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Old 10-07-2019, 06:41 PM   #1
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Pizza Stone Vs. Pizza Steel?

Hey there, first off lemme just say that I'm new here and this is my first post. I've been cooking for about 11 years now.

So from what I've looked up and gathered regarding platforms for cooking pizza...

Pizza Stone
+Cheaper than pizza steel
+More even heat distribution
+Doesn't require conditioning
-Breaks from sudden temperature change
-Doesn't get as hot

Pizza Steel
+Doesn't easily break
+Gets hotter than pizza stone
-Requires conditioning
-Not as even heat distribution
-More expensive

My first question is, can anyone confirm any of this? What do you prefer for making pizza and what were your experiences?

But onto my main question: there was an episode of Binging with Babish (guy who knows how to cook stuff, if you're not familiar) where he used a pizza steel to put the pizza on on the bottom rack, and the rack above it he put a pizza stone on: @ 2:49

He did not however explain why he thinks this is good for cooking pizza. Is anyone familiar with this technique, and if so, why would you do this? Thanks!

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Old 10-08-2019, 06:02 AM   #2
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I use a stone. Both of the outdoor cookers I use can get to 900F, so temperature isn't a problem. Most of the time though, we grill our pizzas on the grate. I also use wood as part of the fuel.
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Old 10-08-2019, 06:34 AM   #3
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Ive done something similar when cooking on the grill. For my purposes, it concentrates the heat into a more refined area.

ON the grill the bottom of the pizza cooks quicker than the timer it takes for the cheese on top to melt.

Since heat rises, the stone above the pizza captures some of the heat, and keeps it where you want it for a more even cooking temp.

I could be wrong, but makes sense to me and it has worked since ive started doing it. I use 2 stones though, not a steel. At the end, I slide my pizza off the stone to the other side of the grill, so it gets direct flame on the bottom so it gets more of a grill flavor, just have to keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn , heats up quick with direct contact to fire. I also sometimes put some wood chips on the smoking section to give the overall pie a smokey flavor.
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Old 10-08-2019, 07:53 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larry_stewart View Post
Ive done something similar when cooking on the grill. For my purposes, it concentrates the heat into a more refined area.

ON the grill the bottom of the pizza cooks quicker than the timer it takes for the cheese on top to melt.

Since heat rises, the stone above the pizza captures some of the heat, and keeps it where you want it for a more even cooking temp.

I could be wrong, but makes sense to me and it has worked since ive started doing it. I use 2 stones though, not a steel. At the end, I slide my pizza off the stone to the other side of the grill, so it gets direct flame on the bottom so it gets more of a grill flavor, just have to keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn , heats up quick with direct contact to fire. I also sometimes put some wood chips on the smoking section to give the overall pie a smokey flavor.
When grilling, we pre-cook the crust and some of the ingredients (pepperoni and sausage).
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Old 10-08-2019, 09:38 AM   #5
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I've never used a steel. I have a 16" stone in the bottom of my oven.

Using a stone and a steel as in the video causes the heat to reflect off the stone and cook the top of the pizza faster. You can accomplish the same thing by putting your oven rack (with a stone or steel on it) in the top shelf position of your oven and let the roof of the oven reflect the heat back for you.

I take issue with the comment that the steel gets hotter than the stone. If you put both into a 550F oven and allow dough time for the stone to heat up fully, then everything should be at 550F. Not sure hot the steel could be hotter or the stone cooler.

So, which do you use? Steel or stone and why did you choose it.
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Old 10-08-2019, 01:04 PM   #6
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I have been seriously making pizzas for 45 years. I made a significant improvement in my crusts when I bought a baking steel. It preheats at 500*F, the hottest my oven goes, for one hour, so uneven heat distribution is not a problem. The one I bought was pre-conditioned, so that also is not an issue. It probably was expensive! It is heavy, 15 pounds as I remember. My crusts turn out like crusts of my dreams. I have arrived at my best pizzas ever, and I continue to make them weekly. Highly recommend a baking steel.

I put the steel on the second lowest rack slot from the top of the oven, as recommended in the literature that come with the steel.
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I've never used a steel. I have a 16" stone in the bottom of my oven.

Using a stone and a steel as in the video causes the heat to reflect off the stone and cook the top of the pizza faster. You can accomplish the same thing by putting your oven rack (with a stone or steel on it) in the top shelf position of your oven and let the roof of the oven reflect the heat back for you.

I take issue with the comment that the steel gets hotter than the stone. If you put both into a 550F oven and allow dough time for the stone to heat up fully, then everything should be at 550F. Not sure hot the steel could be hotter or the stone cooler.

So, which do you use? Steel or stone and why did you choose it.
Thanks for your input! I use a stone, but mainly just because it's the only thing I've come across other than those regular cheap pizza pans. Just recently, from this video, I heard of pizza steels, and from what I researched on a couple of websites, they apparently "get hotter than pizza stones" but have "not as good heat distribution"... but from what you've told me, I'm now assuming these facts may not be true. Man, cooking info sure is confusing!

From my experience, going from pizza pan to pizza stone is night and day. It really changes the flavor and creates an amazing crust on the bottom of it. At this point however, I'm curious to try a steel if I could get my hands on one, just to see if there truly is a difference.
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bethzaring View Post
I have been seriously making pizzas for 45 years. I made a significant improvement in my crusts when I bought a baking steel. It preheats at 500*F, the hottest my oven goes, for one hour, so uneven heat distribution is not a problem. The one I bought was pre-conditioned, so that also is not an issue. It probably was expensive! It is heavy, 15 pounds as I remember. My crusts turn out like crusts of my dreams. I have arrived at my best pizzas ever, and I continue to make them weekly. Highly recommend a baking steel.

I put the steel on the second lowest rack slot from the top of the oven, as recommended in the literature that come with the steel.
Do you see a noticeable advantage going from pizza stone to steel?
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:38 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by larry_stewart View Post
Ive done something similar when cooking on the grill. For my purposes, it concentrates the heat into a more refined area.

ON the grill the bottom of the pizza cooks quicker than the timer it takes for the cheese on top to melt.

Since heat rises, the stone above the pizza captures some of the heat, and keeps it where you want it for a more even cooking temp.

I could be wrong, but makes sense to me and it has worked since ive started doing it. I use 2 stones though, not a steel. At the end, I slide my pizza off the stone to the other side of the grill, so it gets direct flame on the bottom so it gets more of a grill flavor, just have to keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn , heats up quick with direct contact to fire. I also sometimes put some wood chips on the smoking section to give the overall pie a smokey flavor.
Thanks! And as someone else has already mentioned to me, wouldn't just putting the stone closer to the top of the oven have the same effect? Or is there really a difference using a stone to heat up the top of the pizza?
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Old 10-11-2019, 11:40 PM   #10
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In the kitchen oven I use a Lodge 14 cast iron pizza pan. It holds heat very well. Ive never used a stone so I cant make a comparison.
I use the pizza pan as a comal as well. Lots of space with that 14 inches of diameter.
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Old 10-12-2019, 02:08 AM   #11
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When it is stated that steel gets hooer than a stone, this is onaccurate
Both will rise to the oven tempetature given sufficeint prejeating tome. That neong said, however, the steel will transger heat more readily than will the stone, thereby crisping the crust better. I too male my piiza in my heavirst cast iron pan, which petforms as well, but is far less expensive to purchace. And if O want crispy crunch on the crist, i can add olive oil before pressing the dough into it. The cast iron pan wotks equally well in the oven, and over chatcoal in a covered kettle grill.

Don't overthink this. But know the charateristics of what you are making, and how the tools you use affect those characterisics.

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Old 10-12-2019, 02:36 PM   #12
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As others have noted, all types of pans get to only as hot as your oven. However, there are two physical properties of the different materials that makes them react differently - thermal conductivity (the obvious one), and specific heat, which is how much energy it takes to heat up a given amount of the matter, usually listed in Joules/kg. Amazingly, the specific heat of water is the highest of just about anything we heat up! The specific heat of stone is almost double that of carbon steel, and cast iron is even lower than carbon steel. And copper has one of the lowest SHs of the metals we cook with, which is why it is one of the fastest cooling for pans. However, another thing that affects this is density - even though a steel is only 1/4" thick, it will weigh considerably more. Still, a 15 lb steel will not have as much energy stored in it as a 10 lb stone. However, the higher thermal conductivity of the steel more than compensates for this - this heat cooks the pizza crust faster. And this is why a stone is better for a loaf of bread, or other thicker items - they would burn faster on a steel, though reducing the heat would compensate for this.

All of these properties are what make various metals and other materials different for cooking in different ways.
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhatDoesItTasteLike View Post
Thanks! And as someone else has already mentioned to me, wouldn't just putting the stone closer to the top of the oven have the same effect? Or is there really a difference using a stone to heat up the top of the pizza?
Honestly, Im not sure. Works for me so I continue to do it.
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