The Fresh Loaf

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1 1/4" soapstone slabs heating

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golgi70's picture
golgi70

1 1/4" soapstone slabs heating

So I found a place to cut me stones. Soapstone 11/4 " thick.  many times should I fire before baking on them?  How long do you think it'll take to hear then?  These are massive but I got em cut for the cost of a cheap pizza stone so I thought I'd give em a whirl. 

 

Thanks

 

josh

Elagins's picture
Elagins

Sounds like you probably got some counter remnants. Soapstone is very, very dense and nonporuous; generally speaking, a fantastic material for all kinds of kitchen/lab applications. It also has a very high degree of thermal conductivity compared to most other stone and ceramic materials.  Problem is, the thickness will require significant preheating time -- something in the range of 2-3 hours. If you can live with that, you've got yourself a terrific stone.

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Yes deffinately countertop.  Cheap enough to gamble on.  I heated stones yesterday to 350 cooled down.  Then heated again to 400 and cooled down.  Slowly cranked em this morning to 480.  They split horizontally and make some scary cracking sounds but so far they are holding together in one piece (each that is).  If they just have fractures I can keep usin em.  Given my loaves some serious oven spring.  Gonna have to continue on my hunt for the right hearth in my home oven.  3/4" woulda been perfect.  Didn't want to spend 150 on 2 fibraments.  spent 60 for thse two knowing I was taking a gamble.  We'll see how they hold up after this bake is done.  

Thanks for the feedback

 

Josh

 

PS they took 2 hours to heat up.  

Elagins's picture
Elagins

of being called out for shameless self-promotion, you may want to have a look at my website. see above.

Stan

sgregory's picture
sgregory

I used soap stone for quite a while.  They do crack and they will split apart.  A good solution to that is to go and get some LONG.... hose clamps.  Got mine from an industrial AC company and put that around the stone edgewise.  This will compress the stone and stabilize the cracks on the heating/cooling cycle.  It will also allow you to take it out of the oven (when its cool) without it falling apart.

The other thing to remember is that Stan is right.  It is dense and has high conductivity.  As a result of that, it will tend to darken the bottom of the bread a little faster than a normal fire brick.  Just have to play with your temperatures a little to balance that out.  Being the thickness of your stone, the thermal mass will help stabilize the oven temp, which is a good thing.

Happy Baking

Scott

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Enlighten me a bit further on these clamps you speak of.  I can't really visualize what it is your talking of.  If I'm careful I can remove the stones and just keep them wrapped in towels when not using for now.  Do the clamps end up shortening the hearth?  Are they heat safe?  Sounds like a good idea I just cna't wrap my head around it yet.  

As for hearth I'm comfortable with a hot hearth.  If I preheat the stones for long enough I sure won't need to do 500 for bread and drop that to 460-480.  But after a 2 hour preheat (350 for an hour then up to 500 for another hour) they acted quite well.  Very smooth so when I peeled in one set one loaf just kept goin and found the back edge and hung over.  They were still warm this morning 24 hours later.  Not hot but had a touch of warmth.  Thats impressive. Only problem I have, aside from cracking, is that the stones are heavy.  I'd guess nearing 30 + lbs each.  

This whole cracking things leads me to blieve that is why most of the soapstone pizza stones being made are put in a frame.  The sound of the cracking is scary as hell.  I assume this will stop happening as they have fractured where they needed too. 

 

Josh

sgregory's picture
sgregory

Think of a really long radiator hose clamp.  Worm gear type.  They are made of Stainless Steel and held up quite well for me.  You could probably improvise if you want and use SS wire or similar and twist the ends to make a "banding".  It does is exactly as you had mentioned and acts like a frame.  Holds it together since it will crack.

golgi70's picture
golgi70

So essentially a clamp that would wrap around the width of the stone therefor not being on the hearth at all?  Thats the only way I'm gettin a mental image.  The stone is 20x15 so then I'd need a 70" clamp to wrap around the whole edge that is about an inch thick? Are they made this long? Should it be longer than the 70" so theres wiggle room?  Sounds like a decent plan.  Let me know if I'm thinking of this wrong.

Auto parts store???Hardware store?

 

Josh

golgi70's picture
golgi70

When I search they all seem to be short pieces.  Maybe I'm thinking of this all wrong.  I'll await your reply

 

Josh

golgi70's picture
golgi70

So its sold by diamter which of a 70 inch circle was like 22.  So I found a clamp with a max diamter of 25.  Only 10 bucks each after shipping.  Before I purchase I'll see what you got for me.  The width of these clamps is only 1/2 " band.  Should I buy two for each stone and have two clamps on each stone or just use 1 on each?

Josh