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Re: Quest for a Better Pizza Stone

From the WFO board

Posted by Robert Grimes on April 30, 2004 at 03:29:33:

In Reply to: Re: Quest for a Better Pizza Stone posted by TheMax on February 21, 2004 at 09:22:59:

I am not sure what you have access to, but here in the US a pizza stone is found in about every department store. They are normally round and about 16 inches in diameter and many come with a rack to hold them on when taken out. I think chains like Walmart, Kmart even have them. I have purchased several. They are the stone you are looking for, about 1/4 inch thick and you are supposed to just put them on the oven rack. They take no time to heat up.

I have used these, not in the oven, but on a standard bbq grill to cook pizza. I just turn on the bbq with the stone on the rack and wait for it to really get hot. It doesn't take long. The only thing that you have to be really careful with is that these break easily. Any type of quick cooling (like lots of moisture/water) will instantly crack them. I have ended up using two stones on top of each other and both are severely cracked. However, being on the grill, they still work fine. Going this route also makes it a bit closer to a wood burning flavor (though I use propane for fuel) and it can get the high temps needed.

I can get a picture or more info if you want it. The price is about $15 US or so. Hope this helps.

: Hey Scott, I'm in the same situation at the moment. I am currently using a cordierite firebrick pizza stone. The actual pizza stone is like 7/8" I think, but its not completely flat. On the bottom it has several 'legs' that make it quite a bit thick.

: I don't know exactly what type of firebrick you're talking about, but the one I used did have grit when I first got it, but after brushing it and washing it off, its still rough but nothing comes off. I don't know much about this stuff, but I can tell you the one I have doesn't take forever to heat and makes an awesome crust.

: I, myself was going to go the soapstone route myself, because of all that wonderful properties of soapstone (it is the most thorough soapstone information page containing all data), but the same thing occurred to me, it is not porous ... one of its main characteristics also seems to be one of its main disadvantages for using as a pizza stone ...

: I would like to really try soapstone, but what I can tell you for the moment is that the 7/8" square cordierite pizza stone works terrific. I have seen many common pizza stones aimed at the average Joe, but they seem cheap, flimsy, and have gotten a very bad rep...

: Let me know, what you end up doing.

: : I am attempting to create pizzeria style pizza at home. My question is not specifically about wood burning ovens but I'm hoping that someone will know a thing or two about baking stones.

: From what I've learned it's all about heat. Pizzeria ovens are HOT (700+ degrees) and they have thick (1-2") baking stone surfaces. Although I can't match the BTU's energy, I can get a thick baking stone with a good thermal capacity. I've narrowed it down to 3 stone possibilities. Firebrick, Fibrament (from and Soapstone. Please don't recommend unglazed quarry tile - I'm not going that route. I know it's a shot in the dark but has anyone had experience with all three?

: : Each has their strengths/weakness. The fire brick is thick (2") - lots of thermal mass, but ... it takes forever to preheat and is so heavy that I have to reinforce my oven shelf. And the fire brick feels gritty, which I'm concerned might get on my crust. The Fibrament baking stone at .75" thick, preheats very quickly but it doesn't seem to have enough mass to maintain a very high heat for the 10 or so minutes it takes to cook pizza. Soapstone, at 1.25" feels like the perfect thickness, and it has a superior conductivity so a very quick preheat, but... I don't think it's porous enough to absorb moisture from the crust, something a pizza stone needs to do. Any ideas?

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