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Author Topic: Pizza Steel Thickness  (Read 765 times)

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Offline pvura

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Pizza Steel Thickness
« on: July 21, 2021, 06:23:27 PM »
Does a thicker pizza steel mean more heat or just more heat retention?

I'm looking at different options for purchasing a pizza steel. I currently have a stone that doesn't really do its job well for NY style in my 500 degree oven. Should I opt for the 3/8" or 1/4" or 3/16" thickness for a pizza steel. I only bake one pizza so heat retention isn't necessarily a big factor for me. Which option will give me the best / most amount of heat or will they all be equal?

Thanks!

Online Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Pizza Steel Thickness
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2021, 06:33:40 PM »
I have 3/8 and it's a bit of overkill for 1 pizza. It easily holds temps through 3 pizzas for me. Hard to guess if 3/16 or 1/4 , I'd probably go 1/4.

Offline pvura

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Re: Pizza Steel Thickness
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2021, 09:43:12 PM »
I have 3/8 and it's a bit of overkill for 1 pizza. It easily holds temps through 3 pizzas for me. Hard to guess if 3/16 or 1/4 , I'd probably go 1/4.

Would u say it gets hotter than the thinner options? Or is the thickness primarily meant for baking pizzas back to back?

Thanks!

Offline SonVolt

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Re: Pizza Steel Thickness
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2021, 09:04:00 AM »
Thicker is always better (up to a point), but weight and storage start to become and issue. My 3/8 1/2"  rarely gets used because it's an absolute unit and a PITA the pickup and move. If I were to drop it, it would probably fall straight through the floor and into my crawl space.  Inside I use the Bakingsteel "Griddle" the most, which is a good in-between thickness at 3/8".  I use my 1/2" now on my gas grill for searing steaks, burgers and other duties.  It's a beast.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2021, 10:30:37 AM by SonVolt »

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Pizza Steel Thickness
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2021, 09:34:03 AM »
I have a 1/2" which I love. I've also baked on 1/4" which I don't think is thick enough if your targeting the 5-7 min range. I haven't used a 3/8" but like the comment above, I'd error on the side of thicker.
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Offline SonVolt

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Re: Pizza Steel Thickness
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2021, 10:12:51 AM »
Oops, I mispoke. My original baking steel is "the big" version which is 1/2". My Baking Steel Griddle is 3/8 and much easier to manage.

Offline donstavely

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Re: Pizza Steel Thickness
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2021, 11:18:37 AM »
Would u say it gets hotter than the thinner options? Or is the thickness primarily meant for baking pizzas back to back?
Thanks!

No, thicker steels won't get any hotter.  It is all about heat retention.  In fact, the thinner steels will get hotter faster, so your monster 1/2" steel will be cooler unless you preheat for more than an hour to get it up to the set oven temperature.  You can get a steel above the max oven temp using the broiler, IF you have a broiler that will stay on. (Mine won't.)  Here too, the thinner steels will heat faster.

I think the majority opinion of folks with steels would say 1/4" is fine for a single pizza, 3/8" is better for multiple pies while being reasonably manageable, and 1/2" is overkill, and as @SonVolt says, would be a PITA to move.  I have a 3/8" steel and usually make four pizzas back to back, with stretch-and-top time for recovery between pies.

Offline pvura

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Re: Pizza Steel Thickness
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2021, 03:12:24 PM »
Thank you for the responses everyone! The variation in answers is the main reason as to why i started the thread. Even on here, there seems to be a variety of responses. TxCraig1 claims that 1/4” might not get me a 5 minute bake, implying that a thicker steel will give me a faster bake and more oven spring. On the other hand, donstavely says that thicker doesn't mean hotter and only means more retention.

If someone who has a few steels of different thicknesses could send a picture of an IR thermometer measuring the highest temp of them, I would truly appreciate it! I essentially want to know if a thinner steel could reach the same temp as a thicker one, even if it means a shorter or longer preheat time. I think, as of now, I will cross the 1/2” off the list as it will be overkill in terms of price, time, weight, and such.

Thank you so much!

Online Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Pizza Steel Thickness
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2021, 04:01:44 PM »
Had my 3/8ths up to 860f, no pics. I do have IR broiler so that makes it doable. However it kills my oven controls so I don't do it anymore.

Offline SonVolt

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Re: Pizza Steel Thickness
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2021, 08:43:13 PM »
Thank you for the responses everyone! The variation in answers is the main reason as to why i started the thread. Even on here, there seems to be a variety of responses. TxCraig1 claims that 1/4” might not get me a 5 minute bake, implying that a thicker steel will give me a faster bake and more oven spring. On the other hand, donstavely says that thicker doesn't mean hotter and only means more retention.

If someone who has a few steels of different thicknesses could send a picture of an IR thermometer measuring the highest temp of them, I would truly appreciate it! I essentially want to know if a thinner steel could reach the same temp as a thicker one, even if it means a shorter or longer preheat time. I think, as of now, I will cross the 1/2” off the list as it will be overkill in terms of price, time, weight, and such.

Thank you so much!


Temperature and heat transfer are 2 different things. So us posting a picture of an IR gun isn't going to provide much in the way of useful information. You'll be satisfied with any of the Baking Steels 1/4" and larger. The real "game changer" IMO is using a steel in combination with a broiler, preferably gas. If your broiler is weak (weak flame or electric) the thickness of the steel doesn't matter.

This is in my opinion the best steel on the market for pizza b/c of its versatility.

https://bakingsteel.com/products/baking-steel-griddle
« Last Edit: July 22, 2021, 08:46:10 PM by SonVolt »

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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Pizza Steel Thickness
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2021, 04:30:44 PM »
It all comes down to the pizza you want to make. Personally, I don't like using the broiler with steel, and I want some char on the bottom. I can't get what I want with 1/4". For others, 1/4" may be fine.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, baker's yeast when we must, but always great pizza."  
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline parallei

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Re: Pizza Steel Thickness
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2021, 04:44:30 PM »

 I only bake one pizza so heat retention isn't necessarily a big factor for me. Which option will give me the best / most amount of heat or will they all be equal?


1/2-inch. My only regret is that I didn't think to have my local steel fabricator cut it into two pieces. It is heavy!

Concerning the number of pies baked at one time: You never know. One day, you may decide to throw a pizza party. Best to be prepared. 8)
« Last Edit: July 23, 2021, 04:57:45 PM by parallei »

Offline Peterchur

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Re: Pizza Steel Thickness
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2021, 04:59:00 PM »
parallel, I just bought half inch A36 steel. I had it cut in two, each weighing 24 pounds.
I am just getting started with pizza. Can you tell me your favorite process? Or, at least point me in the right direction?
I am looking for best type of pizza for my home oven that goes to 550F and has electric top broiler.
Also, your favorite dough recipe and sauce recipe and cheese?

Thanks,
Peter in Maine and Punta Gorda, Fl.


Offline parallei

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Re: Pizza Steel Thickness
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2021, 12:30:38 PM »
parallel, I just bought half inch A36 steel. I had it cut in two, each weighing 24 pounds.
I am just getting started with pizza. Can you tell me your favorite process? Or, at least point me in the right direction?
I am looking for best type of pizza for my home oven that goes to 550F and has electric top broiler.
Also, your favorite dough recipe and sauce recipe and cheese?

Thanks,
Peter in Maine and Punta Gorda, Fl.

As Craig pointed out above, it all depends on what type of pizza you want to make. I hope you don't get the impression that I'm ignoring your questions, but dough recipes, dough management, sauce and cheese selections will typically vary with the type of pizza you want to make. I use my steel for NY-ish pies, Tavern/Bar styles, and I even start my pan type pizza off on the steel. I'd suggest you spend some time looking through threads that discuss the different types of pizza and then focus on what you'd like to start with. There are also many threads on specific ingredients like tomatoes, cheeses and flours.

I understand that this can seem like a lot to digest (pun intended), but just choose a style and start making pies!

Offline foreplease

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Re: Pizza Steel Thickness
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2021, 01:08:53 PM »
Peter in Maine, although the title contains the words “emergency doughs,” this would be a good place for you to begin your quest. Read through several topics, see which pictures and descriptions look like something you would like to serve, and try a few of the formulas from that section of the forum. None of them will take days to make and you will develop a sense of what you like - and how you could improve on it to suit your own tastes. Once you are posting about things you like but need help accomplishing or changing, people here will be happy to try to help you.


https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=8297.0
-Tony

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