Andris Lagsdin has an incredible story of how he developed the Baking Steel. I’ve had conversations with both Tony Gemignani and Peter Reinhart who explained it is one of the best ways to cook pizza.
Andris has an extensive food background. He learned the craft of cooking and ended up working with noted chef Todd English. He made many types of food including pizza. He worked his way up into a managerial position in the organization. He enjoyed working with Todd as well as making pizzas. He liked making pizzas at home but felt he needed a wood fired oven to make great pizza.
Side Note: One of my favorite quotes is from Todd English. As a matter of fact every time I teach a pizza class I repeat the quote.
“Never Trust a round pizza” Todd English.
Andris decided to leave the restaurant business and decided to work for his father who fabricated steel components for different companies. One day after work Andris was reading The Wall Street Journal when he saw an article about Nathan Myhrvold. Myhervold had written an amazing book on food, called “Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking.”
In the interview Myhrvold talked about the best way to cook Neapolitan Pizza. He said to Google a local steel shop and get a piece of steel.
A lightening bolt went off for Andris. He brought home a piece of steel and started cooking pizza on it. He was totally blown away. For the first time he created a beatifully charred crust in his home oven. He told his brother and father about the idea, but they were not very enthusiastic. They said: “Look Andris, we are a construction company. Good luck trying to sell that!” He started to have his own doubts as to the idea of making a pizza steel.
It took a few months to get going but Andris had a vision and decided to follow the path. One December morning he made the decision: “I am going to bring this thing to life.” He explains: “I put my blinders on and I made it happen!”
He studies home ovens. He needed to find a standard size that would work in any oven. Then he spent months trying to figure out how he could make it happen. The good new was that he had access to a million dollars worth of equipment that could make the baking steel.
At the end of the summer he did a Kickstarter campaign. He thought he would be OK if he made $3,000. He hit the goal with-in 24 hours. He eventually made more than $40,000.
He sent samples to some food influencers such as Kenji Lopez, (Serious Eats) and Peter Reinhart (Noted Bread and Pizza Maker). They loved Baking Steel. And I totally agree with them.
The Baking Steel is in my opinion the absolute best way to cook pizza as well as many other items. Andris explains his inspiration for the Baking Steel in the following interview.
- How the baking steel was developed.
- His background in the cooking industry with Todd English
- How a $600 Scientific Book on Food changed his vision of pizza.
He also notes how many people including members of his own family told him the Baking Steel would never work. There are many other parts to this interview.
You can claim your own Baking Steel, here:
Baking Steel – The Original Ultra Conductive Pizza Stone (14″x16″x1/4″)
Nathan Myhrvold’s incredible book.
Jim Lahey’s Book:
My Pizza: The Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home