I'm taking my first baby-steps into this world this weekend...sorry to hijack this thread, but---
So you don't put any buffer in between the pizza and the steel/stone? Not even oil?
If I were to go the "steel" way, where could I get such a piece of steel? Home Depot?
Is there any danger in using the steel (i.e., toxins being cooked into the pizza or fumes filling the room)?
You definitely DO NOT want to use oil on a stone, because the stone, being porous, will absorb the oil, which will not only gunk up the stone and, over time, turn rancid, but could also create a fire hazard.
With stones, normally, the pizza sits directly on the stone. Parchment or a screen can be used as a buffer, but they're usually employed to make it easier to transfer the pizza from the peel to the stone rather than as a buffer.
A properly seasoned steel or cast iron does not require additional oil (unless you want to "fry" the crust, such as in a Pizza Hut-style pan pizza, but in that case, you're not preheating the pan). You could also use parchment or a screen with a steel or cast iron slab, but it's probably not a good idea to use oil on a preheated slab steel/cast iron, since most vegetable oils and shortenings have smoke points between 200°-420° F, and at 585°, you're starting to push the flash point (the temp. at which the oil ignites).
Unless the steel/iron is coated, it should not give off any fumes or other noxious substances, however, manufacturers of cast iron cookware recommend scrubbing the cookware thoroughly with hot, soapy water, then drying it on the stovetop or in an oven before seasoning it. The pre-cleaning and seasoning should take care of any residual compounds on the surface left over from manufacturing, shipping, and storage. If you're still worried about possible contaminants, you could bake the sucker on a grill or stick it in a live fire covered with glowing coals for a couple of hours before seasoning it.