Pizza Stones and How to Buy One
Wonder what makes the taste of homemade pizza unique from anything bought outside? A lot of it is due to the crust.As metal baking pans typically used in homes have no ability to absorb moisture (being non-porous), the crust often turns out too soft or even soggy.
A baking stone, also known as a pizza stone, is made specifically to end this problem. Since a pizza stone can take in moisture from the dough, you have a crispier and more evenly cooked crust – and without the hot spots you usually get when you cook in a kitchen oven. If you have tons of dough-based recipes, you can use them with pizza stones as well.
A pizza stone is any flat piece of natural stone that may be round, square or rectangular, and has a thickness of about .5 to 1 inch. And the way it works is very simple. The stone is placed in the middle or bottom of the oven, where it should be preheated for half an hour to an hour (the thicker the stone, the longer the preheating). The stone will absorb much of the heat and retain it for a long time. What you’ll love most about it is that the heat will move from the stone to the dough directly in uniform fashion, giving you perfectly evenly cooked calzones and pizzas and all. Not to mention a nice, brown and crispy crust. Different baking stones can be heated up to different maximum temperatures, but in most cases, this would be around 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
Choosing a baking stone for your needs is not at all difficult. First and foremost, you should be sure that you get a size that fits your oven. This can be as simple as taking measurements of your oven capacity’s depth and width. If you will be using a gas oven, there should be a one-inch allowance on every corner of the stone to ensure good air circulation (works the same way as with cookie sheets). Additionally, if you want your bread or pizza particularly crispy, get a thicker stone, around 3/4 to an inch thick. The food absorbs the heat better and gets a more consistent distribution, which simply means a pretty even finish all throughout. Try shopping around and you’ll find that the largest pizza stone out there for kitchen overs has about a 16-inch width and 14-inch depth.
Lastly, we mentioned earlier that pizza stones can be square, round or rectangular, but this beyond a shape issue. Rectangular stones offer a bigger surface area, making them best for bread and other similar foods. If you’re only thinking about pizza, any shape will do.