If you own a pizza stone or pizza steel, chances are you own other specialized tools and your kitchen space is limited. You could either decide to re-model your kitchen or you can see what else can be accomplished with the tools you already have. Today we’ll take a look at the second option, and see how we can maximize the potential of two pizza products that were born to serve more than one function.
To me, the standout task for either a pizza stone or pizza steel is definitely the art of making bread. Not only is making bread simple, it can be more cost effective, taste better, and ultimately be healthier for you than buying loaves from the supermarket.
- Transfer the finished dough onto the preheated pizza steel and bake it for 50 - 55 minutes at 375°F. A good guideline is to use a thermometer to check and see if the bread is at 210°F internally when you think it's done.
If you're looking for an easy way to make bread dough, I recommend checking out the "no knead bread technique." It's so simple a four-year-old could do it. Seriously, check out the blog from the mom who had her four-year-old make it! Not only is this bread amazing in flavor and structure, but it literally calls for you to mix, rest, and bake.
This recipe is geared toward people who own a Dutch oven, so when I tested this recipe on the pizza steel, I used a heat-safe Pyrex bowl to simulate the enclosed environment of a cast iron pot with a lid. Instead of baking the bread in a Dutch oven, simply flip the dough onto a preheated pizza steel, place the inverted heat-safe Pyrex bowl over the top, and place it in the oven. When the no knead technique calls for you to “remove the lid,” remove the Pyrex bowl and finish cooking the loaf.
Another great way to use your pizza steel or pizza stone is as a grill press. Since both items are quite heavy and both can handle very high levels of heat, they’re perfect to decrease the cooking time of larger cuts and roasts. With a large weight on top, your roasts will have better contact the grill grate, producing superior grill marks.
- Cover your pizza stone or steel with aluminum foil. The surface of the pizza stone has a lot of small holes which, if left uncovered, can absorb cooking oils or fat from whatever you’re cooking. While this wouldn't be the end of your pizza stone, it can cause unwanted smoke when the fats or oils burn off the next time you use it.
- Preheat the stone or steel with your oven or grill, place your roast, and set the stone or steel on top of it. Whichever tool you’re using, be sure it balances solidly on top of the roast. Unstable stones or steels have a chance of falling and breaking or worse, injuring the cook. Half chickens, tri-tips, London broils and other similarly-shaped cuts work great with grill presses.
Another convenient way to use these two items would be as a serving platter. While your average pizza stone isn't uber-attractive, it can still be dressed up with some nice linens or a decorative placemat. Wrap it around your stone or steel and lay out a fresh assortment of cookies, pastries, or appetizers for your guests. (They’ll never know.) If you have a glazed pizza stone, even better; place food directly on this coated surface – even the messiest appetizers won't penetrate the coating on these stones. Most glazed pizza stones also feature handles, so you can carry your dish right to the table.
It’s been reported that people are using their pizza steel to sear steaks. Considering the massive amount of thermal energy that can be stored in a pizza steel, it seems like a great idea. Searing isn't usually a problem with a nice hot charcoal fire, but sometimes propane can be lacking in the char department.
- Fire up your gas grill with a pizza steel inside for at least 30 minutes.
- Once you’re fully preheated, throw a steak or chop onto the steel and watch it sizzle to perfection. Be sure to turn off the burner that’s directly below the plate, in order to avoid flare ups.
- Once both sides are seared, transfer the meat back to the grill grates to finish cooking over the flames.
Last but not least, this great idea was given to us by a customer who’d learned all the tricks of the trade. Apparently, pizza stones make a great tool for baking pie crusts. Many recipes call for you to pre-bake your pie crust before adding any fillings or a top layer of crust. This prevents an undercooked crust, since cooking the pie filling usually takes a lot less time than the crust. Using a pizza stone eliminates pre-baking!
- Assemble the whole pie.
- Bake it in a pie tin/dish that’s set on top of a preheated pizza stone. The pizza stone transfers its thermal energy right where the pie needs it most: the bottom crust. You’ll have to experiment a little with timing, but you’ll enjoy a nice upgrade to that soggy old pie crust. Make sure the contents in the pie dish aren't too cold because it’s never a good idea to set something cold on a hot pizza stone.
Well, there you have it - five alternate uses for your pizza stone or pizza steel. Now you have the knowledge to pull out these items for more than just your favorite pizza recipe!