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Monday, August 15, 2011

Quarry Tiles - the Way to Go in Your Home Oven

I made three pizzas last Friday night, and they may have been the best I've done at home, ever. I say that not to blow my own horn but because this was the first time I've made pizzas on the quarry tiles that I bought some time ago at The Tile Shop on Jefferson Rd. I'd used them for bread, but not pizza up until now. Much cheaper than pizza stones, and the crusts came out great, better than I've gotten from pizza stones.
I put the tiles on the middle rack, and also added four bricks on the lower rack to act as "thermal mass" to help maintain a constant temperature. That may have made a difference too, because the third pizza came out as good as the first, whereas in the past I've noticed that the crust wouldn't cook quite as quickly or as well after one or two pizzas, I think because the oven and the pizza stone itself would start to lose heat when I opened the oven door, and in transferring heat to the raw dough.
A pizza's only as good as the dough it's made with, and so I'd be remiss if I didn't also give props to my wife for a good job on making the dough. The recipe was Peter Reinhart's recipe for New York Style Pizza in American Pie, which I highly recommend for any serious home pizza bakers. The dough was easy to handle, stretchable (I even managed a few tosses without incident), and baked up beautifully.
If you've got a pizza stone you're happy with, then by all means continue to use it, but if you'd like to try an alternative, a few quarry tiles will only set you back a few bucks. I've had mine lead tested and they're safe. Oh, and if you want to use bricks too, make sure they're clay bricks, not concrete.

13 comments:

  1. Awesome! I've always read about using quarry tiles but never knew where to get some. Did you just ask for 'quarry tiles' at the Tile Shop? I'll have to pick some up next time I'm in Henrietta.

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  2. Yeah, the salesman told me that a number of people have bought them there for baking, so if you ask for quarry tiles for a home oven they should know exactly what you're talking about.

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  3. Great idea, what are the dimensions of the tiles you used as your pizza (Looks great)seems large?

    Thanks

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  4. I think the tiles are 12 x 12 but you can have them cut to custom fit your oven. You'll need several, obviously. The one slightly tricky part is you'll have to make sure the tiles are snug against each other when you slide the pizza on, but I didn't have any problems.
    That pizza in the picture was maybe 14 inches across, by the way.

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  5. If you had to give your quarry tile pizza a grade, what would you give it? ;)

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  6. Boy ...
    can I be objective about that?
    It might've been an A-minus. At least a B-plus, for sure. My wife and I agreed that if we had gotten this at a restaurant, we would've been very happy with it.

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  7. Pizza Guy:
    Big fan, first time posting. I went the quarry tile route, but prefer a stone. Why? Thickness. I use a 5/8" stone that transfers heat more consistently than the thinner tiles. I too use Peter Reinharts recipe, and crank the oven to 550 for an hour before baking.

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  8. Thanks. I do understand the thickness idea, but for me the results here were as good as I've ever gotten. And again, if a quarry tile cracks, I don't bum out over it so much because they're cheap. But whatever works - if you're having success with your stone, that's all that matters. And although my own stone is cracked, I still use it for bread, since the two halves still fit together pretty tightly.

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  9. I have been calling around Rochester looking for someone who sells unglazed quarry tiles and no one does. I even called The Tile Shop and they told me they don't sell them. That seems weird since you bought yours there. Maybe the person I was talking to didn't understand what I was talking about. I'll stop by and see what they have. My pizza stone cracked recently and I tossed it. Need something to cook my pizzas with now and I won't go back to a metal pan, no way no how.

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  10. That's odd. Maybe they no longer sell them, but when I went the salesman knew immediately what I was talking about and told me that they sell them all the time.

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  11. I stopped by The Tile Store and they no longer sell quarry tiles. That is disappointing. Not sure where else I can get them as I called numerous locations. I'll probably have to settle for getting a pizza stone.

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    1. FYI: I bought a box of unglazed quarry tiles on the Home Depot website as they didn't sell them in the store. Still cost less than a pizza stone.

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  12. Best Tile, Empire Boulevard $2.85 linear foot, in stock

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