Buying blindly, without actually knowing what the potential and methods of using a pizza stone are, is not the best to aspire to.
In the next lines, you can read and mark some of the precautions and clarifications that we want to give you regarding the use of this tool, which will allow you to obtain at least professional results.
It is not necessary to make all the grass a bundle: for this reason, it is good to know the right timing and cooking methods, to optimize the tools and ingredients that you have at hand.
Right below we had selected some of the latest and advanced models of pizza stones for you.
What to Look for Before Buying Pizza Stones?
In addition to what may be the articles that we consider most valid in terms of quality and price, it is good that you know what the main characteristics of a refractory stone are.
Below we want to provide you with the right information to make the best choice during the purchase phase, directing you on what peculiarities such a product must have and understand together which refractory stone to buy, obtaining the maximum result.
When you read “refractory stone,” it means that the one in question is composed of a specific material that can withstand high temperatures without releasing substances that would pollute what they come into contact with.
This becomes very important, especially when we talk about food and cooking. So be sure to buy refractory stones that have cordierite, refractory clay, or refractory bricks as constituent materials.
The first is a mineral which, unlike terracotta, is not very porous and easy to wash. The clay recalls a little that ancient flavor of bread baked on stone, although it is terracotta.
Very often, various types are chosen and cooked all together at high temperatures, to ensure greater resistance to temperature changes and abrasions that could occur.
Some Specific Features
It may seem too difficult to use such a product. However, some specific features make it unique and indispensable if you want to cook baked goods professionally.
There are some refractory stones equipped with special metal tools for transport and others that are part of a real set, in which you can find wooden or aluminum pizza shovels and cookbooks.
Under the type of processing, size, and thickness, there are some refractory stones useful, especially for those who love barbecue, or others more suitable for the grill.
The advice we want to give you is to evaluate all the options before purchasing, because there may be products intended for the construction market and, for this reason, rich in toxic substances to be avoided. So be sure to choose certified products for their safety.
Not necessarily, you need to be a professional in the sector to be able to choose the right refractory stone. On the market, you will find two types of structures: one more compact and another perforated.
Essentially the difference lies in the type of movement of heat that will then cook the food. The compact ones are mainly made up of minerals such as cordierite, whose structure seems to be a real solid brick, but not too heavy.
In the second case, those typically drilled are those produced in refractory clay. Often they are made with special central channels that facilitate the circulation of heat, cooking more evenly any food you want, although it takes almost double the time for heating in the oven.
The Size and Thickness
Another detail to underwrite is the type of size and thickness of a refractory stone. On the market, you can find various geometric shapes, but the most functional is the round, rectangular, or square ones, which allow you to obtain a hot surface on which to cook your preparations.
To add to this, there is the thickness factor: the main refractory stones are from a minimum of 1 cm, up to 6 cm. What changes? Mainly the cooking time of the products and the heating time of the stone, but, in truth, also the amount of moisture it can absorb.
For this reason, if you intend to use it often, it would be advisable to buy a middle ground. Usually, a small thickness refractory stone, you will need it if you have to prepare small elements such as biscuits or croissants, while the opposite for large pizzas, stuffed buns, or bread.
How Does It Work?
Now that you know the main characteristics of a refractory stone, it is also good to understand how it works, to avoid making mistakes and also buying objects that are not needed.
The main step is to heat it in the oven, on the grill or on the barbecue, or wherever you want. The refractory stones are capable of withstanding very high temperatures, higher than those which reach traditional and household ovens.
Once heated to maximum power in the oven, the chosen food can be cooked on it, and, at this point, the temperature stored in the stone will increase the effective temperature inside the oven. It will absorb moisture, guaranteeing the crunchiness of food, just like in a professional oven.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Big Is a Refractory Stone Usually?
So that you can use it on several occasions, no matter which company produces it, the refractory stone will meet specific size requirements. As you can see in our guide on how to choose the best refractory stones of 2020, the main dimensions on which they roam are 36 x 36 x 2 cm, when it comes to small models.
For other thicker and more compact types, the dimensions are up to 5/6 cm thick and 38/40 cm wide and length. The bigger it is, the more food you can cook at the same time, but it all depends on the choice of using a barbecue, a grill, or an electric or gas oven.
What Can Be Cooked on The Refractory Stone?
Once you understand how to heat the refractory stone, you’re done: you can cook pizza, bread, focaccia, and much more. Very often, some are also equipped with a recipe book, from which you can draw to show off your culinary skills.
You will only have to look after the right temperature. Then you will have the opportunity to make sweets such as cakes, pies, or baked goods such as homemade bread, sandwiches, croissants, but the real workhorse is pizza practically the same as that of the restaurant.
The refractory stone will help you control and cook the food perfectly even if you do not have an electric oven, but a gas oven whose heat comes only from above.
What Is the Refractory Stone Used For?
When you want to organize a wonderful dinner, without having to spend time outside the house, then the refractory stone comes to the rescue, which allows you to obtain the same cooking qualities from foods that would normally be either overcooked or too raw or not pleasant to the taste.
Its main feature is to absorb humidity and to cook, giving the crunchiness that is obtained from professional ovens, such as those of pizzerias or restaurants.
You can also use it, especially on the grill, or on the barbecue if you love charcoal. There is no limit to fantasy.
What Are the Best Products to Clean the Refractory Stone?
If you got here, it’s because you’re wondering “how to clean the refractory stone?”. Maybe you just bought it, or you are already using it for the first time, in any case, the answer is simple: you won’t have to use any product other than water.
Well yes, being composed of essentially porous materials, you could compromise your preparation, since the stone could absorb toxic elements and detergents, which would spill on the food during cooking.
Even better if you avoid liquids or anything that can be stored. Certain attention may even be enough not to drop anything during cooking, as in the case of the preparation of a pizza, whose tomato sauce could stain the surface of the refractory stone.
How to Use a Pizza Stone?
The Timing of Preparation
Knowing what the refractory stone is for is the first step to start using it in the best way: the cooking times of each food, not just the same. Some take less time, and others take more minutes.
First of all, you need to know that cooking a pizza is around 7/10 minutes, while that of biscuits and other smaller products need just 3/4 minutes of cooking. However, one must take precautions and be careful not to burn them in the oven.
How to Use It?
In this guide, we told you where to buy the refractory stone, but now the next step is to learn how to use it! Understanding how to heat the refractory stone is not that difficult, also because very often there are instruction manuals, made specifically for each item by the company that produces it.
In principle, you will have to turn on the oven or the appliance to be used for cooking, using all its power and leave the refractory stone inside, so that it accumulates the right heat that it will pour onto the food.
Be careful, though, because, always keeping in mind the thickness, for terracotta refractory stones, the heating time will be at least 40 minutes, unlike those in cordierite, which instead heat up even in a quarter of an hour.
Main Cleaning Method
You could easily rely on the care and cleaning manual present in each package, even if very often it is written in all languages, except in Italian. In this case, take advantage of the following suggestions.
The main step is to scrape off any pieces stuck to the surface with a spatula, then wipe with a carefully washed and dampened cloth and remove stubborn dirt.
Take care not to wet the surface and dry it immediately if there are drops of water. Otherwise, you may find yourself a broken or cracked refractory stone and, therefore, to be thrown away.