How To Use A Pizza Stone
If you want to make delicious homemade pizza, you should invest in a pizza stone.
This is a flat piece of unglazed clay that’s about an inch in thickness and round in shape, and cooks pizza in the oven.
Why do you need a pizza stone?
Even though you might be used to cooking pizza in your regular oven, you can benefit from using a pizza stone because many ovens don’t reach high enough temperatures to cook delicious pizza properly.
A pizza stone also reduces the cooking time required for pizza. Here’s what to know about pizza stones and how to use them.
How To Use A Pizza Stone
Some homemade pizzas that have thin crusts, such as Neapolitan pizza, can end up being unsatisfactory because your oven doesn’t get hot enough to cook them.
A pizza stone is a game changer because it absorbs and retains more heat, so your pizza crust will be perfect.
It’s really easy to use a pizza stone. Here are the steps to follow.
- Put your pizza stone on the lowest rack in your oven. Do this when your oven is cold. You should never put a cool pizza stone in a hot oven as this causes thermal shock that can crack your pizza stone.
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. When the oven gets preheated, the stone will also reach the correct heat.
- While it’s heating up, let your dough come to room temperature. Never put cold pizza dough on your hot pizza stone as it can also damage the stone.
- Roll out your pizza dough and put all your toppings on it.
- When it’s ready, you should slide the pizza onto the stone. You can do this with a pizza peel.
- Cook the pizza until you can see that the cheese toppings have become lightly browned.
- When the pizza is done (which should take between eight and 10 minutes on a pizza stone), remove the pizza and turn off the oven.
- Remove the pizza from the pizza stone and enjoy!
Wait – Do You Need A Pizza Peel?
To ensure that you make pizza with a pizza stone without burning yourself, such as when placing the pizza onto the stone or removing it, you defiintely need a pizza peel.
This is a tool that is a bit like a very large spatula. A good tip is to build your pizza directly onto the peel so that you can easily transfer it to your pizza stone. This also makes it easy to pull out of the oven when the pizza is done.
No more burned fingers!
How To Clean Your Pizza Stone
You have to be careful when cleaning and maintaining your pizza stone because it’s delicate and can be easily damaged.
You should never use soap to clean your pizza stone. This is because of its very porous nature. It will absorb the soap and this can cause your pizza to actually taste like soap! Gross!
When you’ve used your pizza stone, you want to clean it in the following way.
- Start by ensuring your pizza stone is completely cool and wet it with a bit of hot water. Never submerge the pizza stone into water! The stone is porous and if it absorbs a lot of water this could cause the moisture to become trapped inside the pizza stone, which can crack it the next time you cook with it.
- Use a pizza stone brush or nylon dish brush to gently scrub the surface of the pizza stone.
- If there are pieces of food stuck onto the pizza stone, use a silicone pan scraper to remove them or use a built-in scraper that comes with your pizza stone brush.
- Remove any grease with a damp cloth.
- Then, dry the stone properly with a dishcloth.
How To Clean Stains On A Pizza Stone
Note that your pizza stone will become stained after lots of use. This is normal and many stains won’t be able to get cleaned. You can try, though, by mixing water with baking soda to create a paste.
With a brush or damp cloth, scrub the stains in a circular motion. Make sure you wipe away the baking soda and then dry the stone properly with a dishcloth.
If you’re cleaning your pizza stone before you want to use it to make pizza, make sure that it’s been air-dried properly.
If your pizza stone has become very dirty, you should use medium-grit sandpaper to gently sand down any elevated parts of the stone. That said, pizza stains won’t alter the pizza flavor so you can ignore them.
Other Tips For Maintaining Your Pizza Stone
- Don’t rub olive oil into your pizza stone. You might think that this is a good way to maintain the stone, but it can actually damage it. That’s because any fat can cause the stone to smoke when you cook with it. Since a pizza stone is porous, it will absorb the oil instead of acquiring a non-stick surface from having oil drizzled on it. This is also why you shouldn’t season your pizza stone because it will just absorb ingredients, causing unpleasant odors when you next use it.
- Don’t expose your pizza stone to extreme temperature fluctuations. This should also apply when storing your pizza stone as it can cause thermal shock that can damage or crack the pizza stone. Keep it in a cool, dry area.
What Are Other Uses For A Pizza Stone?
Once you’ve mastered making delicious pizzas on your pizza stone, don’t be afraid to try cooking or baking other foods on it. Here are some interesting and practical uses for your pizza stone.
- Roast vegetables on it. In this way, a pizza stone can become a baking sheet alternative. However, you will have to stir the veggies regularly so that they roast properly.
- Make pita bread. This delicious bread can be cooked on a preheated pizza stone to make the dough puff up with larger pockets.
- Bake choc-chip cookies. The great thing about using a pizza stone to make cookies is that they’ll be crisp on the bottom but nice and gooey in the center. Just make sure you bake them on parchment paper, as this prevents them from sticking and will also make it easier to remove the cookies from the pizza stone when they’re ready to be taken out of the oven.
- Bake English muffins. These are usually griddle-baked, but if you don’t have a griddle handy you can use your pizza stone. Make sure you bake the muffins at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit so that they cook all the way through and have a golden-brown appearance.
- Cook frozen foods. It might surprise you to learn that you can use your pizza stone to cook frozen foods. A pizza stone works well in this regard because of how it absorbs ice crystals on the food which other types of baking equipment can’t do. When using a pizza stone to cook frozen food, make sure you don’t preheat the stone to avoid the extreme change in temperature.
- Sear a steak. You can also sucessfully sear a steak on your pizza stone. Make sure you properly heat up the stone, then put your steak on it. Note that searing steak could produce a bit of smoke, so turn on your vent or open a window.
Should you leave your pizza stone in the oven all the time?
This is what some pizza owners do, and it is beneficial in that it ensures the pizza stone won’t experience dramatic temperature changes.
Can you use both sides of a pizza stone?
While this is generally okay, you should note that not all pizza stones can be used on both sides.
If your pizza stone has a logo carved into it on one side, don’t use that side for cooking. Similarly, some pizza stones have a ceramic layer on one side, which is the side meant for cooking.
If you love making pizza at home, you should invest in a pizza stone. This is a user-friendly tool that will ensure quicker, more delicious pizzas come out of the oven.
However, you shouldn’t be limited to making pizza with the use of a pizza stone – as we’ve shown you, there are many other tasty meals you can make with this great piece of kitchen equipment.