Author Topic: Deb's Baking Steel Journey  (Read 11290 times)

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Offline deb415611

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Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« on: January 12, 2013, 09:24:19 AM »
My baking stone came this week....

Some work to be done dialing in the best combination of bake and broil but first bake and I’m pretty happy with what this steel is going to do for my pizza.  I decided to go with a Baking Steel rather than dealing with a piece of random steel.  For me spending the extra money was worth it,  I know that there is a lot of talk about how high priced the baking steel is but for me it is the right choice…..  If I had to make a bunch of calls finding a local company to purchase a piece of steel it would get pushed off, then cleaning/seasoning and there is the issue of whether it could be contaminated with something.  I know I’m paying more but I bought something that I know was produced to be used with food and with that comes with the higher price.  
I debated about trying a 16x16x1/2  but the straight part of my baking rack front to back is only 14” and I wasn’t sure how the 16 inch would sit (the custom cut size quote was only $15 more) so I ended up going with the standard 14x16” size,  I did get the ½ inch thickness.  

The Pizza…………..
I did a lot of reading on the steel plate and debating using what I have been using (basically a lehman that I modified with a biga& KA flours)  or using one of Scott123’s recommended formula’s in the steel threads.   I needed flour so I decided to buy some Spring King flour & go with a slightly modified Scott123 formula  (I rounded percents and I think he suggests 2 day ,  I baked at 1,2 and day 4 , and my workflow is slightly different).  
Spring King Flour  
Water 63%
IDY .5%
Salt 1.75%
Oil  3%  (I used olive but will try soybean next time)
Sugar 1%

I mix all together with a Danish dough wisk and then use the dough hook on KA for 3 or 4 minutes.  Balled and into the fridge .  
For the first run I made 6-12” balls.  I decided not to go the full 14” size for a few reasons – I figured I needed to go small in case I really burnt or killed these somehow.  Plus,  I have never really used my peel – with the stone I have always used parchment,  so I had a couple variables to deal with.  

Next day…..  
Steel on the top rack about 5” from broiler , oven at 550 degrees…..  (note these readings were taken with my fibrament stone in the bottom of the oven which may have slowed down the heating of the steel)
   Readings….    30 minutes  top 470 bottom 376
                            50 minutes  top 470 bottom 458
                            55 minutes   top 483 bottom 470
                             1 hr   top  497   bottom  495
I need to test with a longer preheat & trying convection
« Last Edit: January 19, 2013, 08:09:23 AM by deb415611 »


Offline deb415611

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2013, 09:25:43 AM »
Pizza 1

Was a week night and I was hungry so started prepping pizza one  -  went with sauce and a sparse amount of cheese (1/2 wm & ½ ps) figuring it was possible it wouldn’t be fit to eat  (fibrament was on bottom shelf, just in case)
Top of steel 507 ,  launched, at 1.25 I switched to broil, rotated at 3 min, pulled at around 5 minutes


« Last Edit: January 12, 2013, 09:33:27 AM by deb415611 »

Offline deb415611

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2013, 09:26:39 AM »
Pizza 2


Pizza 2 – Vermont Cure pepperoni
Steel – 527,   switched to broil at 3:45 (got distracted),  pulled at 5 ½ minutes

« Last Edit: January 12, 2013, 09:34:13 AM by deb415611 »

Offline deb415611

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2013, 09:27:32 AM »
Pizza 3


Pizza 3 -  Olli Toscano Salame 
Went to measure the steel and it read well over 600, huh…. Measured it again, still over 600, couldn’t figure it out but ran with it…..
At launch was 637  at 1 min 30 seconds switched to broil, rotated , pulled at 3 min 20 seconds
Thinking about it later I assume I never went back to bake after pizza 2, my broiler broils at 550 and the display has a big 550 and the setting underneath is small and I never looked to see if it was on bake
Happy surprise ….


Offline deb415611

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2013, 09:28:27 AM »
Pizza 4

 Pizza 4   Fig preserves & prosciutto (both post bake) , mozz on dough   
(thanks Craig – this flavor combo is incredible, you are the first person that I remember seeing do it)
No readings/times  on this (I switched back to bake after pizza 3 (I don’t know why), I switched to broil & rotated at some point





Offline deb415611

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2013, 09:29:31 AM »
Random thoughts/things I need to work on
I need to find my oven manual ,  my oven is  gas with broiler on top,  it has various settings other than bake and convection that I haven’t really taken the time to figure out how the oven is cycling.  The oven goes to 550 but if you use the convection setting it automatically subtracts 25 degrees.   I’m assuming that I should be able to turn that off and want to test with convection preheat.  

I need a better wooden peel
I need to figure out minimum amount of semolina/flour for peel

The end --- very happy with the first bake…  pizza 1 was a wow moment, knowing that it was just a start but so good.  Pizza 3 was the best by far and I need to get it dialed in and work on improving it even more

the leftovers below (most were gone by the time I got up the next morning, two happy college kids in the house)

the pics above were all baked in one night,  I baked the remaining balls and another small batch in the next couple days and need to get my pictures on the computer but they were quick bakes and nothing spectacular
« Last Edit: January 12, 2013, 09:37:28 AM by deb415611 »

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2013, 09:42:24 AM »
Pies look great Deb. I wish I could claim the fig preserves and prosciutto (with a little blue cheese) combo, however I borrowed it from VIA313.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2013, 10:05:56 AM by TXCraig1 »
Pizza is not bread.

Offline deb415611

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2013, 09:44:01 AM »
Pies look great Deb. I wsh I could claim the fig preserves and prosciutto (with a little blue cheese) combo, however I borrowed it from VIA313.

thanks craig
I figured it wasn't yours but you are the first person I remember doing it... I did it on a detroit last week - it was awesome

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2013, 09:45:47 AM »
Good show Deb.  Very nice looking pies.
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2013, 06:24:21 PM »
Deb, while I enjoy seeing my recipe (modified or not) being successfully utilized and I'm ecstatic that you're one of the first members to follow my advice and track down Spring King, did you have to go with Baking Steel? Et tu, Deb? Et tu?  :-D

Seriously, I can sort of understand your desire to just get the steel purchased and off your to do list, regardless of the price involved.  I do think, though, that with beautiful pies like these, you'll want to share them with your friends, and, once you start entertaining, the 13"ish maximum pizza limitation could end up getting on your nerves.

You can help mitigate one aspect of the small pie issue by pressing out smaller rims. Rims can provide essential levee duties in preventing boilovers, but, as long as you watch the wateriness of your sauce (yours looks fine), I think you can press out a more size specific rim without introducing boilover concerns.

What thickness factor did you go with?

I can't make any promises, but, generally speaking, using the convection bake feature while the pizza is baking should give you comparable browning as using the broiler, without have to turn the broiler on and off at the designated times.  Maybe.  It depends on how hot the plate is/how quick the bake time is and how much color you want on top.  Convection should give you less contrast and more even browning.

If you're going to do justice to these beautiful pies, it's time to photograph them under better light.  It's not always feasible, but sunlight is ideal- it makes for the prettiest red sauce. Second to sunlight, incandescent. Fluorescent is not your friend.

Don't get too caught up with the broiler pre-heat.  The surface of the plate can get considerably hotter, but pizza bakes with penetrated heat. Use the convection bake for the pre-heat, and, then, if you want, you can play around with using some broiler just before baking to drive up the temp a bit more. Honestly, if the  convection bake setting can give you 525 and the fan never shuts off, then there's a distinct possibility you can turn that on, pre-heat for 45 minutes, launch/bake the pizza, and never have to change an oven setting. Maybe.

I'll get over the baking steel purchase.  Eventually  >:D In the meantime, though, those are some really nice looking pies.


Offline deb415611

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2013, 08:47:29 PM »
Deb, while I enjoy seeing my recipe (modified or not) being successfully utilized and I'm ecstatic that you're one of the first members to follow my advice and track down Spring King, did you have to go with Baking Steel? Et tu, Deb? Et tu?  :-D


I'll defend my purchase  ;D  >:D   going to a random steel place is not for everyone and being produced to a specific market and advertising it to be used for food has extra costs associated with it. The cost includes free shipping which I know is not cheap,  I know I'm not the only one out there that is intimidated by the doing it the other way... for us there is the Baking Steel

I have had a couple email conversations with questions with Andris at Baking Steel and he is great to deal with.  


I'm ecstatic that you're one of the first members to follow my advice and track down Spring King

I really like the feel of this coming out of the mixer and happy with the first results.  At some point I'm going to do a side by side with KA Bread flour to satisfy my curiosity but so far I'm liking it.  


Seriously, I can sort of understand your desire to just get the steel purchased and off your to do list, regardless of the price involved.  I do think, though, that with beautiful pies like these, you'll want to share them with your friends, and, once you start entertaining, the 13"ish maximum pizza limitation could end up getting on your nerves.


 :-D   You are assuming I have friends   :-D :-D   I debated the size, I may (probably will)  regret it later especially knowing it would have only been $15 more for a custom cut,  I was worried about it coming and not fitting in the oven well


What thickness factor did you go with?  


 .10 ,  it's what I have been doing but have been planning on going a little thinner... not knowing the flour, the steel and new method of launching I decided to go safe

If you're going to do justice to these beautiful pies, it's time to photograph them under better light.  It's not always feasible, but sunlight is ideal- it makes for the prettiest red sauce. Second to sunlight, incandescent. Fluorescent is not your friend.

I know they need work, at the very least I need to break out the camera,  the iphone flash hates my pies  I even have a light box but haven't been using it


I can't make any promises, but, generally speaking, using the convection bake feature while the pizza is baking should give you comparable browning as using the broiler, without have to turn the broiler on and off at the designated times.  Maybe.  It depends on how hot the plate is/how quick the bake time is and how much color you want on top.  Convection should give you less contrast and more even browning.

Don't get too caught up with the broiler pre-heat.  The surface of the plate can get considerably hotter, but pizza bakes with penetrated heat. Use the convection bake for the pre-heat, and, then, if you want, you can play around with using some broiler just before baking to drive up the temp a bit more. Honestly, if the  convection bake setting can give you 525 and the fan never shuts off, then there's a distinct possibility you can turn that on, pre-heat for 45 minutes, launch/bake the pizza, and never have to change an oven setting. Maybe.


I'm going to try the convection next, I feel like there is a setting to get the 25 degrees back, especially since there is a conv convert button which shaves 25 degrees off.  

With the broiler preheat I know that I need to be careful to get an even bake



I'll get over the baking steel purchase.  Eventually  >:D In the meantime, though, those are some really nice looking pies.

thanks for the beautiful and really nice looking pie comments,  I hope you get over the baking steel as I appreciate your comments on the pizza :)



« Last Edit: January 12, 2013, 08:49:05 PM by deb415611 »

Offline deb415611

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2013, 08:50:04 PM »
thanks Jet Deck

Offline bfguilford

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2013, 10:45:48 AM »
Deb:

Nice looking pies, especially for a first bake on steel! I had a tough time balancing top and bottom heat when I tried (then I had to give up on my steel due to my bad back not being able to handle the 42 lbs into and out of the oven). Probably too late for this, but I also had similar issues with the dimensions of my oven rack. I found a straight rack (at Pages Hardware here in Guilford) that has allowed me to maximize the depth of any baking surface.

I also found that preheating with convection on gave me a quicker preheat (I don't think my convection subtracts 25 degrees though).

If you get to the point where you want to try a bigger piece of steel, c'mon down to Guilford, and you can pick mine up (17-1/4" square x 1/2", if I remember correctly). It's just sitting here collecting dust.

Barry

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Offline deb415611

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2013, 01:23:46 PM »
Thanks Barry.  I'll have to look into other racks .   I'll keep the offer of the bigger steel in mind. 


Offline deb415611

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2013, 07:28:56 PM »
# 2

Papa gino's clone...   Peter's formula from here    http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8167.msg213221.html#msg213221  dough fermented too fast - it had doubled at 25 hours and I didn't use for another 2 days

I can't find my bake notes  ???  but it was a bake preheat and some combo of bake/broil bake


 

Offline deb415611

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2013, 07:49:33 PM »
  Not sure what I was thinking, I didn't mix any dough for the weekend

this morning did a quick dough with poolish

total dough:
spring king flour 100%
Water 62%
IDY  1.375
Salt 1.75
Oil 3%
Sugar 1%


preheat using convection 525 degrees,   steel was 527 , convection the entire time, pulled at 5 1/2 minutes ,  I should have rotated and left a little longer but I wanted to see what how it would bake using just convection.  I was surprised that it was uneven left to right


(i'm not sure what happened to my second pic, seems like more than a crappy lighting issue)

scott123

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2013, 08:06:36 PM »
Hey, Deb, you got a photo that wasn't horrifically yellow. What happened there?  ;D

I'll let Peter chime in regarding his Papa Gino recipe, but as far as the same day convection experimentation goes, here are my thoughts.

Same days are very anti-browning, because you're not giving the enzymes time to generate much residual sugar.  If you ever find yourself in a bind and have to go same day again, it'll be a little less authentically NY style, imo, but bump up the oil to 4% and the sugar to 2%. Both will help get you the browning you lose with a same day dough.

With a longer ferment or browning enhancing ingredients, the convection feature should give you excellent color in 4-5 minutes. Another aspect that will help you get better browning in a shorter amount of time is thickness factor.  I know you're not stressing yourself with too thin of a stretch, and that's a good idea for where you're at, but, as you move forward, it's time to dial back the dough quantity.  You're goal, for NY, should be around .075, but, until you get really comfortable stretching, I'd work with .085.

Something's not quite right with the cheese. Are you grating the cheese yourself, and, if so, what size are you grating the cheese to? Is it whole milk? What brand is it?

Offline deb415611

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2013, 08:23:54 PM »
Hey, Deb, you got a photo that wasn't horrifically yellow. What happened there?  ;D

I'll let Peter chime in regarding his Papa Gino recipe, but as far as the same day convection experimentation goes, here are my thoughts.

Same days are very anti-browning, because you're not giving the enzymes time to generate much residual sugar.  If you ever find yourself in a bind and have to go same day again, it'll be a little less authentically NY style, imo, but bump up the oil to 4% and the sugar to 2%. Both will help get you the browning you lose with a same day dough.

With a longer ferment or browning enhancing ingredients, the convection feature should give you excellent color in 4-5 minutes. Another aspect that will help you get better browning in a shorter amount of time is thickness factor.  I know you're not stressing yourself with too thin of a stretch, and that's a good idea for where you're at, but, as you move forward, it's time to dial back the dough quantity.  You're goal, for NY, should be around .075, but, until you get really comfortable stretching, I'd work with .085.

Something's not quite right with the cheese. Are you grating the cheese yourself, and, if so, what size are you grating the cheese to? Is it whole milk? What brand is it?

all the yellow went to the picture underneath it  ;),  I guess walking to the next room is the way to go with the picture taking


cheese is Sorrento whole milk, I diced it rather than grating and it was probably too large, I usually use part skim and wasn't thinking about the fact that this would take longer.   

I plan on posting the papa ginos pizza in the papa ginos thread when I have a little more time, I have a few more pictures than I posted here

Offline spazster

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2013, 12:17:04 AM »
So how much did it cost altogether?  I can get a cut of 16X16X1/2 steel for $73(that includes tax), but like you I'm afraid of contamination. Also, can we really be sure the baking steel is safe from lead? I'd assume that it would have to be FDA approved, but I'm no lawyer.

scott123

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Re: Deb's Baking Steel Journey
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2013, 12:38:25 AM »
Deb, whatever room that was, I hope you return to it for future photos  :)

If you're going to make any other style, feel free to do anything you please with the cheese. For NY, though, please grate it. Pretty please :) All the cheese-centric magic of a NY style pizza occurs when the cheese bubbles.  That's when the buttery richness comes alive.  You're already behind the 8 ball when it comes to using supermarket cheese. Without pepperoni or some kind of added fat, it's very difficult to get supermarket cheese to melt well.

Golden brown delicious (GBD) frequently comes up in a crust context, but I've never seen it discussed on this forum from a cheese perspective.  I grew up with pretty pale charred contrasty crusts, so when it comes to GBD vs charred contrasty crusts, I can go either way.  I don't mind the crust contrast I get when broiling, but I prefer the set and forget it aspect of convection baking.  Contrasty cheese, though... cheese that's mostly white with dark brown spots, is a major defect. GBD crust- personal preference. GBD cheese- pure seduction.  Food service grade cheeses/grande clones generally have enough fat content to prevent spotting and encourage bubbling, but supermarket cheeses usually need extra fat, either in the form of oil or pepperoni.

Beyond fat, though, it's critical, for this style, to be grated and to get plenty of heat from below by using the appropriate thickness factor.  Dicing cheese will never get you this:

http://slice.seriouseats.com/images/2012/10/20121016-williamsburg-pizza-03.jpg

and believe me, you want that.  Nor will it ever achieve this:


 

pizzapan