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Feb 25, 2008 07:31 PM

Replacing Pizza Stone

Both my 15" round pizza stones cracked in the oven on the weekend. I had not used them for quite a while. Not impressed...

Upon reading about it I discovered that this is common and independent of the price paid.

I like making pizza, any advice on a replacement. One online "review" is glowing about the 'mario batali' cast iron pizza 'griddle'...which begs the question - then why do i need a stone to crisp the crust?

Ideally this would be a $25 item - I need to buy two (or it all goes too slowly). The Batali thing would obviously be $$$ - especially in Toronto. What is a simple, practical, inexpensive solution?

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  1. When this question has come up before, a lot of people recommended buying a couple of ceramic or clay floor tiles and using them as they are a lot cheaper than a dedicated “pizza” stone. Although I don’t have any experience with any of these items, it would seem to me that any flat surface that could withstand the heat would work as long as it didn’t exude any chemicals or volatiles that would affect the food. I would think that a clay, brick or flower pot material would do okay. I don’t know how big a standard oven is but if you could lay four 12 in. sq. tiles in a 24” x 24” pattern on a rack, I bet it would work fine.

    2 Replies
    1. re: TomDel

      Okay i am cheap but if wreck the oven then i am in big trouble :)

      Good suggestion, i could try it with one unglazed tile...

    2. I think the answer here comes from the realm of physics. My good pizza stone is almost an inch thick and holds it heat a long time. Once heated it can roast many pizzas without losing heat. The thinner tiles will not hold their heat as long because there are fewer layers of atoms to heat. But conversely, they should heat up faster.

      So if you are only doing one pizza at a time then it shouldn't matter. I use my stone for homemade pita bread and really appreciate that the thicker one stays at temp.

      You can get a very good pizza stone (and paddle) at most restaurant supply stores for a fraction of what they cost at as fancy kitchen store.

      1. After cracking a bunch of unglazed terra cotta tiles and one pizza stone, I popped for a Fibrament stone. I've only had it for four or five months, but I'm absolutely thrilled with it so far. Not cheap, but cheaper than always having to replace less expensive stones--assuming of course that this one lasts a while. It's much thicker than my other stones, retains sxtremely heat well, and has been turning out great pizzas.

        4 Replies
        1. re: JoanN

          I just ordered a soapstone pizza stone (Naturestone). It has a copper rim and two handles - just beautiful. I'll tell you what I think of it after using it. I was never a fan of my old stone, which seemed to smoke when placed in a hot oven, probably due to improper seasoning. It was a cheapie that I found at Tuesday Morning, and I had followed the instructions to a tee, but it was terrible to use with all of the smoke that came from it. This new stone is much thicker and this is much more expensive. Maybe it will be worth it.

          1. re: RGC1982

            Season a pizza stone? You're kidding, right? I prefer stones made of cordierite, which has substantially better thermal properties than other materials used for stones. What's the point of handles? Are you taking the stone out of the oven, instead of the pizza off the stone? If you leave the pizza on the stone, it will continue to cook. A decent stone will be hot enough to cook pizza for hours after it comes out of the oven.

            1. re: dscheidt

              No, I am not kidding. It came with instructions on how and why to do it, and since I had never had one before (I don't know how I resisted all those Pampered Chef pitches at parties years ago), I just did it. In fact, I think it is the reason the darned thing always smoked.

              And yes, I will be removing the stone and serving directly from it. I haven't received it yet, so that is a good point about continuing to cook. I may need to get the pizza out of the oven before it is as crispy as I would if I were taking it off the stone. The soaptstone is designed also to be used as a cooking and serving stone for grilled veggies, appetizers, etc., too. so the handles were quite attractive. The stone is actually set in a copper tray with handles. I went this way because I don't want to leave a pizza stone in my electric wall ovens. The electric element on the bottoms makes it impossible to just leave a plain stone on the bottom, so I would have to devote a shelf position to it, and I don't want to do that.

              Again, I haven't received it yet -- so let's see how this all works out.

          2. re: JoanN

            Since this thread is still alive, I thought I'd report on my Fibrament stone two-and-a-half years and dozens of pizzas later.

            The stone has lived on the floor of my gas oven all this time. I remove it only to clean the non-self-cleaning oven. When I do remove it, I scrub it down with a natural-fiber brush and plain water. It's stained, but there's no gunk on it. Although I didn't at the beginning, I now put my stretched dough on a sheet of parchment on the peel before dressing it and cook the pizza on the parchment for about 3 or 4 minutes before pulling it out from under the pizza and finishing the baking of the pie. This isn't so much as to keep the stone clean, but to keep burnt bits of corn meal off my oven floor. And I never have to worry about the dough sticking to the peel any more.

            I also use the stone for baking pastry. It's the best for ensuring a crisp crust.

            If anything happened to it, which seems unlikely at this point, I'd buy another Fibrament in a heartbeat.

          3. There are lots of threads on pizza/baking stones, so check those out for alternatives. But a cast iron "pizza griddle" sounds rather lame. The whole point of using unglazed ceramic materials instead of some metal, which also can hold lots of heat, is to absorb escaping steam so the bottom of the pizza browns well. If you want a cast iron alternative to the Batali model, just get a rectangular Lodge griddle, or better still, turn a big skillet upside down.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Zeldog

              I hear you...weird that some claim this cast iron is very effective - don't have a 15" iron skillet...but can test with a small 'za.

              Still no definitive answer on cracking etc.

            2. Jamie oliver swears by granite???

              I will dig up a piece of granite and give it a whirl. Increases the cool factor :)