Preheating Baking Stone or Baking Steel

Preheating Baking Stone or Baking Steel
Color of a crust when baked  on a properly preheated baking stone / baking steel.

Color of a crust when baked on a properly preheated baking stone / baking steel

Whether you prefer to use a baking stone or Baking Steel, preheating your baking surface is crucial to making great pizza. For optimal preheating, I recommend placing your baking surface in the center of your oven rack approximately 8 inches from the top heating coils. Preheat the oven to 550°F (288°C); or if your oven will not reach 550°F, use the highest temperature available on your unit. When preheating a baking stone use the bake function on your oven, where the heat comes from the bottom of the oven and not the broil.

A fully heated baking surface will create a crisp crust with the perfect golden color. It is important to remember that the preheat signal on your oven is not a reliable indicator that you are ready to start baking your pizza. Due to the density of the material in a baking stone or Baking Steel, it will take longer for the surface to reach the desired temperature. If the surface does not reach a temperature over 400°F it will not be hot enough to properly transfer heat to to the crust and will not cook the bottom to the desired golden brown color. Under heating your baking surface will result in a denser crust with a pale coloration and may even cause the dough to stick to the baking surface. Below are suggested total preheating times to help you ensure a hot baking surface.

Preheating Times *

Baking Steel 1/4″ thickness: 60 minutes
Baking Steel 1/2″ thickness: 90 minutes
Baking Stone 1/2″ or thinner: 45 minutes
Baking Stone 5/8″ or thicker: 60 minutes

* These times are based on your oven air temperature reaching 550°F within the first 20 minutes. I have noticed that due to a lack of insulation, some economy ovens can take longer to reach the set temperature. If has been an issue for you in the past, use an oven thermometer to see how long it takes for your oven’s internal temperature to reach 550°F. If your oven takes 30 minutes to reach 550°F, then increase your preheat time by 10 minutes.

Cooking Multiple Pizza

When you bake pizza on a baking stone, the pizza will absorb some of the heat from the stone. Once the stone has been removed from the oven, it will need a few minutes to fully heat back to the desired temperature. To ensure consistent results, once a pizza has finished cooking and has been removed from the stone, close the oven door and wait 5 minutes before cooking another pizza.

After Baking – Keep Your Stone In The Oven

Once you are finished baking, turn the oven off and leave the stone inside, allowing several hours for the stone to cool completely. Do not attempt to remove the stone right away. Attempting to move a hot stone is dangerous due to the heat and weight. At such high temperatures oven mitts are only effective for a few seconds at protecting your hands from burns. When it comes to storing your stone when not in use there is actually no need to remove the a baking stone or baking steel from the oven. Leaving the stone in the oven is safe for the stone and also tends to create a more stable temperature in the oven, such as when opening the door or the normal cycle of the oven heating mechanism, due to the stored heat.

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  • Danvil

    Just had a pizza steel delivered 20 min.. ago. It says to use the broiler to heat the steel and place the steel about 6-8″ below the broiler element. I have a gas stove, so I guess I’ll try this. I didn’t know that I would have to crank on the broiler. Maybe I need to get a laser temp. gizmo to make sure the steel hits the right temp.

    • Brian Y.

      Hi Danvil, With gas stoves all having different broiler / no broiler setups they make things a bit complicated for that method. I have found that placing my steel in the same top section using the highest non broil temp will work well too if you use the NY dough recipe (which is similar in the fact that it has sugar to the one that came with your baking steel). You don’t really NEED a laser thermometer, I don’t own one, a $7 oven thermometer will give you the info you really need. Such as does the oven get and stay at about 500°F+ with the broiler on continually. Also new super fancy stoves with highly insulated interiors make the broiler thing more of an issue as well. I’ve had some that are more problematic and others that work great. Mine at home is a cheap basic electric and its the most wonderful for pizza as its not trying to be too smart and zero insulation. Might have to crack the door with a butter knife to let some heat out when you put a pizza and only while its cooking or they just hold heat too well and have broilers / elements / gas burners controlled by very good thermostats and the cycle on and off is just too long between. Now if you are using the bottom burner don’t crack the door as the hotter heat in the top is ideal. If your broiler is one of those newer red single spot type that is in many newer gas ovens make sure to rotate your pizza two to three times during the cooking process to get an even color on the crust. Really though this part is all about trial and error and eating lots of pizza. Every oven is different and you have to figure that out. If you get great results with the broiler than you can use the Neapolitan pizza since it doesn’t have sugar the heat from the broiler will toast the crust. Definitely though let the stone heat for around an hour in the oven. You need it piping hot and if you got the 1/4″ then only cook 2-3 pizzas max back to back then let it heat back for 15-20 minutes. If you have anymore questions just post and I’ll try to get back to you as quick as I can. GOOD LUCK!!

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