Different materials are used to make pizza stones. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but this guide will try to answer what the best pizza stone material is.
Pizza Stones Are All the Same?
Pizza stones are not all the same. Different types of materials can affect the baking time of a pizza, the crispiness of the pizza, and even how long the stone will last. A pizza stone’s durability and baking speed are two of the most important considerations.
Crispiness and Baking Speed
Choosing the right pizza stone for baking speed is not always as easy as it seems. You may end up with a crispy pizza, but unmelted cheese on top, if your oven cannot keep up with the baking speed of your stone. The pizza stone may not conduct enough heat, causing your toppings to burn before the bottom of the pizza is done.
Baking speed is primarily determined by the conductivity of the material. The rate at which the material transfers heat. The higher the conductivity, the faster the pizza bakes. Conductivity is largely determined by the material the stone is made of, as well as its thickness.
Shortly put, a thicker stone will retain more heat, allowing it to bake pizza faster and to bake multiple pizzas at the same time. Heat cannot be stored as well in a thin stone. If you bake several consecutive pizzas without reheating the stone, the stone will cool down and each pizza will become less crispy. If you’re interested in learning about pizza stone thickness, we have an article about how it affects baking times.
However, the material of the stone also affects the baking time. As different materials conduct heat differently, you’ll need a thicker or thinner stone to achieve the same baking times. Steel, for example, retains and conducts heat much better than clay and does not need to be as thick as clay stones.
Crispiness is determined by temperature, conductivity, and the material’s ability to absorb moisture. Pizza becomes crispy when enough water has vaporized, so materials that absorb moisture better will make the pizza crisp quicker.
When it comes to cleaning, not all materials are the same. Food soils and fat that has been spilled on the stone during baking will be easier to remove with a smoother surface. However, some materials also absorb moisture and fat more than others. When it comes to crisping up the pizza, it might be a plus, but when it comes to cleaning, it’s not. The fat absorbed by the pizza stone is almost impossible to get rid of. The dough may also start emitting unpleasant odours while baking, which may in worst case flavor your pizza.
Pizza stones need to be replaced most often because they crack. Especially ceramic pizza stones are prone to cracking due to thermal shock. The material cracks as a result of a huge temperature difference in a short amount of time. For some materials, this is a serious issue, but for others, it is not an issue at all.
I’ve personally tried a bunch of pizza stones made from various materials and seen how easily some of them can break.
This article will give you an overview of different pizza stone materials, discuss their pros and cons, and help you decide what the best pizza stone is for your specific application.
Pizza Stone Materials
A ceramic material is shaped and hardened by heating. It is probably the most common pizza stone material, which can be found in most kitchen stores. It is a cheap material that crisps the pizza by transferring heat and absorbing moisture from the crust.
In fact, ceramic is a heat-resistant material. Therefore, it is an excellent choice for controlling the temperature of a hot oven. However, it is not ideal for use in a home oven as a baking surface. To bake pizza faster and hotter, you want the material to conduct as much heat as possible. It retains heat well, meaning it holds onto the heat well. Therefore, it will bake pizza better than a baking tray.
However, it is a brittle material, which means it is susceptible to cracking when subjected to thermal shock. To prevent cracking, you must be careful when heating and cooling the stone.
Another disadvantage of ceramic pizza stones is that they are difficult to clean. The reason is that most ceramic stones have a rough surface. Additionally, they absorb oils easily. This makes it difficult to get rid of the oil. Besides making bad odors, these oils can also affect the flavor of your pizza.
Pizza stones are made of clay, a type of ceramic. With the addition of water, it’s made from fine-grained natural soil material. Clay is heated at a high temperature to create a hard baking surface. Pizza stones made of clay are one of the cheapest materials available, and can usually be found for under 20 dollars. Therefore, it’s affordable if you want to bake pizza on a pizza stone.
It’s a porous material, meaning it contains voids (pores), and it cracks easily. Clay pizza stones have this huge disadvantage. Clay, therefore, must be handled with extra care. Avoid huge, rapid temperature changes. Clay is similar to different types of ceramic stones that are difficult to clean. Pores absorb oil, which is difficult to get rid of.
As a mineral, cordierite forms crystals that are added to ceramics to strengthen them.
The material is stronger and more durable than regular ceramics and clay. It is also less prone to cracking. Cordierite has a low thermal expansion, meaning it expends less energy when exposed to changes in temperature. Therefore, it is less likely to crack from thermal shock.
Cordierite is similar to other ceramic pizza stones when it comes to conductivity and heat retention.
Ceramic pizza stones made from cordierite are typically a bit more expensive than those made from clay. However, they will last longer, so it’s not a bad investment!
It is more difficult to clean pizza tones made from cordierite, like ceramic.
Cast iron is another material for baking pizza. Cast iron pizza stones are rare, but cast iron skillets are more commonly used for baking pizza.
Carbon is present in cast iron, which is an iron alloy. Cast iron is prone to rust because of its carbon content. Therefore, it requires more maintenance, such as trying and seasoning. Baking stones made of cast iron are also heavy. The rougher surface makes it easy for food soils to stick to it. Seasoning, however, will make this less of an issue. A conductive material is cast iron. It will therefore transfer heat more efficiently than ceramic materials, and you’ll end up with a crispier pizza.
Stainless Steel – Pizza Steel
Pizza steels are pizza stones made from steel, rather than stone or ceramic. The main advantages of a pizza steel are that it conducts heat better and retains heat longer than stone. As a result, the pizza will bake faster since it will get hotter. Additionally, the crust is crispier and more charred.
Pizza Steels are much more common than cast iron baking steels, and require less maintenance, since they are stainless steel. Also, the surface is usually smoother, so food soils stick less and are easier to clean. Pizza steels typically cost 75-100 dollars more than pizza stones.
In Neapolitan wood-fired pizza ovens, biscotto is the traditional material. It’s probably not the best choice for a home oven, but for a pizza oven, it’s perfect. This is a popular choice for pizza oven floors because it doesn’t conduct heat as well as other materials. In a blazing hot wood-fired oven, this is a benefit, not so in a home oven. It is very easy for the pizza to burn from the heat because of the temperatures. Stones from the Naples-region of Italy are made from alluvial clay and contain unique minerals. Therefore, it has been a common choice for pizza ovens in the area.
Materials to Choose for Pizza Stones
The best pizza stone material depends on its use. Whether it is meant to be a home oven baking surface or a wood-fired oven floor.
Things to Consider When Picking Pizza Stone Materials
Conductivity, heat retention, and durability are the most important things to consider when choosing a material. Price and maintenance are also important factors to consider.
Pizza Steel – The Overall Best Pizza Stone Material
The overall best pizza baking material is steel. A pizza still simply gives the fastest bake and crispiest pizza.
Steel conducts heat very well, unlike stone materials. As a result, steel can transfer heat faster and more efficiently. Something that makes a cake better. In a blazing hot pizza oven, it might be beneficial that the stone does not conduct heat as well. Otherwise, the pizza will burn. You want the baking surface of a home oven to conduct heat well so that the pizza will bake faster and crispier.
Another benefit of pizza steels is that they retain heat well. As a result, it can hold onto more heat. If you bake several pizzas right after each other on a pizza stone, the stone will gradually cool down, since it won’t have time to re-heat. A pizza steel, on the other hand, can hold more heat, so it can be used to bake several pizzas at a time. If you enjoy pizza parties, then this is the perfect choice for you!
An incredibly durable baking surface, a pizza steel will last you a lifetime. A thick slab of steel won’t break, unlike many stone materials. Additionally, the smooth surface makes it easy to clean. However, steel is prone to rust, so you should oil it occasionally.
My favorite pizza steel is the Conductive Cooking Square Pizza Stee 3/8 inch. A high-quality pizza steel made in the USA. The thicker baking surface (3/8 inches) bakes pizza faster than any other pizza stone
Cordierite – The Best Budget Pizza Stone Material
It is true that Cordierite is not the cheapest alternative on the market, but I don’t recommend going for clay or ceramic stones since these tend to crack too easily. A cordierite pizza stone is a great budget option!
Cordierite doesn’t conduct heat as well as pizza steel. Therefore, it will not bake the pizza as fast and hot. However, the difference is not that big, so cordierite is an excellent starting point.
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The BreadKings Pizza Stone is a great choice. A quality pizza stone that conducts heat well, as well as absorbing moisture. A crispier pizza crust is the result of both. Furthermore, it is a thicker pizza stone, which will retain more heat. A faster, better bake will also result from this. You can also bake several pizzas simultaneously without having to reheat the stone. The BreadKings Pizza stone will therefore bake amazing pizza! We also have compiled a guide that will help you choose the best pizza stone for oven.