I bought two of these, despite their relatively high price. I wanted to be able to cook two large pizzas at once for entertaining, so nobody waits slobbering while others eat their pizza.
I've made pizza twice and have not been disappointed. The stones are fairly soft and would scratch easily with sharp steel implements, so I'd avoid using them. The sone's porosity means it will stain easily. Spilled tomato sauce and cheese will bake right into the surface. I expect my pizza stones will quickly develop a patina. If you want clean looking pizza stones, the maintenance would be nearly impossible. Otherwise, maintenance is easy. Wash in hot water (no soap) and air dry. Use a belt sander or orbital sander if you ever want to renew the surface.
I'm surprised another reviewer received a broken pizza stone. The manufacturer packages these heavy and moderately fragile items very well with lots of corrugated cardboard. Both of mine arrived in perfect condition. They were shipped separately, like apparently everything from Amazon.
The crust is much better than the pizzas I was making in glass pie plates. It's crispy on the bottom and tender in the middle. The toppings are better too, because they are cooked at higher temperatures and have more of a roasted flavor. Before, pizzas cooked at 350 F for 25 minutes. The crust had good flavor but tended to steam under the vegetables and cooked very slowly. Now, I cook pizzas in ten minutes (!) and the crust and toppings are perfect. For entertaining, you could easily bake a pizza in the time it takes to assemble the toppings for the next pizza.
I just received the peel. For the uninitiated, a peel is the flat wooden pizza assembly station used to transfer the pizza to the stone in the oven. So far, I have made four pizzas without the peel and it's frustrating, and possibly dangerous working in a 500 F oven. Get the peel. It's not an option.
A tablespoon of corn meal on the peel and the stone will prevent the dough / crust from sticking.
The pizza stone is requiring a new learning curve, and I'm fairly sure it'll end up being a bit more effort than the pie plates I was using, but the much better pizza will be well worth the little extra effort. The peel and stone make it possible to have gourmet restaurant pizza at home. It's much easier than most people would think, and much less expensive than eating out. With no prior experience, expect 4-5 attempts to work out the tricks. After that, homemade pizza is fast and easy.
1 1/8 cups of warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups bread flour
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl in the order listed. Mix by hand until liquid is absorbed. Use a heavy duty mixer (Kitchenaid, etc.) and a dough hook to knead the dough for ten minutes (highly recommended), or knead by hand on a floured bread board until the dough has a silky sheen (the labor intensive method). Spray with olive oil in the mixing bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until doubled in size. This takes 20-30 minutes in a 200 F oven (lowest setting) or on the stove top as the oven below is preheating. Makes two 14" pizza crusts.