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?
While you don't have to pre-season most stones these days, you can speed up the natural process by:
- Wipe the new pan with a wet cloth (no soap)
- Dry in oven (low heat)
- Apply a very light coat of neutral vegetable oil with an old towel (I find paper tends to snag on new stones)
- 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.
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.
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.
Do NOT season your pizza stone, EVER!!! Simply dust it with flour or corn meal before you put it in the oven to get hot and once its up to a nice hot temp of your choice, ( I prefer 450 ) using a pizza peel slide pizza onto your stone and let it do its magic and once its done remove pizza from stone using the same utensil you used to place it on stone in the first place. Once stone has cooled wash it with water and dry it and keep in safe place until next time.
BTW this info was directly from pizza stone manufacturer...