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Pizza Stone: Why?


Norman Walsh
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I am going to have a go at pizza making and have a couple of questions to ask.

Why is a pizza stone recommended?

Is it because it retains the head,

I do not have one and was thinking of using a large cast iron frying pan, pre-heating on top of the stove first then on with the pizza and into a hot oven.

Next questionis regarding the flour to use.

I use strong flour when baking bread so is this o/k for a pizza base?

Lastly is there any benifit from leaving the dough in the fridg for 24hours?

I would appreciate any answers.

Thanks

Norm.

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I shouldn`t really comment as my attempt was a Jamie Oliver recipe and it was a laugh if nothing else, I used strong flour let it prove twice and then used a tray.

I looked like a half inflated football and some of the tomato topping slid off never to be seen again .....lol. Nexttime have a pint of Ex instead, cheers geordie lad. :wink:

"It's true I crept the boards in my youth, but I never had it in my blood, and that's what so essential isn't it? The theatrical zeal in the veins. Alas, I have little more than vintage wine and memories." - Montague Withnail.

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I use a pizza stone, regular AP flour, and prefer to retard the dough in the fridge overnight.

The pizza stone does a few different things, as far as I can tell. It retains heat in your oven, so you don't lose most of it when you open the oven and slide in your pizza. It also won't cool down when the pizza hits it, but will cause the crust to quickly dry and blister, which is what you want. There are cast-iron pizza "stones" and I think they work okay. You could probably do pizza in a cast-iron pan, but it is a lot easier with a pizza stone. I found a flat rectangular one at one of the restaraunt supply stores around here. It wasn't large or industrial-sized, but it was cheaper than the one I was going to order online.

Retarding the dough in the fridge overnight does improve the crust's flavor -- it tastes more complex and "wheaty" to me. But the improvement is not so much that you shouldn't ever make pizza on the same day you make the dough.

As for flour, I use AP because it's what I have on hand. Strong flour would I think end up with a slightly more chewy crust, but that is not necessarily bad. As long as the pizza is baked quickly at a high heat, the crust won't be tough.

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Your questions about pizza stones (yes - heat retention is a big issue) and flour types will be addressed in detail on the above referenced threads. And using a reduced amount of yeast with minimal kneading and 24 hours in the fridge has, in the estimation of many of us, considerable value in producing a great crust with minimal effort.

I don't recall that the option of using a big cast iron skillet has been discussed. It certainly warrants some testing but I think the result would be closer to the griddle cooked style of pizza such as that served at one of Mario Batali's NYC joints - Otto Pizzeria.

I've tried the gelato there (which was insanely good) but haven't tried their pizza. It's a think crust cooked on a cast iron griddle and has - from what I understand - a distinctly different texture than pizza baked in an oven on a brick or stone surface. It's often described as having a crispy almost cracker-like texture.

Keep in mind that with any cooking surface and process - heat retention can be a crucial issue. Both the mass of the surface (their massive griddle vs. your frying pan) and the heat source (commercial range burner vs. your range and oven) will impact this.

I'm due to make pizza this weekend. I have a 3/4" thick stone but I think I'll do a comparison and try one in a cast iron skillet as well.

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Your questions about pizza stones (yes - heat retention is a big issue) and flour types will be addressed in detail on the above referenced threads. And using a reduced amount of yeast with minimal kneading and 24 hours in the fridge has, in the estimation of many of us, considerable value in producing a great crust with minimal effort.

I don't recall that the option of using a big cast iron skillet has been discussed. It certainly warrants some testing but i think the result would be closer to thje griddle cooked style of pizza such as that served at one of Mario Batali's NYC joints - Otto Pizzeria.

I've tied the gelato there (which was insanely good) but haven't tried their pizza. It's a thick crust cooked on a cast iron griddle and has - from what I understand - a distinctly different texture than pizza baked in an oven on a brick or stone surface. It's often described as having a crispy almost cracker-like texture.

Keep in mind that with any cooking surface and process - heat retention can be a crucial issue. Both the mass of the surface (their massive griddle vs. your frying pan) and the heat source (commercial range burner vs. your range and oven) will impact this.

I'm due to make pizza this weekend. I have a 3/4" thick stone but I think I'll do a comparison and try one in a cast iron skilley as well.

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I use a cast iron pan to make pizza, it comes out really great.

I heat the pan on the stovetop to get it nice and hot, put in a little olive oil and than put in the dough. I let it come back up to heat and place it in a 425 degree oven for a few minutes. I take it out put on the topping and put it back in the oven until done.

Lisa

Edited by lcdm (log)
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While I use the rectangular pizza stone now in a pre-heated 550 F oven for pizza, back in college i had this heavy duty electric frying pan with metal cover. Grease up the pan a bit, plop in your dough, sauce, etc. put the cover on, set at 375, and out came a perfect pizza with uniformly brown crispy crust and I was the hit of the dorm floor!

doc

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