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The Original Baking Steel Review

The product that helped launch the at-home pizza revolution is suited for making a near-perfect NY-style pizza in any normal range oven
the original baking steel pizza oven review
The Original Baking Steel is an easy way to turn any home oven into a pizza factory.
Credit: Aaron Rice
Price:  $119 List
Manufacturer:   Baking Steel
By Aaron Rice ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 17, 2022
65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 15
  • Cooking Performance - 30% 8.0
  • Output Power - 30% 5.0
  • Control - 25% 6.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7.0

Our Verdict

Even for those of us who cherish a home-cooked meal, there are still some of us who love a good slice of pizza more than most foods. A similar love of pizza was an inspirational moment for the creators of The Original Baking Steel, the first baking steel to hit the market and change the landscape of home-cooked pizza forever. While this high-quality steel does turn out fantastic NY-style pies, don't let the marketing material fool you. The surface temperatures of this steel do not compare with the high-fired temperatures of a wood-fired oven. It does, however, make amazing pizzas with impressive consistency, thanks to an incredibly uniform temperature profile over its cook surface. For those looking for a simple, effective, and inexpensive option for making pizzas at home, The Original Baking Steel is a great choice.
REASONS TO BUY
Very consistent surface temperatures
Designed for a normal range oven
REASONS TO AVOID
Heat profile depends on oven output
Lower average stone temperature
Editor's Note: We added The Original Baking Stone to our lineup on November 17, 2022.

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Price $119 List$499 List
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Pros Very consistent surface temperatures, designed for a normal range ovenUnbelievable heat retention, quick baking time, accurate integrated thermometer, multi-fuel systemReasonably priced, large capacity, heavily insulated firebox, transformable design improves versatilityAffordable, designed for a normal range oven, fast bake timesAffordable, small foot-print, easy to use
Cons Heat profile depends on oven output, lower average stone temperatureExpensive, heavy, wood-fire box is smallBulky, heavy, slow to preheatHeat profile depends on oven, heavyweightLong bake times, sub-par quality pizza
Bottom Line The product that helped launch the at-home pizza revolution is suited for making a near-perfect NY-style pizza in any normal range ovenSuperior design precedes superior performance in this professional-grade oven made for the common cookTop-notch cooking performance, output power, and versatility, all at a fraction of the cost of direct competitorsA heavy-duty carbon steel slab capable of serious heat transfer to make the best pizza you've ever experienced out of a normal ovenThis oven is reminiscent of a hot-plate and is user-friendly but does not provide particularly quality results
Rating Categories The Original Baking... Gozney Roccbox BakerStone Original NerdChef 3/8" Steel... Presto Pizzazz Plus
Cooking Performance (30%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
3.0
Output Power (30%)
5.0
10.0
7.0
7.0
2.0
Control (25%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
4.0
Ease of Use (15%)
7.0
7.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
Specs The Original Baking... Gozney Roccbox BakerStone Original NerdChef 3/8" Steel... Presto Pizzazz Plus
Fuel Type n/a Gas, Wood (w/ conversion) Gas n/a Electric
Power Output n/a 14,330 BTU 25,000 BTU n/a 1235 watts
Size of Firebox n/a 156 cu. in. n/a n/a n/a
Average Stone Temperature 479°F 748°F 732°F 686°F 300°F
Footprint 228 sq. in. 299 sq. in. 345 sq. in. 228 sq. in. 229 sq. in.
Maximum Pizza Diameter 14" 12" 13" 14" 12'"

Our Analysis and Test Results

Part of the beauty of The Original Baking Steel is the simplicity of its design. This 1/4-inch thick, low-carbon steel measures 14" x 16". While it is technically capable of making a 14" pie, it is easier to stick with slightly oversized 12" pizzas. Although it doesn't offer any handles, it weighs slightly less than other comparable steels, tipping the scales at 16 pounds.

Performance Comparison


the original baking steel pizza oven review - the original baking steel consistently turned out beautiful pizzas...
The Original Baking Steel consistently turned out beautiful pizzas. Although it doesn't cook as quickly as some other steels, it quickly became our go-to for NY-style pies.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Cooking Performance


A quality slice of NY-style pizza requires a bit more oven time and a slightly lower surface temperature to achieve the crust texture these particular pies are renowned for. This is exactly what The Original Baking Steel delivers. This steel's average cook time is closer to five or six minutes –- still an amazing improvement over baking stones or cast iron skillets, but not in the same ballpark as the one- to three-minute times of the Neapolitan-style ovens we tested. Though this is a highly subjective matter, our testers and their friends all agree that The Original Baking Steel consistently turns out some of the best quality pizza they've ever had from a normal range oven. And all with a lot less fuss than operating an outdoor pizza oven, we might add.

Lower baking temperatures result in a nice rise, but not so much...
Lower baking temperatures result in a nice rise, but not so much that you end up with an overly puffy crust.
This is the type of crust you might find on a NY-style pizza or New...
This is the type of crust you might find on a NY-style pizza or New Haven apizza - nicely tinged but not overcooked, and easily foldable.

Output Power


It's not exactly fair to compare The Original Baking Steel to other pizza ovens we tested simply because the output power is relative to the power of your range oven. We can, however, compare it directly to the other baking steels we tested. In this regard, The Original Baking Steel is far from the hottest oven-baked option in our lineup. We baked pizzas according to the manufacturer's recommendations: pre-heat the steel at 500°F for an hour before launching your first pie. While the average 479°F surface temperatures paled in comparison to other steels, we appreciate this fact. So many companies are attempting to recreate the perfect Neapolitan-style pizza — but what about all the other styles, namely the famed NY-style pizza? Decreased surface temperatures mean you can bake your pizzas for longer, achieving the ideal balance of chewy and crunchy that a New York slice is known for.

the original baking steel pizza oven review - although the manufacturer recommends baking at 500 degrees in a...
Although the manufacturer recommends baking at 500 degrees in a convection oven, we had better success preheating the oven this way and then baking with the oven broiler.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Control


Once again, this metric doesn't exactly pertain to baking steels simply because it relies on the quality and capacities of your range oven. However, we feel we can offer some valuable input as our testers baked with this steel in an incredibly average oven. The most noticeable aspect of The Original Baking Steel is the temperature consistency across its cook surface. Compared to other steels — or all other ovens we tested, for that matter — the Original Baking Steel boasts the most even surface temperatures of any model we tested, with a standard deviation of temperature of merely 2.6°F. This is an incredible feat for any cast pan and may be attributed to the high-quality manufacturing process. As a result, you can expect evenly browned pizza crusts every time you bake.

the original baking steel pizza oven review - this method turned out beautiful pizzas cooked to ny-perfection...
This method turned out beautiful pizzas cooked to NY-perfection nearly every time, a feat not easily replicated with many gas-powered, outdoor ovens.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Ease of Use


Relative to some of the other pizza ovens we tested that can weigh more than 30 pounds, and even many baking steels that tip the scales at more than 20 pounds, The Original Baking Steel may seem like a lightweight alternative at a mere 16 pounds. But you may be surprised at just how heavy this 1/4-inch steel plate can be, particularly because it doesn't offer any holds to help move it in and out of the oven. This steel measures 16" x 14", so while it certainly comes much closer to baking a full-size pizza than many other ovens in our lineup, it is still more comfortable making 12" pies. Unlike so many ovens that require more setup or an exhaustive firing process, The Original Baking Steel is more convenient and accessible for most at-home cooks. This steel's user-friendliness makes it much more reasonable to make any night of the week pizza night.

the original baking steel pizza oven review - what's easier than preheating your oven, then sliding in a pizza...
What's easier than preheating your oven, then sliding in a pizza? It's almost like you're baking a premade pie, but the results are way better.
Credit: Aaron Rice

Should You Buy The Original Baking Steel?


If you love making pizzas at home but don't have the space to store or fire a portable-sized pizza oven, a baking steel like this one is a fantastic alternative. The beauty of this product is in its simplicity; rather than setting up and firing an oven, you can focus on making a great pizza. Its simple design also makes it much less expensive. And for those who love a quality New York slice, there may be no better option for making your favorite pizza at home.

the original baking steel pizza oven review - if you prefer the thin, chewy crust of a ny-style slice of new haven...
If you prefer the thin, chewy crust of a NY-style slice of New Haven apizza over the puffy cornicione of a Neapolitan pizza, the Original Baking Steel is well worth your consideration.
Credit: Aaron Rice

What Other Pizza Ovens Should You Consider?


The most directly comparable option is, perhaps too obviously, the NerdChef 3/8" Steel Stone. But it should be noted while The Original Baking Steel excels at turning out NY-style pizzas, the NerdChef steel is more suited to baking Neapolitan-style pies. If this is the style of pizza you are hoping to create but aren't excited about spending top-dollar on an oven, then the BakerStone Original is our choice for an outstanding value.

Aaron Rice
 
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