How To: Clean A Pizza Stone
Perfectly cooked crusts make pizza stones, oh, so worth it. However, that also means knowing how to clean a pizza stone to keep those pies tasting delicious.
A pizza stone turns homemade, ready-to-bake, and frozen pizzas into something special. A deliciously crisp crust—cooked golden brown all the way to the center—requires the moisture absorption, heat retention, and heat distribution that a pizza stone offers. However, if you want to keep that stone in top condition, you’re going to have to know how to clean a pizza stone. Maintenance can help the pizza stone last for years and keep pizza flowing through the house like it’s a neighborhood pizzeria.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Pizza stones have a porous surface that readily absorbs liquid. One reason pizza stones cook so well is that they absorb moisture from the crust, leaving crisp deliciousness behind. Be careful to only use water on the stone during cleaning. Dish soap or other liquids can absorb into the stone and then seep into the pizza the next time the stone gets used.
Pizza stones should only be hand-washed. The high water volumes of a dishwasher and dishwasher detergent can damage the stone.
STEP 1: Cool the pizza stone completely.
Pizza stones are designed to absorb and redistribute heat, and they can hold that heat for a long time. Don’t start cleaning the stone until it’s completely cool. Starting the process sooner could result in a burn or dropping and breaking the stone. Let the pizza stone cool on a heat-resistant surface until it feels cool to the touch.
Tip: Do not submerge a hot pizza stone in water to cool it faster. The difference in temperature can cause the stone to crack.
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STEP 2: Wipe off the pizza debris.
Bits of crust, cheese, and toppings inevitably stick to the pizza stone’s surface. Many of the crumbs and debris will wipe off; use a rubber or plastic spatula to scrape off the food that’s left behind. The spatula will probably take off most of the left behind crumbs.
Tip: Do not use any metal utensils on the pizza stone, either to cut pizza or to clean the stone. Metal can scratch the stone’s surface, which can make the crust stick to the stone the next time it’s used.
STEP 3: Gently scrape off stubborn food bits.
The high temperatures used to bake pizza can hard bake cheese, toppings, and crust to the pizza stone. Sometimes it takes more than a rubber spatula to get them off. Create a gritty paste using a tablespoon of baking soda with a few drops of water. Put the paste on the pizza stone and scrub with a nylon-bristled brush to remove baked-on food.
Next, dampen a microfiber cloth, and use it to wipe off the paste residue.
Tip: Try to avoid submerging the pizza stone to remove the baking soda residue. Any absorbed water will need to be completely dried before the stone gets put away.
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STEP 4: Deep clean stains.
Sometimes, pizza stones get tough food stains that don’t come off with regular cleaning methods. That’s when it’s time for high-temperature baking. High-temperature baking isn’t necessary every time the pizza stone gets used, only when stains aren’t removed by other means.
Place the pizza stone in the oven and set the temperature to 500 degrees Fahrenheit; this allows the pizza stone and oven to reach temperature at the same rate. After the oven has reached temperature, cook the pizza stone for 1 hour. Some people put the oven on the self-clean setting, which reaches even higher temperatures, however, it can get smoky.
Tip: Let the pizza stone completely cool before removing it from the oven.
STEP 5: Wipe off the stone.
Use a lightly dampened microfiber cloth to wipe off any remaining debris. At this point, food and stains should be gone.
STEP 6: Let the pizza stone dry completely.
Place the pizza stone in a dish rack or other area where air can circulate around the entire stone. Let it completely dry before putting it away. If it’s at all wet, the pizza stone can’t absorb as much moisture from the crust, leaving behind a soggy pizza.
These pizza stone cleaning steps can safely remove the food and debris that are part of the pizza-making process. Regular cleaning and maintenance ensure the pizza stone will work properly and not alter the flavor of the pizza. With regular food removal and an occasional deep clean, the stone will continue to get better with time. A pizza stone can last for years with proper care, becoming a go-to cooking method for a favorite family meal.