The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

baking stone

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Breadwhiner's picture
Breadwhiner

baking stone

My baking stone has cracked into what is currently four pieces. I also don't like the fact that the size limits the length of my baguettes considerably. I would like to use something else as a stone. Does anyone have a recommendation? Ideally it would be something inexpensive, flexible in terms of size, and not too heavy. I'm thinking some sort of tile would work, but I would like to hear what others have found and where they found it (i.e. Home Depot, online, hardware store, flooring store etc...)

Kate's picture
Kate

That's a great question. Ours cracked, too (the second time we used it!), but we've been using it anyway, just making sure to push the pieces back together before baking on it. I'd be interested in other people's ideas. 

KNEADLESS's picture
KNEADLESS

If you go to a  "kitchen store" you can usually find either small, round pizza stones or larger rectangular stones, about 1/2 or 3/4" thick.  I have two of each (summer and winter lodgings,) and I have never cracked one, even though they are often sprayed with streams of water while at 500 degrees.  The point is, that while a little more expensive, they perform.

pizzameister's picture
pizzameister

If you live in the Southwest or in Florida, maybe in some other parts of the country, you can get a cheap Saltillo Floor tile.  They go for a buck or two.  I had a few shipped up here in the Northeast for the price of shipping, and they do work very well.  You can get 16" X 16" X 7/8" tiles.  Unfortunately, while baking pizza very nicely, the one I was using cracked into three pieces while baking a casserole at about 350 F.  Go figure.  In any event, if you can buy them locally where you live they might be a good option.

Bluestone was recently mentioned.  It is a form of siltstone/sandstone that is found here in NY - Catskill Mountains (Though, I suspect other parts of the country have similar geology to mine).  It generally has a very smooth surface even though it is just split along bedding planes.  Could be cut to fit and should be very cheap.  It is a good porosity that would allow any water to escape from it and should be good for baking on.  Shale on the other hand, which some have suggested using, is not porous, and trapped water may make it "pop" when heated.  It also tends to flake.

Good luck.  I have another idea in my back pocket that I would like to test.  Hmmmm Someday!! When there is time.

PM

www.superpeel.com

 

Darkstar's picture
Darkstar

I'm still a fan of the Fibrament baking stone. I will admit I didn't try any of the other baking stone ideas that I encountered searching postings on this site but I've been nothing but happy with my purchase.

 

The Fibrament is thick, holds heat well, and supposedly if you follow the manufacturers instructions it shouldn't break. I routinely take mine up to 550 degrees F. and toss raw dough on top and chuck ice cubes into a cast iron skillet directly below to steam the oven.

 

You can find pricing information at http://www.bakingstone.com/. Mine was only $66. Not too shabby considering I shattered a $20 round pizza stone from Target after baking 3 loaves with steam.

 

Just my $.02

Willard Onellion's picture
Willard Onellion

I wonder just how thick that stone was that shattered into 4 pieces. What was if made of? Was it in  use when it broke? Was it cured as the manufacturer recommended? Did it break under circumstances of rapid temperature change?

 

Fibrament makes a 3/4" stone up to 18X24". Seems nuff for baguettes. Any larger would not fit into my oven and leave an inch on sides and back as recommended.

 

Fibrament will also make a custom-sized stone:

"Custom and standard sizes are available in thicknesses to 2" and plate sizes to 32" x 48" Now that should hold a baguette.

 

Willard

yiuma's picture
yiuma

Hi everybody,

I have questions about baking stones . Hope these are not silly to you.Baking stones are not common  here where I live. I have not know anybody who put a stone in the oven. Of course it is not easy to buyone. From  reading on the web. I learn about baking stone which I thought initially was to bake pizzas on to get a crisp base. Gradually it seems that it will be there all the time and it has a function to stabilize the oven temp even with open and closing  of oven door.Together with steam it can result in crisp crust etc. My questions are

1. Do you really always put the stone inside the oven no matter what you bake?

2. With a baking stone in the oven, when baking say a loaf, should it be put on the stone or on a baking sheet with with some distance from the stone?

3 If the thing to be baked is on the stone, will the bottom crust get browned quickly and need to do something in the middle of the baking process?

Your informations to these queries are very much appreciated and thank you.

lurk moar's picture
lurk moar

1. Do you really always put the stone inside the oven no matter what you bake?

Many people do but I don't. I don't use a baking stone meant specifically for baking (random tile from hardward store). I'm afraid that my stone is sensitive to sudden heat changes so when I bake with the stone, I'd gradually preheat my oven in a 2-4 hour time span. When the stone is not needed, I take it out so I can preheat my oven quicker (no more than 30 minutes) without the risk of cracking the stone.

2. With a baking stone in the oven, when baking say a loaf, should it be put on the stone or on a baking sheet with with some distance from the stone?

Directly on the stone for crusty loaves. On a baking sheet away from the stone for soft breads. That's what I'd do.

3 If the thing to be baked is on the stone, will the bottom crust get browned quickly and need to do something in the middle of the baking process?

You'll probably have to experiment with your equipment. My stone is slightly higher than the middle rack and often times there's parchment paper between the stone and my bread. I find that the top browns more than the bottom this way.

jerrycentral's picture
jerrycentral

I have been baking lots of loafs on a perforated flat pan that is intended for grilling veggies on the BBQ.  I use a sheet of parchment and give it a spray.  I get amazing jump when my bagettes hit the oven.  If you have one of these pans in your garage, you might like the results!!

I am experimenting with a stone as well.  It is certainly a blast with pizzas, we had them 2 times last week....................... my pants are getting tight. 

Jerry

merrybaker's picture
merrybaker

I use unglazed quarry tiles, and am very happy with them.  I got them several years ago at Home Depot on sale for about 20 cents each.  They are the same texture and color as terra cotta flowerpots.  I chose an American brand because I was afraid of lead, but I've since heard that lead would only be in a glaze, not the tile itself.  Mine are 6"-square and almost 1/2" thick.  I use two rows of 3, making a 12x18" tile surface.  I "tempered" the new tiles by putting them in a cold oven and raising the temp every half hour until I got to 450 F., and baked them for a good hour or two.  I use them up to 500 degrees, which is the hottest my oven goes, without a problem.  Knock wood, I've never broken one, and that includes moving from Chicago to Florida to New Jersey.  Every few months when they start looking disgusting from pizza droppings, I put them through the self-cleaning cycle of the oven, and they look brand new.  I don't know how they compare to fibrament, etc., but compared to nothing, they make a huge difference.  You can try them for a few bucks.  Be sure to preheat the oven at least 45 minutes when you use them.  

Breadwhiner's picture
Breadwhiner

Thanks to everyone who replied.  I plan to buy some unglazed quarry tiles as suggested by merrybaker. Fibrament looks like a good product, but reminds me too much of the stones I have already, which have caused grief and great expense.

 In retrospect, I probably could have saved the stone by heating it up gradually at first to season it and keeping it away from water at all times. It makes sense to me that any trapped water in the stone could cause a crack once the water turns to steam.

 I'm looking forward to my next trip to Home Depot!

Let This Night Explode's picture
Let This Night ...

I've tried calling my local Home Depot but they don't have any red clay tile of sorts in stock.  Go figure. 

There are some specialty stores in the area which might get me something for about CDN$2.25 sq/ft 

If I buy an unglazed teracotta, will it survive in an oven's cleaning-cycle (after seasoning, of course)?