How to Clean a Pizza Stone
If your love of baking pizza has led you to buy a pizza stone, then you are already familiar with the usefulness of this impressive device. It is not so much a device but a cooking surface that is perfect for baking pizzas as it heats up uniformly – meaning the pizza dough gets baked like a dream.
Also, since the stone is porous, it can effectively remove more moisture from the dough, giving you a crispy crust that no baking sheet will give you. However, this is also the very reason why cleaning a pizza stone is so tricky. The stone absorbs soaps, cleaners and such the ingestion of which is injurious to health. The same goes for water as the stone retains much of it for quite a while.
An equally worse trait of pizza stones is that they can crack with abrupt changes in temperatures. So, there are many rules to be followed before you can start cleaning them.
Nonetheless, we are here to guide you on how to clean it so it remains useable for a long time.
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How to Clean a Burnt Pizza Stone
- Cooling the pizza stone
As we mentioned before, abrupt changes in temperature can cause the pizza stone to crack. If you used it just this minute and plan to clean it due to the stuck-on food and such, it will be wise to let the pizza stone cool off first, in the oven. This is because immediately exposing it to cold air or water will cause more damage to it than necessary. So, let it rest in the machine for about an hour which will be enough to bring the pizza stone down to normal temperatures.
However, if you feel as though it is extremely important to clean the stone right away, then do so. But be cautious by using heat-resistant gloves and a heat-resistant surface to clean the stone on. This way, you will be safe from accidents and it will be much easier to clean the pizza stone.
- Scraping the baked-on food scraps
Once the pizza stone has cooled off, take it out and place it on a flat working surface. Then grab an implement that is dull i.e. a plastic spatula or a stone brush. These will easily get rid of the burnt food bits and the use of gentle scraping motions will tackle the baked-on food.
Beware of using metal scraping tools or even spatulas as they may leave scratches on the sides of the pizza stone. Also, they are not as gentle so, they may make the stone more susceptible to cracks and fissures.
- Wiping the pizza stone
Even after having removed the stuck-on food, washing the whole stone with soap may seem like a good idea. But leave it at that because a stone as porous as that would only absorb the cleaner that is being used. And the next time you bake with it, alongside your stone, your pizza will be ruined for good.
Instead, grab a cloth and lightly dampen it with warm water. Run this along the top of the stone to remove any remaining debris from the pizza stone’s surface. This should do the trick.
- Soaking the stone in water
We recommend using this method only if the baked-on food is too tough to get rid of by scraping with the spatula. Soaking the stone in water overnight will loosen the food bits, making them easier to clean. But this will cost you the use of your stone as it will soak up a ton of water.
For it to completely dry, it may take about a week or so. And before that, it will be unwise to use it for cooking purposes. Also, it will be best to remember to strictly use water and nothing else.
- Drying the stone
It is very important that you understand the importance of this step as this too can give birth to cracks in the pizza stone. The water lodged in the pores of the stone, when heated will bring down the quality of the stone. Hence, it is crucial that the stone is dry and at room temperature before being put to use again.
How to Wash Pizza Stone
- Making a paste
For dirt and stains that are too tough to be removed through ordinary cleaning methods, a paste of sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, and warm water might help. Baking soda is widely known for its cleaning properties which will come in handy in this situation too. In a bowl, add the two ingredients in the same amounts and mix well to make a paste with the viscosity of toothpaste.
Rest assured that baking soda will not harm the stone as it is a gentle cleaner, unlike most soaps or detergents. Also, even if it gets absorbed into the stone, when you use it later, the food will not be affected in taste or flavor since it is not highly abrasive.
- Scraping off the food bits
Once again, after the stone is cool, you will need to remove the burnt food bits using a plastic spatula. Use gentle movements and as little pressure as possible because scratching frequently with force will make the stone more likely to crack when it is used later.
- Using the paste
Next, get a hold of a toothbrush or a stone brush. Apply some of the paste on the target areas and put the brushes to work. You are only required to gently scrub those areas in circles which should clean up the burnt mess. Concentrate more on the affected areas with the dirt and stains and less on the other parts if they even need it.
It may happen that a few areas still may have not cleared up even after all the rubbing and scrubbing. In such a situation, you can work on it later once more, once you have wiped off the current paste on the stone.
- Wiping the pizza stone
After you deem that the stone is clean and stain-free enough (or that you cannot do much else), you will have to wipe off the remaining dirty paste from the stone. Dampen a clean cloth and use this to clean the baking soda. If the current results do not satisfy you, go back in with the more of the mixture and toothbrush to work on the tough stains and grime. A few more strokes on the spots should be sufficient to achieve a clean pizza stone.
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- Drying the pizza stone
A greater amount of moisture will seep into the pores of the stone when you clean with baking soda – more than just wiping but less than soaking in water for a whole night. So, in this case, too, you will need to thoroughly dry the stone before reusing it.
Leave it to dry for a full day which will ensure that the pizza stone is not damaged due to the trapped liquid inside when heated again. It may be a good idea to place the stone in the oven to keep it in room temperature. This will prevent it from getting cracks.
How to Care for a Pizza Stone
After reading all this, you must have a pretty good idea on how to care for a pizza stone. Store it in clean dry places and have a thorough idea about its uses and functions. It may be helpful to remember that pizza stones do not work like cast iron pans – oiling a pizza stone is not a good idea as it will mostly smoke up when heated. This is because instead of getting seasoned, the stone actually absorbs the oil. The oil used when cooking is just enough to season surfaces like pizza stones. So, no need to put more effort than necessary.
Now, that was all you needed to know on how to clean and care for a pizza stone. But, it may help to know that a tool such as this is likely to have spots and stains. Even a pizza stone turned black is not much to worry about as it is completely natural. Scrubbing and rubbing will only prove to be harmful for the stone, making it more prone to cracks. Hence, we advise clean only when absolutely essential.