David Siegel’s Ovenware Porn

David Siegel
Jan 9 · 4 min read

This is part of my product-porn series. You can see all of them at dsiegel.com.

Baking and Broiling

In the oven, cast iron is an excellent choice. I don’t cook poultry, but I do make German pancakes and try other experiments. This is one I’d love to own:

Marquette Castings 13" cast-iron skillet: $225

However, I’m also tempted to get the new Iittala Tools pan to match my other Tools.

Iittala stainless/aluminum baking pan: small 10" x 9" ($183) or 12.5" x 13" ($192)

I also make good use of my 8" x8" Pyrex baking pan:

8" Pyrex baking dish: $16

I highly recommend a dual-layer baking sheet and a roll of baking paper (not pre-cut sheets).

Ramekins

An important principle of baking is that the height/thickness of the batter matters a lot. Too thin and you have a dry, crusty brownie. Too thick and you have an uncooked middle.

Ramekins are the professional choice for managing thickness. I can imagine reading an entire book about ramekins. They really change the way you bake. Believe it or not, a serious chef would have three sizes of ramekins for different recipes — 8 oz, 6 oz, and 4 oz — depending on what you want to make. If you only get one, get 6oz:

Six-ounce ramekin set: $16

Pizza

Here’s the thing to know about pizza: a professional pizza oven stays at a constant 260 degrees Celcius/500 degrees Fahrenheit. You can’t get that temperature in a kitchen oven, so to make pizza at home, everything needs to go perfectly.

I always buy pizza dough, because that’s not the hard part (hint — Whole Foods will often sell you a frozen pizza dough if you ask their pizza people). Frozen dough is great — put it in the fridge in the morning and you have perfect dough for making dinner.

The hard part is getting the right age/consistency dough, the right amount of flour (and cornmeal) underneath, the right amount of toppings, and the temperature perfect. It’s very easy to scorch the top and have the middle be raw. The most important tools are …

A pizza stone should be as large as your oven can handle. Measure your oven first! Square is slightly better than round, but either is fine. It should be ceramic with a rough-ish texture. I don’t like natural stone. You may need to get a new one every few years. Make your crust very thin. Don’t use much sauce at all. Use the highest rack you can, heat the stone for 30 minutes at the highest heat possible, turn the heat down to 350 degrees as soon as you put the dough into the oven, then rescue your pizza just before it gets too black on top. Afterward, let your stone cool down in the oven overnight!

Unless you can throw and stretch a piece of pizza dough into a uniformly flat circle (I can’t), you’ll want a rolling pin. I prefer an American style rolling pin (with an axle) to a French style (just a piece of round wood). You can get them in maple or marble, but did you know you can get one in stainless?

I’m dying to try this stainless rolling pin! $37

A pizza peel should have a long handle for two hands. This is the one I have …

Remember — the oven is going to be very hot, so when you open the door, hot air is going to rush straight out and up. Get in the habit of keeping your head to one side as you open the door!

Be sure to check dsiegel.com for all the latest Product Porn installments!

David Siegel is a serial entrepreneur in Washington, DC. He is the founder of the Pillar Project and 2030. He is the author of The Token Handbook, Open Stanford, The Culture Deck, Climate Curious, and The Nine Act Structure. He gives speeches to audiences around the world — see his speaker page if you would like him to speak at your next event. His full body of work is at dsiegel.com.

David Siegel

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Provocateur, professional heretic, slayer of myths, speaker of truthiness to powerfulness, and defender of the Oxford comma.

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