Pizza stones are a must-have tool for every avid pizza lover. Whether baking professionally or at home, you can harness all of the tasty effects of a masonry oven by using a much smaller version: a pizza stone. A pizza stone’s porous qualities allow it to retain moisture, making it able to give pizza that perfect crisp crust paired with a fluffy, soft interior. Learning how to use a pizza stone properly will get you one step closer to that perfect pizza.
These stones are rather simple to utilize but can have some dramatic consequences if used incorrectly. Not only can your crust turn out mushy, but your pizza stone can actually crack from improper use as well. Learning proper instructions for baking and cleaning can ensure a harmonious and fruitful relationship with your pizza stone.
How to Use a Pizza Stone
- Sprinkle a little cornmeal, not oil or grease, on to your pizza stone to aid removal of your pizza once it is finished. Dough can get sticky and sometimes needs a little help to detach from the stone, especially when using a new stone.
- Preheat your oven with the stone inside. Putting a cold stone in an already hot oven can actually cause the stone to crack from the temperature change.
- Allow the stone to warm for at least 30 min so it can reach about 450 degrees F.
- Place your room temperature pizza (or whatever you are baking) on to the stone. Never place a frozen pizza on stone, this can also shatter it.
- Using a pizza peel, place your pizza onto the stone. The trick to using a pizza peel is to keep the pizza on the very far tip of the peel and to lay it down far side first, moving your peel back towards you as the pizza comes to rest on the stone.
- Keep an eye on your pizza as it cooks, it will cook a little more quickly with the help of the stone. Watch for bubbles in the dough and golden crisp edges to indicate it is done.
- Once cooked, carefully remove your pizza with the pizza peel. Do not touch the stone- it is very hot.
- Leave the stone in the oven while it cools, it will stay very hot for a few hours. Or, if you use it often, it is alright to leave it in your oven for use the next time.
How to Clean a Pizza Stone
- Never soak the stone, it is porous and will soak up too much water.
- Clean any leftover food particles off with a brush and a little water- do not use soap. Soap, like water, will get soaked up into the stone because of its porous qualities.
- Don’t worry about any grease stains that build up, this is expected and assists the non-stick qualities of the stone.
- Dry the stone thoroughly by hand before storage.
As many pizza lovers know all too well, the crust can make or break a great pizza. Pizza stones are a simple accessory that can take your pie from just okay to amazing. Knowing how to use and clean a pizza stone properly is worth the return!