Do you love homemade pizza but hate when the crust turns out soggy? If so, a pizza stone may be the right thing for you! This unique cooking aid is specifically designed to help you get that crunchy crust quickly and effortlessly!
But to achieve that excellent crisp, you’ll need to learn how to use a pizza stone the right way. Luckily, we can help you with that. This blog post will teach you how to make the most of your pizza stone and get crispy results beyond your expectations every time.
What’s a Pizza Stone?
A pizza stone is a thick, flat baking surface primarily used for baking delicacies made of dough (e.g., pizza, bread, English muffins, etc.). Its main purpose is to help create a crispier crust through even heat distribution.
If you’re about to use a pizza stone for the first time, you’ll be surprised at how effectively this kitchen tool cuts baking time. On average, you’ll only need 10 minutes or less to bake your homemade pizza! How cool is that?
And the benefits don’t stop there! A high-quality pizza stone can even turn your trusty toaster oven into an appliance capable of thoroughly baking the dough almost as good as a real brick pizza oven.
Pizza stones come in various shapes and sizes, and they can be made of a variety of materials — clay, stone, ceramics, or incredibly durable minerals like cordierite.
But no matter which type you choose (whether you use a Pampered Chef Pizza stone or a more inexpensive option), the result will be more or less the same — a delicious, crunchy crust.
How Does a Pizza Stone Work?
It’s no coincidence that Americans spend more and more money on pizza delivery each year. Pizza is America’s all-time favorite dish, so it’s natural that Americans have high standards when it comes to pizza’s quality.
But achieving good results without a pizza oven at home isn’t easy, and more often than not, your homemade pizza may turn out soggier than you intended (especially the crust).
This is where a baking stone comes into play! You can use a pizza stone with fresh dough to create an extra crispy crust, like the one from your favorite pizza place.
The job of this baking surface is to absorb the heat and evenly distribute it throughout the pizza dough’s whole surface, which helps create a crispier crust.
Another thing that helps achieve the ultimate crispiness is the pizza stone’s porous surface, which allows the moisture from the dough to easily evaporate, leaving behind a beautifully baked pizza crust.
Types of Pizza Stones
Pizza stones typically differ according to the material they’re made of:
- Clay pizza stone — These pizza stones can create a mind-blowingly crispy crust. However, they also may take a while to heat up and are more challenging to clean.
- Ceramic pizza stones — They’re more durable than clay stones, but they’re also prone to breaking and cracking if not preheated the right way (gradually).
- MIneral pizza stones — Pizza stones made of minerals like cordierite or Himalayan salt are pretty sturdy and efficient, plus they do well at high temperatures.
- Soapstone pizza stones — Soapstone is a very dense natural stone. It’s slightly more porous than cordierite but can withstand high temperatures just as well.
How to Use a Pizza Stone in the Oven
Using a pizza stone is pretty simple and only requires a few simple tools:
Step 1: Preheat the Pizza Stone
- Place your pizza stone on the middle rack (the oven should be cold). To ensure proper airflow in the oven, make sure there’s at least a one-inch gap between the pizza stone and the oven walls on all sides.
- Turn on the oven. Use the hottest setting (400–500 °F).
- Leave your baking stone in for at least 30 minutes after the oven has reached the desired temperature.
Step 2: Place the Pizza on the Baking Stone
Use a pizza peel to transfer your pizza to the hot pizza stone. This tool will help you do it safely (without risking burning your hands or spilling your pizza’s contents onto the stone).
Step 3: Take the Pizza Out
Once your pizza is baked, carefully remove it from the oven using a pizza peel (if you don’t have a pizza peel, use a spatula). Let your pizza cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving it.
Tip — If you’re baking a frozen pizza on the pizza stone, cook it for about half the time recommended on the package.
How to Use a Pizza Stone on the Grill
If you’re looking for a smoky aroma in a pizza, try placing your pizza stone on the grill:
Step 1: Choose Your Pizza Stone Wisely
Not all pizza stones are resistant to the open flames and high temperatures of an outdoor grill or electric grill. So, invest in a pizza stone that’s marked as suitable for grilling.
Tip — Make sure your pizza peel is made of flame-resistant materials (e.g., metal) to avoid accidents.
Step 2: Preheat the Pizza Stone
Always place the pizza stone on a cold grill and gradually heat it up. If your grill has a hood, close it for a few minutes to help the stone reach the desired temperature more quickly.
Step 3: Grill Your Pizza
Once you preheat the stone, it’s time to transfer the pizza to it. To prevent the pizza from sticking to the pizza stone, you could sprinkle some semolina on top of the baking surface.
Then, you can close the hood again to evenly bake your pizza, and that’s it! You’ll be able to enjoy your “grilled” pizza in as little as 5–10 minutes.
How to Use a Pizza Stone Without a Pizza Peel
If you don’t have a pizza peel, don’t worry!
Just use some of the alternatives:
- Sprinkle some flour on a piece of parchment paper.
- Then spread your pizza dough on top of it and add toppings.
- Transfer the pizza to the stone by grabbing two opposite ends of the parchment paper and sliding the pizza onto the stone together with the parchment paper.
- Bake for a minute and a half, and then take out the parchment paper from underneath the pizza using tongs and a spatula.
- Leave the pizza inside the oven to finish baking on the stone.
- Use the same tools (tongs or a spatula) to take the pizza out of the oven once it’s done baking.
A Cutting Board
You can also use a cutting board as a pizza peel, especially if it’s on the thinner side and has a handle.
Tip — Only use wooden cutting boards for this purpose. Plastic will melt in a sec if it touches the oven‘s sides.
Using a Pizza Stone — Additional Tips and Facts
- The shape of the pizza stone doesn’t really matter when it comes to effectiveness. Both round and rectangular pizza stones can help you make a deliciously crispy pizza.
- A pizza stone made of unglazed clay is incredibly porous, meaning it can absorb flavors and smells in no time. So, make sure none of the toppings slide onto it.
- Avoid using your pizza stone for anything else than pizza (or similar delicacies made of dough like bread, English muffins, etc.). Preparing meat or fish on the baking stone will cause it to absorb unwanted flavors and smells, which can be difficult to get rid of.
- Never place frozen/cold food directly on the pizza stone. This may cause a thermal shock and cause the stone to crack or break. However, you can use a pizza stone for frozen pizza. Just make sure you thaw it first (you can use a microwave to get it to the desired temperature/room temperature quickly).
- Avoid using dish soap or any other cleaning agents for cleaning your pizza stone. The stone will soak up the soapy water and, in turn, make everything you bake on it taste soapy. Instead, simply scrub it with a stiff brush and a small amount of hot water. You can use baking soda for more persistent stains.
- Don’t allow moisture to linger on your pizza stone, and don’t put the stone in the oven until it’s bone dry. Moisture can weaken the stone and make it more prone to cracking.
- Be careful not to expose your pizza stone to temperatures higher than it can withstand (be especially careful if you use a ceramic pizza stone and always check the manufacturer’s recommendations). Too much heat can shatter your pizza stone.
Now that you know how to use your pizza stone, it’s time to put it to use! Employ your favorite pizza dough recipe, sprinkle the dough with your favorite toppings, and slide the pizza onto your pizza stone.
You’ll be amazed at how much better your pizza will taste when prepared this way!
How do you transfer the pizza to stone without peeling?
You can use various kitchen items to place your pizza on the baking stone without a proper pizza peel:
- Parchment paper (sprinkle some flour on top, place pizza dough on it, add toppings to your pizza, and then transfer the pizza onto the stone by holding two opposite ends of the parchment paper)
- A cutting board
- A rimless cookie sheet, etc.
How long do you cook pizza on a stone?
It usually takes about 10 minutes (or less) for a homemade pizza to be done when baked on a pizza stone.
Bear in mind that the stone should be preheated, which takes at least about an hour.
How do you keep pizza from sticking to the pizza stone?
Make sure you preheat the stone before you slide your pizza onto it. You can also dust the stone‘s surface with a little cornmeal or flour to be on the safe side. If you choose the latter, place the pizza on top of it immediately to prevent the flour from catching fire.
Should I oil my pizza stone?
Unlike pizza pans, pizza stones typically don’t require seasoning. Oil won’t do much to improve your baking stone’s efficiency or sturdiness, and it may even stain the stone. So, it’s best to avoid oiling it unless instructed to do so by the manufacturer.
Can you put raw pizza dough on a pizza stone?
Absolutely! That’s what you’re supposed to do!
This is how to use a pizza stone:
- Place the pizza stone in the oven to preheat for at least 30 minutes.
- Place raw pizza dough (with your favorite toppings) on the hot stone.
- Bake for a couple of minutes, and voila! You’ve got yourself a perfectly crispy pizza.