The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What is the best material for the base of an oven?

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giyad's picture
giyad

What is the best material for the base of an oven?

So brick is obviously the oldest way of doing things, and people purchase stones to replicate the crust of pizzas at home.  However, it is now almost 2014 and technology is much different from how things began in baking.

Nowadays, I've been hearing that steel is better than brick in regards to heat transfer.  So the steel might be a little bit worse at retaining hit, but the better heat transfer makes up for this and makes steel better than brick, so far in my tests.

I purchased the baking steel (which seems to pricey for a slab of metal but I needed to test it), and it works wonders.  It only works better than the stones I've purchased, noticeably.  Granted, the steel is also 1/2" thick while the stones were a bit thinner.  Recently though, I was told that nickel is used in the base of some metal based ovens.

So the question is, what is the best material to use on the base of an oven when making flatbreads?  Would you say brick, stainless steel, nickel, ??? I don't know what else is out there...

Bob S.'s picture
Bob S.

If you use bricks as your oven base, then use refractory bricks (fire brick). Many wood fired ovens are constructed of refractory concrete or bricks, and use refractory bricks for the flat base. Although more expensive than ordinary bricks, refractory bricks are still reasonable in price.

vtsteve's picture
vtsteve

The steel works well in home ovens, where it can store heat and transfer it rapidly to the thin dough of a flatbread or pizza. Brick ovens generally have a lot more mass, and stored heat, than a home oven (and often are run at 700+ degrees), so it's important not to transfer the heat *too* fast, and brick strikes a good balance. The "best" surface is the one that cooks your dough into bread of your liking, in your oven, at your chosen baking temperature.