Pizza Stones and How to Shop for One
Wonder what makes the taste of homemade pizza unique from anything bought outside? One of the biggest reasons is 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.
This is exactly what baking stones, otherwise called pizza stones, are made to fix. 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 and round, square or rectangular piece of natural stone that is about half an inch to an inch thick. And how it works is a very simple process. The stone is put inside the oven, usually on the middle or bottom rack, for about thirty minutes to an hour, depending on how thick the stone is (thicker means longer preheating). The stone will absorb the heat and will be able to hold it in for a while. The best thing about this is that heat will transfer directly to your dough in a uniform manner, letting you bake breads and calzones and pizza evenly. Plus a crust that is temptingly brown and a bit crispy too. Different baking stones can be heated up to different maximum temperatures, but in most cases, this would be around 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
Finding the right baking stone for your needs is not hard at all. First of all, it should be just the right size for your oven. This is as elementary as measuring your oven capacity’s width and depth. 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. Furthermore, if you’ve always wanted crispy bread or a crispy crust, use a stone that is at least 3/4 inch thick. The food absorbs the heat better and gets a more consistent distribution, which simply means a pretty even finish all throughout. 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 give you more surface area and are best for baking bread and other foods that need more space. If you’re only thinking about pizza, any shape will do.