One of the essential tools for making the perfect pizza at home is a good pizza stone. A pizza stone allows your pizza to cook more evenly and crisps the bottom of your crust. If you use a conventional oven or outdoor grill to cook pizza at home, you’ll want to use a pizza stone to get the best results.
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If you’ve never used a pizza stone before, or have always wondered whether you are cleaning your pizza stone properly, you’ve come to the right place. Cleaning your pizza stone the right way is essential if you want to make the most of your pizza stone and make sure it lasts for years to come.
There are several types of pizza stones and each of them should be treated differently. The most common pizza stones are ceramic, cordierite, fireclay, and soapstone.
Ceramic pizza stones are typically made with clay that has been cooked in a kiln. Ceramic pizza stones are among the most affordable pizza stones and are easy to find.
Cordierite is technically a type of ceramic, but cordierite pizza stones have certain aspects that make them more durable than typical ceramic pizza stones. Cordierite is a mineral that naturally occurs as crystals. Those crystals are then added to ceramic to make it more durable. Cordierite is a non-absorbent, lead-free material that tends to last longer than standard ceramic.
Fireclay is also a type of ceramic that is used to make pizza stones. This type of clay is made from fine-grained, natural soil material and water, and is then heated at a high temperature to create a hard stone. These types of pizza stones are usually among the cheapest stones available, but because it is a porous material, it can crack easily.
The problem with ceramic pizza stones, including cordierite stones, is their brittleness when confronted with sudden temperature changes. If a ceramic stone is heated too quickly or cools down too fast, it can crack or break.
Soapstone is a natural stone with a mineral composition of talc and magnesite. Soapstone is dense which means it can hold heat longer than more conventional cookware. This also means that soapstone pizza stones take longer to heat up. Soapstone is a nonporous natural stone which means that it tends to absorb less oil than ceramic stones.
Relatively new to the market is baking steel or pizza steel. Pizza steels work in the same way as pizza stones but are virtually indestructible. Pizza steels can reach even higher temperatures than stones, which makes them great for making crispy, thin-crust pizzas. Because pizza steel is made from metal, you will need to season it occasionally to prevent rust.
Tip: If you cook in a conventional home oven, choose a pizza steel over a pizza stone. It conducts the heat much better, allowing your pizzas to get a much better crust.
SummaryThe most common types of pizza stones are ceramic, cordierite, fireclay, and soapstone. There are benefits to using each type of pizza stone, but all of them guarantee a better pizza-baking experience than a conventional oven.
There is a good chance you already have what you need to clean your pizza stone. The best cleaning tool for a pizza stone will be thin enough to slide under the pieces of food that have gotten stuck on the stone or abrasive enough to scrub the stone clean. When your pizza stone needs cleaning, try using one of the following tools:
SummaryUsing the right tools to clean your pizza stone is important. The best tools for cleaning your pizza stone are likely already in your kitchen, which means there is no need to purchase additional accessories to take proper care of your pizza stone.
One thing you typically want to avoid using when cleaning your pizza stone is soap. Because a pizza stone is usually made of porous materials, it will absorb any soap you apply to it. Skip the soap or you’ll end up eating soap-flavored pizza the next time you use your pizza stone.
Instead, use only a moderate amount of water. Use only as much water as you need, if you need any at all, to remove stuck food or residue and avoid submerging your stone in water. If your stone becomes too wet, it will retain too much moisture and cause your next pizza crust to bake improperly. Also, if you place a wet stone in a hot oven like the Ooni Koda, it can crack.
Important: You should also avoid using oils to clean your pizza stone. The stone will naturally absorb oil from the food you cook.
SummarySoap should never be used to clean a pizza stone. The most common types of pizza stones are made of porous materials that will absorb the soap and then give your next pizza an undesirable soapy flavor. You can use a small amount of water to wipe off your pizza stone, but don’t submerge it.
Occasionally, you might find that no matter how hard you scrub or scrap your pizza stone, some burnt bits of food refuse to come off. Before you give up hope, try a deep cleaning in your oven; a trick that usually works well.
If a deep clean cycle doesn’t clean your stone, you can use medium-grit sandpaper. However, sandpaper should be used only as a last-resort option. You want to be careful to only scrape off the burnt food and not any materials, otherwise, you could permanently damage your pizza stone.
Tip: Use less flour and make sure you use Semolina flour on your pizza peel. Even if it burns, it doesn't give you that bitter taste a high-quality pizza flour does.
SummaryPlacing your pizza stone in the oven during a deep cleaning cycle will typically help get rid of burnt-on food that can’t be removed with scrubbing alone. Be aware, however, that this process tends to produce a lot of smoke so follow the directions to avoid a mishap.
A stained pizza stone is a well-used pizza stone. There is no real need to remove stains from your pizza stone. However, if you’re bothered enough by the stains on your pizza stone to want them gone, there is an effective way to get rid of them.
If you are trying to remove grease stains, apply the paste to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Then scrub the spot with a brush and wipe it with a damp rag.
Keep in mind that it’s perfectly normal for your pizza stone to have stains. A stained pizza stone typically means a more flavorful pizza and can even keep your pizza from sticking to the stone.
SummaryIf you are trying to remove grease stains, apply the paste to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Then scrub the spot with a brush and wipe it with a damp rag. Keep in mind that it’s totally normal for your pizza stone to have stains. A stained pizza stone typically means a more flavorful pizza and can even keep your pizza from sticking to the stone.
Whether or not to season a pizza stone is a hotly debated topic. There are dozens of tips online on how to season a pizza stone, but as any professional pizza chef will tell you: you should NOT season your pizza stone.
When it comes to cookware, seasoning is the process of adding oil to the bakeware, then applying heat (usually by baking it in the oven). The idea is that the baked-in oil will add a sort-of protective layer to the bakeware that will make it last longer and help keep food from sticking to it.
Despite so many blogs and articles encouraging pizza lovers to season their pizza stones, this process is one you can skip entirely. If you go directly to the manufacturer, you’ll find that the companies making and selling pizza stones either don’t recommend seasoning their stones with oil or blatantly discourage you from doing so, claiming that applying oil can ruin the stone.
Additionally, there is no proof that seasoning a pizza stone will make it last longer. As for preventing food from sticking to your stone, pizza won’t stick if the stone is used properly. A pizza stone should be extremely hot when used to bake pizza. At high temperatures, your pizza will crisp, rather than stick. A good temperature to go by is 900 °F (482 °C).
SummaryThere is a lot of debate over whether a pizza stone should be seasoned or not. Despite many online resources giving tips on how to do it, pizza stone manufacturers don’t recommend seasoning their stones.