How to care for and clean your pizza stone
You have just bought a new pizza stone and it works a charm. The pizza base is thin and perfectly crispy and the cheese has melted in just the way that you like it .
As you take your prize pizza off the stone you see that some of the oil and some of the cheese has dripped and has stained the stone. Hmm how am I going to get rid of that? You say
Pizza stones for all of the use that they get are remarkably resilient and in some cases will last over 10 years. This article will help you with some maintenance tips as well as how to keep your pizza stone clean.
Pizza Stone care
Pizza stones are extremely porous, it is one of the qualities that makes them good for cooking pizza on and it is also what will make it a little difficult to clean in the tradition way.
Rules for keeping your pizza stone clean
The first rule of pizza stones is never to wash them with soap. The porous nature of the surface will just suck up the sopa and you will never get rid of it after that and the stone will be ruined.
The best way to do this is to just do this with water and a clean cloth. There are special scrubber available that will help make this job a little easier.
The second rule of pizza stone is never try to clean them when they are hot. Let them cool off completely before you attempt to do anything with them.
The other thing to be aware of is that that you should never soak your stone in water, just have the stone under a little running water and clean or scrub if needed to get what you can off. If you can clean the stone without water then that is even better
Your pizza stone will naturally stain and get a little darker over time this is perfectly normal and adds character to it
What is a pizza stone made of?
Generally pizza stones are made from ceramic or stone. Both of these are porous and this helps them to absorb some of the moisture of the dough as it is cooking making it easierto become crispy.
Ceramic and stone can withstand high temperatures with no damage .This comes at a price though, as they cannot stand rapid temperature changes and will crack and break if this happens:
- Never put a cold stone into a hot oven – always heat the oven with the stone in it.
- Never put a hot stone into cold water or anything that will make it cool too fast.
One of the other properties that these materials have is that they are poor conductors of heat. This coupled with the thermal mass (basically the ability to store heat) means that they are less likely to burn food cooking on it. The stones are slow to heat up and slow to cool down creating the perfect environment for making a delicious crispy based pizza.
Keeping your pizza stone in the oven
Something that you might want to consider is to keep the pizza stone in the oven at all times. Keeping it here will eliminate the need to move it about as they can be quite cumbersome for some people
Secondly having the stone in the oven will add a significant amount of thermal mass to the oven and thus help you get a more even temperature in the oven when you are baking or cooking in the oven. This will mean that the heating times will be a little bit longer but you win by getting a more consistent heat in the oven.
Thirdly, keeping the stone in the oven will mean that the oven will cook of any dirt that is left on the stone over time so that you will have a cleaner seasoned surface the next time that you use it.
Seasoning a pizza stone
When you first get your pizza stone you should look to wiping it down with a wet cloth so that you can get rid of all of the dust and other stuff that would have settled on it from the shop. As we have discussed the stone is porous so you while you don’t need to season it.
There are people out there that will do this but I would advise against this as you really want to keep the the stone as porous as possible and also that oil in there has a chance of going rancid.
Your stone will absorb oil over time as there will be oils, cheese etc that sits on the surface, with the little use the stone will naturally do this.
Some final thoughts
You can also cook other things like french bread and bagel on them, they are not just for pizza.
With regards to seasoning them I did some research and there are people who advocate this and others that say that you should not. My advice is read the label to see what the manufactures have to say about this as there are also a lot of stories out there of people ruining their stones because they have done something silly.
Whatever you decide to do with yours , enjoy…. There is nothing better than a perfectly cooked home made pizza!