We received an Emile Henry grilling and backing stone and we’ve decided to make a pizza tonight. Any pointers? I figure we’ll buy pre-made pizza dough for tonight but we’ll be making our own down the road. Should I pick up baking parchment while I’m getting the dough?
I’m thinking a veggie pie, with caramelized onions, peppers, and mushrooms.
I didn’t want to buy an actual pizza stone, so I went and got a pice of slate. Since I didn’t know if it would work, they just gave me the piece gratis.
It worked well, but wasn’t really convenient with the heating and having to use a peel and whatnot. The SO gave me a 14" perforated non-stick pizza pan, and I’ve been using that ever since. It gives us nice crispy crusts, makes it easy to make a perfectly round pizza, and is easy to turn in the oven.
For the slate I’d been using, I never used parchment. I’d dust the top with cornmeal so the pizza wouldn’t stick, and I’d use the peel to turn the pie.
I can make my own dough – especially since I have a stand mixer – but I generally use the bagged dough from Trader Joe’s. For $1.29, it’s more convenient and a lot easier than spending a couple of hours making dough from scratch.
We don’t use parchment; just sprinkle a healthy layer of cornmeal on the stone. I think having the crust on parchment and not being in direct contact with the stone may defeat the purpose somewhat.
BTW - assuming the instructions say pre-heat the stone with the oven (i.e., put it in the oven before you turn the heat on), they really, really, mean it! I speak from experience.
For an easy, but good dough recipe, this here always comes through for me!
No pizza tips, but a pizza stone tip: we leave ours in the oven all the time, even when we aren’t making pizza. It’s a fantastic piece of thermal “ballast.” It makes the oven take a little longer to preheat, but once it’s preheated, it is very good at smoothing out the on-off cycle and keeping a steady temperature (we’ve tested it), which makes baked goods in particular turn out much better and more predictably.
I’m not familiar with Emile Henry’s grilling stone, but whatever the finish, you won’t need parchment. I use Pampered Chef baking stones and have seasoned them with oil. Like others here, I just sprinkle with cornmeal before slipping the pizza onto it. It is important always to preheat your stone to get good results.
I make my own dough also, which is stupid easy. My recipe makes 4 servings if you want a big ol’ fat individual pizza or 8 servings if you prefer thin crust (I prefer thin). The dough freezes beautifully, so for a little effort, you can have 8 servings of pizza dough at the ready.
If you go the peel route, make sure to flour it generously before laying out your dough for toppings. A sticking dough will ruin all your efforts! I usually use a spatula under the dough to coax it onto the heated stone, then slip the peel out from under it. With a little practice, you won’t spill even a shred of cheese.
Enjoy that homemade pizza!
Preheating is the main reason I said stones aren’t ‘convenient’. It’s not the preheating so much, as my lack of crust-shaping skills. I can’t make a round crust freehand to save my life. In addition to not needing preheating, the perforated pizza pan, as I said, allows me to make a round crust.
I could shape the crust on the stone, except who wants to do that on a 500º piece of rock? So I’d shape the crust on a cutting board and transfer it to the floured peel, or I’d flour the peel and shape the crust on it. But it’s much easier to use the pan or a cast-iron skillet.
I have a pizza steel and I’ve gone away from cornmeal (messy) and moved to parchment paper. I make the pizza on the paper and then use the edges of the paper to lift the pizza and put it on the steel. Haven’t noticed a discernible difference in the crust. It’s light years beyond anything I made pre-steel either way.
I eat a fair amount of frozen pizza. Love the stone, makes a much better crust than a cookie sheet or open rack.
My son gave me a pizza stone for Christmas. We’re still figuring out its quirks, but like the result.
So, mixed results tonight. The pizza tasted good, that was the bottom line, so success. I think the biggest problem was getting the crust thin enough. I think I didn’t let it warm up enough so it was still a little tough. I think if it was thinner it would have cooked more evenly.
The stone worked great, I think we’ll be using it more often as I work on the dough. I just use cornmeal to slide the crust off the cutting board and it was fine getting it off stone.
I bought a stone recently (soapstone) but the only use I have put it too, so far, is a Papa Murphy’s pizza. I thought about using the prepared dough but the instructions state to bake the crust for a bit first then put the ingredients on. That seems like it would make it much more difficult (removing a hot stone from the oven, dressing and then putting a cooler stone back in, all the while trying not to burn various parts of your body).
I had thought of the corn meal also, but my stone apparently does not need it (I’m told by the stone instructions).
Cornmeal isn’t to keep the pizza from sticking to the stone – once it starts baking, it wont stick. Cornmeal is to keep the pizza from sticking to the peel when you slide it in. Being granular, it’s a better lubricant than flour.
Ditto no need for parchment or anything else. You want the crust directly on the preheated, porous surface so that moisture can escape and the crust doesn’t cook by steaming.
An interesting alternative method, if your oven has a really good gas broiler: preheat the oven as hot as it’ll go, but then actually broil the pizza. Gives more the soft Neapolitan style crust with little blackened spots here and there.
For Napoli style, we put the stone on the grill, it’s the only way it gets hot enough. Turns out really, really well. We had played around with the stone in the oven, but the crust never turned it right, no matter the dough recipe or thickness.
Breaks the pizza stone a lot, even the grill safe ones
We’re still trying to figure out alternatives for the stone, but the pizzas turn out awesome.
We use our pizza stone even when we order in. We put it in to preheat when we order, then take out the hot stone to put the pizza on (out of the box ). It keeps the pizza really hot and crisp even through seconds.
I like it for reheating pizza and baking other kinds of breads, too.
It doesn’t catch fire or burn to a crisp?
Anyway, pizza steel == new hotness, pizza stone == old and busted. There’s no possible argument against it.
How does that work?
Do you need to thaw the pizza a bit first?
I’m afraid the frozen pizza will crack the hot stone.
I use parchment paper because I have a smallish round stone ( 14 - 16 in, something like that) and I want to use every possible bit of that surface.
The first couple of times I used the stone, I didn’t use paper, and a few shreds of cheese popped off onto the stone and the floor of the oven when I slid it in.
If you use paper, assuming you want to max out the area, cut it to the size of the stone before you start heating it. Then when your dough is ready, build the pizza right on the paper.
Am I the only one that uses a pizza maker? This is the one we have. It has a built in stone.
I form the pizza on the parchment paper, pick up the paper and put it in the pizza maker. I cook for about 2 minutes and quickly slide the paper out from underneath. Then I cook the rest of the way with the pizza directly on the stone.
My biggest trouble making my own pizza was assembling the entire pizza on the peel then having it still come off OK onto the stone. I guess Im a bit slow with it, so the dough would tend to stick to the peel by the time I was ready to put it in the oven. Now I just get the dough rolled out, put on some sauce and throw it in. After a couple of minutes it’s setup and the sauce is drying a bit, I take it back out, add all the toppings, and put it back in to finish.
If you get into pizza making, I suggest getting 2 peels, one wooden one to assemble the pies, one metal one to take them out or turn them. Then you can assemble Pie #2 while Pie#1 is cooking. Taking the pie out with a metal peel is also WAY easier than with a wooden one.
Any tips on getting the dough rolled out to the right thickness? Mine kept pulling itself back when I’d stretch it out, meaning the crust ended up much thicker than I wanted. I suspect it was still cold, but I really don’t know.