If there's one thing that’s constantly subjected to extreme conditions, it’s your trusty pizza stone. Despite the wear and your stone goes through, it’s a surprisingly resilient tool that in most cases will last for years. I've even seen pizza enthusiasts who've boasted about owning the same pizza stone for over 10 years! Maybe a decade is setting the bar a little high, but today we’ll go over a few maintenance and usage tips on how to clean a pizza stone and keep it in great shape.
How to Clean a Pizza Stone
There’s a very important but simple difference between cleaning a pizza stone and washing other kitchen or grill utensils. When washing your pizza stone, you want to avoid using soap. It seems kind of counter intuitive to clean something without soap, but it’s for a very good reason. Because pizza stones are porous, meaning they have lots of little holes on the surface, they will absorb things they come into contact with. Imagine what your next pizza would taste like after your stone soaks up a bunch of dish soap – no thanks! To clean your pizza stone simply use a stone brush and hot water. Don’t soak your stone by fully submerging it underwater; simply use a small stream of water to wet the surface followed by a thorough scrubbing with the brush. Minimizing the amount of water you use is ideal, because you’ll need to fully dry your pizza stone before you use it again. It’s recommended to air dry the stone instead of baking it dry because any absorbed water being forced out in the oven can potentially cause the stone to crack. For the super tough baked on bits, we recommend our heavy-duty pizza stone scrubber.
Leave it in the Oven
When storing your pizza stone, there’s one place in your kitchen I recommend above others: the oven. I’m sure this suggestion will raise a few questions, so let’s talk about why it’s best. Leaving your pizza stone in the oven eliminates the need to move it around, whether it’s putting it in the oven or taking it out of the cupboard to remove something else from storage. Moving the pizza stone too much gives you more opportunities to drop and break it. Pizza stones can be cumbersome to relocate, so keep yours “at home” in the oven.
Second, storing your pizza stone in the oven will give you a more consistent desired temperature, no matter what you're baking. The stone will add a significant amount of thermal mass, meaning your oven will have less trouble keeping the temperature you set it to. You'll notice a slightly increased preheat time, but it’s a good trade for the increased accuracy.
Lastly, keeping the stone in the oven helps to continually season its baking surface. In my opinion, it’s the least messy and hassle-free way to ensure your stone is operating as it should. I've seen many different (and strange) ways of seasoning a pizza stone, from bacon fat to butter to vegetable or flax oil. Instead of spending more money and more time seasoning your stone, why not let your oven do the work for you? If you own one of our portable pizza ovens, it’s even easier to season your pizza stones. Simply run your oven empty on “high” for 30-60 minutes before baking your first pizza. Remember, your pizza stones will continue to season with every use, so keep those pies coming!