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Ultimate Guide to Purchasing & Using a Pizza Steel

Pizza Steel
New Haven Style Mozzarella Pizza
Undercarriage of a New Haven Style Pizza baked on a steel plate or pizza steel
Proper placement of Pizza Steel or Pizza Plate

Tips

Buy the biggest plate you can fit in your oven so you can bake the biggest pizza you can.  You won’t regret it.

 

Buy a seasoned plate unless you like pain and have a bunch of time on your hands ☺

 

Buy a plate that can be cut in half to cut down on the carrying weight unless you are training for a body building competition!

 

Buy a 3/8 “ or 1/2 “ thick plate, more plate, more heat = more pizzas made in your oven without having to reheat the plate.  ¼” thick plate is an option, but I do not recommend it.  You want to buy the biggest “sponge” you can.

 

Measure your oven width and depth.  Width is side to side, left to right.  Depth is front to back.  On a convection oven there is a round bump out along the back wall, measure from the front face of that bump out to the front of your oven.  See Inside Oven picture attached.

 

Make a cardboard template out of an old pizza box(es) of the exact size you will be ordering so you don’t buy an anchor.  Make sure when your template is in the oven that you can close the oven door.  I know it sounds stupid but trust me, you will not be happy when you order the wrong sized plate and the front oven door does not close.  Measure twice, buy once!

 

The front of the template should not hit the oven door when closing.  Rub some dish washing detergent on the front edge of the template then close the door and see if any of that detergent got on the front door.  If it did, remeasure and cut the edge of the template until detergent does not show up on the front door.  Then order that size or as close as possible, ensuring you will be able to close the front door of your oven is the most important thing.

 

Whatever steel plate you buy, it goes directly on top of the oven rack (silver or black rack you put other plates, pans, food on when baking).  See Launch&Plate Pic.

 

You do not have to turn your pizza in a home oven, you can, but you don’t have too.

 

Keep 1” open on the left and right side of plate between the edge of the plate and the inside wall of your oven so the heat from the element on the bottom of the oven can come up and around the pizza steel.  See InsideOvenPic.

 

DO NOT put the plate in your oven and start baking pizzas immediately.  The plate has to be pre-heated for minimum one hour to what they call heat soak.  Pre-heat to highest temp your oven can go, usually 500-550F.  One hour is minimum for the pre-heat.

 

Buy an IR (infrared) temperature gun to check actual temp of plate.  Link to buy IR Temp Gun - https://amzn.to/3U0jdV9.  Start at the back corner and make a Z pattern until you hit the right front corner of the plate.  You are looking to make sure the plate is generally at the same temp throughout the plate for an even bake.  500-550+ is ideal.  500 is fine, it will just take a little longer to bake.  You can buy these on Amazon or Harbour Freight.

 

Assume 5-8 minutes on average to bake a pie (8-10 not unreasonable), the more pies you bake, the more time it will take to bake because each pie you bake with “suck up” some of the heat stored in the plate.

 

After the 5-8 minutes of bake time or however you like your pie done (personal preference on medium, well or very well done), put broiler on for 1-2 minutes. Check your pie every 15/20 seconds for charring.  Char to your desired likeness.

 

Steel plate should be 6-8 inches from top of broiler siting on the rack.  See InsideOven Pic.

 

I recommend putting the exhaust fan on over the stove, as generally speaking, there will be some smoke coming out from the oven when you open the door.

 

I recommend also opening the closest window to create a vacuum to let the smoke out, trust me on this   Don’t be alarmed if/when the smoke alarm goes off, it’s the cost of making pizza in your home oven.  The smoke is produced by the drying of the semolina flour on the hot steel plate and any toppings that didn’t make it on the pie…LOL.

 

Let the steel plate cool off overnight in the oven and leave the oven door open to quickly allow oven heat to dissipate.

 

If you can’t wait for the steel plates to cool down then you should buy a pair of oven gloves (https://amzn.to/47gQ7Uq), but I would still wait an hour or so for the plates to cool down.  It will cool down a lot quicker if you leave the oven door open.  DO NOT put hot plate(s) anywhere other than outside to cool off before putting away in your house.

 

Quick Pizza Making Instructions:

 

  1. Pre-heat steel plate for 1 hour.

  2. Launch pizza on top of steel plate after 1 hr. pre-heat.

  3. Let pizza bake 5-8 minutes.  Start checking after 5 minutes.  By checking I mean wellness of the bake and how YOU like it.  The char will mostly come from the broiler move which is next.  There is no need to turn your pizza in a home oven bake.

  4. After 5-8 minutes of the pizza baking, put oven broiler on to finish the top and give you a more even bake.  Once you put broiler on, check every 15/20 seconds.  Trust me on this one, it will go from exactly how you love it to burnt quickly.  There is a difference between charred and burnt.

  5. After 3-4 pies you’ll probably need to re-heat the plate for 10-15 minutes meaning do not put any pizza on the plate, let the heat re-energize the plate back to 500-550.  Use your IR gun to check the temp of the plate, do not guess.

 

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