Fairly recently, I’d say in the last six months or so, I started making pizza at home, when I discovered a small bag of pre-made dough at Trader Joe’s. Since that day, I’ve made it several times, by taking the dough and pressing it into a baking sheet, sticking the sauce and toppings on, then putting it in the oven. I even once made my own, grain-free crust while we were doing a paleo-type diet for a month. That one also had no dairy, but it scratched an itch. All told, I have made some pretty decent pizzas. They are a little moister than I’d like, however.
I’ve been kind of wanting a pizza stone since I started making pizza. I’ve just heard so much about how they cook the crust more evenly, make it into an experience closer to ordering. I wondered if they would also make the pizza a little less wet.
I’d seen the stones in kitchen stores, they’re not that expensive, but I hadn’t picked one up – for some reason, I was talking about pizza stones a LOT the week before December 25 (I hadn’t even intended this to be a hint!) thus, much to my surprise and delight, I found one under the tree with my name on it on Christmas morning!
After reading up on how to use pizza stones online, I felt a little intimidated – apparently, you can’t just put the dough on the stone, make the pizza on the stone, then put the stone in the oven – you actually have to preheat the stone, make the pizza while the stone is preheating, then transfer the pizza onto the stone already in the oven, somehow. This seemed rife with pratfalls. However, I ordered a wooden pizza pallet which arrived early last week, and even though I was still feeling kind of intimidated, I decided to rip of the bandaid and finally made my first pizza stone pizza last Friday!
Using one of those cheapie Pillsbury crusts in the biscuit tin (I know, I know – I have already conquered grain-free crust – why am I intimidated by making normal crust? It’s the whole yeast, rising, resting thing that skeeves me out a little, but I’m sure I’ll get to it eventually…), I dutifully put the stone in the oven and began heating it. Meanwhile, I set out to make the pizza (a Hawaiian!) on the pizza pallet, first by covering it with a generous dusting of cornstarch, so the dough wouldn’t stick…this of course, made it difficult to roll out – it wanted to keep snapping back, but eventually, I was able to get it rolled out almost the entire surface area of the pallet, and the cornstarch worked like a charm in terms of it not sticking.
Transferring it to the hot stone in the scorching oven was another story – I managed to do it, but botched it a little, sending some of my toppings & cheese falling to their deaths at the bottom of the oven. I should’ve trusted the cornstarch to do its job, but used a spatuala, and that was actually what ended up with the little botch. I should’ve just jiggled the pallet a little and used my hands. NEXT TIME.
I pulled it out 12 minutes later, and: YES! The crust was definitely evenly cooked, the pizza itself cooked and the cheese melted, but without the extra moisture I lamented in the baking pan. Even with the cheapie Pillsbury dough, it was pretty delicious, and of course, an opportunity to get rid of more of that lingering Xmas ham! Also, it held up well as breakfast leftovers into the following week - it was not as floppy (due to moisture) as its baking pan-created ancestors.
Next step: do it again, but make my own crust. I also want to try making other things on the pizza stone, will be seeking out inspiration for such masterpieces soon!
Day to day thoughts, rants and mental detritus.