Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pizza from the Home (Depot) Hearth

Karen asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said, "a pizza stone." Then, I thought about it and surfed the net and changed my request to "a rectangular pizza stone." After scoping out the models on Amazon, with their varying sizes, I said, "a 16 x16 pizza stone, cuz ya know, I like big pizzas." Each time I updated Karen I worried that she'd already bought my present. She hadn't.

A little more surfing and I discovered that any hardware store would have ceramic tiles of all sizes (virtually the same as the product sold as a pizza stone). All I had to do was find an unglazed and untreated one in the size I wanted and bring it home for cheap. I called Karen one more time and asked her to hold off while I looked into this option. The retail pizza stones run from $20-50 (not including the $70 All-Clad model). At Lowe's, the tile isle was comparatively cheap and the options were dizzying. I didn't bother the staff with my confusing request ("You wanna do what with a floor tile?!?!"). Luckily, they had a natural stone tile or two (or several dozen, actually). I chose a 18 x 18 square to bring home in the hopes that it would fit into my cheap-ass Hot Point gas oven. Instant brick oven effect!

For me, the biggest catalyst in my decision to create a hearth for baking was the crust at Tarrantino's Pizza. The bottom of the crust is divinely crisped (same effect at 8 1/2 - and neither of them have brick ovens!). I want that. My pizzas suck in the crust department, even when I do them right on the rack (okay, if I grill the crust, then they're good). The solution is a piping hot rock to slide my pizza onto. It will absorb the moisture and sear the dough, to make it crisp and chewy. In the picture above, I achieved the crispy bottom crust effect and it was just the first time using the "pizza stone." Definitely a good sign.

Anywho, there's another story to be told about how I have a lot of work to do on my pizza dough technique (the yeast didn't activate much and I over kneaded the dough). But, I'm too excited to share the news about my new pizza stone for under $10 and the beginning of my new pizza making journey. Two more dough balls in the fridge. Any suggestion on how I should top them?


  1. If you're having trouble with making dough - Trader Joe's has a 'bag o' dough' that makes one large pizza for 99 cents. I haven't tried it yet but Sketchy says it's as good as any he has made himself.

  2. While making the dough, I knew I was screwing up. Forgetting to flour my hands at the start gave me a pretty good indicator of my incompetence. But! The thing about dough is that you can and should simply try and try again until you get it right. And that's what I'm gonna do.

    (I have tried the TJ's dough, and I'll probably compare it to mine soon enough).

  3. Pineapple and jalapeno'll set you right up, best combination on the planet after peanut butter and jelly and that just doesn't fare well on a pizza.

  4. Anonymous6:38 AM

    Heathens. Pineapple doesn't belong on pizza. Except with SPAM.

    And as per crust, try James McNair's PIZZA..

  5. I held my tongue on the pineapple suggestion, because it was almost redeemed by the jalapenos. But, I agree: pineapples on pizza = carnival food, probably suited to the palate of a frequent Applebee's customer.

    As for James McNair, here's every page of his pizza book in online form. It looks really good.

  6. Aww shucks. The link on the McNair book is only a preview. May have to keep an eye out for it in the bargain section at B&N.

  7. What an awesome idea, dude! Seriously. :)



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