Author Topic: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan  (Read 1718 times)

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Offline NInaPisa

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Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« on: October 25, 2013, 10:54:20 AM »
Is a cast iron pizza pan as good as a pizza stone?  Does it absorb moisture also?


Offline bmd38

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2015, 05:05:06 PM »
I use a cast iron and i love it. my crust comes out very crisp.

Offline David Esq.

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2015, 07:43:21 AM »
Cast iron won't absorb water. It isn't porous. But it has handles and makes good pizza.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2015, 08:38:24 AM »
Is a cast iron pizza pan as good as a pizza stone?  Does it absorb moisture also?

It's probably better than nothing in many cases, but a cast iron pan simply doesn't have enough mass in the bottom to do much as a pizza stone.

If a pizza stone absorbs any water, the amount is trivial. Water doesn't exist in a liquid state in a hot pizza stone.
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Offline jsaras

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2015, 09:42:30 AM »
It's hard to compare because some stones are really thin and don't have enough mass either. 

The Lodge 14-inch cast iron pizza pan is essentially the same as 1/4 inch steel; too thin for great pizzas. 
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2015, 09:45:56 AM »
It's hard to compare because some stones are really thin and don't have enough mass either. 

That's a great point. "Pizza stone" as a generic term is pretty meaningless. Most of the stones you find in retail stores are a waste of money.
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2015, 10:28:29 AM »
Scott (scott123) was not a proponent of the porous stone theory. See, for example:

Reply 13 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=13819.msg145398#msg145398

Reply 22 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=11994.msg123518#msg123518

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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2015, 11:45:04 AM »
There are a lot of people who believe that a pizza stone absorbs moisture, but a quick look at the math makes it obvious that it's simply not the case.

At one atmosphere, the density of steam is about 0.6kg/m^3 or 0.006g/cm^3. Say you have a typical decent stone (0.5" x 16" x 14"), that would be 1,835cm^3. The mass of water at operating temps that could occupy that volume if there was NO stone is 1.1g. Now consider that probably 99+% of the volume is stone - and it's probably more like 99.9%, but for the sake of argument assume there is 1% open space, if it was fully saturated, it could hold 0.1g water. I'd guess that the water absorbed from a pizza by the stone is meaningfully less than 0.01g.
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Offline David Esq.

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2015, 10:15:51 AM »
I must be missing something. How can the mass of water that occupies 1800 cubic centimeters weigh anything less than 1.8 kilograms?


Online mitchjg

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2015, 10:20:12 AM »
I must be missing something. How can the mass of water that occupies 1800 cubic centimeters weigh anything less than 1.8 kilograms?

That is the "occupancy rate" (density) at room temperature, not oven temperature.
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Offline David Esq.

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Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2015, 11:31:39 AM »
I would bet a LOT of of money that if you weighed a pizza stone dry vs one that was soaked in water, you would find the absorbed water to be far more than you are calculating.

I'd think a hot sponge still absorbs water.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2015, 11:34:44 AM by David Esq. »

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2015, 11:32:58 AM »
I must be missing something. How can the mass of water that occupies 1800 cubic centimeters weigh anything less than 1.8 kilograms?

If the temperature is greater than 100C.
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2015, 11:33:50 AM »
I would bet a LOT of of money that if you weighed a pizza stone dry vs one that was soaked in water, you would find the absorbed water to be far more than you are calculating.

Now heat it to 500F, and I bet it weighs a lot less. For all intents and purposes you will find zero liquid water in a hot pizza stone.
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2015, 11:40:41 AM »
I must be missing something. How can the mass of water that occupies 1800 cubic centimeters weigh anything less than 1.8 kilograms?

For that matter, if it's below 0C, it would weigh significantly less than 1.8kg too...
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Online mitchjg

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2015, 04:31:06 PM »
Perhaps someone in this forum can claim greater knowledge (or imagination) of the physics of baking stones than than that possessed by the folks at Fibrament.  Having said that, here is what they say in a Q&A:

"
Some baking stone suppliers state their material absorbs moisture during the baking process. Is this the case with FibraMent?
Baking stones provide even, direct heat from the bottom of the stone. Consistent thermal conductivity ensures that the toppings and dough finish baking at the same time. Baking stones do NOT draw moisture out of the dough. Rather, good quality baking stones bake through the dough at a even pace. It's hard to imagine a stone heated up to 600F can absorb moisture. Moisture evaporates very quickly at those temperatures.
"

http://bakingstone.com/faq/
Mitch

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2015, 06:15:54 PM »
This is pretty simple physics. It's really easy to figure out how much water your stone could absorb under the most ideal situation. Do like David suggested and weigh the stone, then let it soak for a few hours, then weigh it again. However much it increases is weight of liquid water it can absorb. Now multiply that by 0.006 and that is how much water it could possibly hold if completely saturated with steam. My guess is that the final total is less than 0.1g - and that assumes every cubic centimeter of the stone is saturated with steam which is a completely unrealistic assumption. I'm sticking with my original guess of "meaningfully less than 0.01g." The more I think about it, the more I think "meaningfully less" means something closer to 0.000001g - 1g (microgram).

Another bit of basic physics: PV=nRT. As Temperature increases, if there is nothing to contain the gas, pressure will remain more or less constant and volume will increase - or vice versa at a constant volume. Let's say some steam or water vapor enters the stone from the pizza. Unless the stone is cooler than the pizza, the temperature of the steam/water vapor will increase. Since there is nothing containing the steam on the top side of the stone, the volume of steam will increase and pressure will remain more or less constant. The net effect is that most water that enters the stone is forced OUT.
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Offline David Esq.

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2015, 08:47:19 AM »
Just make sure you dry the stone out at low heat to keep it from cracking before using it at high heat.  I don't think many people use their stone at 600 degrees and in fact, many probably don't keep there oven above 450. Add to that, that many don't let the stone get saturated and I would wager that the stone is closer to 350 than 600 when the dough hits the pan and immediately drops to 300. And their pizza is mediocre as a result. But I wonder if their crust is less soggy than if they used a metal pan


Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2015, 09:13:35 AM »
I don't think many people use their stone at 600 degrees and in fact, many probably don't keep there oven above 450. Add to that, that many don't let the stone get saturated and I would wager that the stone is closer to 350 than 600 when the dough hits the pan and immediately drops to 300. And their pizza is mediocre as a result. But I wonder if their crust is less soggy than if they used a metal pan


I suspect that you are probably right about all of that. Notwithstanding, even at 300 the same thing describe above will happen. The crust may be different than if baked in a metal pan, AOTBE, but I bet it has more to do with differences in the quantity of stored heat and thermal conductivity.
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Offline David Esq.

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2015, 09:46:34 AM »
It is odd to me that every website from slice on up to American kitchens say that stones absorb moisture.  Would be cool to weigh them hot and and after use. But I ain't going to do it.

Online mitchjg

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2015, 11:10:47 AM »
It is odd to me that every website from slice on up to American kitchens say that stones absorb moisture.  Would be cool to weigh them hot and and after use. But I ain't going to do it.

I am not sure if it is "every" website.  Certainly, not the website from the manufacturer of baking stones that makes Fibrament (quoted above).  Regardless, would you please provide the links to America Test Kitchens and Slice?  I subscribe to Cooks Illustrated and I read the article on baking stones.  The only transference that I saw discussed was heat transference, not water.  For example, Cooks Illustrated said: "Baking stones simulate a brick oven in your home oven, absorbing and radiating intense, consistent heat to produce crisp, golden-brown pizza, calzones, and bread. "

Pizza stones are porous, so they do absorb moisture at room temperature and thereabouts.  But, the situation at hand is when you are baking a pizza (or bread, etc.) on a stone that has been preheated to several hundred degrees, way over boiling point.  And the oven is at that temperature.  A 500 degree stone absorbing water seems to be a phenomenon not supported by the laws of physics (even if some random food blogger made a statement).

Moisture may be rapidly leaving the dough.  More rapidly than otherwise with a stone.  But, this is not the same as the stone absorbing the moisture.

I do not understand why you find it "odd" and have difficulty accepting this logic.



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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2015, 12:55:56 PM »
It is odd to me that every website from slice on up to American kitchens say that stones absorb moisture.  Would be cool to weigh them hot and and after use. But I ain't going to do it.

I don't know why that would be odd. Pretty much everything written about pizza on pretty much every website is wrong.
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Offline David Esq.

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2015, 01:20:28 PM »
The more relevant question is, has anybody put steel in their wood fired oven rather than cooking on the brick?

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2015, 01:26:19 PM »
The more relevant question is, has anybody put steel in their wood fired oven rather than cooking on the brick?

At what temperature?
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Pizza stone vs cast iron pizza pan
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2015, 01:26:58 PM »
Every one of these mentions the absorption of water.

So it isn't random bloggers only.

Amazing how much ignorance is out there, isn't it.
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