There is no argument about the best way to make pizza: you need to use a wood-fired oven capable of heating food at temperatures up to 800F.
The intense heat these wood-fired ovens generate delivers the crisp and blistered crust that characterizes the best slices of pie, and it gets the job done in just two minutes.
It is not only the remarkable temperature these ovens can kick out, but also the baking surface in the form of the floor of the oven. The heat of the oven ensures the floor is also piping hot, and this bakes the best possible crust. As this heat radiates up from the bottom, the cheese and any other topping are cooked both from this heat and the hot air above.
While this might be the optimum method of making pizza, chances are you don’t have a wood-fired oven in your home kitchen.
Instead, explore our collection of the best pizza stones and get a close facsimile of the conditions that bring about pie like you get at your favorite pizzeria.
I. What is a Pizza Stone?
Pizza stones are flat circular, square, or rectangular slabs of ceramic, steel, cordierite, or stone that sit inside your oven on the rack.
These stones are highly absorbent, so they will wick in the surplus moisture and fat content, saving you from a grease-fest when it’s time to serve pizza. The unbaked pizza dough sits on the stone, and the hot stone will transmit heat to the bottom of the crust, replicating the conditions of a wood-fired oven.
You can find pizza stones in different thicknesses as well as different materials. Typically, thicker stones will last longer, but they also cost more and they take longer to warm up.
How do you set about baking pie with a pizza stone, then?
Well, there are two main methods of cooking with a pizza stone:
II. Using a Pizza Stone in the Oven
If you fancy cooking some pizza in the oven using your stone, get things started by allowing the dough to rise and assembling your toppings.
Alternatively, get a pre-made pizza ready to slide into the oven.
Next, pop your pizza stone into a cold oven. Heat it up to 450F. If you ignore this step and place your pizza stone into an oven that’s already preheated, it will end up cracking.
If you want to experiment, you could try ratcheting the temperature up to 500F. Again, make sure you heat the stone up to this temperature from cold.
The preheating of the stone should take around 15 minutes.
Get your dough from the cutting board onto the pizza stone. A pizza peel helps when you’re at this stage of proceedings.
Place a sheet pan underneath the pizza stone to catch any dripping and limit the amount of run-off that ends up splattered around inside your oven.
If you’re using a pre-made pizza, slip it onto the stone at this stage.
Expect to cook your pizza from anywhere from 7 to 12 minutes. This will depend on the thickness and size of the pizza, as well as the toppings.
III. Using a Pizza Stone on the Grill
While most pizza stones are not primarily designed for use over an open flame, it is possible to break out the grill to make pie.
You need to adopt the same approach to preheating as when you’re using the oven. Get the pizza stone slowly up to temperature rather than introducing it to a raging heat.
Place the pizza stone onto the cold grates of your grill.
Turn the grill to a medium heat and then close the cover. Allow the stone to preheat for at least 15 minutes. While you may see suggestions of an hour of preheating for the stone, this is typically not necessary.
Place your pizza onto the preheated stone. Allow it to cook covered for 10 to 15 minutes.
The edges of the pizza should be starting to brown, and this is liable to take closer to 15 minutes than 10.
One of the benefits of cooking pizza on a grill is that neither the toppings nor the sauce seem to slide off.
IV. How Long Does it Take to Cook Pizza on a Pizza Stone in the Oven?
Now, while it might be possible to cook a pizza on a pizza stone on your grill, you’ll get best results when you slide it in the oven.
At the highest temperature settings, you should bake a classic Neapolitan in 5 or 6 minutes.
Look for the cheese starting to melt and the crust starting to brown to indicate when your pizza is ready for removal from the stone. The crust should ideally have a very slight char without being burned.
V. Cleaning Your Pizza Stone The Easy Way
You’ll find varying care instructions depending on the pizza stone you buy, but you should obey the following guidelines:
- Keep your pizza stone dry
- Keep your pizza stone in the oven
Pizza stones are negatively impacted by thermal shock. This occurs due to rapid variation in temperature that stresses a material. With a pizza stone, thermal shock can cause the stone to crack.
You should avoid cooking frozen pizza on a pizza stone, and you should also avoid adding a cold pizza stone to a hot oven. Instead, preheat it in a cold oven so you sidestep thermal shock.
Storing your pizza stone inside the oven is a smart move. By leaving it inside, you’ll minimize the hot spots and equalize the heat of the oven, leading to more consistent cooking results. The drawback of storing your stone in the oven is that preheating will take longer as a result.
By keeping your pizza stone in the oven, you can always be secure of preventing thermal shock, and you won’t be tempted to wash it either. Staining is natural with pizzas stones due to the absorbent nature and the colorful ingredients they suck in. Resist the temptation of washing your stone, though. As outlined above, all you need to do to keep it in tip-top condition is scrape away any residue and then store it in the oven as above, or if not then in a cool and dry place.
We hope today’s guide to how to use a pizza stone the easy way has cleared up what you can achieve with these devices and how to get the best out of them.
The best part about these pizza stones aside from the incredible results they deliver is how remarkably user-friendly they are. You won’t need to painstakingly scrub and clean them and they will get better with age like a fine wine.
We have a very busy content calendar for the rest of summer here at Madiba. We would recommend bookmarking our blog and popping back very soon. We’ll be doubling down on some more great gear for your kitchen over the coming weeks, so don’t miss out!