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Thread: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

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    Default Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    I've broken several stones. In the oven unmolested except while hot, outside the oven subject to only the lightest touch. The last two never encountered water in any form.

    Is it me or bad choices in product? None have been super duper premium.
     

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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    I dont have an answer to why, but I went through a handful before I gave up and got a baking steel. Wish I could have gone back in time and never spent the money on the stones, as the steel was worth every penny and then some.
    So I say to youth right now. Don't sway to the unjust,
    no matter what they say, never give in.

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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    Nick Crumpton
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    "Tradition is a guide, not a jailer" óJustin Robinson

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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    Most baking stones are just too thin. Many have a high temp warning around 500 degrees, and they almost all advise against giving it any sort of thermal shock - aka getting the stone good and hot, and then putting something cold on it, like bread dough, or a pizza.

    For pizza, a steel works WAY better. For bread, I don't like it, by the time the bread is done the bottom is burnt AF as the kids say.

    The Big Green Egg stone has a great reputation - it's twice as thick as most stones, and is made for going in blasting hot grills - those grills can hit temps over 900*F easily. They're available in several sizes. I've got one, used it a lot, zero complaints other than it was pricey, I want to say I paid about $50 for it. Also, being so thick, it's heavy.

    I bet that Kiln shelf Nick posted works great too, at a fraction the cost of the Big Green Egg pieces.
    Last edited by dgaddis; 2 Weeks Ago at 02:32 PM.
    Dustin Gaddis
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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    We've had a 14.5" Emile Henry stone for at least 10-12 years...no issues. It's seen use in our double oven to temps around 500F, as well as outside on the Weber/Kettle Pizza setup at temps approaching 700F. If you don't want to pay $40-50, you can find them at TJMaxx from time to time. Nice product and easy to clean and maintain.

    Smooth Pizza Stone



    | Emile Henry USA




    | Made In France
    rw saunders
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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    The key with pizza stones and hot ceramics generally is not to expect it to survive anything that places one surface in tension WRT the opposite surface: most ceramics won't survive even 0.2% tensile strain.

    Basically anything that might cause a piece of wood to warp (eg one side being hotter or wetter than the other) will likely cause ceramic to shatter.

    My pizza "stones" are more than a decade old and they originally cost about $2 each from the local tile shop, it's more about how you treat them than what product you use.

    BTW if you are going to use a steel pizza mat use a chunk of stainless: stainless is notorious for poor heat transfer which is actually what you want in a pizza mat.

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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kelly View Post
    BTW if you are going to use a steel pizza mat use a chunk of stainless: stainless is notorious for poor heat transfer which is actually what you want in a pizza mat.
    What do you mean by 'pizza mat'? My steel is carbon steel, and it transfer heat FAST, which is exactly what I did want for pizza. With a stone (which transfers heat slower than the steel) the toppings on my pies were burning by the time the bottom of the pie was cooked all the way. With the faster heat transfer of the steel, the bottom is done before the toppings burn. It was a game-changer for cooking pizza in a home oven.

    For that same reason (faster heat transfer), the steel sucks for baking bread, but a stone works just dandy. A pizza is done is ~8mins or less, but a loaf of bread takes 40+mins usually. The one time I tried my steel for bread, by the time the bread was cooked through and the crust was colored up enough the bottom was literally burnt black as night, and my oven smelled like fire.
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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kelly View Post
    r poor heat transfer which is actually what you want in a pizza mat.
    Exactly the opposite of what I want for the pizzas I'm making.

    I am after transfer and retention so the next pizza is on its way expeditiously!

    Sounds like I'm going to have to open my mind to steel. Anyone try simply using a chunk of 1/2" cold rolled plate?

    This was done on my 28yo round stone, preheated 5" below the broiler to 550f, cooked roughly 3min(till i liked the bottom) followed by just shy of 2min broiler time(wile rotating occasionally)

    standard no knead dough, garlic bechamel, mozz, ricotta and broccolini.

    It then takes a good 20+ min to get it back up to temp for the next one.

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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    If higher heat transfer was automatically better you would use aluminium: great heat transfer and twice the heat capacity of steel (per unit weight).

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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    Mark, I think we're(you and me) making different pies. Aluminum I'm afraid will loose too much to the cooler raw pie when it hits it. No retention.

    That plus I try not to cook directly against aluminum if I can avoid it.
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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    Quote Originally Posted by crumpton View Post
    Exactly the opposite of what I want for the pizzas I'm making.

    I am after transfer and retention so the next pizza is on its way expeditiously!

    Sounds like I'm going to have to open my mind to steel. Anyone try simply using a chunk of 1/2" cold rolled plate?

    This was done on my 28yo round stone, preheated 5" below the broiler to 550f, cooked roughly 3min(till i liked the bottom) followed by just shy of 2min broiler time(wile rotating occasionally)

    standard no knead dough, garlic bechamel, mozz, ricotta and broccolini.

    It then takes a good 20+ min to get it back up to temp for the next one.

    My steel is 1/8" thick plate, a buddy at work has a side business building smokers and catering BBQ, he has plenty of plate laying around, so he cut me a piece. Waaaaay cheaper than buying the Baking Steel branded steel.

    I preheat the oven (and steel) to 550*F for about an hour. Pies cook in about ~8mins or so. I don't use the broiler, tho you certainly could.

    I cheat and load the pie on a piece of parchment paper, and pull the paper out after a couple minutes.











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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    I have a cast iron pizza dish, 15" round w/ enameled bottom and handles. Great heat retention.
    It's a Mario Batali, and I'm guessing with his current reputation you can find them cheap.

    Lodge makes them too, if you don't want Mario's baggage.

    TH
     

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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    Carbon steel transfers heat faster than cast iron. I bake my bread in an enameled cast iron dutch oven usually, doesn't burn the bottom like the baking steel does (which is carbon steel).
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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    This is the absolute best form of V-Salon nerdery E V E R!
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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    Quote Originally Posted by crumpton View Post
    Aluminum I'm afraid will loose too much to the cooler raw pie when it hits it. No retention.

    .
    That is the point I was trying to make: it transfers heat too well.

    Where the best compromise lies is a matter of preference: for me carbon steel is also a bit quick but if it floats your boat go for it.

    Enamelled cast iron would be very interesting: the cast iron has very good heat transfer and heat capacity, it actually has slightly higher conductivity than carbon steel* but the enamel layer has poor heat transfer so it tends to spread the heat evenly.

    Stainless has about the same heat capacity as ordinary steel but about half the conductivity (depending on grade). When it has been used hot for long enough the transfer seems to be reduced. I wouldn't have thought the oxide layer ever got thick enough to make a material difference, I think it might be becasue it traps a layer of air on the surface (it's hard to wet).

    * See Neutrium: thermal-conductivity-of-metals-and-alloys

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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kelly View Post
    ...Where the best compromise lies is a matter of preference: for me carbon steel is also a bit quick but if it floats your boat go for it....
    Agreed. And which is best depends on what kind of dough you're using too.

    The great thing about pizza is there's an infinite way to make it, and most of them are great!
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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    And once we get the material properties sorted, we can add in the variables of semolina vs cornmeal to dust it.

    TH
     

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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    Quote Originally Posted by thollandpe View Post
    And once we get the material properties sorted, we can add in the variables of semolina vs cornmeal to dust it.

    TH
    I think that relates to the peel which raises the question, aluminum or wood?
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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    Quote Originally Posted by crumpton View Post
    I think that relates to the peel which raises the question, aluminum or wood?
    Many folks will tell you to use wood for loading, because the dough doesn't stick as much as it does to aluminum. And an aluminum for unloading, 'cause the wooden ones are too thick to slip under the dough.

    Me, I use one made out of skate park ramp material. I don't have room to keep two peels stored away somewhere.
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    Default Re: Pizza stone? Why do mine shatter?

    Cast iron, cornmeal, wood.
     

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