It’s curious steel isn’t more widely used for pizza making. And, had it not been for the Modernist Cuisine article, I, someone who has been working on pizza making the last 24 years, would have missed it.
Luckily, the Modernist Cuisine article was written on February 12, 2011.
At the core of the article was this idea: steel is what makes the difference.
Steel conducts heat ridiculously fast. Make a mental note of this property, it plays a starring role in our story.
In your cooking experiments you’ve noticed how cooking temperatures + times hugely influence the taste and texture.
Try roasting cauliflower at:
Both will come out at the same time but with profound taste differences.
Returning to ridiculously fast heat transfer property of steel.
This equation better explains the the process using Fourier's Law:
= U A dT
q = heat transfer (W, J/s, Btu/hr)
k = Thermal Conductivity of material (W/m K or W/m oC, Btu/(hr oF ft2/ft))
s = material thickness (m, ft)
A = heat transfer area (m2, ft2)
U = k / s
= Coefficient of Heat Transfer (W/(m2K), Btu/(ft2 h oF)
dT = t1 - t2
= temperature gradient - difference - over the material (oC, oF)
Inside your oven the pizza will cook in 4 minutes. At that speed a magical transformation happens at the molecular level.
The pizza we’re going for is crispy on the outside and soft and moist inside.
These are 2 conflicting attributes: crispy and chewy.
Here’s how we do it: take your Baking Steel and place it in the oven for 60 minutes at 500 degrees F. It’s going to be ridiculously hot.
At the 60 minute mark open the oven and place pizza on top of Baking Steel.
Because the steel is a heat conductor it’ll transfer that 500 degree temperature very very quickly. It’s this catapulting effect that makes all the difference. It’s the only material capable of giving a crispy exterior with a moist inside.
Thickness of our steel
The Original Baking Steel (our best seller) has a thickness of ¼”. Not ½”. Not ¾”. This precise thickness is a critical part of our development process. For the surface size of the Original (14” by 16”) we had no choice but to go with ¼”. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t experiment with other thicknesses. We did, and they all failed in one specific way: they didn’t create the pizza perfectly.
Why it’s 16 pounds
Because of the thickness of our steel and the size of the surface our weight works out to 16 pounds. You’ve seen above how thickness is a critical factor. By the same logic, 16 pound weight is also a critical factor. It sounds heavy, but ovens were designed to handle this weight. We do, after all, use our ovens to make Thanksgiving turkeys.
Here are some example of pizzas and other things you could enjoy:
The trouble with stone surfaces
The most widely used surface for cooking pizza is stone. The most obvious flaw of stone is that it breaks (because stone can’t handle extreme changes in heat/cold).
But there is a bigger problem. Ovens are moisture sucking monsters. And because stone transfers heat more slowly the pizza needs to cook longer. This loss in moisture impacts the taste. It sucks.
Cast iron is decent, but way too many hot and cold spots throughout that metal which in my opinion make cast iron way over rated. And forget about trying to use a sheet tray by itself, the dough doesn’t have much of a chance of cooking properly.
Close your eyes and think about all the times you’ve baked pizza at home. It all changes today.
Intentionally made in the USA
-Baking Steel Booklet with recipes and How-To's
-Use and Care Instructions
-Low Carbon Steel
-Made in the USA
-Pre Seasoned with our Proprietary Oil
-Flat and Easy Storage