This post is sponsored by VanEsch Cookware.
In 2019, VanEsch Cookware released the BakePlate, a hefty (18-pound) cast aluminum baking surface with cross-fin heat sinks on the bottom and a carbon steel coating. And this year, the brand is back with the PizzaPlate, a svelte ½-inch-thick, 15-inch square aluminum slab coated with melted-down stainless steel to mimic a brick oven environment. Here are my thoughts on this new product, plus a few tips for making the best pizza on a metal baking surface.
Perks of the PizzaPlate
- It's (relatively) light. Not only is it lighter than its big brother, the BakePlate, but it's also lighter than most commercial steel baking surfaces. To put things in perspective, a standard steel is ¼ inch thick, 14 inches by 16 inches, and weighs just under 16 pounds. The standard-size PizzaPlate is ½ inch thick, 15 inches by 15 inches, and weighs just under 12 pounds.
- It holds a lot of heat. The PizzaPlate is made mostly of aluminum, which holds twice the heat per pound that steel does. So, if you're like me and you always make at least two pizzas at a time, you won't need to let the metal plate heat up again between bakes. Just take the first pizza out of the oven, stretch and top the next ball of dough, and bake it right away.
- It mimics the brick oven baking experience. The PizzaPlate is coated on the top and bottom with SprayBrick, a material made of melted-down stainless steel that was developed by VanEsch to give the aluminum slab a surface that resembles brick. Thanks to SprayBrick's slight porousness, moisture can move away from the pizza dough as it cooks, turning to steam and creating an extra-crispy crust.
Interested in purchasing a PizzaPlate? Click here for more info.
How to bake pizza on the PizzaPlate or other metal baking surface
- Place your PizzaPlate or steel on a rack in the bottom third of the oven.
- Set the oven to 550°F or as high as it will go, and let it heat up for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Then, switch the oven setting to Broil (on high if that's an option).
- Wait about 10 minutes, then stretch or roll out a ball of pizza dough, place it on a floured pizza peel, and top with sauce, cheese, and anything else you like.
- Shimmy the topped dough from the peel to the hot PizzaPlate and close the oven. Bake until the crust is evenly browned on the bottom and has bubbled up and charred in spots around the edges, about 5 minutes. (This baking time will be longer if you are using a thinner metal plate made only of steel. It could take up to 8 minutes depending on the type of metal plate you are using.)
- Using the pizza peel, carefully transfer the pizza to a large cutting board. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and season with a pinch of salt, a grind or two of black pepper, and some chopped fresh herbs, if desired. Slice and serve!
Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with VanEsch Cookware. They have provided me with the PizzaPlate at no cost to me, but all of the opinions in this post are my own.