Author Topic: Aluminum vs. Steel Pans  (Read 5052 times)

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Offline Levi

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Aluminum vs. Steel Pans
« on: April 19, 2007, 02:48:19 AM »
If I am going to buy some deep dish pans new which would be the preferred choice, Aluminum or Steel ?  What is the typical restaurant choice?  Are there really going to be noticeable differences in baking between the two.  I understand that a shiny new aluminum pan may bake different from a seasoned steel one but comparing well used steel to well used aluminum will there be much difference?

What's a good source for pans, other than E-bay?

Thanks


Offline Art

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Pans
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2007, 07:47:25 AM »
When baking, follow directions.  When cooking, go by your own taste.

Offline canadianbacon

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Pans
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2007, 08:54:15 AM »
You can also check one of my older threads, where I asked what type of coating was on a pizza pan.

I don't recall what it is called, or who told me about it, but there are special pizza pans with a coating, that is
much more durable than regular teflon.

Gee, so many threads and I don't know how to even start a search for the one in question though.
Pizzamaker, Rib Smoker, HomeBrewer, there's not enough time for a real job.

Offline MWTC

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Pans
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2007, 11:37:25 AM »
Yes, American Metalcraft pans. They are fantastic!!!

MWTC  :chef:

Offline canadianbacon

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Pans
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2007, 08:50:24 PM »
I found the post I was thinking of ..... it was posted by user: chiguy.

See below:


http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4844.msg41019.html#msg41019


BTB,
 The pizza looks really good especially for a newbie. You may consider ordering a deep dish pan from www.pizzatools.com.
 It should be a blackened hard coat anodized with pstk not stick coating. I would not order bigger than 12 inch pan if its just you and the Misses.
                                         Chiguy
Pizzamaker, Rib Smoker, HomeBrewer, there's not enough time for a real job.

Offline Bryan S

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Pans
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2007, 11:40:09 PM »
Yes, American Metalcraft pans. They are fantastic!!!

MWTC  :chef:

Yes with the Hard Coat finish. http://www.abestkitchen.com/store/pizzapans.html Aluminum heats up faster but steel holds the heat longer, it's your call. I have both and tend to like the aluminum Hard coat just a tad more.  :)
« Last Edit: April 19, 2007, 11:42:59 PM by Bryan S »
Making great pizza and learning new things everyday.

Offline November

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Pans
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2007, 07:07:13 AM »
To be more specific as a source of reference, carbon steel will hold up to 1.623 times more heat than aluminum per its weight, but often manufacturers use less carbon steel than aluminum in the construction because steel is stronger than aluminum.  So how much heat the pan can absorb comes down to mass more than material.  If a pan is engineered with yield strength in mind, 1.82 times more aluminum than steel would be needed.  That allows aluminum to win the heat capacity prize by 19.7%.

Aluminum also transfers heat about 4.08 times faster than carbon steel.  This allows it to heat up faster and subsequently cook the pizza faster.  Obviously this is a good idea if you aren't preheating your pan.  If you are preheating your pan, the aluminum will probably cook the bottom of your pizza too fast.

Assuming you're placing the pan in the oven at the same time as the pizza, aluminum wins in every aspect except cost, since carbon steel pans are traditionally cheaper.

- red.november

EDIT: Edited for clarity.  I meant to say "per its weight" not "per weight."
« Last Edit: April 21, 2007, 05:02:57 AM by November »

Offline Levi

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Pans
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2007, 01:49:33 AM »
November,

Nice analysis!  So here are a couple more numbers to chew on.  According to the American Metalcraft website; (http://www.amnow.com/pizzaTrays/8000Series.html ) the numbers for the straight sided pans in a 12" x 2" size are - steel pans weigh in at 17 lb/dozen while the Al pans come in at 14.5 lb/Dozen.  So, since the steel pans outweigh and also have a higher heat retention per unit weight than the aluminum ones does this mean that there would actually be a noticeable difference in baking times, or is this just a fun theoretical exercise?

Secondly, I notice the hard coat anodizing more than doubles the price of the pan.  Do you think it is worth it?

thanks

Offline November

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Pans
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2007, 04:57:34 AM »
So, since the steel pans outweigh and also have a higher heat retention per unit weight than the aluminum ones does this mean that there would actually be a noticeable difference in baking times, or is this just a fun theoretical exercise?

Steel only has a higher heat capacity than aluminum because of its mass.  Heat capacity per gram of mass, called specific heat capacity, is actually lower for steel.  The two pans you are comparing is a perfect example of where less steel is being used because it's stronger than aluminum.  Notice that the steel is 22 gauge while the aluminum is 14 gauge (highly recommended for aluminum).  Therefore the aluminum is still the winner in terms of heat capacity.  The carbon steel pan would have a heat capacity of 321.3 J/K while the aluminum pan would have a heat capacity of 491.6 J/K.  The difference would be noticeable if side-by-side.

Secondly, I notice the hard coat anodizing more than doubles the price of the pan.  Do you think it is worth it?

Yes.  That is why I own hard anodized, 14-gauge, aluminum pans.

- red.november

Offline MWTC

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Pans
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2007, 10:51:29 AM »

Red.November

"That is why I own hard anodized, 14-gauge, aluminum pans."


What difference in bake results have you found when you bake with a pan that is 1-1/2 inch high as compared to one that is 2 inches high?

MWTC  :chef:
« Last Edit: April 23, 2007, 10:55:14 AM by MWTC »


Offline Levi

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Pans
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2007, 02:12:35 PM »
Based on the comments above I found some pans on Ebay.  I had to buy a lot of four, two of which I didn't really need,  so I have listed one of the extras on Ebay if anyone is interested.  Item number 280116788879.   They are 12x2 straight sided.

If this is an improper use of this forum please let me know as I don't want to offend anyone.


Offline November

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Pans
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2007, 02:54:08 PM »
What difference in bake results have you found when you bake with a pan that is 1-1/2 inch high as compared to one that is 2 inches high?

Firstly, I don't have any pans with a 2" wall, and I'm not sure if you are looking for deep dish pizza differences or American style differences.  I don't really make deep dish pizzas.  The closest I come to a deep dish style is with my breakfast pizzas where I make a thicker crust and allow it to proof longer in the pan.  I can certainly extrapolate the difference for an American style based on the difference between 0-0.5" pans and 1.5" pans.  The outer crust is denser when using a pan with a higher wall since the heat has to penetrate the pan before it can reach the dough, and a higher wall means more mass the heat must be absorbed into to raise the temperature of the pan.  These two things cause the dough to react (rise) more slowly in the oven.  When I use my 1.5" pans, I make sure to let the dough proof a lot longer before using it.

I don't know if that's the information you were looking for or not.

- red.november

Offline MWTC

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Pans
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2007, 04:03:19 PM »
I can certainly extrapolate the difference for an American style based on the difference between 0-0.5" pans and 1.5" pans.  The outer crust is denser when using a pan with a higher wall since the heat has to penetrate the pan before it can reach the dough, and a higher wall means more mass the heat must be absorbed into to raise the temperature of the pan.  These two things cause the dough to react (rise) more slowly in the oven.  When I use my 1.5" pans, I make sure to let the dough proof a lot longer before using it.

- red.november

What do you mean by denser?

When I asked the question I had only a 1 1/2 inch pan and I was considering buying a 2 inch pan but didn't know if it would change anything in my pizza results. I did order the 2 inch pan and it will be here this week. I will do a side by side comparison to see if it makes any difference in the results. I am making a deep dish American style pie.

MWTC  :chef:

Offline November

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Pans
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2007, 07:29:01 PM »
What do you mean by denser?

The crust will not be as light and airy.

Also when I said "deep dish style" I was referring to Chicago deep dish where an airy crust isn't expected anyway.  If you are making an American style pan pizza, I'm not sure why you would go with an even deeper pan.  1.5" is sufficient for that style.  2" is better for Chicago style.  The difference you should notice, if you're able to notice such a small difference, is that crust will not rise quite as much.  You might have to break out the ruler to measure the difference though.

- red.november

Offline MWTC

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Pans
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2007, 10:37:02 AM »
Would the amount of yeast counteract that effect? Meaning could I increase the yeast amount to get the more airy and light effect that the deeper pan would reduce?

MWTC  :chef:

Offline November

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Re: Aluminum vs. Steel Pans
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2007, 11:54:55 AM »
Would the amount of yeast counteract that effect? Meaning could I increase the yeast amount to get the more airy and light effect that the deeper pan would reduce?

There's no need to use more yeast.  Just do what I do which is allow the dough to proof longer in the pan before using it.

- red.november