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I'm Peter Reinhart! Ask Me Anything! Monday, February 15, 2016 7:00-8:00 pm EST
To kick off our AMA feature, we have invited author, chef and master bread maker and host of Pizza Quest, Peter Reinhart, to be our first host! Peter will be in the Forum on Monday, February 15th, from 7:00 - 8:00 pm EST. If you are unable to be online during the live session, you can post your questions in the sticky post. Peter will answer those questions during the live session on February 15th. You can view Peter's answers to your questions as well as what happened during the live session in the session thread.
Ask Me Anything New Forum Feature
You will notice a new forum at the top of the main page called, "Ask Me Anything". This forum will be used for live one hour "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) sessions hosted by people who are knowledgeable in different areas pertaining to wood fired ovens. How it works:
- Each AMA will have a "sticky" thread where the community can post questions they would like answered during the live session. This will allow everyone to participate even if you can't be online for the live session. These questions will not be answered by the host until the live AMA; if you need an answer quickly, you should post it in the appropriate Forum area for the community to respond.
- Another thread will be posted for the live AMA. Registered users who are logged in during the live session can interact with the host by asking questions and receiving responses.
- The live thread will remain in the AMA forum to view after the session.
We hope you enjoy this new feature! Please let us know if there is a topic that you'd like to have as an AMA and we'll look for a host!
One of the reasons firebrick works so well as a cooking surface for pizza is that it will suck moisture away from the wet dough, creating a nice crispy base. Cooking pizzas on trays rather than directly on the floor results in a soggy base because moisture gets trapped there. I think that this would be the result if you tried a stainless steel floor. Also, stainless steel has the characteristic of warping a lot under heat. You would need quite a thick piece to prevent this. If you have access to some free stuff, then use it and report back on its performance, I'm sure everyone would be interested.
I don't think a soggy pizza bottom would result from baking on a stainless or mild steel hearth. A growing number of people are using 1/4" to 1/2" mild steel plate instead of pizza stones, cordierite, or soapstones to bake pizzas in their home ovens. Home ovens are generally limited to around 500°F or 550°F. At this lower temperature, they report getting crisper bottoms with better texture, coloring, and charring than with the less conductive stones. The pizzas cook faster on steel than on the other surfaces too.
Stainless steel and, especially, mild steel, is far more thermally conductive than medium-duty fireclay brick. I don't have a WFO, so I'm talking out of turn here, but at WFO pizza cooking temperatures, it may be that the bottom of a pizza cooked on a stainless steel hearth would be burnt to a carbon cinder before the top was finished.
I'm neither an engineer nor a WFO owner, so I could be totally wrong about this. Perhaps one of the many far more knowledgeble WFO builders on the forum will be able to give a better or more thorough answer.
I'd be interested to know how a steel floor would work.
For what it's worth I built a wood BBQ years ago with a 20 mm flat steel plate. If it sounds like it would make a good bit of armour plate you can guess its origins.
It took a good vigorous fire to get it hot but once up to temp you only needed a bit of flame on the bottom to keep it cooking all day. It didn't burn things like a thin plate BBQ would. I used a oil drum cut in 1/2 as a lid and baked in it as it would hold the heat for hours and would do a great slow roast. This was pre pizza days so I never thought of doing bread or pizza or baked goods...shame.
Perhaps 2 flat BBQ plates stacked together could achieve the right mass in a gas BBQ? Not sure but its pretty simple and easy experiment. I've cooked pizza on a ceramic pizza stone in a BBQ , the base cooks well before the top. Might try this out with a steel plate this time. The results last time were definitly eatable so worth the effort
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