It's a Steel!

Image 2.jpgThe 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.