A heavy, thick, flat round or rectangular plate of stone used to duplicate the baking qualities of the brick floors of some commercial bread and pizza ovens. A baking (or pizza) stone has a high heat retention and even heat distribution, and it absorbs moisture. Place it on the lowest oven shelf and preheat with the oven. The item to be baked is then placed directly on the stone in the oven. Dough-filled pans or baking sheets may be placed on the stone for a crisper, browner crust. When not in use, the stone can be left in the oven.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.