Monday, August 4, 2008

Cooking Stone

I recently acquired a cooking stone. I knew it would help with my baking, but I didn't realize the difference it would make for my pizzas. Father of Food can make a fantastic pizza with any old cookie sheet from the grocery store, but I have always had trouble getting my dough crisp. I have a terrific cookie sheet, with two layers of metal separated by a thin chamber of air to even out the heat, which is terrific for cookies, but not pizza crust. I also have a pizza sheet with holes at the bottom, which is decent for crisping, but this sort of pizza pan has its problems. The dough gets stuck in the holes and you don't get the same coverage for cornmeal at the bottom a must have ingredient for me.
For Pizza, the stone is the only way to go.

Today, I made a variation on the dough I have been using lately for pizza, the calzone recipe from The New Moosewood Cookbook .
I substituted ½ cup of flour with ½ cup of cornmeal and only used 2+1/2 cups of flour total. I should have added a bit more flour, because the dough came out a bit sticky. Nevertheless, the test pizza I made for lunch was still crispy and delicious. It was not pretty, as you can see, but the stone made it quite good.

If you get a stone, here are some tips for its care:

  • One is not supposed to wash the stone with soap just water and a scraper. Anything you put on the stone can sink into its porous surface, and affect the flavor of your food.
  • For the same reason, keep high fat foods (like cookies) off of the stone. You can put aluminum foil or a cookie sheet directly on the surface instead.
  • Spots and discoloration can be scrubbed off with a scouring pad and a paste of baking soda and water.
  • Keep the stone in the oven and it is supposed to even out the temperature of the oven. When I make cookies with the stone on the lower rack, they do come out more even.
  • Heat up your stone in the oven as the oven pre-heats.
  • Always use hot pads or oven mitts when touching your stone. It can retain heat for a long while after cooking.
  • Do not submerge a hot stone in cold water or it will crack.
  • To put your uncooked pizza or dough on the stone, use a pizza peel covered with cornmeal (to help the pizza slide off) and slide the dough on to the stone. I like to use the peel and a spatula to get the pizza back off of the stone.

This is my Pizza Peel.

It doubles as a cutting board and can be washed in the dishwasher.

If you make pizzas and breads, I highly recommend investing in a stone and peel.


Hermine's Blog said...

I have 2 round pizza stones that 'live' in my oven all the time. Trader Joe's veggie egg rolls crisp up beautifully on the stone, put in frozen. Frozen chicken nuggets, fish, etc. cook well on the stone without any fat or oils.
I do leave mine in the oven when I put on the "clean" feature. They come out perfectly clean. I lost only one to breakage due to the intense heat.

Anonymous said...

YAY! i love my baking stone too!

Son of Food said...

I leave my pizza stone in the oven all the time as well. It's great for breads and pizza.

I have a peel, but it's too soft to use as a cutting surface. I have a big maple butcher block for that.

Family of Food said...

I recently bought the "Epicurean Pizza Peel" from William Sonoma.

Here is their pitch:

"Epicurean Pizza Peel

Our pizza peel makes it easy to transfer your creations to and from a pizza stone. The peel doubles as a cutting board so you can carry pizzas right to the table. Made from a sustainable wood fiber composite, the peel has a hygienic, nonporous surface that won't absorb flavors or odors. Dishwasher safe. 23" x 14"."

As I sid, I bought it... However, so far so good, I like it.

Giulio said...

Dear Readers,

I'm writing cause I can supply high quality Lava Stones for cooking cut to your specific need to fit your ceramic plate, steel plate or wooden board.

With what regards the logo, we are able to manifacture the stone logo etched onto surface but in order to make a quote we need to see the logo, by the way the price will go up between 30 to 70%.

For any other detail do not hesitate to contact me to the email below:

Giulio Fienga (MEng - Hons)

Contact numbers:
Italy: +393397048772
Uk: +447773509942
Spain: +34666157154
Serbia: +381644258076

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