The Secret to Making Round Pizza

The secret to round pizza.
The secret to round pizza.

You already know my secret weapon for homemade pizzas is my Baking Steel. Well, I have another little secret to share. There is a trick to making round pizza and I am going to share it with you.  And you don't need to say abracadabra or tap your magic wand.  You may think it requires years of practice, it doesn't.  Here is the secret, if you want a round pizza start with a round dough. It's that simple.  Why round?  Circles are graceful, they suggest community and perfection.

After my dough has fermented on the counter for 18 hours and I'm not going to use it, I store it in a round plastic cylinder.  Divide and ball your dough into rounds, be sure to pinch the seem and give it a tight seal.  In this case, the pizza dough has been fermenting for 2 days in the fridge. You can find these cylinders in virtually any super market.  I have a stash of these in my cabinets from Glad.  Let me show you my stretching technique, and I would love for you to chime in and let me know if you have a secret to round pizza.

secret to round pizza.
secret to round pizza.
Getting ready to shape.
Getting ready to shape.

Shaping the Dough

The dough should be removed from the refrigerator at least one hour before shaping.  You want to let it rest and come to room temperature.

Take one ball of dough and generously flour it and your hands.  Start by pressing down on the dough and gently pressing this dough out evenly keeping the cylinder shape. Continue this until the dough is about 6 inches in diameter.  Just be careful not to knock all the gas bubbles out.  We like bubbles.

pressing the dough
pressing the dough
lightly press down the dough, careful with the air bubbles.
lightly press down the dough, careful with the air bubbles.
Be careful not to knock out the air bubbles.
Be careful not to knock out the air bubbles.
Pressing the dough softly.
Pressing the dough softly.
Get ready for lift off.
Get ready for lift off.

Next we're going to lift the dough off the work surface and place it on our knuckles.  Once in position, continue to rotate and stretch the dough on the back of your knuckles in one direction.  Pull it wider and wider with each rotation until you reach your desired diameter.  With this size dough (213 grams) that's about 10-11 inches.

dough on the knuckles
dough on the knuckles
Grab the dough and place it on the back of your knuckles.
Grab the dough and place it on the back of your knuckles.
continue rotating.
continue rotating.
Using the back of your knuckles, begin stretching.
Using the back of your knuckles, begin stretching.
Gently begin rotating and stretching the dough with the back of your knuckles.
Gently begin rotating and stretching the dough with the back of your knuckles.
continue stretching, ever so lightly
continue stretching, ever so lightly
continue rotating and stretching
continue rotating and stretching
just about ready for the pizza peel
just about ready for the pizza peel

Now take a lubricated peel, flour, semolina will do the trick and gently place your dough on top.   Your pizza is ready for topping.

-Andris

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Ready to top. I love these tiny air bubbles.
Ready to top. I love these tiny air bubbles.
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The Best Way to Cook a Frozen Pizza

The Best Way to Cook a Frozen Pizza

Every once in a while I am asked if the Baking Steel would work it's magic on a frozen pizza. The short answer is yes, very much so!  In fact, the BEST way to cook a frozen pizza, is on the Baking Steel

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Pizza on the Grill

Pizza on the Grill

We are here to answer everyone's questions on how to use the Baking Steel on a gas grill...

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How to Make a Dough Ball

How to Make a Dough Ball

Learn how to fold your dough into a perfect dough ball.

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How to Clean a Baking Steel

How to Clean a Baking Steel

Learn how to properly clean your Baking Steel.

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When do you Cheese your Pizza?

When do you Cheese your Pizza?

When do you cheese your pizza? Do you throw it on top at the start or do you par bake the crust before adding the cheese? Does it make a difference? Let's find out.

The first thought I have when constructing a pizza is what is the cheese melt-a-bility.  Will it brown prematurely?  Creating a beautiful and tasty pizza only to find you have burned the cheese, ouch.

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Using, Cleaning & Re-seasoning your Baking Steel

Using Your Baking Steel™ Your Baking Steel has been pre-seasoned and is ready for use upon delivery.

  1. Move your oven rack to the second highest setting in your oven and place Baking Steel on rack. Allow enough room to launch and remove pizza.
  2. Preheat the oven on bake at 500˚F for approximately 45 minutes.
  3. Lightly flour/cornmeal or breadcrumb the peel to prevent sticking. Put a rolled out pizza dough on the pizza peel (paddle). Add your toppings.
  4. With quick jerking movement, slide the pizza off the paddle onto the Baking Steel in your oven.
  5. Cook for approximately 7-9 minutes or until the pizza is bubbly and charred but not burnt.
  6. When removing pizza, you must use pizza paddle. Baking Steel is extremely hot and will burn.
  7. Place pizza on a cutting surface or tray to slice and serve!
  8. For breads: After Baking Steel has been pre-heated, slide dough onto Baking Steel with pizza paddle. Bake according to recipe. Bake times may be faster.
  9. For frozen pizzas, please follow instruction on pizza box. Bake times may be faster.
  10. After oven has been turned off, please allow Baking Steel at least one hour to cool. Please use oven mitt or like to remove Baking Steel.

WARNING:    DO NOT TOUCH BAKING STEEL WHEN IN USE! IT IS EXTREMELY HOT!

NOTE: Baking Steel will get darker with each use.

 

Cleaning Your Baking Steel™

(If you're more of a visual learner, we've got you covered. We created a video on our website to demonstrate the process:http://bakingsteel.com/how-to-clean-baking-steel/)

  1. If you purchased Earthstone's scrubbing brick, you've got it made. Just lightly scour the Baking Steel until clean. Wipe off lightly to remove loose residue.
  2. If you don't have a scrubbing brick, clean Baking Steel with a stiff nylon brush. Using soap is not recommended. Harsh detergents should never be used. Avoid putting the Baking Steel into cold water. Thermal shock can occur causing the metal to warp.
  3. Towel dry immediately if water is used or Baking Steel gets wet.
  4. Do not let your Baking Steel air dry, as this can promote rust.
  5. If for some reason your Baking Steel develops a metallic smell or taste, or perhaps rust spots (maybe a well-meaning relative washed your utensils in the dishwasher or with some soap thinking they were being helpful), don't panic. Simply scour off the rust using a very fine grade of sandpaper or steel wool and refer to the re-seasoning section below.

 

Re-seasoning Your Baking Steel™

(Rather watch than read? Watch at: http://bakingsteel.com/season-baking-steel/)

While maintaining the seasoning should keep your Baking Steel in good condition, at some point you may need to repeat the seasoning process. If food sticks to the surface, or you notice a dull, gray color, repeat the seasoning process.

  1. Wash the Baking Steel with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. (It is okay to use soap this time because you are preparing to re-season the Baking Steel.)
  2. Rinse and dry completely.
  3. Apply a dab of organic flax seed oil (recommend Barleans) in the center of the Baking Steel. Take a paper towel and wipe the oil around the steel evenly. Use another paper towel and wipe off excess. Do this to both sides of the Baking Steel.
  4. Set oven temperature to 375˚-400˚F.
  5. Place Baking Steel on rack of the oven.
  6. Bake the Baking Steel for one hour. After the hour, turn off the oven and let the Baking Steel cool in the oven.
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How do you measure flour?

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup all purpose flour

How do you measure flour?  If you want to guarantee success when making pizza dough, you need to measure your flour correctly.  Search the web and you will see all types of solutions and different weights for different flours.  Huh?  You mean bread flour and all purpose flour have different weights?  Yes, and how about flour density varies from region to region. In my opinion, the only way to measure dry ingredients properly are to use a digital scale.  Look at this simple little test...

Here I dipped this measuring cup into a sack of King Arthur all purpose flour.

This should weigh 125 grams, let's take a look at the scale. (The cup has been taken into account)

my 1 cup equals 140 Grams, oops
my 1 cup equals 140 Grams, oops

My usual batch of dough calls for 500 grams of flour.  By using this dipping into the sack method, that is 4 scoops or 4 cups of flour.

Here is the math:

4 scoops x 140 grams each = 560 grams of four.  That's 60 grams of additional flour.  Ouch! Thats a huge difference and likely not going to produce the amazing crust we originally set out to create.

The easy solution?  Buy yourself a digital scale.  If the recipe you are using calls out a weight measure, you will be accurate.  Here is another tip, if the recipe doesn't give you the weight measurement, likely it hasn't been thoroughly tested.  My advice, skip it and find one that does.

Here comes my right hook (more on this later).  We recently teamed up with Ozeri who makes beautifully designed digital scales. We are now offering Ozeri Zenith digital scale for a cost of $35.00 and shipping is on us.  If you want to take your pizza or baking to the next level, a digital scale is a must.  We happen to like this slick design.

- Andris

Follow Baking Steel on PinterestTwitter and Facebook. (And you can follow me on Twitter here.)

Photo Nov 23, 2 55 24 PM
Photo Nov 23, 2 55 24 PM
Photo Feb 06, 3 29 34 PM
Photo Feb 06, 3 29 34 PM
Photo Feb 02, 10 23 00 PM
Photo Feb 02, 10 23 00 PM
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Simple Pizza Dough Balls

pizza dough balls. This is a follow up or part 2 of Jim Lahey's no knead with a twist post.  When I am making Jim Lahey's no knead pizza dough (often), I try and make a batch early in the AM prior to heading to the office.  It requires a bit of scheduling, but worth the time in the end.  This is one of my favorites for both its amazing flavor and simplicity. This pizza dough jumps off the Baking Steel. Requires no automated equipment and its a little light on the mess.  Something my wife approves. Here is how I make my pizza dough balls.

Scrape out the dough by hand, its going to be a bit sticky so use some flour.

Scraping out the dough by hand.

 

Get it all out onto your worksurface.

IMG_0435

Divide the pizza dough into 4 equal parts.

measure the dough, I love a digital scale.

Measure into 4 equal parts.  849/4=213

 

4 equal portions.

 

folding

Starting on one side, fold each corner into the center.  4 folds for each portion.

last fold

Shape each portion into a round.

round.

If you are not going to make pizza right away, follow the next steps.

Get 4 of these plastic containers, notice they are round.  More on this later..

my dough storage container, notice it's round.

Grab a little Olive oil and spread around each container.

drizzle a bit of oil

wiping oil

sealed

Store your Jim Lahey No-knead pizza dough for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.  You are ready for action.

-Andris

Follow Baking Steel on PinterestTwitter and Facebook. (And you can follow me on Twitter here.)

Recipe by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York.  Source: My Pizza by Jim Lahey.

ready for a little more sleep

 

 

 

 

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Prevent Your Pizza Peel from Warping

work is done
work is done

Have you ever had a pizza peel warp on you? You’re not alone. A wooden pizza peel will warp if it comes in contact with water (pizza peel's kryptonite) or encounters a hot surface. While there are many different brands of peels, we love our handmade JK Adams alder wood peel. 

The solution is simple (and cheap!) Applying mineral oil to your peel before using it for the first time will help to prevent any cracking or warping. Just follow these easy steps:

1.  Pour mineral oil on your board and lightly spread it in with a dry cloth. Be generous enough so that the entire peel is able to be covered by the oil.

A dollap of Oil
A dollap of Oil

2.  Let the peel absorb the mineral oil, once the wood dries the peel will be ready for use.

Paint on the oil with a paper towel
Paint on the oil with a paper towel

3. Repeat this process as often as you feel necessary. Take into account how often you use your peel. As a frequent   pizza maker, I typically coat my peel once a month.

In addition to coating your peel with mineral oil there are a few precautions you can take to help preserve your peel. Since water and wood do not mix well, we suggest you use white vinegar (full strength) to clean your peel. The vinegar acts as a disinfectant and will eliminate bacteria such as Salmonella and E. Coli.

If you are reading this AFTER your peel has already warped, try this trick: lay your wooden peel out over night with the warped side facing the down. Placing a heavy object such as a book will help straighten the curve. This should decrease the warping and help bring your pizza peel back to life!

There is no reason a pizza peel should not last you a lifetime. Coat your peel with mineral oil, keep it away from water and high heat, use white vinegar to disinfect it and you will never have to buy another peel again!

-Andris

Follow Baking Steel on PinterestTwitter and Facebook. (And you can follow me on Twitter here.)

this side is complete
this side is complete
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A Terrific Super Simple Pizza Dough Recipe (Video)

If you're looking for a super simple pizza dough recipe, here's your ticket. Watch this.

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How To Slide Pizza Off The Peel To The Steel (Video)

How To Slide Pizza Off The Peel To The Steel (Video)

Nothing can strike terror into the heart of a home pizza chef like the "launch". Well, dread no more. Watch this.

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How To Make Pizza Dough At Home (Text)

If you're not the video watching kind, we wrote out the instructions for making a delicious pizza dough at home. Read on...

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How To Make Pizza Dough At Home (Video)

As many pizza chefs know, making pizza dough at home is a blast! But it can be a little intimidating if you're just getting started. So, we wanted to make a simple step-by-step video to show how we like to make our pizza dough at home. Take a look, and throw in your $.02.

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How To Re-Season Your Baking Steel (Video)

If you've wondered about seasoning your steel, here's the short of it.

Basically, you won't really have to season your steel. It comes from us already seasoned. And that stuff is pretty hearty. But there may be a few reasons why you would want to re-season it. And we've been asked about this quite a few times. So, here's what you need to know.

I’ve had a lot of people ask my about seasoning the steel. When do I season it? Do I need to?

My personal steel I’ve had for 10 months and I have not re-seasoned it. There’s no real reason to. Unless we’ve got maybe some rust spots because it got wet and didn’t get dried. Or maybe tomatoes got on there and soaked through the seasoning.

So I’m going to take you through the process of re-seasoning the steel today. It’s very simple.

Basically, you want to crank your oven up to 400 or maybe 500 degrees. I like to use flaxseed oil and paper towels.

That’s all you’re going to need for tools here.

What I do first is make sure my steel is clean. We’ve cleaned this with a cleaning brick. It’s got no soot on it at all, whatsoever.

Make sure the steel is dry. That’s very important.

Take a little oil. And make a little circle on it. I’m going to wipe it in to the steel. Almost like painting it. Cover the entire area, the entire steel. Get the sides in there.

That’s all on there.

Now what I’m going to do is take a paper towel and wipe it off. Take all that oil off there.

Really, really use a lot of elbow grease to get this thing out. And you can see it almost looks like there’s very little oil on there.

And that’s how we want to bake it.

This is done. Now I’ll do the other side the same way. Again.

This steel in particular didn’t really need any oil on it. But I’m going to show you how to do it anyway.

Oil. Paper towel. Paint it on there nicely. Some elbow grease. Take another paper towel and wipe it off and make sure you get the whole area covered.

I’m going to take this steel and put it in the oven for about an hour. Which is safe. At 400 degrees.

Turn your oven off and let it cool. And you’re as good as new.

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How To Clean Your Baking Steel (Video)

These cleaning tips will keep your Baking Steel happy and healthy. So, you can keep making the crust you crave.

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