Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bonci Dough & The Modernist Baking Steel

In my seemingly endless quest to make the perfect pizza (whatever that is) I recently came across something called The Baking Steel. This is nothing more than a heavy slab of treated steel that replaces the more traditional pizza stone. It has a couple obvious advantages: 1) it will never break and 2) its enormous thermal mass means even a rather wet pizza is going to cook very quickly. The big disadvantage is cost - $99. Nevertheless...

I had made a full batch on Bonci style dough for Tomato and Black Olive Focaccia over the weekend and still had two of the dough balls in the freezer when my Baking Steel arrived. So it seemed reasonable to use one of those for my first trial.

But first, I loaded the Baking Steel into the oven on a rack at the third from the top level. This is one level lower than suggested in the guidelines the company supplies, but I was pretty sure my pizza would be quite a bit taller than is typical. Pre-heat at 550 F for an hour and then...

Bonci Dough - Full Batch

  • 1000 gm Bread Flour
  • 800 gm Tepid Water
  • 7 gm Yeast
  • 20 gm Salt
  • 40 gm Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Those quantities result in 3 big (about 600 gram), very soft dough balls. This dough is far too soft and sticky to ever slide off a peel on its own (after all it's meant to be baked on sheet pans). So I stretched one ball onto a piece of well oiled aluminum foil.

You can see from the wrinkling around the dough that it's already grabbing the foil in spite of the oiling.

Toppings were Neapolitan style: crushed tomatoes, fresh (as in made that morning) Valley Shepherd Creamery Mozzarella, a bit of crushed oregano and sea salt. Slide it onto the Baking Steel and about 10 minutes later I turned the broiler on high. After another minute I rotated the pizza and another minute later out it came:

2 inches of crispy and delicious
Yep. The Baking Steel worked exactly as advertised. Since we make pizza or some type of bread at least once a week, its worth the $99 (there's a thinner model for $79). It makes a tremendous difference in the the quality of what comes out of my oven.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post Bill. Those are some tremendous dough balls. Nice work, beautiful..



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