The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sticky Pizza Stone

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mixinator's picture
mixinator

Sticky Pizza Stone

I bake my sourdough boules on a broken-in pizza stone and every darn thing I bake on it sticks like it's cemented on. I literally have to take a sharp butcher knife and scrape the boule off, hoping it survives intact.

The stone is black from use and I dust it with rice flour prior to baking, but everything still sticks. I'm thinking about switching to corn meal but don't know if the results will be any better. I also have a silicone cake pan which leaves the bottoms lacking in texture but at least the food releases.

What's the cure for a sticky baking stone?

GregS's picture
GregS

Hi Mixinator,

I'd suggest investing in some parchment paper, either a roll or sheets wide enough to cover your stone. I cut a circle to go under my dough, then lay the parchment on something like the back of a cookie sheet so you can carry the uncooked pizza to the oven. Place the stretched dough on the parchment, add  your fillings then slide the pizza and parchment onto your heated stone. Reverse the process when the pizza is done. I am able to reuse the parchment circle two or three times if I slide it out before cutting the pizza. Even if you use one sheet per pizza, the savings in mess and dough handling is worth it. Parchment isn't too expensive these days. The King Arthur site sells plastic zip-locks with 50 or so flat, pre-cut sheets. It is good for a lot of baking jobs. By the way, replacement pizza stones aren't too terribly expensive.

Good luck,

GregS

GregS's picture
GregS

Whoops! I wound up talking about pizza, not boules! Fortunately (for me) the same logic works for boules. Sorry for the error.

GregS

mixinator's picture
mixinator

Why not just use the silicone cake pan? Won't the parchment leave the bottom with the same lack of texture?

MichaelLily's picture
MichaelLily

No. Parchment paper works extremely well for hearth baking and makes no discernible difference in the final product.

 

GregS's picture
GregS

It probably would work just fine. I think parchment is somehow impregnated with silicone which makes it non-stick. As far as lack of texture, I'm not sure what you mean. The bottom crust of my sourdough loaves is smooth and not as brown as the top. The top can be wild with "grigne" and bubbles and other good things, but I think the weight of the loaf presses out any particular texture on the bottom. What kind of dough are you making?

GregS

mixinator's picture
mixinator

It's nit-picky, but the bottoms of the loaves baked on silicone are artificially smooth.

The stone, in combination with an air-bake pan below it, makes a great insulator and burnt bottoms in my electric oven are a thing of the past, even on the bottom rack. Even if I use the silicone cake pan, I would put the stone under it as an insulator.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Mixinator - how thick is the stone.  Many places sell thin stones,  1/2 inch or thinner, and they can be quite fragile.  The thicker ones can be cleaned by putting in a self clean oven during the self clean cycle, it burns off all the crud.  If you can't do that, try to use an old butcher's knife to scrape off as much of the crud as you can, and then use sandpaper to bring it back to its normal surface.  I use a very light dusting of seminola or cornmeal on my peel, and have no problems with sticking.  The only time I have sticking is when I used it on a grill and got it well above 500 degrees.

RickAlway's picture
RickAlway

It sounds like you're putting the bread on a cold stone and then putting it in the oven, rather then preheating the stone.

mixinator's picture
mixinator

A guy on a pizza-making forum posted that he dusts his stone with corn starch -- not corn meal -- corn starch! So off to the store for some corn starch.

Rather than go through the full drill of mixing up an entire loaf, I did a test bake on some canned Pillsbury biscuits, and no sticking! The biscuits slid off the stone just as pretty as you please! No preheating of the stone was needed.

Nowadays when you buy baby powder you're usually getting heavily perfumed corn starch rather than talcum powder. At my local store, corn starch was going for $1.99 per pound, and corn meal was $4.99 per pound.

I had read good things about rice flour but it turned out to be a dud.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Mixinator, you might get better results if you preheat the stone - the bottom heat can help with oven spring.  

PetraR's picture
PetraR

I do not bake on a baking stone, I use Ducht Ovens but I put the Boules in on parchement paper and the bottoms of the loafs are great just as they should be.

I am thinking of investing in a baking stone.

mixinator's picture
mixinator

I will start preheating the stone, not to address sticking issue, but because I can use all the oven spring I can get :)

I'm quite pleased with the corn starch solution. I take a small paint brush, dip it in the corn starch and dust the stone using the brush. It seems that the fine, powdery corn starch becomes trapped in the pores/texture of the stone so it kind of stays in there. Cleaning can be done using a knife edgewise or a stiff brush. Everything must be kept dry.

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

I always use parchment paper as well.  I lay the dough on the parchment, then slide it off from my peel or cutting board onto the pre-heated tiles.  Once the crust has set, I slide out the parchment paper so the crust can bake directly on the tiles for the remainder of the bake.  This has been the easiest and care free method for me so far.

Good luck.

John