The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Baking Steel... good for anything but bread?

Baker_In_ME's picture

Baking Steel... good for anything but bread?

Hi all, 

I'm starting a cottage-style bakery in my home. I just bought two 1/4 inch baking steel plates on eBay (they're a great deal if you're looking to buy!) to double my bread production. I learned the hard way this morning that they need a very long time to preheat. I baked scones on the steel plates this morning, but only after they preheated for about 15 minutes. The scones were a very disappointing puddle of sugar and butter. 

Anyway, here's my question: Does anybody have experience with baking cookies, scones, etc on the baking steel? The steel sheets are 30 lbs a piece and I'd rather leave them in the oven. What adjustments have you made for preheat/baking time, temperature, etc.?

Thanks in advance! 

gavinc's picture

I have a ceramic baking stone that I pre-heat for at least 50 minutes before loading the dough. I guess that steel would need a similar time to heat. I don't need to adjust from recommended baking times.

My baking stone can be used for:

  • For baking pizza, bread, bread rolls, and savoury pastries
  • As a hot plate on the table, it retains heat for up to 25 minutes
  • Ideal for blind-baking, even of very liquid dough
semolina_man's picture

Thermal mass is important, however you achieve it.  Baking stones are most common.   

What inspired you to use steel?  Did you see it on youtube or instagram?

You can bake on the steel, or bake on a sheet, which rests on the steel.  I prefer using a baking pan or sheet for cleanliness reasons.

Enriched products such as scones, cakes, croissants and the like will be a challenge to free bake directly on the oven floor (the 1/4" steel) with a peel.  I prefer a baking sheet or pan.  Non- or low-enriched products such as bread and pizza will be successful. 

I preheat my oven for 1 hour to 550 deg F before baking any bread or pizza.  I have a very heavy 12" induction sautoir as my thermal mass, with a half sheet baking tray flipped upside down on the sautoir.  It works well.  You need to give substantial time to preheating.

If your scones melted into a puddle, many things were wrong.  Too much butter and milk, too cool oven, oven not preheated, and potentially more. 

breadpill's picture

I recently added a 1/4" steel plate to my oven. It was intended for pizza, which I haven't made yet, but it has definitely improved the performance of my oven for general use. So far I've done cookies and choux pastry on parchment paper directly on the steel. The browning I get is dramatically better than the flat cookie sheets I used to use. I know it takes a little longer to preheat, but I'm not sure how much. It's not too bad going up to 350 or so but taking it up to 475 to bake bread you start to notice a difference. It might be 45 minutes before the oven chimes that it's ready. I haven't timed it.