Benefits of Baking Stones
Using your barbecue to create fantastic meals can be fast and easy or a gourmet experience (and sometimes both). However, did you know that by adding one accessory, you can take your grill from a fantastic meal machine to a beautiful baking beast? Produce the best pizzeria pizzas, bake bread like an artisan bakery, and create confections that cannot be beat, all on your BBQ! The benefits of owning a baking stone are endless! Try the fantastic Carrot Cake recipe from our feature image for this article; the baking stone provided the perfect environment for a super moist and delicious cake.
What is a Baking Stone?
Baking stones are also known as pizza stones and come in a few different shapes and materials. Napoleon’s baking stones range in size and shape to fit a variety of barbecues and needs. They are made from ceramic, a durable clay material. They are lighter than other baking stone materials, making them easier to move, clean, and store.
Ceramic baking and pizza stones provide even heating but require a longer preheating time to provide the best results. They heat evenly and distribute that heat in such an effective way, that if you have uneven temperatures in your barbecue or oven. Ceramic baking stones are designed to retain heat, meaning that they won’t cool down when you open the barbecue or oven to place food that you are cooking onto them.
Use or leave pizza and baking stones in your oven even if you aren’t using them to cook. They are a great way to provide additional heating and better results for all meals. As an added bonus, you won’t have to find storage for the stone if it lives in your oven.
What are the Benefits of a Baking Stone?
The biggest benefit of baking stones and pizza stones are the perfect crust you can gain for your pizzas and breads. But that’s not all they do. Easy to use and take care of, baking stones can be the foundation of better barbecue when it comes to baking and roasting.
The Science of Baking Stones
Baking stones and pizza stones are designed to mimic the conditions of brick and pizza ovens, to absorb and retain heat for distribution into the food you are cooking. In fact, your food is directly touching the heat source, utilizing conduction to provide a perfectly crisp bottom while radiant heat energy cooks the top and sides. When properly used, everything will cook evenly.
Thermal mass determines heat storage and distribution of a particular item. It is why cast iron, cast stainless steel, and baking stones are ideal for cooking, especially on the barbecue. The greater the thermal mass an object has, the longer it can hold onto and provide heat to the food that it is in contact with.
Barbecued Bruschetta Pizza
Barbecued pizza is the best. It's an easy recipe that can be done on a weeknight or a treat on the weekend. But sometimes pepperoni and cheese can get boring.
By preheating your pizza or baking stone to 500°F+ (260°C+) for up to an hour you can effectively replicate the amazing conditions of professional pizza ovens. This will work in your indoor oven to provide the results you want for pizza crusts, but you can push your barbecue even hotter for more incredible, crisp crusts with fluffy insides. The same is true for breads as well.
Baked Goods but Better
When baking, the ideal conditions (dependent on the recipe) must be met. Most times, a dose of high heat from the beginning will provide the catalyst for raising the confection you are baking. For yeasted doughs like bread and pizza, baking stones provide oven spring, quickly cooking and crisping the bottom while simultaneously causing the yeast to begin a feeding frenzy that releases carbon dioxide and steam into the dough for a lighter and airier crust. Once the dough has reached around 120°F (49°C), the browning process will occur and the crust will harden, stopping any further expansion. Other baked goods, when cooked on a stone, will brown more evenly, and pies will have a light and crisp bottom when baked in their pie plate set upon a stone.
Monster Sized Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie
Baking cookies using a baking stone is a brilliant way to prevent over-browning and burning. Try these Gigantic Chocolate Chip cookies and experience cookies on a baking stone yourself.
When baking breads, bagels, and similar foods, create steam by pouring about half a cup of water into a preheated cast iron pan. This only needs to be done once, at the beginning of the bake.
Baking Stone Features
Napoleon’s baking stones are made from ceramic materials. These natural materials have tiny cracks and valleys that will wick away any moisture from the food allowing evaporation to occur more efficiently than with cast iron or steel baking pans.
You can use a baking stone to roast food too. Place your roasting pans or baking sheets on a preheated stone. This will pass heat from the stone into the bottom of the baking or roasting pan and cook the bottom of your food cooking it faster and more evenly.
Tips and Tricks for Using a Baking Stone
- Always preheat the stone on your barbecue using all burners or an indirect grilling setup. This is up to your preference. Once you are done using the stone, leave it on the grill to cool completely before washing if needed.
- You can use your baking stone in your oven to ensure even temperatures throughout. Leave it in the oven and only clean it when you cook directly on it.
- Keep the oven or your grill’s lid closed as much as possible throughout any cook that involves using the baking or pizza stone. This will ensure that the heat remains trapped and provides the best cooking environment.
- When baking cakes, pies, cookies, or pastries, check on the baked goods at least halfway through to ensure that things are cooking evenly. If they aren’t you can shuffle or turn things to ensure all sides are evenly heated.
- Parchment paper and cornmeal make great barriers between what you are cooking and the stone itself. Ceramic stones are not non-stick, and foods placed directly on stones, especially the newer ones, will likely stick. Over time and with frequent use, baking, and pizza stones do discolor and develop a patina that will provide some non-stick properties.
Pretzel Breaded Barbecue Baked Chicken
Not just for baked goods and pizza, you can bake breaded chicken on your baking stone for fantastic and healthy results. Try this recipe for Pretzel Crusted Chicken.
Using a knife, pizza wheel, or rocking pizza cutter on the stone surface will damage your blades and the stone. Always transfer food to a cutting board before slicing.
Do not clean the pizza stone with soap! Soap will absorb into the stone and leach into the food you cook. Instead, gently scrub any stuck-on foods and wipe them with warm water. Then, dry for at least 24 hours before using again.
Baking Stone Recipe Inspiration
If you don't see something above that tickles your fancy, then the Napoleon Recipe Blog has a bunch of other recipes that may do that trick.
Share Your Baking Stone Creations With Us!
Now that you know the benefits of baking and pizza stones will you be adding one to your kitchen accessory arsenal? Have you ever used one? Tell us about your successes and failures when using a baking stone. You can also share your favorite baking stone stories, recipes, and photos on social like our Facebook and Tiktok pages using the hashtags #NapoleonEats and #NapoleonGrills.
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