Author Topic: BakingSteel?  (Read 5285 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Ncage

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 11
  • Location: IL
  • I Love Pizza!
BakingSteel?
« on: April 19, 2013, 09:07:32 AM »
For those that have a baking steel are you 100% happy with it? The reviews i read seem to be very good. Seems like it might even reduce your cooking time. Then comes the decision on whether to buy the 1/4, 3/8, or 1/2 version. I'm thinking about either the heaviest version or the mid. I'll probably leave it in the oven so the weight shouldn't matter. I just have to make sure it will fit in my oven. I've broken probably more than 5 stone so this will save me money right now. I currently use a round cast iron bobby flay griddle i found sometime back at tg maxx.


Offline derricktung

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 511
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Chicago
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2013, 10:32:41 AM »
Very happy with it.

Pros:  You can produce some great pies from it, and get great heat retention and transfer that creates great rise in the crust.  Mix it up with a top broiler, and you'll start getting some nice char on your pies.  You also get great heat retention in the oven, so if your baking anything, brownies, pizzas, cake, your oven will hold temps better.

Cons:  It definitely takes longer for your oven to heat up, since there's a slab of metal that's absorbing heat.

I have the 1/4" and it's fine... if you want higher heat retention, go 3/8 or 1/2.  I haven't seen a big drop in the steel temps when I do 5-6 pies, but bigger may help if you're going to do a lot more.

I am, however, considering getting a 2nd one to see if I can do multiple steels on multiple levels to do multiple pies at the same time.  It doesn't have a broiler, but the 2nd steel should radiate heat from top and bottom, which may be able to cause char... we'll see.

Short answer:  Get it.  Well worth it!  And you won't ever have broken stones again!

Offline corkd

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 289
  • Location: syracuse, ny
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2013, 11:37:40 AM »
Very happy with mine. I use 1/2". In my gas Bertazzoni oven it takes about an hour to heat up-- an electric oven might be quicker.
I agree with derricktung' pros & cons.
Well worth the price, & I paid on the high side...
I don't leave mine in the oven, so it is a bitch to move around.... But, as I've learned, hand kneading + moving 1/2" steel = strong dough hooks  ;D
-clay

Offline pizzaboyfan

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 477
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2013, 11:43:11 AM »
Someone made the suggestion that using 2 or 3 pieces of steel, vs one large piece allows for much easier handling.

Offline Camaro10

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 141
  • Location: orlando
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2013, 11:59:12 AM »
Any specific brands, sellers you prefer?

Offline Ncage

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 11
  • Location: IL
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2013, 12:54:38 PM »
Thanks everyone for your replies. If you don't mind derricktung i have a question on how use the broiler? How exactly do you use the broiler when your cooking? Do you use it before you even slide the pie in so the metal plate is as hot as it can get or do you use it at the end when your cooking your pies to make sure the top of the crust gets really charred or do you use it the entire time? When you turn the broiler on do you leave the door open or closed?

Something i need to research is i have a convection oven and the question is should i be using that when i cook my pies. Currently i just use it to preheat my oven and turn it off before i slide the pie in.


Very happy with it.

Pros:  You can produce some great pies from it, and get great heat retention and transfer that creates great rise in the crust.  Mix it up with a top broiler, and you'll start getting some nice char on your pies.  You also get great heat retention in the oven, so if your baking anything, brownies, pizzas, cake, your oven will hold temps better.

Cons:  It definitely takes longer for your oven to heat up, since there's a slab of metal that's absorbing heat.

I have the 1/4" and it's fine... if you want higher heat retention, go 3/8 or 1/2.  I haven't seen a big drop in the steel temps when I do 5-6 pies, but bigger may help if you're going to do a lot more.

I am, however, considering getting a 2nd one to see if I can do multiple steels on multiple levels to do multiple pies at the same time.  It doesn't have a broiler, but the 2nd steel should radiate heat from top and bottom, which may be able to cause char... we'll see.

Short answer:  Get it.  Well worth it!  And you won't ever have broken stones again!
« Last Edit: April 19, 2013, 01:05:43 PM by Ncage »

Offline communist

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 493
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2013, 01:52:23 PM »
i have a question on how use the broiler? How exactly do you use the broiler when your cooking? Do you use it before you even slide the pie in so the metal plate is as hot as it can get or do you use it at the end when your cooking your pies to make sure the top of the crust gets really charred or do you use it the entire time? When you turn the broiler on do you leave the door open or closed?



  Love baking on steel!  Going for a family record tomorrow for daughter's party - have 11 skins in the refrigerator for 3 day cold ferment.  I turn the broiler on for the first 45 to 60 seconds of the bake.  The time depends on the particular broiler and your personal tastes.  Some people do not even use the broiler, and some use it for 2 minutes.  One challenge is that you are at maximum preheat, the broiler will not kick on right away.  No problem.  After sliding pie onto steel, the oven temp will drop and broiler will kick on in minute.  That is fine.  Some like to use broiler in middle or end of bake instead.  I have not noticed any difference.   I have played around with using the broiler for a little time before sliding the pie in, but I do not do that much any more, I do not think it mattered all that much.    Mark

Offline derricktung

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 511
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Chicago
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2013, 02:42:18 PM »
Thanks everyone for your replies. If you don't mind derricktung i have a question on how use the broiler? How exactly do you use the broiler when your cooking? Do you use it before you even slide the pie in so the metal plate is as hot as it can get or do you use it at the end when your cooking your pies to make sure the top of the crust gets really charred or do you use it the entire time? When you turn the broiler on do you leave the door open or closed?

Something i need to research is i have a convection oven and the question is should i be using that when i cook my pies. Currently i just use it to preheat my oven and turn it off before i slide the pie in.

The suggested practice by Andris, I believe, is to turn on the broiler two hours in advance to allow the stone to heat up.  If you have a convection oven, I've been turning my convection on as high as possible about 1.5 hours in advance (plenty of time for steel to reach temp), slide the pie in, switch to broiler, and then use a metal spatula to prop the oven open so the broiler doesn't cycle off. 

Other's have different tricks, such as wrapping a frozen towel around the heat register to continue forcing the heat to rise, removing the safety on your oven clean mode, etc.  the question to ask yourself is, "How obsessed am I, and do I feel lucky?" 

 :-D

Offline Ncage

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 11
  • Location: IL
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2013, 03:34:51 PM »
The suggested practice by Andris, I believe, is to turn on the broiler two hours in advance to allow the stone to heat up.  If you have a convection oven, I've been turning my convection on as high as possible about 1.5 hours in advance (plenty of time for steel to reach temp), slide the pie in, switch to broiler, and then use a metal spatula to prop the oven open so the broiler doesn't cycle off. 

Other's have different tricks, such as wrapping a frozen towel around the heat register to continue forcing the heat to rise, removing the safety on your oven clean mode, etc.  the question to ask yourself is, "How obsessed am I, and do I feel lucky?" 

 :-D

Very interesting. You prop your door open just a little to allow the heat to drop enough for the boiler element to kick on but not enough to loose the heat that you worked so hard to bring the oven up to. My oven, like most, has a notch when you go to open it about half way but i would think the temperature would drop way to much if you did that. Interesting ideo to just use a spatula so there is just a crack (just enough for the broiler element to kick on). That's why i originally thought maybe you should not even open the door because you would loose to much heat but just cracking it makes sense.

Ya probably not willing to go to those extreme measures to try to increase temperatures unless i try something outside on the grill :).
« Last Edit: April 19, 2013, 03:36:35 PM by Ncage »


Offline derricktung

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 511
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Chicago
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2013, 06:29:00 AM »
Very interesting. You prop your door open just a little to allow the heat to drop enough for the boiler element to kick on but not enough to loose the heat that you worked so hard to bring the oven up to. My oven, like most, has a notch when you go to open it about half way but i would think the temperature would drop way to much if you did that. Interesting ideo to just use a spatula so there is just a crack (just enough for the broiler element to kick on). That's why i originally thought maybe you should not even open the door because you would loose to much heat but just cracking it makes sense.

Ya probably not willing to go to those extreme measures to try to increase temperatures unless i try something outside on the grill :).

Yah.  I use a flat spatula with a wood handle (wood handle never gets hot), to cheat the system.  Works well.

I plan to retest on the Big Green Egg soon... assuming it ever stops snowing around here.  And if it doesn't, I"ll just have to fire up my new oven from Antoine/FGM! 

Offline deb415611

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1493
  • Location: CT
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2013, 06:43:52 AM »
love my baking steel as well.  I have settled into preheat using bake and turning onto broil just before launching.  I don't prop something in the door to keep the broiler on but will open the door to force it back on.

I have been really busy with work and haven't updated lately but here is my thread using my baking steel  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,22826.0.html


like Derrick I have thought about getting a second one
Deb

Offline Ncage

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 11
  • Location: IL
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2013, 02:16:10 PM »
Think i'm leaning towards the heavier one (1/2). If its going to last you a lifetime why not just get the heaviest one you can of course unless, for whatever reason, you need to move it often. Maybe i'll change my mind when i get it though :P.

Offline Chicago Bob

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12492
  • Location: Durham,NC
  • Easy peazzy
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2013, 03:22:52 PM »
Think i'm leaning towards the heavier one (1/2). If its going to last you a lifetime why not just get the heaviest one you can of course unless, for whatever reason, you need to move it often. Maybe i'll change my mind when i get it though :P.
Have you noticed folks are now buying them in 2 pieces to ease the weight problem?
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline Alex_Wood86

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 2
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2013, 08:45:01 AM »
I purchased the 1/4" Baking Steel about 3 months ago and absolutely love it. I make pizzas about once a week and I have been getting consistantly great results. The only two downsides are the preheat time, about an hour, and the cleaning. I have trouble getting burnt on sauce/cheese off of the steel even with the scrubbing stone. That being said, the spots where things are burned on have not affected the results of the pizzas. The things that I love most about the Baking Steel are the short cook times (about 2-3 minutes), fast temperature recovery time (2-3 minutes), and the great oven spring and char you get from the extremely hot surface. I do not use the broiler when using the baking steel, I just place it on the upper most rack in my oven and the radiant heat coming from the oven ceiling is enough to bake the tops of my pies. I have been wanting to try putting a stone on the top rack then putting the steel on the rack below it.

Here is the pie I made last night with my steel.

Offline Bende

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 36
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2013, 11:20:49 AM »
Hey guys - I have the 1/2 inch, and lately been having some issues with the bottom burning / cooking faster than the top.  I've been keeping it on the middle rack of my gas oven, and have measured it around 630 on the top of the steel after an hour pre-heating. 

My last few pies have been sticking to the steel and burning.

Anyone else experienced this?

Ben

Offline henkverhaar

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 59
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2013, 12:19:18 PM »
I have a piece of mild steel, from a local construction supplier, 10 mm thick, and I LOVE it. FOr pizza. My 1 inch chamotte stones still get used a lot for bread and such.

Offline deb415611

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1493
  • Location: CT
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2013, 12:56:38 PM »
Have you noticed folks are now buying them in 2 pieces to ease the weight problem?

i have seen people talk about it but I don't remember anyone that has actually done it (though it's possible I have missed it)
Deb


Offline RockyMountainPie

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 135
  • Location: Colorado
  • I Knead Pizza!
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2013, 03:26:42 AM »
Bende,

I have the 3/8" Baking Steel and also like it a lot -- much better than any pizza stone I've tried.  I start my pizzas on the steel and check the bottom of the pizza after a few minutes.  When the bottom looks "done" I use my metal peel to move the pizza to the empty oven rack which sits above the baking steel in order to finish off the rim / toppings.  This usually keeps the bottom of the pizza from getting over-done.

--Tim

Here's a Margherita I made last weekend:

Offline dmcavanagh

  • In Memoriam
  • Posts: 1912
  • Location: Glenmont, NY
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2013, 05:48:42 AM »
I'm not trying to be the contrarian here but the baking steel has not blown me away. I recently bought the new 3/8th inch "Modernist Cuisine" model, and although it does a nice job, it hasn't been earth changing on the difference in my pies. Perhaps my stone was a very high quality one, it came from Williams-Sonoma, but I have only reduced the bake time of my NY style by about a minute, and it comes with the very real risk of the bottom of the pie burning. I will continue to use the steel but my advice to anyone who owns a good stone is to continue to use it until it cracks before rushing out to buy a steel.
Rest In Peace - November 1, 2014

Offline communist

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 493
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2013, 09:21:14 AM »
the baking steel has not blown me away.  it hasn't been earth changing on the difference in my pies.
  As a committed 1/2 inch steel plate user, I respect your opinion.  I think steel can give the home pizza maker a "temperature kick' of close to 100 degrees ( with a 1/2 inch plate ).  This "kick" helps me get a crust that, although still thin, is a bit more light and puffy than I get on stone.  This subtle difference is key to me and others who strive for the elusive perfect NY pie.  For others, not as important, especially if you have a good stone and a home oven that can hit near 600 degrees.   Mark

Offline JD

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1919
  • Location: Long Island, NY
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2013, 05:12:18 PM »
I'm not trying to be the contrarian here but the baking steel has not blown me away. I recently bought the new 3/8th inch "Modernist Cuisine" model, and although it does a nice job, it hasn't been earth changing on the difference in my pies. Perhaps my stone was a very high quality one, it came from Williams-Sonoma, but I have only reduced the bake time of my NY style by about a minute, and it comes with the very real risk of the bottom of the pie burning. I will continue to use the steel but my advice to anyone who owns a good stone is to continue to use it until it cracks before rushing out to buy a steel.

I went from stone to steel as well, but I used 1/2" A36, not baking steel. I went from 9-10 minutes bakes with the stone @550 to 4 minutes if I wanted no sweat. My broiler is the only thing holding me back if I wanted to do any faster. My 1/2" steel is 18" x 22", so I have a lot of extra stored heat if needed so that may contribute to my faster bakes as well.

I guess my point is the 3/8" baking steel may not be the best example of what steel can really do.
 


Offline Chicago Bob

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 12492
  • Location: Durham,NC
  • Easy peazzy
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2013, 05:17:29 PM »
I went from stone to steel as well, but I used 1/2" A36, not baking steel. I went from 9-10 minutes bakes with the stone @550 to 4 minutes if I wanted no sweat. My broiler is the only thing holding me back if I wanted to do any faster. My 1/2" steel is 18" x 22", so I have a lot of extra stored heat if needed so that may contribute to my faster bakes as well.

I guess my point is the 3/8" baking steel may not be the best example of what steel can really do.
Not much difference between 3/8ths and 4/8ths there JD. But you make a good point...all ovens vary and I think that can be the limiting factor. I've seen some pretty nice pies baked on 1/4in plate too.  :chef:
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline Essen1

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3678
  • Location: SF Bay Area
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2013, 05:51:28 PM »
I'm not trying to be the contrarian here but the baking steel has not blown me away. I recently bought the new 3/8th inch "Modernist Cuisine" model, and although it does a nice job, it hasn't been earth changing on the difference in my pies. Perhaps my stone was a very high quality one, it came from Williams-Sonoma, but I have only reduced the bake time of my NY style by about a minute, and it comes with the very real risk of the bottom of the pie burning. I will continue to use the steel but my advice to anyone who owns a good stone is to continue to use it until it cracks before rushing out to buy a steel.

I second that.

I use mainly my kiln shelf for pizza but have also worked with my steel plate and so far the kiln shelf produces better results, more even results, imho.

However, I might have to go back to the steel and really put it through its paces.
Mike

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."  - Albert Einstein

scott123

  • Guest
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2013, 11:46:25 PM »
I'm not trying to be the contrarian here but the baking steel has not blown me away. I recently bought the new 3/8th inch "Modernist Cuisine" model, and although it does a nice job, it hasn't been earth changing on the difference in my pies. Perhaps my stone was a very high quality one, it came from Williams-Sonoma, but I have only reduced the bake time of my NY style by about a minute, and it comes with the very real risk of the bottom of the pie burning.

Dave, contrary to what you might read on Slice, steel is not a one size fits all solution.  It is only suitable for very particular oven owners with very particular goals. For these people, steel is a godsend, but, for anyone else, steel, at best, is unnecessary, and, at worse, counterproductive.

First off, you have to have a preference for 4 minute NY style pizza.  It's puffy, but generally not that crispy.  Very few people have tasted 4 minute pies, and, generally speaking, most love them when they try them, but, with some people, the conditioning towards golden brown and crispy is so strong, that 4 minutes doesn't thrill them.  For this group, steel is a complete waste of time.

Secondly, if your oven doesn't have a broiler in the main compartment do not buy steel.  Steel is a bottom browning accelerator.  The only way of matching the faster rate of bottom browning is by using the broiler at the same time (and positioning the stone close to the broiler so the broiler has plenty of impact).

Third,  your oven MUST hit 550 for that mystical 4 minute bake.  Mark (Communist) does his magic at 530, but, I think, just to be safe, 550 is about as low as you want to go. Kenji's 4 minute bakes at 450 have absolutely no correlation to the results members have seen on this forum. I think his non traditional formula might be part of the outlier equation, but there has to be more than that.  I definitely don't think he's stretching the truth or misrepresenting his equipment/results (he thought I was), but the bottom line is that his results are quite possibly the worst barometer for judging the effectiveness of steel at lower temps and lighter gauges.

Fourth, steel is only as good as the thickness you buy.  Unless one has an oven that can hit 600 (1 in 50 maybe?), 1/4" steel is garbage (and no better than less expensive cordierite).  3/8" is really cutting it close.  I've never recommended either thickness. 1/2" can be heavy, but if you cut it in half, it's far more manageable (thanks JD!).

Kenji has done the beginning pizzamaking community a tremendous disservice by implying that steel is for everyone.  It's not. It's miraculous for some, but not for all.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2013, 04:13:44 AM by scott123 »

Offline dmcavanagh

  • In Memoriam
  • Posts: 1912
  • Location: Glenmont, NY
Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2013, 06:22:45 AM »
Thanks Scott. Kenji is certainly not the one who influences my pizzamaking endeavors, I just had to try the steel for myself after hearing all the hype. At 22 pounds the 3/8" is as much weight as my oven rack can handle, as it is , the rack suffers a little bit of sag under the weight. I was a bit leary of the possibility of steel burning the bottom crust, as I have had the same experience with cast iron, and sure enough that is one of the biggest drawbacks of steel in a home oven. I'm not a fan of the broiler as in my case it is so unpredictable as to the timing of it's cycle. I overcome the lack of using a broiler for the most part, because I bake in the very small upper chamber of a dual oven, the heat is confined in a very small space, much like in a commercial deck oven. The final word, " buyer beware"!
Rest In Peace - November 1, 2014


 

pizzapan