Baking stones are a convenient and effective cooking aid used to boost the performance of an oven beyond its usual limits.
When used for pizzas, they are referred to as pizza stones, and these are a fantastic way to improve the quality of your pizza.
Read on to discover the best ways to keep your pizza stone clean from dirt and debris, and to ensure your pizzas continue to be delicious and crispy.
Pizza stones are designed to absorb heat effectively and then retain that heat over a long period of time.
They impressively mimic traditional brick pizza ovens by increasing the temperature and also by absorbing more moisture, giving an authentic crispy pizza base.
Furthermore, they are usually made of cordierite, ceramic, or composite material, making them durable, hard-wearing, and long-lasting… if they are properly cared for, that is.
Like with many other cooking aids or utensils, pizza stones can become quite dirty after use, so it's important to keep them looking spick and span.
As they absorb the moisture from the dough, they can become stained due to the oily nature of some pizza ingredients.
Can You Use Dish Soap To Clean A Pizza Stone?
Absolutely not! It is imperative that you only use water when cleaning a pizza stone as, due to the incredibly absorbent nature of the stone's surface, it could easily absorb some of the soap or chemicals of cleaning agents.
I don't know your preferred flavors on pizza, but I can safely assume soap isn't high up on the list!
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Should I Buy A Stone Brush?
A resounding yes. These brushes will offer the optimum level of cleaning performance without the risk of damaging the surface of your pizza stone.
Some also come with a handy scraper for scraping off that stuck-on food residue or burnt remnants.
If you don't wish to buy a specialist brush, then using other soft brushes can also be effective, though ensure the bristles are not wire or metal to avoid any scratches.
How Often Should You Clean Your Pizza Stone?
At the very least, it's essential to wipe away excess food residue and debris after each time you cook with it, though, of course, make sure it's safely cooled down before you hit it with any maintenance.
Wiping away the stuck-on food or greasy stains will prevent them from becoming further stuck on or absorbed into the stone's surface.
This attentive care will reduce how often you need to deep clean your pizza stone, saving you time and energy.
Where Should You Store Your Pizza Stone?
Pizza stones need storing in well-ventilated areas with a consistent temperature, as extreme temperature changes can cause the pizza stone to easily crack.
They can also sit comfortably in the bottom rack of the oven or similar drawer in your kitchen. Be sure not to stack things on top of it, as this could again scratch or crack the stone's surface.
Step-by-step instructions for cleaning your pizza stone
Always ensure that the pizza stone is allowed to cool completely before attempting any cleaning. Remember that they can get incredibly hot, so it would be ever so easy to burn yourself, or drop it on the floor and cause it to break into pieces.
Don't be tempted to put it in the freezer or run it under cold water to speed up this process, as this could easily crack the stone and make it irreparable.
When the stone is suitably cool, you can look at wiping away the dried or burnt remnants and residue left by your last pizza.
Using a little hot water, wipe the surface of the stone using a wet cloth or sponge, as steel wire scrubbers or kitchen utensils will easily scratch the stone and reduce its future efficiency.
If some especially stubborn food residue remains, you can use a stone brush to scrub the stone for a deeper and more effective clean.
Stone brushes are designed to offer a more intensive and thorough clean without causing the damage that more sturdy brushes or tools may cause.
If some food residue remains after you have wiped and scraped the pizza stone, then there is a convenient and eco-friendly household product that can help you out.
Baking soda is widely used as a cleaning aid to clean everything from cutlery to mattresses, and it can be incredibly effective at breaking down stubborn food residue and stains.
Simply mix a few drops of water with a tablespoon of baking soda to create a useful cleaning paste. Allow this paste to sit on especially tough stains and debris for a few minutes, then carefully scrub the residue away with your stone brush.
Finally, thoroughly wipe away the remainder of the baking soda paste to reveal the clean stone below.
In some cases, it may be that after following the above-mentioned 3-step cleaning process, there remains some burnt-on residue or steadfast stains that simply refuse to budge.
The method to use for such stain removal is actually by putting the pizza stone in the oven and letting the oven do the work for you.
The pizza stone needs to be put into the oven at 500 degrees Fahrenheit (or 260 degrees centigrade for our European readers), then be allowed to bask in that heat for around an hour.
Once this is complete, turn off the oven and give the pizza stone ample time to cool down properly. Once cool, you will be able to easily wipe away any residue that the baking lifted from the stone's surface, using a soft cloth or sponge.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Your Pizza Stone
No! Pizza stones are not dishwasher safe. Placing your stone in the dishwasher to clean it can ruin it.
Put a small amount of water on the stone — just enough to get it slightly wet. To get off big chunks of baked food, scrape them off with a blunt knife or metal spatula.
Take the stainless steel brush, steel wool, or specialized pizza stone brush and carefully remove any stains or remaining food particles.
Pizza stones are made of a porous material so they absorb fats and oils from your pizza. Over time, this will darken the stone.
This is not harmful to your pizza stone and it does not affect cooking performance or flavor in any way.
Many pizza stone owners keep them in the oven all the time, even when they're not in use. Doing so can ensure that it never experiences rapid temperature changes.
Another benefit of keeping your stone in the oven is the equalization of the heat of the oven, reducing hot spots that cause your food to cook too fast.
No, the stone is too hot, stone cannot be taken out of oven with pizza on it. When cutting the pizza, the sauce and cheese will melt onto the stone and cause black burn spots.
Pizza stones are a fantastic way to bring top-notch pizza into your home, with traditional crispy crusts and bases no longer only an option at the restaurant or pizzeria.
They do require some careful cleaning to ensure that they continue to offer the optimum levels of performance.
Hopefully, this useful guide on how to clean a pizza stone will keep your stones clean and your pizzas delicious.