Author Topic: BakingSteel?  (Read 3764 times)

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Offline Ncage

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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

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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

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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

Online pizzaboyfan

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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

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Re: BakingSteel?
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2013, 11:59:12 AM »
Any specific brands, sellers you prefer?

Offline Ncage

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Offline Ncage

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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

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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?
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Offline Alex_Wood86

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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

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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

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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

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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)

Offline RockyMountainPie

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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

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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.

Offline communist

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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