What is the difference between a pizza steel and a pizza stone? Both of them are helpful tools that guide you to crispy pizza crusts. However, they have many different properties, so learning about each type will help you to choose the right one for your cooking needs.
In this article, I will tell you all the information about pizza steels and pizza stones, plus a complete comparison. So, let’s explore whether pizza stone or steel is better for making a crispy pizza crust.
The pizza stone is a cooking tool that has appeared for thousands of years before being used widely in modern kitchens. In the past, a pizza stone was a flat cooking tool made of stone and used to make flatbread. However, now it is used mainly for making a perfect pizza.
Nowadays, a pizza stone is designed in a circle shape with a flat surface. It is usually made of clay, ceramic, or cordierite stone. The tool evenly absorbs heat from the oven and then redistributes it to the pizza dough’s bottom for a crispy pizza crust.
Why Do You Need A Pizza Stone?
Household ovens often fail to get the right temperatures for baking pizzas. But pizza stones offer a great solution: they create a consistent temperature by providing a high-temperature surface to bake the pizza.
That mimics the conditions in a pizzeria’s professional brick oven. Also, a pizza stone helps give the pizza a real oven taste. It is also useful for making other baked dishes, such as flatbreads, focaccia, or even nachos.
However, the stone is temperature sensitive since its primary material is clay or ceramic. If you quickly adjust the temperature, the stone can easily be cracked and destroy your pizza.
People usually think of pizza stones when it comes to pizza-baking tools since they are very popular in most family kitchens. However, pizza steel is also a good idea for making a crispy pizza crust.
Pizza steel, as its name suggests, is made only from steel. It usually has rectangular or round shapes, flat and non-stick. Since steel is a dense metal, it can absorb and retain heat well, which helps to cook your pizza quickly.
The Importance Of Pizza Steels
This kitchen utensil helps you cook pizza faster. Steel is excellent for conducting and dissipating heat. Thus, there is no wasted heat. The temperatures are transferred directly to the food, causing it to cook faster.
One of the significant drawbacks of pizza steel is its price. Generally, it costs more than a pizza stone.
People are always interested in learning about the differences between the two baking tools since they help to decide whether to bring a pizza stone or steel back home.
If you are also curious, let’s keep reading for the crux of the matter: an in-depth comparison between the two.
What Do Pizza Steels And Pizza Stones Have In Common?
First, pizza steels and stones are baking tools that capture the heat from the oven and then redistribute it to the pizza.
Except for wood-fired ovens, most home pizza ovens don’t get hot enough. Therefore, these two apparatuses help spread the heat evenly to create a crispy crust without burning the toppings.
Besides, pizza steels and stones have various shapes and sizes. You can easily find a rectangle or round shape with different thinness that meet your cooking purpose. A thicker tool can help retain heat better, while a thin one is easier to move and store.
What Are Their Distinct Differences?
Despite the similarities, pizza steels and pizza stones are quite different, which can influence your final decision. Therefore, let’s look at the table below to overview their dissimilarities.
|Criteria||Pizza Steels||Pizza Stones|
|Material||Steel||Ceramic, clay, or cordierite|
|Heat conductivity||Very good||Good|
|Cook time||3 - 8 minutes||8 -10 minutes|
|Durability||Very durable||Prone to cracking|
|Budget||More expensive||More affordable|
|Seasoning||Every 3 to 6 months||Not necessary|
|Care and storage||Easy||Less easy|
When it comes to pizza steels, you will know their particular substance. Pizza steels, as the name says, are totally made of steel.
Pizza stones, on the other hand, come in various materials. A pizza stone can be made from ceramic, clay, or cordierite, allowing it to absorb heat from the oven and moisture from the dough to create a crispy crust.
Making homemade pizza steel is easy. Let’s try to do it yourself!
Head conductivity measures a substance’s ability to transfer heat through a material by conduction. (1) Steel, clay, and ceramic are good candidates for conducting and keeping temperatures but differ in efficiency.
Steel is a solid metal with free electrons that can move and transfer heat better than other materials. On the other hand, clay and ceramic have porous structures that make them inferior to steel in this aspect (but these materials are still very effective).
Since a pizza steel has better thermal conductivity than a pizza stone, it takes less time to bake pizza. You only need 3 – 8 minutes to bake a pizza with steel, while it is 8 – 10 minutes if you use a stone.
However, the difference is slight, and whether you use which version, you must remember to preheat the tool for 30 to 45 minutes before use.
Do you want to know how long it takes to cook with these two tools? Let’s explore the answer now!
Pizza steels are much more durable than pizza stones. Steel is resistant to corrosion, has solid chemical makeup, and is stable under harsh conditions, while a pizza stone can break quickly if you expose it to sudden changes in temperature (or thermal shock).
After using a pizza stone for a long period, you will notice minor fractures on its surface. The reason for this is because of its porous structure.
The porosity allows steam to escape from the bread’s base, so a pizza stone may prevent the pizza from getting soggy, as well as create a crispy crust. However, the water will expand and break your stone if you quickly change the heat when baking.
In addition, a steel version can withstand strong impacts and is not easy to crack. Therefore, in terms of durability, pizza steels are superior to pizza stones.
One significant difference between these two tools is the price. Due to the different materials, a pizza steel usually costs 3 to 4 times more than a pizza stone. So, it is unsurprising that pizza stones are more popular. However, everything has its price!
Seasoning is coating your tools with one oil layer and baking them at a high temperature for protection. For a pizza stone, manufacturers do not recommend seasoning since they can season naturally during their life.
However, seasoning for your pizza steel is recommended to prevent rust and corrosion. After every 3 to 6 months, you should season the steel. Using vegetable oil with a high smoke point is ideal.
Let’s discover the right way to season your pizza steel.
Pizza steels are made of solid metal, whereas stones have a porous texture of ceramic. In theory, pizza steels should be heavier than their stone counterparts.
However, a pizza stone has to be really thick to bake a well-browned pizza. Its width may be twice or greater than that of a comparable pizza steel. Therefore, a non-steel pizza-baking tool may end up with a bigger weight than a pizza steel.
How To Care And Store
Because all appliances require the same precautions, the process for caring for and storing these two baking items is identical. Keeping them in the oven is an ideal storing method.
But pizza steels are easier to clean because they are more durable and have a non-stick surface that you can brush easily.
Furthermore, If using the pizza stones for a long time, you will see scorched dots that give the tool an unattractive appearance. This, however, will not happen to pizza steels.
How To Use Your Pizza Tools
Whether you buy a pizza steel or pizza stone, there are instructions for using them. Follow the guides below to learn how to properly use your pizza tool kit.
A Clear Guide To Use Pizza Stones
Pizza stones are popular, but do you know how to use them correctly? If you are a newbie to the pizza stone, this general guide below is for you.
Step 1: Preheat Your Pizza Stones
Preheating is compulsory when using a pizza stone. This sept helps the stone to mimic the oven’s temperature and is hot enough to make a crispy pizza crust.
Since the pizza stone is thermal shock, you should never put it in a hot oven to warm up. First, place your stone in the cold oven and warm them together.
The stone is thick so remember to preheat it at high temperature for around 30 minutes to 1 hour to ensure it absorbs enough heat from the oven. A recommended temperature for the preheated process is 450ºF or more.
Step 2: Move Your Pizza To The Stone
Using a pizza peel is the best way to transfer your pizza to the hot stone. Please prepare your peel with semolina flour or cornmeal before placing your pizza. The purpose of flour is to create a non-stick layer that helps you slide off the pizza easier later.
If your preparation is correct, you can easily slide your pizza from the peel to the hot oven. Consider using a wooden cutting board if you don’t have a pizza peel.
Step 3: Bake With The Pizza Stone
Since your pizza stone is hot enough, it takes a little time to bake the pizza. Usually, this step takes 6 to 10 minutes, depending on your pizza’s size and crust. You can notice the pizza is done if the crust turns golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.
Step 4: Take Your Pizza Out
Don’t let your pizza sit in the oven for too long after you turn it off because the heat in the stove can burn your baked goods. Use a pizza peel to get your pizza out.
What Is The Right Way To Use Pizza Steels?
Like the pizza stone, the steel version also requires you to follow proper instructions so that it can achieve the best performance.
Step 1: Consider The Place In The Oven For Your Pizza Steel
If your oven has broilers, consider putting your pizza steel around 2 inches (5 centimeters) from the broilers for the best temperature.
With the broiler system on the top of the oven, you can put the steel in the top rack near the broiler. However, when the top rack is too far from the broiler, you can place an upside-down sheet under the steel to make it closer to the broiler.
On the contrary, when the broiler system is in the bottom of the oven, you must set the steel in the bottom rack nearest the heating unit for enough temperature.
Step 2: Preheat Pizza Steel
The next step is similar to preheating the pizza stone. After choosing a suitable place for your steel in the oven, you need to preheat the steel for at least 45 minutes. If you have thick steel, take the preheating process to 90 minutes to ensure your steel is hot enough.
The temperature for preheating is recommended for around 500ºF. It would be better if you turned on the broiler towards the end of the preheating.
Step 3: Baking Time
When your pizza is hot enough, you can place the pizza into the oven for baking. Using a pizza peel is recommended to slip the pizza into the steel.
Baking with a pizza steel can take 3 to 8 minutes, depending on the pizza type and the texture you want. If you bake many pizzas, remember to reheat your oven after each batch to prevent the steel from losing its heat. 10 to 15 minutes is enough.
Let’s discover the way to use a pizza baking steel effectively.
If you follow the proper instructions, your pizza tools’ cleaning process can be very easy. However, the tools can be completely ruined if you ignore the cautions.
This Is What You Should Know To Clean Your Pizza Steel
One warning before cleaning your pizza steel is never to place it in the sink. The water and dishwashing liquid can ruin your steel since the water causes rusty steel (2) or corrodes it. To clear your pizza steel, let’s follow these three steps.
Step 1: Clean The Burnt Food Soils
You can use a brush to swipe off the burnt food in the steel. For the sticky residues like burnt cheese, you can remove them with a dough scraper. If your oven has a cleaning function, you can also use it to clean the steel.
Step 2: Use Hot Water
The next step is to remove loose residue with a brush and hot water. Never keep your steel in the sink or use dishwashing liquid. All you should do in this step is try to clean the left dust with hot water and a brush.
Step 3: Drying And Storing The Pizza Steel
Dry your steel with a towel or paper to avoid rust. After all, you can warm the pizza steel in the oven until it is scorched before storing it.
Since the pizza steel is heavy, you should never place it on the top rack for storage. Usually, placing it in the under drawer of the oven is ideal because this place is dry enough to store the steel.
You can step up your baking game by learning how to clean the pizza steel correctly.
Cleaning Pizza Stone Is Just That Easy!
Similar to pizza steel, there is also a detailed guide for cleaning and storing the stone. Let’s check it out.
Step 1: Scrape All The Burnt Food
First, you should remove all burnt food on the surface of the pizza stone with a brush. You can use a plastic brush, spatula, or scraper to remove the dust. But don’t put too much pressure when cleaning to prevent your pizza stone from breaking.
Step 2: Use Baking Soda
Baking soda can help you clean your pizza stone since you can’t put it in the sink and wash it with dish soap. To remove odorous spills and a funky smell from your pizza stone, mix 2 parts baking soda and 1 part water.
After removing all the dust, you need to wipe the stone and let it dry in the oven for 1 to 2 hours.
Recommended Pizza Steel Brands For Long-Term Investment
Pizza steels are suitable for baking pizza, especially when you use steels from a good brand. Therefore, let’s take a look at some best brands for pizza steel that you can consider bringing home.
You must have seen the Hans Grill brand among the best pizza accessories. It has provided many great pizza-baking tools, such as pizza stones, peels, and cutters.
If you are looking for a top-tier pizza steel, you can try this XL Square Conductive Metal Baking Sheet. This accessory is made for a balanced thickness, so you don’t need to wait long for it to be hot before using it.
Nerd Chef is another good brand for pizza-baking tools. This brand provides a wide range of pizza steels and stones in various sizes, ensuring that you will always find the perfect one for your oven.
To save baking time, you can try this NerdChef Steel Stone – High Performance Pizza Baking. This version has excellent heat conductivity and capacity, and there are three different sizes for you to consider.
Darebuilt Metal Works is famous for its quality products, which only uses the best raw material in Canada. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about the life of pizza steels here.
This Darebuilt Metal Works Pizza Steel 22 inch x 14 is what you can look for in the Darebuilt Metal Works shop. Since it has a large surface, you can enjoy baking more types of baked goods with this tool than just pizzas.
Impresa is where you can buy anything for your household needs, including pizza steels. You can look at this Impresa Steel Pizza Stone for Oven, as it has a size and shape that fits most ovens. Besides, it has a non-stick surface allowing you to turn your pizza quickly.
Now you have overviewed all the information about pizza steels and stones. However, you can keep learning by discovering some commonly asked questions in this section.
So now you know how different pizza steels and stones are from each other. It is hard to say which one is better than the other. Each one can fit your needs differently, depending on your cooking purpose. Still, for dedicated home pizza bakers, it is worth investing in the steel option.
If you found this article useful, please remember to share it with your friends to help them overview the differences between these two baking tools. And as always, I welcome your feedback and suggestions in the comments section.
- Connor, N. (2019) What is thermal conductivity – definition – definition, Thermal Engineering.
- Grainger Engineering Office of Marketing and Communications Effects of rust, Effects of Rust | Physics Van | UIUC.
Table of Contents
- Things You Should Know About Pizza Stones
- More Information About Pizza Steels
- A Full Comparison Between Pizza Steels And Pizza Stones
- How To Use Your Pizza Tools
- A Clear Guide To Care For Your Pizza Tools
- Recommended Pizza Steel Brands For Long-Term Investment
- Pizza Steels And Pizza Stones Are Both Good