Author Topic: Using copper pans to bake pizza  (Read 1599 times)

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Offline usemobile

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Using copper pans to bake pizza
« on: October 28, 2013, 02:46:44 PM »
Hello

I am new the forum and like to know some experiences of baking a pizza in Copper pan and using normal Conventional oven?

As far a i know copper is good for Heat transparent so How it effect in pizza cooking

Any information is appreciated

RK


Offline mkevenson

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2013, 04:01:02 PM »
I love using copper for sauces, nice heat distribution. Don't think that I would push copper to pizza baking temps tho, never tried, but ........ ???
 
Mark
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2013, 05:48:14 PM »
Copper is very conductive - on the order of 10X low carbon steel. However I doubt that your pans have enough mass to store sufficient heat. Not only will they have much less mass than a typical steel plate, steel has a higher specific heat capacity.

If you had a suitable mass of copper, I suspect it would prove to be way too conductive.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline usemobile

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2013, 06:19:42 AM »
Copper is very conductive - on the order of 10X low carbon steel. However I doubt that your pans have enough mass to store sufficient heat. Not only will they have much less mass than a typical steel plate, steel has a higher specific heat capacity.

If you had a suitable mass of copper, I suspect it would prove to be way too conductive.

I would you like to Copper outside and inside tinned with steel to avoid acidic problems... Have you ever tried on copper pans


Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2013, 08:30:24 AM »
I would you like to Copper outside and inside tinned with steel to avoid acidic problems... Have you ever tried on copper pans

Yes, but I''m not sure where you are going with it. The point of copper pans is even heat not stored heat.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline usemobile

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2013, 10:00:30 AM »
Yes, but I''m not sure where you are going with it. The point of copper pans is even heat not stored heat.

point is, I am thinking if was copper pans for pizza heat is distributed evenly and cooked well and offcourse tasty (because most chefs use copper vessel for cooking to get taste and even cooking)

What do you think ?

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2013, 04:53:51 PM »
point is, I am thinking if was copper pans for pizza heat is distributed evenly and cooked well and offcourse tasty (because most chefs use copper vessel for cooking to get taste and even cooking)

What do you think ?

First of all, a copper pan does not add any flavor. Copper is popular for cooking because of the even heat distribution which is a function of its high conductivity. Also, copper pans (or most any pans for that matter) typically do not have a high capacity for heat storage.  It's not important for their function - in fact it would be a negative. For baking pizza, you need a different set of physical properties that for making sauce Hollandaise.

When I'm using a pan to make a sauce for example, I don't need the pan to store heat. I have all the heat I need in the burner right below the pan.  If my pan stores a lot of heat, I lose the ability to precisely control the temperature. What I need from the pan is even heat so I don't have hot spots that scorch the sauce or make scrambled eggs out of my Hollandaise.

Baking a pizza is very different. In the oven, you need to store a lot of heat in the baking surface (stone, metal, etc) because it is going to transfer heat into the pizza much faster than the oven can transfer heat back into the baking surface. There simply isn't enough mass in a copper pan to be of any value for baking a pizza. It can't store enough heat. Even if you had a copper plate with enough mass to store suitable heat, it would be way too conductive and completely burn the bottom of your pizza long before the top was done.

We know steel works; it provides a decent balance between bottom heat conduction and IR heat from the broiler. What would be gained by increasing the conductivity below by 1000% without any way to correspondingly increase the top heat?


Pizza is not bread.

Offline PizzaCzar

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2013, 08:42:11 AM »
Though I have been cooking for over 30 years and making pizza for nearly as long, I am new to the thoughts here from the many pizza experts.

I have always used a stone for my pizza but am trying to wrap my mind around as many new ideas as possible with still making cooking fun.

If one was to use a stainless lined copper pan, how much different would it be than a steel pan? You would simply gain some conductivity, no? Pizza is a thin, fast food to cook. My pizza`s, I thought cooked from the oven temp. Not sure what you mean by "........ IR heat from the broiler". If copper helps transmit that temp to the food faster, more even. etc..... Seems all the better.

I say any doubter's that copper is a bad idea, with a hankering to use copper, go for it. Try it. Experiment. The worse that can happen is you made a bad pie that, my guess, will taste good anyway. Maybe copper warrants a certain technique? The best thing that can happen is you learned something and you can teach the rest of us!

Czar
« Last Edit: November 02, 2013, 08:44:38 AM by PizzaCzar »

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2013, 02:49:24 PM »
Pizza is a thin, fast food to cook. My pizza`s, I thought cooked from the oven temp. Not sure what you mean by "........ IR heat from the broiler". If copper helps transmit that temp to the food faster, more even. etc..... Seems all the better.

ďoven tempĒ is a misnomer for the radiation (thermal IR) from the oven walls and convection (natural or forced).  A stone, steel, copper, etc. adds meaningful conduction to the mix, and as you noted, helps transmit that [heat] to the food faster.

Home ovens are inherently imbalanced for pizza. You need more heat below the pie than above unless you want a limp, soggy crust or a terribly overdone top. Adding a pizza stone helps because it speeds heat transfer below the pie such that the bottom is done at the same time as the top. Pizza stones are not particularly conductive Ė typically in the 1-3 W/(mK) range.

Steel is much more conductive than a stone Ė around 40 W/(mK) or 13-40X more conductive. Depending on what you want to accomplish, you may or may not use the broiler (IR) to increase the heat above the pie. Some folks that have a very powerful broiler have been able to get surprisingly close to Neapolitan with stone and steel. 

Copper is even more conductive Ė 400W/(mK) or 130-400X more conductive than a typical stone and 10X more conductive than steel. This is not necessarily a good thing. Itís possible to be too conductive and burn the bottom before the top is done. In a Neapolitan WFO, a 1W/(mK) deck may be too conductive.

Notwithstanding, the real problem with a copper pan is it wonít store much heat. A stone, steel, or copper plate doesnít focus the ovenís heat on a pie Ė rather it stores heat and then transfers it to the pie when the two come in contact. The amount of heat stored is a function of 1) mass and 2) heat capacity. Pound for pound, a typical pizza stone can store on the order of 2X the heat of either steel or copper, and steel can store about 25% more heat than copper. A copper pan has very little mass and thus will store very little heat.  Would it be better than nothing? Maybe. Will it be better than a typical pizza stone? Doubtful.

Quote
If one was to use a stainless lined copper pan, how much different would it be than a steel pan? You would simply gain some conductivity, no?

I donít remember seeing many folks use a steel pan to cook pizza. Cast iron, yes, but it is the mass and associated heat capacity in addition to the conductivity that makes a difference. Realistically, even a heavy cast iron pan does not have anywhere near enough heat capacity for baking pizza.

Quote
I say any doubter's that copper is a bad idea, with a hankering to use copper, go for it. Try it. Experiment. The worse that can happen is you made a bad pie that, my guess, will taste good anyway. Maybe copper warrants a certain technique? The best thing that can happen is you learned something and you can teach the rest of us!
 

I agree 100%. If you have a copper pan and think Iím wrong go for it, and please post pictures. I didnít get the impression that the member had a suitable copper pan and would have to buy one which I think would be an expensive mistake.

« Last Edit: November 02, 2013, 02:55:38 PM by TXCraig1 »
Pizza is not bread.

Offline PizzaCzar

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2013, 07:20:57 AM »

Craig, do your calculations include a lined copper pan? Or just bare copper vs steel?

I don`t think anyone is suggesting putting the pizza dough directly on a bare copper pan? (maybe?) And, I doubt anyone is considering using a tinned copper pan? (too high temps for tin). So, that would leave a stainless lined copper pan. I`m guessing the one`s I have, seem to be 50/50 copper and SS. Your 25% additional heat storage in steel may need some recalculating?

Czar


Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2013, 09:10:54 AM »
Craig, do your calculations include a lined copper pan? Or just bare copper vs steel?

I don`t think anyone is suggesting putting the pizza dough directly on a bare copper pan? (maybe?) And, I doubt anyone is considering using a tinned copper pan? (too high temps for tin). So, that would leave a stainless lined copper pan. I`m guessing the one`s I have, seem to be 50/50 copper and SS. Your 25% additional heat storage in steel may need some recalculating?

Czar

You donít need to do any calculations to see the difficulty a copper pan is going to face. We know that 0.25Ē steel is about as thin as you can go and still get meaningful pizza-baking performance. Any thinner and you donít store enough heat. What do you think the thickness of a copper pan is? 0.15Ē max?  Say that copper could store as much heat as steel per unit volume (and itís actually about 10% less), you can see how there simply is not enough heat in a copper pan to perform.

Maybe Iím wrong? Maybe the increased conductivity overcomes the reduced heat capacity in a way I have not considered? You have a pan. Try it and let us know how it works. Iíll be the first to admit it if Iím wrong.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline bbqchuck

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2013, 06:11:40 PM »
If a person is inclined to want much higher thermal conductivity than a steel plate, yet still wants the thermal mass, a thick aluminum plate would be the cheapest way to test the theory that more thermal conductivity than steel is somehow an advantage.   Steel is about $1/lb, aluminum about $6-7/lb (cheaper if you find surplus), a 12" x 12" piece of 3/4" copper will run you $550

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2013, 06:18:04 PM »
If a person is inclined to want much higher thermal conductivity than a steel plate, yet still wants the thermal mass, a thick aluminum plate would be the cheapest way to test the theory that more thermal conductivity than steel is somehow an advantage.   Steel is about $1/lb, aluminum about $6-7/lb (cheaper if you find surplus), a 12" x 12" piece of 3/4" copper will run you $550

Someone around here tried an Aluminum plate. I don't specifically remember the results, but my recollection is that they were not encouraging. If someone is interested in trying aluminum, you might do a search first.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline scott123

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2013, 08:01:05 PM »
Someone around here tried an Aluminum plate. I don't specifically remember the results, but my recollection is that they were not encouraging. If someone is interested in trying aluminum, you might do a search first.


http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,21951.20.html

The results are actually very encouraging, but the conductivity of the aluminum does promote some additional contrast compared to steel (which may or may not be a bad thing and should be able to be compensated for).  With copper's extreme conductivity that propensity will be considerably greater- too great, imo- which is what you've been saying.

Offline bbqchuck

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2013, 11:58:26 AM »
I'm wondering if an aluminum plate pre-heated to some home oven achievable value along with a broiler running would be enough to to a NP at sub 90 sec? 

The broiler of a gas oven likely puts out enough heat if the pizza is close enough, electric broilers...I dunno.

If I were going about this experiment, I'd side with Scott or whoever said a 3/4" plate would be appropriate.  I'd even go a bit further and use a 1" or thicker plate for some added assurance that there was margin in the total heat capacity of the plate.  The concern would be maintain a selected temperature of the plate and not get a temperature drop of the plate below the desired cooking temperature...whatever that is.

Offline scott123

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2013, 12:06:13 PM »
The broiler of a gas oven likely puts out enough heat if the pizza is close enough, electric broilers...I dunno.

Actually, in my experience, electric broilers have been considerably stronger than their gas counterparts.  Even though electric broilers are stronger, they very rarely put out enough top heat for Neapolitan, though.  Based upon the success of members in this forum, I'm thinking 1 in 200 or maybe 1 in 300 broilers have the necessary wattage for sub 90 second bakes.

The broiler, is, by far, the weakest link in the home oven Neapolitan equation. There's always ways to work around bottom heat (and aluminum may very well be one of them), but there's nothing that can be done if your broiler doesn't have the necessary watts- which is the case for most of us.

Offline bbqchuck

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2013, 01:26:05 PM »
Scott,
It must boil down to the total BTU output of a broiler.  The specific temperature of the electric element surface is in the area of 2000F, just based on the color temperature. 

Online JD

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2013, 01:31:08 PM »
Actually, in my experience, electric broilers have been considerably stronger than their gas counterparts. 

This holds true for me, my gas broiler is downright pathetic. I've been experimenting with Nearly-politan style for a few weeks and with the pizza 1"-2" from the broiler (not a typo), the best time I've gotten so far is around 2.5 minutes.
Josh

Offline bbqchuck

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2013, 02:07:25 PM »
Josh,
There's something about a natural gas flame that doesn't propogate IR as well as a nichrome oven element.  Theoretically, the natural gas flame should be over 3000F, even 3500F, where the surface temp of the electric nichrome element is probably at least 1000F  lower.  But the blue flame must not emit IR as well as the heated nichrome.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Using copper pans to bake pizza
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2013, 05:06:45 PM »
Josh,
There's something about a natural gas flame that doesn't propogate IR as well as a nichrome oven element.  Theoretically, the natural gas flame should be over 3000F, even 3500F, where the surface temp of the electric nichrome element is probably at least 1000F  lower.  But the blue flame must not emit IR as well as the heated nichrome.

A gas flame hardly emits any IR at all. If you light the gas burner on your stove, and you can comfortably hold your finger about 1/4" under it - don't try this - for a safer demonstration, take the metal grate off your cold stove and light a burner. Point your non-contact thermometer at the gas flame and it may register 150F or so. In an oven, the gas has to heat the metal on the top of the oven which in turn emits IR.
Pizza is not bread.