Confusing Information on using and caring for pizza stones.
I recently inherited 4 pizza stones of different sizes and configurations. Two flat, one deep dish and one rectangular with a lip. Went searching for instructions and here is what I came up with.
First off, always heat the stone with the oven. If you put a cool stone into a hot oven,
not only is there a chance that the stone will crack, but your food will cook unevenly.
Do not preheat stone.(Pampered Chef)
Because stone is unglazed and can absorb cooking oils, we recommend that you use your
stone only for baking pizza, breads and other "low-fat" baked items. Avoid recipes
calling for shortening (butter, lard or margarine) or oil. (Pfaltzgraff)
For best results, bake high-fat foods (e.g., refrigerated biscuits) or lightly brush
with cooking oil for the first several uses. (Pampered Chef)
Rub a generous amount of oil onto the cooking surface of the stone. Not so much that oil
is dripping of the edges. Place the stone in a hot oven and bake it until the oil has
been completely absorbed.
Prior to cooking pizzas on your stone, lightly oil the surface with olive oil. Do this
every time you use it, and your stone will take on a deep brown and golden tone with an
old world look. If you take care of your pizza stone it will last you a lifetime.
You can season a stone by spraying vegetable oil on it.
Aerosol nonstick spray is not recommended; it will create a sticky residue which is
difficult to clean. (Pampered Chef)
Generally speaking, pizza stones should not be treated with oil or nonstick spray.
How to use a pizza stone...Put the stone in the oven...crank the heat to maximum...and
come back in an hour!
Do not cook at temperatures exceeding 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Clean the stones by placing them on the bottom rack of a 425 degrees Fahrenheit oven for
4 hours and scouring them, after cooling, with baking soda.
If consumers use oil on the stones and clean them using a 550 degrees Fahrenheit oven or
using the oven's self-cleaning cycle, as currently recommended in the instruction
booklets accompanying the stones, the stones can catch on fire.
Keep the pizza baking stone in the oven itself during the self cleaning cycle. It helps
to make the pizza stone cleaning process much easy.
To avoid a possible fire hazard we recommend you do not use any type of oil directly on
the stone and under no circumstances heat to higher than 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not
place in the self cleaning cycle of your oven as some self cleaning cycles heat rapidly
to over 700 degrees Fahrenheit and may cause the stone to break, a fire to result , or
Really gives a person faith in manufacturers' instructions. For what it's worth, here's my experience...
I've had a few rectangular flat pizza stones. One cracked spontaneously, apparently while cooling down. The others have lasted a long time (one died when I dropped it) and I don't baby them. The only concession I make is that if a stone is wet after being washed off (something I do rarely) and I'm going to use it the same day, I preheat it at about 200 degrees for a while before turning it up higher. Otherwise, I cook whatever I want on them and just scrape off any residue. I use them on my gas grill to make pizza (where they must get well over 500 degrees) and in my oven to make bread at 425 to 500 degrees, depending on type of bread. When I run my oven through its self-cleaning cycle I leave the stone in the oven and it does fine, producing the same fine ash on the surface as seen elsewhere in the oven. These are unglazed stones about 3/8" thick.
I got a nice chuckle out of those varying instructions. Mine would be leave it in the oven all the time, don't cook real buttery things on it and scrape off crud when necessary--though we regularly have our oven up to 500 for various reasons and the stone stays pretty darn clean.
Without knowing exactly which baking stones you have, it's hard to say what you should do for each baking stone.
With that said, regarding general use of and care for most natural baking stones, preheat your oven with the stone in it. To clean, simply wait until the stone is cool and scrape excess food from the stone using a paper towel, plastic or wooden scraper, or firm bristle brush. You can also clean them by leaving them in the oven and running the self-cleaning cycle then wiping off the carbon residue with a dry paper towel.
Do not oil your stone or let excess fat drip onto it. Instead, use a dry "lubrication" method such as flour, cornmeal, or, my favorite, semolina.
Do not wash your stone with water. As a matter of fact, properly cared for, you should never even have to get your stone wet (past a manufacturer's possible direction for an initial rinse and dry).
You can leave your stone in your oven at all times, even when baking something else on another rack. However, if you think there will be spill-over, simply cover the stone with foil.
It is actually a good idea to always leave your stone in the oven. It acts as a heat sink meaning it will work to even out your oven's temperature despite door openings. Also, many baked goods (pies especially) do very well when baked directly on the baking stone (again, preheated). With pie, the hot stone gives the bottom a big head start resulting in a pie with a bottom crust that is actually browned (instead of blond or soggy). With risen batters , the stone gives the batter a chance to start cooking and rising before the heat from the oven sets and crusts the top resulting in a higher, better risen product.
This does not necessarily apply to proprietary composites or unusual baking stone materials (granite, etc.). You should find out what the manufacturer of each stone says regarding their particular stones in those cases.