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View Full Version : Cast iron skillet versus pizza stone


China Guy
07-04-2009, 07:37 AM
Anyone out there looked into this or done comparisons between a good heavy cast iron skillet compared with a "pizza" stone for baking in the oven? Main things would be for baking pizza and bread. I wouldn't mind recommendations for other baking uses.

I've had a couple of pizza stones, but they always end up getting broken before too much use. On the other hand, I've got your basic big ass cast iron skillet. Seems like the skillet can do all that a pizza stone can do and morre (and doesn't break when dropped). Seems to heat up pretty well, not lose heat when you put a lump of dough on it, dough does not seem to have condensation or wetness problems.

Seems to me you can use a cast iron skillet instead of a pizza stone and get the same results. Does your experience bear that out?

Avumede
07-04-2009, 08:49 AM
Some will say that the pizza stone will absorb moisture, but not the cast iron, and that makes a difference. However, I bake my pizzas on top of parchment paper, and it works pretty well with no moisture transfer. I suspect the reason is that at high temperatures, cast iron will smoke.

misling
07-04-2009, 09:37 AM
I use a "pizza stone" consisting of an unglazed ceramic tile from Home Depot. Total cost: 99 cents. It breaks every couple of years, and I get another.

I wash it in the dishwasher, too.

Typo Knig
07-04-2009, 11:04 AM
I use a "pizza stone" consisting of an unglazed ceramic tile from Home Depot. Total cost: 99 cents. It breaks every couple of years, and I get another.

I wash it in the dishwasher, too.

I am very interested in what you have to say, and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter!

In your experience does any old unglazed tile do, or is there a specific style and size you use? Do you bake the pizza on the tile, or just place the tile(s) in the oven to absorb the moisture?

BiblioCat
07-04-2009, 11:13 AM
I use a "pizza stone" consisting of an unglazed ceramic tile from Home Depot. Total cost: 99 cents. It breaks every couple of years, and I get another.

I wash it in the dishwasher, too.I know the unglazed tile is different from the actual stones (I think), but I have a couple of the Pampered Chef stone items, and I was always told specifically not to wash them in the dishwasher, or, for that matter, with soap. Stones are porous and will absorb the soap, which will affect food flavor.
They're like cast iron - you just rinse it with hot water, and dry.
If it gets greasy, I make a paste of baking soda and water, smear it on the stone and let it sit for a couple hours, and then rinse it well.

Johnny L.A.
07-04-2009, 11:19 AM
I picked up a piece of slate from the local rockmonger. They gave it to me gratis, since I didn't know if it was what I wanted. It works fine for pizza.

But it's more convenient to use a 12" cast iron skillet. For one thing, I always end up with a round pizza. For another, it's easier to clean since it's a 'standard' shape. (The slate is an 18" parallelogram.) Grease soaks into the stone, but not the iron.

missred
07-04-2009, 05:24 PM
I've never done pizza in a cast iron skillet, but I do them, as well as hearth loaves of bread on my round cast iron griddle. Works pretty well.

The one and only pizza stone I had absorbed grease and broke after a couple of years. As small of a home as I live in, I don't see myself replacing it when I have the griddle.

Railroader
07-04-2009, 05:31 PM
I haven't tried it, but it seems to me that you could get the cast iron pan smoking hot on the stovetop, and then put it and the pizza under the broiler. No waiting for the oven to heat up, and really high temps to cook the pizza quickly.

Rob

Darryl Lict
07-04-2009, 05:33 PM
I am very interested in what you have to say, and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter!

In your experience does any old unglazed tile do, or is there a specific style and size you use? Do you bake the pizza on the tile, or just place the tile(s) in the oven to absorb the moisture?
Mexican unglazed satillo tile (http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ContentView?pn=SV_HS_Saltillo_Tile&langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10). You bake the pizza right on top of the tile. I'd just rinse it off and store it in the oven. I'm growing tomatoes and basil and am looking forward to attempting it in the grill (it gets up to 700F). Satillo tiles come in a couple sizes. Most people use 4 of them.

DoctorJ
07-04-2009, 05:41 PM
The main problem with the cast iron skillet for pizza is that it's difficult (though not quite impossible) to pre-heat the skillet and then put the topped pizza in it. You can make the pizza out in the room temperature cast iron skillet and then put it in the hot oven, but it's going to effectively insulate the pizza from the heat. It's exactly the opposite of the effect you want--the point of the stone is that it's blisteringly hot when the pizza hits it.

I have made good pizza in cast iron skillets, but it's a different beast. As for bread, it's probably better for that, but if you're going that route a cast iron Dutch oven is really great.

I also do unglazed quarry tile. I buy it in boxes of 6" square tiles and use four of them to line my small oven. I just rinse them with hot water before I put them in, and when they get nasty I replace them--a box of 28 tiles was less than $20. I don't know why people get so worried about the seams--they're really not an issue.

China Guy
07-04-2009, 06:52 PM
I've never done pizza in a cast iron skillet, but I do them, as well as hearth loaves of bread on my round cast iron griddle. Works pretty well.
This makes great sense. Maybe I should trade to a griddle. I like cast iron because you can do a lot of different cooking/baking with one. A griddle would work just as well for me as a skillet. I like to minimize all the stuff in my kitchen and go for a lot of multi use items instead of one use cookery.

Dr J: I make smaller pizzas and then slide them into the heated skillet. But you're rright this is a drawback.

misling
07-05-2009, 08:23 AM
About the tile from Home Depot: I just look for one without any paint or glaze or sealer, that fits in the oven. The current ones are some kind of offwhite stone.

I generally just wipe them off, but if they get nasty, I put them in the dishwasher. It probably shortens their life, but I haven't noticed any off flavor from soap or anything. I don't think the stone tile would absorb as much as (for instance) a porous ceramic one, but that's just a guess.

After a couple of years, they generally crack across. I think the longest one has lasted was just under 3 years.

Serenata67
07-05-2009, 07:30 PM
I was watching Good Eats (http://www.foodnetwork.com/good-eats/index.html) by Alton Brown and he suggested using a ceramic waterdish from the bottom of a large ceramic pot (you know, the big round flat thing you put under the pot).

Renee
07-05-2009, 08:27 PM
We make the best, most awesome pizzas ever on the grill. Just get it really hot (like 500 degrees, throw the crust on (basic no-knead bread dough (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html?_r=1&ex=1171429200&en=1f59fe22ce7c7fba&ei=5070) rolled out thin) for about 2 minutes, flip, add toppings, and take it off after another 2-3 minutes. To die for, I tell you.

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