If you’ve ever tried replicating your favorite pizzeria’s pizza at home and ended up with a less-than-pleasant crust, you’re not alone. When pizzas are made in a brick or wood-fired oven with high heat, the crust gets crispy without overcooking the toppings. It’s hard to do that in the conventional ovens found in most homes.
One way to get the perfect pizza crust at home is with a pizza stone. Luckily, a versatile pizza stone allows you to cook a variety of foods, so you can use this piece of kitchen cookware for different meals. Let’s look at the benefits of owning a pizza stone and how, with proper care and cleaning, it will last for years.
How to clean pizza stone stains
Because the surface of the pizza stone and stoneware is porous, you need to know how to clean stoneware properly. Any substance you put on the stoneware, like soap, cleaning products, or even oil, can impart flavor or scents into the stone. One of the last things you want to taste on your perfectly crisp pizza is dish soap or cleaning chemicals.
In addition, you don’t want to try and get burnt food off the stone by soaking it in water. If there’s water trapped in the stone, the crust may turn out soggy. To get bits of food and stains off of your pizza stone, simply follow these easy steps so your stoneware is clean and ready to use for the next meal you plan on cooking with it.
When it comes time to clean your pizza stone, have these tools handy:
- Blunt knife
- Metal spatula
- Stainless steel brush
- Steel wool
- Pizza stone brush
Steps to Cleaning Your Stoneware
- Put a small amount of water on the stone — just enough to get it slightly wet.
- To get off big chunks of baked food, scrape them off with a blunt knife or metal spatula. Take the stainless steel brush, steel wool, or specialized pizza stone brush and carefully remove any stains or remaining food particles.
- Wipe the stone off with a damp rag.
- Let the stone air dry completely before placing it in a hot oven.
Storing Your Pizza Stone
Keep your stoneware safe by storing it in a well-ventilated area where it can’t get cracked, broken, or wet. For example, you could store it on a rack in your oven or in a specialized rack that holds cookware lids.
What is a pizza stone?
Pizza stones, sometimes referred to as baking stones, are generally made from stone, clay, ceramic, or steel and come in varying levels of thickness. Because the material used in the making of pizza stones has tiny cracks and crevices on its surface, steam evaporates quickly, helping to keep the crust dry and allowing the crust to become crisp.
A hot pizza stone that’s been preheated in a hot oven allows for an immediate high-heat transfer to the crust, similar to how a brick pizza oven works. The pizza crust cooks right away from this high-heat transfer, resulting in a crisp and nicely browned crust.
How do I cook pizza on a pizza stone?
Once you’ve mastered making the perfect pizza dough, you want to cook it so the crust is crispy, the cheese is melted and gooey, and the vegetables and other toppings are cooked through. Accomplish this by heating your oven to about 500 degrees. While it heats, roll out your pizza dough, then add the sauce, cheese, and toppings.
Right before you put the prepared pizza on the heated stone, sprinkle a small amount of cornmeal on the surface of the bakeware to help prevent the crust from sticking to the stone. Using a pizza peel, lift the uncooked pizza off the surface where you made it and gently place it on the hot stone. Slide the pizza that’s been placed on the stoneware back into the hot oven and cook for about 10-12 minutes. You can even use the pizza stone to cook a frozen pizza.
Can I cook other foods besides pizza on stoneware?
Pizza stones or baking stones aren’t just for making a crispy-crust pizza. You can use the stone to make several kinds of foods that are traditionally cooked in a hearth, hot pan, or oven and require high heat.
If you want to sear a piece of steak or meat, you can do that on a pizza stone. Start by brushing oil and seasonings on both sides of the meat. Put the stone in a hot oven, and when the bakeware is hot, put the steak on the stone and let it sizzle for about 5 minutes. Turn the steak over and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
You can get a nice crisp bake on muffins when you cook them on a pizza stone. Heat the oven to about 450 degrees and place one side of the English muffin on the stone for about 4 minutes. Then flip it over and bake for another 4 minutes until the muffin has a crisp golden-brown color.
Roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness. Glass baking dishes often leave roasted vegetables too wet, and they can become soggy. Roasting them on a heated pizza stone will help to caramelize them so they have a wonderful sweet flavor and perfect texture.
Because crackers are meant to be crisp, a pizza stone is ideal for baking them on. Prepare your favorite cracker recipe and, instead of baking them on a cookie sheet, place them on a hot baking stone to get crisp crackers.
Some cookies you want to be soft and moist like chocolate chip cookies, and others you want nice and crisp like gingersnaps. It’s a breeze getting crisp cookies when you cook them on a pizza stone.
If you’d like to know more about the types of pizza stones available, the different kinds of foods you can cook on the stones, or pizza-making tips, stop by or contact our friendly team members at Pequods Pizza. We have two locations: one at 2207 N. Clybourn Ave in Chicago and the other at 8520 Fernald Ave in Morton Grove, Illinois.