When you’re putting your brand-new pizza stone to the test for the first time, do you have any idea how long to heat pizza stone? Pizza stones are made with ceramic, stone, or clay material that can be sensitive and fragile if not used and taken care of properly. So how do you make sure that your pizza stone remains in tip-top condition and produce the best homemade pizza ever?
Wood-Burning Brick Oven vs. Conventional Oven
Before going through the details on how long to heat pizza stone, let us first discuss why you need it by differentiating wood-burning brick ovens and conventional ovens. Considering that conventional ovens are the most available between the two, let’s find out how different wood-burning brick oven pizzas would be.
First off, wood-burning brick ovens can reach a higher cooking temperature compared to a conventional oven. Considering that wood-burning brick oven are made out of brick walls, the heat is spread and contained within and can reach anywhere between 570- and 660-degrees Fahrenheit. In relation to this, wood-burning brick ovens also have a faster cook time that is around 2 to 3 minutes only as to the conventional oven’s 5 to 10 minute-cook time.
As for the pizza itself, wood-burning brick ovens create a better texture and unique flavor for the pizza that cannot be easily replicated with a home oven. With its high temperature, pizzas baked in a wood-burning brick oven have a crispier crust with a soft and chewy inside. Also, brick oven baked pizzas have a unique smoky flavor as well as a crispier topping without sacrificing the consistency of the crust.
However, it is also important to keep in mind that certain pizza dishes are not suitable for brick ovens for the same reasons, such as the deep dish Chicago style pizza as the high heat would burn the exterior without cooking the insides enough.
What is a Pizza Stone?
People often say that pizzas baked in wood-burning brick ovens are superior to pizzas baked in conventional kitchen ovens. While this may be considered as a simple matter of opinion, do you know that there is a way to make your home oven cook pizza like a wood-burning brick oven? How? The answer lies with a simple tool called pizza stone.
A pizza stone is a portable cooking surface that is designed for cooking pizzas while mimicking the effects of a brick oven. Commonly made with ceramic, stone, or clay, the pizza stone has a porous nature that allows it to absorb moisture from the pizza, which results in a crispier crust.
Baking Pizza with a Pizza Stone
Conventional home kitchens are not exactly made to bake pizzas on their own as they lack the capacity to produce raise heat at a temperature best suited to produce quality homemade pizza. And this is where pizza stones come into action. As some would say, a hot pizza stone is the key to producing that crispy pizza crust we all crave for. Its capability to pass on heat effectively and efficiently recreates cooking conditions found in wood-burning brick ovens and results in faster cooking time and a better tasting crust. But exactly how long to heat pizza stone? This part comes a bit tricky as it is also important not to use too much heat to keep your pizza stone from cracking. There are several steps you need to make to prepare your pizza stone for cooking:
- Place your pizza stone in the lowest rack of a cold oven. It is important to place the stone in a cold oven to avoid thermal shock that occurs when you put a cold stone into a hot oven.
- Preheat the oven and the stone until it reaches 550° F for at least 30 minutes to an hour for more browning and crisping. The longer you preheat your pizza stone, the better results for the pizza in terms of color and consistency.
- Insert the pizza and cook accordingly.
- Let the pizza stone cool in the oven before removing and cleaning it.
Pizza Stone Care and Maintenance
Besides learning how long to heat pizza stone, it is also important to know how to properly handle and care for fragile tools as such. Considering that it is often made with material that could be easily cracked, scratched, or damaged, how do you exactly care for your pizza stone?
- Let the stone cool down completely before attempting to soap it with dishwashing liquid.
- Never use your pizza stone directly on a source of heat, such as gas or electric stoves.
- Do not let your pizza stone come in direct contact with anything cold while it is extremely hot. Ideally, place it on a neutral surface such as a wooden board or cloth to cool.
- You can get rid of stubborn residues by soaking the pizza stone in hot water and white vinegar before scrubbing it in the dishwasher.
- Do not, at all costs, let moisture into the pizza stone by washing it hot or oiling it.
- Avoid placing cool or cold food, such as frozen pizza, onto the pizza stone. Let it sit in room temperature first before placing it onto the pizza stone.
Pizza is considered a staple and a favorite in any household. And while it’s easy to call for delivery when you start craving for some, nothing is better than homemade pizza that you seasoned and worked hard for. And what makes homemade pizza even better is having a pizza stone at hand to make that crispy crust we all love. Just keep in mind of subtle reminders such as how long to heat pizza stone and proper use, care, and maintenance to make sure that your pizza stone would last as long as possible. Here’s how to learn more about pizza stones.