Last year I got a Baking Steel as a gift. Well… I told my mom I wanted it and she bought it for me. That still counts as a gift right? This thing is amazing!! There is a dearth of good pizza in Los Angeles. That’s been changing a little bit in recent years but home made pizza made on a Baking Steel is better than 90% of the pizza in LA.
(Photo from Baking Steel)
Order your pizza steel here: http://bakingsteel.com/shop/baking-steel/
To find out how and why the baking steel is so great read these articles over at Serious Eats: http://www.seriouseats.com/cgi-bin/mte/mt-search.cgi?__mode=gsearch&blog_id=31&search=baking+steel&site=All
I’ve found that my baking steel works best on the bottom rack with the broiler turned on after the first minute of baking.
Home made pizza parties are the best! Everyone gets to make their own pizzas which means you actually get to socialize during a dinner party instead of being stuck in the kitchen. This is what I did last New Years Eve and it was great.
I just set up a buffet of toppings and a floured cutting board and let people do everything themselves while I drink wine. Lots and lots of wine.
Here are some topping suggestions:
Cheese: Regular Shredded Mozzarella, Home Made Ricotta (recipe here: https://bamfjam.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/quick-home-made-ricotta/), Fresh Mozzarella, Tallegio, Parmesan
Vegetables: Roasted Red Pepper, Shredded Brussels Sprouts, Caramelized Onion, Thinly Sliced Red Onion, Roasted Garlic, Sauteed Mushrooms (raw mushrooms leave behind too much water), Black Olives, Shaved Fennel, Marinated Artichokes, Blanched Kale
Meats: Pepperoni, Sausage, Salami, Bacon, Meatballs or Chicken Meatballs cut into small pieces
I also like to make a Korean Bulgogi pizza. Bulgogi is a thinly sliced marinated beef. If there is an Asian market near you they will carry thinly sliced rib eye. Just add some fresh garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, and a bit of sugar if you wish. Cook in small batches over very high heat. Trader Joes carries a good kimchee in the refrigerated case. Thinly slice and add with bulgogi to a cheese pizza.
I’m lucky enough to have fig trees in the backyard. If you have access to figs or want to splurge at the Farmers Market, fresh figs are delicious on a pizza. Just quarter them and add to the pizza before baking. I pair mine with a Black Truffle Tallegio. Add a drizzle of honey when it comes out of the oven if you like.
Here is the recipe I use for dough: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/07/basic-new-york-style-pizza-dough.html?ref=search
I cut each batch into 6 pieces. That way the pizzas are smaller and people get to try more combinations. Plan on 2-3 pizzas per person.