The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Kiln shelf durabilty?

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eb16's picture
eb16

Kiln shelf durabilty?

After reading several threads about it, I am thinking of buying a kiln shelf for bread and pizza baking. I was wondering how durable it is - I haven't found any mention of it breaking and I assume people steam their ovens with it as well but I would just like to make sure before I spend the money. I had a pizza stone which broke after being first exposed to steam in the oven and want to make sure that this won't happen with a kiln shelf. For bread baking, I preheat the oven to 250°C with a tray in the bottom which already has some water in it, then just before the bread goes in, I pour some boiling water onto this tray. Would this ok with the kiln shelf? Thank you for your help.

Ford's picture
Ford

I have been using a pizza stone for years with no problem in steaming.  Just wondering, you don't just pour water on the stone to generate steam do you?  That could cause the stone to break and also the kiln shelf.  I steam with a broiler pan of boiling water on the shelf below the stone.  I do spray water with a mister on the shelf and the surrounding oven and bread.  That is not too great a strain.

Ford

Ford's picture
Ford

 

eb16's picture
eb16

Ford, I steamed the oven with the same method as you and the pizza stone just cracked. I have seen people spraying their loaves when they're on the stone/kiln shelf but I never spray my bread, just make steam in a pan underneath.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

I can only guess, as I have never owned a "shelf", but I suspect that if it is new(not something that has been possibly contaminated by being used in pottery making), a cordierite kiln shelf, will be virtually identical to a cordierite baking stone, of similar thickness/dimensions, in every way practical.

I do own a 5/8" cordierite baking stone which performs perfectly for me and seems virtually indestructible, in regards to thermal shock/resistance. I don't worry about incidental water splashes at all(as per vendor recommendations). I don't go out of the way to abuse it though. Full four years usage so far.

I also was coming from using a generic, ceramic "pizza" stone which performed well for years, for the occasional pizza. It quickly and repeatedly cracked within months when I began baking breads and pizzas with regularity.

I see the cordierite shelves recommended/used often on a "pizzamaking" website I frequent.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

I have several cordierite kiln shelves and they hold up very well for both pizza and bread.  For steaming, I use a portable steamer and and upside down broiler pan - and sometimes have spilled water on the stone with no problems.  I have had the generic thin pizza stones ( both that I had were round ) and both cracked due to heat  so  I am not a fan of those.