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pizza stone info

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I'm considering buying a pizza stone.  There is a type that is a bit larger than the others (this one is 30cm x 40 cm x 2.5 cm,  It's manufactured by a company (german i believe) called "stonecrystall-Art" (yes, apparently, 2 Ls in that) and it's made of some sort of composite.  Here is the link to it in amazon.it:   http://www.amazon.it/Stonecrystall-Alfred-Wriessenegger-40x30x25-Stonecrystall-Art/dp/B0039S44TI

It has good reviews.  It's very thick (2.5 cm, about an inch). 

My idea would be to just buy it and keep it in the oven permanently.  I don't really have a place to store it and it looks very heavy and they say it's more fragile if you bang it around than plain stone would be because it's an composite.  (I presume it would be more resistant to breaking due to heat). 

 

My questions are:

  1. this is double the price of slightly smaller ones, that are much thinner (half inch probably) so am i paying for a better product or just paying extra?
  2. I'd like to leave it directly on the floor (bottom, not rack) of my gas oven (the gas ring is below it) - will that make it crack?  Does it have to be on a rack?
  3. if i leave it in the oven, does it mean the oven will take longer to preheat for cakes and other stuff?
  4. if i leave it permanently in the oven will it be more susceptible to cracking?
  5. will it being in the oven negatively affect the baking of cakes and other delicate things? 
  6. can i do meat or grilled vegetables on it too?

 

I scanned through other threads on pizza stones,. and i'm not concerned with cleaning - to my mind, anything subject to constant heat needs no cleaning, and eventually it all turns to carbon in the end.  Anything wrong with that presumption (e.g. at 500 degrees F mozzarella drips turn into a deadly poison or something)?

thanks for even partial answers

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #2 of 18

Get a baking steel - much more versatile than a stone.   Works better by transferring heat faster too.  Will never break and can be used for searing / broiling also.

 

The commercial ones are quite expensive for what they are.

 

DiY is the best way.  Just get a 3/8" thick piece of W44 or mild rolled steel cut to match the size of your oven (actually a couple of inches smaller to allow for air circulation)

 

Bring it home - scrub it clean and season it.

 

The results are great.

 

Here is a review on a comerrcial version.  http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2012/09/the-pizza-lab-the-baking-steel-delivers.html

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks Michael, but I have no idea where i would get such a thing.  It's not like they have steel supply stores hereabouts.  .  

 

I thought that steel is not a good conductor.

 

the other questions, in any case, still hold, will leaving it in the oven create a problem for baking other stuff?  etc

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #4 of 18

It sounds like a nice stone. It will take a while to heat up but would have a good thermal mass.

 

I have a stone a bit more that 1/4 inch thick I've used for breads and pizzas and have liked it. Lately, I've switched to a Lodge 14" cast iron pizza pan. More thermal mass than my thin stone and higher heat transfer too. Probably be cost prohibitive to have it shipped to Italy though.

 

So the stone sounds pretty reasonable.

 

Keep it on the lowest rack in the oven is my only suggestion. It will even out your oven temps a lot for everything else you cook. You might want to put some aluminum foil on top to protect it from drips. My wife likes to use my baking stone when she makes pies, but sugary drips on the stone are bad news.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks Phatch.  It's a bit pricey as it is so i'll think well about it.  Even ordering light stuff from the states is impossible because the customs fees are outrageous.  But being in europe we can order from other european countries.  I'll check if amazon.it has the metal ones. 

 

Wouldn't the sugar drips just burn away if you left them there?  I never clean my oven (oh my! and someone once called me suzie homemaker!) and it all ends up as carbon.  Beats using poisonous oven cleaners.  I don;t think anyone ever washes the inside of a wood burning pizza oven smile.gif they just brush out the ash at the beginning of the day. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #6 of 18

yes, they burn away, but they smoke and give food odd flavors.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelGA View Post

Get a baking steel - much more versatile than a stone.   Works better by transferring heat faster too.  Will never break and can be used for searing / broiling also.

 

The commercial ones are quite expensive for what they are.

 

DiY is the best way.  Just get a 3/8" thick piece of W44 or mild rolled steel cut to match the size of your oven (actually a couple of inches smaller to allow for air circulation)

 

Bring it home - scrub it clean and season it.

 

The results are great.

 

Here is a review on a comerrcial version.  http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2012/09/the-pizza-lab-the-baking-steel-delivers.html

 

Wow, that's a great idea! I think I'm going to have to make one of these. I have enough metal fabrication experience to cut and smooth out a thick piece of steel, I think. I could use another small project right about now. Now, to find the perfect steel to use! I think the key is to find a steel that will conduct heat quickly and evenly, and retain it. Some steels won't conduct heat as fast as others and won't do it as evenly, or retain it. (i.e. think of a cheap flat top if you've ever had to work with one of those. I have... not fun.) 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post

 I thought that steel is not a good conductor.

Metal is one of the best thermal conductors. That's why health departments prefer to see metal pans in refrigerators. That's also why if you leave a fork on a heat source, you'll burn your hand trying to pick it up after a minute. 

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic Cardenas View Post


 

Metal is one of the best thermal conductors. That's why health departments prefer to see metal pans in refrigerators. That's also why if you leave a fork on a heat source, you'll burn your hand trying to pick it up after a minute. 

I probably am using the wrong term.  Stainless steel is not considered a good (?) conductor (?) retainer (?)  of heat so that cooking on a stainless steel pan is really bad, stuff burns in spots, sticks, etc, and that's why i understood, they put thick aluminum underneath the stainless.  Now is stainless steel the same as steel?  i imagine not, so maybe a steel pan would work (in europe where cast iron pans are not common, the traditional pan is made of spun metal (steel? iron?) and is not rustproof, and has to be seasoned like a cast iron pan.  But is that steel? can steel be spun? 

 

So tell me more about steel.  What kind of steel would i need?  how would it be called.  (And then, of course, i would have to translate it into italian - and then find a place that makes steel sheets and cuts to order for a client who is not a factory or something. 

 

I know metal conducts heat, all metal, but the problem may then be that the term "conduct" might be the wrong word, because i've had cheap stainless steel pans without any aluminum and they were horrible.  It conducts it in a way that it burns whatever you put in it. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #9 of 18

good idea on the steel plate. i should check one out.

post #10 of 18

Siduri...

I bought my stone almost 20 years ago and seldom (if ever) remove it from my gas oven deck (home use).

It is now well seasoned from pizza drippings and chocolate chip cookies (more things, but these two are what I cook most often, lol).

Never tried cooking just meat, but it is great for toasting the bun and melting cheese on my meatball subs at the same time.

I was having some problems with the bottom crust of my pies (glass dish) not browning as much as I like, so now I place it directly on the stone.

Perfect every time!

Do let things drip on it, never wash or get really wet (I use a plastic scraper for stubborn bits, if that doesn't work a bit of rock salt rubbed in does the trick) as this develops/maintains the "no stick patina" (much like a cast iron skillet). 

I am sure it retards the preheating as well as adding time to cool off, I hardly notice it any more.

 

mimi

post #11 of 18

Quote:

 
I probably am using the wrong term. Stainless steel is not considered a good (?) conductor (?) retainer (?) of heat so that cooking on a stainless steel pan is really bad, stuff burns in spots, sticks, etc, and that's why i understood, they put thick aluminum underneath the stainless. Now is stainless steel the same as steel? i imagine not, so maybe a steel pan would work (in europe where cast iron pans are not common, the traditional pan is made of spun metal (steel? iron?) and is not rustproof, and has to be seasoned like a cast iron pan. But is that steel? can steel be spun?



So tell me more about steel. What kind of steel would i need? how would it be called. (And then, of course, i would have to translate it into italian - and then find a place that makes steel sheets and cuts to order for a client who is not a factory or something.



I know metal conducts heat, all metal, but the problem may then be that the term "conduct" might be the wrong word, because i've had cheap stainless steel pans without any aluminum and they were horrible. It conducts it in a way that it burns whatever you put in it.

 

 

Ok, You're right. I was using a broad use of the term steel. I thought you were comparing steel to stone in conductivity. 

It looks like DIY'ers are using all types of steel to make these. Few are using stainless due to the cost. Some are using a galvanized plate (although I'd be curious to find out if the zinc comes off in the food). Most are using a non-stainless plate it looks like.

post #12 of 18

I'm not sure about letting the stone (or steel) in a gas oven. My sister in law does so and every time I cook at her home the oven temp distribution is totally uneven. Besides, the burnt drippings are terrible, pure carbon smoke, horrible smell that will contaminate everything you put in the oven. On the other side, it's easier to clean a movable stone than the bottom of the oven.

As a side story, years ago i recommended a friend of mine, that was into pizza, to buy a stone. He bought a sandstone! Then he prepared the pizzas, and when the oven was hot, the stone exploded in the oven. Miseria!

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #13 of 18

The type of steel you want to use is called 44W in Canada or A36 in the USA.  It is food safe.

 

The thickness is really up to your preference - most go for 1/4" as it's not too heavy.   I went with 3/8" because I don't move it around - it sits on the bottom rack and acts as a heat sink when I'm not doing pizza's or browning pie shells.   It is really amazingly good.

 

I have a second one that I use outside on my gas grill as a 'plancha' it is 1/2" thick and weighs in at about 80lbs.    It is a bit overkill but It makes the best seared shell on shrimp and scallops or smash burgers.

 

The one in my oven is 22" x 20" and 3/8" thick weighs about 60lbs and cost me $30.

 

I just contacted a local metal supplier asked if they did small jobs.   They said sure - I asked if they would cut me a piece at the above dimensions.   He said no problem - I picked it up later that evening.

 

Sometimes the metal will come with a dark scale (mill scale) on it - it is inert basically just carbon. 

 

If you want to remove it just use some industrial strength rust remover or hydrocloric acid (toilet bowl cleaner) - it is very fast and easy to remove if you use these chemicals.   Don't try to use sand paper you'll be there all day - it is Carbon... same thing diamonds are made of.  Don't ask how I learned this....

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #14 of 18

Good to know it's food safe. I was wondering about that. It looks like the prototype of the "Baking Steel" was also A36 FWIW. Don't know if that's what they still use for the production version.

I'm thinking I may order a 1/2" thick one and grind some grooves around all four corners to make a grease trough so I can use it as a griddle too.  

post #15 of 18

A36 is pretty much the industry standard for flat-top griddles.

 

What I do with the one on my BBQ when I want to cook something messy is make a paste of flour and water then once the steel is good and hot - quickly pipe a line around the perimeter to contain the overflow.

 

Eventually the flour burns but i'm outside and don't keep the lid closed so it just floats away.   

Makes it much easier to clean up after cooking burgers using the smash-technique.

 

It's also cool because the steel is large enough for me to do 8 full size burgers at a time while grilling onions and warming buns on the open side.

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #16 of 18

So, I think it's safe to say the easiest way to clean these would be with a grill brick. 

post #17 of 18

Yup - if it has any mill scale you'll need to use some chemicals the first time.   After that a grill brick works great.  

 

fwiw I have seasoned mine and it has developed a really nice dk brown patina and is slick as ever.

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

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post #18 of 18

My current ceramic stone is made by Fibrament but were I to get a replacement, I'd seriously look into the steel ones, A36/W44.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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