meet the maker: Andris Lagsdin
words by Mackenzie Wise
In our upcoming winter issue, The Coastal Table spotlights one of the latest and greatest inventions for achieving perfectly charred, brick-oven style pizza at home: the Baking Steel, created by Andris Lagsdin.
Lagsdin, who studied culinary arts in school, had been away from the cooking world for several years when he came up with the idea for the Baking Steel. After reading an article about how steel makes the perfect tool for cooking pizza back in March 2011, Lagsdin became intrigued and began testing his first prototype the following weekend. Despite being “blown away” by the results, the timing wasn’t quite right for Lagsdin.
He was too busy to pursue the project, and was even a little doubtful of its possible success. But when he couldn’t stop thinking about it, Lagsdin returned to the Baking Steel idea in December of 2012, determined to make it work. He worked to create at least a dozen prototypes, spent time measuring the interiors of home ovens at Home Depot, and sent out samples to friends in the food world. Once he began gaining confidence in his idea, he was committed.
Within six months Lagsdin was ready to share the Baking Steel with the world. His Kickstarter campaign, successful many times over, allowed him to finally make the production of the Baking Steel possible.
When asked why he was motivated to pursue this idea, Lagsdin answered, with clear sincerity, that he knew the Baking Steel would “make pizza at home attainable”. And, he adds, “what made it so exciting for me, even to this day, is that I would be able to share this idea with the world.”
And we’re so happy that he did. It’s truly transformed the way we’re now making pizza at home.
To learn more about the Baking Steel, visit bakingsteel.com.
red onion, ricotta + fennel sausage pizza
- 1 dough ball (1/4 of 1 recipe)
- 1 fennel sausage, casing removed
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Flour, for dusting
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1/4 ball fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into pieces
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
- Remove dough from refrigerator at least 1 hour before you use. Dough is much easier to form at room temperature. At same time you’re pulling out dough, place your Baking Steel on top rack in oven. Preheat oven to 500°F.
- In a medium sauté pan, add sausage. Cook until just browned, about 10 minutes. Break up sausage into bite-sized pieces as it cooks. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Return pan to medium heat (leaving oil in pan). Add onions and cook until just softened, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- After 1 hour, turn oven temperature to broil.
- Dust a pizza peel with flour.
- Dust hands with flour and remove dough from container. Place dough gently over knuckles and allow pizza crust to form, turning slowly, as it stretches down. Do this for a few minutes until it stretches out into a nice, round shape. Place on prepared pizza peel and continue to stretch into a circle if needed.
- Spread an even layer of tomato sauce over dough, leaving about 1 inch around outside edge. Scatter top with ricotta cheese, followed by mozzarella cheese, red onions, and half of sausage (save other half for another pizza). Carefully transfer pizza onto Baking Steel, close oven, and set a timer for 2 minutes.
- After 2 minutes, turn oven temperature back to 500°F. Close oven and set a timer for another 2 minutes. Remove pizza, or continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes if needed. Top with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve immediately.
Makes 1 pizza.