You stepped up your pizza game and invested in a high-quality pizza stone. However, baking up that brick-oven-inspired pizza creates quite the mess, leaving you scratching your head, wondering how to effectively and safely clean it. The following rundown can help.
Pizza Stone Cleaning 101
Your pizza stone's ability to bake your favorite artisanal-style pizza at the right temperature comes with a tradeoff. The surface of the stone is porous, so it draws moisture from the dough (which is what gives it that super crispy crust).
Porous materials readily absorb cleansers and soaps, so you can't just toss your pizza stone in the sink or the dishwasher for a quick scrub. Porous material and soaps or chemicals are not a good mix — if you wouldn't feed it to your friends or family or eat it yourself, don't use it to clean your pizza stone.
Instead, follow these steps to clean your pizza stone properly and safely:
- Allow the stone time to cool down. Don’t clean your pizza stone fresh out of the oven. The pizza stone must be allowed to completely cool first, since putting a hot stone in water can cause it to crack or break.
- Remove stuck-on food. A plastic spatula is a great tool for removing melted mozzarella or baked-on sauce.
- Wipe away any remnants. Using a soft cloth or paper towel, wipe away any remaining food particles.
- Create a paste with baking soda and water. Use a brush (a toothbrush is a great option) and the paste to remove any crusty or stuck bits that remain. Work in a circular motion, and then wipe away the paste with a damp cloth.
- Heat your oven to 500 degrees F, and bake the stone to remove any additional stubborn food particles or burned-on food. Around an hour in the oven should help release anything that’s left.
- Give your stone two hours to dry before using.
Water: A Big No-No
Never, ever, under any circumstances should you soak your pizza stone in water, as it can take a while for the pizza stone to release that water and function properly again. Stones exposed to excessive amounts of moisture can also mold. If this happens, create a mix of vinegar and baking soda, and use a brush to scrub off the mold.
The nature of the pizza stone lends it to staining, and there’s really not much you can do about that, even if you clean the stone religiously using the steps outlined above. However, stains will not affect how your pies taste at all and certainly won't make you sick. Some people even appreciate the stains and swear by this type of "seasoned' pizza stone to enhance the flavor of their pizza creations.