Author Topic: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates  (Read 10003 times)

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Offline mbrulato

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1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« on: September 13, 2013, 07:03:08 PM »
Thanks to scott123 for the help and encouragement to order steel plates for my oven.  For my oven setup, I used four 1/2" square steel bars cut at 22" wide to raise the steel plates up enough to fit over the lip on my oven rack. It also allowed me to order a much deeper plate which helps with the heat transfer, as well as being able to bake larger pies. I had two steel plates (hot rolled) cut because one sheet would be way too heavy.  One measured 9"x19"x1/2" and the other measured 8"x19"x1/2" because the max depth for my oven is 17 1/4" and I didn't want the steel to touch the glass on my door.  I entertained buying from Baking Steel but I went with a local steel fabricator who turned my order around in one hour and it was only $60 plus tax for the 4 bars and 2 plates.  I got it this morning!

I used sand paper, steel wool, soap, water and then white vinegar to wipe off any remaining mill scale.  I dried everything thing really well and then applied a thin coat of vegetable oil with a microfiber cloth to season.  See below before and after pictures as well as some pictures of my first few pies using the steel plates.  The last picture shows how after just one use, it became very dark.  I have to say it made a huge difference in the underskirt browning as well as the cornicione.  There are a few adjustments I know that I need to make to my workflow, but each time will get better and better.  I know I made the right choice because my 8 year old daughter who never gives compliments said to me, "mommy, why can't you just make the pizza this way all the time?!"  She made my day  ;)
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 11:57:53 AM by mbrulato »
Mary Ann


Offline mkevenson

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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2013, 07:14:14 PM »
Very nice, CLEAN oven, nice steel and good looking pie. Thanks for sharing.
Mark
"Gettin' better all the time" Beatles

Offline mbrulato

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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2013, 07:20:31 PM »
LOL, Mark.  You should have seen it before yesterday's self cleaning cycle :-D
Mary Ann

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2013, 07:23:18 PM »
Very nice.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline Johnny the Gent

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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2013, 07:36:05 PM »
You so nailed that pie. Way to break in the steel!
Il miglior fabbro

Offline mbrulato

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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2013, 09:39:18 PM »
Thanks!
Mary Ann

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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2013, 07:43:11 AM »
Wow, normally there's a bit of a learning curve when using steel, but you seem to be up to speed right out of the gate.

You used convection, right?  As I said in my other post, you might want to move the plate to a higher shelf and see how the broiler works.

Bake time?

It sounds a bit like your family was gushing more than you.  This wasn't the best pizza you've ever had?

Offline deb415611

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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2013, 07:47:17 AM »
Thanks to scott123 for the help and encouragement to order steel plates for my oven.  For my oven setup, I used four 1/2" square steel bars cut at 22" wide to raise the steel plates up enough to fit over the lip on my oven rack. It also allowed me to order a much deeper plate which helps with the heat transfer. 

awesome idea! 

Very nice pizza!

Offline mbrulato

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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2013, 08:33:37 AM »
Wow, normally there's a bit of a learning curve when using steel, but you seem to be up to speed right out of the gate.

You used convection, right?  As I said in my other post, you might want to move the plate to a higher shelf and see how the broiler works.

Bake time?

It sounds a bit like your family was gushing more than you.  This wasn't the best pizza you've ever had?

Scott,

I did move it up so that the top of the skin was exactly 7" from the broiler.  Almost pulled out my back in the process! My first pizza was just ok and I think it was because I tried the broiler and I was nervouse because I've never used the broiler before on my pizza. The second pizza with the pepperoni was the best out of the four I made.  I've always made about a 14" pizza because of the limitations of my round pizza stone.  I need to get used to making 17" pies and probably buy a bigger peel and some bigger pizza plates.  It's pretty cool that I can make a pie that big thanks to new dimensions given by my steel plate.

When I used my pizza stone, I used to preheat at 550 convection for an hour and my NY bake times were about 6 minutes.  The steel plate using the same temp brought the bake time down significantly to about 4 minutes.  Next week I'm going to try hitting the plate with the broiler for about 5 minutes before I launch the pies and then change it back to convection setting.  By then I should have the IR thermometer so I can track steel temps.  Even using the KASL my crust overall was better, it browned nicely while remaining tender on the inside.  I think I might be ready to get the Best Bakers flour very soon.  I did enjoy the pizzas as much as my family and I'm glad I have the steel  :chef:

I baked the pies around 5pm yesterday and at about 9:30pm I opened the oven to see if the plate had cooled down and it was still pretty hot to the touch.  What does that say for the heat transfer of the steel plates?  Anyone who is on the fence about steel plates, I can say that it is a great tool for making pizza if you have the resources available to you IMHO!

Mary Ann
Mary Ann

Offline JD

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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2013, 09:02:17 AM »
Wow is right, you have been really busy in the past few days. That picture is spot on and I'm kind've surprised at your undercrust shot for a 4 minute bake. Mine has always been high in contrast (black spots & blonde crust, no in-between), yours looks perfect for my tastes.

Great job
Josh


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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2013, 09:16:47 AM »
That picture is spot on and I'm kind've surprised at your undercrust shot for a 4 minute bake.

Josh, for what's it worth, that appearance is pretty typical for my 4 minute bakes- perhaps even a little bit more contrasty than what I see at 4-4.5 minutes.

scott123

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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2013, 09:17:57 AM »
Mary Ann, what size pizza did you make? Is that 17"? How was the texture? Was it a little bit chewy or just right?

Offline JD

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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2013, 09:32:55 AM »
Josh, for what's it worth, that appearance is pretty typical for my 4 minute bakes- perhaps even a little bit more contrasty than what I see at 4-4.5 minutes.

My oven must run wayy hotter than I realize. I knew I was a little high, but my pizza would start burning at 2.5 minutes and be inedible after 3 minutes. I think it has something to do with creating a false oven underneath the steel...



Josh

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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2013, 09:41:40 AM »
Are you using an IR thermometer?  525 is the highest I'd go with 1/2" steel and even that might be pushing it.

Now, there is a formula related aspect as well. Lower hydrations and higher protein flours burn faster and both sugar and fat accelerate browning, but I don't think your varying results are formula related.

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2013, 09:51:36 AM »
Good job Mary Ann.  Looks delicious!

Offline mbrulato

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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2013, 10:22:05 AM »
Scott,

The pepperoni was about 14" - the texture and taste were the best. And the other 3 pies were between 16 and 17". Those didn't turn out as good (looking) as the pepperoni pie, but still tasted good.  Not sure what happened there.  I think I need lots more practice in the stretching department...

Mary Ann
Mary Ann

Offline mbrulato

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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2013, 10:27:14 AM »
Are you using an IR thermometer?  525 is the highest I'd go with 1/2" steel and even that might be pushing it.

Now, there is a formula related aspect as well. Lower hydrations and higher protein flours burn faster and both sugar and fat accelerate browning, but I don't think your varying results are formula related.

Scott,

I know your response was meant for Josh, but do you think I shouldn't go past 525 too?  Like I said earlier, I will measure temp next week when I get IR thermometer.  I used 550 convection for at least an hour. The plate was still warm before I started preheat because it was still in the oven from the seasoning I did in the early afternoon.  Should I drop the temp for next week's bakes?

Mary Ann
Mary Ann

Offline mbrulato

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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2013, 10:28:31 AM »
Good job Mary Ann.  Looks delicious!

Thanks, Chau.  It was delicious!
Mary Ann

scott123

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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2013, 10:38:18 AM »
Mary Ann, if you're used to stretching 14" pies, 17" is going to be rough- as you experienced. It will take some time to master stretching. Once you get into bromated flour that will help  ;D

That undercrust looks about right.  If you used a 550 convection preheat, I'd stick to that.  Once you get the IR thermometer, you should have a better idea of what's going on. In my experience, convection settings tend to run a bit cool, so I wouldn't be surprised if you're in the 525 realm on your actual plate temp.

Offline Jinhua

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Re: 1st Bake with my Steel Plates
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2013, 12:40:59 PM »
Mary Ann, you are an inspiration to a beginner like me.  I admire your determination and willingness to try new things.  I also envy your clean oven.  My Viking Propane oven has no self cleaning mode, so the ghosts of thanksgivings past live there.  Might make for interesting flavor notes.

I will follow your progress.