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Pizza Steel: Is it worth it? – The Truth About Baking Steels
Every pizza fan knows that compared to fast-food pizza, making it at home takes the taste to another level.
Now homemade pizza is done in one out of two main ways:
The professional way – using a pizza oven.
The simpler way – using a regular oven.
Honestly, there is no need for expensive equipment to get some professional and top-notch results.
Even a regular oven can bake some excellent pizza when used right.
To bake a pizza in a regular oven you’ll need either a pizza stone or steel. Now there are some disagreements on whether or not a steel is worth the investment.
So, is pizza steel really worth it? Here is a closer look at what this awesome product can offer.
Table of Contents
What is a pizza steel?
Pizza steel (also known as “baking steel”) is one of several appliances that are used to bake pizza in a regular oven – including a pizza stone, baking sheet, and a pizza pan.
Baking steels are usually made out of either carbon or stainless steel and they have a very low thermal conductivity. That feature allows them to absorb and store heat very efficiently – making them perfect for giving your pizza that extra crispiness.
Baking steels come in different thicknesses and sizes, but usually, you will find them at around 1/4 inch (6.35 mm) thick and 14 inches (355.6 mm) wide.
Keep in mind that different thicknesses result in slightly different outcomes, so it’s important you choose the right pizza steel thickness for you.
Furthermore, pizza steels can be used for cooking other things than just pizza. They also work great for cookies, bread, and other baked goods.
How is a pizza steel used?
Pizza steels are surprisingly quite easy to use and maintain.
Generally, people use it in a regular oven, although some people like to use it in their BBQ which gives their pizza an extra flavor.
The steel is placed either directly on the BBQ or on the middle rack of your conventional oven.
Now here’s one crucial step many people miss – before launching the pizza on the baking steel, you have to preheat it properly. Here’s how it’s done:
- First, let the oven reach the right temperature. I recommend aiming for above 250 degrees Celsius or the highest your oven can reach.
- Then place the steel inside the oven and let it preheat for at least 30 to 60 minutes (Or until it reaches the right temp if you have an infrared thermometer).
- Once it has reached the right temp, it’s time for the fun part – launching in the pizza. Just make sure you’ve coated the pizza dough with semolina or flour to prevent it from sticking to the surface.
The main benefits of a pizza steel
As anyone who has ever made pizza at home knows, the key to a perfect pie is a crispy, evenly cooked crust. However, achieving that isn’t an easy task – even with the heat of a woodfired pizza oven.
That’s where the pizza steel comes in place.
Compared to its substitutes, the pizza steel comes with many benefits, including:
- Easier to clean – cleaning a pizza stone can be a challenge. You can’t wash it, you need a special brush to scrub it, and only very high heat will clean off the stains. On the other hand, a steel is much easier to clean. You can just give it a quick rinse like every other dish and give it a quick whip.
- Better durability – the thing about steel is it just can’t brake. One of the main drawbacks of pizza stones is that they can brake very easily. With steel that just can’t happen.
- Distributes heat better – One of the main benefits of a pizza steel is that it distributes heat better than other cooking surfaces, such as pizza stones. Meaning you will get an even and crispy cook all the way around with no raw spots.
These are just some of the benefits that a steel offers over a stone. However, there are also some drawbacks that you should be aware of.
The downsides of a pizza steel
Although a steel comes with some great benefits, it also has a few downsides that you should keep in mind, such as:
- They are pricey – good quality steel can cost you anywhere from $60 to $100. That’s a lot of money, especially when you compare it to a pizza stone, which usually costs around $30.
- They require more upkeep – unlike a stone, which doesn’t need any special care, a steel will rust and get damaged if you won’t maintain it properly.
Bottom line - is a pizza steel worth buying?
Now that you know everything about it, it’s time to answer the most important question – is a pizza steel worth buying?
The short answer is – yes, it’s definitely worth the investment.
Not only pizza steels have shown better performance than stones, but they’re also way more durable.
By investing a few extra bucks, you get a product that should last you for years and will take your pizzas to a next level.
There is only one thing I want you to keep in mind.
If you wish to achieve real Neapolitan pizzas at home a pizza steel might not be the right appliance to invest in.
Some conventional ovens aren’t able to reach proper temps for those types of pizza.
however, investing in a new pizza steel and a new conventional oven isn’t really ideal.
In that case, a pizza oven might be a better suit for your needs
1. Does a pizza steel make a difference?
There is a lot of debate over whether or not pizza steels make a difference when it comes to baking pizza. Some people say they are game changers, while others think they don’t make much of a difference.
Personally, I think that they do make some kind of a difference – but it’s not as big of a difference as the price tag might suggest.
If you’re looking for an extra crispy crust, and don’t want to deal with a broken stone, then those extra bucks might be worth it to you. However, if you’re happy with a simple homemade pizza, it might not make a big difference to you.
2. What’s better – a pizza stone or steel?
The answer to this question is not black and white. There are pros and cons to both a pizza stone and steel.
Ultimately, it depends on what you are looking for in a pizza-baking experience. Pizza stones are less expensive than steel, and they don’t require as much upkeep.
However, a steel will last much longer, and it distributes heat better – allowing you to achieve better results.
Ultimately, you will need to choose between a pizza steel or a stone depending on your needs and how much you are willing to invest.
3. Should pizza steel be kept in the oven?
The answer to this question is a little more complex. On one hand, if you want to keep your steel in top condition, you need to make sure that it’s properly cleaned and stored after each use. Failure to do so can lead to rust and other unwanted damage.
On the other hand, if you don’t have enough extra space in your kitchen for such a big iron sheet, you can leave it in the oven. Just make sure to clean it properly before baking your next pizza. Otherwise, you might end up with a bad tart-tasting pizza.
4. Do you need to preheat a pizza steel?
yes, just like a pizza stone, you will need to preheat your pizza steel before use. I recommend preheating it for at least 30 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help ensure that your pizza will be fully cooked, and the crust is nice and crispy.