mario batali pizza pan?
There was a Los Angeles Time article a while back touting the excellence of this particular pizza pan. Funny thing is that I recall the retail price being around 49.95 or so at most stores, but today it seems most online vendors, including Amazon, are charging 59.95. Anyway, I noticed Lodge has a cast iron pizza pan for about 21.99, which is significantly less. So I was wondering if anyone has used the Mario Batali pan and if it's worth the extra money, or if a regular cast iron pan would perform just as well. It seems that the only difference is that the Batali pan has a porcelain coating all over, so seasoning is not required. Any thoughts? Thanks!
I suggest going to a restaurant supply storer and buying a pizza screen (or 2) for 5 or 6 bucks each. Great crispy crust for the right price. They should have pans too, usually in several sizes. I slice my pizzas and put back on the screen, then the pan, to maintain crispiness.
I read and saved the same article by Amy Scattergood in the LA Times on the Batali pan, which the reviewer said was a big improvement over using a pizza stone. She did state that the price was $60 at stores where it was available. She also mentioned a comparison with the Lodge pan which is pre-seasoned. Both pans are cast iron and look identical to me except for the bright colorful enamel finish on the Batali pan. So it's a matter of whether the more pleasing aesthetics of the Batali pan makes it worth the extra money. Ms. Scattergood said that for her it was worth it because its more attractive appearance made it a much nicer serving piece when brought to the dining table.
The Batali pan was also discussed at some length on the Melinda Lee cooking show with the same opinions expressed as those in the Times article.
The idea sounds interesting enough that I want to try this out but for me the 14" size of these pans rules them out. I never make pizzas that large. Lodge also makes a cast iron pre-seasoned 10-1/2-Inch round griddle pan which I believe would produce the same results with pizza as the larger pans. So that's what I'm going to try using.
I've been a satisfied owner of the Lodge pan for several years, yet I recently ordered the Batali pan. Why? I like to use the Lodge pan as a stovetop griddle, and I've ordered a ceramic-top electric range (no gas in new neighborhood). I don't want the raw cast iron pan scratching up my new stovetop.
There are advantages to each pan. First, the Lodge pan is raw cast iron throughout. This allows the owner to season it, making it more and more nonstick with the passage of time. As long as the pan is treated well (no temperature shocks, proper seasoning, no dropping, no rusting), it will continue to improve with time and will last as long as you, your children, and your children's children may want it.
The Batali pan is enameled on both the interior and exterior, so you can't season it for a more nonstick surface. On the other hand, this pan is dishwasher safe, will not react with acidic foods such as tomato and wine (raw cast iron will), and will not scratch up a ceramic stovetop.
Frankly, if you only intend to make pizza with the pan, I'd go with the Lodge. The performance is fantastic (equal to the Batali), and you save a few bucks.
I checked out both the Batali and the Lodge on the Amazon.com website. According to the reviews, the handles on the Batali are flimsy, and can snap off during shipping if not packaged VERY carefully. Have not read any such reports about the Lodge pan.