Who doesn’t love a nice piping hot slice of homemade pizza? But there’s more to making pizza at home than it meets the eye. While it is without a doubt that some of the best pizzas are made on ovens (microwaves do not count as ovens), cleaning up afterward can be a tricky affair. One aspect we particularly wish to draw your attention to is the pizza stone.
After all, how do you clean a pizza stone essentially determines how good your pizzas turn out to be, not to mention the larger issue of hygiene. Here are a few pointers to the how you could go about cleaning a pizza stone. We can assure you, following proper tips will ensure that the pizza stones don’t undergo discoloration.
How Do You Clean a Pizza Stone:
1. Allow the pizza stones to cool down
Given that pizza stones usually occupy an integral part of the oven, a basic reminder would be to ensure that you give ample time for the stones to cool down before you start cleaning them. The pizza stone is built to absorb and retain heat over a long period of time. You won’t want to ruin a good stone with thermal shock, would you?
This heat that the stones absorb is, in turn, channelized towards the pizza dough when we make pizzas. Ideally, as a safety precaution to prevent any burn injuries, pizza stones should be left overnight to allow them to cool down before any attempts are made to clean it.
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2. Burnt bits of food should be scraped off
Before you use any water to wipe the stones, any burnt bits of food that remain stuck to the stone surface should be scraped off. Usually, we use a bench scraper to scrape off burnt bits of food. If you don’t have a bench scraper, you can alternatively use a blunt table knife or a metal spatula.
However, you should be extremely careful while using any other instrument other than a scraper because there’s always the chance of scratching the stone surface. And needless to say, scratching the surface would seriously affect its efficiency in the oven.
3. Never use soap, or any sort of chemicals to clean the pizza stone
Most pizza stones are made of clay or stone. It is no surprise, therefore, that these stones can soak up insane amounts of pretty much everything you rub on it. This unique feature of pizza stones allows them to infuse a distinct flavor into the pizzas with time. However, if you use any sort of soaps or chemicals to wash them, the stones would soak up the soap and the taste would pretty much be present on every pizza you make on them after that.
4. Try to use as little amount of water as possible
Since pizza stones are extremely porous, it would take a long time for them to dry off once you use copious amounts of water on it. We recommend you to use a damp towel to quickly wipe off the surface in the event of any marks and spills.
Now, suppose you did use a lot of water to wipe your pizza stones and in the process, even allowed water to seep in; you should dry out the pizza stones in a hot oven before storing it. Failure to completely dry out the stones would result in pizzas having damp crusts.
5. Oven drying is not the best way to dry up your pizza stones
Granted that when desperate measures have to be taken, throwing the pizza stones into an oven for an hour would be one of the more preferred ways to dry off the stones. However, this does have a potential hazard. If for instance, a stone has absorbed substantial amounts of water, throwing it into the oven would ensure the water heats up very fast and the outrushing steam causes the stone to crack. That’s why you should air dry the stone.
6. Tackling stains on pizza stains
Sometimes, as is the case with cooking, the pizza stones may develop tough stains that are not easy to clean off. While stains do not affect the functioning of pizza stones in any manner, they do tend to look bad. If not cleaned instantly, they become a permanent feature on the stone over time. An efficient way to deal with tough stains is to clean the stains with a paste of water and baking soda. You can use a brush or a nylon pad to lightly rub over the stone before wiping it off with a damp cloth.
7. Pizza stones are definitely not to be put into dishwashers
While the above points do categorically mention that pizza stones are best kept away from water or soap, we would still stress on the point that pizza stones need to be kept away from dishwashers. Dishwashers use water, steam, and soap- all of which are incompatible with pizza stones.
Some dishwashers nowadays try to come with a subtle disclaimer that assures a thorough cleaning of pizza stones. You would do best to avoid such products. It is because your pizza stones probably will get cleaned up, but you wouldn’t be able to use them anymore.
8. Stains and discolorations are good
Though not really hygienic, most chefs recommend home users to allow the pizza stones to have some forms of stains and discolorations. This, in the right measure, allows a patina to develop over the surface of the stone which enhances the taste of your pizza and acts as a seasoning for the crust. In fact, some of the best pizza makers attribute the unique taste of their pizzas to the patina on the pizza stones.
Wrapping It up
Pizza stones are essential extremely low maintenance products and they can pretty much look after themselves. Since the stones are exposed to high temperatures during cooking, the stones usually do not require any extra cleaning. Cleaning is only required if they are burnt or charred residue left on the stone.
So, if you are a proud owner of pizza stones, rest assured that you do not need to put in a lot of time to clean out your pizza stones. But if you do require it, after reading this article, you won’t anymore wonder how do you clean a pizza stone without compromising the taste of your pizzas.