The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My baking stoke produces tear gas- please help!!!

kleemannc's picture

My baking stoke produces tear gas- please help!!!

My wife and I received a Williams-Sonoma baking stone for our wedding, and I used it for a few pizzas, rolls, etc. I remember browsing the owner's manual, but think I threw it away. I also think I may have tried to use soap to get some burned on pizza dough off the stone.

 The problem started a few days later, when I cranked my (crappy) electric oven up to 400 deg. A few minutes later, My eyes started itching and burning. I looked in on the stone, and all seemed well. Soon, however, the "gas" had filled up our tiny apartment, and I was constantly tearing from my itchy, red, burning eyes. I killed the oven, opened all the windows, turned on the vent fans, etc, and eventually it became bearable again. I later cleaned out the oven, scrubbed it down, and heated it up sans stone- no problem.

so it seems that it's my stone producing this "tear gas." I'm soaking and scrubbing it in hot water right now, any advice on what to do so that I can use it again?

GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture

with a stone that was purchased at Linens and Things.  I immediately threw it into the back yard to use as a walking paver.  By all means, I encourage you to notify the store and ask for a replacement.  WS is known for quality, I got what I paid item was 'clearanced' and with it, so were my results.

nbicomputers's picture

The only thing i know is that when i bought my stone is the instructions said

that the stone should be soaked in water before it was used for the first time. So i placed the stone in the bath tub (it was the only thing big enough that the stone could sit in and filled the tub with water and let in the water for an hour then i drained the water and did it again with fresh water for anther hour before i used it. Other than that send it back before you get hurt or sick.

Rock's picture

Although I've had the same stone for a very long time, I have read about newer and different type products.  From some of what I've read, I think you're supposed to very gradually bring the stone up to temperature the first time you're using it.

I seem to recall people starting at about 250 and over a period of an hour or more taking it up to 500.  Try doing a search here or give W-S a call.  I would think someone. there could help.

Good Luck


Susan's picture

You might have already burned off whatever was on the stone, so try it again. Don't use soap on your stone to scrub it. If necessary, use baking soda. I suspect your "tear gas" was oil from the pizza, or soap residue. If it didn't happen when you first used the stone, then it was residue from something you baked on it. Sorry you were gassed! Sounds like what happens when roasting hot peppers!

Susan from San Diego

SourdoLady's picture

To clean crud off a baking stone, scour it with a paste of baking soda and water. It is desirable to have a baked on patina on a stone because that is the seasoning, same as with cast iron. You shouldn't be scouring it every time you use it but it is helpful if you get something on it that shouldn't be there (such as soap).

foolishpoolish's picture

I don't think I've ever had strange fumes from my pizza stone (other than the smoke from residual cornmeal...oops!) but here's something I discovered quite by accident re: cleaning your stone.

If, as I do, you like pizza (and who doesn't?!) , and you're anywhere near as messy as I am, you'll probably have a pizza/baking stone which bears the stains of your cheesy/oily/saucy endeavours.  The surface crusty bits are fairly easy to brush off but the stains on/in the stone are far more persistent. I was fairly resigned to the stone staying permanently this way since there was no way I would ever let soapy water touch the stone...but... 

A couple of weeks ago, I accidentally left the grill (broiler) on for several hours with the pizza stone still in there. When I went back into the kitchen several hours later (horrified to find I had left the grill on) I noticed my pizza stone was looking like almost brand new.

 I can only assume that the stains were largely from grease/moisture that had absorbed into the stone over it's usage and that I had essentially driven off the moisture through an extended period of high (overhead) heat. I know it's not a particularly environmentally/energy-consumption friendly method but it sure does the job. 

Anyway I know that doesn't solve your problem re: new stone - but it might help in the future with cleaning it.




dmsnyder's picture

Pizza stones are not really broken in until they look like a 9 month old's bib just after dinner. ;-) 

I scrape mine with a bench knife after use. But these are very porous, so any chemicals (like soap) you put on them will get absorbed.  Hopefully, you've burned out the soap, otherwise you may need to start over with a new stone. 

Horrible stuff, soap. Oughta be outlawed!


Tulcat's picture

I have found the quickest and easiest way to remove baked on blobs of cheese and such is to scrape with a razor blade. Then, as foolishpoolish stated, a good long blast of high heat will force cook off any remaining oils or residues.

Elagins's picture

just leave the stone(s) and racks in the oven when you run the cycle, which cranks up to 500-550. My stones come out looking brand new, save for a few tiny wisps of very light gray ash that float as I blow them into the sink ...