No, I didn’t become a Pastafarian.
I converted from a “Baking Stone” guy to a “Baking Steel” guy.
After decades of pursuing The Perfect Pizza, I’d come really, really close. But nearly every pizza had one flaw: The bottom of the crust was soggy in the middle.
(if you want the recipe but don’t want to hear me ramble on about my new toy, click here)
I tried all sorts of fixes like a hotter oven or longer preheat, but nothing consistently provided a crisp bottom. It would be nice one time, then soggy the next. Then one day, I ran into a reference to a “Baking Steel” on the internet, and decided to try it.
It turns out that a Baking Steel is exactly like a Baking Stone but a lot heavier, and it’s steel, and holds a lot more heat.
This means that the bottom is crispy all the way from the edge to the center, and the top is nicely browned, without burning.
It’s light and airy and crunchy on the edges and crispy on the bottom from one side to the other. I couldn’t ask for anything better, and my test victims (oops! I mean friends!) absolutely loved it.
If you want one just like mine, check out BakingSteel.com and order the “Modernist Cuisine” version. It’s heavy enough to keep cranking out pies all night and a little lighter than the full 1/2″ monster.
Using my powers of Internet Sensory Perception, I know all the guys among you are thinking “Can’t I just go buy a chunk of steel?”
Well, yeah, sort of.
Steel from a mill or steel company is generally greasy, dirty, rusty or covered in mill-scale or primer or some combination of all five.
To steal a phrase from Alton Brown, none of these are “good eats”, and they need to be removed by sanding or grinding or blasting with a food-safe media like dry-ice pellets.
The plates also typically have sharp edges and many times aren’t exactly nicely cut, depending on if your plate was cut with a CNC Plasma Cutter, or Bubba with a hand-torch.
So, yes you can do it, but it’s not cheaper and will take pretty much an entire day, and it still needs to be oiled and seasoned in the oven. Or you can just buy one for the same price that’s ready to bake with.
In fact, I’m thinking of ordering a second one for the other oven. Maybe this year, I’ll get to leave the kitchen early and hang out with my friends!
Here are step-by-step directions for creating this yummy bit of heaven.