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As per a recent question of mine I intend to use the underside of an old granite chopping board as a makeshift pizza stone, once I've finishing testing that it won't break due to thermal shock..

Do I need to do/know anything in particular for this to be successful?
Does the stone need seasoning, and if so how would I go about doing so?

Also, if I'm having a lazy day, will a pizza stone work well with a shop-bought frozen/refrigerated pizza?
Or it is strictly for those that I have freshly made?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The stone requires no seasoning.

To prevent pizza from sticking to it you should dust it liberally with cornmeal before slapping a pizza on it.

A pizza stone will not work well with a frozen pizza. The stone surface will simply be too blazing hot for it. You'll likely burn the bottom while still having a frozen top. There should be little issue with a refrigerated pizza, although I have not tried. However, you will want to be sure to let the pizza reach room temperature before cooking.

Update

Regarding cornmeal. I just realized that you're in the UK, and I'm not sure if you guys have a different term for it than the US. I'm referring to this cornmeal. You should also use the coarsest possible.

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I assume I should dust it just before adding the pizza - when the stone is at temperature? And I'd assumed frozen = bad, but it's always best to check since I've the opportunity to do so. –  DMA57361 Aug 5 '10 at 20:16
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Yes, just before. Another thing I didn't mention (I'll edit it in) is that even with refrigerated pizzas, you'd want to let it get to room temperature before cooking. –  hobodave Aug 5 '10 at 20:26
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Also, be aware that you will need to preheat for much longer than normal due to the stone. I'd suggest at least an hour. –  hobodave Aug 5 '10 at 20:31
    
you could also dust it with flour, but in either case, pizza stones typically are heated to 400 degrees or more, so be prepared for a short bit of smoke when you first put the cornmeal or flour and pizza on there. actually, now that i think about it, i'm not even sure you NEED to dust it with anything. they are so hot, i've never had any floured item actually stick to mine. –  franko Aug 5 '10 at 20:42
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@Michael Pryor: Hm, maybe? I guess so? I've never done it. Those times when the craving for a frozen pizza hits me are times when I just pull it out of the freezer and throw it in a 350 F oven. I don't have time for a 60 minute preheat. :) –  hobodave Aug 5 '10 at 21:20
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No reason to put semolina or cornmeal or flour directly on the stone, unless you're starting with a cold pizza stone. If you're sliding the pizza off a peel onto a hot stone, though, you'll get plenty of semolina/cornmeal onto the stone as it slides off. When I first started making pizza, I used to open the oven and throw cornmeal on before putting the pizza in, but it made no difference in sticking, it wasted cornmeal, and it smoked up the kitchen. (I've since switched to semolina, since it's a more neutral flavor.)

Pizza stones work perfectly well with store-bought refrigerated dough as well as home-made. They also will work with frozen pizza as well, though I agree with another answer that suggests starting with a cold stone rather than a preheated one in that case. (I'm not sure how much benefit the stone actually will give in this case.) I rarely make frozen pizza these days, but I once tried an experiment with preheated stone where I turned on the broiler above the stone for five minutes before putting in the frozen pizza. The stone cooked the frozen pizza crust quickly, and the broiler heated the toppings. It wasn't quite done evenly, but I can imagine that this can work if you want to cook a frozen pizza fast.

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I put my frozen pizza on the cornmeal dusted, unheated, unseasoned stone. I cook it at about 325F for half the time and at 425F for the other half. No problem with burning the underside. Fresh pizza dough is the same except it cooks at 425F the whole time.

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When you cook with a pizza stone, the biggest tip I can give is to warm it in the oven. If you place the stone in the oven when the oven is hot, the stone might crack.

The stone will have to heat up in the oven, which takes a bit longer than the air in the oven.

Otherwise, no real preparation or seasoning is necessary. We bake our pizzas on parchment paper on the stone so cleanup is easy.

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