Stoneware baking dishes and pizza stones are one of the best ways of cooking pizza, and more and more people are falling in love with their pizza stone. But one of the common musings of people cooking with a pizza stone for the first time is how they will season their pizza stone.
According to Pampered Chef Stoneware, a reputable pizza stone manufacturer, you must season a pizza stone with oil before the first use.
In this article, we will be giving you instructions on how to effectively season pizza stones with oil and looking a little more closely at this process. We will also talk about stoneware cooking and give you some handy tips to get the most out of your pizza recipes.
Does Stoneware Need To Be Seasoned?
If you have purchased glazed stoneware, then you do not need to oil this, but if your baking stone is not glazed, then you must make sure that you follow the seasoning instructions carefully. This may be a new concept if you are used to using a cast-iron skillet or other cooking equipment that comes with a non-stick coating, but it is an easy process.
Your stoneware pizza stone or other items like a muffin pan or loaf pan must be seasoned to create a non-stick coating. If you don’t, foods can get stuck, and your stoneware baking experience will not be an enjoyable one. Your stoneware pan will develop a dark coating over the surface once you have seasoned it with oil that will become even more effective over time.
How Do You Season A Pizza Stone For The First Time?
Seasoning works because the oils from the foods you cook like pizza dough or crescent rolls will burn onto the surface of the stone and over time, this creates a non-stick layer that will make baking a dream. Furthermore, as you use the stone, more things will leave behind a layer. So when you see an old, burned pizza stone, this is anything but damaged and is, in fact, more suitable for cooking food than a brand new stone. With that in mind, let’s look at how easy seasoning is.
When it is time to oil stoneware pizza stones, you must begin by applying a thin layer of oil onto the stone pan – but there is more to this process.
- Take a clean cotton cloth and use this to apply a thin layer of your chosen oil. You can use anything, but we would recommend olive oil.
- Pop the stone into the oven and turn the oven on – for a kitchen fan assisted oven, you will need the heat at about 280ºc, but in a pizza oven, it is important to control the fire. While pizza needs to be cooked at high heat, the seasoning process doesn’t need to be quite as hot.
- It is also important to remember that the stone must go into the oven before you turn the oven on. If not, and it is suddenly exposed to high heat from being at room temperature, these quick temperature changes could cause the stone to crack.
- You should allow the seasoning to take place over the course of an hour, and you will notice that the shade of the stoneware pan will get darker while it is in the oven. You may notice changes after 30 minutes, but still, leave the pan in the oven for the full time.
- Because of the high-fat nature of the oils, there may be some smoke and a strong smell, but this doesn’t need to be a problem. Using the oven vent is the best thing to prevent this. The temperature may have an effect on the smoke point of the stoneware, but you don’t want to adjust this too much as it will affect the seasoning.
- Once the stone has been seasoned, you can take it out of the oven and leave it on the stove top to cool – or if you are ready to start cooking, go ahead and put your pizza onto the pampered chef stoneware pan and put it back into the oven.
- Alternatively, if you do not want to use oil for seasoning your stoneware pan, you can bake some food that contains oil. This food might be cookies or bread, and the oil from the food will act in the same way as the seasoning process we have already discussed.
- The more you use the pizza stone, the darker it will become. Certain areas of the stone will be seasoned; first, it is likely that the seasoning will take place in the centre of the stoneware before the edges of the pan become dark. Once the entire surface of the pan is coated, you will notice that it is far more non-stick than when you first received it.
How Do You Bake With Stoneware?
If you have never used stoneware for cooking, you may be under the impression that this is a challenging way to bake – it might feel like something that only professional chefs do. But this could not be further from the truth, cooking with a pizza stone is very simple and once the seasoning is done, you can get on with creating as many delicious dishes as you want.
- To begin with, you should make sure that you put your stone into the oven before it has begun to heat up, this is because if you try to put it in when the temperature is already high, the thermal shock could cause the stone to shatter.
- Once it is in the oven, you will need to let it properly warm up – this might take 30 minutes in an outdoor wood-fired oven but could take a little longer if you are using the grill in your kitchen. Be sure that the material is fully heated, all the way through.
- Now slide your pizza onto the stoneware dish using a pizza peel – this is the safest way and will avoid you obtaining a nasty burn.
- How long you cook the food will once again, depend on the type of oven that you are using. Outdoor pizza ovens will take far quicker to finish the pizza, in around 2 minutes. But kitchen ovens could take around 15 minutes due to the lower temperature. You will usually be able to tell when the meal is cooked because the cheese will be bubbling and the entire pizza will be a lovely shade of golden brown.
- You can now use your pizza peel to remove the pizza from the stone and serve it to your friends and family.
- Be sure to turn the oven off and allow the stoneware to cool completely before attempting to get it clean.
How Do You Clean A Stoneware Pizza Stone?
Your pizza stone will probably come with care instructions, and it is important that you follow these as there are some things that could cause damage to the stoneware.
As opposed to a cast iron pan that can be cleaned with soap, your stoneware cooking pan will not benefit from this. Instead, you must follow specific care instructions like the ones detailed below to properly clean your stone. If you care for your stone, it will last you for a very long time.
Step 1 – Blast your pizza stone in a hot oven so that any food become burned on, this will be far easier to brush off than sticky foods.
Step 2 – Allow pizza stones to cool before any further cleaning takes place.
Step 3 – Once the stone is cool, you will need to take a scrub brush or a dough scraper to remove any debris. This should not be a problem if you have allowed the food to burn on properly.
Step 4 – Never use soap to clean your stoneware as this can damage the surface. Instead, you can use a little bit of warm water, be sure never to use hot water or soak your stoneware in a bowl of water as the porous nature of the stone means that the moisture will be soaked up.
Step 5 – The final step to care for your stoneware is to dry it gently using paper towels and then allow it to air dry until all spots of moisture are removed. Do not attempt to dry it in the oven as the temperature changes and residual water could cause it to crack.
If you do not want to use this method, you could use the self-cleaning cycle on your oven, which will ensure that all areas of the stone are effectively cleaned thanks to the intense heat. Cleaning like this is ideal if you are too busy to clean it yourself. But do keep in mind the most self-cleaning ovens take around three hours to finish the cycle.
How Do I Stop My Pizza Stone Smoking?
If you have been using the same stone for a long period, this could mean that it will start to smoke. This is not a difficult thing to manage and is usually as a result of a large build-up of oil.
Be mindful not to be tempted to plunge the pan into a bowl of hot water to try and cleanse it, as we have discussed, doing this will not have the desired effect, and you could end up ruining your baking equipment.
However, all is not lost, and there are some things that can be done to get rid of that annoying smoke every time you want to cook.
- Burn off the grease using the ovens cleaning cycle – this may cause some smoke to begin with, but once the process is over, your meals won’t taste burned and smoky.
- Use bicarbonate of soda to gently remove the grease – using soap will not help and may leave a soapy taste on the stoneware that will transfer onto your food.
- If you do not want the house to be full of smoke but want to burn the grease off, you could take the stone outdoors and use the BBQ to achieve this.
Pizza stones are an essential part of making this delicious Italian dish, and many people are using them to achieve a crisp base, fluffy pizza crust and evenly cooked toppings.
Whether you are going to use your stoneware pizza pan in an outdoor wood-fired oven or simply in the kitchen oven, your pizza stone will need to be seasoned before the first use. Although if you are using a pre-glazed piece of equipment, this process is not required.
You can do this by adding a small amount of oil to the stone and baking this off before cooking anything else on it. However, if you do not want to use this method, you might bake oily food like bread dough to achieve the same results.
On top of seasoning your stone, you must also be mindful of taking proper care of it to ensure that it will serve you for many years to come.