Once you learn how to use a pizza stone you’ll never order delivery again. Pizza stones distribute heat evenly and absorb moisture, guaranteeing a perfect crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside crust that tastes like it came straight out of a brick oven. You do need to use baking stones properly or they won’t live up to the hype — luckily, it’s surprisingly simple.
You may have heard that a pizza stone needs to be seasoned before you cook on it. The idea is to prime it with oil to create a non-stick surface but most chefs agree that this isn’t necessary and may actually ruin the stone. Instead, just sprinkle some cornmeal over it for the first few pies.
Here’s the real scoop on how to use a pizza stone. Before cooking with it for the first time, wash your stone with water but DON’T use soap. Because it’s got a porous surface, it will absorb whatever you put on it and no one wants a soapy pizza. Pat it dry, put it in the oven and let it bake at 450° for 30 minutes. Now it’s ready to go!
Never put a cold baking stone into a hot oven because it could crack; always preheat the stone with the oven. Some people just store theirs in the oven so it’s always ready when you need it. For cleaning, just rinse it with water and scrape off any residue with a plastic spatula. Be sure not to let it soak in the water — pizza stones are so absorbent that they may be ruined. Get a pizza peel (the wooden paddle used with brick ovens) to move your pie in and out of the oven and don’t slice it on the stone or you’ll have to buy a new cutter each time.
Now that you know how to use a pizza stone in the oven, kick it up a notch for summer by using it on the grill! All of the same rules apply when it comes to preheating and storage. Whether you use your baking stone on the grill or in the oven, it’s great for more than just pizza. Make homemade bread with a crispy crust and healthy alternatives to many fried foods. You can serve homemade potato chips at your next cookout, grill up perfect quesadillas or tortillas and even roast vegetables. You’ll officially be the head chef of your family!