Pizza Steel vs. Stone: Which is Better?

Pizza is a family favorite for busy weeknights and fun weekend dinners both. But you do not need to get your pizza from a restaurant or takeout for a top-notch pizza. There are thousands of recipes on the web for great pizza. But an essential part of having it turn out to your satisfaction is what you bake it on.

The two most common ways to bake a pizza are on pizza steel or pizza stone. The steel is made entirely of steel. The stones are made of clay, cordierite, or ceramic. Because they are made from entirely different materials, the biggest difference between them is how they conduct heat.

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If you are thinking about making pizza at home regularly, acquiring either a pizza stone or baking steel will considerably improve the end quality of your product. Both of these products conduct and hold heat extremely well, and both will do a much better job than a cookie sheet.

The basic idea behind baking a pizza on a conductive surface like a stone or steel is that the surface will bake your pizza or whatever is on it faster and more evenly than it will on a less ideal surface.  Let’s compare some of the facts between pizza steel vs stone.

What is a Pizza Stone?

What is a Pizza Stone

A pizza stone is a flat slab of ceramic or stone where it soaks up and holds onto the heat. Because the unbaked pizza dough sits directly on it, the hot stone transmits the heat to the bottom of the crust, like in a wood fired oven.

A pizza stone is a subset of what is commonly known as baking stones. The biggest difference is that a pizza stone is typically round, whereas a baking stone is rectangular. But essentially, a pizza stone is a baking stone. But its possible to use a rectangular stone for pizza if you choose.

A pizza stone transmits heat to the dough from underneath it. You probably have heard a pizza stone will produce a crisp bottom because the porous surface absorbs moisture. This is not quite true. When the dough is heated to 500 degrees F, it isn’t absorbing moisture at all because the liquids are quickly being converted into steam, then evaporating.

Porousness does become an issue because, unlike a metal baking sheet, a pizza stone’s cracks and crevices allow the steam to escape better than a metal pan.

Extremely smooth metals trap moisture, resulting in a soggy crust not a dry, crispy one.

But a pizza stone does the job because it gets really hot.

Different thicknesses in pizza stones are available, with the thicker ones generally more durable, they work better, are more expensive, and take longer to heat up.

What is a Pizza Steel

What is a Pizza Steel

Pizza steel is also known as baking steel and conducts heat better than a pizza stone. Pizza steel is also popular for baking bread in addition to pizza as it can transfer heat at a high rate and remain stable at a steady temp.

This means if the pizza is placed on the steel, the dough is baked by a heat transfer stored in the steel rather than in a hot oven. This makes for a crispier crust and a faster cook time.

Do not forget to season your pizza steel. The reason for this is to protect the steel from rusting and make it more stick resistant. Use an oil with a high smoke point, such as flaxseed oil. Make sure the pizza steel is clean, then wipe it with a little oil. Then wipe the oil off with a paper towel, leaving a light, thin layer of oil on the steel. Then bake the pizza steel in a 400-degree F oven for one hour. Place the steel in a cold oven, let it heat up slowly. After an hour, turn off the oven and let the steel cool down in the oven.

Pizza Steel vs. Stone – Cost

Another thing to consider is the cost. A pizza stone can cost anywhere between $30 and $60.

A baking steel sells for $89. The potential difference in cost is significant—the steel’s versatility as a cold tool when frozen adds some value. The pizza stone, because of cost, might be preferred, but you may want pizza steel if you prefer a multitasking tool.

Pizza Steel vs. Stone – Performance

On a pizza stone, cheese will melt evenly, and the crust gets crisp around the outer edge. A few big bubbles will form along the outside crust, and they disappear when cut. The slice will flop over a little when holding it. It doesn’t occur all the time, but when it does, it can get messy. Sometimes those first bites from the center can taste slightly underdone.

Using baking steel, the entire underside of the pizza is completely and evenly cooked from the outer edges into the middle. The cheese gets evenly melted, and if it is put nearer to the broiler, it gets browned in spots. Cheese caramelizes on the top of the pizza, the extra bubbles in the crust, and the bake’s evenness across the bottom, the steel is the more ideal surface for baking a pizza at home.

Care of a Pizza Stone

Care of a Pizza Stone

Here are some basic tips on how to take care of your pizza stone to ensure a perfect outcome each time you use it.

  • Never soak in water
  • Never clean with soap
  • Never rub oil into it
  • Don’t handle too much
  • Don’t shock with temperature changes
  • Clean when needed
  • Store in the oven

Once you have removed loose pieces of food, it may need a deeper cleaning. This may be tricky because you cannot use soap, and you need to avoid soaking the stone.

Worst-case scenario, if you have pizza bits stuck in the stone, soak the stone overnight. But it comes with a price. It will allow the hardened pieces to soften and lift up, but the stone will fill with water. That isn’t as serious as getting soap to sink into it, but the stone will need to dry out thoroughly before its next use.

Care of Pizza Steel

Care of Pizza Steel

Here is some advice on how to care for pizza steel. There are five easy steps to cleaning it.

  • Remove any burnt food
  • Clean the pizza steel using a nylon brush and hot water
  • Dry the pizza steel with a paper towel
  • Season the pizza steel with oil
  • Store the pizza steel properly

Never put pizza steel in the dishwasher. The aggressive dishwasher detergent can ruin pizza steel.

Harsh soaps and other types of detergent are not good for pizza steel. Avoid using any type of soap while cleaning pizza steel.

Do not attempt to clean hot pizza steel. Handling it while hot can be dangerous. Make sure you let it cool down completely before removing it from the oven.

Also, using cold water to cool it down is really bad for the pizza steel. It can result in thermal shock that can warp the steel. Thick pizza steel is less likely to warp.

Lastly, don’t touch the pizza steel until it is completely cooled down.

Recommended products

Recommended products

Are you in the market for a different method of baking your pizza? Have you decided on stone or steel? Here is a list of a few of the most highly-rated products from which you can choose. These products are available on Amazon.

Pizza Steel

  • The Original Baking Steel
    • Although it is a great deal heavier and more cumbersome than those made from ceramics or cast iron, this product conducts heat at several times the rate of other materials, making it a worthwhile investment for those who take their pizza seriously.
    • Shatterproof and unbreakable
    • Never needs seasoning
    • Available up to ½” thick
  • NerdChef Pizza Steel
    • Looks and appearance rates 5
    • Ease of use rates 5
    • Functionality rates 4.5
    • 20x the conductivity of ceramic bakeware
    • Low-friction surface for sliding the pizza
    • It can double as a cold plate
    • A bit on the heavy side
  • Artisan Pizza Steel
    • Looks and appearance rates 5
    • Ease of use rates 5
    • Functionality 4.5
    • Ultra-conductive steel
    • Solid and durable for long-lasting use
    • Versatile can be used for cold items too
    • On the heavy side

Pizza Stone

  • Heritage Ceramic
    • The Heritage Ceramic is lightweight and durable with a smooth, glazed finish that keeps foods from sticking. Ensures easy cleanup. It has a lifetime replacement guarantee and delivers crispy crusts and even heating throughout.
      • Resists odors and stains
      • Can use cutting tools on it safely
      • No handles or grips
  • CastElegance Thermarite
    • Crafted from a durable, high-density, porous material to maintain consistent heat retention and moisture levels.
    • Resists cracking and thermal shock
    • Works with gas grills and ovens
    • Comes with a scraper and recipe e-book
  • Old Stone Oven
    • Manufactured to the same standards as the material used to line industrial blast furnaces. It is made from kiln-fired, lead-free clay that promises superior durability.
    • Crack-resistant construction
    • Core designed to minimize sogginess
    • Underside has feet

If you are one of the millions of people worldwide that love pizza, try making it in your own kitchen, using the tips we have provided for you in this article. The pizzas you create are sure to delight your family!

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