Pizza stone or Pizza steel? What is your opinion

Given the rim on the pan, how easy is it to slide a pizza onto the preheated pan? A pizza steel or stone, being flat, would seem to make that task easier.

I use this peel, which takes a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it it works like a dream:

https://www.amazon.com/EXO-Super-Pizza-Solid-White/dp/B001T6OVPO

The lip doesn’t pose a problem at all with this peel. I doubt it would with a traditional peel, either, since you are always going to be coming in a little bit above the edge, but YMMV. The lip on this pan is quite short - only about a quarter of an inch, half inch tops. It’s just enough to contain the occasional cheese or pepperoni grease spillover, which I appreciate as I have a tendency to be overly generous with cheese!

There are industrial steel suppliers everywhere. Just google ‘steel fabricator’ & make a few phone calls. Should run about $50 for a piece of 1/4 or 3/8 inch steel plus another $50 to cut it. Plate steel is cut with a plasma cutter so it’s just as easy to cut a rounded corner as a square one. the edges may be sharp but 20 mins with a sander should take care of that. The steel is no dirtier than a pan you would buy in a store. Steel is not routinely coated with anything prior to fabrication. I’d give it a good wash when you get it home.

Thanks. What motions and positioning do you use to get the pizza off the peel and on the pan? Do you hold the peel angled above the far end of the hot pan then “shake” the pizza off as you pull back the peel? How long does it take you?

All pizza peels need to have the pizza unloaded starting at the far end. That peel, the Super Peel, uses a conveyor belt to slide the edge of the pizza to the far end of the stone or steel plate. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGZCYbdGfow

Thanks. Somehow, I missed understanding the conveyor belt aspect. My next question was/is whether the positioning is significantly harder when there’s a lip (however low) on the pan, than when there’s not.

As you all can tell from these questions, I’m new to this game. I did use a pizza stone years ago, but have not made pizza in two decades now.

The Super Peel may be easier to find the exact spot to start to unload the pizza ( on a pan with a lip) that happens to be the same size as the pizza. With a regular peel, you usually have oat bran or corn meal under the pizza and you do shake it off. So if you’re too enthusiastic with your ‘shake’, you might be off the first couple of times. It’s obviously easier if the pizza is somewhat smaller than the pan.

Yes, the conveyor belt takes some getting used to. I hold the handle with my left (non-dominant) hand and the plastic bar that controls the conveyor belt with my right. I place the edge of the peel just behind where I want the farthest edge of the pizza from me to be, and then gently push the conveyor bar with my right hand as I slowly pull the peel toward me with my left. It sounds complicated but once you do it a few times, you get the hang of it.

With the pan I have, the corners of the peel touch the lip of the pan briefly when I position it. If the lip were any taller, this could be problematic, but as it is I never have an issue getting the pizza onto the pan. A perfectly flat surface might be a little easier, but not substantially.

Hi, alexander:

I have fooled with this Super Peel, in stores and at IHHS. The guy manning their booth, when asked how you put a round 14" pie perfectly centered on a round 14" preheated pan, arched his eyebrow and said that a 12" is realistically the best a mortal can hope for, unless maybe you toss bullseyes every throw in darts.

If Lodge offered a bigger target (say a 16" square pan), it would make a lot more sense for pizza. I think they only put a rim on it so it won’t break.

As it stands, it makes almost no sense to assemble your pie on this thing and then put it in the oven. That would be more like foccacia than pizza. Better to do that on a thin aluminum or screen pan.

That being said, I think the Super Peel is a good product for anyone who has problems launching from a traditional peel.

Aloha,
Kaleo

Here are a couple of photos that may illustrate what I am talking about - sorry I don’t have any with actual pizza!

Step one: push the pizza to the edge of the peel and position the edge of the peel where you want the pizza to land.

Halfway there- push the pizza onto the pan while simultaneously pulling the peel away (at the same approximate speed).

Almost done! Just keep pushing and pulling.

The only part that requires some attention is pulling the peel away. If you do it faster than you’re pushing the pizza off, you might stretch the dough, and in the process make your pizza too large for your pan. I’ve made a couple of messes this way, but after a little practice it becomes second nature.

1 Like

I agree on all points, Kaleo. If you can’t preheat a thick iron pan or stone/ steel plate, you’re better off baking the pizza on a pizza screen.

This might seem like mental gymnastics, but once you ‘push’ the pizza into position to start it, you’re really just holding the cloth bar stationary and sliding the lower peel back.

“If this is not true, and upon me proved, then no man ever baked and I never writ.”
(apologies to William S.)

Thanks so much. Very helpful. (Thanks to Alexander and others, too.)

Yes, this can be true, although the process goes faster if you both push and pull simultaneously. However, I’m guessing that simply holding the bar and pulling out the peel would eliminate the issue I occasionally have with stretching the pizza too much - will pay more attention to the mechanics next time and report back!

I own a 3/8" slab from a scrap yard and a Lodge cast iron.

Though I’m a US citizen I grew up, have worked and spend at least a month each year in Italy. I have never seen a pizza stone in Italy.

Just about every hardware store or outdoor living store has a selection of plate steel or cast iron pizza slabs. There are no stones. No idea where this idea came from. Perhaps some marketing MBA.

Interesting.

Does your 3/8" steel work better than the Lodge cast iron? (And what is “better”?)

I don’t use the steel slab much anymore. Too heavy and harder to handle. I think any variation in the pizza I’m seeing is a result of me, not the slab material.

In Italy the steel slabs tend to out number the cast pans by quite a margin. A big however, is the slabs tend to stick to specific dimensions that work with the racks in typical backyard barbecues. So that may not be an indicator of which one is better. I went with steel as there’s a scrap yard close to me and my Italy experience. I switched for the handling reason and don’t believe I’d go back.

1 Like

Thanks. Very useful.

Interesting - I’ve never had good luck with my pizza stone. I’ve got two cast iron pans, one a flat 12" diameter, and one 8" with 2" sides. I use the former for flat pizza & the latter for deep dish. I always felt simultaneously guilty and ingenious. Guilty because I thought I was doing it wrong, ingenious because I thought I was being clever.

Now you tell me I’m being authentic! Not sure if I can handle that.

2 Likes

Very good!

1 Like