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mhannawa 08-20-2009 09:46 AM

stainless steel cooking surface
is it ok to use a 14 gauge stainless steel cooking surface above the fire brick?

Jed 08-20-2009 04:40 PM

Re: stainless steel cooking surface
I would expect a plain sheet of steel, un- attached to a support structure, to warp and change shape with the heat of a wood fire, creating a warbely cooking surface.

The fire brick stays where you put it, and has along history of providing good service in a wood oven.

What is the potential advantage of using a steel surface?


texassourdough 08-20-2009 04:56 PM

Re: stainless steel cooking surface
Sounds like a good way to burn a pizza. Stainless steel is about 12 times as conductive of heat as dense firebricks so the heat will get to the pizza much faster! You might be able to keep the hearth cool enough to do it but...I think you would be asking for trouble!

pacoast 08-20-2009 05:24 PM

Re: stainless steel cooking surface
It's okay in the sense that it won't poison you or blow up. But it will have some tendency to warp. And as was pointed out, it's very conductive, so will cook very fast. A bad idea for pizza. It should work just like an extremely hot griddle. Might be serviceable at 700F, but I don't know what you would use it for at higher temperatures.

What do you plan to cook on the stainless steel?


splatgirl 08-20-2009 09:32 PM

Re: stainless steel cooking surface
Other than the caveats that have been mentioned, I think it would cancel out one of the benefits of cooking on brick, at least when we're talking about pizza and bread. The hot brick wicks moisture away from whatever is touching it and I think that's a big part of what makes a great crust. Metal is going to trap all that moisture and give you a completely different product. IMO, what results from a brick cooking hearth is one of the major reasons to have a WFO in the first place.

RTflorida 08-20-2009 10:02 PM

Re: stainless steel cooking surface
I agree with all of the above comments. I have to question the reasoning...I've also never understood why people put a griddle on their bbq grill either, really defeats the benefits of the cooking method.


mhannawa 08-21-2009 10:42 AM

Re: stainless steel cooking surface
thank you all for your insight. i just thought it would be easier to clean and ash wouldn't get trapped between the brick. do you have to mortar the brick of your cooking surface, or is it just stacked tightly together?

splatgirl 08-21-2009 11:17 AM

Re: stainless steel cooking surface
Downloand and take a look at the pompeii oven plans here on the site. The oven floor should NOT be mortared, just loose laid. To some extent, you'll end up with gaps between the bricks because stuff moves around a bit with expansion/contraction. It's not an issue. Ash will fill the gaps. It's OK.

Pretty much any "dirt" will burn off the hearth. Breeches of crust integrity make a bit of a mess, but your ash rake or peel will make quick work of it.
Remember, that hearth is hothothot, so nothing much is ever going to stick around long.
Other than removing a bit of ash after a fire, there's not much cleaning required. Just a pre-fire sweep with the oven brush and then again once I move the fire over to the side of the dome to start cooking.

texassourdough 08-21-2009 12:16 PM

Re: stainless steel cooking surface
Your concern for ash is not unique. Quite a few newbies have that concern. After you have had an oven a while most seem to lose the concern. A few swab the oven before doing pizza but I question it does much even though they do get a dirty rag. A brass oven brush creates a pretty clean surface very quickly. Any residual ash is just part of the flavor! (actually I don't think I can taste it!)

NOTE: my comments on ashes are not intended to imply you should leave the hearth "dirty" but that it is easily gotten clean to the point of "no problem" without any special effort involved.

I have never heard of anyone having problems with anything adhering to their hearth for long. The breech of crust makes a mess but pull coals over it for five minutes and it is usually gone. Fresh coals are easily hot enough to vaporize virtually all organic compounds. Watching an oven "clear" is a neat process I enjoy every time I fire the oven!

Good Luck!

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