You can take your pizza cooking to the next level when you get a pizza stone. But they do get dirty pretty quickly. You’ll be wondering how to look after it so that it will last years to come. There are a few tips to keep it in good condition that I have found.
How to take care of your pizza stone:
- Don’t soak it in water
- Don’t clean it with soap
- Don’t rub oil into it
- Don’t handle it too much
- Don’t shock it with temperature changes
- Clean it when needed
- Store it in the oven
Taking Care Of Your Pizza Stone
Don’t soak it in water
Your pizza stone is made from ceramic which is porous. This means that it will absorb any liquid that it comes in contact with. If you leave it in your sink to soak then it will absorb a large amount of water and it will take a long time to dry out thoroughly – perhaps a week. You won’t want to wait for that and you might not be sure when its fully dry. The issue comes when you put it back into high temperatures – if it still has moisture inside it, then this rapid evaporation and expansion will cause it to crack.
Don’t clean it with soap
Again, as it is porous it will absorb any liquid. If you wash it with soap then it will go into the ceramic and will be difficult to remove completely – perhaps impossible. If its a rather fragrant soap then this will probably taint your pizza the next time you cook on it.
Don’t rub oil into it
You want to limit the amount of oil that the stone absorbs. Oil at high temperatures will smoke, and just end up filling your oven and your house with a cloud of blue smoke. Over time the oil will go rancid and this will only add a horrid burnt smell and taste to your pizza, until you have to replace it. The oil will build up and you will lose the porous nature of the material so that it will stop absorbing moisture from your pizza to make it crispy.
So you don’t need to rub oil into it to season it like other cooking tools. Just cook on it from day one and it will be seasoned as you cook more pizzas on it. Follow the advice below to keep it clean if you spill your cheese on it, and it should last you a long time.
Don’t handle it too much
The ceramic material is super brittle, as you probably know from china cups. Especially when you are heating it up and cooling it down often. You’re best to handle it as least as possible to avoid knocks and shattering. If you drop it on the floor then you have no hope! An option is to just store it in the oven at all times – I have a section below discussing if this is a good idea or not.
Don’t shock it with temperature changes
Thermal shock is the result of stresses on a material that come from sudden shifts in temperature. Ceramic doesn’t handle this shock as well as other materials such as metal or wood, and it is very brittle to start with. You need to limit the sudden shifts in temperature and avoid going from too cold to too hot and vice versa.
You can help this by heating up the stone in the oven when you turn it on, rather than putting a cold stone in a hot oven. You also want to let the oven cool down in the oven, rather than taking it out straight away. And definitely don’t wash it with cold water, or put a frozen pizza on top while it is still hot.
Broken Pizza Stone?
Even with the most careful user, the stone can still easily break with its brittle nature. Check my post on if and how it can be repaired.
How To Clean A Pizza Stone
Your pizza stone will get stains all over it, and won’t stay looking that pretty for very long – and that’s fine. This is actually ‘seasoning’ the stone and will build up over time. You shouldn’t pay too much attention to trying to remove these stains. You can keep it clean when it needs it after cooking with the following steps:
- It’s easier to scrape off burnt residue than half cooked items. So give it a hot blast, or allow it to continue cooking if you’ve just made a mess with your stone.
- Leave your stone to cool down.
- Use your dough scrapers sharp edge, or use a knife to knock the large pieces of debris off.
- Use a wire brush, or abrasive cloth to give the surface a good scrub. You can use a small amount of warm water to help you, but don’t go overboard. Remember to not use soap.
- Wipe it down with a towel
- Leave it to dry before using again.
Should You Keep It In The Oven?
The stone is big and heavy and its probably crossed your mind on the best place to store it. An option is to store it in your oven, which is perfectly fine. It can withstand the regular heating, and because you are handling it less, it will keep it safe.
There is one caveat. There is a slight downside in that because there is now something extra to heat in your oven, the warm up times will be slightly longer and it will use more energy. The extra mass will retain heat however, so every time you open and close the oven door, it will get back to your desired cooking temperature faster. It gives a more stable temperature and is good for cooking anything that is sensitive to temperature changes. So there is a trade off.
Be careful to not put anything too heavy on top – especially if its a thin pizza stone. It’s probably best to keep it at the bottom of the oven.
If you think something will bubble over, then you can always cover it in foil. Just remember to take it off as foil will stop it absorbing moisture from your pizza base.
Pizza steels are similar to a stone but they conduct heat more efficiently, cooking the base through very quickly. They also don’t shatter like a stone does. Once I bought my pizza steel then I switched to using it almost exclusively, because they are less maintenance. I have this pizza steel and can fully recommend it (click to see on Amazon).
Can a pizza stone go in dishwasher?
Definitely not if you are going to use detergent as this will soak into the material and be impossible to remove. It is possible, but such a deep clean isn’t needed. It will absorb a lot of moisture and take a long time to dry out.
Can a pizza stone stay in oven?
Yes. It can withstand the regular heating, and works better leaving it in the oven as it will not crack due to a sudden temperature change. Your oven will take longer to heat up, but will retain a more stable temperature with the added mass.
Can a pizza stone get wet?
It won’t do the stone any immediate damage to get wet. But it will risk cracking if you heat the stone when it contains moisture due to its brittle nature. For this reason, it is advised to not get the stone overly wet, such as soaking it.