If you love pizza as much as I do, then you know how important it is to have a pizza stone in your kitchen. Unless you have a woodfired oven, pizza stones are the next best thing for making those crispy, delicious pizzas.
What if you didn’t know how to clean and care for a pizza stone? Or maybe your old stone got a little neglected and started showing its age. Either way, the good news is that caring for your pizza stone doesn’t have to be difficult at all!
After reading this article, you’ll learn everything from maintenance tips to DIY solutions for keeping your stone in tip-top shape. Let’s get into it!
How to clean and care for a pizza stone
The basics to clean and care for a pizza stone is first knowing how to use them properly. It’s amazing how many times I see people using them incorrectly, so let’s start with the basics.
Start by placing your clean pizza stone on a middle shelf of your kitchen oven, and turning the heat up high. You should preheat your stone for at least 20-30 minutes before use.
Next, you should leave the stone in the oven when cooking with it. You open the oven door, remove the pizza from the stone, and close the oven door again.
When the next pizza is ready to be placed on the stone, place the pizza on a board or your pizza peel, and then slide it onto the stone from there.
The board and peel should be floured, to prevent the pizza base from sticking to it. If you find that it still sticks to the stone, remove the pizza, and add more flour or polenta directly to the stone.
You should never allow oils to touch the stone surface. Any types of oil (including olive oil) or butter on your pizza stone, will cause any food residue to stick more than usual and will significantly shorten the lifespan of your pizza stone. Additionally, oil on your stone will create unsightly stains on the surface.
When you have finished with your pizza cooking, open the oven door and allow the pizza stone to fully cool. Then I recommend that you wipe your pizza stone down with a cloth or paper towel, to remove any leftover food and get rid of any crumbs, pizza cheese or liquids that may be lingering on the surface.
If a dry cloth or paper towel does not remove it all, you may use a damp cloth – not dripping wet – to do the same. The object here is to try and keep your pizza stone dry at all times.
Now, once it is completely cooled and clean, you should ensure that it is stored away correctly. When you are not using your pizza stone, keep it in a dry and dark place. This prevents oxidation and helps prevent the stone from degrading.
You should never place a hot pizza stone in a cold sink of water, as this will cause damage – possibly even break – your stone.
You shouldn’t put olive oil directly on the pizza stone. Just dust your pizza peel with flour and use that to slide the pizza off onto the hot stone. If anything, a coarse cornmeal, but you shouldn’t even need that. Hot stone, room temperature pizza dough, dusted with just a bit of flour.
Tips and tricks for maintaining your pizza stone
A few more tips when learning how to clean and care for a pizza stone.
A good way to start is to make sure that you’re storing your pizza stone in a dry, cool environment. If it’s not stored properly, you might find that the dough sticks or cracks when you try to cook it.
This is why it’s important to make sure the crust doesn’t stick to the bottom of your stone, which can happen if the stone isn’t stored correctly. For this reason, if you have a pizza stone in your home and live in an area with high humidity levels (like Florida, for example), it’s important to store it in a dry place. A cool garage or pantry is perfect!
Another tip for maintaining your pizza stone is using the right kind of oil on top of your cooked crust. For example, olive oil works best with pizza because of its low smoking point (i.e., it won’t burn as easily). Say goodbye to burned crusts forever!
Of course, prevention isn’t always enough. In those cases where things do get stuck or scratched on to your stone, there are a few steps that you can take to try and treat and restore the stone’s surface.
You can use a light coarse sandpaper to smooth out edges of a scratched surface. Don’t use coarse sandpaper, and don’t sand more than you need to.
As for food ingredients that become burned to the surface, you can try to remove them by using a plastic spatula to remove it. Try to avoid using metal implements, as they may further scratch the surface.
Pizza stone care FAQ
Here are a few other questions and their relevant answers, when it comes to ways to clean and care for a pizza stone.
Can you use a pizza cutter on a pizza stone?
Absolutely no! A pizza cutter will quickly leave scratches and scoring on the surface of the stone, which will allow liquids to form and ingredients to get stuck in the grooves. You should always remove the pizza onto a cutting board before using a pizza cutter.
Can you use foil or parchment paper on a pizza stone?
Whilst some people suggest a minute or two of parchment paper, being used as a transfer device, is ok, I really recommend you become proficient at sliding pizzas on and off using a pizza peel or board.
The parchment paper or foil provide a barrier between the pizza base and the stone, which prevents the base heating adequately, and also prevents the stone from ‘wicking’ any moisture from the base. This in turn, can result in soggy pizza bases.
How can I keep pizza from sticking to pizza stone?
The best way to stop your pizza sticking to the pizza stone is by ensuring you use enough flour or polenta to provide a barrier. Always check that your base is not too sticky either. A sticky pizza base will stick to everything. If your base is too sticky, roll it in a little more flour before adding toppings.
Can you cut pizza on a pizza stone?
As per the question about, no cutting should take place on a pizza stone at all. Any metal kitchen items that come into contact with your pizza stone risk it becoming damaged and spoils the surface of the stone.
It’s true that pizza stones are an excellent method to cook pizza if you don’t have the luxury of a dedicated pizza oven. Pizza stones can, however, get a bit neglected over time, however when you know how to clean and care for a pizza stone properly, they will last for quite some time.
So make sure you keep these tips above in mind the next time you are using your pizza stone!
Featured image source: Kitchenware