One Pizzasteel = 18 baking stones + a little magicYes - but who has room for 18 baking stones in their oven? Still, you'd have to imagine compressing 18 bricks down to a 6mm thickness, and then with a some magic also make sure it could conduct heat and energy just as well as metal.
Density = The ability of a material to store energySteel has a much higher density than stone. Thus, steel weighs a lot more than stones, and can therefore store much more energy. In the case of a regular baking or pizza stone it releases all its heat in 1-2 minutes, a baking steel has enough energy to pump the dough up and begin crust formation on the bottom of the dough alot quicker and for a longer period of time.
Conductivity = The ability of a material to absorb / transmit energy
Since steel is also much better at absorbing and relaying energy / heat, the steel will absorb new heat throughout the baking period so that the bottom of your baked goodies becomes nice and crispy and the steel will be ready for the next portion as soon as the first is taken out of the oven.
Faster heatingDue to the great conductivity, steel absorbs heat much faster than stone, and although the baking steel can contain much more energy than a baking stone, the baking steel reaches its optimum temperature already after only 35-45 minutes; in other words at the same time as your oven takes to heat thoroughly. A baking stone typically needs to be heated for 80-100 minutes before being ready, and "recharged" for 20 minutes when the first batch has come out of the oven.
Why just 6 mm?Yes, super good question!
We have actually taken the journey from 10 mm to 6 mm since we started selling the baking steel.
We laid out 10 mm when we assumed that "the thicker the steel - the better" would be the case. In addition, "The Baking Steel Company" in the United States offered a luxury edition of their product measuring 10 mm in thickness.
However, after countless tests on sheets of 2-12 mm thickness, we have found that 6 mm is the optimum thickness. Sharply pursued by 8 mm. In fact, we did not see any difference in the baking results on the 6 and 8 mm plates, but since 6 kg is easier to handle in the kitchen than 8 kg, the choice fell naturally to 6 mm :-).
The 10 and 12 mm plates turned out (to our great surprise) to produce poorer results. They were slower to warm, and in some cases the bottom of baked goods became less brittle and brown than in the case of cooking with the thinner plates. This is probably because the plate can only absorb new heat from the bottom (since the dough is on top). The thicker the plate, the longer the heat must be led before it reaches the bottom of the dough.
4 and 2 mm proved to be ok for a single pizza, but fell short of crisping bottom cursts on breads and buns, especially when we baked several portions in a row. These thicknesses simply did not contain enough heat at the start of baking.
Therefore, we now only sell the baking steel in 6 mm thickness
Why not a stainless steel baking dish?In the image below, you can see why we did not choose to make our stainless steel baking steel, although that would be a nearby thought.
Stainless steel conducts heat much worse than carbon-based steel, unless your oven can reach over 800 degrees :-).