There’s no arguing that pizza dinners are some of the staples all across the United States. This dish has already established its presence all over the country that people now love making their versions of it in the comforts of their own homes.
But as pizza ovens are completely different from the ones found in most homes, do you still have a shot at recreating the crisp and crunch of the pizza you’ve known and come to love?
This is where pizza stones come in. What is a pizza stone, you ask? Simply put, this is a cooking tool that will turn your regular home-use oven into a pizza oven. You’ll get the same results to brick and masonry ovens at a fraction of the price, making it a must-have for many kitchens.
If you want to know more about pizza stones and whether you should get one, stick to this guide and you might just get the information you need to make the right call.
You can also look for our hand-picked best pizza stone reviews and grab the one you like most.
What is a Pizza Stone? Here’s Practically Everything You Need to Know about These Cooking Tools
With so many home pizza bakers raving about pizza stones, let us help you better understand what is a pizza stone with these crucial points:
#1. They’re Alternatives to Baking Sheets and Pizza Pans
As mentioned above, pizza stones are cooking tools that you use in your oven or grill to make the best homemade pizza pies. They’re basically alternatives to baking sheets and pizza pans as they serve as cooking surfaces.
Made of natural stones, they’re excellent heat conductors and will hold the heat for quite a while. This aids in the thorough and effective cooking of your pizza’s dough, leaving you with a crispy and chewy pie that can rival New York-style pizzas.
When measuring liquids, a liquid measuring cup would help you the most. As the perfect measurement is key in making great pizza.
In the simplest of terms, a pizza stone will basically serve as an additional heating element for your oven to cook your pizza thoroughly. It can also speed up the process that will result in a crispy and chewy crust.
#2. There are a Few Different Types of Pizza Stones
Pizza stones are made of various natural stones including marble, firebrick, and clay. These different materials have their own perks and setbacks, so make sure to check them out before making a call.
You can also find them glazed and unglazed. Glazed pizza stones often double duty as cutting and serving surfaces as well.
However, they tend to break more easily as their sealers can expand over time and put additional stress on the stone. Unglazed varieties, on the other hand, are more natural, affordable, and porous.
They’re better preferred by many because of their relatively improved durability.
#3. Offers Perfectly Cooked Dishes with the Right Techniques
If you do additional research on pizza stones, you’re bound to find people who are having difficulties in getting their pizzas crispy and chewy.
In most cases, it’s not entirely the pizza stone’s fault. These cooking items need you to take specific steps to get the best results.
To do that, you have to preheat the stone before placing and cooking the pizza on it. You should place the pizza stone inside your oven at least an hour before you bake your pizza.
Select the highest temperature setting and leave it be while you make your pizza. Once heated, you can already proceed to bake your pizza.
If you don’t preheat your pizza stone, it won’t get hot enough to cook the crust of your pizza to a crisp. This will leave you with a soggy and rubbery mess that will just disappoint you. So make sure to always take the extra step to preheat.
#4. They Promise Pizzeria-Grade Pizza Right Out of Your Oven
Natural stones are excellent heat conductors which is the very reason why they’re used for brick and pizza ovens. And as you should know very well, these ovens make some of the finest pizzas there are.
The most famous pizzerias in New York use such, so they’re basically required to make some of the tastiest pies available.
This is why it makes perfect sense to use their key components to recreate the results when making pizzas at home.
While you won’t get the exact same texture and mouthfeel in a home oven, a pizza stone can help you get the same great combination of chewiness and crispiness that brick and pizza ovens are celebrated for.
#5. They’re Not Just for Making Pizzas
Also known as baking stones, pizza stones are not really just for making pizzas. They can also be used for other dishes including bread, meats, and vegetables.
Their porous nature helps absorb moisture from the surface of your ingredients which helps cook it and give it a nice and enjoyable crispy outer layer. This is why they’re considered as great alternatives to baking sheets as they’re also highly versatile and can even offer better results.
#6. Julia Child may have Inspired their Creation
According to some accounts, the famous chef may have inspired the creation of pizza stones. Pat Bruno, the noted restaurant critic, is noted for being the inventor of pizza stones but he has attributed the idea to Child’s cooking tips.
The child actually recommended to Bruno to use firebricks as a cooking surface when baking pizzas. She said that these will help make the crust crispy and of course, it’s true. Bruno thought that it would be better to use a single stone to get the job done and the rest is history.
#7. They Require Specific Maintenance Techniques
Those who have tried their hand in using different cookware will know that equipment maintenance is as much a part of cooking as the actual ingredients for the dishes. This is why it shouldn’t come as a surprise for many that pizza stones also have specific maintenance requirements.
First off, you should never use soap on unglazed varieties. Their porous nature will just cause the soap to seep in and then leach into the food you cook with it.
You should also remember to make sure that the stone is thoroughly dried before use. Moisture can cause these products to crack and break. There are some products that require conditioning, though. This involves wetting the stone before use, so make sure to check with the manufacturer first.
Lastly, always remember to season your stone regularly. This will help keep it in top shape and ensure great results. It only involves rubbing some olive oil on the surface, though, so you don’t have to worry about doing a lot of work.
#8. There are Very Cheap Alternatives to Brand Name Pizza Stones
Some people who don’t want to spend a good amount of money on pizza stones tend to opt for natural stone bricks and tiles. This is perfectly okay as they use similar materials anyway. They’re cheaper and easier to get, so if you want a pizza stone right now, you can always head to your local home improvement store.
Hopefully, this brief discussion helps you answer what is a pizza stone. These cooking tools are some of the most versatile, efficient, and promising items there are, so if you’re a home pizza baker who’s ready to take things up a notch, you should definitely get one.