Is it pizza night at the house, but you realized you don’t have a pizza stone? That’s alright if you have a slab of granite lying around!
Like cast iron, granite slabs evenly distribute heat from ovens and grills to cook meats, bread, pizzas, and desserts. If using granite as a pizza stone, you won’t have to worry. Due to the stone’s igneous formation, granite can withstand temperatures up to 1,650 F, much hotter than your conventional oven.
It sounds like pizza night is saved! In this article, we’ll explore different types of granite stones, the pros and cons, and when not to use granite as a cooking surface.
Cooking With Pizza Stones
Pizza stones are traditionally made of ceramic, cordierite, or a composite material designed to withstand high heat for long durations. Each material differs in heat conductivity and therefore cooking time. It’s standard practice to place the cold stone in the oven and preheat the oven and stone simultaneously.
Most pizza stones are circular in design to mimic the shape of the pizza, but they don’t need to be. Your granite stone can be square or rectangular, so long as there is an even depth and width throughout the entire stone.
We all love pizza stones because they mimic the cooking style of a traditional brick oven. Cripsy bottoms, faster cooking times, and no need for extra dishes, as deeply washing your pizza stone isn’t recommended.
Pros and Cons of a Granite Pizza Stone
Like with any material, cooking with granite instead of standard metal or composite will have advantages and disadvantages.
Multi-Purpose: Granite stones don’t have to only cook pizzas. They can cook bread, desserts, meats, and vegetables. In addition to cooking, they can be used as serving platters, chilling platters, and warming platters.
Retains Heat: Granite holds heat for an extended period and absorbs heat just as quickly. In addition, granite is also highly heat resistant and can be used in pizza ovens, conventional ovens, and even on the grill.
No Blemishes: Ceramix and clay pizza stones can stain quickly, but granite won’t. Granite is easier to clean because you can scrape things off without worrying about damaging the stone. The material is highly scratch resistant, meaning you can cut the pizza directly on the stone. Be careful of dulling your pizza cutter!
Longer Life Span: Due to the stone’s natural hardiness and heat resistance, the material will last longer than other traditional pizza stones.
Longer Preheat: The stone takes longer to heat than other pizza stones. Granite will cause ovens to take longer when preheating because the stone will absorb the heat itself.
Stickier Surface: While a polished granite surface looks impressive, it can lead to more sticking from dough and bread. You’ll need more flour or corn meal when baking a pizza on a granite stone.
The Price Tag: Specially made granite cooking stones are more expensive than their traditional counterparts. However, many homeowners find a way around the price tag by contacting wholesale companies for scrap pieces. If you do this, polish and seal the granite before cooking with it.
Heavier Materials: Compared to clay or ceramic, granite is much heavier. This can be an issue if the older or younger generation is helping you prepare dinner.
It’s Tougher: Sounds like a good thing, right? The granite cook stone will be tougher than your oven or grill grates, leading to eventual damage over time. The granite will be fine – it’s the metal grill that will have trouble!
A Good Granite Slab for a Pizza Stone
To create a cooking stone for granite, find or cut a piece to 1-2 inches thick. This thickness ensures the stone is stable enough to cook on while thin enough for the heat to distribute through the stone evenly. The stone’s diameter is entirely up to you – just ensure it fits in your oven!
Ensure the stone is one solid piece without cracks or large pores that can’t be sealed. Other than that, you can choose any color of granite: Brown, pink, white, or black. The color difference has to do with the minerals within the rock while it was formed, not its heat resistance or chemical treatment.
When Can You Not Use Granite as a Pizza Stone?
Some people will tell you to use your granite cutting boards as cooking stones, but this can be extremely dangerous. Water can accumulate in the crevices if the stone has been chipped or cracked. When you place the stone into the oven, the water will expand, boil, and can cause the board to shatter. If you’ve never used the granite cutting board, you can use it as a cooking stone.
Do not use leftover pieces of granite that have been put together as a cooking stone. Similar to above, water or other materials could enter through the tiniest crack and can cause an explosion in the oven. If you have large leftover pieces of granite (large enough to be one complete cooking stone), this is safe to use so long as the stone does not have excessive wear and tear.
If you drop your granite cooking slab and see visual damage like a crack or a chip, this can also be dangerous due to the potential of an explosion.
Do not use granite that has been prepared for a countertop. While still heat resistant, the material has been treated with special chemicals to protect the product’s longevity. The countertop is designed for moderate heat from a hot pan, not extended heat at 500 F.
Caring For Your Granite Pizza Stone
Most cooking stones don’t need soap and are treated like cast iron. To take care of your granite pizza stone, wash it under warm or hot water and scrub with a cloth or sponge. Never soak your granite stone in water.
Even when sealed often, granite will still have pores where water can enter. Allow the stone to air dry completely before cooking with it. If you need to sanitize your stone, rinse with isopropyl alcohol and water at a 1:1 ratio. (One cup warm water, one cup isopropyl).
Before cooking, put oil or a non-stick lubricant on the stone to help the food cook more evenly. Always place the stone into the oven or onto the grill while the appliance is still cold. Placing the granite into a hot oven while the stone is cold could result in thermal shock or the stone cracking.
After cooking, remember that granite will hold heat longer than other cooking stones. Be careful when handling and don’t place the stone down on a non-heat-resistant surface. If placing the granite down on a granite countertop, remember the heat will travel.
Granite can be a great choice for a pizza stone when cut and prepared properly. The material has a high heat capacity, low risk for thermal shock, and is scratch and stain resistant. Make sure the cooking stone is 1-2 inches thick and has been properly sealed and polished. Don’t wash the granite with soap and allow the material to completely air dry before your next use.