Benefits of Biscotto stones
Biscotto is only produced in areas around Naples in southern Italy, near the volcano Vesuvio, where there is a lot of volcanic clay.
The material is clay-based, and consists of a certain amount of volcanic clay and volcanic ash (pozzolana). Some of the most traditional makers make them very manually: they fill the clay mixture into wooden molds and flatten them by running their hands over the mold.
The clay must then harden over a longer period. In the winter down in Italy, it can take about a month to harden them. When they are then dried and have achieved the desired moisture content, the biscotti clay is fired in special ovens.
Such kilns reach around 8 to 900 degrees , and the stones are fired for over 24 hours before they are finished.
Reason for using Biscotto stones:
1) High floor temperature - but without burning the pizza base.
With a biscotto stone you can bake a pizza in 40 to 80 seconds (depending on the type of oven), with a floor temperature of 450-480 degrees Celsius completely without burning the pizza. With an ordinary pizza oven floor made of chamotte and cordionite stone, the pizza will be able to be quickly burned at high temperatures due to the high thermal conductivity that ordinary floor stones have. Often, the pizza has to be lifted off the floor, or "domes" as it is called in pizza terminology, during the last part of the cooking time in order to finish cooking the top of the pizza if the bottom is ready.
2) Short cooking time on the pizza
Expected cooking time for a well-heated pizza stone made of Biscotto is from just 40 seconds to 80 seconds, depending on whether you use a professional Neapolitan stone pizza oven or a small steel pizza oven from, for example, Ooni.
A short cooking time is important when cooking real, Neapolitan pizza with a thin base and inflated and "crispy" edge, or cornicione as it is called in Italy.
3) Moisture from the dough is absorbed
The Biscotto stone is porous and consists of tiny holes throughout the structure of the clay. To get a successful, thin pizza, it is not only a high temperature that is important. It is also important to quickly remove the moisture from the dough.
Only then do you get the airy but "crunchy" dough that everyone is looking for for Neapolitan pizza. It prevents the pizza from becoming chewy or watery.
4) Easier to succeed in pizza baking even if you are a beginner.
This point is connected to the point above. When you don't have to turn the pizza often, and it doesn't burn easily, it's much more fun to bake pizza for friends and family.
Remember that Biscotto stones has a porous structure that helps to avoid black-burnt pizza. It should go in and out of the oven quickly.
5) Possible to bake several pizzas in succession.
Since a Biscotto stone is thicker (often almost double the thickness) than the standard floor stones in ovens such as OONI, Gozney and Sage Pizzaiolo, it stays hot for a long time.
Then the underfloor heating will also be more stable and even compared to standard floor tiles where the heat can vary by over 150 degrees from the innermost to the outermost of the ovens. When you want to bake more than 1 pizza, maybe 5-6 pizzas, in quick succession, it is important that the stone does not lose its heat too quickly. Biscotto stones keeps the heat longer. It will take a bit more time to reach the ideal operating temperature, compared to other types of pizza stone, but the advantages are so great that it doesn't really matter.
For example, a OONI pizza oven will use around 5 minutes extra to heat the biscotto stone to the perfect baking temperature.
Biscotto stones has a porous structure (this does not mean that it breaks very easily, although it should be handled with care), but also a characteristic brown color.
It was during times of crisis that the Italians discovered that the clay bricks they used for constructions were also perfect as building material for pizza ovens.
Then it was used for floors in pizza ovens. In fact, Biscotto floors are perfect for all cooking that requires a high temperature and a short cooking time. Such as pita bread, naan, calzone, flat bread and Turkish balloon bread. Biscotto stones really comes into its own at high temperatures and fast baking times.