Pizza is not pizza without that crusty taste. When cooking a homemade pizza, the normal pizza stones hardly gives an enough crusty taste. Considering the high cost of purchasing a pizza stone, it just doesn’t cut out for its job. Ceramic tiles however have been used as a pizza stone and their result has been magnificent.
Ceramic tiles are able to withstand high temperatures of up to 500° Fahrenheit. This together with the fact that they are cheap and durable if maintained well makes them a perfect replacement for a pizza stone.
Remember, not all tiles are cut out for this task. One has to know what to look for when selecting a tile and how to set up the oven. Luckily, I am going to talk about all these and more in this article. If you want to learn how then stick to the article.
How To Use A Ceramic Tile As A Pizza Stone: A 6-Step Guide
Do you know why a homemade pizza doesn’t entice someone like the one from a pizza store? Home ovens cannot reach high temperatures as those of a professional pizza-making oven. This leaves the pizza less flavorful, pale, and doughy. To achieve that crusty well browned chewy pizza, one needs to create that hot environment in the home oven. That’s where ceramic tiles come in. Here is how to use ceramic tiles as pizza stones.
Step 1: Purchasing The Tile
Tiles are often located at a local hardware store or a building supply store. Look for unglazed quarry tiles. This is because polished tiles have chemicals added that can be harmful if consumed. Depending on the oven size, purchase 3 pieces of 12” tiles or 10 pieces of 6” tile. This includes a backup in case of any damage. They cost as little as 30 cents.
Step 2: Preparing The Tiles
First, clean the tiles to remove any dust particles. Avoid using soap and detergents as they may stick into the porous portion of the tile. This may in turn cause the pizza to taste like soap.
After cleaning, ensure the tiles dry out completely. Wet tiles have a high chance of damage due to high temperatures. Dry it using a piece of cloth and place it on an open rack, this will aid in drying the tiles fast and completely.
Step 3: Seasoning
Seasoning a tile is as important a task as seasoning cast iron. This enables the tile to make good pizza and to work efficiently. A tile has pores that enable it to work as a pizza stone. A blocked pore means less efficiency in the baking process. Season using olive oil as it is more light when compared to other oils. Ensure to pour the oil lightly to avoid overflow.
Step 4: Setting Up The Oven
Place the oven racks a few distances apart. Place the two 12” tiles one on the top rack and the other on the rack just below that. For those using the 6” tile, arrange 4 on the top rack and 4 on the rack just below that one.
Ensure the distance is not too spaced for easy heat circulation. Again do not make the distance too small that working will be less effective. The bottom tile is where the pizza will be cooked and the top radiates heat downwards.
Step 5: Preheating
Once the oven is set, preheat the oven to the highest temperature usually 500° Fahrenheit. Prepare the pizza as the oven is heating up. Glazed tiles have the ability to retain heat for long periods. Allow for up to 45 minutes of heating.
This creates a hot environment almost similar to that of the pizza oven. This will ensure the pizza is cooked almost like the one at your joint. Once the bell rings, open the oven and get ready to start cooking.
Step 6: Cooking
With the high temperatures already observed, place the pizza on the bottom tile and close the oven door. Allow the pizza to cook for about 10-15 minutes. Open to see if the top has browned and the bottom is well cooked.
One can always give more time for the cooking to be at its best. The outcome is a well-cooked crusty pizza almost as perfect as the one from a pizza store. Now marvel at your awesome work and enjoy the pizza.
5 Benefits of using a ceramic tile as a pizza stone
You are probably wondering why a ceramic tile is a good substitute for a pizza stone. Well, if you haven’t yet realized it, then here are some of the benefits as to why you should get an unglazed ceramic tile in place of a pizza stone. I bet you will not regret this decision.
Unglazed tiles cost as little as 30 cents per piece. One only needs 3 pieces of 12” tiles and 10 pieces of 6” tiles. This includes even replacements in case of breakage. This can only cost up to $6. This compared to $20 for a pizza stone is quite a low cost. This saves up to $14 which can be used for another home project and the tile even gives a better result than a regular pizza stone.
2. Heat Retention
Ceramic tiles are able to retain the high temperatures for a longer period. They can still be used for other baking practices even after cooking the pizza. They remain hot even when the oven doors are open. This saves on the power budget since there is no need to use the power again, only when the tiles go cold. The heat retention capacity is what makes them cook the pizza almost to perfection.
3. Easy Usage And Maintainance
Cleaning a ceramic tile is easy. Just use water minus soap and detergents. This is because they can cause the cooking to have a soapy smell. Placing a tile in the oven is also easy. The cost of replacing a tile is cheap as compared to replacing a pizza stone. It takes time to clean a pizza stone and energy as compared to when cleaning a tile. Unlike a pizza stone, ceramic tiles are long-lasting due to their easy maintenance.
4. High Temperatures
Ceramic tiles are prepared in a kiln with temperatures as high as 2200° Fahrenheit. This makes them heat resistant to temperatures below that. This property makes it easy for one to heat the ceramic tiles to the highest temperatures of the oven they have without worry. It also enables the tiles to create a hot baking environment like those of a pizza cooking oven. This helps cook a more quality pizza as compared to a pizza stone.
5. Crusty Pizza Cooking
Home-made pizza is most of the time doughy and unflavored. This is due to the limitations of the low temperatures of a home oven. Tiles are able to work around this limitation. Once they are preheated for about an hour, they create a good baking environment.
Almost as similar as the ones for pizza ovens. This in turn makes the cooked pizza to be crusty and evenly cooked both on top and bottom. It is difficult to achieve this using a regular pizza stone.
5 Tips for using ceramic tiles as a pizza stone
For efficiency and great results, there are some tips one needs to know. These will aid in both the preparation and the cooking process. Here is a list of the useful tips you should always remember to use when using a ceramic tile as a pizza stone.
Tip 1: Use Unglazed Tiles
Ceramic tiles are used for many purposes. They were not intended to be used as a pizza stone. When purchasing a tile for a pizza stone, always choose the unglazed tile. This is free from chemicals that other glazed tiles have. It is also the cheapest tile sold at the store. They come in different sizes to meet the requirements of various ovens. They can also be cut to size using a tile cutter.
Tip 2: Ensure The Tile Is Completely Dry
Before placing the tile in the oven, make sure it is completely dry. Wet tiles when exposed to high temperatures are prone to breaking. This can also ruin the pizza. Dry tiles make it easy to distribute the hot temperatures across the tile. There is an even expansion rate as compared to a wet one. The breaking is due to an uneven heat distribution to the tile due to the moisture.
Tip 3: Use The Base And Rack Of The Oven
When preparing the tiles for heating, use the base of the oven and place the other tile on the rack above the base. This stabilizes the tile hence ease in operation. One can remove stuck foods with ease unlike when both the tiles are on racks. It also aids in heat retention as no heat is lost to the space below since there is none. It also reduces the heating time to an extent.
Tip 4: Seasoning
Before placing the tiles in the oven, apply some oil to their surface. This helps keep the pores open. The pores aid in heat distribution and aeration of the cooking pizza or even bread. I would recommend the use of olive oil as it is light when compared to other oils. Ensure to lighten the hands to avoid over-oiling the tile. It only requires just a little oil for the process to be effective.
Tip 5: Flouring The Peel
For ease of delivery of the pizza on the tiles, it is recommended to ensure applying enough flour to ensure the pizza slides easily and lies well on the tiles. Failure to do this may cause the use of other means to unstick the pizza from the peel and on the tile. It can cause the toppings to fall off and create a mess on the tile. Always take your time to put enough flour on the peel.
Can You Use Glazed Ceramic Tile As A Pizza Stone?
Glazing a tile requires the use of chemicals to strengthen it and also increase durability. These chemicals might be harmful to someone’s health. A chemical like lead can damage the brains of a child if they get exposed to it. It is also carcinogenic. The glazed tile contains lead. For this reason, it cannot be used as a pizza stone.
Only use unglazed tile when looking to use one as a pizza stone. Unglazed tiles have no chemicals and hence are fit for food preparation. They are also cheap to purchase and replace.
Can You Put Ceramic Tiles In The Oven As ApPizza Stone?
Ceramic tiles are cooked in a kiln with over 2200°Fahrenheit. This makes them heat resistant to temperatures below that. For this reason, they can be put in an oven to serve as a pizza stone without the worry of breaking.
Tiles also come in different sizes that can fit any oven. When heated to the maximum temperatures of the oven, they are able to withstand the heat and in turn, create a hot environment suitable for cooking pizza. They are also able to retain high temperatures that can be used to cook other foods like bread without consuming energy.
Is Ceramic A Good Pizza Stone?
Regular pizza stones don’t give a homemade pizza that crusty-flavored taste. This is because they are unable to create a good baking environment. Ceramic tiles however are able to counter this problem. They are preheated under the highest temperature the oven can reach, usually 500° Fahrenheit. This makes them able to almost cook a perfect pizza. This makes them a better substitute for a pizza stone.
They are also able to retain heat for longer periods than normal pizza tiles. For just a few dollars, you can craft the best pizza stone using ceramic tiles. The results from this craft are amazing.
Do You Preheat A Ceramic Pizza Stone?
To create a good cooking environment like the one a pizza oven uses, one needs to preheat the ceramic. It is recommended that you heat up the tiles for 45-60 minutes. The temperature of the oven should be at its maximum.
Preheating enables the heat to be distributed equally on top to cool the toppings and from the bottom to give the pizza that crusty taste. Preheating creates an ideal environment similar to the one used to cook pizza at your joint.
Should You Oil A Ceramic Pizza Stone?
Ceramic unglazed tiles are porous. These pores enable the tile to allow for aeration of the pizza. It is recommended to keep these pores open for a great outcome. For that reason, a tile needs to be oiled before placing it in an oven. The oil helps to keep the pores open.
Olive oil is recommended because it is thin and light as compared to other oils. Always ensure the application is light and does not cover the pores completely. Ensure to cover only the area the pizza will be placed.
Cooking a good pizza should be the goal of every pizza lover. Getting that crusty-flavored taste should be what someone aspires to achieve. For that reason, one should use a ceramic tile as a pizza stone.
They have proven to make pizza almost as perfect as the one at your favorite pizza store. I recommend getting those unglazed tiles and you will thank me later when marveling at the results of their work.