Got a pizza stone that’s smoking and you’re worried about what is going on? Is it damaged, broken or are you using it wrong? Let’s sort out why pizza stones smoke and what you need to know about it.
Pizza stones are perfectly designed to optimize your pizza output. The quality you’ll get from using a pizza stone over everything else is second-to-none.
I swear by pizza stones. I honestly haven’t found a single better way to produce pizza than with the dough placed on top of one of them. They’re excellent at what they do and fairly easy to maintain as well.
However, there is one thing that keeps cropping up on people’s minds about their pizza stones. Sometimes, pizza stones can smoke. That’s it.
Smoke can start to rise off the surface of the stone and create quite an unsightly visual around your oven (not to mention the potential for a pretty rancid smell).
I’ve had it once or twice myself and quickly found the answers I was looking for, so I thought I’d share what I found with you.
Why Is My Pizza Stone Smoking?
Let’s start with the simple question of why then, shall we? Firstly, it’s good to know what makes up a pizza stone. No matter what material they’re made of, pizza stones are usually porous (meaning there are tiny holes all across the surface).
Over time, this porous characteristic will start to pick up fats and grease that fall off of pizzas while they’re being cooked.
All pizzas are fatty and greasy, so don’t think you can avoid it! The toppings can run off while you’re cooking, or they can drip down onto the stone while you’re trying to remove the pizza after you’ve cooked it.
Whatever the case, the fat and grease run-off will eventually get into the pores of the pizza stone, and this is where your smoking problem is going to start playing a part.
When exposed to high temperatures (like what you’d find in a pizza oven), fats and oils will begin to smoke. So, when you’re cooking your next pizza at 500F in the oven, the old fats and oils that dripped off a previous pizza will start to react.
It’s made even worse if they’ve gone bad because that’s where the nasty smells can come from. I’ve noticed the most obvious smell is a rubbery burning smell, so keep a close eye (or nose) on that.
How To Stop My Pizza Stone Smoking?
Once it starts smoking, it is possible to stop it. Sure, when you first spot it, you’re probably best to leave it alone and let it finish cooking.
You won’t want to take a boiling pizza stone out of the oven to clean it down. Instead, it would be best if you cleaned it the next time you get a chance.
However, cleaning a pizza stone isn’t like a traditional soap, and hot water job like you have with pots and pans.
To clean your pizza stone and free it of any pesky fats or oils, use baking soda. Your stone isn’t designed to be man-handled all that often because it’ll pick up more grease, and you’ll tamper with the surface.
That’s why you use baking soda instead, to melt away most of the thickly-set fats and oils, basically, so you don’t have to get your hands too dirty.
Another great way to clean it (and avoid using your hands entirely) is to burn off the fats and oils while you’re not prepping a pizza.
You can either throw it in your pizza oven as part of the cleaning cycle or throw it in your outdoor BBQ (your neighbors may not thank you, but your house will).
This way, your stone will still be smoking, but it will get rid of the fat and grease ready for the next time you need to use it for cooking a pizza.
Do I Need To Do This Every Time?
Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about doing this every time you use your pizza stone. That would be a chore in itself, and I would have hoped that someone would have come up with something a little more efficient by now.
I’ve only actually had to clean my pizza stone (and I prefer the heat technique over the baking soda) a few times a year if that. It’s not often that your pizza stone will actually smoke.
For most pizza bakers, you’ll find that you’ll need to clean it down every few months, depending on how much the smoke affects you.
You can clean it or burn it off as often as you want, of course, and people that use their pizza stones more frequently should definitely consider following the steps mentioned above more often too.
The thing to note about smoking pizza stones is it’s not really something that’ll affect the taste or quality of your pizza, so it’s not something many people regard with much importance.
I think it definitely helps clean it now and again, so you don’t let those old fats and oils go bad.
Though it won’t affect much, the smoke can be quite gross and give off a nasty stench. Your best bet is to clean it when you feel like you need to.
While a smoking pizza stone should definitely be fixed when you notice it, I can understand why some people tend to ignore it.
Since most cleaning tips involve heating the stone, you’ll often find the problem resolves itself after the next few times you cook.
The only issue that I have with doing this is letting that smoke fill the oven while your pizza is in it. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather my pizza not be exposed to old fat gas if I can avoid it.
The actual cleaning process isn’t all that hard, and it’s made even easier since you don’t have to do it all that often.
Unlike traditional cookware and utensils (which should be cleaned after each use), pizza stones are perfectly designed to perform even after weeks of being left alone.
It’s one of the reasons I love them so much. That doesn’t mean you should take them for granted, though.