If you love artisanal pizza, you've probably invested in a pizza stone by now. These specialized cooking tools heat evenly in order to deliver the just-right baking temperature for pizza dough, and they have a porous surface that draws out moisture from the dough as it bakes, so you can get a crispier crust than you would with a traditional baking sheet.
A pizza stone is a great tool — you just have to be a little careful with how you clean it. Because the stone is porous, it will absorb any soap or cleanser you put on it, so never clean it with anything you wouldn't be comfortable eating. You should also always make sure it's cool before you go to clean it, as sudden temperature changes could shock the stone and crack it. And if you soak it in water, it will retain that moisture for a long time.
Here's how to clean a pizza stone without damaging it — or your future pizza creations.
How To Clean a Pizza Stone
What You'll Need
- Plastic spatula
- Soft cloth
- Baking soda
- Stone brush, toothbrush, or other stiff-bristle plastic brush
- Let cool: Allow your pizza stone to cool completely before cleaning it. Again, it could crack or break if it comes into contact with cool water while it's still hot.
- Scrape lightly: Use the spatula to loosen any melty cheese or stuck-on bits. Do not use a metal spatula or knife, as these can scratch the pizza stone.
- Wipe the stone: Wipe off any remaining debris with a soft cloth.
- Make a paste: If some crusty bits remain, try spot-treating them: Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with just enough water to make a paste.
- Use it as a scrub: Apply a small amount of the paste to the spot and scrub it gently with your brush in a circular motion.
- Wipe the stone again: Wipe up any debris with your damp cloth.
- Cook off stubborn bits: If there are still chunky bits that you can't remove, place the pizza stone in the oven, then turn the heat up to 500°F. Once it reaches that temperature, let the stone cook for about an hour to cook off the stubborn bits.
- Let dry: Allow your stone to dry completely (for at least 1 to 2 hours) before using it again.
- Accept that your pizza stone will stain with use and some will not come off, no matter how many times you do the steps above. But know that those stains won't affect the taste of your food (some people think it might even enhance the taste!).