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Old 01-04-2009, 01:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMSeccia View Post
Always preheat your oven (sans the stone). You aren't saving any time or energy by trying to preheat them at the same time, and can technically void your warranty by doing so. (NEVER PREHEAT STONE IF COOKING A FROZEN PIZZA!).
As far as fresh-made pizza dough, I disagree. The whole point of having the stone in the oven is for helping the cooking process. You ALWAYS need to preheat the stone, when the pizza slides unto the hot stone it begins cooking the underside immediately. If the stone is cold, the cooking of the underside of the pizza will not begin until the entire stone has absorbed enough heat and only then, can it begin transferring heat and cooking the dough. As per the original poster GHPoe, the problem is the underside is not getting crispy/cooked... by NOT preheating the stone in this case would only make that problem worse.

In regards to FROZEN pizza, I have no clue and would recommend following the box instructions.
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Old 01-04-2009, 01:44 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by chefnaterock View Post
How do you recommend getting the stone seasoned. I have had mine for two years and it is still beige rather than that nice black-brown color. Should I smear it with lard or crisco, and then bake it solo?
The best way to season it is to USE it ... bake everything on it, but especially high fat items. If it is a stone with sides, cook bacon in the oven and have BLTs for dinner. If it is a flat baking stone (don't relegate just to pizza, you're missing out), bake cookies, make fresh oven fries or sweet potato fries, warm leftovers ... I even do pork chops and boneless chicken on the flat stones. The average home cook can do their kids fish sticks and frozen fries on it and build a nice seasoning over time. A large "party size" cookie or a vegie pizza is the easy answer.

I don't like to see people smear with fat (or worse yet spray with Pam) and bake solo, it just gets tacky and you won't feel like you have a clean stone. You're further ahead to allow a gradual, natural seasoning to build through regular use (which will create a nice smooth surface). If you don't have cause to use it daily, I unofficially endorse having on an open oven shelf while cooking other things in other vessels. It will help regulate your oven temp and draw some of the moisture from whatever else you're cooking. PC doesn't agree with that recommendation, but I find it is helpful for some people!
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Old 01-04-2009, 01:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seven S View Post
As far as fresh-made pizza dough, I disagree. The whole point of having the stone in the oven is for helping the cooking process. You ALWAYS need to preheat the stone, when the pizza slides unto the hot stone it begins cooking the underside immediately. If the stone is cold, the cooking of the underside of the pizza will not begin until the entire stone has absorbed enough heat and only then, can it begin transferring heat and cooking the dough. As per the original poster GHPoe, the problem is the underside is not getting crispy/cooked... by NOT preheating the stone in this case would only make that problem worse.

In regards to FROZEN pizza, I have no clue and would recommend following the box instructions.
I'm saying preheat the oven first, THEN the stone. This is to prevent the stone from popping from thermal shock, which can happen if it heats at a different pace than the oven or is too close to the heat source.

I absolutely agree ... you want the fresh dough to slide onto a hot stone. Sorry if that didn't come through, but that is why I'm building the pizza on a peel and sliding onto the stone which is already in the oven.
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Old 01-04-2009, 02:16 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by AMSeccia View Post
I'm saying preheat the oven first, THEN the stone. This is to prevent the stone from popping from thermal shock, which can happen if it heats at a different pace than the oven or is too close to the heat source...

I believe your method would cause a much greater thermal shock than heating the stone in the oven from the beginning.

Consider you are putting a room temperature stone into a 500 F oven there is a temperature differential of about 430 F. On the other hand, heating the stone and the oven together would result in much lower temperature differences. Even if the stone takes twice as long as the oven (or whatever) to reach temperature, there will never be a temperature difference as great as the one your method would guarantee.

I keep my PC stone in the oven all the time and it is fine.
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Old 01-04-2009, 02:21 PM   #15
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I would imagine quite a shock to the stone if the stone was hot and you placed a frozen pizza on it. It may crack your stone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seven S View Post
As far as fresh-made pizza dough, I disagree. The whole point of having the stone in the oven is for helping the cooking process. You ALWAYS need to preheat the stone, when the pizza slides unto the hot stone it begins cooking the underside immediately. If the stone is cold, the cooking of the underside of the pizza will not begin until the entire stone has absorbed enough heat and only then, can it begin transferring heat and cooking the dough. As per the original poster GHPoe, the problem is the underside is not getting crispy/cooked... by NOT preheating the stone in this case would only make that problem worse.

In regards to FROZEN pizza, I have no clue and would recommend following the box instructions.
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Old 01-04-2009, 02:36 PM   #16
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And another aspect to all of this is a stone is normally used in a no more than 350 oven. Mine popped but I also had a layer of foil under the stone on the next level down, I think this caused a heat rise that cracked the stone.

You MUST put the stone in the oven during the heating up process. Never put a cold stone into a really hot oven. 350 is another thing though. But, the whole purpose to using a stone is the advantage of preheating it.

Crescent rolls help season a stone too - make some pigs in a blanket!

Also, PC recommends you never put anything frozen on their stones, preheated would be even worse than not preheated. The shock would be too great.
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Old 01-04-2009, 03:07 PM   #17
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Well, stones are fired at thousands of degrees, so cooking higher than 350 is really not an issue. I have been using and selling stones PC stones since 1996 and have never steered anybody wrong, let alone popped a stone. My daughter broke one baking a frozen pastie, but she was using the large stone for one pastie! There are 14 stones in racks on top of my refrigerator that get used on a daily basis, and countless more in cabinets.

This is a great discussion, since we all have a different approach. I will contact the test kitchens and/or product development and report back their latest recommendations. OP, I suggest you follow the use and care information that comes with whatever stone you have. Mine clearly states to preheat the oven, although the newer stones (possibly from different manufacturers through the years) do not have that verbiage on the use and care. PC's test kitchens advise not placing a stone in a cold oven. They will also advise you not to store your stone in the oven, although a few posts above I said many people have success seasoning theirs this way.

Clay cooking is as old as time. I doubt any of us will change eachother's minds.
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Old 01-04-2009, 03:53 PM   #18
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Im going to chime in on my pizza making skills.

I dont not and will not ever own or use a stone. There is no need IMO.

I take a heavy guage sheet pan and flip it upside down. I put it in the oven while its preheating to 500. When Im ready to put in the pizza I loweer the heat to i think 400 or 425 then I slide the pizza onto the heated sheet pan. about 9 minutes later I have a nice perfect crispy crust. Perfectly melted cheese.

I do use a mix of corn meal and flour to slide the pizza from the upside down sheet pan i make it on to the heated on in the over.

I do put it in the middle of the oven.
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Old 01-04-2009, 09:36 PM   #19
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Nothing beats a stone-cooked pizza!

I definitely heat the stone with the oven, and never use it for a frozen pizza.
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Old 01-04-2009, 10:11 PM   #20
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Today I used the regular bake setting at 450 deg. and noticed no fans were running during the process. The crust cooked perfectly.

My advise is to stay away from the Bake->Stone setting on the wolf ovens. Further reading of the manual found that it should only be used with their proprietary baking stone. Even if this is true, the fans do kick on with this setting and probably were the reason the cheese cooked so fast and turned brown. With the bake setting no fans turned on at all. (i.e. no convection effect)

Thanks to all that responded.
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