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feedback on Baking Steel

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Anybody tried the "Baking Steel"?

I came across it (quite by accident) while researching the possible purchase of a Fibrament-D to replace my 20 year old pizza stone, since I need something to bigger to fit 4 to 6 loaves of bread at a time.

I like the idea of higher conductivity and thermal mass of a giant hunk of steel.

I'm sure I could go down to the local metal yard and pick up a similar hunk for less money, but the fit and finish looks nice.

post #2 of 12

There was a discussion of it in a thread within about the last 18 months, but I can't pull it up in the search. I switched from a stone to some cast iron pizza pans I had and have been very impressed with them as a baking stone. High thermal mass, reasonably priced, easy to care for. 

 

Ah, but google is my friend when the site search fails.

 

http://www.cheftalk.com/t/74035/pizza-stone-info

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 #3 of 12

I went the cheap route also.   Local metal yard, got 3 of them - one sized to fit on the lowest rack in the oven permanently with about an inch and half all around the outside edge for air movement.    It really evens out the heat and eliminates hot spots.   It is 1/2" thick so is very heavy, some people get two plates and butt them together for easier moving around.

 

The second one is 1/4 inch and I use it on the top rack when making pizza or baking and need extra heat above the food.

 

The third I use to cover half the grill on my BBQ making it a cheap outdoor plancha or flat top for big dinners, you can get it screaming hot on a BBQ - have fun, it's 3/8" thick.

 

I love them. 

 

The type of steel you want is designated A36 in the USA and 44W in Canada.   If it has mill-slag the fastest way to remove it is with HCL acid (toilet bowl cleaner, single ingredient list no perfumes etc.  or concrete etching acid).

 

Dry and season with flax seed oil.

 

I've posted about it in the  DeBuyer's remorse: The case of the pan that pisses me off.  thread.

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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 #4 of 12

Hmmm, sounds intriguing.

My stone just broke in half the other night as I went to put a pie on it, DRAT!

post #5 of 12

Oh forgot to add - I got all three steels for about $110 after taxes, took maybe an hour of work to clean and smooth the edges, another few to season them.    Way cheaper to go the steel yard route... plus you get to play with different sizes etc.

 

Just call them up and ask if they do small jobs- most will say yes but you have to pay up front - as once cut there is no going back.

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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 #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Well, while I wasn't looking my wife went and ordered me "the big".  She claims it was a surprise for me for two semesters on "President's List" (4.0 GPA and 100% attendance.)  But mentioned it would help stabilize the oven from temperature swings and recovery when she is doing lots of cookies, etc. and opening the door every 10 minutes.  Whatever, her story I'll take it.

So, at 32 pounds and 1/2" thick this thing is a beast!


The first 2 pizzas that came out of the 550 deg. F convection oven, were almost as good as pies done on the baking stone outside on the big green egg running full throttle at 1000 deg. F. Though, I was a bit scared and left the dough on the bakers parchment paper, the whole cook time on the first one, and didn't quite get the crisp snap I was looking for. The second one was on the parchment for the first 5 minutes, then I pulled it off the paper to finish straight onto he steel, and it was really pretty great. Next batch will be launched straight onto the steel, no parchment at all.

 



And my first two Pain a l'Ancienne hit 207 deg internal in 8 minutes.
 

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post #7 of 12

Awesome stuff  a few tips you may or may not know.

 

Let it pre-heat for a generous 30-45 minutes that thickness will soak up a lot of heat.

 

Cooking on foil is also an option if you dislike burning parchement.

 

Using high-hydration doughs is a lot of fun, long cold ferments using ale or brewers yeast come out great.

 

To really make a crackling crust heat a large lodge cast iron pot in there too and then place your boule down on the steel and slap the pot on top...   seriously crackling crust shatters like glass when you cut into it.

 

I also use it to sear scallops very quickly as you can do a ton and not over-crowd the plate works great for tuna also, drop onto plate it releases in about a minute then flip.  Season it really well and you can do many other things fast and furious - just make sure you have the hood-on high as it can create quite a bit of smoke.

 

Super versatile.

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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 #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

One of my biggest bread baking revelations was that I was working my dough way too dry.  Too many years watching my grandmother kneading those knobbly blobs I guess.
The second one was retarded fermentation under refrigeration, wow, game changer!

Some of the best sourdoughs I have made were started on specialty brewing cultures: Wyeast 5335™ (Lactobacillus), Wyeast 5112  |  (Brettanomyces bruxellensis), and bakers yeast.

Next I am going to order some Wyeast 3278  which is a serious witches brew of wild yeast and bacteria cultures. Although, I'm very afraid to bring it into my house due to all the crazy hopped high gravity ales I brew that could be ruined by a possible cross contamination.

 

 



I've baked in preheated cast iron dutch ovens (ala Alton Brown) and was very pleased especially when done on the big green egg.  

Obviously I have a lot more experimentation to do, and I have an eager audience to dispose of my results, even if sometimes it is my Jack Russell Terrier.

Scallops eh? I think I know tomorrows dinner plans, thanks.

post #9 of 12

Yup - use barely any oil or it will smoke like crazy.  I've even done them dry ... but only on a very well seasoned steel, or they will stick, but nothing that a sharp-thin and stiff spatula can't fix.

 

While you might be worried  about some cross contamination from crazy yeasts - you might also like the combination in your new ales.  Sometimes they are very difficult to reproduce (as an uncontrolled experiment).  

For me I just embrace the randomness... savour and horde the really good ones and make the others into shandies or spike 'em into fire-ale (as you are in the USA with legally purchased everclear... never with distilled mistakes - one of the perks of living in Canada)

 

I bet before too long you'll have one cut round for the big green egg, another for the top rack of the oven... it reflects heat down onto pizza really well, also browns quiches and high moisture open pies really well too.

 

Glad you are liking it and looking forward to hearing/sharing more of your experiments.

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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 #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelGA View Post
 

Yup - use barely any oil or it will smoke like crazy.


At first I read this as "use barley oil",  which of course I realized was just my dyslexia acting up.

But, I went ahead and typed "Barley Oil" in to everybody's favorite search engine, and led to some fascinating reading. 
Especially the article on  Tocotrienol and fatty acid composition of barley oil and their effects on lipid metabolism.

You never know what you are going to learn.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Need to produce some rolls for our church's (pre-)Easter Lunch tomorrow so I decided to clean out the fridge and of my various doughs and bake them up and see how they faired.


Using my upper oven as a proofing box.



First batch of rolls coming out of the oven.

 

 

Second batch going in,

   


and coming out:


 


 And the big blob of dough, I nipped around the top w/ some kitchen shears.
Got a bit away from me, but the dog never complains about the burnt bits.


Edited by SandSquid - 4/12/14 at 2:06pm
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

How is it I can run my convection oven at a 550F for _6_<expletive deleted> _hours_ and every batch goes 12-to-14 minutes, and the very last batch gets "extra crispy" in only 8 minutes????  

 

I thought the Baking Steel would prevent exactly this issue.





Of course the extra crispy ones are the best _tasting_ of the lot, but the oldsters at church would never eat them.  Little do the know, the dough is 50% "spent grains" from an all grain mash brewing class I facilitated yesterday.  But they do appreciate the extra fiber in their diet.

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