There’s nothing like the feeling of cooking a freshly baked pizza.
You know that feeling as you carefully craft each homemade masterpiece. The tantalizing aroma of freshly baked pizza wafts through the air, igniting a symphony of sensory delight. The delicate dough beneath your fingers evokes a sense of nostalgia and connection as if you are one with generations of pizza-makers before you. With each lovingly placed ingredient, you experience the exquisite dance between art and sustenance as the vibrant colors and textures blend in a harmony of flavors. The anticipation builds as your creation bakes to golden perfection, and you find yourself deeply immersed in the magic and intimacy of crafting a homemade pizza from scratch.
Creating the perfect pie at home involves more than just ingredients and technique. The cooking surface you use can significantly impact your pizza’s overall taste, texture, and quality.
Two of the most popular options for home pizza-making are pizza stones and pizza steels. We’ll explore the features, benefits, and drawbacks of pizza stones vs. steels to help you make the best decision for your needs.
What are Pizza Stones and Pizza Steels?
A pizza stone is a flat, usually circular, slab made from ceramic, cordierite, or other heat-retaining materials. Its primary goal is to replicate the high heat and even cooking of a traditional brick pizza oven. Pizza stones absorb and distribute heat evenly across their surface, providing a consistent temperature for baking pizza.
A pizza steel, also known as baking steel, is a thick slab of steel designed for cooking pizzas and other baked goods. Like pizza stones, pizza steels aim to emulate the high heat and even cooking of a traditional brick pizza oven. Pizza steels have superior thermal conductivity to pizza stones, transferring heat more efficiently to your pizza dough.
Heat Retention and Distribution
Pizza stone thermal properties.
Pizza stones are known for their excellent heat retention and distribution properties. The absorbent nature of the stone material absorbs moisture from the dough, allowing the crust to become crispy and preventing it from becoming soggy. However, pizza stones generally have a lower thermal conductivity than pizza steels, meaning they heat up and transfer heat to the dough more slowly.
Pizza steel thermal properties.
Pizza steels boast a higher thermal conductivity than pizza stones, allowing them to heat up faster and transfer heat more efficiently to the dough. This results in faster cooking times and crispier crusts. Moreover, pizza steels are less prone to developing hot spots, ensuring a more evenly baked pizza. According to Baking Steel, pizza steels offer 18x higher conductivity than ceramic baking stones and twice the heat capacity. This transfers thermal energy to your crust in less time for quicker cooking.
Preheating Your Pizza
Pizza stone preheating requirements.
Due to their lower thermal conductivity, pizza stones require a longer preheating time, typically 30 minutes to an hour, to reach the desired temperature. This can be inconvenient if you’re in a hurry or want to bake multiple pizzas quickly.
Pizza steel preheating requirements.
Pizza steels heat up much more quickly than pizza stones, often requiring only 15 to 30 minutes of preheating time. This makes them a more convenient option for those with busy schedules or hosting pizza parties where multiple pizzas must be baked.
The Durability and Maintenance Required
Pizza stone durability and maintenance.
One of the main drawbacks of pizza stones is their susceptibility to cracking or breaking under thermal shock. Sudden temperature changes or placing a cold stone in a hot oven can cause damage. Additionally, pizza stones can become stained over time and require gentle cleaning with a brush or damp cloth to avoid damaging the surface.
Pizza steel durability and maintenance.
Pizza steels are incredibly durable and resistant to thermal shock, making them less likely to break or crack during use. They can also be cleaned more easily than pizza stones, often requiring a quick wipe with a damp cloth. Some pizza steels are even dishwasher safe, simplifying the cleaning process further.
How Much Do They Cost?
Pizza stone prices.
Pizza stones are typically more affordable and widely available than pizza steels, and they can be found in various sizes and materials to suit different budgets and preferences. However, the lower price point may come at the cost of durability, as cheaper pizza stones are more prone to breaking or cracking.
Pizza steel prices.
Pizza steels are more expensive than pizza stones, ranging from $50 to over $120, depending on the brand, size, and thickness. However, their durability and superior thermal properties may justify the higher price tag for serious home pizza-makers.
Are They Difficult to Store in a Kitchen?
Pizza stone storage and portability.
Pizza stones are relatively lightweight and easy to store, with most models weighing 5 to 10 pounds. They can be stored flat in a cupboard or vertically to save space. However, their fragility can make them difficult to transport, as they must be handled carefully to avoid cracking or breaking.
Pizza steel storage and portability.
Pizza steels are heavier than pizza stones, typically weighing 15 to 25 pounds, making them more cumbersome to store and move. Despite their weight, they can be stored similarly to pizza stones, either flat in a cupboard or vertically. Their durability makes them less susceptible to damage during transport, but their weight can be a concern for those with limited storage space or mobility.
What Are The Typical Cooking Results?
Pizza stone cooking results.
Pizza stones can produce delicious, evenly cooked pizzas with crispy crusts when used correctly. However, they may require a longer cooking time than pizza steels, and the crust may not be as uniformly crispy. Additionally, the risk of the stone cracking or breaking during use can lead to inconsistent results.
Pizza steel cookie results.
Due to their superior thermal conductivity, pizza steels consistently yield crispier crusts and faster cooking times than pizza stones. They provide a more even heat distribution, resulting in uniformly cooked pizzas with minimal hot spots.
Consider your priorities and preferences when deciding between a pizza stone and a pizza steel. A pizza stone may be the right choice for an affordable, lightweight option. However, be prepared for longer preheating and cooking times and potential durability issues.
A pizza steel may be the better option if you’re willing to invest in a more durable and efficient cooking surface with faster cooking times and consistently crispy crusts. Remember that pizza steels are generally more expensive and heavier than pizza stones.
Ultimately, pizza stones and steels can elevate your home pizza-making experience, and the best choice for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Whatever option you choose, the key to perfect pizza is practice, experimentation, and enjoying the delicious results.