As the owner of a new pizza stone, you are probably dreaming of all the delicious pizzas you can now make in the comfort of your home.
Of course, we all know that pizza stones are great to have because they allow you to whip up these pies in minutes, smothered in multiple layers of cheese and toppings of your choice.
However, there are things you should know about your trusty pizza stone which the average person wouldn’t know until they own this fantastic portable cooking surface.
In fact, understanding how your pizza stone works and how to use it will get you well into the homemade pizza game in a flash!
The good news is this article aims to do just that by boosting you into the world of pizza making.
What Is a Pizza Stone?
A pizza stone is a round platter made from stoneware or terra cotta. It can come in various sizes and is primarily used for baking pizza in conventional ovens or a brick oven.
It can also be used when making roast veggies, cookies, and various types of bread. Not many people have a brick oven in the backyard, so when we mention an oven in this article, we are referring to the regular one found in your kitchen.
In addition, although the pizza stone can come in varying thicknesses, even thicker stones can break easily if dropped or exposed to sudden temperature changes (thermal shock).
This means a pizza stone requires a certain amount of care to keep it in tip-top shape.
How Does a Pizza Stone Work?
When first learning how to use a pizza stone in the oven, plopping the fresh pizza dough on your pizza stone may leave you wondering how this ingenious baking stone can produce such delicious pizza every time. The answer is in its porous surface. The microscopic pores on the surface of the stone absorb the excess moisture from the dough.
At the same time, the heat from your conventional oven or pizza oven is distributed evenly across the pizza base. The result is a pie with a perfectly crispy pizza crust and gorgeously gooey topping.
In other words, the perfect homemade pizza with a restaurant-style crispy crust.
How to Use a Pizza Stone In The Oven
Using a pizza stone for the first time is not as challenging as you think. Follow the below steps to using this portable cooking surface in the kitchen’s conventional oven or pizza oven (if you have one in the backyard!)
Dust the pizza stone with a little cornmeal to create a non-stick surface.
Place the pizza stone on the top oven rack closest to the grill, where it has direct access to the oven’s high temperature.
Before using a pizza stone, preheat it starting with a cold oven to ensure the stone heats slowly and does not crack.
Bake the stone on high heat for 45-minutes to 1 hour at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next, place the prepared pizza on the flour-dusted pizza peel.
Quickly move the pizza from the pizza peel onto the preheated pizza stone.
Bake the pizza in a hot oven for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has melted.
Tips for Making Your Perfect Pizza
You need to take into account several things to achieve the best results when using a pizza stone in the oven to make homemade pizza.
Before using a pizza stone, the stone must be hot before you place dough on its surface. However, when preheating the pizza stone, you need to start with a cold oven to prevent thermal shock.
Use a quality dough or if you are making your own, ensure it is thick and elastic-like. This type of dough will hold the toppings nicely and prevent the sauce from leaking over the edge and burning onto the stone.
Don’t be tempted to over-top the pizza. While this is yummy, it can increase the baking time, and underdone pizza will stick to the stone and not taste as delicious.
In summary, for the best pizza, you need a preheated stone, great dough, and the right amount of topping!
Caring for Your Pizza Stone
While learning how to use a pizza stone is fun, pizza stone care is essential if you want to keep your stone providing crispy crusts for a long time. By following the below process, you can ensure its longevity with ease.
Cleaning the Pizza Stone
After using a pizza stone in the oven it should be cleaned thoroughly. However, traditional cleaning methods requiring warm water and detergent are not recommended.
The stone is porous and can absorb excess moisture and soap. This can cause issues when the stone is heated as it will release this moisture and product into your pizza resulting in a soggy, soap-tasting mess.
Allow the hot pizza stone to cool down to room temperature. Hot stones can cause severe burns to your hands and break easily if dropped.
Use a scraper or spatula to remove excess food bits and burnt residue from the cold pizza stone.
Wipe the stone using a damp, clean cloth and store in the oven to air dry
Don’t worry about stains on the pizza stone; this is perfectly normal. All pizza stones become darker in color with use. To remove stains, you could use a baking soda paste to eliminate stains without contaminating your next pizza.
How to Avoid Cracking the Pizza Stone
Common materials used to make pizza stones, such as clay or ceramic, are quite brittle and can break easily when exposed suddenly to extreme heat or cold. Therefore you should avoid placing a cold stone into a hot oven as this can cause it to crack.
In addition, placing a hot stone into cold water or onto a cold surface or table will also cause thermal shock and result in a cracked pizza stone. An excellent way to ensure your stone remains in one piece is to heat the stone with the oven and allow it to cool down with the oven.
Unnecessary pressure can also cause your stone to crack because it is made from a brittle material. Accidental bumps when the stone is hot or storing heaving items on top of it when it is cold can also cause the stone to break.
Storing the pizza stone on the bottom oven rack is one of the best places and easiest ways to protect your stone from accidental bumps and knocks.
Common Pizza Stone Questions
Can You Soak a Pizza Stone in Water?
The short answer is no. After using a pizza stone in the oven, soaking it in water will allow it to absorb excess moisture. This moisture can cause the stone to crack the next time it is heated in the oven.
First, remove the excess food particles with a grill brush. Then use a minimal amount of water to wipe the stone down between uses to avoid unnecessary damage.
Should you Air Dry A Pizza Stone?
Yes, air drying is the best way to dry a pizza stone. This ensures all the excess moisture has evaporated and won’t cause the stone to crack when next it is exposed to the oven’s heat.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to dry the stone in a hot oven, as this can cause the stone to crack.
Can I Put My Pizza Stone in The Dishwasher?
Pizza stones are not dishwasher safe as the extreme heat, excessive volumes of hot water, and detergent can all cause damage to the brittle stone.
The soap products and water can easily be absorbed by the pizza stone resulting in chemicals being released into your next delicious pizza or, worse, a cracked stone.
Instead, it’s best to wash the pizza stone by hand, using a clean cloth and a little hot water to avoid damaging the stone and future problems.
Should I Oil My Pizza Stone?
Any pizza stone manufacturer will advise not to oil the pizza stone. Unlike cast iron cookware, the pizza stone does not require seasoning with oil to provide a protective non-stick layer.
If the stone is hot enough, when you place dough on its surface, it will not stick. Furthermore, oil absorbed by the stone can cause bad smells and excessive smoking when the pizza stone is heated.