If you really love pizza, with its crispy crusts and sizzling cheese, a pizza stone may be for you. You can use your pizza stone in the oven or even on a smokey style barbeque for that flame grilled taste. Pizza stones are not exclusively used to cook pizzas, however. You can use a pizza stone to bake thin crust tarts or even cookies, giving them a fresh, golden appearance. Even toasties and shoestring french fries have been cooked on a pizza stone.
Shopping for a pizza stone can sometimes be tricky if you don’t know what you are looking for. Pizza stones can vary greatly in material, size and price. Here are a few tips to help you get the best pizza stone and stay within your budget.
A clay or ceramic pizza stone creates a wonderful, crispy pizza. This stone absorbs moisture, which gives your pizza that even, crispy crust which tastes baked. A clay pizza stone eliminates the hot spots which can be found in the oven, baking your pizza crust evenly.
Look for the thickest stone you can find. This is because the dough will cool down the temperature of your stone, and a thick stone will hold the heat better in order to give you a crispy crust.
Look for a pizza stone which is easy to clean. However, don’t soak your pizza stone. Some pizza stones have an enamel coating, and others can be seasoned using hot oil to protect the surface. Seasoning your pizza stone protects the surface, giving you a crispier pizza.
Pizza stones need to be heated through in order to give optimal results, they can crack with rapid temperature changes. Place your stone in the oven before it heats up, and allow the oven to cool down before removing your stone.
Steel pizza stones heat up quickly and your pizza will bake evenly. Steel pizza stones are very strong. They can be pricey, but they are worth the investment.
When looking for a pizza stone, look at shape. Some pizza stones are circular, while others are rectangle. Match your stone to the style of pizza it is easiest and most practical for you to make. Rectangular pizza stones fit well into the oven, and their larger surface makes it easier for them to retain the heat you need to bake your pizza. Round stones are the right shape for many store bought pizzas. If you are cooking for a large family, you can choose to use two stones, maximizing the use of your oven space and energy for heating. Before you go shopping for a pizza stone, measure the dimensions of your oven, so that you can ensure that your stone will fit, and that it will make best use of the space. If you have a gas oven, ensure enough space between the stone and the sides of the oven, in order to ensure that heat will circulate well.
Pizza stones come in a variety of sizes. Your reasons for buying your stone would determine the size for you. If you intend to host large parties, where pizza is a delicious treat, consider buying a large stone. If you are a newly wed, a small pizza stone will be suitable.
Remember to buy the best quality you can afford. There are many imitation pizza stones on the market. However, a genuine stone, if well taken care of, will last. Over time, it will acquire patina and character, and continue to produce the delicious treats your family can prepare together.