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It's a Steel!

Jun 22, 2013 | From the kitchen of Rose


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The Baking Steel and has just replaced my Hearth Kit in my Gaggenau oven where it fits perfectly and produces the best pizza crust.

My good friend Robin Kline sang its praises and after checking with bread baking guru, Peter Reinhart, who also had great things to say about it I was desperate to try it out.

Sure enough, instead of taking the usual 10 minutes, my pizza baked in 6 minutes to a beautifully crisp result. Here's why:

Andris Lagsdin, who works for a steel company in Masachusetts, was inspired to produce this 15 pound, 16 inch by 14 inch steel sheet by Nathan Myhrvold in his book Modernist Cuisine. Myhrvold stated: "the best tool to use for making the perfect crust would be a piece of steel...steel is a more conductive cooking surface than a brick oven's stone. Because of that conductivity, it cooks faster and more evenly at a lower temperature, resulting in a beautiful, thin, crispy crust."

Just think what a beautiful job it will do to make a crisp bottom crust for pies! And if there are any sticky spillovers, the steel can be cleaned in self-cleaning oven.

I am not, however fully retiring my Hearth Kit as I intend to use it for bread baking in my large Wolf oven. Given the amount of stone, which includes both the bottom piece and the side pieces, I imagine it will retain more of the oven heat after opening the door to set in the bread. However, I am sorely tempted to replace it with the 30 pound version of the oven steel, which would no doubt work as well for oven heat retention without occupying the limiting space of the hearth kit's side walls.

The 15 pound baking steel is currently a steel for $79 on this site.

Comments

Hi Gary,

How do you know the oil used to season the stone is certified kosher? I looked at the bakingsteel site and I don't see that listed either way. Is there a link I am missing?

Thanks,
Sarah

REPLY

I just got the 15 pound steel, which fits perfectly in my Miele oven. As I do have a larger Wolf, I would get the 30 pound steel provided I didn't have to lug it in and out of the oven. Are you thinking if you get the 30-pound one, you will leave it in your Wolf all the Time? I would be very interested to know if you find a difference between the two if you end up with both of them.

REPLY

Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Barbara
07/ 5/2013 02:11 PM

Hi Barbara,
Rose always bake pizza first on the pan set on the stone and then slide it on after topping it .
Rose & Woody

REPLY

Hi Rose and Woody,
When you tested the Baking Steel, did you use Rose's pizza dough recipe? Rose's recipe is wetter than others, I am concerned about how it will slide from the peel to the steel.

Thanks!

REPLY

Hi Agnes,
Please contact Andris at Baking Steel
Rose & Woody

REPLY

Agnes Devine
Agnes Devine
07/ 3/2013 11:49 PM

I am in Canada I have inquired about the Canadian postage-but being impatient I ordered it but did put in the order I lived in Canada. So far I have not got a conformation on the order, hope it is okay, could you let me know.
Agnes D

REPLY

Hi Littlechef,
We take care of the shipping and handling. We didn't want our customers to be surprised by the hefty shipping charge.
We would love to help you create!
andris

REPLY

Was wondering how much the s&h is on this
Thanks
Littlechef

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I just ordered one, I can't wait to try it with Rose's pizza recipe.

REPLY

My pleasure Julie! Glad I could help. We would love to help you create. Please stay in touch!
Andris

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I have been looking at one of these for while now. Not quite ready to jump

REPLY

Andris, thanks so much for the link and responses to
my questions and Gene's, they are all just the sort of info I was hoping to get. Looks like I will have to give this a try :)

REPLY

The steel rebounds very quickly. By the time you have made your next pie, the steel will be back to temp. i like to give it 3 or 4 minutes between pies.

Thank you,
andris

REPLY

Hi Julie,
Thanks for your questions and recommendations. We will certainly try and update our site to offer more information. Great ideas.

Warm up time is 30 minutes for the 1/4" Version and 45 minutes for the 3/8 and 1/2"

Yes, the steel will need to be re-seasoned from time to time. We offer care instructions.

The Steel is going to outlast us both, but will get darker and darker with use.

If it gets wet, it will need to be dried immediately.

I hope this helps.

Thank you Julie,
Andris

REPLY

Hi Julie,
Similar properties in the Steel and cast iron. They are just made differently. Both need to be seasoned from time to time. They both hold heat exceptionally well. For a side by side comparison, you can see a link here: http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2012/10/the-pizza-lab-baking-steel-lodge-cast-iron-pizza.html?ref=search

I hope this helps Julie,

Andris

REPLY

My guess would be that emissivity is more important than conductivity and in that category the steel is much better.
Rust shouldn't be an issue. Once cool a very light wipe with some vegetable oil will keep the steel clean.

REPLY

Gary Dubester
Gary Dubester
06/24/2013 05:40 PM

I bought the baking steel late last year and have used it many times for pizza. More recently I've been using it under the broiler. I set the broiler for high and position the steel on the second shelf from the top. My measurements with an infrared thermometer after preheating indicate the steel achieves a temperature of 715 degrees fahrenheit. The pizzas that I used to bake on stone at 550 for 8 minutes in the lower part of the oven now take about 2 1/2 minutes under the broiler as I have described above. An advantage of the steel over the stone for those who keep kosher is you can kasher the steel by leaving it in the oven during the cleaning cycle. The proprietary oil that the stone comes preseasoned with is certified kosher. When I get some time I intend on making pita bread on the baking steel. I suspect that it will work very well with any flatbread that you want to bake fast at a high temperature.

REPLY

Cast iron has a better thermal conductivity than carbon steel. Their ability to hold heat is about the same per unit mass, with carbon steel being very slightly higher.

My bet is that prolonged contact with water will make these things rust. The seasoning will help, but it will wear away.

REPLY

Andris, one additional question: how does the baking steel compare to cast iron?

REPLY

Rose, thanks so much for reporting your experience with this stone! I bake pizzas more often than any other baked good, and I'm very excited to see a baking surface that is specifically designed to solve the problem of home ovens that can't reach the 700F+ temps of pro ovens.

Andris, I'll ask a few questions here that I couldn't find answers to on your site (perhaps a FAQ is in order?).

-how long does each stone (15lb and 30lb) take to fully pre-heat to 500F, and then how long do they take to come back up to temp between sequential pizzas?

-Does the stone need to be re-oiled periodically, and is the self-clean cycle on the oven the only way to clean it?

-Just want to confirm- it can be used directly on a hardwood charcoal grill grate, with no flame diverter? I think hardwood charcoal gets quite a bit hotter than standard briquettes.

-What does a baking steel look like after it has been used intensively for a couple of years? Does it darken, etc.?

-Will it rust if you get it wet (wash it in the sink)?

Looking forward to hear more about it!

REPLY

Rose. Are you using the steel in the Gaggenau baking stone position? How many pizzas are you able to bake before the steel needs a rest?

REPLY

"we can custom size to any dimension, shape or size. :)"

Ah, I had noted the language on the site that said "comes standard at 16 x 14", which hinted that other sizes might be available.

Funny, but some of the lore that surrounds the pizza stone was that it was the porosity that contributed to the crispness of the crust, since the moisture could be wicked away the way a sponge absorbs water. I had never thought much of this theory. Any water hitting a 500 degree surface would be instantly vaporized and not much would stand in its way of escaping.

REPLY

Hi Rose, thank you for all your nice words and for sharing your Baking Steel experience with your readers.

@CharlesT - we can custom size to any dimension, shape or size. :)

Andris

REPLY

I found one for $30.00

REPLY

I'd replace my baking stone with this if it were larger. My stone is 4 inches wider and 1 inch deeper.

REPLY

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