How to Use a Stone Pizza Pan

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The best pizza comes not from a chain pizza place. It comes from your kitchen!

The best pizza comes not from a chain pizza place. It comes from your kitchen!

Is there anything better than a freshly baked pizza? I would say no (well maybe a freshly baked pizza along side a pile of hot wings). If you’ve turned on your TV lately you’ll notice every pizza chain in the world has a commercial touting themselves as having the freshest ingredients with the best recipes.

Now, of course, this isn’t true. The best pizzerias you’ll ever go to aren’t large chain stores. Instead, they are owned by individuals who make it their life’s mission to give their customers the greatest tasting pizza ever. What do all of these places have in common? They ACTUALLY use fresh ingredients and prepare their pies with the care that you cannot get from the large pizza chains.

Get that pizzeria taste at home

You don’t have to spend all of your money at the pizza shop to get the same great quality and taste. With a little bit of practice, you can learn how to prepare your dough and find the perfect combination of ingredients to make your pizza “pop” with flavor the same way the professionals do.

This pizza stone is rectangular.

Of course, you will need to get some tools to do this, and the most important tool is the pizza stone.

How to use a pizza stone

There are some important things to remember when you are using a pizza stone, and it doesn’t start or stop with how to cook on one. The steps to using a pizza stone are this:

  • Preheat the oven with the pizza stone in it
  • Prepare your pizza using a pizza peel
  • Take the pizza out using a pizza peel
  • Take the pizza stone out of the oven
  • Clean the pizza stone

Okay, let’s get into the nitty gritty of the steps of using the pizza stone. First, I’m sure you noticed that a tool called the “pizza peel” was mentioned just as often as the pizza stone. That is because it is an integral tool to making pizzas using a pizza stone. If you want to use a pizza stone, it is an absolute necessity to have a pizza peel as well.

Looking for the best pizza stone for the grill? I found it.

Step 1

You should put your pizza stone in the oven while it is still cold. It is essential that you do not subject the pizza stone to sudden and extreme temperature changes. Doing so will cause the stone to crack and become useless, and if you have ever seen the prices of these then you know, they are entirely too expensive to ruin.

Here’s my favorite homemade pizza dough recipe (no yeast!).

Step 2

Prepare your pizza on the pizza peel. See, your stone is in the oven getting adjusted to the rising temperatures. So you’ll need a place where you can prepare your pizza. The peel is the tool for this.

Before placing your dough on the paddle, liberally sprinkle some flour or cornmeal on it so that the dough does not stick to it.

This is an awesome cookbook for pizza recipes.

Step 3

Layer on your favorite sauce, cheese and toppings. Make sure the pizza isn’t sticking to your peel. Bring the pizza to the oven on the pizza peel. Line up your pizza peel over the stone. With 1 or 2 quick tugs (this part may take a little practice), slide the pizza from the peel to the stone.

Step 4

Take out the pizza. Use the pizza peel to lift the pizza out of the oven. Again, you want to avoid exposing pizza stones to rapid temperature changes (even when it is cooling down) so you should keep it in the oven until the oven is once again at room temperature.

Cut your pizza with this extra cool pizza wheel.

Step 5

Once the oven has cooled off, it is safe to remove the pizza stone. Take it out and get it ready for cleaning.

Pizza cookbook alert! One crust recipe, countless pizzas.

Step 6

Use the cleaning techniques below to clean your stone. This is vitally important to prolonging the life of your product.

This pizza is about to be good. Very very good.

This pizza is about to be good. Very very good.

How to care for your pizza stone

Pizza stones are fickle pieces of equipment, so you want to clean them correctly. First, you should never – under any circumstance – use soap on them. Pizza stones are very porous. Any chemical you put on them will find its way into your food. If you put soap on a pizza stone, you’ll end up with soap flavored pizza. Not tasty.

Instead, let your stone rest in warm water for a minute or 2 (don’t let it rest too long). This makes it easier for you to remove any pizza remnants that are still on the stone. Once you remove it from the water, use a brush or dish rag to scrub any remaining particles that were not eliminated in the soaking stage.

Lastly, let your stone air dry. Put it in the oven at 200º for 30 minutes. This step makes sure that mold and bacteria do not begin to build up on the pizza stone. Mold flavored pizza is also not tasty. 

Having a beer with your pizza?
I’ll show you the best IPA glass.

Wrap – Up

The beauty of a pizza stone is you can cook restaurant-quality pizzas at home. It can also be used to bake so many other foods like bread, cookies, quesadillas, nachos, and of course frozen pizzas (though, why would you?).

As you cook more on your stone, it will begin to soak in the flavors of the other pizzas you have made in the past, leaving you with pizza pies that become more delicious by the year.

Pizzas don’t just go on stones.
I’ll show you how to cook pizza in a cast iron skillet.

Additional Resources

Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: Zack M. and Naotake M.