Baking steels vs. Pizza stones. Which is better?


I'm familiar with pizza stones, but not baking steels. In recent days, I've been hearing more about baking steels. What's the difference between the two and is one better than the other for certain uses?

Marcos F.
posted about 4 years ago

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I own both and although both can make great pizza, I've fallen in love with the baking steels.
They conduct the heat so evenly and work perfectly when I'm baking or broiling pizzas. I've seen it suggested that you could use the back of a sheet pan. No! It will never produce the same crust and will probably warp the pan. The baking steels come in a storage case, and although heavy, they are much easier to store. Although it's expensive to buy 2 of them, they will be forever. No worry about chipping or breaking.

Susie H.
posted about 4 years ago


I was just on the Kelly & Michael show live and we had to make 5 regional pizzas from a very standard almost sub par home oven. I had two aking steels delivered to me for the show. I have used stones and steels before especially during the process and tests for The Pizza Bible and what really showed was the recovery time the steels had when making pizzas right after each other. I really could tell when we had the pressure of a live show to get pizzas out one right after each other that the Baking Steels were so great. Like the other post they are virtually indestructible and easy to clean. They are definitely my pick for a cooking surface for your home oven

Tony Gemignani admin
posted about 4 years ago


I'm wondering if some brands of steels are better than others?

I bought a steel from 'Nerd Chef' and am VERY disappointed in their product and customer service.

I've tried using the steel several times on different shelf positions in the oven. From the bottom shelf being bottom heated, to the top shelf being broiler (top heating), and every shelf space in between.
Each time I used the steel, even after several minutes of cooking, the pizza looked raw (the steel was pre-heated for more than 90 minutes at 550 F, and the infra-red thermometer showed a surface temp of 620+ F).

I've had much better results using my stone under the same conditions.

Maybe it's that brand of steel, maybe it isn't. Since my pizzas get cooked very nicely with a stone, I know it's not a problem with the oven.

Tory Glenn
posted almost 3 years ago

Adam, I took your advice. I'll be getting a new steel from Bakingsteel.com.
We'll see how that goes.

- Tory   almost 3 years ago

Your Baking Steel is on it's way Tory! Can't wait for your feedback....
Andris

- andris   almost 3 years ago


I don't know the steel that you have, but the steel from bakingsteel.com is outstanding.

Adam Sachs
posted almost 3 years ago

Thank you for the plug Adam. I am grateful...
Andris

- andris   almost 3 years ago


Adam,

Ok, thanks. Good to know. I'll check into theirs.

Tory Glenn
posted almost 3 years ago


Here is what I did.....I found a local industrial metal company and had them fabricate it for me. It was cheaper and better as I got the exact size that I wanted giving me a large landing area. Ask for A36 Steel. I had them make TWO 8 x 20 x 1/2" . The reason for two is one would be too heavy.

Kevin Z.
posted almost 3 years ago


Adam Sachs, when you use that steel from Bakingsteel.com, do you use a particular shelf space in the oven you find works well?

Tory Glenn
posted almost 3 years ago


Tory--I use the steel high in the oven, about a third from the top of the oven, and a stone pretty low in the oven. Every oven is different, and you should experiment with yours to see what works best. For what it's worth, I've found the best oven mitts to use if I'm moving the steel when it's hot are the red san jamar gloves. If you can't move the steel when it's hot, take photos of the pizzas when they're baked in different positions, and compare them.

Good luck!

Adam Sachs
posted almost 3 years ago


Adam,
Ok, good to know. I find that when I use a stone in 'broiler' mode, it works very well. But that's on the very top shelf about 3" below the broiler coils.

I was told by someone that there's some 'rule' about that if the steel is too close to the broiler coils, the steel won't work as well.

I will do some experimenting to see which method works best.

Thanks,

Tory

Tory Glenn
posted almost 3 years ago


Love the Modernist steel. The heat retention is excellent!

Medium dsci0016

John Paul Khoury
posted almost 3 years ago


I have a pizza stone that works fine, however I am probably going to purchase a baking steel. I am not sure If I should go with the 1/4 or 1/2 inch?

For those that own what size do you have? Is the 1/2 inch just way to heavy at 30lbs?

Joe Carbone
posted 10 months ago


I had Bakingsteel.com make me a custom size, 16 X 16 X 3/8. I've been very happy with it and I think the 3/8" thickness is sufficient as long as you're not planning on rapidly making multiple pizzas in a short period of time. You should also make sure your oven racks can handle the weight, they're vey heavy.

Jim Z.
posted 10 months ago

I never weighed it so I really dont know, but if you call Bakingsteel.com CS I'm sure they can tell you the weight of any configuration you might be interested in, they are very helpful.

- Jim   10 months ago


Thanks for the reply Jim, that is what I am worried about. I am not sure my racks can handle 30 lbs.

How much does your 3/8" steel weigh?

Joe Carbone
posted 10 months ago


I find the size limitations on both stone and steel to be frustrating. I'd like to make a 16 or 18" pie, but they don't really make them large enough. Both stone & steel I have are 16" rounds.

I find the difference between stone and steel to be negligible if there is, in fact, any difference at all. The stone I have is pretty thick, pretty old. I had to get another something per pizza bible, so I went with the steel per its recommendation. The steel is way over-priced in comparison to a good stone.

Recently, I had a problem with build-up on the steel. The oils build-up into an almost plastic-like substance--I think I read they "polymerize" . . . That will never happen on stone. I don't know why. The stone does season, but never gets sticky. I don't remember how i got the steel clean. I think I scrubbed it with baking soda and felt like I had gotten off easy. It won't come clean w/soap & water when that happens.

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Maria .
posted 10 months ago


My experience with stones and steels is very different from Maria’s. I have a high quality stone that I’ve used for about 18 years. I have a 3/8” steel and when I got a second oven, I didn’t hesitate in the stone/steel question, I bought two 1/4” steels. I have had no maintenance problems with the steels or the stone. I do maintain the steels, and like the stone, they need occasional brushing, and they also benefit from occasional oiling. The heat conduction of steel is much more efficient than the stone (that’s not an opinion, it’s a scientific fact), and I prefer the steel for pizzas. That said, there are times when you want less efficient bottom heat—like if the heat from above isn’t high enough to bake the top of the pizza quickly enough to keep pace with the bottom, a stone is more forgiving. I’ve used the steel in more than a dozen different home ovens and have found that, with trivial adjustments (oven temp and placement of the steel higher or lower in the oven), a steel works much better than a stone.

I haven’t made this purchase yet, but Andris at bakingsteel will make a custom size for you.

Medium 119ab92f f405 4048 999d 7e6899793108

Adam Sachs
posted 10 months ago


To be clear, I should have said, "I find the difference [in the outcome] between stone and steel [when using Pizza Bible technique] to be negligible if there is, in fact, any difference at all.

NY pizza places use stone and small dedicated pizza ovens are sold with stone.

I think Tony's technique of double stone or steel or combo-- and switching plays a larger role in improving pizza in the home oven than the mere increase in heat transfer from steel. (So if you have to decide between buying 2 stones or 1 steel, I would recommend 2 stones.)

Stickiness from oil drips is an issue with steel and people write in to the steel site. There's some kind of brick for cleaning that's sold at the site. No such thing is needed for stone. You can scrape it with an ordinary metal spatula if necessary.

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Maria .
posted 10 months ago


I have a 16" California Pizza Stone and love it, but like most stones the oven pre-heat time is about an hour. Is this the same with a steel? Also I see that the only real advantage to a steel over stone is the bounce-back time if you were making several pies, is this correct? Any noticeable difference in the crust?

Lance R.
posted 8 months ago

Lance,

I have some entries in this thread that you might find useful. On your heating question, my hunch is that it’s a little faster, but it still takes a fair amount of time (and it does vary from oven to oven). Aside from the recovery time, the baking steel gives you a better crust than the stone. The difference is noticeable. The steel is incredibly durable (and it is heavy) and while it requires more maintenance than a stone, the maintenance is pretty effortless.

- Adam   8 months ago


Hi Lance: I believe we're told to heat the steels for at least an hour in Pizza Bible, but I think it heats more quickly than the stone. Bounce-back time is supposedly quicker with the steel. Since I'm using my home kitchen to make pies, I don't start another pie until the one in the oven comes out anyway--or pretty near to it--because I'm afraid of the dough sticking to the board if the pie sits around on the peel for too long. So to me, rebound time is not that important. Regarding a difference in crust between steel and stone--idk--difficult to be definitive on the issue. If there is an advantage to the steel, it's slight. More mundane issues come into play between the two such as cost, weight, the way the two surfaces interplay with oil spills, cleaning of the surfaces. The truth is that on stone, everything seems to turn to ash in the heat. Not so with the steel--the surface can get pretty gooey. It's real heavy, so you have to be careful about damaging your back when putting in the oven or damaging your sink & other surfaces when you wash it. The mundane tasks involved in pizza-making at home are made a little more difficult when working with the steel.

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Maria .
posted 8 months ago

Thank you Maria for your response. I can relate to your feedback whole-heartedly since I also only make Pizza out of my home oven and a Blackstone Pizza oven for self use.

- Lance   8 months ago


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