Author Topic: Two 1/4-inch Baking Steels vs. One 1/2-inch Baking Steel  (Read 1786 times)

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Offline ryansm

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Two 1/4-inch Baking Steels vs. One 1/2-inch Baking Steel
« on: June 25, 2013, 02:11:13 PM »
Hi Everyone,

I've been using a 1/4-inch baking steel with decent results, and I recently got another as a gift. I've read a lot about 1/2-inch steel being the ideal, and I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts about stacking two 1/4-inch steels?

I obviously don't expect two quarter inch steels to perform exactly the same as one half inch steel, but surely there must be some benefit, such as the bottom steel conducting heat to the top as it's lost during cooking?

Has any tried this or have any advice or thoughts?

Thanks!
Ryan


Offline dhorst

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Re: Two 1/4-inch Baking Steels vs. One 1/2-inch Baking Steel
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2013, 02:42:36 PM »
Interesting.  Will the top steel rest flush on the bottom? If there's some air space between them there will be an insulation factor, I think.  Correct me if I'm wrong anyone.  I'm just thinking about "double panning" bread and rolls when I worked in a restaurant that had an oven that ran hot on the bottom.

If there is going to be a small gap, you might think about flipping the bottom steel over, so it's flat.  I really haven't checked them out enough--is there a lip at all on the top of the steel?  Also, I might suggest that if you aren't afraid of moving some very hot items, that you pre-heat the steels on separate racks before stacking them for maximum temp with minimum time and then place them together.  Correct me anyone if I am wrong--and please don't move smokin' hot steel without adequate hot mitts/towels.  Safety first!

I'm not sure what it would get you, but check out some of Kenji's reviews on Slice, and it would probably give you some direction.

Offline ryansm

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Re: Two 1/4-inch Baking Steels vs. One 1/2-inch Baking Steel
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2013, 02:59:37 PM »
Good point about an air gap causing insulation. I just checked and there's a gap of about half a millimeter in the middle. There are no rims on the steels, just a tiny gap caused by, I'm guessing, the level of accuracy chosen to be used at the mill.

Offline mkevenson

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Re: Two 1/4-inch Baking Steels vs. One 1/2-inch Baking Steel
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2013, 03:30:11 PM »
Ryan, some time ago I had asked about stacking pizza stones. I remember that the reply was not so favorable. I will continue to look for the thread and get some specifics. Since you have 2 steels already why don't you do some experiments and report your findings here. ;D
 
Mark
"Gettin' better all the time" Beatles

Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: Two 1/4-inch Baking Steels vs. One 1/2-inch Baking Steel
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2013, 04:54:33 PM »
Since you have 2 steels already why don't you do some experiments and report your findings here. ;D
 
Mark

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Offline redox

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Re: Two 1/4-inch Baking Steels vs. One 1/2-inch Baking Steel
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2013, 05:23:04 PM »
Hi Everyone,

I've been using a 1/4-inch baking steel with decent results, and I recently got another as a gift. I've read a lot about 1/2-inch steel being the ideal, and I was wondering if anyone has any thoughts about stacking two 1/4-inch steels?

I obviously don't expect two quarter inch steels to perform exactly the same as one half inch steel, but surely there must be some benefit, such as the bottom steel conducting heat to the top as it's lost during cooking?

Has any tried this or have any advice or thoughts?

Thanks!
Ryan
If two steels don't work out for you, you'll have no trouble selling one on this site. Ahem...how far from NW Ohio are you?

Offline ryansm

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Re: Two 1/4-inch Baking Steels vs. One 1/2-inch Baking Steel
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2013, 05:30:58 PM »
I'm all for experimenting once it gets cool enough to do, but until then, any information, theories, or past trials would be great!

scott123

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Re: Two 1/4-inch Baking Steels vs. One 1/2-inch Baking Steel
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2013, 02:45:15 AM »
Ryan, stacking steel, and the impact of the gap, is unknown/untested.  My concern is that the areas where the steel touches will transfer considerably more heat than where it doesn't touch, and the top steel might not be able to transfer that heat evenly, giving you hot spots.  But that's just a theory.

I've theorized about a few possible materials to use as a thermal compound between the two steels, but that, again, is just theory.

What's not theory, though, is the importance of pizza size with New Haven pizza.  A big part of what makes Polishpizza's pizza so great is their size- 17.5".  14 x 16 is way too small for NH (and NY, for that matter).  So, since you'll be needing a larger steel anyway, you might as well get a 18 x 18 x .5 one (or as big as your oven will allow).

Offline ryansm

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Re: Two 1/4-inch Baking Steels vs. One 1/2-inch Baking Steel
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2013, 08:39:14 AM »
Good points, Scott. I'll test it out once it cools down enough for some pizza making and report my results. Hopefully I can give it a go over the weekend.

As for the size of the steel, of course bigger would be better, but I'm limited by the size of my apartment's oven. My goal is to do the best with what I have, not try to perfectly emulate any particular style or restaurant, but rather, to take inspiration from them.

I'd appreciate any thoughts on an ideal testing design. One thought I had was to crumble small pieces of aluminum foil and place those around the area where the gap is, then put the top steel down to crush those to minimize the gap and maximize conductivity. It wouldn't completely remove the gap, of course, but since the gap seems to be mostly in the middle, I would think it would help even things out. Or maybe lots of foil in between the entire surface could help thermal transfer and even out gaps? My background is in social science, not physical science, so I'd love to hear any suggestions or ideas.

scott123

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Re: Two 1/4-inch Baking Steels vs. One 1/2-inch Baking Steel
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2013, 12:55:17 PM »
Ryan, as far as ideas go, aluminum foil isn't bad.  As long as you keep the foil only in the gap area and don't increase the gap at all, I think it should help.


Offline ryansm

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Re: Two 1/4-inch Baking Steels vs. One 1/2-inch Baking Steel
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2013, 11:12:37 AM »
So I had a chance to give this a try, and the single 1/4-inch steel won out over the two 1/4-inch steels in a big way. Not only in ease of set-up, but also in terms of the finished pizza's looks and taste.

Before preheating the double steels, I carefully filled the small air gaps between the two with aluminum foil, and nearly eliminated all visible gaps. I cranked the oven and let the double steels heat up for at least an hour before cooking a pizza. After the pizza finished, I removed the top steel and let the single steel heat up for about an hour, and cooked another pizza. Same dough, same toppings, same everything.

I'm not even going to pretend this was even a remotely controlled experiment: I didn't measure starting temperatures, recovery times, or anything like that. I just allowed both set-ups to get as hot as they could, then cooked.

I'm guessing any kind of gap/air insulation between the two sheets outweighs any potential benefits of the added thermal mass. Anyway, here are some comparison pics. I'll put similar shots in pairs; the first shot in each pair is from the double steel set-up, the second shot from the single steel.


Offline mkevenson

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Re: Two 1/4-inch Baking Steels vs. One 1/2-inch Baking Steel
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2013, 11:21:27 AM »
Interesting that the top of the cornice is darker with the single. I would think that indicates that the air temp inside the oven was higher. Any ideas?


Mark
"Gettin' better all the time" Beatles


 

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