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Although this may seem like an unnecessary addition to your kitchen, a baking stone can become a fundamental tool for your home.
They are popularly used to make delicious concoctions like homemade pizza and great for other kinds of bread and even dishes like cookies or casseroles that require particularly even heat distribution.
The intense heat from the porous surface pulls moisture from the outside of dough to create a perfectly crunchy crust. A baking stone, also widely known as a pizza stone, mimics the conditions of a brick oven.
It allows you to bake or cook directly on the heat source, giving you a more powerful heating tool and very even cooking. You might find yourself leaving a one in your oven all the time!
Using your Baking Stone
Usually, you’ll place the baking stone in your oven when you preheat it. It’s better to put it in a cold oven and let it preheat with the oven. If you put it in a hot oven, you risk it cracking due to thermal shock. A hot surface will produce the best results.
When cooking something like pizza, it’s better to place your oven’s rack nearer the top of the oven. For other breads and baked goods, orient it in the middle.
There’s no need to grease or oil your pizza stone, as it should be naturally nonstick. If you’re using a peel, I recommend sprinkling cornmeal on the bottom of the bread or pizza so it’ll slide off a bit easier.
Make sure you let the stone cool completely before removing it from your oven. Depending on your preferences, there’s no need to ever remove it from your oven as it helps spread heat more evenly and won’t have any adverse effects when cooking, even if you’re not cooking directly on it. However, make sure that you don’t place heavy pots, like dutch ovens, directly onto the surface or you might risk cracking it.
Cleaning your Baking Stone
Once your stone is completely cool, start cleaning it by scraping off any stuck food particles. Never use soap to clean it: use hot water and a clean sponge to scrub it occasionally. You shouldn’t need to scrub it with water very often. The oils collected from food help keep the surface nonstick, so don’t worry about removing them.
Never soak it in water and let it dry thoroughly before storing it again. Your stone will discolor over use but there’s no need to worry about that, it’s a natural part of the cooking process. Many people choose to lay parchment paper on the surface before baking to make cleanup a bit easier.
What to Buy
There are a few different types of baking stones that include variations in shapes, sizes, even material, although most are clay or ceramic. Here are a few well-reviewed options for you to choose from.
Old Stone Oven 14×16-inch Baking Stone Review
The Lodge Pro-Logic Pan comes pre-seasoned, saving you time and allowing you to dive right into cooking. In addition to baked goods like the ever-popular pizza, Lodge also recommends roasting veggies and cooking pork chops and other cuts of meat on this tool. You can also cook high-fat baked goods like cookies on the cast iron pan with no fear. Like all 0f the Pro-Logic line, this one is made in the USA.
Sur La Table Baking Steel Review
Although much less common, the serious baker or pizza connoisseur may want to consider getting a baking steel. The best thin crust pizzas are baked at the highest temperatures possible, and although your home oven won’t get this hot, this steel is oven safe up to 1800ºF! You can most certainly safely use it on the very hottest setting your oven has to offer without worrying about it breaking. It has eighteen times the conductivity of traditional stones.
In addition to being oven safe, you can also use it on your grill and even on your induction stovetop as a griddle, giving you a very multipurpose kitchen tool. In fact, this steel can even be chilled and used as a cold plate to serve appetizers on, as it holds temperatures so well.
Sur La Table Baking Steel available from Amazon.
These models weigh quite a bit since they’re made from high-quality steel, so make sure you’re up to the challenge of moving it in and out of your oven or grill before purchasing. Best of all? These are made for Sur La Table in the USA by Stoughton Steel Co.
Kitchen Supply Aluminum Pizza Peel Review
No matter which you end up deciding is right for you, I highly recommend getting a pizza peel for your safety. To properly use a pizza stone, you should always preheat it in your oven or grill. This means that you will be working on an incredibly hot surface and it’s all too easy to accidentally burn yourself.
With the pizza peel, you can remove your pizza, bread, or even a cookie sheet a little more safely. Not to mention, it is far easier to move a raw, doughy pizza from your work surface to the hot stone with the help of a peel. You can even assemble the pizza right on the peel and then just slide it on.
RSVP World Class Pizza Cutter Review
If you really want to outfit your kitchen with the ultimate pizza-making tools, you might want to add this pizza cutter to your collection. This issue may just be limited to my incompetence, but I always struggle to cut pizza. So much so that my fiancé now insists that he do the honors because I will just not get it right.
Not so with this pizza cutter! It’s shape allows you to really put your weight into it, making it much easier to evenly slice a pizza and actually cut all the way through. My favorite part: since it’s so much sharper than the standard pizza wheel, it’s not going to drag the precious cheese or topping away from the pie!
No matter which baking stone you’ve decided is right for your kitchen, you’ll find that it will truly add to your home cooking experience, not just with pizzas and breads, but nearly everything you prepare in the oven or grill. Pizza night will be much more fun and you’ll never find yourself with a soggy or burnt crust again!
Since this is an incredibly hot tool, make sure to always use it safely by using a peel and letting it cool completely before handling.
To truly enjoy your baking stone at its very best, make sure to check out these invaluable baking tips and tricks!
About Chelsea Miller
Chelsea Miller, born and raised in Portland, Oregon, graduated from the University of Oregon where she discovered both her love of football and cooking great food. She's the founder of the food blog "A Duck's Oven" and began writing for Foodal in 2014.