Weekend Plans Post: The Pizza Stone


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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22 Responses

  1. Fish says:

    The shot of the pizza straight out of the oven makes a very compelling argument.Report

  2. fillyjonk says:

    It makes me a little sad to contemplate that in, what, five months? This regular feature has morphed from “what are you going to go and do this weekend” to “what are you going to stay home and cook?”

    Oh, I get it, I get it. But I still long for a time some day when going out to go and do isn’t so risky, and you don’t have to be hypervigilant against people being too close, or people coughing, or touching things, or whatever.

    I don’t know. Probably not going to cook this weekend as it’s going to be heat indexes in the 110s here and that makes me not want to cook. Or eat, for that matter. I have food ahead and if my Imperfect Foods box makes it to me THIS week (FedEx damaged it last week and strung me along for three days claiming a “delay” until they finally admitted Monday it was undeliverable, so I could contact Imperfect and get a refund – and I hope they demand a refund from FedEx) I will have fruit without having to venture out

    One place I am going periodically is the very small local quilt shop – they strictly limit how many people they let in at a time, it’s easy to distance (the person who cuts your fabric for you is on the other side of a very wide table) and I want them to keep going. I have a couple quilt tops ready and if I can get a backing put together for one this weekend I might take the quilt over there early next week (they are closed Saturdays and Sundays) and drop it off.

    Other than that – continuing-ed reading, trying to prep labs that could be done at a distance, worrying about teaching “in person” this fall. I also restarted a small research project and I have to run over to campus tomorrow to swap out the soil extractions I’m doing.

    Resolutely trying to make a few things seem “normal” even though nothing isReport

    • Jaybird in reply to fillyjonk says:

      I kinda felt bad that all of my old weekend posts had turned into “I am going to go to a handful of stores, run a handful of errands, do a handful of chores (laundry), and play some games.”

      Visiting friends and doing interesting things slowly morphed into “I’m going to be doing boring grownup stuff that doesn’t involve sitting in a circle of friends and laughing.”

      AND THEN THAT TURNED INTO QUARANTINE. Oh my gosh! I constantly feel guilty that I don’t take my phone into Safeway when I go to the pharmacy so I can take a picture of the produce aisle. “LOOK AT THIS ROMAINE!!!” Get a shot of the paper products aisle and get loving shots of the packs of Mega-Rolls that have re-appeared. Getting shots of the pasta aisle and showing that, once again, there are 7 kinds of Hamburger Helper available.

      Taking pictures in a grocery store has gone from being something silly that I can’t imagine anyone wanting to see except maybe a former Soviet recently released from prison into something that makes me wonder if there aren’t fellow quarantiners who would feel a small wisp of sad happiness looking at a shot of a pile of traffic light bell peppers.

      I can’t wait until everything is back to normal. I must wait until everything is back to normal. I will wait until everything is back to normal.Report

      • fillyjonk in reply to Jaybird says:

        I just hope things eventually get back to SOMETHING LIKE normal eventually, but I have days when I doubt it.

        I really want to go to the JoAnn’s. If I were careful, it would probably be OK. But the level of attention and hypervigilance being in a big-box store like that requires now isn’t worth it.

        I won’t go into my local Wal-Mart until this is over. If I need something from them, I’ll put together a $30 order and pick it up.

        That said…..I might consider another Kroger run later this month, if I go midweek and as distant from a payday as possibleReport

      • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        (And I want to say that the point of the posts is *NOT* what I’m doing. It’s that this place is safe to say “here’s what I’m doing”. If you read my post and say “that’s about as not particularly interesting as what I’m going to be doing… you know what, I’ll say what I’m doing too!”, then that’s the goal. “He’s saying that he’s just running errands and doing chores… I can say that I am just running errands and doing chores! *AND*, on top of that, I am going to listen to the game on the radio while I do a jigsaw puzzle!”)Report

  3. Ozzzy! says:

    I’m glad you got and like the pizza stone. Sometimes the needless seeming equipment I keep seeing online ads for is actually just better, and not some ad-sponsored, instagrammed, twitter-influencer, money-machine thing that doesn’t work.

    A good homemade pizza makes an hour or so of life a better place.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Ozzzy! says:

      Honestly, I’m glad I got it too. When I got it I thought “what’s the worst that could happen? I’m out forty bucks and I get a post out of it.”

      And then I had a bunch of failures making the pizzas, which, lemme tell ya, weren’t *BAD* failures just “ugly pizza” failures.

      And then I figured it out.

      And I couldn’t believe how good the pizza was. Like, seriously.Report

  4. Kazzy says:

    Glad to hear the pizza stone delivered!

    I’d personally recommend parchment paper for the transfer. I like a thin crust that is both crispy and chewy, so I’ll get it most of the way there with the parchment paper in place and then whip it out for the last few minutes, letting the crust get just a little char from direct contact with the stone.

    I’ve heard the stones work super well for bread but I’ve never been ambitious enough to try. And the stones get better over time, absorbing flavors and redepositing them back into the pizza. Or so they say. I’ve found them consistently delicious once I got the technique down.

    Be careful handling it afterward. It retains heat for a good long while. But, realistically, you don’t need to do anything with it. Mine lives in the oven, acting as a “heat sink” and helping to distribute heat more evenly (though sometimes requiring a bit more time to get up to temp). Most anything that gets onto it will just cook off over time, but a wooden scraper can help with any big globs of burnt cheese. DO NOT GET IT WET!!! It’s like a gremlin. Well, technically it is a porous surface and water can get into it and then heat up and cause the thing to crack/explode. Just let it age and get yummier.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

      Oh… and in terms of reheating… I am loathe to put pizza in the microwave. But that’s me.

      Here is where the stone comes in handy again. Put it on the top rack under the broiler. Fire it up for a few minutes… the direct heat is enough to get it toasty again. Slide your slices onto the stone just below the flame. Watch carefully… a minute or two will do the trick. It’ll get a crispy crust and bubbly cheese. But beware… like 3 seconds too long and it’ll be burnt to a crisp. It’s a dangerous game but the results, I feel, are worth it.

      This sort of mimics the way that pizza shops will reheat a slice, which is why the individual slices you get there are always better than the slices from the whole pie you order. It’s that second pass through the oven that does the trick.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        Ooooh, using it to reheat? Intriguing. Since 95% of the leftover pizzas I eat are eaten in the morning for breakfast, I’m not sure I’ll be able to do that.

        But it’s worth considering for the other 5% on the slices that remain around until lunchtime.Report

        • Ozzzy! in reply to Jaybird says:

          Reheating with broil (assuming you have electric oven) on a Stone takes tops 10 min. 5 min on broil, 2 with slice on Stone, 2 to get a plate and utensils.

          It’s awesome.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

          Time isn’t much of an issue, as Ozzy notes. But keeping the close eye, which mornings don’t always allow for, may become a challenge. There are few things sadder than burnt pizza.

          You have to sort of think of the stone similarly to how you think of cast iron (do you have cast iron?). It is just this big hunk of earth that interacts with heat very differently than most other things in your kitchen. And when you can leverage that to your advantage, it opens up so many new doors. HOWEVER, because it is so different, you have to learn about it’s downsides and drawbacks and account for them.

          I often fail to do this with the cast iron and have burned many a palm forgetting that the handle is an extension of the cooking surface without any of the insulating barriers and what not that my high tech pans have.Report

      • Ozzzy! in reply to Kazzy says:

        Agree 100%Report

  5. Kazzy says:

    “The crust was crunchy on the outside millimeter and fluffy like a cloud inside.”

    I missed this before but that is pretty much pizza heaven as far as I’m concerned. And the stone is a big part of it.

    You also did — or, really, did not! — do something crucial: you didn’t roll the dough out. Lots of folks with bust out the rolling pin because it is a quick and simple way to get the pizza spread and flattened. But it squeezes all the air out of the dough and you lose any chance of the inner fluffiness. So, taking the time to “hand stretch” it is so worth it. It can be frustrating. Some times the dough isn’t very cooperative. But rolling it out leaves you with some sort of topped cracker abomination that I refuse to call pizza.

    Consider this a PSA: Don’t roll your pizza dough out!Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

      Maribou is out of town this week visiting quarantined friends (she drove, didn’t fly) and so I felt safe going for the “throw it up in the air” thing. I only dropped it once and, after that, got the hang of it. (Hold the dough on two loose fists and thrust up in the air… as you thrust, move one fist forward and one fist back. It will spin on its own and make the edge a little thicker than the center. Repeat 8-10 times and you’ll have a nice little disc.)Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

        I never dare throw it. But I’m a coward. I do a modified vertical spin. But I also like mine REALLY thin. Like, often sticking-past-the-edge-of-the-stone thin.Report

  6. Jaybird says:

    Okay, here’s what I’m trying now. I got home after work and realized that my cooked bacon was a little low. So I baked up 3 pounds of bacon. This meant keeping the oven on for 2-3 hours. I took the last pan of bacon out and thought “hey, the oven’s already 400 degrees…”

    So I doctored up one of my frozen pizzas and put it on the stone. I will check on it after the recommended 16 minutes.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

      Okay. It’s good. I normally cook my frozen pizzas straight on the rack. Gives it a nicer crust than the pizza pan does.

      This gives a crispier crust than the rack gives. But it’s not life-changingly better.

      I mean, sure, it’s *BETTER*… but, like, by inches. It’s not something that changes the way that I think about making pizza.Report

      • Ozzzy! in reply to Jaybird says:

        Behold, unto the stone you shall place the Red Baron. And he will rise in uneven glory

        and his maturation shall bring peppers, and gouda times, and slavering want

        Desiccated, crisped, a mirror a tombstone in his 14.5th minute, which shall say

        Naught but heated Stone shall grace my backside, for forgoing a defrosting all is lostening