Old 09-04-2010, 05:09 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: Pans

I have serious doubts that the folks cited in that paper have studied aluminum at the kind of elevated temps we can create in wood fired ovens. My concern here is that at high WFO temps we enter "unknown" territory and there are reasons to have concerns about aluminum (just as there are for many other metals) My preference for cast iron reflects its thermal stability and the lower concern for problems. But acids should be kept out of it (and aluminum).

It is the combination of a tight, hard, durable aluminum oxide coating and the fact that it oxidizes almost immediately, thus reforming the protective layer - that makes aluminum "safe" and stable under normal conditions. Acids and aluminum are a bad combination for you will get aluminum in the acidic liquid. Nice science experiment - put a slice of lemon on a piece of aluminum and come check it tomorrow morning. (As a general rule, metals should not be in contact with acids for a large percentage of them will pit and erode and leach metallic ions into the juice which will often taste weird (metallic) even if not harmful).

As has been pointed out aluminum melts at 1200 and alloys no doubt melt higher. There should be no problem with temps up to 800 or 900 degrees. The concern in wood ovens arises from the potential of very hot temps that could easily be in the range of the melting point when in contact with coals and such. At the metal approaches melting the reactivity of the metal rises and leaching would be more likely. I would fully agree that aluminum used at temperatures reasonably below the melting point should not pose any concern. But...I would say some caution in hot, fired WFOs would be appropriate.
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