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I just bought my first pizza stone. The instructions that came with it recommend that I wash it thoroughly with plain water before using it for the first time. Is there anything else I should do to it to season it so it lasts and performs optimally?

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8 Answers

up vote 18 down vote accepted

I've never done anything in particular. I just don't use soap on it.

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More precise to say what to do; which is to assume it's okay to cook away. –  zanlok Dec 14 '12 at 1:26
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Our electric self cleaning oven did the trick. I was afraid the stone might crack, but it cleaned completely, so the advice above about just leaving it in the oven is probably good also. We use cornmeal on the peel. It doesn't burn like flour.

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You can stick a pizza stone in the oven on a self clean mode. The super high heat of the cleaning cycle will burn off 90% of stuck food. Don't put it on a rack though, just put on the bottom. The racks get destroyed in the cleaning cycle.

Ceramics do just fine in high heat; that's how they make your plates and cups - by firing them in high heat. Just make sure you don't expose the stone to temperature extremes, let it cool down by itself.

And yes, don't use soap on a stone. The porous nature of the stone will suck up the soap and is impossible to get out.

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After your first pizza-making experience you'll learn they are hard to clean-- cheese likes to glue itself to the sandstone, oil soaks into it, etc.

A common piece of advice I found on the internet is to leave the pizza stone in the oven all the time. This has been working for me as it means what ever I can't get off the stone is constantly being re-baked and turned into something other than mold.

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You don't have to do anything to season it. If you do need to clean it, it's ok to use PLAIN warm water on it (never soap) and a scrub sponge (again, no soap) after it cools completely, but make sure you let it dry thoroughly before you heat it up again or it may crack.

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While you don't have to pre-season most stones these days, you can speed up the natural process by:

  1. Wipe the new pan with a wet cloth (no soap)
  2. Dry in oven (low heat)
  3. Apply a very light coat of neutral vegetable oil with an old towel (I find paper tends to snag on new stones)
  4. Bake on med-high (400) as you would a cast iron pan (but not upside down).

Once the stone is seasoned, you'll find things don't stick as badly (or at all). After normal use, just wipe the stone with a wet cloth (if soiled) and use a gentle utensil for scraping off anything that might stick (it should pop right off).

Both of my stones are a much darker colour after both seasoning and using for a few years. This is normal.

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eeek! when mine got thoroughly oiled-up from use it stopped absorbing moisture from the dough and was no more useful than a cookie sheet; tossed it out. –  Pat Sommer Dec 14 '12 at 7:05
    
Mine get pretty oily anyway, as I usually store dough in my fridge oiled up (they crisp up nicely this way, and it prevents the fridge crust). –  Bruce Alderson Jul 12 '13 at 6:33
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You season it by cooking pizza on it.

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Nope, there is nothing you need to do to prepare a pizza stone for use, other than giving it a good cleaning to remove any residue from the factory.

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