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Pizza Steel


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I'm looking to make pizza steels and my main concern is what metal to use. I've read that CSA G40.21 – 44W (which I believe is the same as A36) is safe to use as a cooking surface. I'm very new to this topic and don't know much about the different types of steel or the potential dangers. Any help would be greatly appreciated.   

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What country do you live in? I have never heard of 44W.

All of the alloys usually have their specs listed online. The main things to watch for are big contents of lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals. 

For a pizza steel the time in contact with the food is minimal, very minimal. Most problems come from acidic foods in contact for a much longer time, like simmering. 

What are the commercial ones made from? Use what they do...

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They are both low alloy structural steels available in Canada, and as far as I know, would not meet NSF requirements for commercial food service equipment in the US.

Then again, somebody is making big iron cooktops for Denny's and IHOP. I just have no idea what the requirements are for that item.

Make sure you get a spec sheet with a heat number matching your batch proving that there is minimal tramp elements, or you may end up liable.


Mechanical Properties for: 44W/300W (300W is the metric yield designation)
Tensile: 65 to 85 ksi
Yield: 44 ksi min
Elongation: 20% min in 8” 23% min in 2”

Mechanical Properties:A36
Tensile: 58 to 80 ksi
Yield: 36 ksi min
Elongation: 18% min in 8” 21% min in 2” (for plates wider than 24”)

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Thank you for the responses. As for what the commercial ones are made of it sounds vague to me but here some examples,carbon steel, Ultra-Conductive Steel, and food-grade steel. Is there a steel you can buy that is food-grade that isn't stainless steel? Stainless, from what I read it doesn't have the same heating properties and will not make a good pizza steel.

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Long story short: is this for commercial installation or is this private property? 

If commercial, you will have to submit to an NSF (US) or CSA (Canada) audit inspection of your shop, and receive a stamp, which may cost more than your total fabrication bill. Think of it as UL for the food and beverage industry. OBTW, if your shop processes anything else that is not food service, you have already failed.

If private, do what you think best.

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USDA allows carbon steels for use as cooking surfaces only.  Obviously you have to avoid those with added lead and a couple of other nasties.  We do food equipment using carbon steel (usually 1040 for us) for cooking surfaces as well as stainless for other food contact surfaces.

There is a special caveat for fryers--you need a steel/stainless that has ZERO copper content.  Copper acts as a catalyst for free fatty acid build-up and can cause the oil to go rancid quickly.

Tortilla cookers, pancake cookers, french toast cookers, and a few other similar "flat" products use off the shelf channel in A36 or similar.  Usually no need for higher carbon or heat treat because the cooker will draw the temper anyway.  Surface cure is done like any cast iron pan.  For the most part the USDA inspectors understand but every once in a while you get one who is ignorant and you have to "teach" them what they already should know.  They hate that.

Most of the pizza equipment we have done is for raw product and has been stainless.  We have done some in cookers but those were stainless also simply because in a commercial application, "you might as well" to keep the USDA inspectors smiling.

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the trick is that the steel needs to be seasoned, this forms a bonded polymerized coating on the steel that is pretty indestructible and seals the surface. However it needs to be done correctly.

Sheryl Canter wrote a blog post back in 2010 called "Chemistry of cast iron seasoning a science based how to"

I'm sure you can find it with a search engine. I use her technique but substitute grapeseed oil, it has a slightly lower iodine value than food grade flaxseed oil, only because I have trouble finding a shop that stocks it. The first coat is the most important if it is not wiped completely dry after the first oiling it will not bond when you cook it on. I also stop at 3-4 coats.

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I have a steel I cut from 0.25" a36 18"x21" on the bottom shelf of my has oven that I've been using to turn out the perfect crust for years. So much better than a stone and really improves heat distribution. Just lightly oiled it like cast iron.


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