Pizza Stones – How to Season, Clean, Oil, etc.
So, you are thinking about seasoning your brand new pizza stone in order to make it serviceable for a long, long time. However, the packaging says that it should never be seasoned.
But you know for a fact that seasoning extends the natural life of cast iron pans. Should you season your pizza stone and forget about the manufacturer’s warning?
A pizza stone should not be seasoned if the manufacturer strongly advises against it. The majority of today’s pizza stones are glazed or coated, which means that they are already non-stick and thus require no seasoning. Seasoning a pizza stone that should not be seasoned may damage the cooking tool.
Some pizza stones are not supposed to be seasoned. However, there are also pizza stones that could probably benefit from seasoning. It all depends on how these cooking tools are made by their respective makers.
Because not all pizza stones are cut from the same cloth, every pizza stone owner needs to know this…
How to Season a Pizza Stone
In order to season a pizza stone, it should be covered with oil and baked in the oven for 450°F to 500°F (232°C to 260°C) for about 20 minutes. The pizza stone should be allowed to cool down in the oven completely. In some instances, the process of oiling, baking and cooling may have to be repeated.
Cast iron pans have to be seasoned to create a non-stick surface as well as prolong their lives.
There are some kinds of pizza stones that may be seasoned, especially if their manufacturers do not explicitly advise the customers not to season theirs. But it’s only to keep things from sticking to them, not make them last longer.
Keep in mind that seasoning a pizza stone that’s not meant to be seasoned may damage it. Similarly, seasoning a pizza stone that could use some seasoning in the wrong manner can do more harm than good. Needless to say, if you decide to season your pizza stone before using it, check that you do it the right way.
Here are the simple steps on how to correctly season your pizza stone:
- Prepare the pizza stone. Whether it’s fresh from the store or already used, clean your pizza stone first. The goal is to make sure that no dirt and grime or any other particles will get in the way of the seasoning process. Later, I will teach you how to clean a pizza stone the right way — so don’t stop reading now!
- Cover the pizza stone with oil. Olive oil is the ultimate oil for pizza stone seasoning purposes. However, you can use just about any oil in your kitchen — canola oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, etc. Add a few drops of your preferred oil to your pizza stone and, with a clean dry cloth, cover the entirety of the cooking tool with it.
- Bake the coated pizza stone. Place the oil-covered pizza stone in the oven — there’s no need to preheat it just like when baking baked goodies or dishes. Set the oven to 500°F. If your oven does not go up to 500°F, opt for 450°F or the highest possible temperature. Allow your pizza stone to bake for about 20 minutes.
- Let the pizza stone cool completely. After switching off the oven, do not open its door. Otherwise, your pizza stone may not get seasoned properly. Leave your pizza stone in the oven until totally cool. An empty oven usually cools down in 40 to 45 minutes. But since a pizza stone absorbs heat, you may have to wait for over an hour.
That’s it — your pizza stone now boasts of a non-stick surface that can make making homemade pizza a delight each and every single time. You know that the seasoning is a success if your pizza stone has a burnt appearance.
If it seems like your pizza stone is not dark enough, repeat the pizza stone seasoning steps above a few times.
Wondering how to season a pizza stone for the grill?
The steps to take are the ones mentioned above. As a matter of fact, pizza stones are seasoned in the same way no matter if for oven, grill or gas stove use.
It’s not enough that you know whether or not your pizza stone should be seasoned. You should also know how to clean it the right way in order to keep your pizza stone from weakening and cracking as well as from doing its job — yes, the wrong cleaning method can prevent your pizza stone from producing the best homemade pizza.
And this takes us to this very important topic that every pizza stone owner should know by heart…
How to Clean a Pizza Stone
A pizza stone should be cleaned with a little hot water and a pizza stone scrubber. It should not be soaked in soapy water in order to get rid of burnt or stuck pieces of food. As a matter of fact, a pizza stone should be exposed to very little water. Using soap or any other cleaning product is a no-no.
When it comes to seasoning a pizza stone that can be seasoned, there is a proper way to go about it.
There is also a proper way to clean your pizza stone if you want to enjoy your handy cooking companion for a very long time and make each and every pizza that you make taste awesome — and not like soap.
If there is one thing that you should remember when it comes to keeping a pizza stone spick-and-span, it’s that you should never attempt to clean it in the same manner as skillets, pans, pots and other cookware. After every use of a pizza stone, it’s a must that you clean correctly.
Here are the steps on how to clean a pizza stone:
- Allow the pizza stone to cool down completely — you don’t want to burn your hands and accidentally drop your pizza stone, which could put it out of commission.
- Wet the surface of your pizza stone with a small stream of water. As much as possible, limit the amount of water, hot or otherwise, that comes into contact with a pizza stone.
- Scrub your pizza stone using a brush exclusively made for scrubbing pizza stones — a pizza stone brush! Use small circular motions to remove grease and grime very well. Never attempt to clean your pizza stone with steel wool, sandpaper, table knife or any other thing that can scratch its surface.
- Wipe your pizza stone with a clean dry cloth in order to get rid of dislodged food bits and pieces.
- Allow the pizza stone to air dry completely before storing or using it again. Do not dry it in the oven because heat can cause water trapped in the pizza stone to turn to steam, shattering the cooking tool.
That’s how a pizza stone should be cleaned — no soaking in water, no scrubbing with soap, no special drying.
Got something burnt stuck onto the surface of your pizza stone that a little hot water and a pizza stone scrubber can’t seem to get rid of?
You may reach for a plastic spatula or ice scraper and use it to gently remove anything on your prized possession that refuses to cooperate the first time.
Or you may count on a homemade pizza stone cleaning paste out of baking soda and vinegar.
All you have to do is combine equal parts of baking soda and vinegar and mix and dab a little of the resulting paste on stubborn blemishes on the surface of your pizza stone. Use a pizza stone brush to loosen burnt or stuck food pieces. Afterward, wipe off the baking soda and vinegar paste with a clean dry cloth.
Speaking of stains, many people love using their pizza stones but hate that pizza sometimes sticks to them from time to time, which is why they are wondering if they should oil a pizza stone beforehand to prevent such a mishap.
And this brings us to this pressing question many pizza stone users feel too shy to ask…
Should You Oil Pizza Stone
A pizza stone should not be oiled for the purpose of keeping pizza from sticking to it. Oil will be absorbed and cause problems ranging anywhere from excessive smoke and burnt smell, impaired functioning of the cooking tool to the weakening of its structure that can lead to cracking and breaking.
By now, we have fully established the fact that a pizza stone that requires no seasoning, as per the manufacturer’s instructions, should not be seasoned to keep it from ending up damaged.
Oiling your pizza stone just before you use it should be avoided, too, for the very same reason.
Related Article: How To Store Olive Oil For a Long Term
The problem with applying oil onto a pizza stone is that some of it will be absorbed by the pizza stone — some pizza stones will absorb oil more than the rest, depending on the materials used or manufacturing methods employed.
You don’t want a pizza stone to absorb oil, just like water, because it can weaken and, ultimately, ruin your kitchen companion.
Worry not if it seems like every homemade pizza time always involves pizza sticking to the pizza stone. That’s because there are certain things that you may do in order to avoid this mess.
Here are some of the things to consider instead of oiling your pizza stone, which is not acceptable:
- Check that the dough is not too wet. Wet dough is one of the most common reasons why pizza sticks to the pizza stone. Luckily, there is one quick way to deal with a dough that’s too wet: add some flour to it.
- Look for a hole in the dough. In some instances, it’s not the dough per se that sticks to the pizza stone but the pizza sauce and toppings. And this can only happen if the dough has a hole. You can mend a pizza dough hole by getting a small piece of dough, flattening and stretching it to the right size, and using it to patch the hole.
- Rotating or lifting the pizza too soon. Make sure that you give the pizza on a pizza stone enough time to cook before you attempt to move it. Otherwise, the bottom of the pizza crust will still be wet and attached to the pizza stone. A good rule of thumb is to rotate the pizza when halfway through the cooking time the recipe specifies.
- Preheat the oven with the pizza stone in it. Putting pizza on a cold pizza stone will not only leave you with an undercooked pizza — it will also leave you with an undercooked pizza that’s stuck to the pizza stone!
- Bring the dough to room temperature. Do not cook pizza with cold pizza dough if you don’t want it to stick to the pizza stone. That’s because it might wind up undercooked, with some still moist areas in the bottom of the crust stuck to your pizza dough. Also, a cold dough can result in a pizza crust that’s hard and dry.
- Line the pizza stone with parchment paper. Parchment paper creates a thin barrier between the pizza crust and the pizza stone, therefore protecting your pizza stone from anything that could wind up burnt and stuck to it. Refrain from using aluminum foil because it reflects heat, thus keeping your pizza stone from doing its job.
- Count on dental floss. Just before you attempt to rotate or lift the pizza, slide dental floss under it — dental floss will break any burnt part of the bottom of the crust that’s sticking to the pizza stone.
- Use a pizza peel. Love cooking pizza in your own kitchen with the help of a pizza stone all the time? Then consider investing in a pizza peel as it will make every homemade pizza-making endeavor of yours a delight. Plus, if the pizza dough slides off the pizza peel trouble-free, it’s less likely that it will stick to your pizza stone.
- Keep the pizza stone clean. Last but certainly least, you should make sure that your pizza stone is free of debris that can serve as adhesion points, thus making removing the pizza on the pizza stone complicated.
As you may have noticed, there is one common online tip on how to keep the pizza from sticking to the pizza stone that’s nowhere to be found above. And it’s none other than sprinkling some flour on the pizza stone.
Let’s get to know the reason why by answering this critical question on pizza stone use…
Should You Flour Pizza Stone
There is no need to flour a pizza stone if it’s glazed or sealed or seasoned. While flour may keep the dough from sticking to the pizza stone, it can burn and adhere to the cooking tool and the bottom of the pizza crust, too. Also, flour may turn into a glue-like substance if it comes into contact with moisture in the dough.
Not all tips and tricks on using a pizza stone you can find on the internet are from reliable sources, which is why some hacks may cause your homemade pizza-making project more migraine-inducing rather than smooth-sailing.
Putting some flour on a pizza stone — this is one of the worst pizza stone-related advice online.
It’s true that flour can save the day when kneading the pizza dough — a little of it can keep the dough from sticking to the countertop. As a matter of fact, some people swear by the effectiveness of coating their hands with a small amount of flour in order to keep the dough from sticking to them.
Using flour to prevent the pizza from sticking to the pizza stone, on the other hand, is not a good idea. That’s because flour burns. And when it does, it will stick to your pizza stone and also ruin the pizza itself.
As mentioned earlier, flour may also end up resembling glue when it combines with some of the moisture in the pizza crust.
Naturally, it will cause the pizza to stick to the pizza stone, thus completely defeating the purpose of putting some flour on the pizza stone. So, in other words, the advice that you should flour your pizza stone is rubbish!
Some sources online also recommend dusting a pizza stone with some cornmeal or semolina because it’s less likely for it to become glue-like when it gets wet.
Well, the fact remains that, like flour, both cornmeal and semolina burn.
The bottom line is that there is no need to flour your pizza stone to keep the pizza or its toppings from adhering to it, thus making the process of cleaning it afterward arduous. Just keep in mind the tips on how to keep the pizza from sticking to the pizza stone mentioned above, and you’re golden — and your pizza crust golden brown!
Just Before You Try to Season Your Pizza Stone
Unless the manufacturer does not explicitly warn against seasoning, go ahead and season that pizza stone of yours. However, see to it that you do it the right way by following the pizza stone seasoning steps given above. Otherwise, you might only waste your time or run the risk of damaging your pizza stone.
Read Also: Accent Seasoning: Use, Best Brands, Alternatives, etc.