How to Clean Baking Steel

See all 3 ways of how to clean baking steel whether you used it as a pizza steel, baking bread, or as a griddle. Learn light to heavy cleaning of your baking steel as well as long term maintaining it and storing it. Also, this is part of our food equipment and tools category. It falls in our pizzas recipes section and is mentioned in our “How to Make & Bake Pizza In Oven” article.

Overview of How To Clean Baking Steel or Pizza Steel

What is a Baking Steel or Pizza Steel?

A baking steel is a thick piece of steel with a durable and versatile cooking surface. It’s very popular when used for baking pizzas or breads. The baking steel is an alternate of a baking stone or pizza stone.

A pizza steel is just a baking steel when used for baking pizzas. You can use the term “pizza steel” and “baking steel” interchangeably. That’s it!

Also, there is a “griddle baking steel” that is just a baking steel that has an added feature of a drip channel around the entire edge. This griddle baking steel is mostly for the stovetop.

Typically, baking steels come in various thicknesses like 1/4-inch, 1/3-inch, and the very heavy 1/2-inch.

Introduction of How To Clean Baking Steel

There are several different ways and times of how to clean baking steels. The cleaning method is dependent on how it has been used. It also depends if it needs a deeper scrubbing instead of the routine cleaning. Keep reading to see when to use each method of cleaning steel.

Maintenance and Importance of How to Clean Baking Steels

Learning how to clean baking steels will ensure readiness for immediate usage for cooking. Also, this will make it last for decades. It’s just like grabbing a casserole dish or pan that’s ready to use. Also, to be certain it lasts a long time, is rust and corrosion free, proper cleaning and maintenance are crucial. Finally, unique to its large size and shape, you’ll want to be certain it doesn’t warp.

1st Way: How To Clean Baking Steel Before Its First Use

How to clean baking steels when you first get it new is critical. So, follow the instructions that came with it from your manufacturer. Here’s a list of steps to consider before initial usage, if you have no guide.

  1. Inspect the quality of the steel after fully removing it from its packaging. Check for any metal flaws or burs that can be a safety concern. If okay, go to the next step.
  2. Mildly wash it and thoroughly dry it.
  3. If it’s pre-seasoned already, skip this step. Otherwise, lightly coat it with flaxseed oil or olive oil. Bake it in a preheated 500 degree F oven for one hour. Remove it, let it cool down fully to room temperature.
  4. Store it on its edge or completely flat on a shelf. Using either method, ensure the entire steel’s edge or surface is fully supported on the shelf with nothing hanging over past the shelf.

Here is the BakingSteel manufacturer’s recommendations for “How To Clean Baking Steel Out of the Box“. And, they’ve included a good video also.

How To Clean Baking Pizza Steel Out of Box

2nd Way: How To Clean Baking Steel After Each Use

How To Clean Pizza Steel After Each Pizza

After it’s cooled down, can clean the pizza steel in a sink similar to cleaning a typical pot. You use a plastic scraper or spatula to clear off any food residue. Then, wash it with dish detergent (e.g., Dawn) and water, using a non-metal scrubbing sponge. For tough baked on foods, use baking soda or Bar Keepers Friend cleanser to scrub off. Wipe it thoroughly dry.

How To Clean Baking Steel After Baking Bread

Ensure it’s cooled down. Then, wipe it down with a wet paper towel and thoroughly dry it. If any bread crust or residue, use a plastic scraper or spatula to clear it off. Then, wipe it thoroughly dry.

How To Clean Baking Steel After Using As A Griddle

Be certain it’s cooled down. Then, clean the steel in a sink with dish detergent (e.g., Dawn) and water, using a non-metal scrubbing sponge. If any food residue, use a plastic scraper to clear it away. Finally, wipe it thoroughly dry.

3rd Way: How To Clean Baking Steel Deeply After Many Uses

After many uses, you’ll work on deep cleaning a baking steel. This kind of deep scrubbing involves about 15 minutes to perform. I do it once or twice a year usually. Usually it takes a special cleanser, special scrubber, or both. Fortunately, there’s a workaround for using regular household items on this. I’ll mention both so, keep reading.

Cleaning Baking Steel starts by letting it cool down and placing it in sink.

Cleaning Baking Steel Starts by Cooling Down and Putting in Sink

Types of Scrubbers for Cleaning a Baking Steel Thoroughly

For regular or deep cleaning a baking steel, you can use the common 2 sided sponge scrubber for dishes. That’s the kind that has a sponge on one side and the other side is a nylon scrubber of rougher material used for scouring the tough stuff off. Also, you can use a strong bristle nylon brush. Don’t use anything made of metal, like certain SOS or other scouring pads.

For professional results, use a “pumice stone brick”. A popular brand is the “EarthStone cleaning block”. This type of “baking steel cleaning brick” is a rectangular porous block shaped item. It looks like a building brick but is usually much smaller in size. Here are some listed details on using a pumice stone brick.

  • It’s extremely light and easily handled with one hand.
  • Dimensions are about 4 x 1.5 x 3 inches.
  • The material of pumice stone is all natural and non-toxic.
  • The advantage of using a pumice brick is you don’t use any detergent or cleanser.
  • They’re also sometimes used for cleaning outdoor grilling surfaces.
  • Also, it results in a very smooth finish without damaging your steel’s surface.
  • TIP: Avoid cleaning bricks that aren’t made of pumice stone or other natural materials.

Types of Cleansers or Baking Soda for Deep Cleaning a Baking Steel

Here are 3 types of cleansers you can use for cleaning a baking steel.

  • Dish detergent like Dawn
  • Baking soda
  • Bar Keepers Friend cleanser

You do not want to use the harsh chemical types of cleansers like Ajax or Comet.

How To Deep Clean A Baking Steel

This is for how to deep clean a baking steel thoroughly and completely. It uses a cleaning block such as a pumice stone cleaning brick.

How to Clean a Baking Steel Deep Using a Cleaning Block

Long vertical, horizontal, and circular scrubbing strokes across entire baking steel surface using a cleaning block

  1. Ensure the baking steel is completely cooled down and is out of the oven. If just used for cooking, it takes usually 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on its thickness.
  2. Scrape off all stuck on residue. Use a plastic or nylon scraper or bench scraper for that. Here’s a good article on “What is a Bench Scraper?“. You can do this using running water which can help.
  3. Next, use Dawn dish detergent, baking soda, or Bar Keepers Friend cleanser to clean it like you usually do after a baking session. Rinse it off. No need to dry it.
  4. Then, get your pumice stone brick and begin scrubbing back and forth across the entire surface. Combine that with circular scrubbing motions as well. At times, focus on tough stain or residue areas. About every 1/2 minute, rinse off the pumice brick itself and sometimes rinse off the baking steel. This might take anywhere from about 5 to 10 minutes. However, it depends on how much cleaning is needed. After about 10 minutes, the brick will grind down to be nearly just a small rectangular stick remaining. However, if you have a sizable brick remaining, you can rinse it off and set it aside to dry and store it for future usage.
  5. After cleaning is done, rinse it off thoroughly on both sides and edges. Then, dry it off completely and store it away.

After deep cleaning, dry off completely, admire it, and store it.

Deep Cleaning Baking Steel Finishes After Drying off Thoroughly

Advanced Steel Cleaning Methods: Expert Tips

Preparing Baking Steel For Cleaning

Remove the baking steel from the oven to cool down faster. It might take at least about 45 minutes to an hour for a 1/4-inch steel or at least about 2 hours for a half-inch thick steel. Use a bench scraper or other scrubber to remove the baked on food residue. Sometimes, a pumice stone brick or EarthStone cleaner block will also work. Then, perform your cleaning as usual.

How To Remove Stuck Or Burnt-On Foods

As mentioned earlier, you can use any nylon scrubber, a bench scraper, or a pumice stone brick or EarthStone block. However, there have been a couple of times I had to do something else. So, I ran water over it, sprayed it with Dawn dish detergent, waited 15 minutes, and scrubbed again. One time, I had to repeat the process, and then it all came off.

How To Tackle Stubborn Stains or Spots

Regarding removing stubborn stains or tough spots on the pizza steel, I only focus on those when deep cleaning. These always come out for me when using Bar Keepers Friend cleanser, followed by rinsing and scrubbing with the pumice stone block.

More About Pumice Stone Cleaning Bricks

Using this type of scrubber wears it down so, a deep cleaning session often consumes an entire brick. I order as a pack of 4 pumice stone bricks. As an alternative, you can also look for the EarthStone Cleaning Blocks or other brands that I’ve seen on Amazon.

Things To Never Do When Cleaning A Baking Steel

  • Never insert a baking steel into a dish washer. It’s not for cleaning, rinsing, nor drying a baking steel ever.
  • Never use a strong, harsh or toxic cleanser such as Ajax or Comet for scrubbing or cleaning a baking steel.
  • Don’t try to speed up the cooling down process such as putting in the fridge, in the freezer, or running cold water over a hot baking steel.
  • Don’t use any car cleaning products or polishes to try and make it “shine”.
  • Avoid using any scouring pads made with metal.
  • Finally, don’t ever use sand paper on the cooking surface area.

What Does Another Pizza Expert Say About Cleaning a Pizza Steel?

From an expert on Italian pizza cooking in a home’s kitchen, read this article on “PizzaBien’s 3 Ways of Cleaning a Pizza Steel“. There is a lot of good information on baking authentic Italian pizzas on the site.

What To Do After Cleaning a Baking Steel

How To Dry A Cleaned Baking Steel

I dry mine with paper towels very, very thoroughly. Then, apply a very thin coating of olive oil and wiping off any excess, again using paper towels. Others will say to heat it in the oven, which I have never found necessary. However, mine uses American made steel, and has never shown any sign of rust or warping.

How To Season a Cleaned Baking Steel

Here is the step-by-step procedure for properly seasoning your baking steel.

  1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (or at least 450 F).
  2. While preheating (or before), perform a deep, thorough cleaning of both sides and edges.
  3. After drying it off, apply a thin coating of flaxseed oil or olive oil on both sides and its edges.
  4. Then, wipe all the excess oil off with paper towels. It should not be too oily to handle. It should only have an oil-like, shiny sheen on its surface.
  5. Place the baking steel in the preheated oven for about 45 to 60 minutes.
  6. After the baking time is done, turn off the oven. Leave the baking steel in the oven as it all cools down.
  7. After about 2 hours, remove the steel and let it cool down the rest of the way outside the oven. Or, you can just leave it in the shutoff oven overnight and remove it in the morning.
  8. After its back to room temperature, store the clean, seasoned baking steel as described.

How To Store a Clean Baking Steel

For routine storage, you have about 2 options. Firstly, place it laying down flat on a shelf. However, the shelf must be big enough to support the entire baking steel and no part of it should be sticking out past the shelf. Secondly, you can place the steel on its edge, again with no part of it being off a shelf. Use caution that it won’t mistakenly tip over or fall when storing it on its edge.

How to Clean Baking Steel then Store It on Its Edge

Store baking steel on its edge or laying flat on a deep pantry shelf.

For long term storage, its best to perform a deep, though cleaning first. Then, season it as shown in this article. After that, completely wrap it in a cloth to fully cover it and its edges. It can then be stored in any container that will protect it from any long term moisture or humidity. Or, it can be wrapped up and sealed in a good plastic wrapping and placed on a shelf.

How To Maintain a Baking Steel

I have had my American made baking steel for several years and here is how I’ve maintained it to last for many more years to come.

After baking pizza, I immediately remove it from the oven to start to cool down. After our pizza dinner, it takes about another 1/2 hour of cooling. I place it in the sink and run water over it. Then, I scrape off any food residue including burnt on foods. I wash it with Dawn dish detergent, water, and a nylon scrubbing pad. After rinsing, I dry it off completely with paper towels and store it on its edge in a pantry shelf.

About every 2 or 3 uses, I’ll apply some olive oil to both sides and wipe it down fully with paper towels. About twice a year, I’ll perform a deep cleaning, followed by a seasoning. Basically, that’s after about every 30 uses.

That’s how I maintain my baking steel when also used as a pizza steel. I bake pizzas, calzone, and sometimes breads on it. I live in South Carolina in a high humidity area so I also store it properly as mentioned in this article. I’ve never experienced any indication of rust, warping, nor a loss any crisping of pizzas. Also, the pizzas never stick to its surface and always slide right off. I hope you experience that same good results in maintaining your baking steel.

Conclusion of How To Clean Baking Steel

You’ve now seen how to clean baking steel, maintain it, and store it properly. You’ve seen the multiple ways of cleaning for when its new, after each use, and when deep cleaning is needed. Also, you’ve learned the different types of cleaning as being just washing with detergent, washing with baking soda or a mentioned cleanser, or deep cleaning with a cleaning block. Then, you learned how to re-season it and how often that’s needed. Finally, you’ve discovered about regular storage and long term storage. So, with all this, your baking steel can be fully enjoyed for many years to come. Now, what are you waiting for? Get ready for cleaning after baking your next pizza or bread!

Also, see how to clean a self clean oven, how to use a pizza peel, and our key article on “How To Make & Baking Pizza In Oven including recipes“.

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