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A round, square or rectangular type of bakeware that is used to hold pizzas as they bake in an oven. Made of natural clay, stoneware clay, or a ceramic clay fired under intense heat, the Pizza Stone is an excellent kitchen utensil to use for baking pizzas. The material used to make the Stone should be porous and not be glazed or sealed which would prevent the surface from being absorbent. The Pizza Stone assists to cook the dough and crust evenly so that the pizza has a firm golden brown crust when completely baked, which is a method that attempts to simulate the baking results of a pizza baked in a brick oven. Typically, the Stone absorbs the moisture from the dough and also absorbs the heat to distribute it evenly over the pizza as it bakes. The stones are available in various diameters or sizes for different size pizzas. The Stone should have a thickness of at least 1/2 inch so it heats up quickly and provides a durable piece of bakeware.
Over time, the Pizza Stone will "season" as it turns brown and darkens, however it is best not to wash the Stone, but instead simply scrape off any residue, brush it clean, and wipe off any excess. If a manufactured Stone is used for baking, follow the manufacturer's instructions for seasoning the Stone in order to keep it from breaking apart as it is exposed to high heat. When baking, it is normally best to place the Stone on the lowest shelf in the preheated oven set at 400ºF for 30 minutes or slightly longer prior to baking the pizza. As the Stone becomes warm it is then ready to evenly distribute the heat to the food when it is placed on the Pizza Stone for baking.
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