Kitchen steel-baking-steel

    Published on September 12th, 2013 | by Greg


    The Modernist Cuisine Baking Steel: Perfect Pizzas

    Pizza might be little more than some dough, cheese, and a few toppings- but the infinite variety and enduring popularity are testament to it’s versatility. It might not be the perfect food- it’s best hot, takes quite a bit of preparation, and even requires some special equipment to do properly- but pizza can be found anywhere on the globe and can be gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, round, square, deep dish or thin crust. No matter how you do it, though, you’ll probably want to bake it.

    And the fact is, your oven doesn’t get hot enough to do your dough justice. Most brick ovens- the gold standard- reach up to 800 degrees. You’ll be lucky to hit 450 degrees or so in your home oven; that’s most of the reason why many people buy a pizza stone. But before you do- or even if you have one- we’d recommend the Modernist Cuisine Baking Steel instead. They claim that with this dense piece of metal, you’ll be able to replicate that “signature crispy, blistered crust of a wood-fired pizza”. We put it to the test in a regular oven on a few different pizzas, and compared both with a pizza stone and without- and there is absolutely no doubt that the crust from the Baking Steel was far superior.

    That said, it takes effort and time-  you’ll need to put the baking steel in the oven and turn it on to broil for one hour before you use it. Plus, the steel is impressively heavy (15 pounds for the original Baking Steel; 22 pounds for the MC edition), so finding a good spot to keep it, and even just getting it in or out of the oven, can be difficult. Make absolutely sure that you have a decent pizza spatula before starting, since you are definitely not removing the baking steel from the oven. Also, it will stay dangerously hot for hours- which makes sense, but can be difficult if you’re trying to bake something after your pizzas are finished.

    We loved that it was pre-seasoned and ready to go right out of the box, and works with any over type, electric or gas. And you don’t need much downtime between pizzas- we baked three in a row with no trouble. It’s big enough for larger pizzas, and cleanup is simple. It looks sleek, and can apparently be used as a griddle on induction cooktops, though we didn’t try it. At $100 for the Modernist Cuisine version or $80 for the original Baking Steel, it’s not a cheap addition to your kitchen. But it’s a must-have for the chef who loves to impress guests with great pizzas.

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    About the Author

    Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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