How to use a Pizza Stone

So you saw a pizza stone on a trendy cable show and decided you too should have one.  You read this site and learned more than you ever imagined you could know about pizza stones.  You even learned you could use it as a baking stone for bread. Finally, research complete, you found the right size stone made out of the right material and at the right price.  You ordered it and waited, and finally it arrived.  You carefully prepared the stone and let it dry.  Now what?

Well now you are ready to cook some of the best pizza, and even breads or calzones, on your new pizza stone.  Whether making your first pizza from scratch or pre-made, the first thing to do is to prepare your stone for the heat.  The only important part about this is to avoid large and dramatic temperature changes over short periods of time.  Some people prefer to pre-heat the pizza stone along with the oven, others don’t  The fact is, when going from room temperature the change should not be sufficient to cause any cracking.  however, if you were bringing it in from the car, or your neighbor just returned it and its winter in New England, you should let the stone reach room temperature before proceeding.

A handy accessory for working with a pizza stone is a pizza peel.  The pizza peel is the large wooden or metal spatula used for placing pies into, or removing pies from, the oven. Pizza PeelsUsing your new pizza peel, go ahead and place the pizza in the middle of the stone, then put them both into the oven.  One of the big advantages of the pizza stone is that it disperses the heat evenly.  As a result you don’t need to be as concerned with “hot spots” in your oven.  Most people find that the middle rack works just fine.

When you pizza crust has turned that delicious golden brown. and the cheese is bubbling gently, and the whole house smells like an Italian kitchen, its time to take the pizza out.  At this point you can use your pizza peel to remove the pizza from the stone and place it on a serving pan or baking sheet.  You can simply leave the pizza stone in the oven to cool down slowly along with the oven.  However, if you have the type of stone that comes with a metal rack, you will need to remove the stone from the oven.  The metal rack is typically designed to be used in two different ways.  First it can be used to conveniently carry the hot pizza stone and pizza to the table, or it can be turned over and used as a serving stand at the table. The only thing to be careful of is again, the rapid temperature change.  In the house you will have no issues, but if you were having an outside meal in the snow, you should probably leave the pizza stone in the house.  The last step is to cut your pizza using a pizza cutter, also known as a pizza wheel.  One huge advantage of the pizza stone is that you can cut right on the stone for nice clean cuts and separation between the pieces.

Now go and enjoy that first pizza stone meal!

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