Somewhere in Modernist Cuisine, there is a discussion on a steel surface being better than stone when a making pizza in a home oven. Apparently, the heat in the steel moves into the dough faster. Based on that information, a guy started a Quickstarter campaign to sell pizza steels. It was enormously popular and tested at the Slice website with very good results. They recommend putting the steel near the top of the oven and heating it as mush as possible. Slide the pizza on the steel and crank up the broiler. A few minutes later, eat. The commercial pizza steel goes for about $75.
I'm of the mindset that this is just a cleaned up piece of scrap steel. So yesterday I stopped by the Steel Supermarket on Railroad Avenue Extension (if you ever just need a little piece of steel, this is the place to go). A piece of 1/4 inch thick plate similar in size to the commercial version would cost about $22. I splurged, added an inch and was out the door for just under $25. Here's my 17" by 14" by 1/4" plate and some of my left foot.
The fine folks at the Steel Supermarket ran the edges with a belt sander. One edge was a little rough but some sand paper took care of that. I cleaned the steel with acetone to remove any production oils. A very thin layer of oil is often used to prevent rust during storage and fabrication. Then there was a very thorough hot, soapy water cleaning. From the sink, there was a quick towel dry and a longer dry in a 200 degree oven. While I was at it, I'm doing a little work on some cast iron pans I had completely forgotten about owning. I found them cleaning up my Epic Dinner Fail.
From the oven, everything got a very thin skim coating of flax seed oil.
I spread the oil all over the plate then I put them all in the offset smoker and cranked it up. I was hoping to leave the smoking oil smell outside. I got the pit pretty hot. I know I was in the 500 degree range near the plate. Probably a little cooler near the pans. Tomorrow, I'm going to give them all at least two more cycles of oil and heat using the oven. If I smoke us out, at least I should be able to open the windows.
Next up, dough preparation. The bowl has flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast. The cup has water and oil. They all go for a spin in the food processor. The recipe is here.
I kneaded the dough a bit and then divided it in to three balls. They are slowly rising in the fridge.
Not sure exactly when, but sometime soon there will be pizza. But for now, I've got to go clean up the mess I made in the kitchen. The new counter tops are awesome for kneading dough.