Author Topic: Best Steel Size and Difference- 1/2, 1/4. 3/8 or other?  (Read 285 times)

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Offline The Lord Of The Pizza

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Best Steel Size and Difference- 1/2, 1/4. 3/8 or other?
« on: March 19, 2015, 07:16:25 PM »
Hi all, about to buy a Steel (probably from BakingSteel as I don't want to mess with vinegar soaks or any of that-or if someone has a better place to get Steel let me know!).  From my initial readings here, the consensus seems to be 1/2 inch.  Some, on other sites, say the 1/2 inch is not that much better than the 1/4 inch.

I want to make the best purchase and decision as I will be using this steel pretty extensively I think.  Your thoughts?
Cooking can be a reflection of your approach to everything. Do the best that you can and if you burn the toast, do it again, right.

Offline dsissitka

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Offline jsaras

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Re: Best Steel Size and Difference- 1/2, 1/4. 3/8 or other?
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2015, 07:29:14 PM »
Dough-Joe. Cheaper and square.

The Dough Joe is only 1/4" thick.  Not ideal.
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Offline dsissitka

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Re: Best Steel Size and Difference- 1/2, 1/4. 3/8 or other?
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2015, 07:29:54 PM »
The Dough Joe is only 1/4" thick.  Not ideal.

That's the default size. There are 3/8" and 1/2" options.

Online Jon in Albany

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Re: Best Steel Size and Difference- 1/2, 1/4. 3/8 or other?
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2015, 07:42:54 PM »
Not sure if you found this already, but there is a lot of good information about pizza steels in this sticky.

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=31267.0

One point in the sticky is that the oven temperature needs to reach 525 for the steel to work well. As someone that moved from a house with an oven that went up to 550 into a house with an oven that peaks at 500, I can vouch for this. The steel worked at 500, but not as well as it did at 550.

update: missed that this was already linked above in dsissitka's reponse, but that 525 is important.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2015, 07:44:43 PM by Jon in Albany »

Offline The Lord Of The Pizza

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Re: Best Steel Size and Difference- 1/2, 1/4. 3/8 or other?
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2015, 09:21:07 PM »
Not sure if you found this already, but there is a lot of good information about pizza steels in this sticky.

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=31267.0

One point in the sticky is that the oven temperature needs to reach 525 for the steel to work well. As someone that moved from a house with an oven that went up to 550 into a house with an oven that peaks at 500, I can vouch for this. The steel worked at 500, but not as well as it did at 550.

update: missed that this was already linked above in dsissitka's reponse, but that 525 is important.
Thanks for the info!

My oven is interesting.  I had to turn it down recently for cakes as I noticed at 350 the actual temperature was 385!  So I calibrated it -35.  I then tested it at 550 and I easily hit 550+ (not sure how much beyond 550 since my oven thermometer stops at 550) despite the adjustment.  I am willing to bet I can get 600 plus easy if I change the setting to +35.

Is there any harm do you think in doing so?  I also bake a lot of cakes, pies etc... so I would certainly have to back off for those back to -35.  Do you guys think I should just keep the -35 since I can hit 550 anyways or should I push it to the max doing +35? 
Cooking can be a reflection of your approach to everything. Do the best that you can and if you burn the toast, do it again, right.

Offline Jersey Pie Boy

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Re: Best Steel Size and Difference- 1/2, 1/4. 3/8 or other?
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2015, 09:55:40 PM »
Depends on what temp you like to launch at for your best results. I'd personally welcome the extra 35.

As far as the steel, I hink pricewise, it's mostly a wash between Baking Steel and Dough Joe. Dough Joe charges shipping, Baking Steel doesn't. Don't know about the pricing at sizes beyond the signature 1/4" I do know that Andris provides great support at Baking Steel and is a pizza enthusiast himself.

My experience is that I started with the Baking Steel 1/4 and it improved my pies greatly over my stone (which broke anyway)  I thought the pies baked very well on it and I still do. But based on board discussion I wondered if I was missing something by not having a 1/2 steel. Two things held me back from getting the Baking Steel 1/2: the weight and the over hundred dollar price. Couldn't justify it. And as far as the weight, some board members, including Mary Ann, mbrulato (sorry if I'm missing mentioning others) came up with the idea of having two smaller pieces of 1/2 steel that when placed together form a good-sized baking surface. Still heavy, but far more manageable.

I too, wasn't excited about vinegar soaks, scrubbing mill scale, steel wool, sandpaper, and all the attendant mess and pain-in-butt. However a local steel fabricator was happy to make both pieces to exact size, finish the edges and clean them up..not so they were ready to use, but enough that they weren't a nasty mess..for 40 bucks. Deal. It did take some vinegar and some scrubbing and some detergent and some steel wool and a lot of paper towels and then some seasoning...all well detailed on the board by Scott123, I believe it was. Very helpful and easy to follow.   If you've cleaned the stickers off a Blackstone, prepping the steel is a piece of cake.

Now I'll say that I'd be hard-pressed to tell you the difference, or see or taste the difference in the finished pies between a 1/4 and a 1/2. But what is a dramatic difference is the recovery time between pies. usual preheat/5 min broil warm-up/bake/finish with broiler protocol, the 1/4 took 11 minutes until it was ready for the second pie. The 1/2 seemed like it was ready within a minute or two. Not quite sure what happens with subsequent pies but I'd think some advantage remains.

The 1/2 steels are heavy enough that I keep them on a basement shelf between pizza bakes, but I usually leave the 1/4 in the oven unless I'm baking or roasting something splattery

Really, you'll make great pizzas either way..just a bit quicker with 1/2 inch.

Online Jon in Albany

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Re: Best Steel Size and Difference- 1/2, 1/4. 3/8 or other?
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2015, 09:12:45 AM »
I'd agree with Jersey Pie Boy on the temperature. It will depend on your dough and getting the top of the pizza finished at the same time as the bottom. It may be something you dial in until you're happy with the end result. But they will be fun experiments immediately followed by a tasty meal.

Offline The Lord Of The Pizza

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Re: Best Steel Size and Difference- 1/2, 1/4. 3/8 or other?
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2015, 10:21:44 AM »
You guys are extremely helpful and welcoming and I really appreciate all of this.

Also, have any of you guys used the steel for making burgers or anything else?  I imagine you could get a nice smashburger with perfect crust on them.
Cooking can be a reflection of your approach to everything. Do the best that you can and if you burn the toast, do it again, right.

Online Jon in Albany

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Re: Best Steel Size and Difference- 1/2, 1/4. 3/8 or other?
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2015, 11:20:31 AM »
I haven't yet. Now that I don't use it for pizza, i'm plan to clean and reseason it (i have family with celiac so no flour). My plan is to put in on my turkey fryer burner to cook burgers. Haven't gotten around to it yet.


Offline Jersey Pie Boy

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Re: Best Steel Size and Difference- 1/2, 1/4. 3/8 or other?
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2015, 12:44:14 PM »
Haven't yet, but sure could. Baking Steel was going to come out with a version that had a rim/lip  around the outside, would could keep burger grease better contained. Not sure if that's currently available, but if so, it could make it even more useful.


 

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