Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
Put it in your oven. Set the oven to Clean. Cleans the stone, and you can scrape off any ashy residue with a bench scraper.
What boulangere said.
Also don't try to make a pristine stone, just remove the crusty bits. The stains won't hurt you and it's sign of well loved and used stone.
Never use water or chemicals on the stone.
Exactly. Some of the stains won't come out. They show that it's well-used.
Hey great answers! I've been worrying about my well-loved stone and its appearance ...
I think the stains and stuff that discolors the stone make it 'magical' imparting a flavor the breads and pizza, like a well used cast iron pan that's been used for decades.
Same goes for a well used wok...which would scare Martha Stewart with the stains accumulated over the decades.
Big crusty bits, you can burn off.
thanks.. I was wondering the same thing. Excuse my ignorance... but what is a bench scraper?
Oh, no ignorance at all. Great question. Go to surlatable.com and enter the term in the search field. That should give you a picture of it. It's basically a plastic or wood-handled stainless steel blunt-edged blade. The whole thing is about 5" x 6". The most useful tool in the kitchen. Walk into any of your local kitchen stores, and they'll will have them. Don't pay more than $8-10 for one. And buy two. Also check local restaurant supply stores, which are never just for restaurants. You'll use them a lot.
I agree with boulangere -- I use my Oxo bench scraper all the time and was thinking of buying a second one. It's great for scooping up chopped vegetables, bread dough, etc., to move them from the cutting board to a bowl or a pan, for example. As for cleaning your pizza stone on the oven clean cycle, she is also spot on -- works like a charm. I lean mine against one side so it is not covering any part of the oven.
Oh, smart strategy with the stone, cbc! I have a half dozen bench scrapers, ok call me OCD, and couldn't function without them.
Why shouldn't you use water on the stone?
@susan g; It's not needed..also water and the clay don't get along together and the water can stay there for a lot longer than you think and crack the stone when heated. If you feel you must use water..soak it, to make both sides evenly hydrated. Uneven hydration will cause cracks. Air dry and then dry at 200 for a few hours..slowly.
IMHO there's no reason to 'wash' a pizza stone with water. The stains and flavors it picks up from pizza and burn stains just add to the character and taste of the stone.
No one would ever even think of washing a stone floor pizza oven.
In addition water and unglazed clay are great places for mold to form...even while drying So you might get mold spores as part of the flavoring bargain.
Sam, thanks for the explanation. I've been treating it like my black cast iron, just a simple rinse and de-crudding. I store it in the oven, so maybe it is thoroughly dry when I use it again, and it has a seasoned look.
I have sent your answer on to my daughter, who has cracked her stone, although she still uses the pieces.
Ever use a Romertopf? That seems like the inverse situation.
I need to add about the Romertopf. I have one and that's where the mold comment comes from, I rarely use it tho..and it seems that no matter how well I dry it after it's stored it picks up moisture (maybe even from the air)..and after a year (or more) storage it needs to be cleaned again as it has some fuzzy bits inside.
I don't even use it at all now after I discovered Emile Herny's glazed clay ware. I have a large tagine which is perfect for no-kneed bread and roasts. Works like champ and holds quite a bit. Tho, if I bought it again--I'd probably go for a similar model with a flat lid and not the high pointy 'witch hat' lid of the tagine--which is difficult to store.
Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.
I don't ever "wash" my pizza stone. High heat will generally incinerate the burnt-on bits, as others have mentioned. Easy to scrape/brush off when cool.
Some say the burnt bits, cornmeal and whatnots, impart extra flavor to the bottom of the crust - after all, a charred bottom crust is pizza nirvana. See here in Kenji Lopez-Alt's (of Serious Eats) latest New Haven pizza video: http://youtu.be/mUWrE-_4cYY...
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