If you’ve been researching the best home pizza ovens and have a favorite pizza dough recipe, you likely have one of the best pizza stones. This durable accessory can bring years and even decades of joy if taken care of properly. But submerging it in water or changing its temperature too quickly could lead to cracking and fragility.Don’t worry — caring for it the right way is easy. Tracy Zimmerman, lead chef of the recreational program at the Institute of Culinary Education shares her tips on keeping your pizza stone in top shape.
What are pizza stones made of?Pizza stones are generally made of ceramic or a super-durable mineral material called cordierite. They can also be a composite, meaning a mix of several materials or even stainless steel or cast iron, which are prized for being virtually indestructible. Your average pizza stone, though, regardless of its exact materials, will be hard and porous unless it’s made of steel or cast iron. This makes it an excellent heat conductor and means it requires a bit of special cleaning.
How to clean a pizza stone
Over time, a pizza stone will darken and stain, but that doesn’t mean it’s dirty.
1. Let the pizza stone cool completely in the oven. Leaving the stone in the oven allows it to cool more gradually, putting less stress on the stone as it expands and contracts with temperature changes. Remove it once it’s all the way cool.2. Scrape off stuck-on bits: With a spatula or a stiff dry brush, scrape away any residual scraps of food.3. Wipe down with a damp cloth: You want the cloth to be wet enough to remove any last bits of residue, but not so wet that it’ll leave a ton of moisture on the board.Cleaning tips Avoid using soap or a chemical cleaner. “They will absorb into the stone and your foods may taste of it,” says Zimmerman.Do not submerge the pizza stone in water. Because your pizza stone is porous, it can potentially get waterlogged.Burnt, dark stains are normal. The nature of this type of material is that it will develop signs of use, including dark spots. Zimmerman explains, “Pizza stones darken over time and, in my opinion, get better with age and staining.”
Storing a pizza stoneOnce your stone is completely cooled, feel free to store it with your other baking pans. Just make sure it’s on a flat surface so it doesn’t break. Zimmerman stores hers in the oven on the bottom rack. “It does take longer to preheat the oven, but in the end, the oven cooks more evenly,” she says.Insider’s takeawayUltimately, cleaning a pizza stone is pretty simple. As long as you cool it gradually and protect it from water, cleaning products, and the force of gravity, you can count on your pizza stone to last you for as long as you’re firing up pizzas.
Christine Clark is a freelance writer who covers specialty food and beverage, especially cheese and wine. She has been in the food and beverage world for a little under a decade. Christine got her start in cheese at Murray’s Cheese in New York City, where she ran the education department, teaching and programming classes on cheese and cheesemaking (everything from wine to mezcal to chocolate to smoked fish was fair cheese-pairing game).
Christine is a Certified Cheese Professional with the American Cheese Society and has taught cheese and pairing classes around the world. Some of her bylines can be found in VinePair, Wine Enthusiast, Epicurious, AllRecipes, The Spruce Eats, Food52, and more and she has been featured as a cheese expert in The New York Times, Bon Appetit, FirstWeFeast, and HuffPost.
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