Baking Steel

Prep time:
Cook time:
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You know summer has arrived when a regular cheese slice at your favorite pizzeria all of a sudden seems too cheesy, too greasy, too heavy. In an effort to make a lightened-up version of a favorite slice, I stripped it of its cheeses and baked the dough naked. Unburdened by layers of toppings, the dough bakes up with a perfect spring, with a craggy texture pocked with crests and craters: the perfect topography to capture a heavy brushing of herb-and-garlic olive oil.


  • 1 ball 72 hour pizza dough or your favorite dough
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • 1 batch perfect pesto sauce - see below
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • Fine sea salt, to taste


  1. Preheat your oven with your Baking Steel on the top rack for 1 hour.
  2. Stretch your dough into a 12 inch circle (oblong or oval is fine). Lightly flour your peel and place the dough on top.
  3. Drizzle the dough lightly with olive oil. Next, add three or four ice cubes in the center of the dough.
  4. Use a generously floured pizza peel to launch your pizza onto the Baking Steel and bake under the broiler for 2 minutes.
  5. After 2 minutes, open the oven and use your pizza peel to give the pizza a 180-degree turn. Turn off the broil setting but keep the oven at its highest temperature, and continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes, or until the crust has reached your desired brownness.
  6. Use your pizza peel to remove the pie from the oven. Working with the pizza still on the peel, spread the pesto evenly on top, and sprinkle with salt to taste. Slice and serve.