Whenever the subject of pizza baking stones comes up, people chime in with their favorites. But how many people have owned more than two—or maybe three—pizza stones? And how many have tested them with exactly the same recipe in the same oven baked for precisely the same amount of time? Over the course of 12 weeks, I tested a variety of baking surfaces with the same pizza recipe, photographed the results, judged the textures, and ate the pizzas.
Since I tested one recipe on all the stones, it should be said that with recipe and technique tweaks, a baker should be able to get decent performance out of just about any of the surfaces tested. When buying one, though, there are other factors to consider, including ease of cleaning, durability, and size. There is no single stone that will be perfect for everyone. But, everyone should be able to find a stone that is uniquely suited to them.
- Cheap Pizza Stone, $20
- Aluminum Pan, $10-15
- Quarry Tiles, $4 for 6 tiles
- Double-Stacked Quarry Tiles, $8 for 12 tiles
- King Arthur Flour Baking Stone, $55
- Emile Henry Stone, $50
- Pizza Screen, $10
- Screen and Stone, $10, plus cost of stone
- Parchment and Stone, Pennies, plus cost of stone
- Fibrament Baking Stone, $43-90 for standard sizes; custom sizes available
- Lodge Cast-Iron Pizza Pan, $35
- All-Clad Soapstone, $125
The Upper Crust: Recommended Baking Surfaces
I've got to say that it was enlightening. Some of the results were different than what I expected. And of course, I expect your results would be different in different ovens making different pizzas. But this should give you a good idea of which stones would give you the results you're hoping for.
King Arthur Flour Baking Stone
Cons: Like any porous surface, it's not going to stay pretty for long when you start spilling things on it.
Comments: One of the better options of the series. No razzle-dazzle, but this is a workhorse of a stone. Best for overall usability.
Emile Henry Stone
Cons: While this was the crispest crust, some may find it a little too crisp.
Comments: This stone has a lot going for it, including coming in both round and rectangular shapes; a preference to consider before purchasing. Comes out on top for crispness.
Lodge Cast-Iron Pizza Pan
Cons: Just like any cast iron piece, it has its own cleaning/seasoning rules. However, it's easier to clean than a porous stone.
Comments: The versatility of this one earns some bonus points. There's a certain romance to using a stone rather than metal, but this does the job. The lip, though seemingly a drawback, proved not to be.
Fibrament Baking Stone
Cons: There are dire warnings about getting the stone wet. That means cleaning is limited to scraping.
Comments: The water warnings associated with this stone limit its versatility—especially for bread baking that involved spritzing the loaves mid-bake. Best for customizable sizing.
See the slideshow for the complete results!
After eating the same pizza every week for 12 weeks, I'm ready to wrap up this series on pizza baking surfaces and eat some different pizzas.
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