Which refractory pizza stone to choose from among the many on the market? We recommend two in particular: the first is the Whirlpool PTF100, made of clay that is resistant to temperature changes. Its size makes it perfect for the home oven. The alternative is the Amazy Refractory Stone for Pizza da Forno which guarantees a fast and uniform cooking of the delicious food.
Buying Guide – How to choose the best refractory stone for pizza?
True pizza lovers know how much crispier the one cooked in a wood-fired oven is. When you can’t get one, just get a refractory stone to get a similar result. The guide we have created aims to help you choose the one with the best price and the best quality for best pizza peel.
What it is and how it works
The name can be misleading and can make you think of a Neanderthal stone: it’s not! It is actually a plate made of refractory material (such as clay or cordierite) which has multiple properties.
First of all, it can cook very quickly at very high temperatures, because it stores heat, allowing the traditional oven to exceed its limit in terms of degrees. It can then absorb excess liquid from food, giving a particular crunchiness to leavened products such as bread and pizza.
It is very important to avoid burning the food, as the surface in contact with the stone will turn golden without charring. Finally, it keeps the temperature of the oven constant, even when you open it, reducing the temperature changes caused by opening the door.
If you have guests for dinner and, in addition to pizza, you want to serve different dishes, take a look at the raclette grill recommended, an appliance still little known in Italy but which has its nice advantages: find out which ones.
Thickness, shape and size
Those who usually compare prices will take into account the cost of refractory stones on the market to find the cheapest one. Once this factor has been established, there are others to consider.
In the ranking, we place thickness at the top, which is one of the most important aspects. A very thin product has less thermal inertia: for this reason it can absorb and retain less heat, making a small contribution to maintaining the stability of the oven temperature.
On the other hand, a rather thick one will cook many pizzas without losing heat but will take several hours to heat up completely, thus using too much energy. For this reason, it is preferable to opt for one between 1.5 and 2.5 centimetres, able to make more dishes at a time but heating up in a reasonable time (between 40 and 60 minutes).
As for the shape, the best brand is the one that produces square or rectangular refractory stones, which prove to be more comfortable and versatile than round ones. The dimensions must be equal to those of the home oven, otherwise the product will be an unnecessary expense.
Although it can win the eye, enamelled stone is absolutely harmful to health. It contains lead, which is poisonous and should always be avoided in the kitchen. The same attention should be paid if you are planning to use elements on the market that affect the building sector.
This choice is completely inadvisable, as products of this kind could contain substances that are very harmful to health that are released during cooking.
No to DIY, therefore, and yes to refractory stones that have safety certifications. The reviews of many users lead to believe that perforated stones are much more comfortable to move and handle, given their lightness. They also heat up faster thanks to the hot air currents circulating inside them.
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The traditional method naturally involves the use of a wood-burning oven, but, in the home, it is very difficult to have such an instrument available, often you are forced to use the electric oven with unconvincing results.
So how is it possible to knead and bake a pizza worthy of the name at home?
Although it is not possible to replicate all the flavour and taste of a pizza made in a wood-fired oven since you cannot reach such high temperatures, a good help could come from the refractory stone.
What is refractory stone
It is a stone that is able to maintain the absorbed temperature for a long time because it cools down, by its nature, very slowly. In this way it is possible to recreate an environment similar to that of a wood-burning oven, with a slightly higher temperature than that which would normally be produced by a homemade electric oven.
How to use it
Its use is very simple: you have to place it on a grill of the oven, possibly in the highest part at about ten centimetres from the upper grill, leaving you the necessary space to accommodate a pizza.
The distance is very important because it concentrates the heat between the upper part of the oven and the top of the stone.
Prepare the pizza
When the stone is correctly positioned, you can turn the oven on at the desired temperature and wait for it to reach it. Then prepare your pizza, seasoning it with the ingredients that best suit you. When the oven reaches the set temperature you can turn on the grill.
Now it’s time to put the pizza in the oven with the help of a floured shovel if possible, so the pizza will not stick to it and you can easily slide it on the refractory stone inside the oven.
For cooking you will have to wait about four minutes, do not go too far from the oven as you could risk it burning. Check the cooking by opening the oven and, if it has reached the desired appearance, remove it using the shovel.
Refractory stone maintenance
The stone does not need to be washed since it reaches very high temperatures and keeps them for a long time, thus generating a natural sterilization. On the contrary, washing with detergents could be deleterious since it would change the taste of the pizza.
The only trick to take is to clean it with a dry metal sponge, similar to those used to clean the lava stone where the meat is usually cooked.
Frequently asked questions
What’s pizza rock and what’s it for?
Although the name may be misleading, it is a slab made of refractory material, i.e. able to withstand high temperatures. Its smooth and uniform surface makes it possible to perfectly cook not only pizza, but also other products.
Able to absorb the humidity of frozen food, it can make food crunchy, keeping the oven at a constant temperature. This requirement is fundamental in order not to risk finding the food we wanted to bake carbonized or, even worse, not completely cooked.
The secret to make the best use of it is to heat it for several minutes in the oven and then place the product we intend to bake on it. The difference in temperature between inside and outside will do the rest.
Where do you buy the refractory stone for pizza?
The possibilities are now many, but obviously depend mainly on factors such as the immediate need to have it, in which case you will have to look for it in physical stores.
Mainly, you can find refractory stones in hypermarkets, or in better-stocked supermarkets. Otherwise, you can opt for online e-commerce, which also allows you to save something extra.
The second option ensures you have a wider choice, without having to move from home, but buying with a simple click.
What can you do with a refractory stone, besides pizza?
Although the specific name of this product only refers to its use for cooking and preparing pizza, in truth, thanks to its characteristics, it can be used for the preparation of other foods.
The secret of the refractory stone is transmuted in the uniform and perfect cooking of whatever you are cooking. For this reason it is also indicated and recommended for the preparation of homemade bread or cakes made for example of shortcrust pastry (which must therefore be cooked well), but also other confectionery and bakery products.
How do you clean the refractory stone for pizza?
The cleaning of the refractory stone should be divided into two stages: the first, before placing it in the oven, and the second, after using it. But let’s go step by step.
Before its use and heating in the oven, it must be well washed with water and salt and dried perfectly (otherwise it could crack and break), and then introduced into the cold oven.
The second cleaning will certainly have to be done after its use: the first step is to remove probable residues or crumbs left on the surface, for this you will have to equip yourself with a spatula and scrape. Only then, with a cloth soaked in water and vinegar, you can pass the surface to start cleaning it.
You absolutely must not use detergents, which could damage the surface.
An additional caution should be taken when the temperature changes occur: putting the refractory stone in an already warm container or putting very cold food on its surface or even throwing water on the hot surface to start cleaning it, will make your refractory stone increasingly weak and prone to breakage.
How does pizza cooked on the refractory stone come out?
Whether it’s a frozen pizza or one prepared by you at home, the result is a crispy, evenly cooked food, just as if it had been put in a professional oven.