Food Blog - Best Food Blogs - Gourmet Food Blog THE NIBBLE Blog » TIP OF THE DAY: How To Use A Pizza Stone

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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

TIP OF THE DAY: How To Use A Pizza Stone

Pizza stones can be square or round. Photo
of this top-rated pizza stone courtesy
KingArthurFlour.com.

 

Here’s a gift for anyone who makes pizza at home—or needs some encouragement to do so. This tip is from Chef Johnny Gnall. If you have questions or suggestions for tips, email Chef Johnny.

If you are a true pizza lover, your home should not be without a pizza stone…and a pizza paddle too. If you’ve never used a pizza stone, you don’t know what you’re missing! It’s the only way to achieve restaurant-quality crust at home.

A pizza stone makes a great holiday gift for any pizza lover, from the seasoned chef to kitchen beginner. I assure you: it will change the way you eat pizza forever!

For those who resist buying single-use gadgets: Rest assured, you can do more with a pizza stone than make pizza.

 

The simple beauty of a pizza stone is its ability to get crazy hot and remain bone dry (crispy!), which are the exact conditions you need for something like pizza crust.

Another benefit: Pizza will rarely burn on a stone. More precisely, the crust will burn before the bottom will, so even though you can’t see it, you don’t have to stress out that the bottom is burning while it sits on the blazing hot stone.

HOW TO USE A PIZZA STONE

The pizza stone should come with instructions, but here’s an overview:

  • PREHEAT. A pizza stone has to be preheated. Always place your stone in a cold oven, then dial up the heat. This enables the stone to absorb heat evenly. In addition, a cold pizza stone placed in a hot oven can shatter.
  • HOT, HOT, HOT. Preheat the stone in a 450°F oven.
  • PADDLE. Once the stone has reached the proper temperature, it is too hot to handle with a conventional oven glove. That’s why you need a wooden pizza paddle, which slides underneath the pizza and can also be used to remove the stone.
  • SEASONING. A pizza stone needs to be seasoned first, so that when oil from the pie seeps into it, the stone is clean. It should develop a nonstick patina over time.
  • USE A PADDLE. The paddle brings your pie from the counter top to the stone in the oven, removes it when cooked, and also can remove the hot stone from the oven.
  •  

    HOW TO CLEAN A PIZZA STONE

  • A bench scraper works well, particularly for removing hardened bits of melted cheese.
  • Most stones are dishwasher safe, and can also be wiped with a non-chemical cleaner.
  • Bear in mind that a pizza stone will pick up conditioning and beauty marks as you use it. Don’t worry about it being spotless, and don’t worry about bacteria: Pizza bakes at temperatures hotter than any bacteria or foodborne illness can withstand.
  •  
    THE PIZZA PADDLE

    If you want to make pizza with minimal muss and fuss, you should also own a pizza paddle. Then, along with the pizza stone, you’re ready to compete with the local pizzeria.

    The paddle, dusted with a bit of semolina flour or cornmeal, is the most effective way to get the raw, stretched pie onto the stone.

     

    Growing oysters off the coast of Louisiana. Photo courtesy Louisiana Seafood News.

     

  • Stretch an edge of the dough over the lip at the end of the paddle. When putting the pizza into the oven, touch this dough edge to the stone first.
  • It should stick to the stone and allow you to carefully slide the paddle out and leave the pizza behind. (Don’t worry; it takes a little practice to yield pretty pizzas.)
  •  
    Without a paddle to build on, it’s challenging to move the pie to the hot stone from whatever surface you’ve built it on.

    WHAT ELSE TO DO WITH A PIZZA STONE

    Beyond making a pie from scratch, a pizza stone is perfect for getting any number of dough-related items especially toasty and delicious; just think of the idea pizza, and apply that to:

    Canapés: Small appetizers like crackers and crostinis can get soggy if they sit with toppings longer than intended. A quick trip into a 350°F oven on a pizza stone will bring them back to life, strengthening the base and rewarming the toppings. Make bubbly, mini tuna melts on brioche rounds; remove and plate with ease using a spatula.

    Cookies: Picture your favorite chocolate chip (or other) cookie, hot from the oven, with a crispy bottom and a soft top, chocolate chips all gooey. A minute or two on a pizza stone will give you just that. Bonus: A crispy bottom stands up particularly well to a milk dunking!

    Cold/Leftover Pizza: Never again use a microwave to reheat your pizza, and that overly chewy crust that stretches like taffy will become a thing of the past! Five minutes on a hot pizza stone will have your slice tasting like it did when it arrived at your front door or your table at the pizzeria.

    Pastries: A danish, scone, or other sweet pastry will get hot without getting soggy if you put it on a pizza stone. Keep an eye on pastries with fillings or glazes, as they will conduct heat more quickly and need less time than you might think.

    Sandwiches: Open faced or closed, a hot sando made (or simply finished) on a pizza stone is unmistakably the most delicious way to enjoy it. The bread will get as crispy as possible, helping strengthen it for wetter fillings and condiments. Starting a grilled cheese open faced on a pizza stone helps get the cheese brown and bubbly, adding another layer of flavor to the sandwich when you put your two halves together.

      





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