Pizza Stone Guide
A pizza stone is a round, rectangular, or square bakeware that is used to hold the pizza while baking in an oven. It helps cook the dough and crust evenly to achieve a firm golden brown crust when the pizza is completely baked – it aims to achieve the baking results of a pizza when baked using a brick oven. The pizza stone absorbs the moisture from the dough and distributes the heat evenly on the surface to achieve a nicely done crust. It comes in various diameters or sizes and has a thickness of at least half an inch. Here’s a comprehensive guide that can help you learn more about pizza stones:
Pizza Stone Materials and Descriptions
One of the many considerations that you need to keep in mind when choosing a pizza stone is the material. Natural materials are common because it conducts heat evenly and can also remove the moisture to prevent a sticky surface. Clay, ceramic, cast iron, or cordierite are the best material for a pizza stone.
It is a classic stone that absorbs moisture which can result in a crispier crust. Clay is the best material if you want to achieve a crispy crust, but it takes a while to preheat and can be difficult to clean. The good thing is, you can do DIY clay pizza stone without spending too much. There are a few tutorials online that can be helpful.
Ceramic pizza stones are the most cost-effective choice because it can last for many years when properly cared for. Ceramic heats evenly which make an excellent choice for a pizza. But, it is susceptible to cracks when not preheated properly. The ceramic pizza stone is a great choice because it conducts high heat evenly which can help you achieve the best baking results.
Cordierite pizza stones are the most expensive, yet durable. It can outlive ceramic and clay pizza stone. It is a durable material with thermal shock resistance – it can handle all the heat in your oven without breaking. So, choosing the cordierite as your pizza stone material is a practical idea.
Important: The pizza stone material is not the only factor to consider – size, accessories, durability and features are also important.
How to Use a Stone Pizza Properly
It is important to use the pizza stone properly to avoid ruining the stone or cleaning it the wrong way.
Here’s how to do it correctly:
- Place the pizza stone inside the oven on the lowest rack. Do not place the pizza stone in a hot oven to avoid thermal shock – which can result in cracks on the pizza stone.
- Heat the stone for at least 30 minutes before cooking the pizza.
- Make sure the dough is at room temperature before baking. Do not place a cold dough directly on a hot stone because the temperature change can cause the stone to break.
Pro Tip: Use a pizza peel to transfer the pizza to the stone. A pizza peel is a tool used to slide the pizza to the stone without spilling any of the ingredients.
How to Season a Pizza Stone
Buying the pizza stone means you need to exert additional effort before using it. You need to season it first (max of two seasonings) before putting it to good use.
Here’s how to season a pizza stone:
- Clean the stone with hot water. Do not use soap since the stone material is porous. The soap can penetrate to the pores of the stone which can affect the taste of your pizza.
- Heat the oven to 450℉ for the oil to assimilate in the stone. The heat will produce a glossy sheen to the stone which prevents a sticky surface.
- Pour some olive oil onto the stone’s cooking surface.
- Place the pizza stone in the warmed oven and bake it until the oil is absorbed completely.
- Remove the stone from the oven and let it cool down.
- Repeat steps 3 to 5.
After the seasoning steps are done, the pizza stone is now ready for baking. But not just yet. You need to oil the surface before baking the pizza – it can help achieve golden brown and crispier crust.
How to Clean a Pizza Stone
Here’s how to clean a pizza stone, without damaging it:
- Baking soda
- Soft cloth
- Plastic spatula
- Brush (soft)
- Let the pizza stone cool down before cleaning it.
- Scrape the surface lightly using a plastic spatula. Avoid using a knife or a metal spatula because it can scratch the surface of the pizza stone.
- Wipe the surface of the stone using a soft cloth.
- Make a baking soda paste and try spot treatment on the areas with crusty bits. It can help loosen the debris for easier removal.
- Scrub the surface gently using a soft brush. Do it in a circular motion.
- Wipe the surface of the stone using a damp cloth.
- If there are still some crunchy bits left, place the pizza stone in the oven and turn the heat up to 100℉. Let it cook for an hour to cook off the stubborn bits.
- Dry the pizza stone (for 1 or 2 hours) before using it again.
Again, it is important to keep your pizza stone safe. Do not use soap, chemicals and oils during the cleaning process.
Avoid these things to prevent crack and other damage to your pizza stone:
- Placing cool or cold food on the pizza stone. Your pizza stone is susceptible to thermal shock which can cause great damage.
- Allowing moisture into the pizza stone. The stone weakens when you wash it which can lead to cracks and other damages.
- Putting a cold pizza stone into the hot oven. Thermal shock happens when you place a cold pizza stone into the hot oven. It can cause fractures which can shatter your pizza stone to pieces.
- Using too much heat. As the heat builds up, the risk of shattering your pizza stone goes up.
The idea behind the pizza stone is simple – the stone conducts and holds heat which makes the temperature steady allowing the pizza to cook evenly. It is also important to consider the material, features, accessories, size, and durability of the pizza stone. Choose the right pizza stone by considering your kitchen needs and preferences, as well. And handle your pizza stone with care for longer use!