Baking Stones

Published September 1, 2010. From Cook's Illustrated.

We fired up our oven and baked pizzas and calzones on five stones ($24-$90), evaluating their performance and design.

Overview:

Baking stones simulate a brick oven in your home oven, absorbing and radiating intense, consistent heat to produce crisp, golden-brown pizza, calzones, and bread. We fired up our oven and baked pizzas and calzones on five stones ($24-$90), evaluating their performance and design. Overly hefty slabs—one heavyweight approached 20 pounds—lost points, as did inefficiently sized models. One stone spanned wider than most home ovens, while others barely had enough girth to accommodate a large pizza. For more square footage, we preferred rectangles to rounds, and deeper-browning clay and stone models to cement. The latter material not only produced spotty, pale crusts but emitted noxious fumes. Our previous favorite from Old Stone Oven couldn’t be beat, crisping crusts on a roomy, foot-elevated surface that eased lifting.

Baking stones simulate a brick oven in your home oven, absorbing and radiating intense, consistent heat to produce crisp, golden-brown pizza, calzones, and bread. We fired up our oven and baked pizzas and calzones on five stones ($24-$90), evaluating their performance and design. Overly hefty slabs—one heavyweight approached 20 pounds—lost points, as did inefficiently sized models. One stone spanned wider than most home ovens, while others barely had enough girth to accommodate a large pizza. For more square footage, we preferred rectangles to rounds, and deeper-browning clay and stone models to cement. The latter material not only produced spotty, pale crusts but emitted noxious fumes. Our previous favorite from Old Stone Oven couldn’t be beat, crisping crusts on a roomy, foot-elevated surface that eased lifting.

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