Author Topic: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?  (Read 5085 times)

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Offline steel_baker

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2013, 07:49:55 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


Actually, this is normal and I wouldn't worry about it in the least. The first thing I do when removing a hot pan from the oven is to run a spatula around the sides to unstick the browned cheese crust from the sides. After doing that, the pizza will slide around a bit in the pan since as it bakes, it usually "shrinks" away from the sides a small amount. Once I run the spatula around the sides, I shake the pan back & forth to make sure the pizza isn't stuck on the bottom. When this happens, I can then tip the pan and lift the pizza out with a spatula sliding the pizza out onto the tray.

s_b  :chef:
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Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2013, 09:47:07 AM »
When using steel pans we typically season them with canola oil, and after several bakes when the pans have turned to a darker color (both inside and out) we will always add a small amount of oil to the pan to help the dough/crust release, additionally, this also allows the pan to continue seasoning, developing an ever darker color (some of our pans are essentially black in color both inside and out). Our experience is that you will always get a better bake if you add at least some oil to the pan for each bake. This is because the oil improves the heat transfer between the pan and the dough. Additionally, a number of years ago we looked at shortening (like Crisco) v/s oil in the pan. We found that in all cases the oil provided for a firmer, crispier bottom crust than did the shortening. A lot of people have commented on the crispiness of the Pizza Hut deep-dish pizzas. This is accomplished through the addition of oil to the pan prior to baking, making the finished crust closer to fried than baked
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline steel_baker

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2013, 10:42:38 AM »
I never bake in mine without adding oil. I only ever wipe them out with a paper towel when I finish the previous bake. That leaves a coating of oil on them when they go back on the shelf until next time. Then, when I use them again, I add 1oz of oil which is plenty to lubricate the pan and give me nice browning on the crust. Then, after they're cooled down, I wipe out the excess oil with a paper towel and put them away again.

Your point about being "fried rather than baked" is the key point. Pizza Hut Pan Pizza, the Victory Pig Style that I make, and many other soft dough pan pizzas (thinking Jet's, Buddy's, and others) are all pretty much fried in the pan. When I check mine while they're baking, I always look to see that the oil is bubbling up & sizzling around the pan edges. I want to hear that sizzling.....that's how I know I'll get the crispy browned crust I'm looking for. Back in northeastern PA where VP style originated, the locals use the generic term "fried sicilian" to refer to this style of pizza.

I think it's important not to over think some of this stuff. I use steel & iron for virtually all of my cooking. I have several cast iron skillets as well as DeBuyer Mineral B iron so I've learned over the years how to clean and care for them. It's really very simple and takes very little time. They don't wear out and they don't impart particles into the food like non-stick pans after they're a few years old. The result (just as with the blue steel pans) is always worth the extra 30 seconds it takes to clean & care for them.

s_b  :chef:
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 10:47:50 AM by steel_baker »
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Offline gschwim

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2013, 07:35:45 PM »
I scrape that down with a steel spatula and it is the most important part of the pizza...

I agree and that's the idea, but I can't get the spatula between the crust and the pan to separate them.  The spatula slides down along the crust and the pizza comes out, with the cheese still stuck to the inside of the pan.

Offline gschwim

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #24 on: January 30, 2013, 07:37:50 PM »
Actually, this is normal and I wouldn't worry about it in the least. The first thing I do when removing a hot pan from the oven is to run a spatula around the sides to unstick the browned cheese crust from the sides. After doing that, the pizza will slide around a bit in the pan since as it bakes, it usually "shrinks" away from the sides a small amount. Once I run the spatula around the sides, I shake the pan back & forth to make sure the pizza isn't stuck on the bottom. When this happens, I can then tip the pan and lift the pizza out with a spatula sliding the pizza out onto the tray.

s_b  :chef:

Are you saying that, say, halfway through the baking time, you pull the pan out and run the spatula around before the cheese has a chance really to stick?  Sounds like a good idea.  I'll give it a try.

Gene

Offline steel_baker

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #25 on: January 30, 2013, 07:40:32 PM »
Are you saying that, say, halfway through the baking time, you pull the pan out and run the spatula around before the cheese has a chance really to stick?  Sounds like a good idea.  I'll give it a try.

Gene


No, when the pizza is done, the first thing I do upon pulling the pan out is to run the spatula around the outside of the pan between the pan & the crust.

You need a good sturdy metal spatula that won't bend so you that can scrape firmly if you need to.

s_b  :chef:
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Offline gschwim

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2013, 07:53:11 PM »
When using steel pans we typically season them with canola oil, and after several bakes when the pans have turned to a darker color (both inside and out) we will always add a small amount of oil to the pan to help the dough/crust release, additionally, this also allows the pan to continue seasoning, developing an ever darker color (some of our pans are essentially black in color both inside and out). Our experience is that you will always get a better bake if you add at least some oil to the pan for each bake. This is because the oil improves the heat transfer between the pan and the dough. Additionally, a number of years ago we looked at shortening (like Crisco) v/s oil in the pan. We found that in all cases the oil provided for a firmer, crispier bottom crust than did the shortening. A lot of people have commented on the crispiness of the Pizza Hut deep-dish pizzas. This is accomplished through the addition of oil to the pan prior to baking, making the finished crust closer to fried than baked
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Always good to get advice from the Dough Doctor.  When I first got my pan, I did coat it with canola oil and baked the pan for an hour at 350 degrees.  But when the pan cooled, instead of the thin, slick surface (like Teflon and other "non-stick" coatings, the surface had a thick coating that was quite sticky and when I ran a fingernail across it, it the coating easily scraped off, right down to the metal.  My cast iron frying pan, on the other hand, is smooth and the seasoning feels like part of the metal; only with soap and steel wool would I be be able to get it off.  And when the seasoning does get rubbed off (I've had the pan for over 40 years!), I just heat the pan on the stove top, rub the surface with a paper towel, with a few drops of olive oil on it and it's fine.

Also, I always oil the pan when I bake a pizza and the reason I use the butter-flavored Crisco is because I can put a thick coating on the inner walls, right where the cheese meets the pan, but the cheese still sticks.  But maybe I'll wash the pan down to the metal again and start all over with canola.

By the way, "Dr. Dough," any plans to come up with a dough recipe for Detroit style pizza?  Or maybe one of your existing recipes could work?

Gene

Offline gschwim

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2013, 07:58:26 PM »
I never bake in mine without adding oil. I only ever wipe them out with a paper towel when I finish the previous bake. That leaves a coating of oil on them when they go back on the shelf until next time. Then, when I use them again, I add 1oz of oil which is plenty to lubricate the pan and give me nice browning on the crust. Then, after they're cooled down, I wipe out the excess oil with a paper towel and put them away again.

Your point about being "fried rather than baked" is the key point. Pizza Hut Pan Pizza, the Victory Pig Style that I make, and many other soft dough pan pizzas (thinking Jet's, Buddy's, and others) are all pretty much fried in the pan. When I check mine while they're baking, I always look to see that the oil is bubbling up & sizzling around the pan edges. I want to hear that sizzling.....that's how I know I'll get the crispy browned crust I'm looking for. Back in northeastern PA where VP style originated, the locals use the generic term "fried sicilian" to refer to this style of pizza.

I think it's important not to over think some of this stuff. I use steel & iron for virtually all of my cooking. I have several cast iron skillets as well as DeBuyer Mineral B iron so I've learned over the years how to clean and care for them. It's really very simple and takes very little time. They don't wear out and they don't impart particles into the food like non-stick pans after they're a few years old. The result (just as with the blue steel pans) is always worth the extra 30 seconds it takes to clean & care for them.

s_b  :chef:

Well, that's my big problem:  I can't just wipe the pan out because there's always a brown ring of baked-on cheese around the inside that can be removed only by scraping with a spatula and then rubbing vigorously with steel wool.  Maybe that would be okay at home, but my partners and I are starting a cafe and when we get inspected by the city (and NYC, where we are, is pretty strict), especially because we won't be washing the pans with soap and water, the pans have to be "bare," with no residue whatsoever.

Gene

Offline gschwim

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #28 on: January 30, 2013, 08:04:23 PM »
No, when the pizza is done, the first thing I do upon pulling the pan out is to run the spatula around the outside of the pan between the pan & the crust.

You need a good sturdy metal spatula that won't bend so you that can scrape firmly if you need to.

s_b  :chef:

I have a very strong (very thick, cannot bend with your hands, edges are ground to an edge) commercial spatula.

I'm obviously doing something wrong, just have to figure out what it is.  Or maybe I just need to bake a lot of pizzas in each pan?

My pan is black after I do the coat-with-oil-and-bake bit.  But after I bake a pizza and use the spatula to pry the pizza out of the pan, there is a brown ring of baked on cheese and when/where I scrape it off, the metal is bare and gray colored.  Even the bluing that came with the pan is gone.

Gene


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Offline norma427

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #29 on: January 30, 2013, 08:43:50 PM »
I don’t have a lot of problems with sticking issues in my steel pans, but do have some.  I purchased most of my steel pans from Detroit Style Pizza Co.  http://detroitstylepizza.co/detroit-style-pizza-pans/ and they were seasoned when I received them and then I seasoned them some more, but once in awhile there are places that want to stick.  I do wipe out with paper towels after each use and do not use any water and do season them again at the end of the night. 

Steve told me he does think my pizzas come out of my steel pans more easily that his steel pans, but I still have some sticking issues once in awhile (where the cheese caramelizes) and then that area where the sticking issue is has the black seasoning come off (almost to the bare steel).

Norma 
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Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2013, 10:01:36 AM »
Gene;
I believe it is NY, MA, and CA where they are really keen on carbon in food. Seasoning on a pan = polymerized and carbonized oil. At one time MA did not allow the use of seasoned pans for that very reason. I don't know the current state regs at this time. This is why anodized pans became so popular. Some of the anodized pans are also non-stick, such as those supplied by Lloyd Pans <www.lloydpans.com> with these types of pans you can still use the oil in the pan to achieve the fried effect, but unlike seasoned pans, you can also soak them in hot soapy water to clean without destroying the pan finish. Unlike other non-stick coatings the anodized coatings do not wear off. We have a good number of them in our inventory that have been in use for over 15-years without and deterioration of the non-stick coating. BTW: Steel wool is not a good thing to use on any seasoned pan as it will scrub off the seasoning, resulting in the pizza sticking to those surfaces. That sticky feel that you mentioned is perfectly normal on a spun steel pan. As you continue to use the pan (just a couple bakes are needed) the seasoning will continue to harden into a brown/black finish that we see on so many of the old, well used bakery pans in use in many of the retail bakeries.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline gschwim

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #31 on: January 31, 2013, 11:44:43 AM »
Gene;
I believe it is NY, MA, and CA where they are really keen on carbon in food. Seasoning on a pan = polymerized and carbonized oil. At one time MA did not allow the use of seasoned pans for that very reason. I don't know the current state regs at this time. This is why anodized pans became so popular. Some of the anodized pans are also non-stick, such as those supplied by Lloyd Pans <www.lloydpans.com> with these types of pans you can still use the oil in the pan to achieve the fried effect, but unlike seasoned pans, you can also soak them in hot soapy water to clean without destroying the pan finish. Unlike other non-stick coatings the anodized coatings do not wear off. We have a good number of them in our inventory that have been in use for over 15-years without and deterioration of the non-stick coating. BTW: Steel wool is not a good thing to use on any seasoned pan as it will scrub off the seasoning, resulting in the pizza sticking to those surfaces. That sticky feel that you mentioned is perfectly normal on a spun steel pan. As you continue to use the pan (just a couple bakes are needed) the seasoning will continue to harden into a brown/black finish that we see on so many of the old, well used bakery pans in use in many of the retail bakeries.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor


Tom,

In NYC, it's not so much the pan specifically (and I really don't know the specifics), but the general inspection regime.  A couple or a few years ago, the city adopted a grading system and every restaurant now has an official sign in its window with a big blue "A," (highest rating) "B" or whatever, telling customers how clean the place is.  I am a commercial real estate broker with several restaurant customers.  One told me that if the inspectors find, say, a tiny spot of dried milk on the steaming wand of his espresso machine, he'll get down downgraded.  So I'm just guessing, based on that, what an inspector would say/do on seeing stacks of pans with caked on cheese.  Another of my customers, currently building out a new space, says that if inspectors find a single tiny hole in the wall of his kitchen, he will not be allowed to open.  I don't know how Di Fara got away with his numerous violations (http://goo.gl/9TAEQ) as long as he did.  Maybe he was bribing the inspectors with free pizza?  :^)

Do the Lloyd pans (http://goo.gl/bYxyF) work as well as the traditional steel pans?  I read somewhere that they don't.  Also, the Lloyd pans are much more expensive.  My partners and I are planning a cafe.  How many pans do you think we would need to have on hand?  My plan is to use a one-hour-rise dough recipe that needs to rest in the pan for ten minutes, put the dough balls in proofing trays and put dough balls in baking pans ten minutes before needed.  A small Lloyd pan is $26.49, compared to $5.29 for the same size traditional steel pan.  That's quite a difference, but if they do work as well, are low maintenance, last years and I don't need too many of them, maybe I'll order one to try.

But today, I'm going to try making a pizza in my blue steel pan and not worry about the stickiness.  My impression was that because the surface is sticky, the dough and cheese would stick to it, but maybe I'm wrong.

Thanks.

Gene

Offline norma427

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #32 on: January 31, 2013, 12:17:26 PM »
Gene,

I sure am not Tom and can‘t answer your other questions about the dough formulation you want to use for your Detroit style pizzas, but if you look at my post at Reply 1 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,21559.msg217569.html#msg217569 you can see I used on of those steel pans that can be easily cleaned and the caramelized edges never stick.  Those steel pans might be more expensive but they do work out well for me in making pizzas such as Greek style pizza that also have the caramelized edges.  I never had to season that steel pan and that is what it looked like when I purchased it.

Norma
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Offline steel_baker

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2013, 05:59:59 PM »
Well, that's my big problem:  I can't just wipe the pan out because there's always a brown ring of baked-on cheese around the inside that can be removed only by scraping with a spatula and then rubbing vigorously with steel wool.  Maybe that would be okay at home, but my partners and I are starting a cafe and when we get inspected by the city (and NYC, where we are, is pretty strict), especially because we won't be washing the pans with soap and water, the pans have to be "bare," with no residue whatsoever.

Gene


I would not use steel wool on your pans. The steel wool is most likely what removed the bluing from the sides of your pan. I would suggest that you a scrape and wash the sides clean with hot water, kosher salt, and a good stiff brush (Lodge sells one for their cast iron that works well). After scrubbing them this way, make sure to season them, paying special attention to the sides, and always oil the sides of the pan well when you bake in them, that should help. The key will be to continue to bake in them though. I found with mine that I just had to bake through the sticking and after a half dozen bakes or so, the pans were well seasoned with little to no sticking.

The cheese around the sides.....I'm not sure what to tell you. Nature of the beast I think. I like to build up a nice browned cheese crust around the pan edges so I intentionally pile cheese along the edges sometimes. It does stick but it's not stuck hard normally and a little bit of scraping with a stiff metal spatula has always worked well. Is it 100% clean around the sides? No..... but it's pretty close. It sounds like pretty close won't cut it in your environment.

Questions:

1) Are there other pizza shops in your area who bake in steel pans?

2) If so, how do they do clean their pans to inspection level?

When you say above "bare" and "no residue" that implies to me removing the seasoned coating on the pans. Seems to me that if you did that after every bake, they would forever be too sticky to bake in because they would never get seasoned.

Sounds like a pickle.  ???

s_b  :chef:
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 06:14:07 PM by steel_baker »
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Offline gschwim

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #34 on: January 31, 2013, 08:15:44 PM »
I would not use steel wool on your pans. The steel wool is most likely what removed the bluing from the sides of your pan. I would suggest that you a scrape and wash the sides clean with hot water, kosher salt, and a good stiff brush (Lodge sells one for their cast iron that works well). After scrubbing them this way, make sure to season them, paying special attention to the sides, and always oil the sides of the pan well when you bake in them, that should help. The key will be to continue to bake in them though. I found with mine that I just had to bake through the sticking and after a half dozen bakes or so, the pans were well seasoned with little to no sticking.

The cheese around the sides.....I'm not sure what to tell you. Nature of the beast I think. I like to build up a nice browned cheese crust around the pan edges so I intentionally pile cheese along the edges sometimes. It does stick but it's not stuck hard normally and a little bit of scraping with a stiff metal spatula has always worked well. Is it 100% clean around the sides? No..... but it's pretty close. It sounds like pretty close won't cut it in your environment.

Questions:

1) Are there other pizza shops in your area who bake in steel pans?

2) If so, how do they do clean their pans to inspection level?

When you say above "bare" and "no residue" that implies to me removing the seasoned coating on the pans. Seems to me that if you did that after every bake, they would forever be too sticky to bake in because they would never get seasoned.

Sounds like a pickle.  ???

s_b  :chef:


To my knowledge, no one in NYC uses Detroit style pans.  They do use jelly roll pans, which may be steel, for Sicilian pies, but cheese does not go out to the size and my sense is that they might make one or two Sicilian pies in a whole day; they're not big sellers - here, everyone gets the standard NYC round pie baked directly on the oven floor.  Also, Sicilian pies have traditional dough crusts, where the cheese does not touch the sides of the pan.

No one makes a Detroit style pizza and I'm still trying to explain to my business partners what a Detroit pizza is.  I show them a photo of a Buddy's pizza, they say, "It's burnt!"  I mention the blue steel pans, they pull out one of their Sicilian pans and I say, "No, no, Detroit pans are different!"  They say, it's a Sicilian pizza, we have Sicilian pizza" and I say, "No, no, it's different from a Sicilian pizza, I don't care what it looks like!"

"Yes, the cheese goes on first!"

"Yes, it's called 'brick cheese' and it really exists, just not in New York!"

And so on.  I'm hoping to be able to make one for them next week, but in the meantime, this is what I have to put up with...  :^)

Gene
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 08:19:12 PM by gschwim »

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #35 on: February 01, 2013, 03:14:38 PM »
Gene;
Yes on both counts, yes they are expensive, and yes they are worth it. You can safely soak them in hot soapy water, then scrub them out using a plastic bristle brush, rinse, and sanitize, then wipe dry and if you want, give them a quick pass through the oven to thoroughly dry and be ready to reuse the pans. You can't soak the seasoned pans as this will result in the seasoning peeling off like a bad sunburn (been there, done that, pictures available upon request). I would suggest getting one or two pans to experiment with, and let the pans sell themselves. Be sure to request the black anodized, non-stick finish. In our annual pizza seminar we do a simple test with these pans where we forcefully scrub the edge of a quarter across the pan (back and forth numerous times). The only damage that occurs is to the quarter where a flat spot has been created on the edge of the quarter. I can only account for these pans lasting close to 20-years as that is how old some of ours are, and they are still in great shape. As for baking quality, they bake as good as the best seasoned and blued steel pans, and better from the "get-go" since you don't need to wait for the seasoning to cure. With the Lloyd pans you just wash them when you get them, dry thoroughly, oil lightly with the first use, and then either don't use oil for a baked appearance/texture, or use oil in the pans for that fried texture and appearance.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #36 on: February 01, 2013, 03:46:33 PM »
I use anodized heavy aluminum pans for Chicago deep dish pizza. No seasoning required.
Wonder if you all could use something like this...various sizes available...
http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Daddios-Anodized-Aluminum-Sheet/dp/B001332TBG/?tag=pizzamaking-20
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Offline redox

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #37 on: February 02, 2013, 01:33:19 PM »
Have you ever heard of flaxseed oil for seasoning? It's the most durable method of seasoning cast iron. I've not tried it on steel but I think I'll give it a shot the next time I have some pans to season. Here's the site with the info: http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/

I think her chemistry is a bit wonky but the results are stellar! Cook's Illustrated tested this and said it will even stand up to a trip through a commercial dishwasher. I've seasoned all my Lodge pots and pans and it's terrific.

The most important thing is to put on extremely thin layers, most people have problems because they try to rush the job and use too much oil.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2013, 01:35:47 PM by redox »

Offline PizzaBinge

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #38 on: February 06, 2013, 06:37:51 PM »
Some of the anodized pans are also non-stick, such as those supplied by Lloyd Pans &lt;www.lloydpans.com&gt; with these types of pans you can still use the oil in the pan to achieve the fried effect, but unlike seasoned pans, you can also soak them in hot soapy water to clean without destroying the pan finish.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I'm going to try one of the Lloyd's pans, but I have a beginner question... Going from 12x17 to 13x18 I'm going to have to increase the dough recipe. Is that just a matter of keeping the ingredient percentages the same? And if so, does that include the yeast?

The Lloyd's pan... That's the black Dura Kote one?

Offline norma427

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Re: Steel Pan Woes... Suggestions?
« Reply #39 on: February 06, 2013, 07:40:57 PM »
I'm going to try one of the Lloyd's pans, but I have a beginner question... Going from 12x17 to 13x18 I'm going to have to increase the dough recipe. Is that just a matter of keeping the ingredient percentages the same? And if so, does that include the yeast?




PizzaBinge,

If you are going to try one of lloyds pans all you have to do is use the expanded dough calculation tool at http://www.pizzamaking.com/expanded_calculator.html and check the box that says Rectangular and then put in the size pan you are using and keep all the percentages the same including the yeast amount you want to use. 

Norma
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