Which pizza steel is best?
In 2011, Nathan Myhrvold published the groundbreaking, multibook series “Modernist Cuisine.” In it, he deconstructed how food cooks and wrote what is arguably the authoritative last word on the best way to cook pizza: on a pizza steel. Also referred to as a baking steel, this heavyweight conducts heat more evenly and holds it longer for a crispy crust that stays chewy and tender.
If you want to use the pizza steel that Myhrvold himself recommends for its consistent performance, The Original Baking Steel Ultra-Conductive Pizza Steel is the one for you.
What to know before you buy a pizza steel
Pizza stones come in a variety of sizes, and a baking steel is no different. It’s best to get one that fits your oven, not the pizza. Just because you’re making pizza for one tonight doesn’t mean you’ll always be solo dining. A larger steel can accommodate more pizza.
The other measurement to keep in mind is its thickness. A thicker steel holds more heat and cooks a pizza faster, but it’s also heavier and often more expensive.
Steel is not a lightweight metal, and the thickness of this kitchen tool can really add up. Although most hover around 15 pounds, some can reach up to 25 pounds.
What to look for in a quality pizza steel
Because pizza steels weigh around 15 pounds, it can be helpful to have some assistance when retrieving them from the cabinet. Some have holes in two or more corners. These are designed to hook a finger through for easier maneuvering.
As with cast-iron cookware, pizza steels need to be seasoned to maintain their nonstick surface. If you want to use your steel right out of the box, get one that is pre-seasoned.
When you invest in a specific piece of kitchen equipment, especially one that is more expensive, you want to make sure it’s going to last. The best pizza steals come with a lifetime guarantee against defects or poor workmanship.
How to get the best results from your pizza steel
- Position your oven rack high up in your oven — on or around the second highest position — but be sure to leave room for putting the pizza in.
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees for 45 minutes. It takes a while to completely heat the steel, but this step is critical for best performance.
- You’ll need to use a pizza peel to safely place your pizza on the steel. Dust it with flour or cornmeal so the pizza slides easily off the peel.
- If you are using homemade dough, roll it out and transfer it to the pizza peel. Add toppings.
- Transfer the pizza to the baking steel with a quick motion.
- Most thin-crust pizzas will cook on a pizza steel in less than 9 minutes. Baking times will vary depending on the thickness of the crust.
- If you are using your steel for frozen pizza, baking times may be faster than indicated on the pizza box. Watch carefully.
- Remove your pizza, turn off the oven and allow your steel to cool for at least 1 hour. Wear an oven mitt to remove it before cleaning.
How much you can expect to spend on a pizza steel
Pizza steels are much more than just another metal baking sheet. For the thickness of the steel and the smoothness of the surface, expect to spend $89-$129.
Pizza steel FAQ
Does a pizza steel require special care?
A. Yes. To keep your steel from rusting, you’ll need to clean it carefully and season it on occasion just like cast iron.
- After each use, clean with water only.
- Use a stiff brush to remove stuck-on food.
- Dry immediately with a paper towel or lint-free dish towel.
- Use another paper towel to rub a thin coating of olive oil on your steel before storing.
- If you notice that food is starting to stick, it’s time to re-season.
- Scrub your steel with soap and dry completely.
- Wipe a thin coat of oil on the steel, then bake for 1 hour in an oven heated to 375 degrees.
- Allow the steel to cool before storing.
Can you use your pizza steel for anything other than pizza?
- Use your pizza steel to bake rustic breads and biscuits.
- Heat it on the stovetop for a large griddle.
- Cook naan using the steel as a makeshift tandoor oven.
- Freeze to serve ice cream.
- Chill to keep cold foods cold without ice.
What’s the best pizza steel to buy?
Top pizza steel
What you need to know: This is the original and still hands-down best pizza steel you can buy.
What you’ll love: At 16 inches by 14 inches, this 15-pound pizza steel can handle a large pizza. It is up to 18 times more conductive than a pizza stone. Its bronze color stands out from other steels, too.
What you should consider: This is an expensive piece of equipment, so if you don’t eat a lot of pizza it may not be a great investment.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top pizza steel for the money
What you need to know: It’s pre-seasoned high performance at a lower price.
What you’ll love: It works to create evenly blistered thin-crust pizza. The surface is smooth and food releases easily.
What you should consider: Some users reported that it rusted quickly, even with proper and regular seasoning.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Finger holes in the corners make this easier to handle.
What you’ll love: The low-friction surface easily releases pizza when it’s ready to eat. It’s seasoned with flaxseed oil. It’s available in three thicknesses. It comes with a lifetime guarantee.
What you should consider: This weighs a whopping 23 pounds.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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