Whether you’re a fan of frozen pizza or prefer to make your dough from scratch, owning a pizza stone can revolutionize your at-home pizza experience. If you’ve never used one before or want to learn more about how it can transform your pie into a crispy, delicious masterpiece, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about using a pizza stone and share some exciting tips and tricks along the way.
What Makes a Pizza Stone Special?
A pizza stone is a ceramic disc or slab primarily designed for baking pizzas in conventional ovens. While brick ovens and special pizza ovens can reach extremely high temperatures, regular ovens fall short in comparison. This is where a pizza stone comes in handy. By placing the stone in your oven, you can achieve the desired high heat, resulting in a perfectly crisp crust that we all crave.
Choosing the Right Pizza Stone
When it comes to pizza stones, you’ll find a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials available in kitchen shops and big box stores. Most of these stones are unglazed ceramic slabs, although some options come with a glazed finish, which makes cleaning a breeze. Additionally, the thickness of the stone can affect the temperature it can reach. Thinner stones heat up quickly but may not reach super-high temperatures, while thicker ones require more time to preheat but can get hotter.
Mastering the Use of Your Pizza Stone
Using a pizza stone is incredibly straightforward. The most crucial rule, according to Catherine Ward from the Test Kitchen, is to preheat the stone along with the oven. This means placing a cold stone in a cold oven, as subjecting a cold ceramic stone to a hot oven can cause it to crack. Once the oven and stone are preheated, you can place your pizza directly on top of the stone. For frozen pizzas, simply set the pie on the stone as it is. If you’re making pizza from scratch, you can use a pizza peel or parchment paper to transfer the dough onto the stone.
Don’t forget to use the same pizza peel or a baking sheet to remove your pizza from the stone once it’s done baking. Catherine recommends allowing the pizza stone to cool completely before taking it out of the oven.
Beyond Pizza: Exploring the Versatility of Your Pizza Stone
While the name suggests it’s solely for pizzas, a pizza stone can be used for much more. Josh Rink from the Test Kitchen highlights that the same heat that gives you a perfectly crisp pizza crust can benefit other baked goods like homemade sourdough bread or rustic loaves. Additionally, you can take advantage of your pizza stone by baking frozen foods such as mozzarella sticks and chicken nuggets. The stone enhances the crunchiness of the coating, taking your frozen treats to the next level.
In summary, whether you’re after crispy crusts, crunchy coatings, or perfect bakes, a pizza stone is your secret weapon.
Cleaning Your Pizza Stone
As you bake on your pizza stone, it’s inevitable that it will accumulate some residue. However, cleaning it requires special care. Avoid using soap as pizza stones are porous and will absorb the taste of the soap. Instead, use a plastic or metal scraper to remove any residue, and wipe away excess grease with a damp cloth. Make sure the stone is completely dry before using it again.
Over time, your pizza stone will develop a seasoned look, turning dark or even black. This is perfectly normal, and, just like cast-iron pans, the more seasoned the stone gets, the better it performs.
To make the most of your pizza stone and elevate your pizza-making skills, get one for yourself and explore the possibilities it offers. Happy baking!