I'm very proud to announce today the release of the new Serious Eats edition Baking Steel and KettlePizza combo set, what I believe to be the best out-of-the-box system for making true wood-burning Neapolitan-style oven pizza in your back yard.
'Baking Steel' on Serious Eats
Back in April, I asked this question: What if Andris Lagsdin, creator of the Baking Steel and Al Contarino, inventor of the KettlePizza were to get together to create a model based on their two products that works exactly like my set up straight out of the box? Well, folks, I'd like you to meet the new KettlePizza and Baking Steel joint pizza oven.
As I write this post, I'm sitting in the study at my friend's home in Belfast, looking out the French windows to his back yard. His dad is busy stoking the flames of a wood-fired stone pizza oven that he built with his own hands. This is probably the best possible way to enjoy pizza: real fire, close friends and family, everything hand-made. But I'm usually not this lucky. My own best pizzas are made on my little 80 square-foot deck on the 17th floor of a Manhattan apartment. If you're like me and your access to stone ovens is limited, the grill is your best bet for making crisp-on-the-outside, soft-and-airy-on-the-inside pizza. It's the only heat source that approaches the insanely high temperatures that are so essential to great pizza.
By this point, you've all seen what a baking steel can do for your home pizza-making. It works on the same principal as a baking stone, storing heat energy and conducting it into the bottom of your pizza to give you faster bake, a crisper crust, better flavor, and a more tender crumb. Now's your chance to win a 1/4-inch baking steel, absolutely free in time for father's day. All you've got to do is answer this one question: If your father was a pizza, what pizza would he be?
You know the Baking Steel? The one that Kenji combined with The KettlePizza for the ultimate home pizza setup earlier this week? Engendering this dumb retort from Slate, followed by a rebuttal of epic proportions? Yeah. That baking steel. Well, things just got a little more interesting...
It's exciting times indeed in the world of backyard pizza-making. Last year, I tested out two fantastic products that improved the quality of my home-baked pizzas by leaps and bounds. This year, I've combined their powers to produce the ultimate—and inexpensive—home pie-slinging setup.
There are pizza makers and there are pizza game changers. Today's Pizza Obsessive, Andris Lagsdin, is in the latter camp. Thanks to his Baking Steel, you really are able to create the "crust you crave" at home. A recent Pizza Lab testing has more than a few of us replacing our stones with steel. So without further ado, let's get this pizza hero in the hot seat.
I first reviewed the Baking Steel a few weeks ago, a new home pizza-making tool that delivered the best crust I've ever made in a home oven, over and over again. Since then, some folks have been asking questions: How does the new half-inch version compare? How does the Lodge cast iron pizza pan stack up? I headed into the kitchen and baked off a dozen pies to see if we could answer those questions.
I came out with the early word on the Baking Steel, a product which at the time was in Kickstarter mode trying to raise enough money for their first run. Thanks to crazy pizza heads like you, they managed to blow past their initial investment requirements by several thousand dollars. By all accounts, founder Andris Lagsdin is in over his head trying to keep up with demand on that first run. This is good news for him, and even better news for home piemakers, because I've got to tell you: This is the most impressive home pizza product I've ever tested.
When Adam briefly mentioned the Baking Steel a couple weeks ago, it sparked an interesting discussion over the relative merits of stone vs. steel. Discussion is all well and good, but we're in the business of testing here, not speculating, so that's just what we did.