One of the best ways of adopting pizza recipes is by using a pizza stone. Whether you are a regular pizza lover looking for that crust in your oven or a pizzaiolo in your pizzeria. It is among the best ways of crisping that tasty flavored pizza worth a munch. A pizza stone is both a great and faster way of cooking your pizza. It transforms your regular oven into a custom made, one could say, pizza oven.
Finding the best pizza stone to suit your needs is not hard. First, make sure that it fits well in your oven to avoid any challenges while cooking. Pizza stones also come in different thicknesses and you need to consider this carefully. Thicker stones, say ¾ to 1 inch, absorb heat better an offer optimum heat distribution for uniform cooking. They are more costly though. Stones may be rectangular to provide more baking surface area but square and round pizza stones are preferable. It should be made from natural material with absorbent properties such as natural stone. Avoid highly glazed models that do not absorb heat. Various multiple sets and single sets of pizza stones are out there in the market but below is a review of the best for each set.
A pizza stone is a type of bakeware or baking stone used to bake pizzas. It comes in various sizes and shapes mainly rounded shapes square or rectangular. It is an excellent kitchen utensil used to hold pizza as it bakes in the oven. This portable pizza baking surface mimics the art of cooking pizza in a masonry oven much or less. It has a top porous surface on which the pizza bakes absorbing the moisture in the pizza as it cooks resulting in a crispier crust. Something we all crave for in a pizza. Small stones to fit barbecue style grilles (enclosed) or conventional ovens can be purchased. High-end ovens, however, are accompanied by a pizza stone specially designed for the oven mainly by having a unique heating element for the pizza stone.
Various materials are used to make a pizza stone with one underlying aspect or property. The material should have a porous nature and not be sealed or glazed on the surface. What this helps is to make the pizza stone absorbent so as to absorb excess moisture from the pizza to give it texture and taste. The stone may be made from natural stone, cordierite, clay or ceramic. Some are made from metal, mainly steel, iron and their alloys, though they are less preferable. Clay stones are the most common in the market since they are diverse in the material. Stoneware clay, natural clay or ceramic clay varieties exist in the market. The stones are made by firing the clay under very intense heat after which they harden and can take very high temperatures afterward. These high temperatures and intense heat surfaces on the stones are aptly suited for cooking the best pizzas.
Pizza Stone categories
Pizza stones come in various types but are mainly distinguished into two distinct categories. The much more preferable single set stones and the less likely used multiple set stones. Single set stones are one single stone onto which the pizza will be placed during baking.The pizza will need turning on most occasions when baked with a single set stone. This is one advantage of the multiple set stones over the single sets. Multiple sets have at least two stones in one combo that will be simultaneously used during baking. The pizza will be placed on one of the pairs and the other stone is placed over the pizza. Turning of the pizza will no longer be required during the baking process.
One of the best pizza stones is the solid pizza stone rectangular. This stone is perfect for the oven as well as BBQ and grilles with its 14×16 inches size. The 1.1 inches thickness makes it distribute heat perfectly. The standout feature with this stone is the heat spiral at its bottom to evenly absorb heat and distribute it. This makes it an impeccable stone but its solid 13 pounds of tough stone maybe a challenge. Cleaning is quite easy, just scrape the residual off and wipe with a damp cloth. Stains left on the stone do not affect efficiency. Its rectangular shape is perfect for baking other stuff and switching of stones during baking may not be needed. It bakes the finest quality pizzas. The best of the best!
Baking Sheets: A Pizza Stone alternative
A pizza stone produces excellent results but it is not the only kitchen tool to get that crispy pizza. A baking sheet really works well as an alternative to your pizza stone and almost everyone owns one. The trick is to use an inverted rimmed baking sheet to make it easier to take the pizza into and out of the oven. Preheat it and the surface of the baking sheet will be heated enough to crisp the pizza just right. Just like the baking sheet, a cast iron pan can also bake a crispy crust pizza. Preheated the same way (upside down) it replicates the results of a pizza stone.
One of the standout ways to cook pizza for large crowds is using grilles. These provide an excellent option to make a crispy charred pizza in mere minutes especially charcoal grilles. They reach high temperatures that work amazingly on the pizza. Another alternative is pizza pans, especially aluminum heavy –duty pans. They are cheap and can be easily stored. They have a ridged design that allows for air to flow below the pizza which prevents the pizza from sticking on the pan.
The less common of the alternatives is baking steel. This tough steel is virtually indestructible and provides a larger surface area that can bake up to two pizzas at once. Suited for baking in hot ovens and can be stored easily. It is not susceptible to thermal shock.
How to use a pizza stone
The best way to use a pizza stone is by first placing it into a cold oven then allow it to preheat before baking begins. Preheat it for about 30 minutes allowing it to reach to about 600o F . Let your dough warm up well before transferring it to the stone in the oven. These two processes avoid thermal shock on the stone that may cause cracking. You can then place the dough on the stone using a pizza peel to slide it onto the stone from the tip. Allow the pizza to bake until the crust turns brown; the time for this varies according to your pizza. After the pizza is ready, remove it from the stone using the peel to slide it back. However, do not remove the pizza stone just yet. Turn off your oven and let the pizza stone cool down inside after which you can remove it from the oven. Clean your stone by brushing it with a wire. Do not use water or detergents on the stone unless specified by the manufacturer.
A fresh homemade pizza is something we all long for but it can be hard to come by especially if you don’t have a pizza oven. Crisping up the crust to taste just right without an oven maybe has been a nightmare. Well not anymore, one amazing tool that you could use to get the crust crispy enough to satisfy you just right is the pizza stone. It’s a simple tool that gives the crust just the right texture that is sure to be a hit. All you need now is your pizza stone and the right skills to guarantee you the very pizza you thought could only be bought.
A pizza stone is a disc shaped flat topped stone made usually from stone or ceramic. It may also be made from metal. From a literal perspective of view, it is a baking stone for cooking pizza by design. It has a porous surface that absorbs moisture from the dough on top of it to give the crust a crispy texture. Small stones to fit barbecue style grilles (enclosed) or convectional ovens can be purchased. High end ovens however are accompanied by a pizza stone specially designed for the oven mainly by having a unique heating element for the pizza stone.
Using a pizza stone is pretty simple really as it mimics the cooking skills of a pizza in a masonry oven. Baking pizza directly on the stone in your regular oven transforms it more or less into a pizza oven. Adapting the recipes for the pizza stone could never be simpler and below are some tips.
One very important practice not to forget is putting the cold stone into the oven when both are at the room temperature. This essentially means that oven is not preheated from previous use or just by warming it up first. This allows the stone to gradually warm up so that it does not undergo thermal shock that may cause cracking of the stone. Allow the pizza stone to preheat in the oven for about thirty minutes to around 500 degrees Fahrenheit. You may have prepared your pizza for cooking by now but you may also prepare it as you wait for the oven to heat up.
Another valuable pizza stone cooking art is to use hot water to prepare the dough or letting it warm up before placing it on the now hot stone in the oven. Abrupt changes in temperature on the surface may cause cracks. Perhaps the most tricky part of the whole process is placing the pizza on the hot stone as precisely as possible for it to cook evenly. This is where a peel comes in hand. A stitch in time to save nine! A peel is a wooden paddle that can be easily purchased. Be careful with your size of pizza though as it is much easier to slide smaller pizzas than larger ones. The peel transfers the pizza by sliding it to the stone as you may have already guessed.
As if not enough, there is yet another challenge to overcome in this process.Yes, your uncooked crust may stick on the peel or even on the pizza stone. Dusting the peel and stone with cornmeal before placing the pizza on it then becomes important to avoid this or using a pizza screen partly on the stone until the pizza is dry enough. With the dough now sliding easily on the peel, set the peel tip on the further end (back) of the stone in the oven and pull away the pizza peel while the pizza slides onto the pizza stone. Shut the door quickly and allow the pizza to cook. This takes about 10-15 minutes .Remove the stone hot pizza using a spatula or spoon to slide it onto the peel or a pizza pan but leave the pizza stone in the oven. Turn the oven off and leave the stone to cool inside gradually. This also avoids cracking.
Your pizza is now ready but you are not done with your pizza stone yet. It needs cleaning or should I say a brushing off. The stone is cleaned using a bristle wire brush; rubbing it on the stone to remove the remains left on the stone. The stone is not cleaned using water or any chemicals as it should not get wet due to its very porous nature that makes it absorb moisture. However some pizza stone may be cleaned using warm water and using baking soda for the stubborn stains. Never use any soap or detergent on it as it will also absorb the odor which will be dispatched when the pizza is cooking. This stone seems very delicate but it is worth it. Some stains or marks may not come off the stone but this quite normal the stone is still safe and clean enough to use. You may try to remove the food or cheese stuck on it by leaving it in the hot oven until the food burns enough to be brushed off. Make sure to store your pizza stone well.
For the much more preferable single sets, the old stone oven is a pace setter. Measuring just 14×16 inches it is the best deal in the market as of now. Its firebrick material provides sufficient heat retention just like traditional ovens. It works excellently with both fresh and frozen pizza. Its resistance to thermal shock is just amazing and cracking is not a problem. It is a bit heavy and may not fit in some ovens.
The Good Cook is a 14.75 inch stone rack that defies all odds among the multiple sets. It handles temperatures extremely well given its low price. The clay material provides stability and even heat on the surface for uniform cooking as desired. It’s a good deal!
Can you use a pizza stone without a brick pizza oven?
The pizza stone gives you pizza of brick oven quality without a brick oven. It is a great idea and cost-effective option for bakers and pizza lovers alike. It gives your pizza that unique flavor from the pizzeria.