Pizza stones are typically unglazed, natural stone shaped in either a circle, square, or rectangle used to mimic the surface of brick pizza ovens. Conventional ovens usually do not get near the temperature of traditional wood burning brick pizza ovens, so in order to get the closest possible outcome to a brick oven pizza, people use pizza stones. When placed in a conventional oven and pre-heated, the stone will absorb and conduct heat that results in a hotter, more even baking temperature. Granted your home oven STILL won’t get as hot as 800 – 1000+ degrees Fahrenheit, the stones get you as close as you can get in the comfort of your home kitchen.
The problem I’ve seen is that pizza stones cost too much damn money. I’ve seen these pieces of rock sold upwards of $30-50 or more. C’MON, SON!! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also seen cheaper ones ranging from $8 to $14, but you know the saying– if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a piece of crap. Ok, I made that last part up. So, here’s what I’ve found through a little internet research (I’m an internet researcher, y’all! You didn’t know?!?). You can just buy UNGLAZED NATURAL STONE TILE AT THE DAMN HARDWARE STORE!! PFFFFFFFFF!! One slab of 18×18 Travertine tile is under $5. Why on earth would I spend $50. So, that’s what I did.
Here’s where me being a complete moron comes into play. I stroll up to my local big name hardware store, walk around clueless as to where the Flooring department is, so I politely ask someone, and BOOM, it’s right in front of my face. That’s not where the moronic part comes in though. I approach a nice gentleman, and ask where I can find travertine tile, he points to the tiles that I’m standing directly in front of. In my defense, AIN’T NOTHIN’ SAID TRAVERTINE ANYWHERE ON ANY OF THE SIGNAGE. That’s not even the moronic part. So, there I am, happy as a clam with a big ole’ slab of rock, so I take my goofy butt to the checkout, pay for it, and head home. Once I get to my kitchen, I wipe off the tile with a damp cloth and dry it off. I’m super excited, so I open up my little Fisher Price apartment oven and stick that badboy right in… and GUESS WHAT? IT’S TOO FRICKIN’ BIG!! Yep, in my excitement over learning I can save a ton of cash by buying a piece of tile to make the closest thing I can to homemade pizza of my dreams, and I didn’t measure my oven. The tile is about an inch and a half too big, so my oven door won’t shut. FAILURE.
So, there I was, broken and alone with a brand new platform for my wooden cutting board, because that’s all it’s good for now. Or maybe I can put it on the ground, so it makes me feel taller when I’m making pizzas in my pizza stoneless oven. You might think, hey– can’t you just take it back and ask them to cut it for you? I already tried. For the most part, if a hardware store has a tile cutter handy, they MIGHT be able to do it for you, but I’ve found that the big name stores don’t have the tile cutter that can cut Travertine because it’s natural stone. They’ll just refer you to their equipment rental section. Why am I gonna rent a $30-$50 tile cutter for a pizza stone that I’m trying to save money on??? On the other hand, I’ve found that smaller, mom & pop tile and flooring stores have a better selection of sizes.
Moral of the story, y’all: if you’re gonna buy a piece of tile to use as a pizza stone, make sure you know how big your oven is. This might be a “uummm… DUH!” type thing for a lot of you, but not everyone is a dingus like myself. I hope my story touches you and imparts any resemblance of a helpful tip/trick for those interested in saving money on a pizza stone.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of my very thought out and well planned Pizza Stone Journey. It’s nowhere near moronic, I promise (I’m lying). v moronic, m stupor.