Americans Around The Globe Are Known For Their Love Of Pizza
This means we often indulge in its cheesy heavenly-ness. However, heading down to the local pizzeria for a slice of gooey pizza mid-week can be time-consuming and rather a drag.
As a result, many Americans are investing in pizza stones to turn their homemade pizza into something just as tasty as one from the pizzeria. Made from ceramic or cordierite material, the humble pizza stone enables home-style pizza gurus to produce perfectly baked pizzas with the crunchiest of crusts and cheese topping.
Every night could be pizza night for those who own a pizza stone! However, the secret to keeping your pizza stone in tip-top cheese melting condition is knowing how to clean it and provide it with special care.
This article will discuss how to clean a pizza stone and the essential maintenance required to keep your pizza stone producing delectable pizza for many years to come.
What Is a Pizza Stone
Before we dive into the soapy suds of pizza stone cleaning, let’s cover the basics of the pizza stone, what it is and how to use it.
For most busy Americans, slinging a pizza in the oven requires placing it on an oven tray, setting the range to the time of baking needed, and walking away. Read: Pizza Steel vs. Pizza Stone: What’s the Difference?
Cooking the perfect homemade pizza requires a little more effort on the part of the pizza stone and not yours, thankfully! A pizza stone, also known as a baking stone, is typically made from porous materials such as ceramic, clay, stone, or cordierite. Its porous surface absorbs excess moisture (crispy crust production) and retains and distributes heat evenly.
As a result, the pizza is cooked to perfection. However, the pizza stone is not for pizza alone and can also be used to bake various foods such as cookies, potato chips, pitta bread, roast veggies, and quesadillas. Learn how to make your very own Mediterranean Pizza Here.
How to Use a Pizza Stone
Before you try your hand at cooking other foods on the pizza stone, you will ultimately want to perfect the art of baking the tastiest pizza.
While some Americans prefer to make their pizza dough, others prefer to use the frozen variety.
- Both types can be cooked using this method.
- Place the cold stone into the oven.
- Set the oven/range temperature to 450 F and heat the stone for 12-15 minutes.
- Remove the stone from the hot oven and place it on a heat-resistant surface.
- Sprinkle the hot stone with flour to prevent the pizza base from sticking to it.
- Place the uncooked pizza on the hot stone and return to the oven
- Bake for 10-12 minutes for the perfect pizza.
The Best Way To Clean Your Pizza Stone
Using a pizza stone to bake pizza or other tasty foods can be messy. After all, cooking always involves clean-up time, and the same can be said for the pizza stone.
Unlike traditional bakeware, the stone cannot be cleaned using standard cleaning processes such as dishwasher detergent or dishwashing products found in the home. This is because the surface of the stone is porous and can absorb chemicals and detergents typically used in the dishwasher or kitchen sink.
This may not seem so bad until the next time you use your pizza stone, and your food tastes like cleaning detergent! Who wants a soap topping on their next pizza?
Placing the stone in the dishwasher exposes it to high volumes of water, which can be abrasive and damage its surface. As seen in dishwashers, large quantities of water can also mean the stone absorbs too much moisture, affecting its ability to produce the crisp crust pizza lovers enjoy so much.
The best way to clean your pizza stone is by hand using warm water, otherwise known in the kitchen as using elbow grease!’
It’s the safest method for cleaning pizza stone and ensures the stone is not exposed to excessive moisture levels, chemicals, or inadequate temperatures (too hot/too cold), which may cause the stone to crack.
What to Use to Clean a Pizza Stone
Before you snap on your marigolds in preparation for the big clean, there are important things you should be aware of:
Firstly, plunging a hot stone into a sink filled with even a little water is not a good idea. While in the oven, the stone is exposed to high temperatures. If you place a hot pizza stone into cold water before it cools, the fast change in temperature (hot to cold) can easily cause it to crack.
Secondly, you will need to scrape off any excess food. Bits of burnt food may get baked onto the stone during the cooking process, which will need to be removed with either a blunt knife or scraper.
Finally, to prevent food particles from sticking to the stone, ensure you sprinkle a good layer of flour or cornmeal on its surface before cooking. This creates an excellent non-stick surface and a superb pizza crust.
- Gather the below cleaning tools in preparation for cleaning your dirty pizza stone:
- Blunt knife/ metal spatula
- Steel wool / stainless steel brush/pizza stone brush
- Soft clean cloth (microfiber)/clean towel
- Baking soda
- Nylon bristle brush
The Step-By-Step Process of Cleaning Your Pizza Stone
It can be tempting to use heavy-duty cleaning products or other abrasive methods to remove food stains and crusty bits from your trusty pizza stone.
While some people believe that deep cleaning methods are required to remove bacteria and germs from the stone’s pores, these are usually dealt with when it is exposed to the higher temperatures of the conventional oven.
Read: Fun Pizza Facts All Pizza Lovers Should Know
There are times when cleaning a pizza stone properly is required. By following the simple cleaning methods below, you can ensure your pizza stone is in good condition, cleaned in the right way, and ready for cooking. A clean pizza stone will ensure a crispier crust.
- Allow the pizza stone to cool down on a wooden board.
- Once the stone cools down to room temperature, scrape off the excess food particles using a metal or plastic spatula.
- Use steel wool or a metal brush to remove remaining food bits.
- Dampen a soft cloth with a little water and gently wipe the pizza stone using a circular motion.
- Gently dry off any excess moisture using a clean towel.
- Allow the stone to air dry thoroughly before you bake your next pizza.
Tip: Don’t dry the stone in a hot oven, as any residual moisture trapped in it may cause it to crack when exposed to high heat.
How To Remove Pizza Stone Stains
After using your pizza stone for a long time, there’s a good chance the stone will become stained or ingrained with pieces of food. In addition, pizza toppings have a habit of being greasy and filled with stain-causing ingredients!
Unfortunately, scrubbing this discoloration with a pizza brush doesn’t always work. That’s when you need a heavy-duty pizza stone scrubber, and by heavy-duty, we don’t mean using a super-sized pizza brush; we’re talking about using a paste made from baking soda! Baking soda paste is a great way to make those stains disappear.
Follow the easy stain removing steps:
- In a bowl, mix 1 tbsp cool water with1tbsp baking soda.
- Remove excess food from the stone with a dry brush.
- Using a pizza stone brush, scrub the paste onto the stains using a circulation motion.
- Once the stains are removed, wipe off the excess paste with a damp cloth.
- Allow the stone to dry properly before your next pizza night.
Tip: For stubborn grease stains, apply the paste and scrub in thoroughly, then leave to stand for a few minutes. Scrub off the excess paste with a dry brush and wipe the stone down with a damp cloth. Baking soda won’t taint the taste of your food, and it’s such an easy way to clean off stubborn stains.
How to Clean a Burned Pizza Stone
It’s quite challenging to remove burnt food from a pizza stone with a plastic scraper.
This leaves many people wondering how to clean a pizza stone burnt. As a result, you might think you need to use hot water, dish soap, and a scouring pad, but this can damage the pizza stone and often doesn’t work.
In this case, follow the below directions to remove burnt food in a flash; consider it a quick pizza trick.
- Place the pizza stone into the cold oven.
- Set the temperature to 500 F.
- Bake for 1 hour until grease bubbles form and burn off.
- Initiate the auto-clean cycle once the grease has stopped bubbling.
- When the food has burnt off, turn off the oven and wait for it to cool down.
- Remove the stone from the oven and wipe with a damp cloth.
How to Clean a Moldy Pizza Stone
Follow the same steps used for removing stains on your pizza stone.
First, add a teaspoon of vinegar to the baking soda and water solution and thoroughly scrub the moldy black spots. Next, remove the excess paste and wipe it with a clean cloth.
How Often Should You Clean a Pizza Stone?
Pizza stones should be cleaned after each use. That’s not to say you need to clean between each pizza because sometimes you may make more than one for your family meal. However, a regular clean at least once a week will prevent spills from burning onto and staining the stone.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do You Need to Oil a Pizza Stone?
Unlike cast iron cooking utensils or stoneware, the pizza stone does not require oiling before use. Neither does it require basting with olive oil before baking your pizza, and the reason for this is the stone surface is non-stick
The oil will be absorbed into the porous stone, which may cause it to smoke and give off a strong smell when heated.
How Long Should a Pizza Stone Last?
A pizza stone can last more than ten years with good maintenance and proper care. For best results, clean your pizza stone regularly.
How to Transfer a Pizza Using a Pizza Peel
Pizza peels can be made from steel, wood, or parchment paper. They are a great tool for transferring the pizza into or out of the oven.
Dust the peel with semolina flour, place the rolled dough onto the peel and add your topping. When the stone is sufficiently heated, open the oven, pull out the oven rack holding the stone and slide the pizza onto it.
Once cooked, you can use the peel to remove the pizza from the oven.
How to Prevent Your Stone From Cracking
The last thing you want to do is break your new pizza stone. Instead, store your pizza stone in the oven to prevent accidental drops.
In addition, always pre-heat the stone starting with a cold range and avoid placing it directly into cold water straight from a hot oven.