Baking stones are invaluable when you are baking bread, pizzas, and even cookies. If you use proper baking stone storage, they can last for years.
What is a Baking Stone?
A baking stone is a sheet of unglazed stone or quarry tile that is either round or square. They can be as thin as 1/2 - 3/4 of an inch for home use or as thick as 2 inches for professional use.
Why Use a Baking Stone
Not everyone has a brick oven in their home. If you want to bake great bread with a crisp crust or pizza that's better than the kind that gets brought to your door, you are going to need to get a bread stone.
How to Use a Bread Stone
When you first get your bread stone home, you will want to soak it in some water to remove any dust. Never use soap to clean your stone...the porous stone will trap the soap and the stone will be ruined. After you soak the stone, let it dry and then put it in your oven before you turn the oven on. This will help avoid rapid temperature changes that will cause your stone to crack.
Never use a baking stone over direct flame or in the broiler. And, once your stone is hot, never get liquid directly on the stone. The more you use your baking stone, the more seasoned it will become getting darker and darker with each use. This is natural.
Because baking stones can scratch surfaces, you would not want to put it directly on a counter or tabletop. I keep some spare kitchen towels around to wrap the stone in to make my baking stone storage less abrasive to the cabinets. You also never want to place metal cookware directly on your baking stone.
Baking stones are fantastic for baking bread, pizza, biscuits, cookies, pretzels, breadsticks or anything that can be baked.
How to Clean Your Baking Stone
Before getting into the actual baking stone storage, let's take a look at cleaning the baking stone. Before cleaning, let it cool to room temperature. You do not want to handle a hot stone and you definitely do not want to get the hot stone wet. Once your baking stone is cooled, soak it in clean hot water that does not have soap in it.
Using a plastic scraper, you can remove any bits of food that have baked onto the stone. If you don't have a plastic scraper, you can get one at most restaurant supply stores or arts and craft stores.
To deep clean the stone, you can make a paste of baking soda and water and rub it into any part of the stone that needs deep cleaning. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then rinse it off using hot water. Remember, baking stones naturally darken and discolor over time. The grease and toppings that drop onto the stone actually improve its baking properties. This seals the surface of the stone and minimizes the chance of dough sticking to it. Be sure that you let the stone dry completely before you store it.
Baking Stone Storage
If you do a lot of baking, the best place for baking stone storage is the oven itself. In fact, keeping the stone in the oven will improve the overall performance of your oven by helping to regulate its temperature. When you open the oven door to put food in or to check the temperature of the food, hot air escapes, lowering the temperature of your oven. A baking stone will help maintain the temperature of the oven.
If you want to store your baking stone in a cabinet, you should let it dry completely. Then, wrap it in a towel to prevent it from scratching any surface and to prevent anything from chipping it.