Everybody loves pizza, right? It’s a universal food. I love making pizza at home and have used a pizza stone in my oven for years without knowing that there was such a better performing alternative on the market. Baking Steel is a complete game-changer in the home pizza-making market; it helps make pizzeria-quality pizza, and much more, in your kitchen.
Baking Steel was kind enough to send me one of their latest products, the Baking Steel Pro, as well as their Baking Steel Skinny Griddle. Both are similar products, made from thick steel and seasoned with Baking Steel’s proprietary oil, but they’re made for different use cases.
The Baking Steel Pro is a 16” diameter piece of steel that is 3/8 of an inch thick. It comes with a gorgeous and well-made cherry wood pizza peel that matches the 16” diameter. The pizza peel is perfect for forming and topping your pizza to ensure it doesn’t exceed the size of the Baking Steel Pro and it also makes it easy to launch into the pizza into the oven. When you top the peel with a mixture of semolina flour and all-purpose flour, it creates a slippery surface that allows your pizza to glide right off onto the steel.
The Baking Steel Pro weighs in at a hefty 23 pounds, so it’s not lightweight by any means, but the large mass is the main reason why Baking Steel makes such great pizza. The science is there as well. Steel’s thermal conductivity is 18x greater than that of ceramics like pizza stones. Similar to how a metal playground slide will burn your legs on a sunny day much quicker than bricks will, the heat moves from the interior to the surface of the steel extremely quickly.
Another benefit of the Baking Steel over traditional pizza stones is that steel is basically indestructible. Pizza stones are known to crack due to sudden temperature changes, drops, or age and therefore need to be handled with care. Baking Steel, being a 3/8” thick sheet of steel, will destroy your kitchen floor before the steel itself is harmed.
The process for cooking in a Baking Steel is very similar to a pizza stone. You need to preheat the steel for at least an hour inside the oven at 500F to soak up all that heat. Once you launch your pizza into the oven directly on top of the steel, you’ll see the pizza dough start rising almost immediately. This is called “oven spring” and its what makes the interior of your pizza crusty airy and light instead of dense and too chewy.
I made some excellent pizza on the Baking Steel Pro. It was perfectly cooked with a crispy bottom and a crust that was crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. It takes some practice to launch a round pizza onto the Baking Steel Pro, but if you have a good base of flour & semolina and some patience, you’ll get the hang of it quickly. The benefit of Baking Steel’s thermal conductivity proved itself to me during my first cook, as the base of my pizza was better than I ever got with pizza stones.
The Baking Steel Skinny Griddle is made of a similar 3/8” thick steel, but in a rectangular shape, measuring 20” x 11.5” and weighing 23 pounds. This is the perfect size to cover two burners on your stove. The Skinny Griddle is double-sided with a standard Baking Steel surface on one side and a polished finished griddle and grease channel on the other side. Thanks to these two surfaces, you could use it to make pizza in the oven or use it on your stove for eggs, pancakes, smash burgers, and much more. I tested the Skinny Griddle by cooking pancakes and eggs on the griddle side and used it in the oven as a cooking surface for bread on the standard Baking Steel side.
Due to the large mass of the Skinny Griddle, it takes some time to preheat, but when it does, it makes an excellent cooking surface because of the supremely flat surface that conducts heat extremely well. The same properties that make Baking Steel great for baking pizzas also make it a perfect surface for searing food. The thick steel maintains the heat so well, it’ll make a great surface for searing steaks, shrimp, burgers, and much more. The more you use it for high heat cooking, the more of a non-stick patina it will form, making it a supremely versatile cooking surface, potentially better than a cast iron pan.
The Skinny Griddle came with Baking Steels nifty storage sleeve, which is perfect for protecting the Skinny Griddle while storing it in the cabinets. The storage sleeve has a single flat, zippered compartment that’s perfectly sized for the Skinny Griddle. The sleeve also has handles, which helps you move around the heavy griddle.
Baking Steel has quickly become my favorite way to cook pizza indoors and will take your pizza making adventures to the next level. It is the #1 piece of gear I recommend to amateur pizza makers and I have it on good authority that Baking Steel is used by professional pizza chefs when they’re cooking at home. The only downside I can find is the weight, which could be a problem if you’re of small build, but I don’t find it an issue personally.
But Baking Steel doesn’t stop at pizzas. The Skinny Griddle is a highly versatile piece of kitchen gear that can find use in your oven, on top of your stove, or even in your outdoor grill. Thanks to the amazing heat conductivity and retention, you’re able to cook a number of foods on the griddle from breakfast foods like eggs, pancakes, and hash browns, to grilled cheese or melts at lunch, to steaks, burgers, shrimp and a ton more at dinner. I’m not sure how I haven’t discovered Baking Steel sooner, but I’m happy I did and that I can pass the word on.
You can purchase your Baking Steel Pro ($189) or Baking Steel Skinny Griddle ($169) directly from the manufacturer at BakingSteel.com.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review samples
What I Like: Excellent heat conductivity and retention; Indestructible; Makes excellent pizzas; Wood peel is both functional and beautiful; Skinny Griddle is one of the most simple, yet versatile cooking surfaces you’ll find
What Needs Improvement: Weight might be an issue for some, but it’s unavoidable as it’s baked into the idea of this product