Not sure how to bake pizza on your baking stone or baking steel? Whether you just got a brand-new stone or steel, are thinking about buying one, or have been at it for a while (with limited success), my latest how-to video will teach you everything you need to know to bake perfect pizzas every time.
NOTE: For instruction purposes, I shot the above video using my outdoor Ooni Pro pizza oven. However, all of the instructions and tips are for making pizza on a baking stone or steel in a regular home oven.
Baking Steel vs. Baking Stone
First, you need to choose the best baking steel or stone for you. Here's a quick breakdown of the three main options*, with pros and cons.
Cordierite Baking Stone—Slightly more expensive than ceramic, and much more durable. Plus, it heats up faster than ceramic/clay and retains heat almost as well as a steel. A great alternative to a baking steel if you want something lighter and easier to store.
Baking Steel—100% indestructible, heats up fast, and retains heat extremely well. This is what I use in my home oven. The only cons are that it is very heavy (when I dropped it after scraping it off, it cracked one of my kitchen floor tiles in half!) and it does need to be seasoned like a cast-iron skillet every now and then or it will rust.
Topping Your Dough on the Peel
If you want to cook pizzas on a baking stone or steel, you also need to get yourself a pizza peel. This large spatula is used to transfer (or "launch," in pizzaiolo speak) topped rounds of pizza dough onto the hot stone or steel for baking. Peels are made with a variety of materials, but I prefer the metal ones, since they are much thinner, lighter, and easier to maneuver.
- Get your oven and stone or steel super hot. Place the baking stone or steel on a rack in the bottom third of your oven. About 40 minutes before you plan to bake your pizza, preheat the oven to 550°F. Then, about 10 minutes before you plan to bake, switch your oven setting to Broil on high.
- Prep all your toppings. Make sure everything is chopped, shredded, or otherwise prepared before you stretch out your dough. You will have to move quickly once you lay the dough on the peel, so it helps to have everything in ramekins or small bowls within arm's reach.
- Flour the peel. Some people dust their peels with fine semolina flour or cornmeal, but I prefer flour, since it's an ingredient I already have on the counter when I'm making pizza, and it doesn't add unwanted crunchy texture to the bottom of my crust. Grab a small handful of flour, and sprinkle it in a light, even layer all over the top of the peel.
- Stretch and top the dough. Stretch out your dough (or roll it out, if you prefer), and lay it on the floured peel. Add your sauce, cheese, and other toppings.
Launching the Pizza onto the Stone or Steel
As soon as your dough is topped, you want to get your pizza off the peel and onto the hot stone or steel as quickly as possible. If the dough sits on the peel for too long, even if the peel is adequately floured, it will begin to stick and will be very difficult to launch.
- Make sure the dough will move. While you top your dough, keep shimmying the peel every minute or two to make sure the dough will slide. When the dough is topped, give the peel one more quick shimmy. If the topped dough won't budge, put a little flour on the end of a thin, flat spatula and slide it under the dough all the way around, shimmying the peel until the dough can slide freely.
- Launch! Open the super-hot oven. Using quick jerking movements, slide the topped dough from the peel onto the preheated stone or steel.
Retrieving the Baked Pizza
Let the pizza bake until the crust is nicely browned and the toppings are charred in spots, 6 to 8 minutes. Then, in one swift movement, slip your peel under the pizza and lift it out of the oven.
Great job! You've successfully cooked pizza on a baking stone or steel!
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