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Pizza stone or cast iron pizza pan

I am currently obsessed with finding the secret to perfect homemade pizza. I almost placed an order for a pizza stone but the urge to research the topic further has suddenly come over me this week and I've read of some who claim that the cast iron pan, when heated over the stove and then placed under a broiler produces a pie just like the local pizzeria. Please Chowhounds, help me make a decision.

~DD

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  1. It depends on the style of pizza you're going for. The pan/broiler aims to replicate the serious heat needed for Neapolitan pies. Pizza stones are for the other, general types (Like the NY slice) and do work in getting an even, crisp bottom.

    Between the two, I'd get the cast iron because it has many more applications outside of the pizza (That and my preference for the Neapolitan style).

    1 Reply
    1. re: ediblover

      After having a few pizza stones crack, I went with a Lodge Pizza pan. 14" diameter creates enough thermal mass to do what the stone does plus it has other good uses such as roasting veggies.

    2. I personally use the cheap metal pans that are sold at the restaurant supply. I sprinkle corn meal over the pan and put my dough ungreased on top. It is a secret i picked up while working at one of the many pizza outfits i put myself through college cooking at.

      The pizza doesnt stick to the pan btw and slides right off.

      1. When I was searching for a stone I narrowed it down to the FibraMent because of the 10 year warranty: http://www.bakingstone.com/why_fibram... so I'm not worried about the typical stone breakage, I'm just trying to decide which will make the best gourmet pizza crust, stone or cast iron. Thanks for the comments so far.

        6 Replies
        1. re: DishDelish

          Equipment doesn't make the best gourmet pizza. The pizza maker does.

          I vote for a pizza/baking stone. No maintenance, and they have a proven track record.

          1. re: tommy

            Have you tried rigging the cleaning cycle? I'm interested in that 800 degree heat for authenticity. After finding the website I posted below I'm leaning toward a stone. Thanks. :)

            1. re: DishDelish

              I have not rigged my oven. My oven gets the stone to almost 700 degrees. I start on the stone in one oven and then finish in the second oven with the broiler cycled on. Usually cooks in under 4 minutes. Not exactly wood-fired oven times, but much quicker than the 10-15 minutes a regular pizza place would cook...making the crust into cardboard.

              But again, it's also about how you are composing the pizza, your dough and rising method, etc.

              1. re: tommy

                Mine goes to 550, but I only have the one oven unfortunately.

                1. re: DishDelish

                  Your oven may go to 550 (so does mine), but I suspect you could get a stone hotter by managing the heat. Opening and closing the door after the oven reaches temp will increase the heat of your stone (believe it or not). A final blast of the broiler will also increase the temp of the stone, if only on the surface.

                  1. re: tommy

                    Thanks for the help. I'm going to order my stone now. I'll let you know how it goes. I'll try this before I think about rigging anything. :)

        2. I have a stone. I love it. I have no idea what you mean by "typical stone breakage" though. I've had my stone for probably 12 years now. It lives in my oven and never comes out. I've never had an issue about breakage (obviously).

          I also find that the stone is great for baking bread and reheating nan or other bread-like items. I preheat my oven for 20-30 minutes to use the stone for pizza and my pizza is cooked in usually under 10 minutes. I like the crust thin with a bit of a char on it with the bottom being firm/crunch but that sort of melts into softer dough-ish leading to the sauce (if that makes any amount of sense - it's hard to describe).

          Anyway, I think the flavor and texture of using a pizza stone can't be beat.

          3 Replies
          1. re: LNG212

            Okay, maybe not typical, however I've had many people complain to me if their stones breaking after 2 years use. You have a good one. :) Thanks for your input.

            1. re: DishDelish

              I did look around for any paperwork but I can't find it and I can't for the life of me remember what brand it is. If I did, I would obviously highly recommend it. Sorry that I can't figure that out. I would hate it too if it broke after only 2 years of use.

              If it helps, mine is square, maybe a full inch thick, and weighs a ton (which originally was the reason I never took it out of the oven).

              1. re: LNG212

                Thanks LNG! The one I'm looking at comes in a rectangle, circle or custom. I'm thinking about the rectangle. That was so sweet of you to look for your papers. :)

          2. This site I found today has some fascinating ideas on baking a pizza. He uses a stone: http://www.varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm

            1. I'm not sure how you make a pizza in a cast-iron pizza pan. Do you prepare the whole pizza and slide it onto the pizza pan then put the whole thing into a preheated oven? Or do you do it on a stovetop totally, starting from room temperature? Or cook partly on a stovetop then finish it in the oven? It would seem you're asking for a disaster by trying to slide a prepared cold pizza onto a hot cast iron pan, knowing the proclivity for this to stick and thus spew the contents all over the oven or stove. Any clues? Especially for the Mario Batali 14" one where he says they prepare them totally stovetop in his restaurant.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Chipped Ham

                Heat pan. Place pizza. Blast under broiler. Finish off on stovetop.

                Many (myself included) consider this the best way to make pizza at home. Course, this is assuming one thinks that coal/wood fired brick oven pizzas are the pinnacle. The short bursts of high heat gives it a crust that a normal oven can't recreate.

                1. re: ediblover

                  maybe one of these day I'll try both. I don't suppose I could do an experiment with my regular cast iron pan though. :)

              2. I use my stone to bake bread but it's broken and I can't find a new one in Canada.

                Will someone direct me to a website that sells them? I need the rectangular kind.

                Thank you!

                4 Replies
                1. re: TheCooksCorner

                  You can have custom cutting with this company: http://www.bakingstone.com/order.php, however the shipping will probably be plenty for Canada ... I almost ordered from them as the 10 year warranty is very appealing to me but I just can not pay these prices w/ high shipping on my budget. At the last minute I actually ended up ordering this stone from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001...
                  since I had a gift card and shipping was free. I just received it tonight and it looks to be in mint condition however I'm sure if you could afford the one with a warranty it would be the better bet.

                  1. re: DishDelish

                    The stone from amazon is designed for a grill. Is that what you were looking for? Making pizza on a grill is problematic, as grills do not retain heat very well.

                    1. re: tommy

                      The grill part is optional. I have been using it in my oven now for 2 nights (without the metal part) and it has worked amazingly well. I liked the size of it also. I also thought that if I wanted to have some pizza in the summer time that the grill might be nice (even if not as good) so I don't blast my house with the high heat. My husband told me he is a very lucky man w/ the pizzas I've made so far.

                  2. re: TheCooksCorner

                    sorry, the custom stone company link didn't work the first time. Here it is again: http://www.bakingstone.com/index.php