Everybody Must Get Stones
Bob Dylan was right. We should all have a baking stone.
Lots of you are probably way ahead of me here. You’ve had your stone for years. It lives in your oven, where it creates a dependable, sturdy, super-hot platform for pizzas or breads or pans. Sometimes you move it to the barbecue grill grate, where it is equally at home.
Yes, you rock.
I, however, led a stone-free existence until two weeks ago. Two factors pushed me to do the Internet research that ended with my buying a rectangular FibraMent.
First was my foray into sourdough as a Food section recipe tester. After having to make and then nurse along my own sourdough starter, then turn some of it into pancakes, there was no way I was going to toss out the unused portion. So it lurks in my refrigerator, ready to be turned into bread, and the recipe I have my eye on suggests using a stone.
Second was a strata recipe I made from Shirley O. Corriher’s latest book, “BakeWise.” It called for baking the strata in a pan on a hot stone, and it promised "browned billows of cheesy puff." Well, it tasted great, but there was little of the impressive expansion I’d expected. I figured it was because I hadn’t used a stone.
So I researched; I ordered; UPS delivered the (heavy) box. It came with instructions for tempering the stone so it won’t break, and I followed those. Then I preheated the oven (with the stone inside) for 45 minutes and made a pizza.
I won’t say it was perfect, but it was eye-opening. The crust was terrific. The stone was so hot that it cooked in a flash, so the toppings didn’t get overdone and soggy. I will bake every pizza on it from now on, and bread and other stuff, and I expect I’ll get better at it.
But my first experience made it clear that I have another purchase to make: a peel. That’s one of those flat wooden paddles used by pros (or just people smarter than me) to transfer the pizza to the stone. I didn’t have one, so there was some bunching and tearing when the time came for my dough to go in. Lesson learned.
My FibraMent, not a real rock but made of a composite material, arrived a pale gray color. I’ve read that a stone darkens with age and use and all the crud that drips or oozes onto it, and so a black and disreputable-looking surface is actually a badge of honor. My stone already has picked up some honor, thanks to my lack of a peel.
When a piece of kitchen equipment isn't supposed to stay clean, doesn't that just seal the deal?
— Jane Touzalin
June 12, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
| Tags: Jane Touzalin, Shirley Corriher, baking, cookbooks, equipment, pizza
Save & Share: Previous: I Spice: White Peppercorns
Next: A Potted Poulet Saves the Day
Posted by: skipper7 | June 12, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jlquandt | June 12, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: laura33 | June 12, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: afulton | June 12, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: MelissaMcCart | June 15, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: dcgdc | June 15, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.