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How to Use a Pizza Stone for the First Time
If you are a pizza lover, you may wonder how to use a pizza stone for the first time to make a crunchy and delicious pizza at home.
The good news is that it isn’t as tricky as you think.
One of the best things about this tool is that it recreates a pizza oven in your kitchen: because of the material, in as little as five to six minutes, you’ll be able to imitate high-quality pizzas from the comfort of your home.
Keep reading this essential guide to learning more about using a pizza stone for the first time. We’ll go through everything you need to know about this easy-to-use tool.
So, let’s get started!
What is A Pizza Stone?
For starters, let’s clarify what a pizza stone is. If you know something about traditional pizza, you might be familiar with wood-fired ovens.
They reach insanely high temperatures, which help cook the dough much faster than other ovens, and they also count on a bottom made of bricks, which radiates heat from downward to the dough and creates the typical crust.
If you’ve tried to make pizza at home but haven’t reached the consistency you would have loved, you shouldn’t give up on your dream.
Getting a pizza stone is one of the best things you could do to produce a crispy and delicious pizza.
A pizza stone is a flat baking slab (usually in stone, ceramic, or clay) that you can place inside your oven rack. You can find them in different shapes and thicknesses, with thicker stones being more durable but expensive. Once heated up, the hot stone transmits the heat to the bottom of the pizza dough, recreating the concept of a traditional wood-fired oven.
Why Do You Need A Pizza Stone?
If you don’t own a pizza stone, you might ask yourself why you should purchase one. Well, the answer depends on you. You’ll love this tool if you are tired of making soggy homemade pizzas.
So, if you regularly make pizza at home, investing in a good-quality pizza stone would be worth the price. Don’t expect to spend a massive amount of money on this tool.
You can find cheap versions of a pizza stone for as little as $25. No matter how often you use it, it will still be worth it.
This kind of equipment will revolutionize your pizza baking, and the quality of your creations will surprise you.
So much so that you probably won’t go back to using a metal pan.
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How Do Pizza Stones Work?
If you are unfamiliar with this equipment, you may wonder how to use a pizza stone for the first time. But the way this stone works is simple.
The pizza stone attempts to emulate what you would generally get from a traditional pizza oven in terms of the crunchiness of the crust.
Pizza ovens typically go up to 700 – 900F, while a kitchen oven only reaches up to 500F.
When using a pizza stone, the heat from the oven is retained, causing the stone surface to rise more than the oven’s average temperature.
Contrary to a pan, a pizza stone would be hot once you place the raw dough on it. In a matter of minutes, your crust will be ready to take out.
Because of the porousness of the stone, the material rapidly absorbs any moisture in the dough.
In turn, this dries up the crust and makes it crispy and soft on the inside. Instead, when using a metal pan, the moisture is trapped, which gives rise to a soggy pizza.
What Do You Need to Use A Pizza Stone for the First Time?
Using a pizza stone for the first time is much less scary than you think. And don’t worry, you’ll use the same process every time you make pizza. Once you have your stone ready, you don’t need much.
In addition to an oven, you’ll need something to place the pizza stone on. Traditional racks work perfectly fine.
However, if you are using a heavy pizza stone, you might need extra support to handle the weight. To prevent getting burned, you should also have a pizza peel on hand to transfer the dough to the stone.
While you could also use a baking tray for this step, investing in a pizza peel is best.
Don’t get scared: it doesn’t have to be super expensive, and it will contribute to making things a lot easier. Plus, you can find inexpensive tools for this purpose in most dedicated stores or online.
As part of the ingredients, you’ll, of course, need some pizza dough. Theoretically, any dough will work on this equipment.
However, Napolitan-style pizza dough (a thin pizza with sauce, cheese, or toppings) will give you the best results.
If you like to be precise, you may want to consider getting an infrared thermometer.
It is not necessary, but it allows you to know the temperature of your pizza stone to perfect your recipe and determine the appropriate amount of baking time.
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Steps to How to Use a Pizza Stone for the First Time
Now that you know how a pizza stone works, it is time for you to get familiar with the steps you’ll have to go through when this tool for the first time.
1-Check the Appearance – Look for cracks
Before you start, you’ll have to ensure it doesn’t have any cracks. Cheap stones tend to crack easily and might come damaged or in poor conditions. Make sure that’s not the case for you.
Additionally, it might be worth noting that stone is susceptible to thermal shocks, meaning that you should avoid subjecting it to sudden changes in temperature to prevent it from breaking.
2-Clean Pizza Stone
If you haven’t used the stone before, cleaning it using a wet cloth is a good thing. Don’t soak this tool in water, as the porousness of the material will absorb the water and may lead to cracking. Plus, avoid using any soap to prevent your pizza from tasting weird.
3-Place Pizza Stone in the Oven
There is debate on the ideal place for a pizza stone in the oven. The idea is to place it close to the heat source. If your oven has a grill function, putting your stone on its top rack may be a good idea. Doing so will ensure your pizza bakes evenly across all its surface.
Alternatively, place the pizza stone at the bottom of the oven.
4-Turn oven On at the Max Temperature Setting
The most crucial step when using a pizza stone is to pre-heat it. To do so, turn your oven on at the “Bake” function at the maximum temperature setting, typically 500 – 550F for a home oven.
5- Pre-Heat the Oven for 1 hour
Depending on the thickness of your stone, it will reach the desired temperature between 45 minutes and an hour.
However, it is best to let your pizza stone heat for at least one hour. Remember that you don’t have to oil your pizza stone as sticking won’t be a problem as long as it’s hot enough.
6-Slide the Pizza on Pizza Stone
Once the stone is hot enough, it is time to move your pizza on it. Of course, your pizza must be ready to get into the oven at this stage. To start with, take your pizza peel.
You must quickly avoid getting stuck on the material when transferring the dough.
Indeed, it is usually best to assemble your pizza on your working surface and move it on the pizza peel once you’re done just before sliding it onto the pizza stone.
Before doing so, don’t forget to dust the pizza peel with some flour or cornmeal to allow the pizza to slide off without impediment.
7-Bake the Pizza
Your pizza will be ready in less than 6 minutes at the highest temperature setting.
8-Remove Pizza from Pizza Stone
As a rule of thumb, your pizza is ready when you notice the crust starting to brown and when the cheese looks melted and delicious.
Additionally, the bottom should look crispy and slightly browned. If you are baking more than one pizza, consider re-heating the stone between changes to allow the stone to be always hot.
9-Let Cool and Clean Your Pizza Stone
To maintain your pizza stone, you should clean it after every use. Letting it cool before wiping it with a cloth or scrapping any remains that might have gotten stuck is imperative.
Always wait for at least a few hours before attempting to clean your pizza stone to prevent it from cracking.
Never put your stone in the dishwasher. Instead, use a wet cloth to take all of the dirt out. Once you finish, ensure you wipe off any residual water with a paper towel or a dry cloth and let the stone air dry before storing it.
The Last Slice
Thanks to this essential guide, you should have no doubts about how to use a pizza stone for the first time.
If you have ever dreamed of making crusty and delicious pizzas from the comfort of your home, look no further: this tool will surprise you.
Are you ready to become the best pizza baker in town? What are you waiting for?
Additional Pizza Stone Resources
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