Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Author Topic: Alternative to Pizza Stone  (Read 5043 times)

Offline Sloan

  • On Board
  • *
  • Posts: 23
Alternative to Pizza Stone
« on: May 31, 2010, 05:44:15 AM »
For the more adventuresome among you, there's an interesting alternative to using a pizza stone described in Heston Blumenthal's "In Search of Perfection".  Blumenthal takes a cast iron pan and preheats it on top of the stove and then inverts the pan and places it on a rack as close to the broiler as he can get it.  The pizza is baked on the bottom of the pan.  This gives a much higher cooking temperature than you can get with a stone.

I've done this with both the Hamelman recipe and with Reinhart's recipes with varying success.  The pizza cooks very quickly and it is very easy to burn.  Don't get distracted.  On a stone at 550 degrees, an 8 inch pizza takes 8 to 10 minutes to cook.  Using this technique, I'm cooking pizzas in 3 to 4 minutes.  (I've actually charred toppings in under 3 minutes.)  I've cooked identical pizzas both ways and tasted them side-by-side.  The higher heat really does improve the pizza.

If you want to try this, here are a few hints.  First, you'll want to limit yourself to fairly small pizzas.  I wouldn't use more than 6 to 8 oz of dough (plus toppings) spread to around 8 or 9 inches in diameter.  The size of the pan's bottom is one limit and the need to cook the dough all the way through is the other.  Next, I use an IR thermometer to judge the temperature of the pan.  I don't recommend going much over 600 degrees.  One problem I've had is the pan heats unevenly .  Also, Blumenthal puts the pan in the oven and then adds the pizza.  I've found it easier to flip the pan, put the pizza on the pan, and then put it in the oven.

Offline chefityourself

  • On Board
  • *
  • Posts: 26
    • Chef It Yourself
Re: Alternative to Pizza Stone
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2010, 07:32:55 AM »
This is an awesome suggestion! I'm making the pizza tomorrow and wanted to invite friends over, but only have 1 16" stone, but I have a large iron comal grill.

You've just made my get-together successful and saved me $$
Gracias!
Cookingly yours, Anamaris
http://chefyourself.wordpress.com/

Offline Sloan

  • On Board
  • *
  • Posts: 23
Re: Alternative to Pizza Stone
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2010, 05:35:57 AM »
When I've used a comal grill, I just put the pizza directly on the grill without inverting the pan.  The downside of the comal is it doesn't get the pizza as close to the broiler as an inverted skillet.

I'd really like to hear how this turned out. This is not a technique I would have tried for the first time with guests.  You are definitely braver than I.

Offline yemu

  • On Board
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Re: Alternative to Pizza Stone
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2010, 07:15:19 AM »
if someone's looking for a cheaper alternative to pizza stone, I've heard that you can use bricks or make your own pizza stone with clay, which you can dig :-) or buy in a store. I haven't tried any of these but I plan making clay pizza stone for bread baking as my current store bought stone is a little too small for that.
y

Offline Sloan

  • On Board
  • *
  • Posts: 23
Re: Alternative to Pizza Stone
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2010, 07:16:08 AM »
The rationale for using a pan is not cost.  (However, the cast iron pan I use only cost $15, considerably less than my baking stone.)  The reason for using a pan is that you can cook at a much higher temperature.

For yet another high temperature approach, you might want to look at a story NPR had last August about Jeff Varasano. (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111479872) He cut off the safety lock on his oven and uses the self-clean setting.

DISCLAIMER: I haven't tried this, I don't plan to try it, and I don't recommend it.

Offline chefityourself

  • On Board
  • *
  • Posts: 26
    • Chef It Yourself
Re: Alternative to Pizza Stone
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2010, 07:24:26 AM »
Sloan, they turned out PERFECT! I don't have a pan, it really is a flat grill-one side griddle, the other grill. I used the flat side, preheated it in a 550 oven and baked, rather than broiled. They were a huge hit!
Thanks!
Cookingly yours, Anamaris
http://chefyourself.wordpress.com/

Offline Steve

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 378
    • burntloafer's blog
Re: Alternative to Pizza Stone
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2010, 08:49:01 AM »
"DISCLAIMER: I haven't tried this, I don't plan to try it, and I don't recommend it. "


Hahahaha!   lol


...but somewhere, there lurks someone just crazy enough...






Offline Paul

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 733
  • Baking tons... but at work.
    • Yumarama Bread Blog
Re: Alternative to Pizza Stone
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2010, 01:37:58 PM »
Are you lurking, Steve? Will this be the final destiny for Luke? :hmm:
Paul
Yumarama Blog

I used to think I was indecisive, but now I'm not so sure.

Offline Anne Marie

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 142
Re: Alternative to Pizza Stone
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2010, 05:59:36 AM »
Good tips, ok the one about the cleaning cycle just frightens me, but I have a cast iron griddle that we take camping I'm going to give it a try.

Sally at Bewitching kitchen recently had a post about using tiles in her grill  http://bewitchingkitchen.com/2010/06/23/mellow-bakers-pizza-pizza/