Pizza stones are made of earthenware or ceramics, that allow you to cook certain foods, like baked goods or pizzas, as if you were using a professional masonry oven. Because of the earthenware material, they are porous, which allows them to absorb moisture, so the crust of whatever you bake on it, will remain crisp.
Almost any oven will accommodate one of these handy cooking accessories, since they come in many sizes. You can even make one yourself by using one or more layers of unglazed tiles on an oven rack, as long as they are lead free. Those who have used different pizza stones will tell you that, when used properly, the cheapest ones work just as well as the most expensive ones. As long as you have an earthenware, or terra cotta surface, it will distribute the heat evenly throughout whatever you are baking.
There is some difference of opinion over whether or not to season the stone before using. Those who coat it with a little oil, and season it in the oven, claim that it helps to keep foods from sticking. Everyone agrees that before you bake your pizza on it, you should sprinkle it with some corn meal, or fine bread crumbs.
Pizza stones can crack and shatter, when exposed to extremes in temperature. Place the cold stone in the oven before you begin to preheat, so that the oven and stone will gradually heat at the same time. The preheating time should be around 45 minutes. Once your pizza is done, leave the stone in the oven so that it can cool down slowly before removing it. Sudden cooling can damage it as well.
If you are making pizza on your pizza stone, it is very handy to have a wooden paddle to move the pizza in and out of the oven. You can pre-bake the crust for a few minutes before adding the toppings and sauce, or just put the entire pizza on the stone, after the pre-heating.
When your stone has cooled down gradually, you can remove it from the oven and wash it with warm water. Remember that the material it is made of is porous, and will absorb anything on it, including a soapy smell and taste. Never put cold water on the stone.
If you take care of it properly, a pizza stone will last you a long time, and you can experiment with using it for breads, pastries, and even cookies.