If you’ve searched the internet for how to use a pizza stone lately, you’ve most likely come across tips and tricks involving placing the stone on the lowest rack of your oven – or even the floor of your oven. Toss all that silliness out and read on for the REAL method of how to use a pizza stone.
How To Use A Pizza Stone
Ok, so the goal here is to get the stone as hot as possible while providing your pizza with an equally hot environment above so that it cooks evenly. The reason you do not put your pizza stone on the bottom of the oven is simple: You end up with a pizza stone that is way hotter than the area above it – thus you end up with a pizza that is too well done on the bottom, and not quite done on top. Not to worry, this is easily solved.
Heat rises. Agreed? Great. So if heat rises, the hottest part of the oven is naturally the top part of it. Weird to think about there being hot and cold areas of your oven right? Probably more accurate to think about them being hotter and cooler – you aren’t going to find any “cold” spots in there. The prevailing wisdom is that you need to put the stone at the bottom of the oven because you want it close to the heat source so it really soaks up the heat and gets super duper hot. Although that is a great goal, it ignores a second, more powerful, more useful source of heat: the broiler. The bottom heating element is not the only source of potential heat in the oven, so why not use this fact to our advantage? Here are the steps:
- Place the rack of your oven at the highest possible height so that once you’ve placed your stone on it, there is somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-6 inches of clearance. Want to level up? Get four firebricks and place two on either side of your pizza stone. You’ve almost got a brick oven going here!
- Preheat your oven on its normal baking mode as high as it will possibly go. Leave it on for at least 45 minutes before baking.
- Ten minutes before baking, switch your oven oven to the broiler (high setting please) and let the broiler blast the stone with it’s extra hot heat.
- Right before sliding your pie in, turn the oven back to it’s highest possible bake setting.
- Repeat switching from bake to broil for every pizza you slide in.
How To Use a Pizza Stone: Why It Works
Why would this finicky technique work? Thermodynamics, that’s why. The hottest part of the oven is the top portion, so by keeping the pie way up at the top, we fix the whole hot stone vs. cooler air problem. All the hot air collects at the top of the oven and thus, our hot stone – super heated by the broiler – provides ample heat for the bottom of the crust and our top hot air provides ample heat for our cheese and toppings. Still not convinced? Consider also that we’re relying on the radiant heat reflecting back down at the pizza from the now very close ceiling of the oven – a one-two punch that ensures we get an even bake every single time.
Next time you go to fire up your oven to bake some homemade pizza, consider these news techniques on how to use a pizza stone and remember, your goal should always be even, quick baking every single time. What better way than to use science and the laws of thermodynamics to make your next great pizza!
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