#1  
Old 08-20-2009, 09:46 AM
Serf
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: north carolina
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Default stainless steel cooking surface

is it ok to use a 14 gauge stainless steel cooking surface above the fire brick?
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  #2  
Old 08-20-2009, 04:40 PM
Jed Jed is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Bend, Oregon; West Coast USA
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Default 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?

JED
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Old 08-20-2009, 04:56 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default 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!
Jay

Last edited by texassourdough; 08-20-2009 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 08-20-2009, 05:24 PM
Peasant
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: WA /BC /ZH
Posts: 49
Default 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?

.
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:32 PM
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Location: minnesota, usa
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Default 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.
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Old 08-20-2009, 10:02 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 1,446
Default 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.

RT
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  #7  
Old 08-21-2009, 10:42 AM
Serf
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: north carolina
Posts: 4
Default 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?
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Old 08-21-2009, 11:17 AM
Journeyman
 
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Location: minnesota, usa
Posts: 472
Default 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.
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  #9  
Old 08-21-2009, 12:16 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default 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!
Jay
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