Did I just ruin my pizza stone?
January 6, 2013 3:19 PM   Subscribe

Did I just ruin my pizza stone? I washed it in water and was then told that was a big no-no...so how bad is it and is there a way to recover from it? Any other pizza stone cleaning/storage tips would be appreciated!
posted by man down under to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
When I did that by accident, I dried it out by putting it in a oven set to 200 for like 20 minutes... IDK if that's safe tho.
posted by spunweb at 3:25 PM on January 6, 2013

I always washed mine in water and then put it back in the oven to dry. It lived in the oven. I had a nice seal on mine, too -- the water never seemed to bother it. (And then it was dropped a great distance onto a hard floor.)
posted by fiercecupcake at 3:26 PM on January 6, 2013

I've always washed my stone with water. I store it in the oven and usually just keep it in there when I'm cooking other things. Someone told me it helps hold heat in the oven.
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:27 PM on January 6, 2013

You just have to wait until it dries out. The danger of using it when wet is if the absorbed water is heated enough to steam, the expansion might crack the ceramic. Just leave it out somewhere where it can dry thoroughly: on your oven rack with the door cracked open is good if you can remember to pull the stone out before heating the oven up past 212F). Outside in the sun is fine too, it's not going to heat up to 100C out there on its own.
posted by jamaro at 3:27 PM on January 6, 2013 [5 favorites]

I make pizza a lot, and sometimes the stone needs water to get clean. Don't worry... you just need to make sure the stone gets completely dry before you heat it up again. Set it up so it gets air on both sides, e.g., by placing it on a cookie rack or leaving it on a shelf inside the oven (if you're not going to be using the oven).
posted by wryly at 3:29 PM on January 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Was it plain water? That should be fine, once the stone dries out. If it was soapy water, that's more questionable. The general wisdom I've read says not to use any detergent on a pizza stone because the unglazed stone soaks it up.

If you used plain water, let the stone dry completely. Next time you use the stone, put it in a cold oven and heat slowly. Do not put a cold (and especially, possibly still wet inside) stone in a hot oven; that can split it.

When I clean my stone, I use either baking soda or kosher salt on a sponge, with enough water to make a paste. That provides enough grit to scrub off any messes, but doesn't leave any non-edible residue after thorough rinsing.

But truthfully, I don't clean it very often. Because I put parchment paper under pizzas and free-form bread, the stone rarely if ever comes in direct contact with food. I do brush it clean pretty often; when the stone is completely cool, I brush it with a clean pastry brush or with a towel.

I store my stone right in the oven. It takes up only a tiny bit of space, even in our small oven, and having it there helps regulate our cheap and wildly fluctuating stove, so baked goods bake through more evenly and predictably.
posted by Elsa at 3:30 PM on January 6, 2013 [11 favorites]

Was just in the process of buying one at Oneida.com and this is what they had to say about it.
Cleaning Instructions:
Allow stone to COOL. Remove baked-on food using a non-metal scraper or spatula. Rinse your stone with WARM WATER. DO NOT USE SOAP because the residue will be absorbed into the stone and may affect your food’s taste. NOTE: Your stone will darken with use. This is part of the stone’s natural seasoning and will not affect its performance.

By the way, they have them on sale for $8 (round) or $14 (rectangular).
posted by nostrada at 4:32 PM on January 6, 2013

I washed it in water and was then told that was a big no-no...

I don't understand. It isn't a no-no to wash it in water. It's a no-no to wash it with soap. What exactly did you use?
posted by John Cohen at 4:52 PM on January 6, 2013

For future cleaning, I suggest never actually washing it, but just scrape off all the cheese and other detritus with a metal pastry scraper like this one. Since you're pre-heating it, you don't need to really keep it sterile, you just need to take off enough stuff that it's flat and that chunks of burnt peppers or whatever don't get stuck in the bottom of my pizza, and that approach works wonderfully for that.
posted by aubilenon at 4:56 PM on January 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

nostrada: Do you know why they say a non-metal scraper? I've been doing this for years with a metal one and my pizza stone is still totally great.
posted by aubilenon at 4:57 PM on January 6, 2013

FWIW: do not bother cleaning it again. Anything that can survive a 400 degree oven probably deserves to live. Scrap though, if you wish, like aubilenon describes. But if it just pizza and not say, a beef brisket, ::shrug:: what's the big deal?
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 5:37 PM on January 6, 2013

This is confusing. Our pizza stone came with instructions that said it could be washed in the dishwasher. Are there different types of stones?
posted by Xurando at 5:43 PM on January 6, 2013

secret bonus tip: by preheating on "broil" you can get it up above the maximum temperature setting of your oven - I made pizza on a 650° pizza stone tonight, which still isn't as hot as I want it but it's closer!
posted by aubilenon at 8:23 PM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

To your last point: hanging out in the oven thru a self clean cycle makes my stone look like new again. No stains, no char, just pristine (after blowing the ash off).
posted by ftm at 10:39 PM on January 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

nostrada: Do you know why they say a non-metal scraper? I've been doing this for years with a metal one and my pizza stone is still totally great

Scratching or other cosmetic damage? Or perhaps to avoid the horrid sound that a metal scraper would make against the stone. Ugh. I shudder just thinking about it.
posted by nolnacs at 6:24 AM on January 7, 2013

I use a 2" putty knife to clean it, and never wash it at all. *shrug* We've made pizza every Friday night on this for 16+ years and never had a problem yet.

Why wash it, anyway, if you scrape it down all the way?
posted by wenestvedt at 7:20 AM on January 8, 2013

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