Saturday pizza has become a regular thing at our house, per my son’s request. I had a good thing going with the KJ Classic and a 15” stone setup, down to a science. But a few weeks ago decided to change it up and try pizzas on the Akorn Jr, half to use less charcoal on the high temp and half cause I had a steel I’d never used. And half just for the challenge....okay that’s three halves. But I digress....first couple weeks went okay, a little learning curve with the AkJ getting to temp MUCH faster and the possibility of overshooting temp, coupled with the steel getting and retaining heat much easier than the stone.
Last weekend I burnt the crap out of the bottom of three of four pies (finally got it to cool down a bit by the last one...should have given more time after I charred the first). Having to wait a week for redemption is killing me, but I ordered the canning rack I’ve seen many use on here for the Junior setup, so fingers crossed tonight goes better. And I’ll definitely be watching my temps and shooting the steel with an IR thermometer. I’m hoping more separation of the steel and deflector in addition to getting the stew up higher in the dome makes the difference.
There are discussions of pizza stones and general baking here and there on this forum. Those of you who are interested in such may want to read Baking With Steel, primarily written by Andris Lagsdin. You may want to explore a different method.
My initial attempt at making pizza on my Pit Boss kamado was outstanding. Later attempts have had problems.
I purchased the rectangular Baking Steel and BTS'd my next few crusts. This time, I had the steel over 3/4" spacers on my heat deflector on top of the grills, rather than fire->deflector-spacers-steel.
Better luck tonight! I made three dough balls from the 24-48 Hour recipe. I found these really easy to work with, but as my wife points out, "the book makes more sense the third time you try it".
They rolled out into great shells.
I brought the grill up to ~450 on the dome thermometer and kept it there until the steel approached that temp. I know Ken's book says 550F, but the PB dome is hard to get that hot.
I parbaked the first shell and that turned out fine, then wife made a crust for Ken's "Artichoke and Bacon" za. Delicious! We ate half of that one. Should have turned it on the grill part-way through for more even browning.
Then I formed the last ball to make the Margherita with Arugula and sopressata recipe. Pics follow. Folded it over on the arugula to wilt it. Way yummy. The steel was probably a bit more uniformly hotter at this point, and the crust bottom looks pretty good.
This cook was NOT a perfect cook... The Baking Steel, as much as I love it, didn't work in this particular cook. The bottom crust on this bread got darker than I like. This cook would have been perfect just by putting the bread on a baking sheet and setting it on the grill. I will repeat and do that next time.... the results were great though!