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Pizza stone kits tested

Villaware Pizza stone setWhen 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.

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  • Lisa
    January 22, 2008

    Or you can just use unglazed quarry tiles from a home improvement store. I have 6 6″ tiles on the bottom rack of my oven. Cost me $3. 54 and give me better results. I just use a peel to transfer the pizza and the tiles stay in the oven. They are great even when I’m not making pizza because they help keep the oven temperature constant. I had one of the pizza stones before and it cracked very badly into shards after a couple years (not to mention that it cost a lot more) while these tiles have lasted years. This way I also got to pick exactly the peel I wanted and exactly the cutter I wanted rather than taking whatever was in the kit.

  • paula
    January 22, 2008

    I actually love the cheap perforated pizza pans. I crank up the oven as hot as it can go and I use a pizza crust recipe I found here 1-2 years ago (using some whole wheat flour) and it comes out perfect every time.

  • Natalie
    January 24, 2008

    I paid $10 for a pizza stone in a kitchen store many moons ago. I love it for everything, including things that are not pizza related – garlic toast, chicken tenders, crabcakes.

    It’s nicely seasoned and still produces the crispiest pizza crust and browns other things well.

    One word of caution – “Seasoned” is a fancy word that means “saturated with oil” and if by chance you’re talking on the phone (therefore not entirely focused) and take the pizza stone out of the oven and put it on the burner which happens to be on…. it will break, the oil will spill out, and it WILL catch on fire.

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