Baking with Steel

The Revolutionary New Approach to Perfect Pizza, Bread, and More


With Jessica Oleson Moore

By Andris Lagsdin

Foreword by J. Kenji López-Alt

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A simple but transformative product that supercharges your home oven, Baking with Steel offers a whole new way to cook and bake that blows pizza stones and stovetop griddles away. With Baking with Steel, you’ll harness this extraordinary tool to bake restaurant-quality baguettes, grill meats a la plancha, and enjoy pizza with a crust and char previously unimaginable outside a professional kitchen.

“Every decade or two, a revolutionary idea turns into a revolutionary product that actually does change the way we make our food.”-from the foreword by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, bestselling author of The Food Lab

Baking With Steel is a fantastic companion for anyone with a Baking Steel, as it showcases its range of applications in the kitchen. From producing gorgeously cooked pizzas to perfectly seared steak and ice cream in minutes, Andris Lagsdin once again shows that there are many reasons to love the power of steel.”-Nathan Myhrvold, lead author of the award-winning Modernist Cuisine series



The Story of Steel

The two things in life I know best are steel and pizza.

My dad’s a steel man. My brother’s a steel man. And I suppose somewhere deep inside, I’m a steel man too. My family owns the Stoughton Steel Company in the South Shore of Boston, where we’ve made industrial steel products for over forty years.

But when I was young, I didn’t want much to do with the family business. I left to see the world; I became a tennis instructor and held every service job imaginable. Along the way I learned that I loved working in restaurant kitchens. There’s something about the energy, the hustle, and, of course, the food.

In my twenties I landed a job in Boston slinging pizza at Figs, celebrated chef Todd English’s restaurant. Todd was at the leading edge of the artisanal-pizza movement; he sourced local ingredients and championed the now-trendy, airy thin-crust pizza long before anyone used the phrase farm to table. My time at Figs gave me an education that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

I already liked pizza, but after working for Todd, I lived for it. There’s the quiet, meditative task of prepping: the feel of dough in your hands, the comforting repetition of chopping and stirring. There’s the sweet aroma of rising dough and the acidic zing of fresh tomato sauce. And the most fulfilling part of making pizza is the sense of connection and creativity that comes with the process. It’s even better when it’s a family, friend, or party activity.

But although homemade pizza is fun to make, the pie never quite measures up to the kind with the perfectly crisp crust you get straight out of a restaurant’s screaming-hot brick oven. For years, I—and every serious home cook I knew—used a baking stone to make pizza in the kitchen oven, assuming it was the best way to approximate the charred, blistered pizza-oven crusts. Even with my training, though, I couldn’t make restaurant-quality pizza that way.

I transitioned from Todd’s kitchen to his management team, but after a few years, I was burned out by the hectic pace and unforgiving hours. My dad asked if I’d come back to the family business, and I said yes. I gave it my all—but part of me dreamed about starting a new business, one related to food.

One day at work, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine. In that hallowed encyclopedia of food science, the author made a keen observation about the physics of baking. He said, essentially, “The best conductor for creating a perfect pizza crust is not stone, but steel.” If I were anyone else, I might have thought about it for a second, nodded, and then moved on with my life. But I’m not anyone else; I’m a steel man with a passion for pizza. This felt like fate.

I sprinted into the plant and hunted for the thinnest piece of metal available. I found a rusty scrap that had once been a Caterpillar part. It wasn’t pretty, but it looked like just the right size for my experiment.

I brought it home and told my wife it was my new pizza stone, and she looked at me like I was crazy. But that first pizza I made was a revelation; it was done in half the time it took on my traditional pizza stone, and the perfect, airy crispness of the crust brought me back to the days of working with a 900-degree wood-fired oven. Encouraged by my first test, I cautiously mentioned my experiment to my brother and father, who ran Stoughton Steel, and gently suggested it could be a new product for us. Their reaction was… skeptical. The factory produced stabilizer pads for backhoes, not kitchenware. How on earth were a bunch of steel guys going to bring a home-pizza product to market?

I didn’t trust my instincts, so I decided to shelve the project. Still, the idea stuck with me. I woke up every morning for six months thinking about the pizza steel. Then one day I found the confidence to take the leap and do everything I could to bring the product to life. I had been working hard for the past fifteen years, but I hadn’t been pursuing my passion. I had two young boys, and I thought of the example I was setting for them. Sure, I was in a comfortable spot in my career, but comfort is not the same thing as fulfillment. I wanted to show them you can get up every day and do what you love.

I already knew the steel worked. I brought up my idea for a steel baking surface with my father and brother again, less cautiously now, and they began to come around. Perhaps it was my confidence in the product, or maybe they were convinced by the amazing pizzas I was making. I refined the prototype and they started to see how my passion project could become a source of income.

Launching a new product isn’t as simple as putting an item in a box with a logo and shipping it out. In developing the steel, I had to consider its size, shape, and weight; what would work without being too cumbersome? I obsessively measured the temperatures and sizes of various ovens (probably making myself a person of interest at Home Depot in the process). I practically wore ruts in the pavement between our production facility and my parents’ kitchen as I tried out each new version and developed a seasoning process to make the steel food-safe.

The more I tested the steel, the more versatile I realized it was. It could be used for roasting meat and vegetables and baking bread; it could even be frozen and used to make slab-style ice cream creations. But what would we call it? I have my brilliant wife to thank for the name: Baking Steel. It was perfect—like the product, the name was basic, simple, and about more than just pizza.

In the beginning, I was so focused on making the steel work that I didn’t have any idea how many I might sell. Selling even one seemed like a good place to start. I’d seen other small businesses find success with crowdfunding platforms, and I decided that was what we needed to do to prove that the steel was a viable product. I set a modest goal on Kickstarter of three thousand dollars, just enough to cover the first production run.

I knew the Baking Steel made the best home-oven pizza I’d ever tasted, and I had the support of my friends and family, but would anyone else care? After all, nearly two-thirds of Kickstarter projects never get fully funded.

As soon as the site went live, I reached out to everyone I’d ever talked to, dated, or bought a latte from. A day later, we made our goal. It was really happening!

Before the campaign closed, something incredible happened. J. Kenji López-Alt, the managing culinary director of the popular food website Serious Eats, e-mailed to ask if he could try one out. A couple of days later he posted a review stating that the Baking Steel blew his favorite pizza stone out of the water. Things snowballed and the number of backers doubled.

Our first Baking Steel shipped in 2014. Since then, we’ve brought restaurant-quality baking projects to thousands of homes. I’ve opened a test kitchen near my Boston-area home, and I work with an amazing chef, Craig Hastings, to develop recipes. The Baking Steel has inspired a new generation of pizza makers. And with our new griddle-surface Baking Steel, we’ve brought the cooking power of steel to a wider range of foods. Baking Steel enthusiasts are always dreaming up new recipes, from whoopie pies to roasted vegetables to perfect steaks to, yes, even English muffins, and some of them kindly provided recipes for this book. (If you come up with a new Baking Steel recipe, share it with me at

It’s amazing what a piece of steel has done for my life. Let me show you what it can do in your kitchen.




Get the Most Out of Your Baking Steel


Why the Baking Steel? It’s a valid question. It may be tempting to think of the Baking Steel as a novelty gadget for kitchen geeks. But this is far from a foodie fad. As this book will show you, the Baking Steel is a culinary powerhouse: a kitchen tool for chefs of all levels that can revolutionize the way you cook and bake.

Let’s start out simple. Say you put a pizza on an aluminum baking sheet and put it in the oven. Your pizza will cook, but it will never attain the crispy crust that you’d get at a pizzeria. Without a superheated surface, you won’t get the right balance of fully cooked toppings and crispy crust.

You might own a baking stone, which is a step in the right direction. A baking stone simulates the conditions of a commercial oven, but it’s a poor substitute for it. That’s not the case with the Baking Steel, which has a thermal conductivity eighteen times greater than a ceramic pizza stone’s. The Baking Steel retains heat more evenly and for longer than a baking stone does, so it cooks pizzas faster and more effectively.

But perhaps the biggest advantage of the Baking Steel is that it has so many applications. The Baking Steel doesn’t need to be relegated to the oven. It can be put on the stovetop—on both gas and electric burners—and used as a griddle or as a stand-in for a cast-iron skillet. It retains heat and allows for perfect griddling, stovetop cooking, and even searing. It can be placed directly on the grate of an outdoor grill or atop cans of Sterno to provide a hot surface on the fly. It can also be chilled, which means it’s an invaluable tool for making pastry and confections and for serving and keeping cold dishes, well, cold.

The Baking Steel is also virtually indestructible. Many avid bakers have horror stories about their pizza stones shattering. With proper care, your steel will join you for a lifetime of culinary adventures. This unique yet simple slab of steel presents a whole new way to cook and bake. Enjoy the adventure.


Every good chef knows that to get the most out of kitchen equipment, you must treat it with respect. The Baking Steel is built to last, but only if you take good care of it. Here’s what you need to know.


The Baking Steel is pre-seasoned, so when you remove it from its packaging, it is ready for use. Wipe it off with a dry cloth, if you like, and remember to lift with your knees, not your back. There are many different Baking Steel models, but they’re all heavy!


Part of the magic of the Baking Steel is that the even heat distribution ensures even cooking and baking. To help the steel do its best work, you’ll need to allow it to heat up properly. The steel is equally effective for cold tasks, like mixing cold slab ice cream or serving sushi. Follow these instructions to preheat or precool the steel.

Pizza: Place the Baking Steel in the top rack of your oven (or about six inches from the broiler). Set the oven to its highest temperature; this is often 500 degrees, though some ovens can go higher. If your oven has a convection setting, use it, though it’s not vital for success. Let your Baking Steel preheat in the oven for forty-five minutes to an hour to allow it to absorb the heat. Always use a pizza peel to launch your pie onto the steel and to remove it; never touch the hot steel directly. For more detailed information on the process of baking pizza with your Baking Steel, see here.

Bread and Other Baked Goods: Place the Baking Steel in the oven; you will usually put it on the middle rack unless otherwise noted. Let it preheat for forty-five minutes to an hour at the temperature called for in the recipe—this allows the steel to completely absorb the heat required for those perfectly crispy edges. As always, do not touch the Baking Steel at any time; put your baked goods on a sheet of parchment paper and use a pizza peel to launch them onto the steel, or place a baking sheet on top of the steel and take care to avoid contact with the steel when removing it, as it can burn you even through oven mitts.

Roasting / Cooking: Preheat your Baking Steel as recommended for bread and baking, above. Often, these recipes employ a rimmed sheet tray positioned on top of the steel to prevent drips.

Griddle-Top Cooking: Several of the recipes in this book are cooked using the Baking Steel Griddle directly on top of your stove. Here’s how to successfully heat your Baking Steel Griddle on the stovetop for even cooking.

1. Mise en place. Make sure that you have all of your cooking materials close at hand and remove anything near the stovetop that may be sensitive to heat.

2. Place the steel directly on top of your stove burners. Position it carefully, as you won’t want to move or touch it directly once it gets hot.

3. Turn on the heat. Start high; I like to start heating on medium-high, even if I need a fairly low temperature for whatever I’m making. Let your Baking Steel heat for ten to fifteen minutes. An instant-read infrared thermometer (easily obtained at better cookware stores and online) is handy for determining the heat of the surface before you cook. Without one, you might find it difficult to monitor and maintain a steady temperature. As you’ll see, each griddle recipe has a suggested temperature range. As you become more adept at cooking on the surface, you will learn how long it takes to reach the appropriate level of heat, and you can adjust accordingly in the recipes.

4. Lower the heat. Right before you put whatever you’re cooking on the surface, lower the heat to medium. In general, this will keep the temperature from continuing to rise and will allow you to maintain the suggested cooking temperature. Keep track of the temperature using that infrared thermometer.

5. Get cooking! Place your food on the steel and let it do its magic.

6. Let the Baking Steel cool down. Once you’re done, turn off the heat and let the steel sit on the stovetop until cool enough to handle. Don’t attempt to move it right after cooking, as you could burn yourself.

Ice Cream: Put the steel in the freezer and leave it there overnight (as you would an ice cream maker drum).

Sushi and Other Chilled Foods: To keep your cold foods cold at a party or cookout, put the steel in the freezer for at least twenty minutes and up to several hours before you use it.


Your Baking Steel might not look hot in the oven, but trust me—it is very, very hot. Once you’ve heated your Baking Steel in your oven or on your stovetop, you should never touch it; it can burn you even through oven mitts.

If you’ve chilled your Baking Steel in the refrigerator or freezer, wear oven mitts when removing it.

After baking or cooking on it, allow it ample time to cool down before handling. While exact times will vary, it can take up to an hour to become cool enough to handle.


As your Baking Steel ages, you’ll notice some changes. The color will darken with each use, and the steel will eventually develop a very dark or black patina. Just as with cast-iron cookware, this isn’t a bad thing, nor is it a sign that your Baking Steel is on its last legs. As long as you keep your Baking Steel clean and re-season it occasionally, it will last a lifetime.


After using the Baking Steel or Baking Steel Griddle, let it cool completely before handling it. Once it’s cool, employ a bench scraper to scrape food matter into the sink. Once you’ve cleared off any food debris, wash your Baking Steel with soap and water. Although using soap on cast-iron cookware is a no-no, using soap on your Baking Steel—and even scrubbing, as long as it’s with nothing harsher than the back of a sponge—is perfectly okay. Be sure to dry both sides thoroughly and immediately every time your Baking Steel gets wet; never let it air-dry, as this can promote rust. And never put your Baking Steel in the dishwasher.

Oil the Baking Steel with a neutral, food-grade oil after every cleaning; this keeps the surface nonstick and creates a seal that keeps rust from forming. If you are used to caring for a cast-iron pan, taking care of your Baking Steel is no different in this regard.


If you’ve left your Baking Steel in the oven for a while or if you forgot to dry it immediately, rust spots may form. A deeper cleaning will be needed, but there’s no need to panic. Run to your local grocery store and pick up a product called Bar Keepers Friend. Place a small amount of this product on a slightly wet Baking Steel, let it sit for about one minute, and then rinse the steel clean. Use a little soap and water to clean it once again, and then carefully dry your Baking Steel. Always re-season your steel after using Bar Keepers Friend; the process is detailed below.

Another product for cleaning stubborn rust spots or stains is the Earthstone KitchenStone brick. Made from 95 percent recycled glass, these cleaning bricks are all natural and nontoxic and have the cleaning power of something like forty Brillo pads. They’re well worth the investment for removing tough, stuck-on food from your Baking Steel or Baking Steel Griddle.

To clean with the scrubbing brick, simply scour the dry Baking Steel until clean. Try to avoid using water; if it is needed, use a very small amount. Wipe the surface lightly to remove loose residue.

If for some reason your Baking Steel develops a metallic smell or taste or you notice rust spots (maybe well-meaning relatives washed your Baking Steel in the dishwasher, thinking they were being helpful), don’t panic. Simply scour off the rust using steel wool or very fine sandpaper and re-season as below.


While the Baking Steel arrives seasoned, it will require occasional re-seasoning. In general, if you notice that its surface is looking dull and gray or that food is constantly sticking to it, it’s time to re-season.

1. Position a rack in the middle of your oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Wash the Baking Steel with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush.

3. Rinse and dry immediately and completely.

4. Apply a dab of neutral oil (I suggest Barlean’s organic flaxseed oil) in the center of the Baking Steel. Using a paper towel, wipe the oil around the steel evenly. Use another paper towel and wipe off excess. Do this to both sides. It will appear to have a thin, light sheen from the oil.

5. Place the Baking Steel in the preheated oven.

6. Keep the Baking Steel in the oven for 1 hour. When the hour is up, turn off the oven and leave the steel there until it’s cool enough to move.


Parchment paper: If you’re worried about drips, parchment paper is a great alternative to launching food directly onto the Baking Steel, and it allows for quick and easy removal of whatever you are baking. Typically, I use parchment paper when I make stromboli, slab pies, and calzones. Now, most parchment-paper packaging will say that it’s suggested for use only up to 400 degrees. Well, I’ve used it many times with a much hotter Baking Steel, and while it turns brown and wrinkles, it has never caught fire. Do not, however, use parchment paper under the broiler.

Silicone mats: It’s okay to use a silicone mat on top of the Baking Steel, but only to the maximum temperature suggested by the mat’s manufacturer. As with parchment, do not use silicone mats under the broiler.

Baking pans: You can put baking sheets, cake pans, and pie plates right on top of your Baking Steel. Even though whatever you’re making is separated from the direct surface of the steel, the steel will still conduct heat evenly through the sheet or pan to give it a perfectly crisped bottom.

Removing grease from your Baking Steel Griddle: When you cook bacon or meat on top of your Baking Steel Griddle, grease or juices can get caught in the channel around the perimeter. To remove, let the griddle cool somewhat so that you don’t burn yourself. Dab paper towels around the channel to remove anything that might slosh, then wait until the Baking Steel Griddle cools down completely to clean more thoroughly. Be careful—that steel gets very hot!

Storing your Baking Steel: We sell every Baking Steel with a storage sleeve, and that’s probably the best place to keep it once it’s completely dry and coated in a thin layer of oil. However, many people simply leave the Baking Steel in the oven and cook everything on top of it. If you do this, you may notice that it becomes very dark, but that’s okay. Just be sure to remove it from time to time so you can clean and re-season it.

Baking Steel or Baking Steel Griddle? There are two key differences between the Baking Steel and the Baking Steel Griddle. One is texture; the Baking Steel surface is lightly textured, whereas the Baking Steel Griddle is smooth. The griddle also features a channel around the perimeter to capture grease or excess liquid. You can use both cooking surfaces interchangeably in many recipes. However, it is suggested that you don’t use the Baking Steel on your stovetop for recipes that could get messy or that might result in grease dripping off.



Making Pizza the Baking Steel Way



Dough: The Foundation of Great Pizza

Seventy-Two-Hour Pizza Dough

Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough

Sourdough Pizza Dough

Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

Thin-Crust Pizza Dough

Bar Pizza Dough

I Want Pizza Tonight Dough

Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza Dough


No-Cook Tomato Sauce

Perfect Pesto

Roasted Garlic and Garlic Oil

Pizza Recipes

Margherita Pizza

Four-Cheese Pizza (White Pizza)

Funghi (Fun-Guy) Pizza

Naked Pesto Pizza

Hot Hawaiian Island Pizza

Allium Pizza

Meat Lover’s Pizza

Chorizo with Fontina and Mozzarella Pizza

Arugula with Caramelized Onions and Balsamic Pizza

Sous-Vide-Egg and Bacon Pizza

Figgy Pizza

Avocado and Tomato Pie

Spicy Sicilian Pizza

Bar Pizza

Detroit-Style Sausage and Pepper Pizza


  • "The baking steel is the latest obsession in the culinary world, due to its ability to cook pizzeria-quality pies (and baguettes, and crispy bacon, and grilled cheese) at home."—Real Simple
  • "Your home pizza-making skills will immediately skyrocket... lots of fun baking and breakfast-y projects in this book."—Eater
  • "Every decade or two, a revolutionary idea turns into a revolutionary product that actually changes the way we make our food... This book distills the passion and dedication of Andris Lagsdin and Jessie Oleson Moore into a series of recipes and techniques that not only show you how to make some of the best pizza, steak, and pancakes you'll ever make in your home kitchen, but how a simple slab of steel might fundamentally change the way you feed your family."—From the foreword by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, bestselling author of The Food Lab and Managing Culinary Director, Serious Eats
  • "The Baking Steel is the iconic cast iron skillet of its time, worthy to pass down for generations along with endless kitchen memories-and the recipes in this book."—Chris Bianco, James Beard Award-winning chef of Pizzeria Bianco
  • "Baking with Steel is a fantastic companion for anyone with a Baking Steel, as it showcases its range of applications in the kitchen. From producing gorgeously cooked pizzas to perfectly seared steak and ice cream in minutes, Andris Lagsdin once again shows that there are many reasons to love the power of steel."—Nathan Myhrvold, lead author of the award-winning Modernist Cuisine series.
  • "Steel this book! I advocate using the Baking Steel instead of a baking stone for one simple reason: you get a better pizza crust. The Steel (still in my home oven) releases heat more energetically than a ceramic surface. And it won't crack, so it will last you a lifetime. This book, with plenty of recipes, is an excellent guide to making a Baking Steel an essential element in your kitchen too."—Ken Forkish, James Beard Award-winning chef and author of Flour Water Salt Yeast and The Elements of Pizza
  • "With the Baking Steel, not only was I able to shave off two minutes of cooking time for my pizzas, but they surpassed anything I'd been able to achieve in my home oven... I'm a believer, and this book gives you everything you need to become one too."—Peter Reinhart, James Beard Award-winning author of Artisan Breads Every Day
  • "The Baking Steel has revolutionized how pizza should be made at home. After baking on a Steel in my own kitchen, I can't see any home cook not needing one-or even two-for baking, pizza making, and much, much more. It's the only way I know how to make pizzeria-quality pizza in your home oven, and Baking with Steel gives you all the tools to unlock the Steel's full potential in your kitchen."—Tony Gemignani, master instructor at the International School of Pizza and author of The Pizza Bible
  • "My Baking Steel never leaves the oven. I love the crust it creates on everything I bake; not just pizza, but bread and pie too! The results are fantastic, and I no longer worry about cracked baking stones. It's brilliant!"—Zoe Francois, author of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
  • "The Baking Steel is an essential tool for the avid cook. I use mine every day. With this book and a Steel in your oven, you too will make perfect, professional-quality breads, pizza, and more at home."—Jenn Louis, author of Pasta by Hand and The Book of Greens
  • "Andris Lagsdin changed the game by creating the Baking Steel, and he developed a range of delicious recipes to use it to transform every course, from breakfast to dessert. Baking with Steel shows you how to do it all."—Alex Talbot, coauthor of Ideas in Food
  • "One of the scariest things about moving 1,500 miles away from New York City was having to say goodbye to all its chewy, crusty pizza. But with the help of my Baking Steel, which has lived in my oven for years now, I learned that I don't have to live a sad pizza-less life--and that in fact, super awesome restaurant-quality pizza is possible to make at home. I love that my Baking Steel yields a perfectly splotchy crust every time and that it cooks pizza so quickly. I've even used it outside to cook pizza over a fire. I'm so excited that this book exists now, so I can learn even more ways to use it! Hello, ice cream!"—Molly Yeh, author of Molly on the Range
  • "Baking With Steel displays Andris Lagsdin's unique mastery of both steel and the art of pizza. You'll learn to bake a pizza to its crisp and chewy perfection, make a fluffy, crusty bread, and even create the creamiest ice cream. The Baking Steel is an incredible kitchen tool you'll use all year round, and this book is a perfect companion for your culinary adventures."—Ming Tsai, chef and author of Simply Ming

On Sale
Dec 5, 2017
Page Count
288 pages

Andris Lagsdin

About the Author

Andris Lagsdin is the inventor of the Baking Steel. He received his pizza education while working for Chef Todd English, but had given up the restaurant life to work in his family’s steel business until he discovered a way to combine the two. He lives with his family in Boston’s South Shore.

Learn more about this author