Natural Stone used for Cooking: steak, pizza, vegetables…
Natural stone has so many applications, so that there are really few domains currently not using it, one way or another. We already mentioned in here about the many applications for natural stone, apart from constructions and interior and interior decorations, such as: clothing products and fashion accessories, shoe industry, automotive industry, electronics, office, furniture etc. Today we are going to show you how to use natural stone for cooking.
First, the features of natural stone are those that recommend it for such an environment: thermal resistance, constant heat transfer, pleasant appearance, easy aftercare, fireproof, antibacterial and affordable. As a result, we have 2 main categories for the natural stone used in the kitchen: for cooking and table decoration. In this article, we present the natural stone used for cooking; table decorations will be discussed in the near future.
Natural stone countertops for cooking
When we are talking about natural stone countertops for the kitchen, everybody thinks about large tiles that helps for preparing food and convey a special and elegant appearance to that particular area. Nevertheless, the word “countertop” is also used in the kitchen with another meaning and purpose. Far from being popular in Romania, the meat, seafood, fish or vegetables can be prepared on countertops from granite or slate. Countertops are available in different size, usually 40 x 30 cm and 2 – 3 cm thickness.
Keep in mind! Natural stone used in the kitchen for cooking should have no sealing solution. Nor treated with any kind of solution or having reinforcing mesh.
These countertops are used as cooking plate, yet they produce less smoke, the temperature is constant and remains that way longer compared to the metal. As a result, meat is prepared better, is never dried and will maintain its flavor and tenderness. However, keep in mind that these slices of meat are not very thick; for thicker slices you will need a barbecue.
Natural stone cooking plate are used for fine and elegant dinners, served indoors or on the terrace, unlike barbecues (also from natural stone!) designed for other types of dinners and parties. However, in both situations, the natural stone is the one that preserves best the flavor of your food.
Besides, there is an added benefit for the countertops/cooking plates from natural stone. Those, sometimes in larger size compared to those already mentioned, are brought to the dinner table and each guest can prepare his steak as he wishes. This method of serving food is not only specific for restaurants (mostly luxury locations) but also for family reunions or romantic dinners. For the latter, the counter is placed on a metal pad.
Using the countertops/cooking plates:
1. before the first use: wash it well with water to remove any stain left from shipment. Leave it 1 day to dry. Place the stone inside the oven and heat it at 200 °C for half an hour. Do not put it inside a preheated oven. Using a kitchen glove, take the stone out and grease it with olive oil on both sides. You can also use sunflower oil, but that produces more smoke. Place the stone inside the stove at the same temperature for one more hour. All these operations are required for a thorough cleaning of natural stone. After the first use, a simple washing with water will be enough. Only one side of countertop is used.
2. using the countertops/cooking plates for cooking: the countertop is kept for 1 – 2 hours in the oven heated at 240 – 260 °C (start the oven when the countertop is inside). You can heat it later on the flame stove, or over the barbecue coal. Afterwards, countertop is taken out and carried to the area where you are going to prepare the meat, seafood or vegetables.
Keep in mind! Never cook frozen meat on these countertops/cooking plates. Be extra careful when handling the hot countertops or the one just taken out from the oven. Never touch the plate immediately after taking it out from the fire. Never put it in water while it is still hot. If you put in water while hot, besides the steam that may harm you, you also have the risk of cracking after a while, due to the sudden temperature change from hot to cold. Be very careful to where you place the natural stone while it is still hot: this surface has to resist to high temperatures, therefore we recommend metal or wood.
Natural stone for cooking bread, pizza or focaccia
The huge benefit that comes with this cooking technique is the fact that the hot surface heats the dough from below, unlike the gas stove in which heat is distributed all over the area. The heat radiating from below produces heat transfer in bulk, dough is cooked in depth and the crust is baked at the end. Inside the gas stove, the crust is the first to be baked and it gets harder until baking the interior.
Besides, on a natural stone cooking plate you cannot over cook the bread bottom, as it usually happens with a metallic plate. A break baked with this technique will very much look like one from the classic ovens for baking bread.
Similar with using the natural stone as a hot plate, this one also requires heating for approximately 1 hour, constant 240 – 260 °C temperature, no ventilation (maximum power available). The stone is placed on the lower rack of the oven; over the top rack place a water bowl which is very important for baking bread, because of the steam. Bread is directly placed on the stone or over a baking paper. Steam bake it for 20 minutes at 250 °C temperature.
Then, remove the water bowl and turn on oven ventilation. Allow break to bake for 30 more minutes. Afterwards, take the bread out with a spatula. After one hour, take the stone out from the oven and clean it with pure water.
Leave the bread open to cool down.
Regardless of what you’re planning to cook on a granite or slate cooking plate, PIATRAONLINE wishes you Bon Appetit!
Photo source: pinterest.com, smokeyjacks.com, pizzastones-r-us.com