Cleaning your pizza steel can be daunting and frustrating. But it doesn’t need to be. If your pizza steel filled with burnt cheese, sauce, and whatnot, and you don’t know how to deal with it. Don’t worry! This article will take you through the easy process of how to clean a pizza steel.
You can clean your steel in 5 easy steps:
- Get rid of any burnt food
- Clean the pizza steel with hot water and a nylon brush
- Dry the pizza steel using a paper towel
- Season the pizza steel using a high smoke point oil
- Store the pizza steel properly
This article will go through each step, but first a few mistakes to avoid when you’re cleaning your pizza steel.
I just want to start off with some “don’ts”, before we get to the correct way of cleaning your pizza steel, to make sure you don’t do any of these mistakes.
Don’t Put It in the Dishwasher
You should never put your pizza steel in the dishwasher! The reason is that aggressive dishwasher detergent can ruin the pizza steel. And a really heavy slab of steel is probably not good for your dishwasher either.
Don’t Use Soap
Harsh soap and other types of detergent are not good for your pizza steel. I therefore recommend avoiding soap while cleaning your steel.
And Don’t Try to Clean a Hot Pizza Steel!
Last, but not least, don’t try to clean your pizza steel when it’s hot! Handling a hot pizza steel can be very dangerous, therefore let it cool completely before you remove it from the oven.
In addition to that, using cold water to try to cool down the pizza steel is also a bad idea. This can result in a thermal shock that can warp the steel. A thick pizza steel is less likely to warp (in addition to other benefits, read more about pizza steel thickness here), but it’s something to be aware of.
Bottom line, just don’t touch the pizza steel until it’s completely cooled down.
Now, let’s get to the interesting part, how to actually clean a pizza steel.
1. Get Rid of Burnt Food
It’s almost inevitable that your pizza steel gets dirty during pizza baking. It can be melted cheese, pizza sauce, or fat from toppings dripping down on your pizza steel. The first step is therefore to get rid of these food soils.
Because of the heat, most food that drips down on the pizza stone will burn or even turn into ashes. And unlike pizza stones, which often have a rougher surface (you can read more about pizza steels vs pizza stones here), steels usually have a smooth surface. Coal and ashes usually don’t stick, and can easily just be wiped off.
Use Self-Cleaning Function to Get Rid of Food Soils
If your oven has a self-cleaning you can also use that to turn any food soils into ash that’s easy to wipe off.
If you have larger chunks of burnt food on the steel, like melted cheese, I recommend to start with a dough scraper. With metal dough scraper should be able to get rid of the big chunks.
2. Clean The Pizza Steel With Water
Then remove any loose residue using a nylon brush and hot water. You should not use soap when you’re cleaning your pizza steel. You can also leave the pizza steel under running water, but the easiest way of cleaning it with a brush.
3. Dry The Pizza Steel
To avoid rust, it’s important to dry the pizza steel completely after it has been in contact with water.
Dry off any water on the surface of the pizza steel using a kitchen towel or paper towel. You can also leave it in a warm oven to dry it. The most important thing is that the pizza steel is completely dry before storing it.
4. Season The Pizza Steel (Optional)
Just like a cast-iron skillet, your pizza steel needs to be seasoned to prevent corrosion of the steel. Seasoning will also help develop a non-stick surface on your pizza steel, that will help prevent the pizza from sticking.
Why Season a Pizza Steel
The reason this step is optional is that you don’t need to re-season your pizza steel every time you use it. Most pizza steels come pre-seasoned when you buy them. You can therefore just go ahead and use a new pizza steel without worrying about seasoning. It does however not do any harm to season it, so if you’re not certain.
I recommend seasonig every 3-6 months or so, depending on how often you use your pizza steel.
How to Season a Pizza Steel
All you need is some high smoke point vegetable oil, such as soy, grape seed, or flaxseed oil. Spread a thin layer on the surface of the pizza steel. Then, wipe off any access oil using a paper towel. Next, place the pizza steel in a cold oven, and heat it at 400°F (200°C) for 30 minutes to an hour. When the oiled steel is heated, the oil carbonize. And that will create the protective layer on the pizza steel.
When the time is up, turn off the oven, and leave the pizza steel to cool down completely before you proceed to step 5.
With the use and seasoning of your pizza steel, it will slowly get darker, and eventually, you’ll end up with dark gray, or close-to-black, colored steel. But don’t worry, this is a natural result of the seasoning process!
Check out my in-depth article on seasoning if you want to know more.
5. Store The Pizza Steel
Store your pizza steel in a dry place. So don’t store it in a humid basement etc. If the steel is exposed to moisture it can rust.
Pizza steels are also heavy, so storing them on top of anything that can’t handle the weight is also a bad idea!
I usually store my pizza steel in the very bottom of the drawer under my oven. That should be a pretty dry place, and since I put it in the bottom, there is nothing it can break because of the weight.
How Do You Remove Rust From a Pizza Steel?
Another issue that you can run into if you don’t have a stainless steel pizza steel, is rust. The most common cause for rust is that the pizza steel was not properly dried after cleaning. To get rid of the rust, simply remove it using steel wool and fine sandpaper.
I recommend to re-season your pizza steel after you’ve removed the rust. Just jump back to step 4.
It’s important to clean and take proper care of your pizza steel. By doing that it can last you a lifetime. And as you’ve seen, it’s also very easy to do. Simply clan the pizza steel by removing any ash, or burnt food soils using a dough scraper, wash with hot water and make sure to dry it completely before storing.