The Sugary Pizza Debacle: Cleaning The Stoneware Aftermath

Dear Home-Ec 101,

I am a new reader of your site and am convinced that you may be the only ones able to help me. I am pregnant and because of morning sickness and the fact that my husband does not think vomit adds to his dinner, I’ve had to leave him to his own devices as far as his supper goes.
He’s been doing remarkably well, until last weekend. He tried to make himself a pizza and rolled out the dough on powdered sugar instead of flour. When he put it on the pizza stone it burned horribly. After an inspired stream of expletives, he decided to try again. And did the same thing.
He did save some of the pizza to show me in the morning. As amused as I am about his pizza troubles, my baking stone is covered in a stinky black burnt mess. I scraped it clear, soaked it in hot soapy water, and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. The surface was still spotted black, but there were no bits stuck to it anymore. The brochure that came with the stone
said discoloration was normal.
My mother in law was on her way over for a surprise visit so I hid the offensive stone in the oven and thought I’d tackle it again with another hot soapy bath later.
That night, my husband pre-heated the oven with the stone in it. It obviously wasn’t clean enough. In addition to spreading a horrible burnt smell around the house, it also smelled like a burning pine forest thanks to the holiday scented dish soap I had used to clean it, and it steamed up the whole oven and set off the smoke detectors. That wasn’t enough to inspire him to pull the stone from the oven, or to use the other oven, so now the baked on burnt sugar pizza mess has been soaked and baked again. Of course, another hot bath did not make any noticeable improvement.

I’m worried it is hopeless and the stone is a complete loss (aside from the entertainment value of the two sugar pizzas).
Any tips you have about getting this crud out of my baking stone would be great!
Thanks,
Sugar and Spice

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

I hope you’ll forgive me for nearly falling off my chair laughing at your husband’s misfortune. If it makes you feel any better, I would totally do something like accidentally roll pizza dough in powdered sugar. Now, I’m not going to say your stone is definitely okay, but I lean toward it being okay.

The first thing you should know about stoneware is that you cannot use soap on it. It is a porous material and the soap sinks into the stoneware, possibly making your food taste like soap. So, if you’ve been using soap on it regularly, stop. The proper way to clean stoneware is to use a nylon scrubby or a plastic scraper and rinse it with very hot water. The hot water kills all the bacteria, so there is no need to use soap.

But every once in awhile your stone will need a deep cleaning. This is one of those times, haha. To deep clean your stoneware, make a paste of baking soda, salt and hot water. It should be about the consistency of toothpaste. Spread it thickly over your stoneware, lay a hot damp washcloth over it and let it sit overnight. The next morning, take hot water and use the paste to scrub your stoneware. That should take care of any smell and should cut down on any grease.

I hope it works out for ya, I adore my stoneware!

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Comments

  1. diXymiss says

    I laughed, I cried…I took notes! My DH tried to “help” with clean-up and washed my beloved pizza stone with soap. The neXt time I used it, our pizza crust had a distinctive soapy flavor. I had written it off as a lost cause (the stone ~ not the husband), but will give your deep-cleaning tip a try. ThanX

  2. tammy says

    Lol!!

    As for not using soap on a stone….well this just grossed my husband out and he told me I better figure something out because if he was doing the dishes and saw it would use dish soap on it regardless. My begging and pleading didn’t work, so I decided to get smart and find something that would make us both happy!

    If the baking soda mixture doesn’t please you as a cleaner, there are all natural dish “soaps” out there that I have tried, and have worked just fine on my stoneware. My favorite is Ultra Dishmate by Earth Friendly Products, I picked it up at Whole Foods. The scent is Natural Almond. It contains water, coconut oil, salt, almond oil and cherry oil.

  3. Elesha says

    I don’t know what brand of stoneware you are using,but I use Pampered chef and I just put my stone in the oven and turn on the self cleaning cycle and it will take it back to the original color then wait for it to cool off and rinse it and you are all set. I have had my stoneware for about 8 years and it works everytime.

    However you may want to lightly spray it with cooking oil or Pam before it’s next use.

  4. says

    Elesha, my Pampered Chef consultant told me that putting it in the oven on self-cleaning cycle could cause hairline cracks in the stone and eventually cause it to break.

    Clearly, it’s working out alright for you, so it may be a case of “cover your hiney”, but I’d just be a little leery of that.

  5. dwindle says

    I’ve run my stone through the self clean cycle, and it worked fine. Keep in mind, the over had been run several times without using the stone (I leave it in the oven to keep the heat balanced for other dishes).

    If you want to try this, I say let it spend at least an hour at normal cooking temperatures before running the clean cycle. As long as there is no moisture trapped inside the stone, the heat shouldn’t bother it (remember, the stone was originally forged at over 700 degrees).
    ___

    In my experience as a pizza maker, warm salt water soaked on a rag, scrubbed on a hot (but not extremely hot – 350 ish) stone will clean it well, but take away from the “seasoning”.
    ___

    If any of you end up in a situation where you want to cook something that may very well burn in the same way, put a nice layer of corn meal or semolina down on the stone first – it will brush off easily from the finished product.

  6. dwindle says

    Btw…

    Don’t ever, ever use soap. You will have to wait eternities for the taste to come out. If you for some reason do need to use soap, use lye instead (oven cleaner (which is mostly lye) works just fine, and rinses right off).

  7. says

    Great advice – I am actually a Pampered Chef Consultant and I would offer the following –

    Do the cleaning with baking soda – NEVER soap – the more soap you use the worse off your stone gets.

    As far as the self-cleaning cycle, I would just go for a high temp for an hour or so to help burn off some of the mess. It will stink, but will work. If you stoneware cracks during a high heat like the self clean, then you will not be able to have it replaced by PC. If it cracks in a normal oven temp (450 or so) then it’s totally replaceable!

  8. says

    How did you KNOW I needed this post?! I am telling you, I’ve had a stoneware baking pan sitting in the sink for over three weeks because I haven’t known how to clean it. At times, it’s been on the bottom of a terribly disgusting pile of dirty dishes. It’s been soaking in the filth of them, which is probably even worse than putting soap on it. So THANKS!

  9. Elesha says

    well I don’t know for sure about the hairline crack theory but I was told about the self-clean cycle by a
    Regional Director from Pamp Chef several years ago and I have tried it at least 5-6 times.

    Now I will add that I do leave my stone ware in my oven all the time so it is constantly getting heated.

    Good luck either way!

  10. Melissa says

    Oh my… soap on a stone… eeek. If you have ever used cast iron you treat it about the same way. Condition it when it's new with something greasy.. like the cheapest store bought biscuits you can find. Clean with a plastic spatula to get off the lumps and bumps… scrub when cool with a stiff bristled (not wire) dish brush and very hot water. I have had my Pampered Chef large stone rectangle for over 20 years and it's a beautiful burnished brown and glazed over so nothing ever, ever sticks to it. That conditioning is desirable, sought after and hard to get. Just like a cast iron skillet… that shiny, Teflon-like black surface is only achieved over years of care and use. We use it for biscuits, pizza (no cheese doesn't even stick), rolls, sometimes cookies, bread, etc. I would never consider trying to get off the finish, or return it to the beige thing I bought- I have earned that finished stone with lots of use and proper care. Now my cookie pans… metal ones… those had better shine!