So if you are new to baking stones and aren’t sure if you will like cooking with them (you will) and want a cheap way to try it, this is for you. Remember, thousands of years
ago people were cooking with stones because they realized the benefits. But they didn’t have the option to go on line and buy one, so they simply went out to their nearby stone quarry and found a large thin stone. In between going out into your local quarry, and buying one online, is the DIY solution. It will take a little more work on your part, and use won’t be as convenient, but you will get all the same benefits.
To start, go down to your local Home Depot, or similar, and look for unglazed terracotta tiles. These are typically the same color and feel of clay pots. They are typically 6″x 6″ so unless baking 5″ mini-pies, you will need at least four of them to make a 12″ square cooking surface. You may want to get an extra just in case one breaks. For a large family size pizza you may need 16 or more. These are usually under 50 cents a piece, so be prepares to shell out $2, plus tax if applicable.
When you get them home, wash them and let them dry. While probably fine, they have been in transit for months and have probably picked up a few extra flavors along the way. Coat the cooking surface (the smooth side) liberally with your favorite oil and arrange the stones in the oven. The challenge is to arrange them on the rack so that they will stay in position. You might find a cookie sheet will help, but only for a small stone array. Heat the oven to 500 degrees to “season” the bare stones and make sure there are no unseen defects that will result in a cracked stone. This is where having an extra stone may come in handy. Allow to cool and then you are ready to cook with the now seasoned stones. Another challenge you will face is getting the pizza onto the stones without disturbing their arrangement. with a traditional large stone, you would built the pizza on the stone together, then place the entire unit in the oven. That won’t work with multiple smaller stones. Once you have the pizza on the stones and in the oven, heat the oven up and be prepared to taste the best homemade pizza dough you ever made. After you are done, you can leave the stones arranged in the oven, or take them out and store for the next time. Like with a larger stone, don’t wash these or place in a dishwasher, and whatever you do, don’t use soap for cleaning your pizza stones!
Of course the downside to all this is that the four stones have to be arranged each time and they make some more challenging situations for placement and removal from the oven. Not a big deal, but it does take time and effort. once you use your homemade pizza stones a few times you will probably want to take the plunge and buy a large, traditional style pizza stone. We have a large selection of pizza stones available in our Amazon store, starting as low as $16!