If you are a pizza lover with a new pizza stone, the first two questions that will pop into your head will be how to use a pizza stone? And, how to clean a pizza stone? Well, in this post we are going to cover both of those questions, and maybe a few extra tips as well!
First of all, a pizza stone is a slab made of ceramic, clay or iron which is used for baking pizza. They vary from 5mm thick to 40mm. Pizza stones, also known as baking stones, are not like other cooking utensils and have special rules for cleaning. If you don’t already have one, here is the stone I recommend by Rocksheat.
Before you start cleaning a pizza stone, you’re probably wondering if it’s actually necessary to clean it? Well, most of the time it isn’t. Over time, fats, grease and moisture will be absorbed into the stone. As a pizza stone is reasonably porous the dirt is soaked up so a dirty looking stone is unavoidable.
Having said that, when there is a lot of residue and fat on the stone it will cause issues. The stone can start burning, causing massive amounts of smoke which will set off the fire alarm and can make the pizza smell burnt. Residue on the stone can also attach itself to the cooking pizza which will affect the look and smell of the pizza as well as being unsanitary. In this instance, yes, it is a good idea to clean your pizza stone. Let’s see how it’s done.
There are also some tips and tricks through which you can take care of your pizza stone and make it long-lasting. Here are a few steps that you should know before you clean your pizza stone.
Allow your pizza stone to cool. Before you clean your stone, keep it outside the oven for a day to let it cool to room temperature.
In this step, you will want a tool. This can be a bench scraper, blunt table knife, toothbrush, plastic spatula, stone brush or sandpaper. Use one of these and start scratching away the food bits stuck on the stone. A plastic spatula or dough scraper are preferable as they won’t leave scratches behind. Whatever tool you choose, don’t push too hard.
After scraping if there are still pieces of food stuck and stains remaining you can try using baking soda paste. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda into a drop of water to make a semi-thick paste.
Apply the paste to the stone and leave for 15 minutes.
Use a toothbrush or scouring pad to rub the surface hard. The stone will soak up moisture so a squirt of water will help here. I kept a drinks bottle close by to add water when needed.
Use a cloth or paper towel to soak up the dirty water.
Once you are done cleaning the food bits, wipe the stone down with a damp fabric cloth or paper towel. If you see there is still dirt remaining, repeat the previous steps. Another option would be to heat the stone to 500 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour before you add the baking soda paste.
I’m happy with how clean my stone is now. It’s near impossible for the stains to be fully removed as they are well absorbed in the porous layers. The last option is to dry the pizza stone. It’s thought that it takes 2- 3 hours for the stone to dry, but I stay on the side of caution and leave mine for 24. Make sure the stone is completely dried before you use it because if there is moisture remaining it can expand and shatter the stone.
There are a few top tips to prevent your pizza stone from getting damaged or dirty. Follow these points as best as you can so you won’t have to deep clean your stone (as shown above) too often.
Unlike other utensils in your kitchen, pizza stones don’t need soap and water. What they need is a little bit of extra treatment. Pizza stones have a porous texture so when you wash them with soap, they soak in the chemicals. This means that you’ll be able to taste chemicals in the bread or pizza after baking the next time it’s used.
You shouldn’t soak it in water because it will absorb lots of it and will take several days to be completely dried. Also, don’t ever try to put the pizza stone in the dishwasher because it will break down into pieces!
Another big N0 – NO for cleaning a pizza stone is oil. You don’t have to season your stone with oil before you bake anything. Rather you want it dry. When you already cook food on it, the oil from the food stays on the stone making it wet and greasy. This leads to a soggy crust on your pizza. For a crispy crust, you want a complete dry pizza stone. If you realise that the stone has soaked excessive oil from your food then you can dry that with paper towels or a dry cloth after it has cooled.
If you have washed your pizza stone with soap, take a deep breath because there’s a solution for this! What you need are some bread crumbs or dry bread crusts.
To begin with, rinse with clean water and leave the stone to dry for a couple of days. Then, once dry, preheat it in the oven with a layer of breadcrumbs on top, making sure the whole stone is covered. Bake at medium heat 350F (180C), until they burn.
They will absorb the soapy fragrance. Once browned, use a brush or metal scraper to clean the crumbs from the stone. They can be thrown away. Repeat this process two or three times if you still smell soap.