Need a new pizza stone. See something called a pizza steel. Unbreakable, etc. Anyone familiar with this? Better than a stone? Thanking you.
Here’s one at Amazon with good reviews and a lot of discussion in them as to how steel vs. stone compares.
I drive by a local machine shop often and am ready to see if they will trade me a proper piece of steel for my late father’s calipers or micrometers. Now that it’s heating season, having the oven at maximum for a while seems like a good idea.
Here’s a thread about using rough sheet steel:
Oh, I just ordered the Dough-Joe Steel from Ebay (sold at a discount by the manufacturer because of a couple of dings in the non-cooking side), and it should be here in a few days. Cheaper than the Modernist model. I’m psyched and will report back when I’ve used it a couple of times.
I’ve had the 1/4 inch Baking Steel from Stoughton Steel Company for about a year and I love it. I leave it in the oven all the time and I think it helps keep an even temperature. It makes an amazingly crackly, bubbly crusted pizza (which is what I look for in a pizza). I’ve given away my old ceramic pizza stones and am not looking back.
They also offer a 1/2 inch steel, but I decided 15 lbs was heavy enough for me so I went for the 1/4 inch.
Yes, in a home oven, a steel is superior. I have a 1/2" piece, and I can’t say enough good about it. With it, I can do a <3-minute pie.
There is no special need to buy a commercial “pizza steel”, though. Any decent scrap yard will have steel plate this thick (I recommend either 3/8" or 1/2") and many of them will have remnants (called “fall”) that won’t even need to be cut. This is typically a LOT cheaper. I think I paid $67 for a plate that is 18" x 14". You just have to clean and season it.
The only downside you should know is: these things are heavy– a full-area sheet in 1/2" will be over 40 lbs.
Thanks all. I was gifted a pizza stone from Sur La Table, will trade it in and get their steel instead. 1/4 inch, but that’s OK with me.
Help! Made a white pizza, some oil spilled on the steel, has burned and stuck to the steel. What to do? My old pizza stone would have absorbed some and the rest would have crusted up to be swept off. Wah.
They tell you that you can scrub it with the piece of pumice they sell at home depot to clean grills. I think it is called grill brick or something. The thing is that it isn’t supposed to stay clean, and eventually turns dark.
Thanks Wally. I get that, but this is a big sticky puddle. Not conducive to pizza coming off the steel.
Is your oven self-cleaning? Pop the steel in and turn it on.
the grill brick does work but it does give off a lot of gritty dust.
Scrape with a putty knife and carry on. After a few pies, you won’t notice or care. Scrape it, wire brush. and sweep it between uses. Otherwise ignore it.
Steel wool or a stainless steel kitchen scrubbie will take it off. Ordinary steel like pizza steels are made from is somewhat porous like cast iron. At sufficient temperatures oils will bond onto it. With cast iron cookware we call this ‘seasoning’. The brownish/black finish you see on vintage decorative pieces is a result of the hot iron being coated with a mixture of Linseed Oil & Beeswax done as a protective no-rust finish. It’s a very old technique.
Putty knife worked great. Thanks. Next question. I need a better dough recipe. I generally use KA all-purpose flour, dry yeast, glug of olive oil. Any recommendations for a better crust?
Big confession here: I’m a total crust slacker.
I fooled with Jim Lahey’s no-knead crust a few times, and really liked it. Then I discovered Trader Joe’s pre-made bags of dough (plain, whole wheat and herb) and haven’t felt the need to change since. Freezes well, keeps for weeks in the fridge, ready in 20 minutes, springs just right for my tastes. Definitely qualifies for me as “ain’t broke”.
The forums at pizzamaking.com are full of great information on pizza crust of all different styles. For my oven and equipment (I have a flat cast iron pizza “stone” - an improvement over an actual stone, IMO, but not as nice as a steel), I have landed on a high-hydration recipe (about 75g water to 100g flour, or 75% hydration), sourdough starter rather than regular yeast, about 2% olive oil and a 3-day ferment in the refrigerator. It’s a lot of fun to play around with the hydration level, etc., though, just to see what you get and what you like.
As mentioned, try using bread flour, not all purpose. Also, as mentioned, try using a little more water. I also weigh my ingredients these days, although i used to eyeball everything by how the dough felt. I usually use about a 66% hydration by weight - for example: 300 grams flour and 200 grams water.
You didn’t mention salt- you might try a bit more-
I think dry yeast is O.K. Flavor is somewhat enhanced by slow rises, by some combination of less yeast, or refrigeration of the dough.
However, its better to have some strength left in the yeast, that is, if you let the dough go too long, the yeast colony will be dying out and the dough will be over risen and not spring up as much in the oven. Sometimes one forgets they have dough rising! Usually a little extra water and flour will bring it back… yadda yadda.
I usually mix my pizza dough in a food processor these days and use a mixture of mainly Bread flour with a bit of sprouted whole wheat . I save the olive oil for the bowl the dough rises in.
You might start with the Neapolitan crust or the NY crust developed by Kenji at SE.
Full disclosure - I haven’t tried either, but his goals match mine (big holes, good chew, crisp crust) and his pan pizza is my lazy favorite, just the right crust and crumb with pretty much zero effort. I’d love to hear how his NY crust comes out.
I’d be a little concerned that a big chunk of 1/2" steel would be TOO heavy for the oven rack.
18"x18"x1/2" = 45# Heavy but I think the average oven rack would carry it. However, 3/8" plate would also be more than adequate as a pizza steel & would only weigh 34#.