It’s not a total one-trick pony.
This nifty kitchen tool is a completely flat surface that’s typically made of ceramic or stone (and you also have baking steels, which can be used similarly, but are made of cast-iron). Having a pizza stone at home gives you serious pizzeria quality pie because it retains intense heat that results in a delightfully crisp crust, mimicking the kind of pizza you’d get from a fire-burning pizza oven. The constant and evenly distributed heat from the stone pulls moisture from the dough allowing it to become crispy.
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A pizza stone works best when it’s positioned in the center or bottom of your oven. The key to getting the most out of your stone is giving it an ample amount of time to warm up. You do this by setting your oven temperature to about 500° (or the highest temperature that your home oven can reach) and placing the stone in the oven to allow it to preheat for about an hour. In the meantime, you can prep your pizza or flatbread with sauce and toppings. It’s also recommended to lightly lightly coat your pizza stone with cornmeal before adding the pizza dough in order to prevent sticking. If you decide to use your pizza stone during the summer months, consider preheating it on the grill it instead of cranking up the heat on your oven.
Now if the novelty making pizza has worn off, don’t toss your stone to the side with all of your other forgotten, “single-use” kitchen tools left to collect dust. (Seriously, don’t toss it anywhere, these things are heavy.) You’ve gotten a solid handle on how to use your stone, so here are a few other ways to utilize it.
WATCH: Switch It Up With BBQ Chicken and Blue Cheese Pizza
Toss your favorite vegetables in olive oil (or something fancier) and season with a pinch of salt and black pepper, and then spread them on your stone for fantastic caramelization. It’s best to lean towards that vegetables that won’t roll off of the stone while baking. Be sure to cut your vegetables with a flat side (just to be safe). Vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, butternut squash, or potatoes are all good places to start.
A pizza stone is perfect for making flat breads such as a pita, naan, or focaccia and can also be used to warm up dinner rolls. The same baking rules apply for breads as they would with the pizza. Since you are working with dough, remember to coat the surface with cornmeal or cooking oil to ensure that it won’t stick.
Making Healthier Chips
When the stone is hot, it’s perfect for making a healthy alternative to deep fried chips. Since the surface retains a constant heat, you can turn the oven temperature down to create a low and slow approach to drawing the water out of whatever produce you prefer for chips of chips. You can stick to thinly sliced traditional russet potato chips or switch things up by using yucca, sweet potatoes, taro, or carrots.
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Finishing Homemade Pretzels and Bagels
Both pretzels and bagels require dipping the dough in a bath of hot water before baking. This helps to create the glossy golden crust that each baked good is known for. Subsequently, baking them on a preheated pizza stone, rather than a sheet pan, will aid in drawing out excess moisture to create a bakery shop finish.
Baking Cookie Cake
If a giant cookie is your jam, you should definitely use your pizza stone to make a super large cookie cake instead of individual cookies. You can cut it into slices like an actual pizza and serve it at your next birthday party in place of a boring ol’ cake.
As a Serving Platter
When you are not using the oven, go ahead and take your pizza stone out and use it as a serving platter. The large, flat stone makes a great surface for arranging an array of cheeses, crackers, fruits, pickles, spreads, etc. to make a fabulous cheese board.