Everyone, at least once in their life, has tried to make the famous Neapolitan pizza at home, the classic margherita with tomato, fior di latte and basil. Although the result obtained was satisfying to the palate, it probably did not succeed as in the pizzeria: high, with crispy, golden, and with a well cooked bottom. Don’t despair! You didn’t make any mistake, you only lacked the necessary element that allows you to make pizza in your home oven: the refractory stone. Also, look at the pizza peel review.
Also known as the stone for baking pizza in the oven, the refractory stone is a special plate made with natural material and suitable for food, which is placed in the oven and guarantees a perfect baking of pizza, just like the wood-burning oven of any self-respecting pizzeria.
The refractory stone for pizza reproduces at home the characteristics of a professional pizza oven. In fact, like any stone, it can retain heat and reach very high temperatures and maintain them for longer than a classic baking plate. It does not matter if your oven reaches a temperature between 200° and 300°, using a refractory plate, you will be able to reach temperatures up to 400°, ideal for baking dough. Moreover, being porous, it lets the humidity generated by the dough pass through, making the baking uniform and crunchy, just like a real Neapolitan pizza must be.
Characteristics of a refractory stone
Refractory stone is generally made of two materials: cordierite or natural clay. Both are natural and functional materials for cooking pizza and other doughs, making the final result almost homogeneous. The main difference is that cordierite takes longer to reach the right temperature for baking (so you have to leave it in the oven for a longer time before you can start baking the doughs) but it keeps the accumulated heat for longer. Natural clay, on the other hand, needs much less time to reach high temperatures, on the other hand, once the oven is turned off, it loses heat quite quickly.
Types of refractory stone
The stone can be used comfortably in any oven in the house, whether electric or gas does not make any difference, but it can also be used on a barbecue, in a wood-burning fireplace, or on a grill. Its versatility will allow you to cook pizza or other pastries, even on trips out of town or at home by the sea. The classic refractory stone has dimensions 38 x 30 cm, and can be used in all standard ovens (not horizontally but vertically), if you have a larger oven, you can choose the XXL versions, which have dimensions 40 x 30 cm. Another variation are the round stones, ideal for pizza, with a diameter of 32 cm. Often, with the purchase of the plate, a wooden shovel is supplied, very convenient for baking pizzas and other dough to bake. In case it is not supplied with the stone, it is always possible to buy it separately.
But did we say only pizza? Absolutely not! On the refractory stone it is in fact possible to bake many other doughs, such as bread, croissants, muffins, tarts, but also meat and fish in foil. For all foods that can release fat or liquids, it is always advisable to use baking paper to be placed on the grill. Particular care must be taken when cleaning the refractory stone, in fact it is not possible to use soaps or detergents.
Where to place the refractory stone
In all common ovens there are three heights to position the plate: low, medium and high. The low position is to be excluded, as it would not allow a good cooking in the upper part of the pizza, and we would not get the crunchy effect of the cornice. Between the medium position and the high position, instead, there is a lot of discussion. Most cooks and companies that produce refractory stones recommend placing the stone at half height, with a static oven. The advice is certainly valid, and the position is good for a good pizza. Other pizza chefs suggest to place the plate at the top, at a very close distance from the top plate. This is also a good way to bake pizza and the results here are also very good. However, you must make sure that the stone has warmed up well beforehand, so the advice, if you want to place the refractory stone at the top, is to leave it in the oven at maximum temperature for at least 30-40 minutes and then inform the pizza.