If you ever wonder why pizzas in restaurants taste quite differently than your homemade attempt, it’s probably because they use a baking stone. This portable natural stone surface makes all the difference: it absorbs moisture from the dough and helps create a crust that is crispy and evenly cooked, yielding delicious artisan breads that will closely resemble bread made in a brick oven.
Baking stones comes in different materials. Your choice may depend on your oven, your needs, cooking style, and budget:
Ceramic pizza stones are perhaps the most economical among the other types. These stones are made from clay and fired in a kiln which makes them great at conducting high heat evenly. When properly cared for, ceramic stones can last for many years.
- Cast iron
Cast iron is known for its heat retention property. To use it, make sure to season it first to create a non-stick surface and to protect the cast iron from rust. Cast iron contains durable materials which makes it almost impossible to break, even if you drop it. Although you would still have to wear mittens, they have handles that make them easier to move in and out of the oven.
Cordierite stones are built to outlast all others as they extremely durable, although a bit on the pricey side. You can take a cordierite stone from a low temperature to a very high temperature without the risk of breaking it because it’s highly heat resistant.
Glazed or Unglazed
Baking stones are primarily sold as “unglazed” as they are made of natural materials which means they absorb more moisture. Some that are sold as “glazed” do have fine cracks or fissures to allow some moisture to penetrate.
Glazed pizza stones are slightly pricier as they are marketed as easier to clean, but unglazed stones seasoned with non-stick spray or cooking oil before baking will make them relatively easy to clean too.