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Any Recommendations for a Pizza Stone Brand?

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I have heard that the All-Clad version is really good but is it really worth the $70 more than the other, cheaper brands? Does it really make a difference?

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  1. I don't even know the brand of the pizza stone that I have in my oven. I bought it at least 7 or 8 years ago for about $18. (it's a big square & roughly 1/2 thick.) It works great (i bake bread and pizza on it), it's always in my oven and it has never cracked. (In fact, I bought 2 at the time because they were so cheap & i had read a lot about people's stones cracking so i wanted to have a back-up...)

    I don't think this is something you need to spend so much money on.

    1. I agree with the above post - my mom gave me a Pampered Chef pizza stone and I kept it in my oven for several yrs without any problems. Look at it this way - you may not use it as much as you think, so cheaper may be ok for your purposes.

      10 Replies
      1. re: azhotdish

        I have the Pampered Chef version too (it was a gift). I keep it in the oven all the time and it hasn't cracked yet (5 years or so).

          1. re: vktp

            I also recommend Pampered Chef for your pizza stone. My first one cracked because of a flaw and they warranty-replaced it free of charge. I've had my second one for 3 years and counting.

            1. re: bogie

              I had the opposite experience with my pampered chef pizza stones. In the past 3 years I have had three break in my oven. I heard they were the best but have had no luck.

              1. re: AmblerGirl

                I have a wonderful thick pizza stone that is about 20 years old. Don't remember where it was purchased, but it was cheap. someone gave me a pampered chef stone and it cracked within 2 years. I am going to contact the company.
                As a side note, I no longer keep my stone in the oven because it increases the pre-heat time. Is it my imagination????

                1. re: pesto

                  A pizza stone adds thermal mass to an oven, so while they might make the preheat longer the temperature will be more stable when it reaches your desired point.

                  I had a Pampered Chef but it broke after 3 years and I replaced it with similar stone from BB&B.

                  1. re: Kelli2006

                    Thank you for that explanation. It makes sense.

                2. re: AmblerGirl

                  I had a horrible experience with a pampered chef stone! First one broke cooling on the counter (it was not heat shock, the oven had been at 350) and the replacement one broke in the oven while it was preheating. Both of them on the first use!

                  Added to that, their customer service is a total hassle because they insist on sending everything to the purchaser (it was a gift from someone out of state, so it was really a pain) and they wanted the broken pieces sent back, so we ended up spending as much shipping the pieces of junk around the country as the original stone probably cost.

            2. re: Hungry Celeste

              Hello, I was just reading your post about your PC stone, you leave it in the oven always? Its says its only good to 450 degrees and not to preheat it. I was just given one as a gift and I really like it, just don't want to ruin it. any other suggestions? Thanks in advance.

              1. re: creesen

                I don't know why they would say not to preheat it, I didn't see that, but preheating stones is what you have to do to make them work the way they are suppose to work. Or do you mean not letting them heat up while the oven is heating up (full blast)? That would make sense. And yes, I left it in the oven. I've broken 3 stones now. The last one broke in half and I still use it that way, and has't broke more, its not a pampered chef one though. Its the temp shock that did them in I think. I usually cook pizzas at 500-550 so if 450 if the max then that explains things too. And I probably should update my post on the returning things to PC, its not company so much as the representative, and the one I dealt with should not be in business, she was fairly overwhelmed with the biz and taking care of kids etc, finally returned my call like weeks after I left it, by then the company had sent me a new one. Which broke soon after also. According to Cook's Illustrated, the Lodge cast iron ones work well too. Cast iron might be far less susceptible to breakage, as long you don't poor any cold water on it..

          2. My favorite stone is from Baker's Catalogue. I think it is about $35.00.

            1. I don't recall the name (Old Hearth, Old Stone or something like that), but Amazon had (last time I checked) a really good one that's about 14"x16" and good thickness, for about $25 with free shipping the last time I bought one, though I've noticed that some of their prices fluctuate. Just go to their site and do a search on "pizza stones" or "baking stone" and it should be among the choices. Lest you be worried by the "last time I ordered one" comment, I was ordering another for a gift, not because of any problem with my first one, which I've been using for abot 10-12 years now.

              For that matter, whatever price point and style you want, they've got a good selection, and good prices on most of them.

              As others have noted, I just keep in in the oven all the time, except when I do the "self-cleaning" cycle.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Warthog

                I got curious and checked on Amazon. The one I've had good luck with is the Old Stone Oven 14x16, and it's currently $29.95 with free shipping. If you're not in a hurry to buy, you might watch to see if they mark it back down to $25 again. They seem to do so every once in a while. As noted in some of the reviews on Amazon, it is much thicker and heavier than many of the other brands, as I discovered while I shopped around before getting my first one. Not sure how much difference that makes in results or durability, but I note it for what it's worth.

              2. I'm super cheap, and out of curiosity, would a big round piece of terra cotta from the nursury store or Home Depot do just as well? I was thinking of buying the biggest terra cotta pot holder I could find and use that for pizza (the flat little pan that the pot sits in and holds water). Will these things break (does it matter)? Are there any health concerns? How about the unglazed side of a big ceramic floor tile?

                2 Replies
                1. re: johnb

                  john, do a search here for pizza stones, and yo'll find a few posts regarding stone/tile from such places.

                  1. re: johnb

                    I'm super cheap as well. I sent my husband to the huge tile mart in our area, to look for an unglazed "through porcelain" tile. I was told by the salesman when I called that these tiles will hold up in really high heat, because they are fired very high. Long story short, he talked with the salesman, told him what it was for, and the guy gave him a 16" by 16" tile for free!

                    The last pizza stone I had cracked (it was $2 from a thrift store) so I was in need of another one, and needed it TONIGHT.

                    Can't beat free!

                  2. I used terracotta tiles in my oven for years. Worked great. I scrubbed them well before I put them in.

                    1. Terra Cotta, unglazed tile, firebrick - there are lots of "home improvement center" options. Most of the "pizza stones" are similar material to firebrick, simply cast into a different form. I'm a frugal (read "cheap") soul, too, but after looking around at the local home improvement places, I never did find a suitably large, smooth tile sort of alternative in *unglazed* form. All the unglazed tiles were either textured, too small, or too thin. I expect that there are viable "cheap" alternatives, but I came to the conclusion that I was spending more in time and gas running around to try to find an alternative than I would be saving.

                      I found the size, thickness and smooth texture of the pizza stone combined with the convenience of ordering on-line with free shipping to be worth the price, but other may have better luck in their search for a bargain alternative - I do think it's possible.

                      1. I recommend the pampered chef stone, I have had mine for 5 years with no problems. It was a gift, but I think they're only around $25.

                        1. FYI, I just ordered the Old Stone Pizza Stone 14x16 (the one recommended at Cooks Ilustrated) for $22.99 (free shipping) from Amazon. Great

                          http://www.amazon.com/Old-Stone-Oven-...

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: sleepyd

                            I must be seeing something completely different or missed on a good deal. I see this stone selling for $49 on amazon. I cant believe it has jumped up this high since. Not to mention, this stone is sold by another pary instead of amazon.

                            1. re: mrpotato

                              You can do better than that price. I bought one from here
                              http://www.akitchen.com/store/pizza-s...
                              around the first of the year. It's a very nice stone.

                            2. I bought one online about 2 years ago and when I received it, it was cracked. I sent it back and the replacement I recieved was also cracked. Rather than ship it back, I use the cracked stone as a heat deflector in my bbq for when I smoke stuff.

                              As a reeplacement, I bought an Italian pizza stone from Bed Bath and Beyond (Bialetti I think) for $20. It came with a free pizza flip and round cutter. It worked so well, I bought a second one. Now I can bake 2 small pies at once, and the extra flips come in really handy for serving. The stones stay in the oven.

                              1. I am another Pampered Chef pizza stone fan. I had my original for about 10 years before it cracked. In the interim I bought 2 other brands (Villaware, I think and another brand from BB&B) which both gave off terrible smoke and odor. Horrible! Each time I thought, well maybe next time it will be okay...nope. Finally found a PC stone on Craigs and it is as wonderful as I remember.

                                1. Here's a little update from me. Turns out the unglazed porcelain tile my husband brought home had something on it. Too bad since it was free and a nice size (16"x16"). I wouldn't say it was glazed, but it looked like some type of stain was on the top of the stone. We used it once, but then the next day went looking for something better. I saw the recommendation of firebricks on a thread recently, so I decided to search for them. I ended up buying 14 firebrick "splits" that measure 9" x 4.5" x 1.25" and they were $1.70 each. I rinsed the stones off (they made a slight hissing noise, as the bricks absorbed a little of the water). Of course I later read you should wait a couple days after rinsing to use...but I didn't do this. Everything worked fine though!

                                  I then placed 6 of them on the floor of the oven, and built up the sides and back of it, making it similar to the "Hearth Kit" for home ovens that you find on the web for $200. I preheated the oven for almost 2 hours (there was some steaming coming out as the water evaporated), and baked my first loaf of bread. It was awesome! The crust came out nice and crispy, and the inside was moist and fluffy.

                                  Since firebrick is made to withstand changes in temperature, I shouldn't have to worry about it ever cracking. This is probably as close as I can get to having a real brick oven since I live in an apartment. Not bad for $25!!! I may start using the tile (or my cracked pizza stone) on the rack above when I bake, making it even closer to the authentic brick oven :)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: kkolfage

                                    KKolfage - where did you get your firebrick from? I tried looking on amazon but seems all I can find are decorative bricks that are too small to use. I really like the idea you came with here since the hearth kit is A - too expensive and B - no longer available.

                                  2. I use a piece of granite given to me as a counter sample piece, it is about 3/4 of an inch thick, very smooth surface (high gloss) and holds heat like none other! Best of all, it was free.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: gargantua

                                      But the granite won't absorb moisture, so it doesn't have the same effect as unglazed terracotta. The whole point of a terracotta (or firebrick) stone is not only to even out heat, but also to absorb the moisture cooking out of pizza dough, bread loaves, etc, thus providing a crispy crust rather than a soggy one.

                                      1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                        I doubt that there is much moisture to absorb at 450° so absorption by the stone is mute.

                                        1. re: Kelli2006

                                          Huh? The moisture is coming out of the dough. In a high-hydration dough like ciabatta, pizza crust, focaccia, roman-style pizza bianca, pain a l'ancienne baguettes, etc, there is a tremendous amount of water cooking out. Getting maximum oven spring & a crispy crust is a matter of managing moisture in the oven. Especially with pizza, the water in the crust has to go somewhere: the blanket of sauce & cheese prevents it from going up, so it's got to go downward. Trapped steam is what makes most homemade thin pizza crusts tough and hard, rather than crisp, tender, yet shattering (like good pizzeria crusts). A porous stone will bake the crust faster.

                                          1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                            Bittman-Lehay bread is known for a crispy crust is baked in a closed cast iron pan that cannot absorb moisture. The crisp crust come from the bread sitting on a very hot dry direct heat source with high thermal mass in a moist environment, instead of being heated by the hot air of an oven.

                                            1. re: Kelli2006

                                              No knead bread is just ONE kind of high hydration bread. It's not ciabatta, or pizza, or focaccia. Various breadmaking techniques require different tools. Stones sold for oven use are uniformly moisture porous. If granite was desirable, you'd see commercial stones made of granite for sale.

                                              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                                Granite is not commonly used because it is expensive and difficult to fabricate, unlike Terra cotta which is both inexpensive and easy to form.

                                    2. Put me in the cheap terra cotta tile department. I got mine several years ago - they're unglazed quarry tile and have a very slightly textured surface. They've held up through every kind of abuse and bake a killer pizza. Best of all, when you take them out of the oven, you just wash them and stack them up to store. They take up very little space that way. I can't imagine spending $70 on a pizza stone. I'd rather spend it on the cheese.

                                      1. I bought a $14 pizza stone at bed, bath store, using their $5 coupon. I figure if it cracks, I'll just get another, for $14 bucks. I've used it a couple of months and it's great, no smell, crispy pizza crusts. I wish I had bought it sooner!

                                        1. I have gone through about half a dozen pizza stones in the last couple of years ( my Pampered Chef cracked a couple of months ago). I finally bit the bullet and bought a Fibrament stone which has better thermal and physical properties than the usual pizza stones you can buy. http://www.bakingstone.com/ This same material is used to line commercial bake ovens and due to its composition, it resists cracking. (it has fibers embedded into the material).

                                          Other materials to consider that are better than pizza stones are kiln shelves made of cordierite/mullite, silicon carbide or similar material. (These are food safe - corderite is also often used in commercial bake ovens....and actually, many of the better pizza stones are made out of cordierite). You can get kiln shelves at pottery supply stores.

                                          13 Replies
                                          1. re: fmed

                                            Fmed is spot on about the Fibrament stones. I Have had the same experience with the Pampered Chef stones. I do however keep one old PC stone on the top rack as a "roof" over the Fibrament stone on the rack below. Can't prove it but I think it helps direct or radiate heat down and act a lot more like a beehive style pizza oven. Result's are my proof, pizza quality around here has gone up noticeably and the local pizza shops have lost all my business.

                                            Downside of the Fibrament stone is that it takes quite a lot longer to heat up, it has a lot of thermal capacity with its thickness. With my two stones (one PC, one Fibrament) I preheat at 550F for at least an hour before shoving a pizza in. If you like thin crust, non greasy pizza... this is it.

                                            1. re: fmed

                                              Post script: One of the best kitchen tools I have is a laser instant read thermometer. Mine is a RayTek Mini-Temp (about $50-60) It's a point and shoot with digital readout. I use it for many things (only reads surface temp so not useful for cooking meats, ie internal temp). Works well for soups and stews after stirring (keep out of the dreaded "red zone") But is best for checking your oven temp. You can check the side walls of your oven or your baking stone instantly. You will be surprised that your oven internals will tell you you have preheated to a set temp... but the oven walls will still be well below that (since it measures air temp only. I use the laser gun on my baking stone and check various areas of the stone until I get a stable even temp all over. I never slide a pizza in unless I get 500F reading or more over 90% of the stones surface. many ovens will never get that high -- my old ex-range never got over 450F even after two hours set at 500F, its highest setting!. Also you won't believe how far off the avg. oven thermostat is! Checking friend's and in-laws ovens I have see them off by as much as 50-almost 100 degrees!. Usually low. How can one cook with that much mis-information?

                                              1. re: JRCann

                                                JRCann,

                                                I just bought one myself and it's nice to know when your baking stone is up to temperature. Seems my 45 minute rule of thumb was not so good. Forget those fancy Fibrament stones. I'm quite happy with my $20 stone and fancy thermometer.

                                                BTW, my dog's surface temperature is 81.5 F.

                                                1. re: Zeldog

                                                  FWIW, I find that the biggest difference between using a Fibrament and a regular pizza stone is that I can cook 3, maybe 4 pizzas to my liking (eg with with nice darkening/charring on the bottom of the crust) on a Fibrament stone. A regular pizza stone is good for one decent pie - the next one is pale unless I reheat it for another 40 mins or so - too much lag time between pies.

                                                  The Fibrament is also crack resistant, though I have used cracked stones without problems. I probably make more pizza that most people - as I am a bit obsessed by it...so these properties are appealing to me.

                                                  That said...the best way I have found to cook pizza so far is in my gas grill using one of my old cracked pizza stones. I can only do this in the summertime though.

                                                   
                                                   
                                                   
                                                   
                                                  1. re: fmed

                                                    Fmed -- I agree for back-to-back pizzas the Fibrament is the best. I am a thin crispy crust guy.

                                                    1. re: fmed

                                                      OK, fmed and JRCann, I am trying to decide between a nice thick (3/4" )Old Stone Oven pizza stone and this Fibrament one you guys are raving about. I don't quite understand the comment about the problems cooking back-to-back Pizzas with anything but the Fibrament. I can understand a cheap, thin stone losing heat relatively quickly, but with a thick stone like the Old Stone Oven, how would it cool down that fast just by opening the oven and removing the pizza? I can't imagine this action would take more than 10 seconds. Surely with the thermal mass of any good quality stone its not going to cool that fast?! Is the fibrament that much different in this regard? We have big eaters in our family and like Pizza party entertaining so the ability to cook 3 or 4 Pizzas in a row quickly is a major consideration for me and I will pay extra if necessary for this ability. Thanks for any help you can offer.

                                                      1. re: civil_kelly

                                                        >>I can understand a cheap, thin stone losing heat relatively quickly, but with a thick stone like the Old Stone Oven, how would it cool down that fast just by opening the oven and removing the pizza? I can't imagine this action would take more than 10 seconds.<<

                                                        The pizza itself draws heat from the stone as it cooks. The Fibrament holds the heat longer than any other stone I have used. (I have not used the Old Stone Oven brand stone, so YMMV.)

                                                        1. re: fmed

                                                          The heat capacity of a corderite stone (what the old stone oven one is made of) is several times that of a fibrament stone. So are mechanical strength, and resistance to breaking from temperature shock. The only way that the fibrament stone is superior is that it has a better marketing department.

                                                          1. re: dscheidt

                                                            I know people who use corderite kiln shelves and report good results. And Pizzamaking Forum member 'November' posted geeky data there a while back: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/inde...

                                                            1. re: dscheidt

                                                              I just used my Old Stone Oven stone and I agree that it is the best stone I have ever used and I can't believe fibrament is any better. OSO stones are sold by Amazon with free shipping.

                                                      2. re: Zeldog

                                                        Zeldog, "fancy Fibrament stones" ?

                                                        I assume that you mean "expensive," by that. The fact is that I, and other posters above have all said that they have had three (or more in my case) of those "$20" ones crack. I paid about $75 for my Fibrament one including shipping (been a couple years ago). I figure that if I had bought the Fibrament stone initially, I would now be well ahead of the game. But I would not have a broken Pampered Chef stone which I keep on the top rack over my Fibrament as a heat sink.

                                                      3. re: JRCann

                                                        I want one of those thermometers!

                                                        However, for most baking (cookies, for example), it *IS* the air temperature that matters, not the surface of the oven walls.

                                                      4. re: fmed

                                                        IMHO, Fibrament is the way to go. After 3 or 4 cheap stones cracked, I bought a Fibrament about 4 years ago and never had a single regret. Just as Weber is my rec when it comes to grills, spend a little more now and enjoy the product for many years after.

                                                      5. There is a commercial pizza supply distributor based out of the Chicago area called American Metalcraft. We sell there stuff in our store and I can highly recommend their pizza stones. The quality of their products are quite good and they have a ton of pizza supply products. Just go to your local restaurant equipment and supply dealer and ask if they sell American Metalcraft products.

                                                        1. Skip all the branded pizza stones sold at amazon or places like sur la table and just call a ceramics supply dealer and buy some kiln shelves. a 20x20 x1 inch thick shelf will cost you about $50 and nothing will work bettter. I live in San Francisco and purchased one here:
                                                          http://www.ceramicssf.com/

                                                          they don't have the means to cut to oven size on location but you can go to any marble installer and they will cut it for you. In fact they are used to cutting this stuff for new home installs

                                                          1. Walmart $9.99 -- included a serving rack, which I promptly threw away. The stone as been sitting on the lower rack of my oven since I bought it 3 years ago. When it breaks I'll spend another $10 on a new one. (from another thread)

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: puzzler

                                                              I have to agree about the pampered chef stone. I have tried several others and they had odors of chemicals and smoke. They cracked and never lasted, they also never cooked as well as the pampered chef. I had a friend asking me about my pizza, and am helping her find a nice stone for her oven. I never realised that Pampered chef uses natural stoneware clay instead of ceramic for creating there stones. That I believe is the difference. I have always had wonderful pizzas and everything cooked on this stone is delicious. The other stones food never tasted as good, it always had an odor. So I will stick to this brand..:)

                                                            2. I have one Pampered Chef pizza stone that is just the best. The reason I can be so unequivocal about it, is that I also have another brand which is bigger than the Pampered Chefs. That one is truly awful - doesn't clean well because things stick to it. It smokes, unlike my Pampered Chef. WHY of whyl does Pampered Chef refuse to make a larger pizza stone? If they would, I would buy two and I wouldn't care how much they charged.

                                                              1. im using the nordic one from Chong TRading >$80. regretted it once i saw the stones in pantry magic. however mine is rectangular shaped, fits nicely into my oven, so i can make 2 loaves at once. the round pizza stones may not fit in 2 loaves.

                                                                many pple use unglazed ceramic tiles w/o problems, get a contractor friend to cut one to size for your oven.. cheap and good.

                                                                do measure the internal dimensions of your oven or the rack size first b4 u buy. it does make better breads. and you need that scoop thing too, dun get the pantry magic wooden one cos i find it too thick, get one from sia huat, i think i saw a handy home sized one.
                                                                http://dealzfirst.com/DominosPizza-29...

                                                                1. After years of using a pizza stone, I now use this product:

                                                                  http://www.foodservicedirect.com/prod...

                                                                  Makes the best pizza we've ever had - check it out.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: bayoucook

                                                                    hi bayoucook, the link takes you to the vendor's site, but you have to type in the search box "pizza stone."

                                                                    why does this pricy stone differ in performance?

                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                      I think the way it's made with the perforations makes just the kind of crust I love. I bake it in a 500 oven and it comes out better (for me) than the pizza stone way. I must've sent the wrong link, b/c what I was talking about is an actual pizza pan, heavy duty, about 20 bucks....I'll check it.

                                                                  2. Use unglazed quarry tiles. Inexpensive and you just buy enough to fit your oven.

                                                                    1. Having cracked THREE pizza stones, I finally switched to the Lodge Cast Iron Pizza Pan. $30 with free shipping from Amazon (less than what I paid for all those broken stones).

                                                                      http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Logic-Cas...

                                                                      Can't recommend this highly enough. Torque up the oven to maximum heat for an hour with the pan inside and you won't believe the crusts this thing gives you. Great for both crispy or breadier crusts, depending on your technique. Also doubles as nice wide griddle for pancakes or bacon and eggs or any old thing. I end up using this more than my Lodge two-burner griddle. I even use it outdoors to make pizzas on my Weber Smoker.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                        The amazon link states "oven-safe to 400 degrees F".

                                                                        Goodness, my pizza stone gets over 600 degrees thankfully.

                                                                        1. re: tommy

                                                                          I leave my pan in the oven all the time and I've been setting it to 500 degrees for nearly a year with no ill effects. I've also used it in my Kamado grill at well over 600. I have yet to encounter ANY cracked Lodge product. I wish I could say the same for pizza stones.

                                                                      2. I have been using the Emile Henry Flame line grilling/baking stone. Says it can withstand temps up to 700 degrees and I have found it to work great on the grill and in the oven. Mostly used it for pizza so far but I can see bread in the future as the weather cools down. Got it as a gift so I have no idea what the cost is. What did you end up buying?

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: gourmanda

                                                                          I too love my Emile Henry pizza stone. It works well in the oven as well as on an outdoor grill. Others have commented that it doesn't have sufficient mass, but after hearing recommendations and a money-back guaranty from both W/S and SurLT, I bought one and have been very happy with it. It costs $50, so it's definitely not for bargain hunters.

                                                                        2. Watch Goodwill or other thrift stores. Bought a no name for $5, and have seen several never used PC ones . She broke her PC the week before, and I happened to find one that afternoon in a Goodwill I was at.

                                                                          Take a ceramics class,and make your own custom one. The clay bodies I have are all cone 10-14 firings - over 2,000 degrees.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                                                            Its often not how much temperature the stone can handle, its how much temperature change. You throw a pie at rooom temp or lower onto a 500-550 degree stone, that's where the rubber hits the road, or worse you acidently get a leaker.

                                                                          2. I've had one from Old Stone Oven for about 30 years. It never leaves my oven and goes through the self cleaning cycle with no problem. It hold heat so well that the heat never fluctuates in my oven.

                                                                            1. Just go to one of the granite counter top makers in town. Get a scrap piece of granite, which will fit in your oven or grill (yes grill!). Mine is 16 inches by 18 and is 1.25 inches thick and weighs 35 lbs. A slab of granite works fine and is safe, I've been using it for years. I like crispy, thin crust pizza and this does the trick.

                                                                               
                                                                              1. The reviews on the Baking Steel have been uniformly positive. Not enough to make me consider switching from my Lodge Pizza Pan, but worth considering.

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