Pizza Stone Reviews
If you love pizzeria pizza, but prefer to bake at home, the pizza stone can produce restaurant quality pizza right in your own oven. It even makes frozen pizzas taste better. In earlier days pizza was made in kilns and brick ovens. Some of the best pizzerias still use brick ovens. The pizza stones resemble this method of cooking. They are built to withstand very high temperatures. This creates a crispy pizzeria style crust, directly from your home oven. After reviewing the pizza stones available on the market, we have narrowed the list down to the few best stones available.
Pizza Stone Buying Guide
Home-baked goodness is always the best. Today, there are lots of ready-to-eat frozen pizzas but commercial and fast foods just don’t cut it. That’s why a lot of people prefer to make their own food instead. If you have an oven, then you need a pizza stone to make the best-tasting pizza. Read the following guidelines on how to choose a pizza stone.
What is a Pizza Stone?
A pizza stone is a flat and durable kitchen ware usually made from stone and ceramic. It is interchangeably called baking stone because the uses of a pizza stone aren’t limited to making pizzas. It can also excellently make cookies, bread and biscuits. Pizza stones absorb excess moisture from the food, making it crispier. They distribute heat evenly and retain the heat well, resulting to a faster cooking time.
A lot of people have found the same results from using quarried tiles, unglazed ceramic tiles and clay fire tiles that cost from US$3 to US$5 each in home depots and hardware stores. The concern of many lies within the unsanitary handling of the tiles because they aren’t meant for baking, these kinds of tiles are placed, stored and handled together with carpentry and masonry materials. Ceramic, clay and quarried tiles are also very porous like pizza stones, so whatever they have absorbed during the handling process, they gradually release during the oven baking process. The taste of the tile would affect the taste of the food, unless it has been repetitively used for baking and it already tastes like food itself.
Extra care should be practiced when preparing food with a pizza stone. Pizza stones are fragile. When using them, it is advisable to preheat them for at least 10 minutes depending on the size to avoid temperature shock, which will cause them to break. Preheat only from 180-220˚C, any hotter can burn the base of the crust while the toppings are not yet fully cooked. Always place them on the lowest oven shelf and start preheating the pizza stone in a cold oven. It is important not to shock it with any sudden temperature change. When taking out the pizza using a pizza peel, the crust would stick slightly to the stone. Simply wedge the pizza peel carefully between the stone and the crust. To avoid the crust from getting stuck hard, preheat the stone well according to the instructions included and sprinkle a dash of flour on the stone after preheating. Be careful not to touch anything inside. After using the pizza stone, do not throw it under running water. Let it cool down inside the oven after turning it off and let the heat dissipate by itself. When finally cool, wash the pizza stone with water and brush only. They are very porous and will absorb detergent and dish washing liquid.
Guidelines on Buying a Pizza Stone
What Matters — Size, Shape and Thickness
The type of pizza stone would greatly depend on the capacity of your oven. Measure the inside of the oven space while it’s cool. Some pizza stones can be heavy, so be careful when handling them and never handle a hot one. Common oven mittens aren’t thick enough to block away the heat. Thicker pizza stones are better. While ideally pizza crust should be around 1 centimeter thick, pizza stones should be at least half an inch thick. This will allow them to retain enough heat. Thick pizza stones also provide shorter baking time. A 1.25 inch thick 16″x20″ pizza stone have enough heat to bake 4 pies even when the oven is turned off already. Thinner (around ¼ inch) and smaller baking stones are available for making cookies and breads.
Pizza stones are made either circular or rectangular. Circular pizza stones allow the user to rotate it in the oven before and after baking. Rectangular pizza stones are more common to find and suit most oven designs and grills. That said, most ovens for home use can only accommodate pizza stones about 16″ long or 16″ in diameter. Some baking stones come with a metal handle.
Most pizza stones are just light gray, white or hay in color. Dark gray pizza stones are claimed to conduct heat better. If your cream colored pizza stone has gotten black spots and stains, it’s time to run them in your ovens clean cycle. Remember not to store the pizza stone away when it’s wet or slightly damp. It would cause unwanted molds and unpleasant smell on your stone.
Pizza stones can cost from US$15 to US$100.
In addition to pizza stones, pizza or baking steel is placed above the stone to conduct heat even more resulting in crispier and crunchier bottoms. If you opt to buy a baking steel, do not improvise. Baking steels do not contain chemicals and metals that produce harmful fumes when heated. Galvanized metal, for example, produce zinc fumes when heated.
Customer and Aftersales Service
When buying a pizza stone online, remember that a heavier stone can fetch a high shipping cost, unless it’s free shipping. Also make sure that the seller online can be trusted. Poorly shipped pizza stones can arrive broken. There won’t be a lot of concern after purchasing a pizza stone and stores won’t accept a return just because it didn’t make your pizza as crisp as you want it to be or it broke easily. Nevertheless, it should contain instructions on proper care and handling and in some brands, even short recipes using the pizza stone. It should also present a note of caution and must certify that it is free of lead. Most stones are certified by the NSF international. The more expensive the pizza stone, the bigger and thicker it should be, although most won’t exceed 2″. Some pricey pizza stones are handmade. They are simply made from terra cotta, ceramic or stone (mostly soapstone) that is specially handled to be suitable for baking.
Ratings and Reviews
Nobody would go wrong from reading reviews and ratings online. Most people voluntarily write their review and rating of their purchase. Do not hesitate to visit Amazon or Ebay to check the brand’s rating.