The Advantage of Pizza Stones and Tips for Buying One
Ever wonder what makes homemade pizza so different from what you buy at a pizzeria or bakery? A lot of it is due to the crust.Because metal baking pans usually used at home are not porous, they cannot absorb moisture and are more likely to give you a soft, if not soggy, crust.
A baking stone, also known as a pizza stone, is made specifically to end this problem. With the pizza stone absorbing moisture from the dough, the crust turns out to be crispier and more evenly cooked as well. If you have tons of dough-based recipes, you can use them with pizza stones as well.
A pizza stone is a flat piece of natural stone, about half an inch to an inch thick, in the shape of a square, circle or rectangle. 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 heat will be absorbed by the stone, where it can be sustained for quite a while. 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. Add to that a crust that is charmingly brown and crispy. Baking stones can be heated up to varying temperatures, depending on certain types, but 600 degrees Fahrenheit is generally considered safe.
It’s fairly easy looking for a baking stone that’s right for your needs. First and foremost, you should be sure that you get a size that fits your oven. This is as easy as measuring the width as well as the depth of your oven capacity. If you use a natural gas oven, give each side of the stone a one-inch allowance to allow air to circulate – just as you do with cookie sheets. If you want to end up with bread or pizza with a bit of a crunch, use a stone with a thickness of about 3/4 to 1 inch. Heat is absorbed and distributed better in food when you use a thicker stone, so this is a good choice if you want a nice and consistent outcome. 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, while we mentioned earlier that baking stones may be square, rectangular or round, it’s hardly just an issue of shape or form. Rectangular stones come with more spacious surface areas, and that means they’re best to cook bread in and other similar types of foods. If you’re only thinking about pizza, any shape will do.