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Old 01-06-2012, 07:16 AM   #1
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Sicilian Pizza

Hello, all!

I'm about to prepare Sicilian Pizza based on this recipe (with the no-kneading method). The dough is already "working" for a few hours, and it will wait for the afternoon to be prepared as a pizza.

My question is about using a pan AND a pizza stone.

Although that recipe does not call for a pizza stone, other similar recipes do (for example, this one). As the dough for this kind of Sicilian pizza is rather soft, it is being put in a pan, where some recipes (like the latter) ask to put the pan directly on the stone.

I'm about to use a simple aluminum disposable pan, so the question is that (and sorry if its a dumb question): Can an aluminum disposable pan be put on a pizza stone? My concerns are twofold:
a) Health-wise: are there any problems with heating the aluminum to such high degrees?
b) Stone-care-wise: might the aluminum pan scratch/hurt the stone?

Any comment would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Arnon

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Old 01-06-2012, 08:32 AM   #2
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I do not believe that there are any health concerns as the aluminum in contact with the pizza cannot rise to any temperature higher than the pizza dough.

The aluminum is soft enough that it cannot scratch a pizza stone. If there is an issue, it would relate to softened aluminum being transferred to the stone surface, but this is also not likely based on relatively short cooking times and the fact that the pan is full.

I would not use disposable pans for Sicilian pizza. A well oiled pan contributes to crust browning and as far as I know, most disposable baking pans do not have a completely flat bottom that would allow full contact between the dough and the oil in pan.

Disposable aluminum foil pans are also not known for there structural integrity and may be very difficult to handle when filled with pizza.

The right pan for the job is the 12 x 18 rimmed half sheet baking pan called for in the recipe. If you do not already own some, this would be a great time to acquire them.
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:05 AM   #3
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Thanks, Jim, for the super detailed reply. It's not likely that I'll purchase a pan today, so I'll probably bake in the aluminum pan but without pizza-stone-contact.

Arnon
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim262 View Post
I do not believe that there are any health concerns as the aluminum in contact with the pizza cannot rise to any temperature higher than the pizza dough.
The aluminum is soft enough that it cannot scratch a pizza stone. If there is an issue, it would relate to softened aluminum being transferred to the stone surface, but this is also not likely based on relatively short cooking times and the fact that the pan is full.
I would not use disposable pans for Sicilian pizza. A well oiled pan contributes to crust browning and as far as I know, most disposable baking pans do not have a completely flat bottom that would allow full contact between the dough and the oil in pan.
Disposable aluminum foil pans are also not known for there structural integrity and may be very difficult to handle when filled with pizza.
The right pan for the job is the 12 x 18 rimmed half sheet baking pan called for in the recipe. If you do not already own some, this would be a great time to acquire them.
Even if you do not have the right size, then use the size you might have. The aluminum is not going to stand up to your handling it when putting it in and removing it from the oven. And it may become dangerous taking it out of a hot oven in that it will bend as stated from the weight of the pizza. Good Luck!
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:32 AM   #5
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I would not use the stone. A stone needs to be soaked in the fully hot oven for a time for the heat to overcome the relatively high mass of the stone. Once it's hot, a stone then has a substantial hot mass that can feed the cold dough. But...

Much of the benefit of the stone is that it takes up moisture from the dough, which has an effect similar to steaming or brushing the top of bread crust with water, both of which cause it to become more crisp. Since you will use a pan, you can't get that benefit, and aluminum is such a good heat conductor that the pan will conduct heat well from the oven to the dough. I would not, however, use a disposable pan that had folds and irregularities formed in it while it was pressed. A simple round aluminum pan is inexpensive.

There are no validated associations of aluminum cookware with disease. Even if such were one day to be found, it would refer mainly to cast aluminum, with it's irregular surface, not sheet aluminum. (Note that antacids are a more significant source of aluminum.)
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:44 AM   #6
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Wow, that's an enriching response. No stone for me tonight! :-)

Thansk!
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:45 AM   #7
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I would not use the stone. A stone needs to be soaked in the fully hot oven for a time for the heat to overcome the relatively high mass of the stone. Once it's hot, a stone then has a substantial hot mass that can feed the cold dough. But...
Much of the benefit of the stone is that it takes up moisture from the dough, which has an effect similar to steaming or brushing the top of bread crust with water, both of which cause it to become more crisp. Since you will use a pan, you can't get that benefit, and aluminum is such a good heat conductor that the pan will conduct heat well from the oven to the dough. I would not, however, use a disposable pan that had folds and irregularities formed in it while it was pressed. A simple round aluminum pan is inexpensive.
There are no validated associations of aluminum cookware with disease. Even if such were one day to be found, it would refer mainly to cast aluminum, with it's irregular surface, not sheet aluminum. (Note that antacids are a more significant source of aluminum.)
I agree with you GLC. My main concern is (since you addressed any health concerns) is the safety issue. That disposable sheet pan is not going to stand up to any significant weight when she removes it from the oven and she just might receive a serious burn. If she grabs it from each end, it will probably bend in the middle. And if she grabs it in the middle, the ends will bend. Sometimes you just HAVE TO HAVE the right tool to do the job right. And this is one of those times.
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:47 AM   #8
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BTW, I'm a "he", not a "she"... :-)
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:58 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by chefathome View Post
BTW, I'm a "he", not a "she"... :-)
Either way I am concerned for your safety. Thanks for the correction.
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Old 01-06-2012, 10:22 AM   #10
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Yeah. Sicilian pizza is the heavy-duty industrial version. I don't make it. My pizza is the thinnest of crisp crusts. Does Sicilian need a long cooking time because of the thickness? It always seems to come in the pan. I wonder if a thoroughly heated stone (or the bare masonry floor or a wood oven) would burn the crust?
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