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Pizza Stones? [moved from Ontario board]

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I generally make my own pizzas on a baking sheet in my oven. Recently a friend suggested I could get a crispier crust by switching to a pizza stone. Jamie Oliver recommends getting a piece of scrap granite cut to size to fit your oven and bake on that. What method do Chowhounders use? Where can I buy a pizza stone?

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  1. Hi Finnegan - I've lurked for a long time, but this is my first post

    Mr. Cheeze and I bought a pizza stone at the Bay or Linens'nThings or some such place 7 or 8 years ago. They are great and they do crisp the crust nicely - I think we paid $20-$30 for the stone. Personally, I wouldn't go to the expense of having a scrap of granite cut to size

    1. Pizza stones make a big difference. Try HomeSense. You'll also want a pizza peel. They're harder to come by. Try a commercial supplier. We got ours at Nikolaou Restaurant Equipment

      7 Replies
      1. re: Scary Bill

        What's a pizza peel?

        1. re: grandgourmand

          ...that wooden, long handled wide flat ended thing used to slide under a pizza to put it in or take it out of the oven...tip: make your pizza right on the floured peel and then just shimmy it off into the oven onto the stone, sliding it under raw dough is a lesson learned once...

          1. re: Recyclor

            Another of my recurring suggestions for the home pizza chef is the SuperPeel. Some say it's over priced, but it really does the job. Check the video on this site and see for yourself. No more corn meal or flour mess and never have a pie stick to the peel again. Honest!
            http://www.superpeel.com/

            1. re: Recyclor

              Oh, so that big wooden spatula has a name. Neat.

              Cornmeal works well too.

              Need to get me a pizza stone first. Lost my last one.

              1. re: grandgourmand

                I would suggest getting a wooden peel for putting the pizza in the oven and a metal one for removing it. My experience has been that the raw dough is much less likely to stick to a lightly floured wooden peel. The metal peel has a much thinner blade, which makes it easier to get under the cooked pizza for removal.

                1. re: LabRat

                  I find that corn meal helps the dough slide off the peel. Sort of like little ball bearings.

                  1. re: Zydecopapa

                    Not to mention that cornmeal adds a great crispy texture too!

        2. Every time this subject comes up, I offer the same suggestion. In my opinion, the Fibrament stone is the best.
          http://www.bakingstone.com/

          4 Replies
          1. re: grampart

            If you go to any of the granite fabricators in Toronto (Caledonia Marble comes to mind) you'll find they have tons of scrap pieces of granite that they'd likely give you for free (pieces from the hole cut out of sinks, etc.).

            I do have a pizza stone that I bought and I wouldn't make my own home made pizza any other way. The only way to get a good crust.

            1. re: Flexitarian

              You have to get an "unglazed" stone, though, correct? (Not that I know what glazing is, I just keep seeing this, as I have been researching this topic.)

              1. re: Pincus

                Pincus, the theory is that the unglazed stone absorbs moisture from the pizza crust, thereby enhancing its crispness. However, my problem is that tomato sauce, cheese, and grease get on the unglazed stone while it is in the oven and the thirsty stone absorbs these substances readily and then bakes them in. Pretty soon, I have a really cruddy pizza stone that no amount of washing will help!

                One time, for my birthday, I was given a pizza stone with a polished surface. This was not the marble that some posters here have recommended, but rather, the same fragile "stone" that the unglazed variety is made out of. It worked wonderfully and I didn't see an diminution in the crispness of my crust. And no stains!

                Alas, one day, I knocked this wonderful pizza stone on the floor and, being fragile, it broke into a dozen pieces. I have never been able to find a replacement. It was part of one of those pizza kits that comes with the deep dish pan, the pizza cutter, and the peel.

                I'll try the marble, but I am somewhat apprehensive about polishes, chemicals, etc. seeping into my pizza dough.

                1. re: gfr1111

                  Put the pizza stone through an oven cleaning cycle and it will come out brand new.

          2. Kitchen Stuff Plus has round ones for $10 though they are a little small. I like the larger square available at Tap Phong, etc, for about $25.
            When I break this one (the 3rd) I am going with Grampart's suggestion of Fibrament stone.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Mila

              I broke a few stones as well until I figured out to heat the pizza stone slowly on the BBQ or in the oven, then toss the pie onto the sizzling stone. Haven't broken one since. (Probably just jinxed it).

              1. re: romanruin

                My problem is usually too much topping and something like a cold wet tomato hits the stone when I attempt my slide off the peel. I still find them invaluable and can live without.

                1. re: romanruin

                  I just keep mine in the oven all the time (mainly due to a lack of storage space, plus it's heavy!) Doesn't seem to be a problem. Pizza peel is also a definite must in my opinion, even with the cornmeal. I've improvised mine and based on the above, plan to spring for a real one.

              2. i paid 15$ for mine i believe at kitchen stuff plus , between the dough recipe im using and sauce recipe i created and the heat i get my oven at and let the stone pre heat im bangin out some serious pies , better than most takeout joints. But it took me a while to get here ive had my share of soggy half cooked middle of pizza , spilled toppings and that overall "homemade" taste, not anymore though!

                3 Replies
                1. re: KEYLIMESODA

                  Care to expand on your cooking methods?...please...

                  1. re: Recyclor

                    For further cooking discussions, please post on the Home Cooking board, so that we can keep the focus here on local chow. Posters are welcome to post a "pointer" here to a Home Cooking board post.

                    Thanks!

                    1. re: The Chowhound Team

                      ...sorry, my bad..

                2. The Pampered Chef has a few different shapes and sizes. I have the rectangular one and love it! Website: http://www.pamperedchef.com/our_produ...

                  1. One side of the granite would be polished the other would be unpolished.

                    1. Actually, I have called several marble and granite companies in the last few weeks looking for ends pieces of granite for presenting pastries on my buffets at Eaton Hall. I have had several tell me that they always have pieces available. I am looking for 2' X 4' slabs. I have found one company that will provide those to me for $50.00 each.

                      I would track down a slab of granite if I were you. Kennedy is right about using them as a stone for pizza. Also...you can have it cut to just fit your oven rack so it will be nice and big. And...the polish doesn't matter. Granit and marble are polished with compounds to a high lustre. It won't effect your pizza.

                      Chef Marko

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Chef Marko

                        Would you care to share the company contact details?

                      2. I've come across suggestions for inexpensive terra cotta floor tiles which can be had in fairly large sizes. Has anyone tried those?

                        Also, are there any other uses for these stones?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: DockPotato

                          I use mine for baking bread - the crust on my french baguette is waaay better on the stone then on a rack.

                          i got my stone at the kitchen and glass place on yonge, just north of bloor. it's a pretty great place to find all sorts of kitchen gagets, etc.

                          1. re: vinotinto

                            I've used pizza stones with okay success, however they do occasionally break when you put the cold dough on top. I'm planning to get a piece of unpolished granite cut to fit my oven

                        2. Hi Finnegan
                          I am a kitchen consultant for The Pampered Chef, and we sell the best stoneware for baking - especially pizzas. You can email me off list ebfjudy@optonline.net for more information

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ebfjudy

                            Pampered Chef stones are good, but not as good as a Fibrament. jmho

                          2. As an alternative to a pizza stone, how about a cast iron pizza/grill pan? Mario Batali, Lodge, and Lagostina (for the Canadians here - I don't think they sell in the US) all make their own. They retain a lot of heat and if you get the Batali or Lagostina - which have a ceramic glaze, it's a pretty serving dish as well.

                            The bonus is that they can be used as a flat grill on the stove top and are easy to clean.

                            The only downside would be is if you were using your stones to help retain heat in your oven for your other baking needs.