Author Topic: Baking Steel temps and burning crust  (Read 1998 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline PizzaAlaJoey

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 182
  • Location: United States
  • I feel a carb-coma onsetting.
Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« on: February 21, 2014, 01:56:18 AM »
Ok. I need to know what everybody has to say about this. I'm seeing that people use 550 or so on their baking steel. I personally try to aim for 500 because I tend to burn my pizza on my baking steel often while using the middle rack. I often can't tell where it is and raise the pizza to the top rack to finish. This seems to be a mistake if it's not charring too much on the bottom because it can not bake the crumb properly.


My oven is a very old oven without see-through glass so I can actually reach 725 degrees on it. I tried that tonight and of course really burnt part of the bottom crust. I can see you have to get your dough super thin for this kind of thing to work now. What is the deal with "high heat"? I know this seems like a noob question, but I cook at home and not a WFO. Is 550 high heat? It's definitely higher than the heat we used for thick style pan pizza while I was growing up. Everybody, please let me know if you have any good info.


Offline bigMoose

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 235
  • Location: OH
  • Kneading is Happiness!
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2014, 09:11:16 AM »
Joey, you have a home oven that can go to 725 deg F!  You may have found the holy grail for home ovens!! ;D  You have to post a picture of this ol' workhorse. 

Offline Seven

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 113
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2014, 09:18:37 AM »
How much sugar are you using in your dough?I believe Scott123 recommends 1% when using a steel plate but I have gone up to 1.7% while using my aluminum plate.

Offline PizzaAlaJoey

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 182
  • Location: United States
  • I feel a carb-coma onsetting.
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2014, 09:28:08 AM »
Seven - I think I'm using about 1% maybe a bit more. It's about 5 grams to a 500 g dough so yea. I should just take that out.

Offline misterschu

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 200
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2014, 10:07:12 AM »
Seven - I think I'm using about 1% maybe a bit more. It's about 5 grams to a 500 g dough so yea. I should just take that out.

If you're making 500g of dough then you're using about 1.6%, assuming your hydration is ~60%

Offline PizzaAlaJoey

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 182
  • Location: United States
  • I feel a carb-coma onsetting.
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2014, 02:12:49 AM »
I just finally checked since I'm home. My print-off of dough calculation says 1% sugar. I'm just going to take that out altogether. Perhaps I should start using a thinner pizza skin too.

Also while we're on this subject. How the hell does the broiler method really work anyway? I used to use it, but I really don't anymore. It seems like it's more for homemade neapolitan style pizzas. I'm thinking however that it works better to just go without that because the cheese and sauce cook together a bit better and the moisture underneath seems to cook out more properly.

Offline PizzaAlaJoey

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 182
  • Location: United States
  • I feel a carb-coma onsetting.
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2014, 02:33:05 AM »
BigMoose: I just checked the oven. It's a "White-Westinghouse." Apparently this site says the model is: KF450GDD8. Westinghouse made one of the early electric chairs I believe. I believe they were a huge company and are still around today. I didn't know they had had a merger sometime. The oven is from the early eighties I believe. That's my best guess.

Here's a picture of what it looks like. Turns out to be the first one on my google search.

http://www.purplewave.com/cgi-bin/mnlist.cgi?090113/3422

I hope this ends up helping someone in case they blow up their oven and want a nitro-oven.

Offline Pastaking

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 67
  • Location: New York
  • take it easy
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2014, 08:37:53 AM »
I was getting excellent results with a pizza stone, nice even browning on the rim and bottom, I thought I could improve by getting a piece of baking steel. Not the case at all. It was worse, the bottom would burn before the top was done. So without wasting time, effort and money on ingredients trying to dial in the hunk of steel, I went back to the stone and haven't looked back. The steel isn't for everyone as you may be experiencing. You may get better results with a stone too.

But the broiler method is supposed to work like something like this, you need to raise the baking steel about 7 inches from the broiler element, pre heat your oven to 515 degrees, launch your pie onto the baking steel, after a minute or so, turn the broiler on, open oven door to broil position, now this cooks the top faster while the bottom is browning, after another minute, you need to turn the pizza 180 degrees, you should be done in another minute... Seems like a lot of work for 1 pizza but some people are getting good results.

Offline dmcavanagh

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 1912
  • Location: Glenmont, NY
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2014, 02:12:56 PM »
@Pastaking, I am with you 100%, I tried a steel and really didn't care for it, it cut my cooking time on a thin NY style about 1 minute at the real risk of burning the bottom. I have a stone from Williams-Sonoma which works just fine and I have been dialed in with it for a long time, so as you said, a steel isn't for everyone. Using the broiler is more a technique for Neapolitan style, at least to my thinking. I have no need for it on my standard NY style pie.

scott123

  • Guest
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2014, 03:10:18 PM »
Oh my god, a broiler! The buttons... the dials... the horror!!!!!  ;D

Seriously... Dave, I have the utmost respect for you and think you're one of the smartest people on this forum, but this whole anti-steel thing because you don't want to broil is kind of silly.

In the history of steel use, on this forum and on the rest of the internet, there's never been ANYONE who hasn't been happy with the reduction in bake times they've seen with steel WHEN they've balanced steel's accelerating bottom baking effects by using it in conjunction with the broiler.  With steel's growing popularity, this is a lot of people.

If you want to express your preference for longer bakes, that's fine. You don't need steel for those. If you want to tell people that you don't like using a broiler, that's okay too.  But to pass judgement on steel without even using it in the context it's supposed to be used... that's tremendously unfair.

Considering how much effort and time that you put into other ingredients, such as cheese and tomatoes, I'm flabbergasted that you'd limit the quality of crust you can achieve because you don't want to press a few buttons to broil.

And Pastaking, using a broiler 'seems like a lot of work?' Seriously?  You're turning your pizza as it bakes, right?  If you're turning, you're near the oven anyway.  Pressing a few buttons or twisting a dial shouldn't be all that laborious.  Btw, cycling the broiler on and off does tend to produce a more balanced color to the top of the pie, but it isn't absolutely critical.  It takes a little effort to find the right amount of time, but you can turn the broiler on and off only once and still witness the benefits of steel.


Offline Pastaking

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 67
  • Location: New York
  • take it easy
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2014, 10:17:03 PM »
Scott, I suppose I just haven't given myself enough time to dial it in. But the few pies I made with it just didn't turn out as good as when I used a stone. As such, I just decided to go back to the stone to attain what I feel is the perfect pie. I bake a pie with a stone in my convection oven using one of your posted recipes in 5 minutes... And I don't even need to turn it! It's just that simple for me. I can see the benefit if I were making NP pies most of the time but most of the time I am just making NY style. Ahh so you must be thinking, why the heck did this guy buy it then? Answer, I don't know, I thought it would be better for some reason. But it may be better for some people.
Check out this pie Scott, this is your recipe I found in another thread.. 5 minutes on a stone, convection mode at 550, no turning. No pics of the bottom but trust me it's nice. With results like this why did I buy a steel plate? I just don't know...

scott123

  • Guest
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2014, 01:06:36 AM »
Pastaking, over the last couple years, I've gone to great lengths to convey to people the fact that steel is only suitable for home bakers with ovens that go to 550 and that have broilers in the main compartment, and that it's sole purpose is for people seeking 4-5 minute NY style bakes.  Unfortunately, along the way, some celebrities jumped on the steel train and started telling the public that steel is good for just about everything. I've tried to counteract this by hammering away at the 'steel isn't for everyone' message, but compared to celebrities, my voice doesn't carry very far, and people that don't need steel fall through the cracks and get suckered into buying it.

As you figured out, you didn't need steel.  If you're hitting 5 minutes on a ceramic material, your oven is reaching at least 600.  Anyone that can hit 600 in a home oven (including the OP), doesn't need steel to make the best possible NY style pizza.

But, most people with 550 on the dial hit about 550 in the oven.  For these folks, 7 minutes is typically about the best they can do with a stone, so it's worth pressing broiler buttons with steel to take them down to 4.

I'm glad my recipe is working out well for you.

Offline TXCraig1

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 12845
  • Location: Houston, TX
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2014, 08:53:48 AM »
If I had a home oven that could reach 725F, I'd go the other direction from steel. I'd use a Fibrament stone which has a very low conductivity and bake at the capability of my oven.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline PizzaAlaJoey

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 182
  • Location: United States
  • I feel a carb-coma onsetting.
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2014, 06:30:08 PM »
Thanks Scott and Craig. Both of you told me things I needed to know. You guys have a more developed knowledge of these concepts. I'm going to the restaurant supply store and buying a $10 stone. That should work. I'm moving out of this aparment in a week so I'll have to make pizza twice a day just for research.  ;)

Offline RockyMountainPie

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 135
  • Location: Colorado
  • I Knead Pizza!
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2014, 03:44:52 AM »
I've been using steel regularly for about a year now and am extremely happy with it.  Your oven gets much hotter than mine, but I would move the steel up to the next rack level and see if that prevents the crust from getting done too quickly.  My bakes are done at about 535 to 550 degrees F.  Also, I use the steel for pretty much every style of pizza (except deep dish...where I did get some too-dark crusts) and I love the way it cooks thin crust pizzas as well as NY style.

Good luck with your move.  Chances are your new oven won't get as hot as your current oven and that may solve your problems with burning.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2014, 03:49:17 AM by RockyMountainPie »

Online JD

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1257
  • Location: NE Mississippi, but NY born & raised
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2014, 07:56:44 AM »
Thanks Scott and Craig. Both of you told me things I needed to know. You guys have a more developed knowledge of these concepts. I'm going to the restaurant supply store and buying a $10 stone. That should work. I'm moving out of this aparment in a week so I'll have to make pizza twice a day just for research.  ;)

Chances are your new oven won't get as hot as your current oven and that may solve your problems with burning.

If you're moving, why don't you wait to see what your new oven's capabilities are as RMP says? There is a real good chance it won't have the same performance as your current oven and buying a stone will be the wrong move for you.

I have 1/2" steel and wasn't happy with until I really understood how to use it correctly. One I got the oven temp & broiler time balanced out, I've been more than happy.





Josh

Offline PizzaAlaJoey

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 182
  • Location: United States
  • I feel a carb-coma onsetting.
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2014, 03:21:27 PM »
I wanted to get one anyway since mine broke. I think it'd be good to have one since they're so important. I also want to see if I can actually cook high temperature pizzas in my home oven just for the novelty.

Offline JohnnyQuest

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 10
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2014, 07:01:10 PM »
I'll chime in here with my support for baking steel as well.  I have a custom cut steel Andris made for me at my request, 3/8" X 16" X 20" unit I nicknamed "THE KINGDADDY" (because it is bigger than THE BIG unit Andris sells) that I have used for about 10 months now.  I run the oven at 550 degrees, and I'm typically taking it out at just over 6 min.  I make a wide variety of pies, usually 2 (one after the other) at a time, from a pesto base with Fontanini sasage & Portabello mushroom, to my newest creation, Teriyaki chicken. 

I may not be the pros like the rest of you guys, but I enjoy doing it and my wife won't eat pizza from the pizza chains any more..... :)
« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 07:04:54 PM by JohnnyQuest »

Offline Sirrith

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 42
  • Location: Hong Kong
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2014, 08:48:29 PM »
I moved from a stone to a steel last year.  Love it.  I make NY-style pizzas. 

My broiler is temporarily out of commission, and my oven only gets the steel up to about 480F, but it still gives a noticeably better result compared to the stone.  My pies get done in about 7m30.  With broiler the results are even better and I do 4-5 minute pies. 


Offline JohnnyQuest

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 10
Re: Baking Steel temps and burning crust
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2014, 09:10:34 PM »
Made another last night on my baking steel, but this time with something new - a red pesto.  Red pesto contains basil, but the one I found also contains sundried tomatoes, artichoke, black Olives, cashews, Olive oil, Parmesan cheese, etc.   turned out awesome.