When it comes to baking pizzas at home, a baking stone is crucial for getting a great crust. The stone draws moisture out of the pizza dough as the crust bakes, preventing steam from getting trapped beneath the crust and causing your pizza to get soggy (or, at least, not entirely crisp). Even top-quality baking pans don’t give you the same effect, so it’s worth getting a baking stone if you’re making your own pie on a regular basis. Now, with this in mind, the Wall Street Journal recently reviewed five different do-it-yourself pizza kits, each with a pizza stone and the goal of helping you to perfect a homemade favorite.
The WSJ liked kits that came with extras – pizza cutters, pizza peels, rolling pins, etc. – but also took into consideration size and ease of use, which in this case translated to easily cleanability with soap and water. The stones themselves all seemed to perform equally well in terms of the pizza they produced. The “best overall” went to the All-Clad Pizza Stone set, which is small but equipped with a convenient rack for lifting the pizza out of the oven and moving it to the table. It is pricey, though, so the “best value” went to the Linens ‘n Things Pizza 101 set, which includes a huge number of extras for a very low price. They also tested (and liked) VillaWare, Crate&Barrel and Bialetti‘s offerings.
All this said, you can work with just about any baking stone to make a pizza or to make bread and it’s not crucial to get one with a specific purpose in mind (like pizza-making, although kits can sometimes be more readily available) or one with a handy removal rack, since you can leave the stone in the oven to cool. Nor do you need the “extras” if you already own a rolling pin and pizza cutter, but the sets are nice and if you’re planning on trying to take the next step in your baking abilities, it doesn’t hurt to have a review or two to help you out.