oz of oil in a 12x17 pan and the pizza mostly slides out after I run a metal spatula along the sides and shake the pan.

Here is a picture of some of my pans while still relatively new. This shot they each have 2oz of oil in them. The dark spots around the center of them are where they used to stick the first half dozen times or so I baked in them. I scraped and basically just baked through it several times and it became as slippery as the rest of the pan.



Actually, now that I think of it - and maybe I should have been clearer, before - I've never had a problem with dough sticking to the bottom of the pan, just the cheddar cheese sticking to the sides.  Even if I liberally grease the sides of the pan with (butter flavored) Crisco, just before putting the cheese around the edges, the cheese still sticks, I really have to work hard with the spatula to separate the cheese from the sides, and there's always a thick, brown layer of baked cheese around the edges.

Gene

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2013, 11:46:52 PM »
Actually, now that I think of it - and maybe I should have been clearer, before - I've never had a problem with dough sticking to the bottom of the pan, just the cheddar cheese sticking to the sides.  Even if I liberally grease the sides of the pan with (butter flavored) Crisco, just before putting the cheese around the edges, the cheese still sticks, I really have to work hard with the spatula to separate the cheese from the sides, and there's always a thick, brown layer of baked cheese around the edges.

Gene

I scrape that down with a steel spatula and it is the most important part of the pizza...
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline PizzaBinge

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2013, 12:01:37 AM »
Actually, now that I think of it - and maybe I should have been clearer, before - I've never had a problem with dough sticking to the bottom of the pan, just the cheddar cheese sticking to the sides.  Even if I liberally grease the sides of the pan with (butter flavored) Crisco, just before putting the cheese around the edges, the cheese still sticks, I really have to work hard with the spatula to separate the cheese from the sides, and there's always a thick, brown layer of baked cheese around the edges.

Gene


For what it's worth... There are a ton of methods people use to season their pans. I do mine upside down, and I think my sides are almost as seasoned as the rest of the pan because of it. Whatever cheese I have left on the sides after removing the pizza easily scrapes off clean. And as for stickiness on the bottom after seasoning... I've found that if I put the pan in the oven (no oils, shortening, etc.) at a high temp (~450) upside down right above the coil, it will blacken the seasoning and no longer have a tacky feel to it, but, be prepared to have a descent amount of smoke in your house.

Online Chicago Bob

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2013, 12:06:30 AM »
PizzaBinge,
Sounds like a plan and good to hear how you are able to make it work for you....much appreciated man, thank you!
Bob
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline PizzaBinge

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2013, 12:14:53 AM »
PizzaBinge,
Sounds like a plan and good to hear how you are able to make it work for you....much appreciated man, thank you!
Bob

Thanks, Chicago Bob. I've been able to figure a few things out, except how to open my own pizza business, but I'm slowly working on that too.  ???

Online Chicago Bob

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2013, 12:22:45 AM »
Thanks, Chicago Bob. I've been able to figure a few things out, except how to open my own pizza business, but I'm slowly working on that too.  ???
Sounds wonderful...and filled with a lot of hard work!
You seem to have the correct outlook on things and we wish you well man, you'll do good.  :chef:
Bob
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"


 

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