Five Additional Uses for Your Baking Steel

MC / April 19, 2013

In our quest to create the perfect baking steel for mimicking the results obtained by a traditional wood-fired oven, ultimately achieving pizza bliss, we also tested other uses for such a device. We examined several possibilities, including hot and cold preparations. Because the baking steel is 22 lb of highly conductive thermal mass, it can stably hold both high and low temperatures. Below, you will find a few of our favorite options. If you have a new idea for its use, let us know in the comments section.

1. Antigriddle: Steel has high heat capacity and great conductivity, which is why it works so well for pizza. But it also works in opposite extremes, efficiently freezing foods through conduction. We experimented with a PolyScience antigriddle while writing Modernist Cuisine and found that by freezing the baking steel, we could achieve similar results. After watching street vendors in Thailand make “ice-cream pad” (rolled-up ice cream) on YouTube, we were hooked and didn’t stop until we were able to replicate this charming treat by chilling our steel to ?15 to ?9.5 °C / 5 to 15 °F. Check back next week when we share how to make “ice-cream pad” using the baking steel.

2. Griddle: Naturally, the baking steel also makes a great griddle. Place your baking steel on your stove or induction cooktop to fashion a griddle. Because it is larger than your typical skillet (the baking steel is 41 cm by 36 cm by 1 cm / 16 in by 14 in by ? in), you have more room for your eggs and pancakes.

on induction burner with fried eggs

3. Flat Tandoor Oven: A pizza without sauce or toppings looks an awful lot like naan, which inspired us to use the steel as a makeshift, open tandoor oven. Heat the baking steel on a stovetop or induction burner on high and slap on your naan dough. In moments, your naan will have a blistered surface not normally obtainable in a home oven.

4. Cold Plate: Your baking steel will also keep food cool without freezing it—a perfect solution for a platter of sushi. Chill the baking steel in the freezer for a few hours. Depending on how cold you want your food to be, the time will vary. This is a great way to keep sensitive food cold without dealing with piles of ice and the inevitable clean up. Keeping your food cool will also extend the amount of time it can sit outside of the refrigerator before entering the danger zone.

5. Teppan: Teppanyaki, the Japanese style of cuisine popularized by restaurants in the U.S., uses an iron plate called a teppan. This metal griddle quickly cooks food to the delight of onlookers. We can’t guarantee that you’ll nail down the flaming onion on your first try, but it’s a good place to start, as well as a fun idea for dinner parties.


26 Responses to “Five Additional Uses for Your Baking Steel”

      • Tarjei T. Jensen

        It would be a better plan to contact a machine shop which can do these cheaply (relatively).

        They usually have CNC machines and can produce a suitable steel plate for a reasonable amount of money.

  1. I was actually wondering about it’s use as an anti-griddle. I really hope you don’t need liquid nitro to do it though. I’m guessing you do to be able to chill it down so much. If that’s the case, I hope you guys address how a home cook like myself can get liquid nitro, short of knocking on fruit picking factories. Thanks!

  2. @Rob – I second the naan recipe request. Been searching for one for years. Have come across some that turned out ok but nothing like the truly authentic one’s.

    They seen to be a bit temperamental so any developments here would be great.

    Also, Indian on the whole would be fantastic. Growing up and living here in Ireland, we have tons of great Indian restaurants. The only guy I see re-inventing Indian into the ‘modernist way’ is Atul Kochhar so again, any insights here are great!

  3. Rabbit

    -Door mat
    -Mouse pad
    -Laptop cooling pad
    -Bookshelf divider
    -Smacking your husband
    -Cold plate added to coolers, ice chests. Keep food cold, throw on grill for cooking food later. Use for tail-gates.
    -Lid for pan
    -cutting board
    -Seat cushion
    -Serving plate
    -hot/warm/cold Coaster for pots, plates, beer

    -Place an additional slab on top of food to make a steel sandwich.
    –Vices that can add pressure.
    -Turn two sideways for heating/cooling inbetween
    -Handle bar attachments, device for handling
    -Make different molds that allow for pressure/vacuum baking
    –Injection molds for baking.
    –Dough For Injection

    -Hot steel massage & therapy
    -Cold steel massage & therapy
    -Playing “Hot Potato”

  4. I’ve got two questions when cooking pizza:

    1. I’m assuming the baking steel is preheated by the broiler for one hour with the oven door closed – is this true?

    2. When cooking the pizza under the broiler, is the oven door closed during ~ 4 minute cooking time?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Tony,

      1. You want to preheat the Baking Steel with your oven outputting as much energy as possible. In almost all home ovens, this is accomplished with the oven set to Broil. If your oven doesn’t have a broil setting, use the highest temperature your oven will allow you to set.

      2. When you’re cooking your pizza, you want to have the broiler element on. There are a few ways to accomplish this, since even set to broil, your oven will still cycle the heating elements on and off.

      Way #1: After your oven has preheated, study your broiler’s on/off pattern. In my home oven (electric), my broiler kicks on and off in 5-minute increments. For the best results, slide your pizza onto the Baking Steel just after the broiler enters the On part of its cycle.

      Way #2: Keep your oven door cracked slightly while your pizza is on the steel to encourage your thermostat to stay on. The slightly open door will drop the ambient air temperature in your oven enough for the thermostat to keep the broiler element on. The drop in air temperature will have little effect on the temperature of the steel or the air around the pizza itself. However, some ovens may include safety features that automatically disable the heating elements if the door is open, so test out your oven before committing to this technique. Also, be ready for a very warm kitchen if you’re making a lot of pizzas this way!

      Best regards,
      Scott Heimendinger
      Director of Applied Research
      Modernist Cuisine

      • Scott,

        Thanks for the info. We’ve got a gas oven with a broiler, but I haven’t tested it out in this manner. I’ll check it out. We’ve cooked pizza with the oven on bake at about 500 deg. w/o the baking steel, but I’ll try the broiler next time (and possibly the steel) and see how it goes!

  5. Donna

    Baking steel worked greatjust on 500 degrees with oven door closed. Thinking about geting a second for the bottom shelf to intensify the effect without using broiler. I love watching the dough rise and bubble within minutes! Will be trying the anti griddle method next with ice cream and possibly pouring brittles/sugar.

  6. I have had great success with my Dacor Discovery 48″ range, but it is a dual fuel. If you are lucky enough to have that option here is my procedure. I turn the oven on to 555, it’s highest setting as the larger oven has gas/ceramic broiler. Pull dough from fridge, let it warm on top of stove where the air is warmer. Give it an hour or more to really heat the steel. Switch to broiler on HI setting, this fires up the gas again. I purchased an IR thermometer and found after letting it sit under broiler for 30 more minutes the surface temp was 775 F!! Awesome. Easy oven hack to keep broiler on with electric or gas, wad up a small amount of foil and slip it between the oven door and close it, this will leave about .5″ gap, enough to keep it kicking on more. My pizzas cook in 90 seconds flat. I time 45 seconds, turn 180, 45 seconds more and boom, perfection.

  7. Can we use this baking steel inside the Big Green Egg as a flattop for doing burgers? They always make such a mess on the griddle in our kitchen that we’ve stopped doing them there.

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