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Substitute for cornmeal to keep pizza dough from sticking to stone

Just received a pizza stone as a gift. It specifically states: "Do not use sprays or oils on the stone. Dust the stone with cornmeal to keep dough from sticking". From what I understand, seasoning stoneware requires some oil/fat. I'm allergic to corn so I tried to do without the cornmeal, and my dough did stick. The next time around, I tried to flour the bottom a little more but it came out strange. Any suggestions to keep my dough from sticking to the stone?

A friend has a wood burning pizza oven and I use it quite often, never needing to use cornmeal or sprays or anything. When I make pizza at home, I just throw it on a lightly sprayed sheet.

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  1. Can you put a sheet of parchment paper between the stone and the pizza?

    2 Replies
    1. re: juliejulez

      That's what I do. Put the pizza on a piece of parchment on top of your peel. Slide the pie, paper and all onto the stone. Works great.

      1. re: pikawicca

        I second the use of parchment paper! It has made pizza baking so much less stressful!

    2. Bake something with fat in it, like cookies on the stone. Then use it for pizza and the pizza won't stick

        1. re: twyst

          Agreed. Semolina flour and cornmeal are the best and most authentic for keeping pizza dough from sticking. I use them to keep the dough from sticking to my pizza peel. I've only rarely tried to transfer the dough to the stone without semolina or cornmeal, but even then I've never had an issue with the pizza sticking to the stone after cooking.

          A lot of pizza making friends go the parchment paper route, as mentioned upthread, and I can attest to the ease with which you can transfer the pizza to the stone and remove the pizza from the stone. Plus, cleanup is a breeze.

          If you are having the cooked pizza stick to the stone, though, I think you probably aren't cooking at a high enough temperature or preheating the stone long enough. I always cook pizza in my traditional oven at maximum temperature, which, for me, is 500F. Also, I preheat the stone for an hour or longer before baking the pie. Please note that you should put the cold stone in the cold oven and then start the oven. Also, once finished, the stone needs to cool to manageable temp in the oven before you remove it to rinse or cool it further. Otherwise, you could risk cracking the stone.

          1. re: MonMauler

            Everythinng that MonMauler said. Semolina, cornmeal, and parchment are all acceptable for pizza-making with a stone. I have been using parchment more lately just for expediency; you can slip the parchment out a few minutes into the baking time if you like, after the crust has begun to cook.

            I keep my stone in the oven all of the time. I preheat it at 550 degrees for one hour to bake pizza.

            Spray grease can be a lovely thing, but never use it on your pizza stone. Additionally, it will mess up your baking sheets if it gets sprayed on a area that gets baked without any food on it, such as in cookie-baking. Oils or parchment are better for baking sheets.

        2. Allergic to corn here.
          Semolina works as does using the stone to bake tostadas and biscuits for "seasoning",which you shouldn't need if the stone is hot enough.

          1. I've had my third pizza stone for a few years. (Others have broken the first two). I leave it in the oven. Now the stone has a black shiny surface and nothing sticks to it. If you want to make this happen quickly just rub some olive oil and salt on the stone, crank up the heat to max. Do this a few times and you'll have a 'non-stick' stone that never needs any corn whatever etc. I could write a book on tips for making excellent pizzas but not today.

            1. I do heat my oven to 550 and let the stone sit on the lowest rack for about 45 minutes. Supposedly this brand of pizza stone is "cheap" and made in China and Williams-Sonoma reports that many customers have had issues with dough sticking even with cornmeal. I'll try semolina (don't know why I didn't think of that) and if I'm still having issues, I think I'm going to purchase a better quality stone from King Arthur Flour or perhaps look into the Emile Henry stone. Thank you so much for the suggestions!

              Does the parchment paper not interfere at all with the pizza's crispness or flavor? Again, I'm not used to working with a pizza stone but I know pizza dough certainly benefits from that direct cooking. That's the only reason I thought I shouldn't use a barrier like parchment paper. But I can certainly give it a try. Thank you, again!

              1 Reply
              1. re: murphlaw152

                As mentioned above, you can pull out the parchment paper once the dough is set.

                Two expensive stones cracked for me before I discovered a really thick one for about 10 bucks in a strange little cooking store we discovered while driving through Green Bay, Wisconsin.

                1. We used to use cornmeal, but it makes a big mess. We are now just using plain all-purpose flour.

                  1. I received an Emile Henry stone and aluminum peel for Xmas. We have had a lot of problems getting our very thin pizza onto the stone without the dough sticking and getting crumpled, etc. last night I tried corn meal, which was a big help. The best help though was getting just a bit of the back edge of some pizza on the stone, letting that stick (after just a couple seconds) then pulling the peel away. The dough sticking to the stone first was like having a hand at the back of the oven gently pulling it from the other side.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: ed fontleroy

                      We just put parchment on the peel. After the pizza is about half-baked, we reach into the oven and pull out the parchment from underneath it.

                      1. re: sandylc

                        Up to what temperature can that be used? I have Reynolds "Cut Rite" brand wax paper but cnt find a temperature rating if such a thing even exists....

                        1. re: ed fontleroy

                          You do NOT want to use waxed paper! It must be parchment paper - made for baking.

                          1. re: sandylc

                            i always thought they were the same thing. Thanks for your reply. I read up on the difference.

                      2. It might help some of those reading this thread if you think of the cornmeal as a tool, rather than an ingredient.

                        It's only purpose is to {{{slide}}} the pizza dough off of the peel and onto the cooking surface (stone in this case).

                        Tiny little ball bearings would work too. But they might be harder to pick out and the chance of cracking a molar would increase.

                          1. I just sprinkle a little Wondra flour on the peel and give it a shake to make sure the pie is loose and moves on the peel before sliding it off onto the stone. I think the Wondra works better than AP flour because it isn't as fine and the texture is closer to cornmeal which I don't like because it burns too easily. You really don't need to put anything on the stone just make sure it's very hot before you put the pizza on it.

                            1. I just reread your post - I've been assuming that the sticking is to the peel, not the stone, as have others.

                              I have never heard of pizza sticking to the stone!

                              And to answer your question specifically, cornmeal is not actually the traditional "ball bearings" for pizza-making; actually semolina is the one usually used. I think someone downthread (and maybe others - I don't remember all of the posts) said "Cream of Wheat", which is basically semolina.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: sandylc

                                That is also my assumption. Ive never heard of anything sticking to a pizza stone.

                                A pizza stone that is properly preheated to 500° for 30 minutes is completely non-stick. Not even cheese will stick to it.

                                I prebake my pizza crust for 2-3 minutes and at the end of that time it has already started to form a crust. I use a rimless baking sheet for a peel and the pizza crust has never stuck to it.
                                I know that even very wet focaccia or ciabatta won't stick to a hot stone, so there is no way that a pizza stuck will stick.

                                If you choose to form the crust on parchment it will slide off the peel and then will be able to be removed from the pizza in a minute or so as the bottom of the pizza starts to form a crust on the very hot stone.

                                I don't want to sound arrogant but the OP is either doing something wrong or the stone isn't hot enough.

                                1. If you can't find semolina -- which can be expensive and tough to find in some places -- I've used matzoh meal in a pinch on my pizza peel and it has worked fine. I'm guessing any kind of dry bread crumbs/panko would also work.