Pizza as a meal is an answer to frequent situations often happening in most households. If the kids have taken up a lot of your time and cooking was not one of the things you could get done, pizza comes to the rescue. When you are running late for work, a slice of leftover pizza saves the day and fills in for your breakfast. Also, pizza is your go-to option when it is your cheat day, and you need something that tends to your cheese cravings while satisfying your mighty hunger.
Nevertheless, no matter how delectable and inviting pizza is, it is impossible to always order it from the store. So, if you are thinking about baking pizza at home, then this article is just for you. While baking pizza at home might seem like a daunting task, hundreds of tutorials on the internet have made baking easier. Another most important aspect that is critical in baking pizza at home is a pizza stone.
Why Need a Pizza Stone?
The crust is the most crucial part of the pizza, or you can it is the star of the dish. It can make or break the eating experience of the dish. Homemade pizza is the healthiest option, as you can tweak the ingredients according to your preference. However, getting that exact crunch on the crust with the right amount of moisture is the key.
This is where you need a pizza stone. It gives the homemade pizza that unique taste and perfect crunch that your favorite food chain offers. Baking pizza on a metal pan at home does not absorb the moisture from the dough; thus, leaving the crust sloppy and soft. A pizza stone is porous. It absorbs the moisture and leaves the dough crunchy and crispy.
About Pizza Stone
Also referred to as a baking stone used for baking other heavenly items such as calzones, bread, etc., the pizza stone is a flat piece of natural stone made of either clay, tile, or marble. It is about half an inch in thickness and comes in different shapes and sizes. You can find round, square, or rectangular ones in the store and online.
The working philosophy behind a pizza stone is that it starts to absorb moisture when heated up. The central role of the stone is to retain the heat for a longer time than a metal pan so that the heat is evenly circulated throughout the dough. This key role of the pizza stone is what turns the dough into an ideal crispy crust we all love.
A Guide to Buying a Pizza Stone
Glazed or Unglazed Pizza Stones
If you are on a hunt for a pizza stone, you must have come across two options – glazed and unglazed. Perplexed much? Do not be! There is nothing very critical about the differences between glazed and unglazed pizza stones. Conventionally, pizza stones are made of tile, firebrick, clay, or marble. A label reading “unglazed” implies that the stones need to be glazed with non-stick oil. These are hard to clean and maintain as they get a lot of dough residue stuck onto them if not baked properly.
A pizza stone marketed as “glazed” implies that it is micro-glazed with non-stick oil or chemical. This type of pizza stone is easier to clean. Though buying either of the two is purely a case of personal preference, a glazed pizza stone is more expensive than an unglazed one.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Pizza Stone
It is significant to consider the type of material that the pizza stone is made of. After all, it is the crucial element that brings perfection to your baking. An ideal pizza stone that works wonders for your baked goods should be porous. This type of material is highly heat-absorbent and will draw most of the moisture from the dough. A characteristic of a true artisan pizza is a crispy crust – and that is exactly buying the right material of pizza stone will deliver to you.
Pizza stones made of cast iron are claimed to be the best. The ones made of clay are also rated as best by the people. These materials heat up evenly and spread the heat uniformly across the dough. So, if you were undecided about the pizza stone’s material, there is one less thing to worry about!
- The Shape of the Pizza Stone
Of the various shapes in which these stones come, it is highly advised that you decide according to your oven size. You must get the shape that fits perfectly in your oven without making it impossible to handle the hot pan while you take it out.
Also, circular pizza stones are standard and are considered to be the authentic ones. However, you can always bake a circle pizza on a rectangular pizza stone, so it comes down to your personal choice and oven size.
Another most critical factor for buying the perfect pizza stone is the size. These stones come in various sizes ranging from 10 to 16 inches in diameter or length. It is best to get the pizza stones that cover most of your oven. It is better if the stone touches the walls – this way, it heats up quickly and spreads it evenly. However, it is important to consider your safety and get the one that is big enough to cover up most of the oven flame but not big enough to become impossible to take out of the oven.
Lastly, always look for the pizza stones that come with handles. These are easier to grip and manage while dealing with the hot pizza. For top-rated pizza stones of this year, check out The Best Pizza Stones.
Making the Most Out of your Pizza Stone
Consider the following tips for making the most out of your pizza stone. Investing money is not easy and learning how to make every penny spent worthy is not a bad thing. Here are a few steps that will help your pizza stone last longer and serve you more:
- Preheating is the Key
Do you love the crunch and crispness of the crust? You are not alone. The pizza crust is meant to be baked perfectly. For obtaining that beloved crispness of the crust, make sure that you preheat your stone. Experts deem preheating up to 30 minutes – no rushing through this step, or you can bid farewell to a crispy crust.
Toss your pizza stone in the oven before placing the prepared dough on it and leave it in there. Even if the oven reaches the set temperature within a few minutes, it is crucial to leave the pizza stone for preheating for up to 30 minutes.
Note: If you have a thick pizza stone (more than an inch), it is best to preheat for an hour.
- Do Not Preheat the Oven for the Stone
Always put the pizza stone for preheating in a cold oven. If you preheat your oven before placing the pizza stone, the stone will break due to a stark difference in the temperature. Turn on the heat in the oven after you have placed in the pizza stone.
- Oiling the Stone
If you have got yourself an unglazed pizza stone,you must learn how to season it. Seasoning your pizza stone is an efficient practice that increases the life of the product. It also prevents the dough from sticking on to it and burning. Olive oil is the best for glazing or seasoning any type of pizza stone. Make circular motions while you rub oil on the surface until all the oil has soaked into the stone. Do not leave any oil on the surface as it will end up smoking up the upper layer of the stone when heated.
Cleaning a Pizza Stone
- As the pizza stone is porous, it is advised never to attempt cleaning it with soap. The soap will seep in the cracks and stay there till you heat it for your next baked goodness.
- Be patient in cleaning your pizza stone. Let it cool completely before jumping on to cleaning it vigorously. The difference in the temperature of the hot stone and cold water will affect the structure of the stone, rendering it weak and vulnerable to cracks and breakage.
- To clean an unglazed pizza stone, make sure to brush off any remains of the baked dough before wiping the surface. Remember to scrub before wiping, followed by oiling to make your unglazed pizza stone last longer and perform efficiently.
In a Nutshell
A pizza stone is an important requirement for baking goods that match the ones you get from your favorite restaurants. However, be wary of the tricksters selling normal baking trays or pans as pizza stones. They are expensive and charge you a lot for a fake pizza stone. Bookmark this guide for getting the best deal for your money and invest in tasty savory homemade pizzas.