Author Topic: 304 grade steel  (Read 1467 times)

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Offline Nor86

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304 grade steel
« on: July 04, 2013, 01:25:32 PM »
Hi,


I`am having a project to try to make a "perfect" stainless steel pizza baking plate, after I by a coincidence came over the modernist cuisine`s baking steel plate: "This solid alloy baking surface has a thermal conductivity (k) 18 times greater than that of a ceramic pizza stone, so pizzas cook faster and crispier." I thought when seeing that; hey I`ll buy one, but before customs it will cost me appr. 200USD(includes freight to Norway). But then I remember that the one vendor we use at work can fix anything mechanic/industrial. So he is making a prototype for me.

I`ve been researching quite a bit trying to find which steel to use and how to make it ready for food use. I ended up with stainless steel grade 304 (austenitic). Have any experience using this grade of steel? Any thought of the difference of 304 compared to A36 which I see a lot of people here use? 


Offline scott123

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Re: 304 grade steel
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2013, 01:33:24 PM »
Baking steel is really calling it an 'alloy?'  ::)  Sure, technically speaking, iron + carbon (steel) is an alloy, but, imo, it's really misleading to use a term that gives people the impression that it's anything other than mild A36 steel.

Nor86, don't waste your money on stainless. It gives you nothing. A36 is perfectly safe for food use- it's what just about every restaurant griddle is made out of here in the U.S.

Edit: 304 steel is safe for food.  But, still a waste of money.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2013, 01:41:10 PM by scott123 »

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: 304 grade steel
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2013, 01:51:52 PM »
Low carbon steel like A36 is MUCH more conductive than stainless - about 3X as conductive.

Cast Iron is around 55 W/(m*C)
Low carbon steel (A36) is about 45 W/(m*C)
Stainless is around 16 W/(m*C)
« Last Edit: July 04, 2013, 01:54:33 PM by TXCraig1 »
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Offline Nor86

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Re: 304 grade steel
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2013, 02:04:42 PM »
Thanks for the answers.

I will try the 304 now first as I will get a prototype for free, because the vendor is cutting so much steel of this grade anyway that it does`nt matter if they cut a slice for me.


Say if I go for an A36 plate. After it is cut what do you do with it to make it ready for use? How do I maintain it? Will it corrode/rust?

Offline scott123

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Re: 304 grade steel
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2013, 03:01:47 PM »
If the plate has mill scale (dark gray coating), then you want to soak it in vinegar overnight and give it a good scrubbing. Otherwise, if the steel is clean, I would take a very simple approach to seasoning it- wipe on an extremely thin layer of oil before baking the first couple times you use it. Unlike cast iron, where you need a thick layer of seasoning for non stick properties, steel only needs to be sealed/protected from the elements.

Btw, it sounds like you won't be shopping for A36 anytime soon, but, before you do, make sure your setup is appropriate for steel.  Steel isn't the answer for everyone.  If you're cursed with a weak 260C (500F) or less home oven, steel won't do much for you. Also, if your oven doesn't have a top heat source (broiler), then steel isn't recommended there either.

Offline Nor86

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Re: 304 grade steel
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2013, 03:42:47 PM »
OK. My oven can go to 275C and has a broiler. So I guess that should be sufficient?   What would you say is ideal temperature?

Which oil is recommended for seasoning? Just a regular food oil?



Offline scott123

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Re: 304 grade steel
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2013, 06:40:29 PM »
Any food oil is fine. Just make sure it's refined/not cloudy/not extra virgin.

The 'ideal' temperature depends on what style of pizza you're shooting for?  Do you know what kind of pizza you're hoping to make?

Offline Nor86

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Re: 304 grade steel
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2013, 01:26:06 PM »
I`m become very fond of California style pizza. Love the Tony`s famous Cholula spicy chicken pizza(from Pizza by Tony Gemignani). Also the Thai curry chicken pizza from the same book is delicious! I see in the receipe it says 500fahrenheit/260C. But I guess if I go for 275C that should be good. I`ll try anyway.

Offline scott123

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Re: 304 grade steel
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2013, 04:25:41 PM »
California style pizza can vary, but, for the most part, it's NY style with crazy toppings.

With that in mind, you'll want to pre-heat the plate to it's highest setting. If you're looking for the greatest flexibility in bake times, such as the 4-5 minute pizza that some members here enjoy, you'll want a36, since the lower conductivity of 304 won't give you those bakes times at 275C.

Btw, just to confirm, you are using 304 steel that's 1/4" (6.3mm) thick or thicker, correct? Any thinner than that and it's pretty much worthless for California style pizza- it won't have enough thermal mass to bake an entire pie.

Offline Nor86

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Re: 304 grade steel
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2013, 04:40:29 PM »
I have not received the plate, but I have asked for thickness of 10mm.


Offline synaesthesia

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Re: 304 grade steel
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2013, 04:58:29 PM »
Nor86.  For maximum return as a baking plate the equivalent spec to A36 is '250' grade mild steel, if your foundries and cutters use '304' as a spec they will know instantly what '204' is, that's the UK/EU spec. Stainless Steel is less conductive than mild steel, I had both cut - the SS one fits on my weber200 as a griddle plate and the MS one is in the oven, and I had a smoker device profile cut too, my steel cutters had a minimum charge ...
« Last Edit: July 11, 2013, 05:00:25 PM by synaesthesia »

Offline james456

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Re: 304 grade steel
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2013, 05:33:03 PM »

...If you're cursed with a weak 260C (500F) or less home oven, steel won't do much for you. ...

I have a 250c oven and have cooked great pizzas using terracota tiles and a coordinate stone respectively.

Nor86 and others, on this forum you're likely to encounter those who think a pizza is ruined if it cooks for longer than 2.12 milliseconds above a 3 minute bake.

Using a steel stone in a 250c oven is the best thing you can do to produce the best pizza you can.

Offline shuboyje

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Re: 304 grade steel
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2013, 08:44:15 PM »
Yeah shame on him for not overstating his claims and making sure people are not left disappointed with the techniques and materials he recommends.  I sure wish he would operate like a sleazy snake oil salesman. 

I have a 250c oven and have cooked great pizzas using terracota tiles and a coordinate stone respectively.

Nor86 and others, on this forum you're likely to encounter those who think a pizza is ruined if it cooks for longer than 2.12 milliseconds above a 3 minute bake.

Using a steel stone in a 250c oven is the best thing you can do to produce the best pizza you can.
-Jeff

Offline Nor86

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Re: 304 grade steel
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2013, 05:26:25 AM »
Synaesthesia, as I can see 304 is better than 204. Though they are almost the same thermal vise.


Steel Grade 204   Thermal Conductivity   15 W/m.K              ~ Similar mechanical & physical properties to 300 series


Steel Grade 304   Thermal Conductivity   16.2 W/m.K

In this international comparison guide only one steel grade is compared to A36 and that is a JIS type.
http://www.ejsong.com/mdme/memmods/MEM30007A/steel/steel_files/XLER_International_Compare.pdf


The equivelant grade for A36 is EU standards as I can find when "googling":



http://www.ourmetals.cn/index.php?cat=20&subcat=186&c=england&t=501&mode=steel_grade2007:
"
The European equivalent to ASTM A36 and 1018
Unfortunately the both grades have not exact European equivalents. The closest to ASTM A36 (SHAPES) is S235J0.
Information is taken from
WinSteel[/font] software
"


Steel Grade S235J0   Thermal Conductivity   16-18 / 20-25 W/m.K[/size]
[/font]

Offline synaesthesia

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Re: 304 grade steel
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2013, 01:51:03 PM »
Sorry Nor86  my error,  my life oscillates between AU and UK, 250 is the AU/NZ spec, and the JIS equivalent of A36 should be 400.