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Thread: do i need a pizza stone?

  1. #1

    do i need a pizza stone?

    hi all!
    thanks for all your help from my previous inquiries...

    ok...i think i found the sauce i wanna try (with carrots)
    and i'm debating between a dough recipe found on allrecipes.com that has so many glowing reviews or another crust found on this BB...anyone try the recipe from allrecipes.com for jay's signature pizza crust?

    now do i really need to buy a pizza stone? how much are they and where can i find them...what's the purpose of the stone? what's the difference if i just go ahead and bake it on a baking sheet?

    also should i definitley use cornmeal on the bottom?

    and is fresh mozzarella shreddable? (stupid question but i vaguely remember seeing fresh mozzarella on nigella's show and it looked really wet and gooey?)

    thanks!! i really wanna recreate that amazing pizza we had in anguilla...

    -------------------------------------------------------------------


    Jay's Signature Pizza Crust

    2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
    1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
    1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

    1 In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes.
    2 Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour.
    3 Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out. Use for your favorite pizza recipe.
    4 Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). If you are baking the dough on a pizza stone, you may place your toppings on the dough, and bake immediately. If you are baking your pizza in a pan, lightly oil the pan, and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.
    5 Bake pizza in preheated oven, until the cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

    Makes 15 servings

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    287
    Chloe - if you're going to the trouble of making your own crust, you definitely should use a pizza stone. It makes a tremendous difference in the texture of the crust and allows the bottom to crisp. Mine happens to be Pampered Chef, but you can buy them all over the place these days - Bed Bath & Beyond, Sur La Table, etc. The one at SLT was about $20. At BBB it came in a set for about $15 with a peel (which is also useful) and a pizza cutter. You put it in the oven cold and it heats as the oven pre-heats.

    Yes, you definitely need the cornmeal. Since the stone heats up in the oven, you need to assemble your pizza on something and then slide it into the oven onto the stone. I use a pizza peel (kind of like a wooden board with a handle), and the cornmeal is necessary so that it slides off the peel onto the stone. You could also use a cookie sheet without lip (which I did before I owned a peel).

    You usally slice fresh mozzarella - I've never tried to shred it - but I guess you could try. It is kind of soft.

    Good luck in your quest - good homemade pizza is worth the work!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    1,425
    I love our pizza stones! You can use them to bake bread, cookies, etc. as well as pizzas. We have the Pampered Chef one and another one from Linens and Things that came with the pizza peel, cutter, etc.
    Blogging Fun
    Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. -Michael Pollan

  4. #4

    difference in quality?

    is there a big difference between something nicer like the pampered chef stone and something i can buy for $15 from target or something that comes with the cutter and stone and rack?

    i'm gonna get one today ... i found just the stone from pampered chef on ebay so i'm just wondering if its worth it to get the nicer one...

    also do i need a peel or could i just use parchment paper?

    thanks!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,211
    More expensive stones are less likely to crack, and more likely to have some kind of warranty if they DO crack.

    That said, apparently the super-cheap option is to go down to Home Despot and buy heatproof quarry tiles for about 15 cents apiece and line the oven with 'em...

    I never replaced my (cheapish) pizza stone when IT cracked; instead I use one of those holey aluminum pizza bakers. Honestly, I find it gives just as nice and crisp a crust, without the bother of having a hot stone to deal with.

    You will not need the pizza peel. It is also awkward to store, even though it makes one feel all romantic-a and-a real-pizza baker. Go with the parchment and lots of cornmeal. Less picturesque, but then as Julia Child says, if no one is watching you can do whatever you want in your kitchen. (Said, according to legend, as she scooped up a roast something that had gone splat on the counter, and rearranged it prettily on the serving platter. )

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Lone Star State
    Posts
    20,661
    If it's something you are going to do more than once or twice, get a pizza stone. It's great for all kinds of bread baking too, and I've even used mine to hold hot dishes that have to travel.

    A peel is not that expensive (I've seen them for as little as $5) and I prefer using one. I tried the cookie sheet and other sliding off techniques, but I found the peel to be the easiest -- not just for getting things into the oven, but also out. I have 2 full-size peels and a smaller baguette one. I could live without the smaller one, but I wouldn't want to bake pizza and breads without at least one full-size peel.

    If you don't want to or can't use cornmeal (allergies?), you can also use rice flour. Both are less absorbent that wheat flour and help keep the dough from sticking.

  7. #7
    If you can afford it, get a thick rectangular pizza stone. It's less likely to crack and easier to get the raw pizza onto (aligning round on round requires more precision, which quite frankly isn't easy in a 500 degree oven!). I love my pizza stone and use it a lot--it's well worth the money! You can also bake great breads on it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Lenexa, KS
    Posts
    1,338
    I love my pizza stone (yes - you do "need" one if you like crispy crusts!)

    Re: the peel. Since they are relatively inexpensive, I'd pick one up. I use a trick I learned from the board to make things easier: place parchment paper on the peel, then put the crust on the parchment paper. Slide the parchment and pizza onto the stone (sprinkled with cornmeal). Bake for a few minutes, then pull the parchment out. Once done, slide the peel back under the pizza to pull it out.

    I learned this trick the hard way after trying to slide a heavily sauced BBQ/chicken pizza onto my stone. This is a great method and it works everytime!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Lithia, FL
    Posts
    1,833
    I agree with everyone else; the pizza stone is absolutely essential to a nice, crisp crust. I have a Pampered Chef stone, and it lives in my oven! I never take it out, unless I need the room for something else. I bake biscuits on it, warm up sandwiches and leftover pizza....whatever.
    I also love my pizza peel. It makes sliding your pizza in and out of the oven so much easier. I've never used cornmeal; I use parchment under my pizza when I roll it out, and slide the whole thing onto my stone.
    Good luck!
    Lynne


    To err is human, to forgive, canine.
    -- Anonymous

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