A couple weeks ago, we were invited to come to the test kitchen of inventor of The Baking Steel. We had met Andris how we most food oriented people these days, through Twitter and we were intrigued by a product that held high expectations on changing the homemade pizza and burger game. We wanted to learn more.
We arrived at Andres's house, about 45 minutes outside of Boston. He had recently renovated an old barn in his backyard into a shiny new test kitchen for demos, recipe testing and eventually, cooking classes. The purpose of the visit was to introduce us to the Baking Steel, a very heavy steel plate that can be used either in the oven, grill, or right on the stovetop. Due to its heft and metallic makeup, it conducts and maintains heat significantly better than any baking stone can and because of that, pizza results in everything you want - crispy bottom and exterior crust that still has a delightful, chewy doughiness to it. It had far better results than a pizza stone.
The idea had come from reading Modernest Cuisine, where it is proven that baking pizza on steel is the best method for making pizza at home. Andris, in addition to being a former pizza cook at Todd English's Figs and a current food enthusiast, happens to also work for a steel company and all of the pieces fell into place from there.
The next product in the works currently is a Baking Steel that has a lip around the edges so that you can use it for things, like burgers, that could get messy and drip when exposed to high heat. Andris demoed how to cook a burger on this Baking Steel model. Starting with a ball of ground beef, he smashed it into the screaming hot steel that was clocking in around 700 degrees. The meat instantly started to steam ferociously and it was just a minute or two on each side and the results were a burger with a beautifully crusted exterior and just the right amount of char.
Could this be a kitchen game changer? I think it just might.