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Alternatives to buying a pizza stone for baking breads and pizzas

Posted by FiveFlavours 
Alternatives to buying a pizza stone for baking breads and pizzas
March 29, 2012 04:25AM
Hi!

I've been trying to find some suitable tiles to put in the bottom of my oven for baking bread and pizzas. All internet sources mention "unglazed quarry tiles" which, I assumed were something like slate, turned out to be something that looks like terra cotta. Here's a good discussion with pics.

[www.thefreshloaf.com]

Well, according to my local, friendly tile seller we don't have that kind of thing in NZ and she didn't think terra cotta would be suitable for food (but she wasn't sure) and anything glazed is, of course, out of the question. I really like the idea of using smallish tiles like this rather than an expensive pizza stone so when one breaks, it can be replaced cheaply. Has anyone come across anything like this that they could suggest?

Many thanks and wishes of fresh warm bread to you!

Marie at [fiveflavours.com] World Food in New Zealand (currently on Mummy Leave)
Re: Alternatives to buying a pizza stone for baking breads and pizzas
March 29, 2012 07:27AM
Wikipedia re 'quarry tile' says: "In the kitchen, quarry tile serves as a great low cost baking stone. Since it is fired at high temperatures while in production, there is no worry about the stone being susceptible to moderate temperatures that the standard house oven is capable of. The natural pores of the quarry are great for absorbing moisture. This can be a real bargain for the cook on a budget since it can save you in upwards of $100.00 that you would normally spend on a baking stone."

Many years ago, until I bought a pizza stone on special, I used a large unglazed terra cotta tile for pizzas. Worked fine. I think I've still got it somewhere in the recesses of my cupboard, just in case I break the stone.
Lynne2
J1
Re: Alternatives to buying a pizza stone for baking breads and pizzas
March 29, 2012 10:37AM
Middle Earth company of Warkworth produce very nice terracotta tiles [www.middleearthtiles.co.nz]
They should be able to tell you whether they'd be okay around food or not.
Re: Alternatives to buying a pizza stone for baking breads and pizzas
March 29, 2012 11:12AM
I have used the unglazed terracotta tiles for pizza and they work just as well as a bought pizza stone, you can buy round pizza stone complete with metal stand quite cheaply nowdays though - few years ago I bought three on special somewhere (about $10 - $15 each new) - perhaps try trademe. I find the worst thing with both these is that they stick. I perfer a heavy metal oven tray with baking paper under the pizzas, they come out perfectly - set oven to its highest temperature about half and hour before baking including the tray so its really hot. You can prepare pizza right onto the paper and just lift and slide the whole thing into the hot oven onto the hot tray.
Re: Alternatives to buying a pizza stone for baking breads and pizzas
March 29, 2012 11:46AM
I've never had a sticking problem, but I always sprinkle my stone (and previously tile) with a very fine layer of polenta (uncooked of course!). Something I read somewhere a long time ago and do as a matter of habit now. Semolina might also work.
Lynne2
Re: Alternatives to buying a pizza stone for baking breads and pizzas
March 30, 2012 08:23AM
I use cornmeal myself.

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Re: Alternatives to buying a pizza stone for baking breads and pizzas
March 30, 2012 09:16AM
Thank you for all the replies. I really appreciate it. I'll contact the Middle Earth (LOL!) tile people. That's a great idea, thanks. If I find anything out about terra cotta and whether it's always OK to use or not I'll certainly report back here in case anyone is looking for the same info. Oh, and I'll remember to chuck some polenta under the bread or pizza after this discussionsmiling smiley

Marie

Marie at [fiveflavours.com] World Food in New Zealand (currently on Mummy Leave)
Re: Alternatives to buying a pizza stone for baking breads and pizzas
March 30, 2012 10:49AM
I bought a pizza stone from Stevens. It was on special and quite cheap. However, I put my large pizza tin on the stone. Works very well. How do you get your pizza onto the hot stone? I understand that baking paper should not be used above 200 deg C. I have seen pizza paddles in recipes on the net. Can you buy those here?
Re: Alternatives to buying a pizza stone for baking breads and pizzas
March 31, 2012 07:23AM
Never had a sticking problem either.....I prepare a pizza on a pizza paddle that is covered with semolina. The base the goes on, the the toppings. Then it just slides on the pizza stone becuase of the semolina.
Re: Alternatives to buying a pizza stone for baking breads and pizzas
April 03, 2012 02:52AM
I use a slab of granite in the oven for cooking pizza. My Italian nana put me onto cooking pizza and bread this way.

It was an off cut from our bench but you can get 'scraps' from the manufacturers at reasonable prices. Just make sure there are no major cracks or pores in it as this is what can cause them to break in the oven.

As for sticking, just sprinkle your slab with a bit of polenta as recommended by others. Works great!

Ancksunamun

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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/03/2012 02:53AM by Ancksunamun.
Re: Alternatives to buying a pizza stone for baking breads and pizzas
April 03, 2012 04:55AM
i would imagine that unglazed terracotta is fine - there are recipes for breads around that suggest baking them in unglazed terracotta flower pots, and had a friend who did this for us once years ago with no problems. You could use a large terracotta saucer that normally goes under a pot?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/03/2012 04:57AM by Sharon P.
Re: Alternatives to buying a pizza stone for baking breads and pizzas
April 03, 2012 04:57AM
a quick google brought up this one, which includes information on how to season the pots to get a good non stick surface.

[www.food.com]
DK
Re: Alternatives to buying a pizza stone for baking breads and pizzas
April 24, 2012 11:25AM
I use baking paper on my pizza stone. I put the baking paper on my pizza paddle and make the pizza on it then slide the paper and pizza onto the stone.
DK
Re: Alternatives to buying a pizza stone for baking breads and pizzas
December 26, 2012 11:02AM
Just reviving this thread as I broke my pizza stone today.

I've been looking at clay/stone/terracotta tiles as a cheaper (and thicker) alternative. Has anyone bought an appropriate plain tile(s) for this purpose and where did you get it from?

I've been looking on the Middle Earth website but they seem to be all 'factory treated' to prevent water absorption. I'm assuming this 'treatment' precludes them from being used for food.
Re: Alternatives to buying a pizza stone for baking breads and pizzas
December 26, 2012 11:41PM
Not sure where you live DK, but Stevens regularly has their pizza stones on sale for something like $15-18.

No advice on the tile situation though - if that is specifically what you're after! smiling smiley
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