Frozen Pizzas No More: Best Pizza Stone for Oven & Grill
Guide on How to Choose the Best Pizza Stone for Oven & Grill to Make Awesome Pizza At Home
Since the birth of pizza in Naples, Italy, this iconic round treats-filled dough has taken the world by storm.
From its humble beginnings served with cheese, tomato and bell pepper, cooked on those legendary multi-generational pizza stones, it has now evolved into so many forms ranging from Neapolitan, Sicilian, Margherita, Capricciosa, Pugliese, Quattro Stagioni, Pizzetta, All-Meat, Vegetarian, and Four Cheese among many other varieties.
A pizzeria in Naples to which the pizza-making tradition traces back its history
Through breakthroughs in the cooking industry, pizza can now be enjoyed in the comforts of one’s own home. People don’t have to be stuck with eating frozen pizzas and be deprived of the natural aroma of freshly baked dough, or have to call out for pizza delivery at an ungodly hour, at an unbelievably inflated cost, receiving so-so quality, just to fill a craving.
But to be able to enjoy freshly baked homemade pizza, it is essential to have the right tools in your own kitchen. This includes a good, sturdy oven, which fits into your needs and specifications. It’s good to ask yourself the following questions:
- Will the oven be placed indoors or outdoors?
- How many pizzas am I looking to bake in a month?
- Do I choose a specialty oven or a general one-size-fits-all?
- Would I like to bake thin crust or thick crust pizzas?
- Do I want a slow-cook or a fast-cook oven?
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Here are some of the common options for pizza ovens:
Image Credits: Zesco and Ebay
Apart from a good oven, you will also need a heavy-duty pizza stone to complete the whole picture.
A pizza stone is an important, yet often overlooked, element in baking pizza. It not only gives a stable cooking surface for the pizza dough; it also assists in cooking the dough evenly, so you do get the right consistency for the entire crust.
A pizza stone can be made of any or a combination of the following: ceramic, stone, hard clay, marble, tile, fire brick, and/or steel. Historically it was seen as a poor heat conductor, thus making it difficult to leave to chance the baking of dough.
Back then, it took skill and considerable experience to get the dough right. However, these days, due to advances in technology, the pizza stone has moved from the unglazed, quarried kind, to the more sophisticated kind where heat is evenly distributed in the flattened dough.
Here is a video on how to make restaurant quality pizza at home with a pizza stone:
With so many options available online and offline, it can be confusing to choose which one is the best for your needs. Before we give a rundown of our pizza stones review, you should ask yourself the following questions before making a purchase:
What do I want to achieve with my crust?
The material they're made of differentiates pizza stones. If you are into having crisper crusts, you should get an unglazed baking stone so the moisture is absorbed more effectively. With the stone having good absorption, the dough is not left with excess evaporated water that makes the crust a bit soggy.
However, the drawback with an unglazed stone is it’s difficult to clean. With a glazed pizza stone, you are able to handle baking thick, cheese-filled crusts because the moisture is distributed in the dough. A glazed stone is also way easier to clean.
What is the size and thickness of the pizza I want to bake?
Pizza stones come in different sizes and thickness, so make sure you decide on the size (Do you want a standard-sized pizza, or a family-sized one?) and thickness (Do you want thin crusts, or meat-and-cheese-filled ones?). Baking on the wrong stone can leave you vulnerable to breakages and safety risks that no one would want to experience.
How often am I going to bake?
Some stones are built for heavy home use, meaning you can cook as much as you want. The drawback with these kinds of stones is that they are very heavy and take a long time to cook. On the other hand, other stones enable faster cooking and are more lightweight; however, they cannot be used as often as the heavy-duty ones.
So, to give you some peace of mind, here is a quick rundown of the best pizza stones for the oven currently offered on the market.
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To decide on the overall winner for the best pizza stone, I used the following parameters:
- 1) Ability to handle different types of crust;
- 2) Ability to handle different types of dough sizes and thickness; and,
- 3) Ability to withstand frequent use and differences in temperature.
Hands down, the winner is:
It’s a fair price to pay for given all the different features it has and can deliver: it can withstand intense heat, can handle different sizes and thickness of crusts, and it’s durable yet not too heavy to use. It's easy to see that an artisan designed it and how it has proven to stand the test of time even after four decades!
Once you’ve decided which pizza stone to buy, here are some guidelines to help you get to enjoy your pizza stone and be able to keep it for years to come:
- Preheat the stone.
It doesn’t matter what type of pizza stone you have. Before doing the big bake, preheat your stone so it gets the temperature transition it needs, which then puts less of a strain on the pizza stone. And also, allow 30 minutes to 1 hour to preheat the stone. This gives it the time it needs to evenly distribute the heat on the material.
- Put the stone in a cold oven when not in use.
When the pizza stone stays in a cold oven before use, it gets used to the moisture of the oven. This is important, because it lessens the possibility of breakages or thermal shocks that may come with sudden temperature changes the stone has to undergo.
- Clean your pizza stone after every use.
It can be easy to delay cleaning of pizza stones for some hours—or even a day or two—especially when everyone just wants to take their slice of your freshly-baked pizza. However, the reality is that pizza stones absorb heat and moisture effectively, making it easy for the stone to absorb oil and grease that have been left by the pizza ingredients. And this absorption can be quick. It is then advisable to immediately clean your stone with lukewarm water and gentle soap after every use.
I hope I've given you the information you need on the "what" and "why" of pizza stones, and enough objective insights on the five best pizza stone for ovens currently available on the market. And I hope the list does help you in making the right decision in picking the best one for your homemade pizza needs! If you have more questions, feel free to contact me and I’ll definitely try my best to help you out.