Have you recently purchased a pizza stone? These kitchen utensils have become a real trend in the world of cooking, allowing homeowners to prepare mouth-watering dishes in their ovens. Apart from pizza, baking stones can also be used for roasting veggies, making cookies, preparing quesadillas, searing steaks, making crispy chips, and baking chewy bread.
Nevertheless, in order for this flat slab to be your loyal cooking companion, you’re supposed to look after it properly. There is a myriad of tips and tricks for using and cleaning such surfaces so as to prolong their lifespan.
The following guide will introduce you to the best methods of caring for your pizza stone.
How to use it?
The first step of using this utensil is putting it in a cold oven, which is then preheated to 500 F. The preheating stage is supposed to last a minimum of thirty minutes to a maximum of one hour, depending on the thickness of the stone. The models that are half an inch thick require approximately thirty minutes to heat, whereas one-inch thick slabs need one hour.
In order for the preheating process to be successful, a cold pizza stone has to be placed in a cold oven. Keep in mind that putting a cold slab in a hot oven will most likely lead to a thermal shock, thus resulting in breakage. The same goes for putting a frozen pizza on the hot surface, which causes an abnormal change in temperature.
While the baking slab gets preheated in the oven, you’re advised to top the dough with your favorite choice of ingredients. Once the process gets completed, it’s time to transfer the dough onto the cooking surface with the help of a pizza peel. You can use either a wooden or a steel peel, each of them beneficial in a unique way.
The former is thicker and more demanding in terms of maintenance, but it prevents the dough from sticking. In contrast, the latter is thinner and much easier to clean, but the dough is more prone to sticking to a steel surface. The most effective way to impede sticking is by dusting the tool with either cornmeal or flour. The following link, https://foodsguy.com/use-pizza-stone-without-peel/, includes some handy tips about using a pizza stone without a peel.
The ultimate step is to remove the pizza but leave the slab inside the oven. Your food will take no longer than ten minutes to get ready, after which you’re expected to turn the oven off and wait for the stone to cool to clean it properly.
How to clean it?
After waiting for at least an hour for the slab to cool off, make sure you use a stone brush to scrub the surface or a spatula to remove any dough or ingredients that might have stuck to the top layer. It’s paramount to use a plastic spatula instead of a metal one to prevent scratching the surface.
Then, use a moistened rag to wipe down the surface so as to remove any loose particles. The slab should be either left to air-dry or wiped with a dry towel when in a hurry.
Furthermore, you’re never supposed to use dish soap for the purpose of cleaning a pizza stone. When you are shopping for a pizza stone for oven, one is advised to check the cleaning and maintenance guidelines provided by manufacturers. Although the guidelines vary in accordance with the material of this kitchen utensil, it should never be washed with soap. The surface of these slabs is porous, thus allowing soap to penetrate into the structure. Consequently, every food you bake on the surface will have acquired the taste of soap.
In terms of stains, one isn’t advised to remove them, as no baking slab looks as good as new after being used for a certain period of time. However, if you find them unsightly, you can remove them with the assistance of a baking soda paste. In order to make such a paste, make sure you mix the same amount of water and baking soda until the blend becomes consistent. Baking soda is believed to be an excellent ingredient for removing grime, as it causes no abrasion.
Once you’re done making the paste, apply it to the stains and move the brush in circular motions. Some parts of the pizza stone might require more scrubbing, particularly when dealing with deep stains. After thoroughly scrubbing the stone, use no water to rinse it. Instead, use a dampened cloth to wipe the surface and let it dry for a couple of hours.
In the event of a burned pizza stone, you’re recommended to take more drastic measures to deep clean the surface. It’s important to preheat the oven to 500F prior to putting the slab on the top rack, where it has to stay for an hour. After one hour of baking, check whether bubbles of grease start forming on the surface. By using the oven’s self-cleaning function, the slab will be heated to a temperature at which food and grease burn off.
Once the self-cleaning process gets finished, don’t take the stone out of the oven. It’s supposed to be completely cooled down before you wipe it with a dry rag.
How to prevent it from cracking?
Since cracking is a common problem with this kitchen utensil, individuals should take certain precautions when using it. For instance, the best storage space for such a slab is undoubtedly the oven to keep it at optimal room temperature. It should never be put in a heated oven or removed from the oven while still hot.
Remember that any kind of sudden temperature change will almost certainly cause a thermal shock. Additionally, people are strongly discouraged from baking frozen pizza on this cooking surface or wash it with dish soap.
Avoid thermal shock and moisture when taking care of your favorite kitchen utensil.
It’s worth the effort!