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Steel for cooking

clarnibass

Aluminum
Joined
Dec 23, 2015
Hi

I want to get a pizza/baking steel and want it to fit my smaller oven too, can't find anything ready made here. I'm thinking of getting a plate cut to size, but question is what material to use and whether some materials are not good for food. Some places describe baking steels made of "food grade steel" which I think is a random made up term...?

I know most of the baking steels are made of carbon steel but there are many types, and better to not use anything with lead in it... but how do you even know if it has lead in it...?
Stainless might be ok too, but supposedly not as good for cooking, both because of heat conductivity (compared with steel) and possibly the nickel or chrome releasing at a certain temp... which might or might be relevant.

Thanks
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
Hi

I want to get a pizza/baking steel and want it to fit my smaller oven too, can't find anything ready made here. I'm thinking of getting a plate cut to size, but question is what material to use and whether some materials are not good for food. Some places describe baking steels made of "food grade steel" which I think is a random made up term...?

I know most of the baking steels are made of carbon steel but there are many types, and better to not use anything with lead in it... but how do you even know if it has lead in it...?
Stainless might be ok too, but supposedly not as good for cooking, both because of heat conductivity (compared with steel) and possibly the nickel or chrome releasing at a certain temp... which might or might be relevant.

Thanks
 

Cole2534

Diamond
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Location
Oklahoma City, OK
Hi

I want to get a pizza/baking steel and want it to fit my smaller oven too, can't find anything ready made here. I'm thinking of getting a plate cut to size, but question is what material to use and whether some materials are not good for food. Some places describe baking steels made of "food grade steel" which I think is a random made up term...?

I know most of the baking steels are made of carbon steel but there are many types, and better to not use anything with lead in it... but how do you even know if it has lead in it...?
Stainless might be ok too, but supposedly not as good for cooking, both because of heat conductivity (compared with steel) and possibly the nickel or chrome releasing at a certain temp... which might or might be relevant.

Thanks
Not to burst your bubble, but you wouldn't be the first to use SS for cookware.
 

rons

Diamond
Joined
Mar 5, 2009
Location
California, USA
Don't worry about all those trace elements being absorbed by your pizza crust. If you eat processed foods then it's much worse.
The food processing manufacturers lure you in with all the pretty pictures of fake plastic looking food on the boxes.

Those aluminum pans with the vent holes are what I use. You could buy a large one and cut it down to size.
If stainless, then I would get a SS baking sheet and drill a couple hundred of vent holes.
 
Last edited:

Ries

Diamond
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Location
Edison Washington USA
I have a bunch of friends who make frying pans in commercial quantities and sell them. They use regular mild steel.
I also have a bunch of friends who have been making Planchas- 32" diameter plates of 3/8 steel, which have a platform below for a wood fire. These are for cooking things that will fall thru a grate. They use regular mild steel.
All of these guys have been making these for years, some as long as fifteen years.
They have, in the case of the frying pan guys, literally hundreds of them out there in use.
the trick is-
1-remove the mill scale.
This can be done by sanding, or acids, or as most of my friends do, heating in the forge and then wire brushing.
2- season. this is just heat, rub with oil, heat again, rub with oil again. the more, the better.
Stainless will warp more with repeated heat cycles.
I have a stainless wood fired barbecue I built to cook oysters on, as heated salt water destroys steel bbqs. It works great, but its not flat and straight any more. the grilles themselves, which are 3/8" round, are fine, but the 3/16" stainless plate the bbq is made of has gotten wavy with age.

I have a buddy who is really into making pizzas, and he says the hardcore pizza guys are using plain mild steel, instead of ceramic pizza stones, because they think they both conduct more heat, and do it more evenly.
I have been meaning to make myself a steel pizza stone, and check it out, but havent gotten around to it yet.

I would go with 1/8", or better, 3/16" mild steel, sand it clean, and then season the hell out of it.
 

Cole2534

Diamond
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Location
Oklahoma City, OK
I have a buddy who is really into making pizzas, and he says the hardcore pizza guys are using plain mild steel, instead of ceramic pizza stones, because they think they both conduct more heat, and do it more evenly.
I have been meaning to make myself a steel pizza stone, and check it out, but havent gotten around to it yet.

I would go with 1/8", or better, 3/16" mild steel, sand it clean, and then season the hell out of it.
Wouldn't that be a pizza platen? :)
 

SteveM

Diamond
Joined
Sep 22, 2005
Location
Connecticut
I remember Alton Brown's episode on pizza where he said:
"you could go down to 'Chefs r Us" and pony up $29.99 for a pizza stone, or you could go down to a masonry supplier and get some unglazed quarry tiles".
Personally, I just cook the pizza right on the grates - it crusts over so fast, it doesn't ooze thru the grates.
What I'm looking for is a cast iron or carbon steel griddle that will fit my grill so that I can cook large quantities of things like pancakes, bacon, eggs, sausage and peppers and the like. Issue I have is getting one that fills the space, as the grill is 23-3/4" wide and most of the big griddles are 24". I have a water jet cutting shop up the road and could probably have them make me one, or trim up one.

Steve
 

rons

Diamond
Joined
Mar 5, 2009
Location
California, USA
I have a buddy who is really into making pizzas, and he says the hardcore pizza guys are using plain mild steel, instead of ceramic pizza stones, because they think they both conduct more heat, and do it more evenly.
There are those silicone mats that are sold for cooking. Get a hunk of plate and cover it with a mat.
Since those mats come from the import container my trust is not all there.
 

sfriedberg

Diamond
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Location
Oregon, USA
Kid is joking, I assume, but there's another reason beside the lead to avoid 12L14. It rusts like crazy. Just washing up will leave you with rust stains.
 
I've made a bunch of larg-ish griddles for our EAA food events over the years with A36 ("structural" steel). 1/2" bottoms and 1/4" rims welded on. If you get it cut out of plate, have them burn it or waterjet if they have it. A shear will make a potato chip. 1/2" is overkill but i planed the first few made & was concerned about flatness and thickness after planing. 3/8" should be plenty, but i would not step down to 1/4".

The rim is because we use these over long regular gas outdoor BBQ grills for stuff like eggs, burgers, sausage, etc that would fall through a grate. The welded on rim keeps the food contained, but it also helps keep the plates flat.


smt
 

clarnibass

Aluminum
Joined
Dec 23, 2015
Use 12L4 and live dangerously.
Finally some good advice 👻

To clarify... I'd like to get a steel plate for this.
I want one that would fit my smaller oven too, none of the commercial ones do (having this shipped from abroad isn't an option).
I already have other pizza stones that fit my larger oven.
I'll probably have one flame or plasma cut locally (much easier to find and cheaper than water jet).
I'll finish it myself anyway (file, sand, oil treat, etc.).
I guess any mild or carbon steel would work, preferably something that is relatively rust resistant (for steel).

Thanks everyone
 

cyanidekid

Titanium
Joined
Jun 4, 2016
Location
Brooklyn NYC
I remember Alton Brown's episode on pizza where he said:
"you could go down to 'Chefs r Us" and pony up $29.99 for a pizza stone, or you could go down to a masonry supplier and get some unglazed quarry tiles".
Personally, I just cook the pizza right on the grates - it crusts over so fast, it doesn't ooze thru the grates.
What I'm looking for is a cast iron or carbon steel griddle that will fit my grill so that I can cook large quantities of things like pancakes, bacon, eggs, sausage and peppers and the like. Issue I have is getting one that fills the space, as the grill is 23-3/4" wide and most of the big griddles are 24". I have a water jet cutting shop up the road and could probably have them make me one, or trim up one.

Steve
water jet for one 2' straight cut? sounds like overkill.. doesn't anyone have a bandsaw anymore?:D
 

newtonsapple

Hot Rolled
Joined
May 16, 2017
Considering most people cook in Teflon and happily ingest ptfe's I wouldn't worry one bit about any grade of steel.

PTFE is fine to eat. I built stuff with PTFE that gets implanted it in people's bodies.

Thermally degraded PTFE is the not so good for you though. Don't sear things in PTFE pans, use them for eggs and maybe pancakes. Everything else should go in stainless or cast iron.
 

barryvabeach

Plastic
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Location
virginia
In the pizza world, mild steel is preferred. Different stones have different conductivity - for a really hot gas pizza oven, many use a low conductive stone like saputo, but the more common stone used is cordierite, which is more conductive. The advantages of steel is that is conducts heat far faster than cordierite, and won't break from thermal shock or from being dropped. It is often used in a home oven that only goes up to 500 F or so - it allows one to make a crispy NY style pizza. As Reis says, season the hell out of it like you would cast iron, and you won't have to worry about rust. Don't use it on a grill, because you can get it so hot it will just burn the bottom of your pie before the top browns. The thicker the steel, the more heat it will store, but will also make it heavier. Pizza Steel buying guide
 

newtonsapple

Hot Rolled
Joined
May 16, 2017
Hi

I want to get a pizza/baking steel and want it to fit my smaller oven too, can't find anything ready made here. I'm thinking of getting a plate cut to size, but question is what material to use and whether some materials are not good for food. Some places describe baking steels made of "food grade steel" which I think is a random made up term...?

I know most of the baking steels are made of carbon steel but there are many types, and better to not use anything with lead in it... but how do you even know if it has lead in it...?
Stainless might be ok too, but supposedly not as good for cooking, both because of heat conductivity (compared with steel) and possibly the nickel or chrome releasing at a certain temp... which might or might be relevant.

Thanks

Most "baking steels" are just mild steel that gets seasoned with a light coat of oil. Just avoid one of the intentionally lead containing grades and you will be fine. The amount of surface contact a pizza actually has with the steel is incredibly low as it almost immediately bubbles into a structured non flat surface. Barry covered most the rest of the basics.

There are several ebay sellers with precut shapes of all sizes/thickness for this purpose: https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fr...LH_TitleDesc=0&_odkw=steel+plate+16&_osacat=0

More Detail:
With plates or stones you have two main variables, total energy stored in the plate and conductivity (how quickly it can delivery that heat to the pizza). Ideal is for the energy storage to be infinite, but real world trials seem to result in 1/2" steel and 1" aluminum (aluminum has a lower volumetric heat capacity) being the point of diminishing returns. The desired conductivity should be proportional to the oven temperature. The plates are preheated to approximately the oven temperature, so high conductivity plates will result in excessive heat transfer into the pizza bottom at high temperatures.

Testing from a number of internet chefs seems to suggest that given sufficient thickness aluminum works well at 500F and below, steel at 550-650F, and stones above that with a lot of overlap potential. At 900F+ we are looking to stone with intentionally low conductivity to keep from scorching the bottom.

Cooking times are directly related to the oven temperature. With increasing cooking time, you increase the thickness of the browned hard crunchy layer of the crust. The characteristic of this layer is the primary determinate of pizza style. It is primarily influenced by cooking temp/time and secondarily by the dough recipe. The two main reference styles are New York at 4-7 minutes and Neapolitan with 50-90 seconds. New York has distinct crunch and defined outer crusty layer from the moderate cooking time. Neapolitan has almost no defined outer crusty layer and is elastic even though fully cooked. That super thin crusty layer allows extreme browning/burning of discrete sections without developing off flavors as the small dose comes through as toasted marshmallow when done right.

In home ovens you are aiming for New York style and its variants. I like this around 4 minutes, which requires maximizing heat in the oven and plate. You can play around with cooking under the broiler or under a second plate or stone. Make sure you sufficiently preheat the oven, which is going to to be 45-60min.

My strong preference Neapolitan oriented oven outside. Launching a pizza directly onto a hot plate or stone inevitably involves smoke from things that fall off.

Oh and learn to make long fermented dough. This is dough that rises over 2-3 days by using the fridge or small initial amount of yeast.
 

clarnibass

Aluminum
Joined
Dec 23, 2015
Thank you. Yes I'll go with regular mild steel (I think there's a local equivalent that is similar, they often have different names here than the USA names).

I appreciate all the info though I was mainly interested in any health considerations for the type of steel. I've been making pizza for a couple of decades, using a few stones (mostly ceramic and cordierite). Mostly Roma or Napoli style, or a local style that is sort of between Napoli and NY... kind of. I've tried many types of flours and combinations, fermentation time, doughs (I prefer using a poolish). I recently found out about the steel and tried it and wanted something to fit my smaller oven too. That was the issue, anything I found was too large. I need it specifically no larger than 320mm (about 12.5") and anything ready made is at least 340mm (about 13") and unless local, extremely high international shipping, which is why I want to have one cut locally in the right size.
 

kustomizingkid

Titanium
Joined
Aug 2, 2010
Location
Minnesota
PTFE is fine to eat. I built stuff with PTFE that gets implanted it in people's bodies.

Thermally degraded PTFE is the not so good for you though. Don't sear things in PTFE pans, use them for eggs and maybe pancakes. Everything else should go in stainless or cast iron.

Lol... its fine till you heat it, lets put it on something exclusively used to be heated up.
 








 
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