The Cooking Chronicles: Pizza Stone Attempt #1

Have you ever been wooed at the store by a kitchen gadget only to bring it home and allow it to gather dust? A pizza stone I had picked up at Winners last year fell into that category, even though I had the best of intentions when I bought it, with visions of crunchy, thin-crust pizzas overtaken by the reality of time and effort. Well, I hoped to reignite some of those visions and made it a point to finally make use of it.

The stone itself came with a serving rack, but Mack and I weren’t sure if the rack itself was meant to be put in the oven. We decided it would be safer to avoid potential melting and put the stone directly into the oven. The instructions directed us to preheat it for 40 minutes in a 450 degree oven.

We assembled the pizza using a tried and true recipe (Giada de Laurentiis’ dough base, though I wish I could toss dough like Chris instead). As instructed, we sprinkled some corn meal on the hot stone, lay our rolled pizza dough on top, and assembled our favourite assortment of toppings, including prosciutto, roma tomatoes, mushrooms and fresh basil. And into the oven it went, for about 15 minutes.

Out of the oven, the pizza was looking good – the crisp brown edges were just beginning to curl. When we dug in though, we found the crust to have an odd consistency. While crunchy on the bottom, the centre of the crust was chewy, almost undercooked. We weren’t sure if this was attributed to our mangling of the dough recipe, or perhaps a mistake of our first pizza stone try, but we were disappointed the pizza didn’t quite taste as good as it looked.

Pizza stone + pizza

We weren’t disheartened though – we will be making use of the stone again (with a different dough recipe), optimistic for better results!

13 thoughts on “The Cooking Chronicles: Pizza Stone Attempt #1

  1. I picked up my pizza stone (Danesco) at ICS. It has a rack that goes into the oven with the stone. Makes it easier to grab and take out. I haven’t made homemade dough but have used the ones from ICS and the dough comes out great. In fact, we made pizza last night.

  2. I’m intrigued.

    I always just cook pizza on a regular pizza-shaped (i.e. circle) cookie pan. It always turns out fine, but I wonder what the pizza stone would do.

    I’ve always wanted to buy one, so maybe I’ll plop that onto my Christmas list this year and my husband will judge if it’s useful or just another useless kitchen contraption (really, I have TONS of those).

    Hope your next effort goes smoother!


  3. I adore my pizza stone! I went through a couple of different dough recipes before finally settling on the basic pizza dough from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. It’s dead simple and makes a very nice dough. It also works well for grilled pizza!

  4. I’ve had good results with Mark Bittman’s pizza dough recipe. Pretty simple and straightforward. 🙂

  5. We should talk pizza one day. A hot oven (550) and a well heated stone (1 hour – the closer to the heat source the better. ie. near the bottom, my stone sits on the floor of my gas oven almost 24/7) are essential in my experience. With so many dough options, it kinda depends on what ‘style’ of pie you want to make, and it always helps to ferment the dough in the fridge for a day or two (so much extra flavor!!!). Heck, I should just lend you American Pie by Peter Reinhart.

    And thank you for the kind words.

  6. Nanu – I’m not familiar with the acronym ICS?

    Pam and Lea – thanks for the suggestions!

    Chris – I’m not even sure my oven goes to 550 :). Fermenting the dough sounds pretty intense! As for style of pie – we’re actually not that picky – as long as it’s crispy and relatively thin, we’re happy.

  7. Hmm. Curious! It looks so yummy though!

    I have many types of stones that I use on a regular basis (but do not to profess to be an expert anything, just a love of cooking good food). I’ve noticed that stones tend to keep the food moister during cooking and I’ve not had luck with pizza dough baking WITH the toppings on, rather, I’ve had to bake the dough a bit and then top and bake some more. This might be worth a try?

    I have wonderful recipe that is just excellent on a regular pan, I’m tweaking for on my stoneware. Always gets good review from guests. The dough is mixed up in my food processor with regular blade attachment. If you have a food processor I’d be willing to share the recipe for you to try, just email me!

    My stone does not require preheating, I just put the whole kit and caboodle straight into the oven to come to temperature together. And i’ve noticed that cooking on stoneware takes a little longer than traditional times. I also cook in the middle of the oven, and I too have a gas range/oven.

  8. I do wish I had a food processor – it seems like such a versatile appliance! Good suggestion about par baking the dough though – never thought of that.

  9. I have a bread maker and found a really good dough recipe that works well with it. It makes enough dough for 2 large pizzas, or 1 insanely large pizza! It’s at – just click on her food link on the side of the page.

    I use a regular pan, but preheat the oven to 500 degrees. I find that helps make a good crusty crust. I like them thin crusted, so it only takes about 10 minutes.


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