Baking stones. Either you love ‘em…or you’ve never used ‘em. I was in the second group until I attended a Pampered Chef party. I ended up with a couple of cooking stones because I was curious and wanted to try cooking on them. I think the fact that I’m writing this would make you think I’m now hooked…and you would be right!
In this post, I’d like to go over the basics of oven stones and what I consider to be the best oven baking stones on the market! Buckle up and let’s get this ride started!
What Is An Oven Baking Stone?
An oven stone is a portable cooking surface that is used for cooking and is one of the oldest cooking techniques known to man. Its history can be traced back to the Early Paleolithic Age between 45,000 to 9,000 BC. And, although we often think of baking stones as a pizza implement, they were first used to cook flatbreads and are still used for that purpose in many parts of the world.
The types I’ll be talking about here are made of clay but they can also be made of ceramic, cordierite, cast iron or stone. While most of us use them in our kitchen oven, they’re also suitable for use on the grill or over an open fire.
Baking stones are not good conductors of heat. This is actually a plus as your food is less likely to burn than when you’re using a glass or metal pan. They also absorb moisture from the bottom of the food, resulting in a crispier bottom.
But…Back To Me
As I said before, I got some baking stones at a Pampered Chef party. I was a little skeptical because it just seemed like food would stick. The consultant assured me it wouldn’t so I went ahead and purchased a stone bar pan.
The first thing I did was to cook some teriyaki steak tips. That’s a great test, right? I mean, if anything is going to stick, teriyaki marinade would, right? Nope. The steak was delicious and the stone cleaned up with just a few wipes of my dishtowel.
After such a great experience with the new stone, I tried making a pizza on a stone I had been given a while back but had yet to use. A friend had cooked a naan on it and I was so impressed that she gave me the stone. I lightly oiled the stone, spread the dough over it and confidently put it in the oven to bake. It stuck like glue.
Luckily, I was using this pizza dough recipe, which makes 2 thin-crust pizzas so I decided to try again. After a bit of research, I spread some cornmeal over a piece of parchment paper and molded my pizza while my stone heated up in the oven. The stone did smoke, perhaps because I had oiled it previously, but it didn’t set off the smoke detectors so it was fine! I took it out of the oven, spread cornmeal over the hot stone, turned the crust over onto it and carefully peeled off the parchment. Taking the stone out of the oven would seem to be a no-no from what I had read, but I really didn’t see any other way to do it. The recommended method of “sliding it onto the stone” is, in my humble opinion, not possible with raw pizza dough.
Anyhow, in it went for a 5-minute prebake.
It came out a bit wonky looking, as you can see, but it didn’t stick so I considered that a win. Covered it with toppings and back in it went for the final bake! The finished result was a perfectly crunchy, New York-style crust.
HowTo Use and Clean A Baking Stone
As you use your stones, they will darken and develop a smooth, nonstick surface. This is referred to as seasoning.
Using an oven baking stone is fairly straightforward:
- Always place the stone in a cold oven and allow to preheat before using.
- Never place frozen or very cold food on a hot stone.
- Never place a hot stone on a cold surface. If possible, remove food from the stone to serve and allow the stone to cool in the oven after turning it off. If the hot stone is removed from the oven, place gently on a room-temperature surface.
- Don’t oil your stone.
- Don’t drop your stone!
- Store stone in a cool dry place.
- Storing your stone in the oven is not recommended. The repeated heating and cooling of a stone that is not holding food tends to damage the seasoning.
Cleaning my stones depends entirely on what I cook on them. If I bake something that doesn’t leave residues, such as naan or rolls, I just brush off any crumbs and put it away.
If I’m cooking something a bit messier, I allow the stone to cool and clean it off with water and a dishcloth, using a plastic scraper or kitchen brush when necessary. I don’t recommend using soap on unglazed cooking stones.
If my stone needs a deeper clean, I make a baking soda paste (½ cup baking soda to 3 tbsp water) and spread it over the surface of the stone. I allow it to sit for 15 minutes then scrape off the paste and rinse with warm water.
Always allow your stone to dry completely before using or storing it
10 Best Oven Baking Stones
The Pampered Chef stones that I’ve recommended below are made with a StoneFusion Formula. I love them because they’re nonporous so foods and liquids won’t soak in. Once cool, they’re also dishwasher safe, although cleaning them this way will take longer for a seasoned surface to develop. I, personally, clean them in the same way that I clean my unglazed stones.
Time To Get Your Bake On!
If you haven’t tried oven baking stones, I hope you’ll take the plunge and choose one of these stones to begin your new adventure!
If you already use baking stones, please share your experience in the comment section below.
All my best,