Author Topic: pizza stones and food safety  (Read 8873 times)

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Offline lefty

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pizza stones and food safety
« on: February 04, 2010, 02:34:34 PM »
Hi, this is my first post at the forums.  I have recently gotten into making pizzas, and I'd like some advice regarding pizza stones.  I've read a lot about "unglazed quarry tiles" (including on this forum) being used as inexpensive pizza stones.  I went to Home Depot recently, but there seems to be a lot of different types of items that fit the description of "unglazed quarry".  So the tile has to be unglazed -- fine I get that, nothing shiny or brightly colored with patterns or paint-like finishes.  But is there anything else I should worry about?  My main concern is safety -- I don't want to slowly poison myself and my family over the next 20 years.

For example, I went to the gardening section and found loads of large (12"x12" and 16"x16") patio tiles, and they looked unglazed.  However, they seem to made of concrete or cinderblock-like material, and gave off a lot of particles and dust when rubbed or handled.  Doesn't seem very tasty to me.  Would I be more likely to find a good pizza stone in the kitchen/bathroom tile section?

Is there a particular type of material I should be looking for?  Clay, porcelain, terra cotta, etc.  Again, my concern is safety.

Is there a particular brand of tile that people on this forum have used?

Also, does it matter whether I use a single large stone, or fit several smaller ones together?

Thanks.  Looking forward to hearing from those more experienced.

Offline Art

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Re: pizza stones and food safety
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2010, 03:39:41 PM »
If you think you're going to be cooking on a stone for the next 20 years, do yourself a favor and buy a Fibrament stone now. In my opinion, it's the best and will probably last a lifetime if you don't do anything foolish.
When baking, follow directions.  When cooking, go by your own taste.

Offline old criter

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Re: pizza stones and food safety
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2010, 05:11:58 PM »
I second Art's recommendation for the Fibrament stone. I used this forum to gather information on starting equipment to make pizza and found that a good stone, a couple of peels (one wooden - one metal) and a digital scale were among the best investments I could make. I did so and have never looked back.

Offline Davydd

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Re: pizza stones and food safety
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2010, 09:25:20 PM »
Patio stones are generally concrete materials and would be unsuitable. Stay out of the yard and garden section. Porcelain tiles are generally unglazed fine clay products but most are from foreign countries and you have no idea what the composition is. The cheapest stuff Home Depot sells is from China. Given that China has no compunctions in manufacturing stuff with lead in it would you want to chance it, especially when it is assumed the products would not be used for unintended uses? If you don't know or understand your products stick with pizza stones manufactured with the intent to be used for baking. That's my recommendation.

Offline Mad_Ernie

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Re: pizza stones and food safety
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2010, 09:32:58 PM »
I agree with Art and DavyDD.  Spend the few extra bucks and buy a decent pizza stone.  If you plan on making  pizzas even just once every couple of weeks, it's worth it.  In fact, if you aren't planning on making pizza at least every other day, there's no need for the tiles and having a one piece removable stone will be easier.  I have used the Fibrament stone, and it is good.  But I've also used other stones and gotten good results from them, as well. 
Let them eat pizza.

Offline PizzaHog

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Re: pizza stones and food safety
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2010, 10:13:23 PM »
A good stone is never a bad idea.  Besides fibrament, corderite is also a popular material and is pretty easy to find in the Old Stone brand at stores and the internet (amazon among others).
Regarding the tiles, you will prob not find them at Home Depot or Lowes unless you get lucky.  I bet the sales folks there won't even know what you are asking for.
But if you locate an actual local tile store they will immediately know exactly what "unglazed quarry tile" is, and be your best shot at finding some.  If you find any, you will prob just have to accept whatever size they offer which is no big deal.  Just fit them together as needed.
You will really know you have found the right stuff when you verify their way cheap price.  Maybe that is one reason they are hard to find = too inexpensive.  Plus, their most common use is commercial kitchen floors and are seldom used in homes today I was told.
I found 6x6" tiles this way and bought 20 for $9.72 inc tax.
Here is an example of what you are looking for, and you want the non aggregate or smooth type.

Offline ninapizza23

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Re: pizza stones and food safety
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2010, 12:49:20 AM »
I went to Home Depot a few days ago and I found 8x8 unglazed quarry tiles also on the box I read clay tiles. Some guy that builds ovens told me that volcanic stones cut as 2" thick tiles work well, too.

Offline lefty

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Re: pizza stones and food safety
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2010, 12:26:58 PM »
Thanks everyone.  I think I will look into getting a Fibrament baking stone.  I received a Crate and Barrel pizza stone as a gift, and was using it with good results for a while until it cracked into two pieces.  I looked into cheaper alternatives, with the thinking that if it broke it wouldn't cost much to replace.  Even though the Fibrament stones are more expensive, I like the fact that they have a ten year warranty and are designed to be safe for baking and preparing food.

Offline lefty

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Re: pizza stones and food safety
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2010, 12:32:26 PM »
By the way, in the time I've been without a stone I've been making do with a thick aluminum cookie sheet.  I put the sheet in the oven at 500 degrees and let it heat up for 45 minutes before I put the pizza in.  Not as good as a stone, but I get decent results.  I get a pretty good crust on the edges, although the interior is a bit moist and not as firm as I'd like.  It's not a bad substitute if you have to bake a pizza without a stone.