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johngalt 01-04-2013 09:25 AM

Steel Baking Deck
 
Recently, over the past year, a number of people have been experimenting with other cooking surfaces apart from ceramics in cooking pizzas at home. The most recent and promising is using thick steel plate, inspired by tests using cast iron cookware in a home oven.

I wonder abut the implications of using plate steel in a WFO, perhaps rested on a sand bed or floated into refractory concrete.

Why? Faster startup time, lower wood consumption in a high-volume environment.

Our Background. We operate 3 mobile wood fired ovens doing catering and food-truck sales in Denver, we build our own ovens out of reinforced refractory concrete. We started with a cooking deck of re-purposed soapstone countertop, then moved in our second oven to a deck cast out of refractory concrete (cooks like a dream) and now we're looking at creating a smaller, lighter oven on a cart. I hypothesize that the thermal mass of the dome is more important than the thermal mass of the deck, IF that deck is rapidly moving heat from the coals over to the cooking area a la steel. My wondering about using steel is that perhaps we can reduce the time it takes to startup our oven, and perhaps the size of our fire if we have a material that can very efficiently transmit that heat across the oven. As far as weight, I know that steel

Thoughts?

GianniFocaccia 01-04-2013 12:09 PM

Re: Steel Baking Deck
 
Hey John,

Interesting concept using steel plate. I believe this is not a popular approach for several reasons: the variance in temperature between steel floor and refractory dome, the acquisition cost of steel (must be at least 3/4" thick?) and the fact that the floor will surely warp from WFO oven temps.

Is there a reason why you migrated from the soapstone to refractory floor?

John


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