What is the difference between a disk and a screen?
Screen is very light and open “weave” affair that will remind you of a window screen made of aluminum . . . 1/8 inch holes or so . . . you can read the PMQ Pizza Magazine through it. Screen’s function is to hold the dough off a deck surface to allow slower cooking/baking of bottom while top cooks/bakes.
A disc is a heavier metal disc of aluminum or steel that has some perforations drilled into it in a regular pattern. Far less open, and far heavier than a screen, it gives a better browning effect to the crust by absorbing and transferring heat.
Screen can be bent be dropping it on its edge sometimes, and a disc requires a 5 ton hydraulic jack and a .45 caliber pistol to damage (exaggeration for effect).
Disks retain much more heat than screens when stacked one on top of the other, thereby creating more a deck oven experience for those pizza makers using them with conveyor ovens(burn’t fingers and hands!)
Disks are 3x more expensive, but provide a better bake and are much easier to clean…the will outlast screens as well…I will never go back 2 screens…for those seeking more of a deck bake, disks are the way 2 go these days
Plus, disks can be engineered (positioning and size of holes) to give a very specific bake to a pizza. For example, the new Hearth Bake Disks have a wide, non-perforated (no holed) edge that prevents the edge of the pizza from getting overbaked and developing a “pizza bone”, while still allowing the pizza to be baked at a sufficiently high temperature for a sufficient time (in an air impingement oven) to develop a great hearth baked characteristic. Some chains have disks developed specifically to their pizza/oven needs.
And, they don’t need to be seasoned. They are easily washed in hot soapy water without fear of damaging the disks.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
I recommend buying one of each and trying them both. I found a better bake with a screen than a disc in my oven. This made me happy as it saved me about $3K.
Forgot to mention, in 15 months I haven’t had to replace a single screen. I’m sure I’ll have to replace them at some point but they’ve already outlasted a prep table, two freezers, a reach-in, a grease trap, three POS computers, etc., etc. I think I’m going to cry.