I've heard you can use unglazed terracotta tiles (say two decent sized ones laid next to each other) instead of a pizza stone. They're tempting because they're cheap! Can anyone confirm that these do the job as well or well enough?
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Not sure about the terracotta; terracotta may draw too much moisture. I'm using a slab of marble, which works wonderfully.
Pizza stones are pretty cheap, too - I got mine for $7 at a Kitchenwarehouse sale. I can't imagine much better value than that! Even full price, they're only $20, but you can almost always pick them up discounted cheaper than that. (Outside Australia, I don't know what the price is, but I can't imagine it would be much different).
As for terracotta tiles, I'm sure they work perfectly well, but you'd want to make sure there was no lead used in their manufacture - there often is, and it's not always easy to find out whether that's the case in a particular brand (or even who the manufacturer is!). I gave up trying and settled for a pizza stone. It's hardly been out of my oven since!
PS: I haven't heard of marble being used until now, mondomama - like that idea!
Thanks guys - that's really helpful. I wouldn't have been able to come up with the reasoning re: moisture myself.
I think I'll probably try and find a pizza stone (hopefully on sale!) in the end but I'll drop by Bunnings and check out this marble too.
I used two pizza stones stacked on top of each other - bought them for $1 each at op shop/garage sales. Lots of people throw them out after one or two uses (if that).
Terracotta may contain heavy metals that you don't want in your food. A stone is so worth the investment.
when I was following a recipie that said to mist water on your stone - yes it was just a mist.
So I got some bricks I had in the yard and I use them instead. After all, the whole point is to emulate a brick oven.
Works a treat, though it does take a while to preheat (it helps that they are the hollow type). Stores heat well though, and it's cheap!
I use a left over floor tile in my oven and it works a dream - its not terracotta, but has a slate looking surface. I've been using it for well over a year now, even took it with me when i shifted house! Like Ross, mine never leaves the oven :o)
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