A pizza stone is a portable stone slab that is used as an alternative method of cooking pizza dough.
With a report in Fruitnet suggesting that pizza is now the nation’s number one choice in restaurants, many people are trying to replicate the crispy crust of stone baked pizzas at home by using pizza ovens and, on a smaller scale, pizza stones. These are simple to use but can be tricky to keep clean. Failing to clean your pizza stone correctly can damage it – sometimes beyond repair. Here are some essential tips on keeping your pizza stone clean and in tip top condition.
Before attempting to handle or clean your stone, it is important that you let it completely cool down. A pizza stone typically reaches temperatures of 450°F and exposing it cold water can cause it to crack – not to mention the dangers associated with handling such a hot item. Allow the stone to cool to room temperature before you begin.
There are a few safe ways to clean a pizza stone and some you should avoid at all costs. Water and baking soda are fine to clean it with, but you should never use any soap or detergent. This is because the stone is porous and will absorb the chemicals, meaning that any future meals cooked on the stone are likely to taste of soap! Using a brush or blunt instrument to remove chunks of stuck-on food is also a good idea.
Some ovens from suppliers such as https://www.247cateringsupplies.co.uk/catering-equipment/heavy-cooking-equipment/pizza-ovens come with a self-cleaning function that can also clean your pizza stone; however, this a harsh and risky method of cleaning that should only really be used once to minimise the chances of the stone cracking. The idea is that the extreme temperatures will burn any dirt or grease off the stone just as it does in the oven. The heat needs to be increased gradually and the oven should be free of any stuck-on food, which could cause a lot of smoke.
Allow your stone to completely dry off before using it again. Avoid using excess oil on it to keep it looking newer for longer and try to embrace the natural discolouring that occurs over time – this is part and parcel of using the tool.