Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Baking Steel

Baking Steel
Hello interwebs! It's been a while since I've posted, for which I apologize, but I've been obsessed with some topics that aren't cooking, which has cut down a bit on my ability to make big fun blog-worthy cooking projects. On the cooking positive side I got a bunch of exciting cookbooks and cooking implements for Christmas, which has reinvigorated me a bit... so hopefully even if I can't quite return to weekly blogging it won't get worse than biweekly. We shall see!

What you see above is one of those holiday gifts from my kind and loving family: a baking steel (Modernist Cuisine edition). At $100 it's a bit pricey (the non-Modernist one is $20 bucks cheaper but thinner), though anybody who has used one has raved about it.

We had some really good results as well... though I think I didn't let the dough get warm enough before shaping the pizzas. I just never seem to get that oven spring/hole structure I see in everybody else's homemade pizza. Regardless, we still had more oven spring than normal and had really great leopard spotting on the crust (which unfortunately I forgot to photograph).

Margherita Pizza

The ultimate pizza making performance is allegedly achieved using your broiler with the Baking Steel, not just a 500 degree oven... but unfortunately our broiler is on the bottom of our oven, so to use the two together would involve some shenanigans that would probably lead to pizza on the floor... but it might bear investigating.

Though we've only used it once, we've already seen a large improvement in our pizzas and I'm definitely looking forward to baking some bread on it. Is it worth 2x (at least) the price of a baking stone? Depends on how obsessive you are about your homemade pizza... and perhaps how good the pizzerias near you are. Overall I know that I am very pleased but there are some caveats to keep in mind. While our pizzas were much improved, it didn't suddenly make them equivalent to Pizzeria Posto or When Pig's Fly and the steel itself is also super heavy (15 or 22 lbs!). So keep all that in mind when making your decision, but I am certainly a fan.