So, you’ve just had your Cast Elegance pizza stone delivered and you can’t wait to get started wowing your friends and family with the best home cooked pizzas they’ve ever tasted.
Like any good cook knows, there’s a little bit of science and a little bit of a know-how to producing stunning results.
Take a few minutes to read through our Pizza Masterclass and you’ll be producing superb results as well as reaping the adulation of your nearest and dearest.
Pizza Stone Science
The idea behind a pizza stone is to recreate the floor of a traditional Italian pizza oven for your indoor or outdoor cooking pleasure! It’s a new way of cooking if you are used to baking muffins and cakes and placing them in cold tins in convection ovens.
To bake your pizza, you will need to use super-high heat and that can be daunting. The idea is to create a hot surface that will cook your pizza base from the bottom.
Your Cast Elegance pizza stone is a custom blend of cordierite called Thermarite that is a higher quality than any other stone on the market. The material can be used in all types of ovens and grills to produce tasty and crispy pizzas with your own pizza recipes.
Your Cast Elegance pizza stone is also specially designed so that the heat is evenly distributed for excellent results.
You’ll receive a cookbook with your Cast Elegance pizza stone with classic recipes to try out on your family and friends. Choose from Classic Margherita to BBQ Chicken Pizza, to Pizza Cookies, Stromboli and much, much more.
In the recipe book you will find lots of “from scratch” recipes from pizza dough to tomato sauce. For those that love the fun of getting a little messy making pizzas from fresh, simple ingredients then we recommend following the recipes in the cookbook. The recipes are also extremely inexpensive and can make part of a delicious healthy meal.
However, you can also use your pizza stone to create quick pizzas by using quick “cheats”. You can buy ready-made pizza dough mixes and dough which can be very useful and are designed to give excellent results.
You might want to try ready-made pizza doughs before starting your quest to perfect your own pizza dough if you are new to the art of making pizza!
You can also use your favorite store-bought tomato sauce too, if you don’t have the time. Or try the classic tomato sauce in the Cast Elegance recipe book which can be made in larger batches in advance.
Ready to get started
You will need:
- Pizza dough from your Cast Elegance cookbook or a store-bought mix or ready-prepared pizza dough.
- Pizza sauce – from your Cast Elegance cookbook or your favorite store-bought variety. Or choose an Alfredo-style or BBQ sauce.
- Toppings – It’s your pizza, your choice. Keep it simple or get adventurous. Choose fresh vegetables that compliment meat and even fish and seafood. For best cooking, don’t overload your pizza, though.
- Pizza Cheese – Mozzarella is traditional or try a blend of cheeses to your taste.
Cooking your Pizza
Your Cast Elegance pizza stone is perfect to use indoors or out. It can be used in a gas or electric oven or grill, a pellet grill, a charcoal grill, a Big Green Egg, a Kamado Grill or even over a campfire!
Don’t worry about the temperature cracking your stone, Thermarite can withstand up to 2000 degrees. In fact, your Cast Elegance is the only pizza stone on the market that is guaranteed to withstand thermal shock.
To start you’ll need to get your pizza stone to a hot temperature. Cooking outside on a wood-fired or charcoal grill will give you a smokier tasting pizza.
If you are using a charcoal grill, you need to fill it up to 2/3 of the fuel area. The remaining space should be kept free for air circulation. Ignite the grill and wait for 15 minutes until the charcoal starts glowing.
When using a charcoal grill, the important thing to remember is to let the flames burn down to glowing coals. Heat your pizza stone for 20 minutes with the grill closed and make sure it’s very hot before use.
For cooking indoors in your kitchen, we recommend you place your pizza stone in your oven and turn the heat up to a minimum of 425 degrees (F) or even higher. As you get experienced using your stone, you can experiment with a higher heat and shorten the cooking time. Be careful though, a higher heat will help you achieve a crispy crust but it’s easier for your pizza to burn.
The time needed for preheating the pizza stone in an oven or on a grill may vary slightly depending on the grill and the amount of fuel you use. Leave your stone for 20 minutes to heat thoroughly with the lid or oven closed.
The recommended time for the Cordierite material is 20 minutes at a temperature of 450-500 degree so be patient and let your stone heat up. Again, as times vary depending on your particular oven or grill, experimentation will help you achieve the perfect results.
Now for the Fun Part
Take your quantity of pizza dough and place it on a lightly floured board. Your dough should be springy and elastic. Pre-made dough does tend to have a high moisture content. If your dough is too wet and sticks to the board, add a little more flour and keep kneading. If it seems a little dry, add a few drops of olive oil or water and knead a little more.
A common mistake that beginner pizza chefs make is that the bottom of their dough is too sticky. Do not be afraid to flour the bottom well. If the dough easily slides on the counter you are working on, then it will be easy to slide on to the stone and will not stick to the stone. Sticking dough is due to a stone that is not hot enough or from dough that is not floured well enough on the bottom.
Pizza dough is not difficult to work like pastry. Nor do you have to start throwing it around your kitchen or yard like the professionals do in your favorite pizzeria. Sure, it looks impressive, but you can still make a great Tom Collins without throwing ice cubes and cocktail shakers!
The same applies to making pizza at home. Use a standard rolling pin and roll and turn the dough until you have an authentic pizza base the size you want. A trick to moving dough is to gently roll it around your rolling pin and unroll gently again.
The easiest way by far to get your pizza safely in the oven is to actually make your pizza on the pizza peel. Simply dust the pizza peel with a little flour and put the pizza base directly on top.
Spread a little of your favorite sauce with the back of a large spoon, scatter your toppings and cheese and then you are ready to cook your creation.
One trick you can use if you are not confident or if your pizza dough too sticky is to make your pizza on your peel with parchment in between. You then bake the pizza directly on the parchment paper in the oven.
You can pick up parchment on Amazon but make sure it is suitable for use in a hot grill or oven. Most parchment paper will withstand 425 degrees.
Cooking your pizza
You are now ready to slide your pizza from the peel onto your pizza stone. A professional tip to prevent your dough from sticking is to dust your pizza stone with cornmeal.
Close the oven lid and cook for approximately 8 to 15 minutes or until the crust has browned and the cheese is nicely melted. The moisture from the dough will be absorbed by the stone during the cooking process to give you the perfect crispy base and crust.
Your pizza won’t take long to cook and so the best advice is to watch and be vigilant while you watch your creation cook.
You can also check your pizza base while the pizza is cooking. Simply take a spatula and lift the crust. You are aiming for a golden-brown crispy crust. Checking the pizza won’t harm the process and will prevent overcooking.
Once the desired crispiness is achieved and your toppings are bubbling away, use the pizza peel to take the pizza out of the oven.
A little experimentation over time can help you achieve perfect results. You can move the pizza stone to the bottom of the oven to cook the top of the pizza a little slower and heat the bottom more thoroughly to achieve the best crispy base and crust.
There is one special case that should be mentioned – Cooking a Papa Murphy’s pizza.
Papa Murphy’s pizza is a challenge to cook in any oven or grill, they have the stickiest dough on the planet! It also is made on a white, heat resistant disposable tray – that the dough is in fact, already stuck to.
Try this instead: Heat the stone well, leave the pizza on the white tray on the stone for about 8 minutes. Check the dough after 6-8 minutes and use a spatula to separate the pizza from the white tray. This sounds hard, but it is very easy to turn the tray once and run the spatula around the tray. If it will not separate, then place it back in the oven for a few more minutes. After the pizza is loose on the tray, just tip it, and while pulling back, slide the pizza onto the stone, discarding the tray. Finish by baking the pizza until it is nice and brown on top and crisp and golden on the bottom.
Serve your pizza
Your pizza is ready when the base is cooked, the crust is crispy, and the cheese has melted and is bubbling and golden.
You can serve the pizza on the stone at the table but to do this you must make sure you have thick heat-resistant gloves and heavy heat-resistant mats to protect your table. Take precautions to keep the hot stone away from children.
Another way to serve your pizza is to slide your peel into the oven and transfer your pizza onto a platter. Turn off the oven and allow the stone to cool in the oven safely.
Slice your pizza with a large sharp knife or use a pizza cutter for that authentic finishing touch.
Drizzle the pizza with a little olive oil and fresh basil for the ultimate Italian treat.
Enjoy your pizza with good friends and company.
As the Italians say: Buon Appetito!
Troubleshooting Pizza Crust
If your pizza has a soggy crust, then this is usually due to the pizza stone not being hot enough. Be patient and allow your stone to preheat to the required temperature to ensure a crispy crust and crispy base.
If your pizza is crisp and black, then it is likely the stone got too hot or you left the pizza on the stone for too long for the heat setting used. In this case, you should make a note of the settings and adjust them accordingly. If the crust is crisp but the toppings are not cooked enough, move the stone up in the oven so the toppings get more heat from the top element of the stove. In a grill, turn the temperature down or use more indirect heating.
Soapy Tasting Pizza?
Don’t make the mistake of cooking a pizza that tastes of detergent. It’s important to avoid washing your porous pizza stone with detergents and soap because your stone will absorb soap and chemicals just as it does heat and water.
If you have mistakenly washed your stone with soap, don’t worry. Soak the stone with lots of water, changing the water often. After repeating the soaking process five times over five hours, bake the stone in the oven on the highest setting. Alternatively, you can put your stone through the self-clean cycle of your oven. The high heat will purge the stone of all contaminants and don’t worry, your Cast Elegance pizza stone is guaranteed to handle it.