I see many folks are getting a "pizza stone". I have some 18" ceramic floor tiles and wondered if they'd work in the oven. I keep one on the counter by the stove to act as a trivet and to roll dough on. It works well for that and can be washed at the sink. Does a stone work measurably better that my old aluminum pizza pans do?
I was told by the guy at Lowe's in the tile dept, that you can use unglazed quarry tile for pizza stone. He said that was the only tile he knew of that could be used for that. I haven't tried it because the largest they have is an 8" tile. But I may buy 4 tiles and just lay them together in the oven to make a larger surface. Much less expensive than an actual pizza stone.
I have never used a pizza stone. But what I hear, is that they make the crust crispier and better somehow.
Thanks guys. I'm just about discouraged to try it. The article says it needs to heat for 45 minutes and that sounds like a lot of waste to me. Also I make my crusts fresh and would have problems transferring the things to the stone without a disaster. Currently, I roll out the dough on my pans. I always spill a little sauce or cheese and have to run a spatula under the whole thing as soon as it comes out of the oven so there wont be any sticking spots. I know cleaning burnt cheese off a stone would not be fun. Some of the cornmeal would surely spill to the bottom of the oven. I'm a sloppy cook.
I lived in Italy for 3 years in the early 70s and was fascinated with the pizzarias. The fire never goes out in their ovens. That water buffalo mozzarella was wonderful. Some of the best pizza I ever had was from the old ladies that would come out just before dark and sell on the street for what amounted to pennies a slice. It was just crust and sauce but somehow managed to be very good. If I'd stayed in Italy, no doubt I'd weigh at least 400 pounds. I get satisfactory results without all the special accessories and will probably just stick with it.
I have a pasta machine coming next week from Ebay. It has 3 heads with it and one is for ravioli. I have the tomato, pepper and basil plants started so will be lucky not to kill myself by overdose.
I have to tell you, I had one and could not understand what all the fuss was about. The most useful purpose I found for it was, it was great to heat the "stone" the same time as any bread or rolls you're cooking and putting the stone in the bottom of the basket afterwards to keep the bread warm. I think I sold it at a garage sale for a $1.
I have several pizza pans and a pizza stone. It is a real pizza stone as opposed to a ceramic tile. It took a few tries with the stone to get it right, but now that I have, I can't imagine cooking my homemade pizzas on anything else. The crust is perfect everytime, the bottom of the crust is a little crunchy and the middle and top are always tender. The stone cleans as easy as a non-stick sauce pan. Been using it for the last dozen years or so. I roll the dough out on a cold stone, add the sauce, cheese and toppings and then put it all in a cold oven. Set temp for 425 and fire it up. Usually done in about 30 minutes.
dann--you don't preheat? ok-i know the best pizza is handmade but i have taken a shortcut that works for us--i buy a frozen pizza (cheese) and then add italian seasoning, garlic, crushed red pepper, sliced tomato (or dried), chopped onion, feta cheese-maybe sliced black olives if i have them and bake till done--i am using the frozen pizza for the crust mainly--haven't tried the stone
I bought one years ago and dont think I ever used it - but then I cant remember ever making pizza either! I also bought an aluminum pizza pan with the bottom all covered with little holes - serves a similar function I guess but then I wouldn't really know since, as stated above, I've never actually made a pizza! It does however make a handy base for one of my larger Xmas Angels with greenery and balls around!
I've decided to skip the stone. I'd have to buy two of them and they'd be more kitchen clutter when not in use.
The crust has always been the easiest part to me and I try to get a volunteer to add the toppings. I just recently got a bread machine and that makes it even easier. I want to try freezing some half baked ones for quick fixes.
I love my pizza stone, it makes wonderful biscuits and excellent baked pork chops. I wouldn't use a ceramic floor tile because you don't know if the ingredients used to make are okay for human consumption. It could have toxic elements in it.
Floor tile is glazed and that has many different things in it, and maybe there could be harmful "off gassing" since floor tile are not meant to come in contact with food, unlike ceramic baking dishes, etc. IMHO
A girlfriend of mine had me over for pizza one day and used a pizza stone (I had never seen one before at the time). It was the best pizza I have ever had...hands down. The crust was perfect!
So I went out and bought one, I think I only paid $13 at Bed, Bath and Beyond.
When I moved, it got broken. My sister gave me another one for Christmas 2 years ago. Well, last summer, I had a friend over and made homemade pizza...she ate 5 pieces! Said she was going right out to buy one. Unfortunately, and poor thing, she was just trying to help...put it in the sink and started washing it...lol. I said no, no, no! Too late. Ruined. You NEVER wash a pizza stone...just brush or gently scrape off any little sticklers... I thought I could save it, let it dry out really well, but to no avail. When I put it in the oven now...it smokes up to high heaven and smells awful!
I haven't bought a new one yet b/c I've been too busy with gardening! But it's on my list...
I say go for it!
Oh...and I've never used cornmeal.
We've even used our stone on the (covered) barbecue for pizza parties! I make my own dough and we get all the toppings ready to go - then everyone makes their own. It's lots of fun and everyone ends up tasting someone else's concoction. Looking for a new stone, though, because it's too hard to keep moving it around - it's very thick and I can't find one like it. I usually kept it in the oven all the time on the bottom rack.
My pizza stone and stone baking dishes are from Pampered Chef as well. They've been great. I form my breads into hearth loaves, place them in the stone "quiche" pan, then invert the stone bowl over it. Great crust!
Pinger, you could wash the stone with hot water alone if needed. It's the dish soap that causes the problems as it soaks into the stone. That's probably what is causing the smoking and the smell. I've learned to keep my well intentioned guests away from stone and cast iron cook/bakeware until I'm convinced they really know how to use or care for them.
I have 4 sizes... I have the round ones, large and small and also 2 square ones..A 12 inch sq. and a huge 20 inch sq.. Almost as large as the inside of my oven.. Wouldn't bake cookies on anything else. Each was less than $8.00 each from ABC Distributing CO. I hardly ever make pizza, but use it for all breads, and baking of any kind and it is the best to crisp any thing left over fried.. makes it good as new.. I also never pre-heat..
Alright. No pre-heating, no washing except with plain water, no cornmeal necessary, and multipurpose. Sounding better all the time.
I'm trying to weed out unnecessary kitchen clutter but I fully understand that the right tools for a job is the way to go. What about absorbing oil? Does it smoke and burn and taint the flavor of whatever you bake next?
That's the great thing about the pizza stone...you want it to absorb the oils. When you furst get your stone, you have to season it, just like cast iron. The oils help to season it. In fact, to speed up the seasoning process, bake some frozen chicken nuggets or the likes...nice and greasy!
You are so going to love your stone!
And yes...it was the soap that's causing all of my frustration. Anyone think I can get it out...maybe putting it in the oven for an hour or so, with clothespin on nose? lol
I have a feeling I will end up buying yet a third pizza stone...engraved...DO NOT TOUCH! lol
Even if you were able to burn off the soap residue that produces the smoke, I'd be concerned about that which is left behind getting into the food.
I suppose you could try multiple long term soakings in several changes of clean water, but I'd still be uncomfortable putting food on it. Craft project perhaps?
Just saw this thread and haven't been able to read all posts yet but I know someone who uses the Pampered Chef pizza stone and she swears by it, normally not one to buy expensive extra items like that she says it's still worth the money and the only way she'll cook pizza at home.
I got a second LARGE round baking stone through our local FreeCycle. http://www.freecycle.org/
That's a not for money recycle system where folks post stuff they want to GIVE AWAY and/or post for stuff they WANT! I also got a free La Cloche clay baker.
The purpose of the stone is to hold alot of heat so when the pizza enters the oven it can give it up to the pizza. I have been using a 12 x 16 x 1 1/2 piece of granite for almost 20 years. It stays on the bottom rack. It works great for pizza and artisan style breads I bake occasionally. You can leave the dough in the pan or let it rise on parchment, then use a pizza piel (paddle) to slide paper and all on to the stone. I would not be without a stone in the oven. A large one also helps the oven coast if you want to consider the oven a heat source in the winter. I don't do much baking once it gets hot out.
You might want to try ebay. I just bought six pizza stones for a song...of course, I use them as stepping stones in the garden, LOL!
But seriously, if you don't mind that it might be used, ebay could save you some money.
I make my pizzas on parchment paper. The dough sticks to it and doesn't spring back. Then I slide the whole thing, paper and all onto the pizza stone. The paper catches any cheese drips, so I never have to wash it.
Pizza stones discolor over time. They develop a patina. This is normal. I've seen one thats completely black, like a well seasoned cast iron skillet.
I keep my stone in the oven all the time, even when I'm not baking pizzas.
Just seeing this thread but I discussed this topic on the recipe forum a while back. I use unglazed quarry tiles in one house and slate squares in another. You should not use glazed tile; it can blow up in your oven. I place the tiles at the top of the oven and turn the heat to 500 degrees. I use an oven thermometer to make sure I'm at temp because most ovens signal at temp a bit before the oven is actually there.
I make my dough by hand turning and pulling, not with a pin. When it gets to the desired size I place it on a rimless sheet that has been well dusted in cornmeal. I top the pizza on the rimless pan and carry it over to the oven. It slides easily off the cornmeal sheet and onto the tile. The use of unglazed tile allows for as large a pizza as will fit in the oven. I cut extra tiles to bring them out to the edges and make an even larger surface than the tile would otherwise cover. This method works so well that we often forgo our wood fired pizza oven which is a lot more work.
I bake bread on the tiles too, first soaking them in water for several hours and preheating with the oven. The steam makes for perfect crusty loaves.
As a pizza stone lover for many years, there is an easy way to clean the stone... If you have a self cleaning oven, leave the stone in the oven when you clean the oven. The stone will look like brand new and the oven will be clean. No worry about getting the stone wet or soap on the stone. the one that I have will celebrate it's 15th birthday soon!!!