Pizza Making Forum

Pizza Making => New York Style => Topic started by: Santo on May 24, 2021, 04:36:54 PM

Title: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Santo on May 24, 2021, 04:36:54 PM
I have a 1 inch thick Corderite 16" round stone. Thinking of upgrading to a pizza steel.

I have seen thicknesses of 3/16, 3/8, 1/2", etc. What is the difference between the 1" stone vs the steels of varying thickness? Is the 3/16 good or must you step up the thickness?

If i plan to make multiple pizzas, i just have to wait between bakes if i am using a thinner steel? About how long would you have to wait?

As well is a 1 inch stone comparable to any of these steels or is it just child's play in comparison?

Thanks for your advice.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: jkb on May 24, 2021, 04:47:34 PM
Stick with the cordierite.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Santo on May 24, 2021, 06:34:16 PM
Stick with the cordierite.

Ok i respect that, why do you say this? Thanks
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Pizza_Not_War on May 24, 2021, 07:03:21 PM
Get a steel and compare for yourself. I've used many stones but prefer the steel. I went with 3/8" and it allows multiple bakes without severe heat loss. The steel heats up faster than my thick Fibrament stone.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: jkb on May 24, 2021, 07:20:07 PM
Ok i respect that, why do you say this? Thanks

You posted in the NY thread.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Santo on May 24, 2021, 07:29:52 PM
You posted in the NY thread.

So what properties of ny pizza are produced better by the stone vs steel? How does steel produce a product that is not like ny?

I'm from ny. Would appreciate your two cents
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: jkb on May 24, 2021, 07:34:30 PM
So what properties of ny pizza are produced better by the stone vs steel? How does steel produce a product that is not like ny?

I'm from ny. Would appreciate your two cents

Steel will char the crust.  Great pizza, but not the even brown of classic NY.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Pizza_Not_War on May 24, 2021, 07:39:53 PM
Untrue. Not sure why you keep insisting that it can't do NY.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: TurkeyOnRye on May 24, 2021, 07:43:58 PM
Steels hold more heat and release it to the dough faster. Because of their conductivity, they also reheat more quickly between bakes. If you are looking for greater oven spring and char, then steel is the way to go. 3/8" thickness is more than adequate for most home baking scenarios. I have a 3/8" Dough-Joe steel and it's excellent. Keep your cordierite stone and use both to allow yourself to move the pizza from one surface to another.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: jkb on May 24, 2021, 07:48:23 PM
I'm done.  Carry on.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Santo on May 24, 2021, 08:20:43 PM
Steels hold more heat and release it to the dough faster. Because of their conductivity, they also reheat more quickly between bakes. If you are looking for greater oven spring and char, then steel is the way to go. 3/8" thickness is more than adequate for most home baking scenarios. I have a 3/8" Dough-Joe steel and it's excellent. Keep your cordierite stone and use both to allow yourself to move the pizza from one surface to another.

Sounds smart . Can you explain exactly what you mean by utilizing both stone and steel? As well would you use the stone perhaps on a rack above the steel so it radiates good top heat?
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: billg on May 24, 2021, 08:41:31 PM
They both work great!  Just have to learn to use them correctly. 
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Santo on May 24, 2021, 09:49:05 PM
I'm done.  Carry on.

I'm doing a 2 day cold ferment with king arthur bread flour and 64% hydration. About 8 oz sauce, some parm dusting, and about 8 oz whole milk low moisture galbani mozz.

Baking the pizza takes about 6-8 minutes. In the past i have had trouble getting good color on the top of the pizza.

Where do you prefer to place the stone in your oven? Top, middle or bottom rack position?  Do you go at max temperature? Thanks. I want to stick with the stone as well. But Ive heard great things about steel.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Swamp Yankee on May 25, 2021, 07:32:34 AM
Another alternative is cast iron. Lodge makes a 15” flat pizza pan that I’ve been using lately - it runs about $40. It gives a great crispy texture to the bottom pretty quickly. That’s something I struggled with on ceramics. They’d do it, eventually... but it took so long.
Multiple pies would need a little more recovery time than a 1/2” steel would, I imagine, but it heats up pretty quickly under the broiler.
The only thing I dislike about the Lodge is the raised handles... they get in the way. I’m thinking of grinding them off. ..or at least one of them.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Santo on May 25, 2021, 08:00:41 AM
Another alternative is cast iron. Lodge makes a 15” flat pizza pan that I’ve been using lately - it runs about $40. It gives a great crispy texture to the bottom pretty quickly. That’s something I struggled with on ceramics. They’d do it, eventually... but it took so long.
Multiple pies would need a little more recovery time than a 1/2” steel would, I imagine, but it heats up pretty quickly under the broiler.
The only thing I dislike about the Lodge is the raised handles... they get in the way. I’m thinking of grinding them off. ..or at least one of them.

That's interesting. What's your bake look like then? I'm assuming you build the pizza in the cold pan and then put it in a max temp oven? Please let me know. Thanks. Do you have a link for this pan?
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: scott r on May 25, 2021, 08:17:51 AM

Baking the pizza takes about 6-8 minutes. In the past i have had trouble getting good color on the top of the pizza.

Santo, switching from a stone to a steel would typically get you more browning on the bottom of the pizza, not the top.   I personally like a steel and the extra power it gives me on the bottom and the ability to make a faster pizza in some slow home ovens, but it sounds like in your situation you might just want to try some other tricks to get a more even bake without going for a steel. 

The cheapest and easiest one would be to do exactly what you are doing now, but turn on your broiler part way into your bake.  Another cheap and easy solution is to slip a pizza screen under the crust toward the end of your bake.  The screen lifting it up off the stone will keep the bottom from getting too brown, and allow the top to get more color.

Good luck!
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: TurkeyOnRye on May 25, 2021, 08:39:31 AM
Sounds smart . Can you explain exactly what you mean by utilizing both stone and steel? As well would you use the stone perhaps on a rack above the steel so it radiates good top heat?

Some people like to use one on the very bottom rack and one on the very top rack, or some variation. Just depends on your oven and what you're going for. I like to bake my pizza on the steel on the bottom rack for a few minutes and then move it to the stone on the top rack. Baking on the steel on the bottom rack allows me to get oven spring and some bottom char. Moving it to the stone on the top rack keeps the bottom from getting too dark and allows me to use the broiler to darken the top, if desired.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: texmex on May 25, 2021, 09:04:48 AM
Describe your oven setup. Is the broiler up top within the oven, or in a lower drawer? 
Decent configuration for home ovens can be found.
I used a cast iron just for a heat sink and rested my stone atop it. Then had another stone and foil barrier above that to trap heat in a confined area.  My broiler is separate from the main oven, so I used to slide the pies in there for some top browning.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Santo on May 25, 2021, 09:52:36 AM
Describe your oven setup. Is the broiler up top within the oven, or in a lower drawer? 
Decent configuration for home ovens can be found.
I used a cast iron just for a heat sink and rested my stone atop it. Then had another stone and foil barrier above that to trap heat in a confined area.  My broiler is separate from the main oven, so I used to slide the pies in there for some top browning.


Hey. I have a GE Adora oven. It goes max 550 with bake or roast convection.

The oven has a large burner (main heating element) below the pan at the bottom. The convection fan circulates the heat created from the bottom burner. The top burner is used in Broil mode.

A cast iron for a heat sink - you mean like a normal cast iron pan for the stovetop? I'm trying to imagine it. Did you turn it upside down and rest your stone on top of the bottom of the pan?

Thanks.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Santo on May 25, 2021, 11:00:58 AM
Santo, switching from a stone to a steel would typically get you more browning on the bottom of the pizza, not the top.   I personally like a steel and the extra power it gives me on the bottom and the ability to make a faster pizza in some slow home ovens, but it sounds like in your situation you might just want to try some other tricks to get a more even bake without going for a steel. 

The cheapest and easiest one would be to do exactly what you are doing now, but turn on your broiler part way into your bake.  Another cheap and easy solution is to slip a pizza screen under the crust toward the end of your bake.  The screen lifting it up off the stone will keep the bottom from getting too brown, and allow the top to get more color.

Good luck!

Fantastic advice thank you so much. Heres possibly a funny question. If the pizza is on the bottom rack on the stone, would turning the top broiler on high actually achieve the desired effect all the way from the top? Its a standard sized oven and the broiler is pretty strong but since the pizza would be on the stone on bottom rack, would the top broiler be effective from that height? I have a screen and have considered taking the pizza off the stone and then bringing it to a higher oven position but I really need that bottom to be sufficiently brown and crisp, and i don't want to add too much cooking time and dry out my pizza, yielding something that is tough or crunchy and dry, as opposed to supple and crisp but not overly crunchy. I'm working with a 64" hydration dough by the way. Thanks!
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: scott r on May 25, 2021, 11:14:41 AM
It depends on how strong and fast your broiler is.  In some ovens this will work if you switch just after launch.   
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Swamp Yankee on May 25, 2021, 11:28:15 AM
That's interesting. What's your bake look like then? I'm assuming you build the pizza in the cold pan and then put it in a max temp oven? Please let me know. Thanks. Do you have a link for this pan?

I picked it up at Cabela’s
Here’s the item on the Lodge site
https://www.lodgecastiron.com/product/seasoned-cast-iron-pizza-pan?sku=BW15PP

I stretch the dough in the air and build the pizza on a wooden peel with a bit of semolina but before that I preheat the cast iron on the top rack of my electric kitchen oven till it reads 525F with my IR thermometer, then put the oven on broil and assemble the pizza. By the time I launch the iron is up over 620F. I launch, shut the broiler off, put it back on bake, 525F and turn the pie with a peel as needed. Towards the end I throw the broiler back on.
New to the forum and I haven’t worked out how to post pictures... but the pizzas look pretty dang good even if I say so myself.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Swamp Yankee on May 25, 2021, 11:42:54 AM
Figured it out  ;D
Once that broiler goes back on for the finish, you have to watch it like a hawk. I like a bit of char... but it’ll turn to charcoal if you walk away.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Pete-zza on May 25, 2021, 11:45:55 AM
Santo,

You might take a look at the following post, which covers various baking methods using a home oven, and which I edit from time to time as new baking methods are revealed by other members:

Reply 45 at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=2223.msg20965#msg20965

You will note that I edited the above post today to provide a link to this thread.

Peter
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Gags on June 01, 2021, 10:07:40 PM
I tried steel but I didn't like the way it didn't wick moisture out of the dough.
I bought untreated fire brick at a stone supplier for probably $1 each years ago and they've been my go-to for NY style ever since.
You'll see I support them with a brick turned vertically + a few thin quarry tiles to prevent the shelf from bouncing during the launch.
These at 525F in my home oven after about 60-90 mins of heating works well.  This past weekend, I did 7 pies, back-to-back, with good results.

Hope this helps!
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Santo on June 01, 2021, 10:59:56 PM
I tried steel but I didn't like the way it didn't wick moisture out of the dough.
I bought untreated fire brick at a stone supplier for probably $1 each years ago and they've been my go-to for NY style ever since.
You'll see I support them with a brick turned vertically + a few thin quarry tiles to prevent the shelf from bouncing during the launch.
These at 525F in my home oven after about 60-90 mins of heating works well.  This past weekend, I did 7 pies, back-to-back, with good results.

Hope this helps!

Wow that looks absolutely fantastic. The crust looks really nice and supple, great oven spring, and the pie looks like the perfect ratio of sauce and cheese! You shaped the pies very nicely.  Looks fantastic. I finally had some more luck on my normal cordierite stone this weekend. Are those fire bricks better than cordierite stone? I like the idea of sticking with the stone vs the steel. Glad to see another stone supporter here. But i'm impressed by the amazing achievements of some folks here with their pizza steels. I like the way your pie came out. Did you use broiler at all? 7 Pies!? Sounds like an amazing pizza party but I guess my invitation was lost in the mail? Lol keep making those great pies.

I posted some pics of my pie over the weekend at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=26286.msg672692#msg672692 .


Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: billg on June 02, 2021, 11:26:50 PM
 ^^^
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Gags on June 03, 2021, 10:25:23 PM
Wow that looks absolutely fantastic. The crust looks really nice and supple, great oven spring, and the pie looks like the perfect ratio of sauce and cheese! You shaped the pies very nicely.  Looks fantastic. I finally had some more luck on my normal cordierite stone this weekend. Are those fire bricks better than cordierite stone? I like the idea of sticking with the stone vs the steel. Glad to see another stone supporter here. But i'm impressed by the amazing achievements of some folks here with their pizza steels. I like the way your pie came out. Did you use broiler at all? 7 Pies!? Sounds like an amazing pizza party but I guess my invitation was lost in the mail? Lol keep making those great pies.

I posted some pics of my pie over the weekend at https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=26286.msg672692#msg672692 .

Thanks for the kind words!  I think the bricks function in the same way as cordierite stone - good heat retention and ability to absorb moisture.  The benefits of the bricks are that they give you a larger landing platform so you don't have to be as precise as with a round stone and trying to maximize pizza diameter.  The thicker bricks have higher heat retention so you can do multiple pies back-to-back.  Finally, I've seen pizza stones cost around $50 whereas the bricks are about $1-$2 each! 

No broiler used.  Just 525F for about 8-9 mins, spinning the pie at 6 minutes and maybe again at 8, depending on how it's progressing.   Yah, 7 pizzas!  I recently moved, so let's say that my new neighbors approve when they get free, decent pizza delivered, in pizza boxes, from next door!  LOL! 

Nice pies as well!  I like the cross section picture of that blister in the last pic! 
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: TXCraig1 on June 04, 2021, 09:31:01 AM
I tried steel but I didn't like the way it didn't wick moisture out of the dough.

I'm not disputing that you prefer baking on stone over steel - plenty of folks do, however it has nothing to do with stone wicking moisture out of the dough which doesn't happen. It's a complete myth.

I think your pizza looks great.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Gene in Acadiana on June 04, 2021, 02:40:13 PM
No matter what the actual science is that alters the crust between baking on stone versus steel, there definitely is a difference. Of course it's all a matter of personal opinion which is better, but I've found a stone will produce a better traditional NY-style crust than steel. It's been about a year since I went back to a traditional pizza stone and haven't had the desire to pull out the steel since.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: TXCraig1 on June 04, 2021, 03:11:12 PM
I'm always fascinated how people can get such different results when things otherwise seem so similar. I've never been able to bake a pizza on stone in a home oven that I was particularly happy with but find it easy to do so on steel.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Gene in Acadiana on June 04, 2021, 06:32:52 PM
I'm always fascinated how people can get such different results when things otherwise seem so similar. I've never been able to bake a pizza on stone in a home oven that I was particularly happy with but find it easy to do so on steel.

I guess it's all a matter of personal taste and your frame of reference on what you are trying to achieve. I grew up with traditional New York-style pizza in the Northeast and have eaten at some of the best spots in NY, PA, and NJ from the mid-1970s through the 1990s. This is my frame of reference. I originally switched to using steel to help with Neapolitan style before I realized you cannot get a true Neapolitan in a conventional oven. So I eventually purchased a PP Bollore for Neapolitans but kept using the steel for NY style inside. I never was totally happy with the crust underneath since switching from stone to steel. It was good, but I thought it was still not quite there. Much happier now that I switched back.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: wiz_d_kidd on June 19, 2021, 09:38:16 AM
I've tried various stones, but prefer a 3/8" steel for my pseudo-Neapolitan which is baked under the broiler. Because it is so close to the top of the oven, I have to use an oven rack which has rollers to easily slide it out for launching and retrieval. A 1/2" steel weighs a whopping 32 lbs and I was afraid my oven rack wouldn't take it. I felt that the 1/4" steel (16 lbs) didn't have enough thermal mass, so I compromised and went with 3/8" at 24 lbs. I'm very happy with it.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Pizza_Not_War on June 20, 2021, 02:07:18 AM
I've tried various stones, but prefer a 3/8" steel for my pseudo-Neapolitan which is baked under the broiler. Because it is so close to the top of the oven, I have to use an oven rack which has rollers to easily slide it out for launching and retrieval. A 1/2" steel weighs a whopping 32 lbs and I was afraid my oven rack wouldn't take it. I felt that the 1/4" steel (16 lbs) didn't have enough thermal mass, so I compromised and went with 3/8" at 24 lbs. I'm very happy with it.
Is that a retrofit? If so any details?
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: wiz_d_kidd on June 20, 2021, 08:20:21 AM
Is that a retrofit? If so any details?

It's a fairly new, dual-fuel KitchenAid that came with two regular racks and one roller rack.

You might be able to buy the racks separately for your oven, or perhaps another oven with the same interior dimensions. Here's an example...
https://products.geappliances.com/appliance/gea-support-search-content?contentId=18423 (https://products.geappliances.com/appliance/gea-support-search-content?contentId=18423)

Or just Google "oven roller rack" for more links.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Gene in Acadiana on June 20, 2021, 02:55:44 PM
It's a fairly new, dual-fuel KitchenAid that came with two regular racks and one roller rack.

Just curious - what's the maximum regular temperature your oven will reach? (using just the dial, not forcing it higher with the broiler on.) I have a really nice, but old, dual-fuel Jenn-Air that gets to about 575 F without the broiler and I'm dreading the day when I have to replace it with a new model that likely won't be able to reach those temps.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: TXCraig1 on June 20, 2021, 03:50:31 PM
A lot of ovens will let you calibrate the oven. My oven is a fairly unremarkable GE and it will let me increase the temp up to +35F over the setting, and it will hit a measured 585F when set to 550F.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: munselln8 on June 20, 2021, 06:27:52 PM
Just curious - what's the maximum regular temperature your oven will reach? (using just the dial, not forcing it higher with the broiler on.) I have a really nice, but old, dual-fuel Jenn-Air that gets to about 575 F without the broiler and I'm dreading the day when I have to replace it with a new model that likely won't be able to reach those temps.
My Frigidaire glass-top electric, even with the +35 degree calibration, won't get over 510f when set to 550f (should get to 585 theoretically) :-(

Edit: I have actually seen it get to 550f, but only during the initial heat-up when it shoots past what it "thinks" is 550f, but then it drops directly back to about 500f and stays there.
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: wiz_d_kidd on June 21, 2021, 08:52:20 AM
Just curious - what's the maximum regular temperature your oven will reach? (using just the dial, not forcing it higher with the broiler on.) I have a really nice, but old, dual-fuel Jenn-Air that gets to about 575 F without the broiler and I'm dreading the day when I have to replace it with a new model that likely won't be able to reach those temps.

I can set my oven to 500 deg F max. But preheating my steel 2 inches under the broiler for 20 min will raise it's temperature into the 650-700 deg range due to direct IR radiation from the broiler element. My pseudo-Neapolitan pizzas cook on that in 110 seconds.

It's a way different method than putting your steel into the middle of the oven and preheating for an hour which will only ever get the steel to the oven air temperature (500 deg or so).
Title: Re: 1 inch stone vs pizza steels of varying thickness?
Post by: Numerator on June 21, 2021, 01:15:06 PM
I have a 1 inch thick Corderite 16" round stone. Thinking of upgrading to a pizza steel.

I have seen thicknesses of 3/16, 3/8, 1/2", etc. What is the difference between the 1" stone vs the steels of varying thickness? Is the 3/16 good or must you step up the thickness?

If i plan to make multiple pizzas, i just have to wait between bakes if i am using a thinner steel? About how long would you have to wait?

As well is a 1 inch stone comparable to any of these steels or is it just child's play in comparison?

Thanks for your advice.

I have two 3/8" steels and they are pretty heavy.  I would not recommend anything over that.  They work well in an oven using the two steel method. You could get an addition steel and use them together.  You could see which one is better first/second and which shelf.


https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=37578.0#:~:text=Tony%20Gemignani%20author%20of%20the,the%20remainder%20of%20the%20bake.