Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Sep 7, 2010 01:51 PM

Will this terra cotta saucer work as a pizza stone?

it seems to be the only terra cotta thing i can find in home depot (cant find the tiles)...

i noticed some are cracked and that it is actuallly terra cotta coated metal, would it be ok for using as a pizza stone? i want to put it in my grill

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Did you ask at Home Depot for unglazed quarry tile? I couldn't find it but the guy who worked there did.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chowser

      i did, but they dont seem to know what that is.... are unglazed quarry tiles only in the states? (i am in canada)

      1. re: Pigurd

        I don't know how it's sold in Canada. You just want tiles that aren't glazed because the lead will be a problem. Usually terra cotta would work fine but I'm not sure what terra cotta coated medal is. If you do go w/ the lids, I'd use it upside down.

    2. Yes! I learned about them from Charel Scheel's bread books. He advocates "tempering" the terra cotta before use, somewhat like seasoning a cast iron skillet, but it isn't absolutely necessary. In any case, wash the terra cotta in plain water. Never use soap or detergent unless you like to add their flavor to your pizza. Coat the business surface with vegetable shortening and put it in a cold oven. Scheel tells you to turn it on to 250 and increase it by increments of 100 degrees every 20 minutes until you reach 450. Leave it at that temperature for about half an hour, turn off the oven, and let it cool in the oven. Elizabeth David someplace has a flower pot bread recipe which involves a similar treatment of the pot, but she doesn't raise the temp by stages. Afterwards, rinse it off and let it dry, and you are ready to go.
      I prefer these to quarry tiles. The quarry tiles I have used eventually crack. But since they have no rim, you may prefer them. Another alternative is to stack several aluminum pizza pans and preheat them in the cold oven. The combined mass hold heat much like a tile.
      Finally, in odd lot shops you may find marble tiles or slabs for very little money. Marble is rather stable to heat changes, and it should work. I've been meaning to try it, but I let a cheap piece get by me and haven't found one since. So if anyone out there has tried marble, please let us know.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Father Kitchen

        thanks! so the metal inside the terra cotta coating should be ok to use? not sure wat type of metal material it is.

        1. re: Pigurd

          Sorry I didn't see this earlier. The terra cotta saucer I thought you were referring to us the unglazed Italian red terra cotta commonly used for garden pots and the saucer under them. There should be no metal at all. And you should avoid any pot (like the Mexican ones) that have additives in the clay body. What you are looking for is the same clay body that goes into unglazed clay cookers, like the Romertopf pots. Unglazed terra cotta is used traditionally as cookware in many regions of the world. Glazed terra cotta and stoneware can also be used, provided the glaze does not contain toxic metals that would leach out. Since the most common glaze in pottery is lead based, I would avoid any glaze that is not guaranteed food safe.

          1. re: Father Kitchen

            P.S. The pot shown on the hemedepot link you gave us is pure porous terra cotta. There is no metal inside.
            Again, rinse the saucer to remove dust and stuff. Let it dry. Rub shortening generously on the business surfaces. Put it in a cold oven. Turn it to 250 degrees. Thereafter raise it by 100 degrees each twenty minutes until you get it to 450. After 20 minutes, turn the oven off and let the saucer cool in the oven. When room temperature, rinse off any ash that may have formed. Thereafter, wash with water as needed. Do not use detergent, as it enters the pores of the terra cotta and can flavor your bread.

            1. re: Father Kitchen

              hmm i checked at home depot before though, and one saucer was cracked so i noticed underneath there was metal...

      2. I wouldn't use it but that's just me.
        it's not for cooking/baking it's for yard work or gardening.
        who knows where it was made or made of what?
        dogs or cats or rats could have run through the factory.
        I'm just sayin....................

        1 Reply
        1. re: iL Divo

          I would really be concerned about the lead and other heavy metal content in any material not rated for food preparation. Toxic effects from heavy metals are long term. Even if I watched them dig the clay out of the ground, I would want it tested for safe use for food. It is just one of the great things we can do these days. Then you have to consider any toxic additives that may be incorporated during the manufacturing process.

        2. I wouldn't use it, as it's not made for food, who knows what it might have in it? The other posters have covered that topic really well though.

          Is there a reason why you can't just buy a pizza stone? I bought mine for less than $40 (in Canada) and I love it. With the use you can get out of it (I use it for lots of breads other than pizza) and the fact that it'll last, it's worth just buying the real thing.
          Oh, and storing a flat pizza stone is a lot easier than a large saucer with a rim, I bet.

          5 Replies
          1. re: MmmVegan

            Just for the record, the Italian and English red clay terra cotta pots have a long tradition in food use, and they are safe. The same kind of clay is used for clay bakers sold by Ikea and by brands like Romertopf. Furthermore, clay cooking pots are used in many parts of the world, All of these pots are pure clay and have no additives. But some recent garden products are not pure clay. So if you are in doubt, play it safe.

            1. re: Father Kitchen

              Exactly, there's no problem with using terra cotta, but a product that's not meant for use in food (and the original poster said it even had metal in it) to be used for it, especially in the very hot conditions that a good pizza needs, seems like a bad idea.
              Even if it was pure clay, I would have my doubts about whether it was food safe as it's coming from a home improvement store. Since it's porous, it still might have chemicals that have accidentally gotten into it.
              I just figure that spending an extra $10 for a real pizza stone is a better idea :)

                1. re: MmmVegan

                  i just thought the pizza stones cracked a lot faster, but if there is a good one that doesnt break i wouldnt mind getting it

                  1. re: Pigurd

                    Some people manage to break multiple stones. I've had one for 9 years and it's fine.