The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Here's a revoltin' development

KenB's picture

Here's a revoltin' development

I made pizza last night -- the usual tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, some browned Italian sauage, and a few mushrooms. As I usually do, I left my baking stone in the oven overnight. Today I took it out before I heated the oven again, this time for an Easter ham (I know some people recommend leaving a stone in the oven all the time, but I don't do that). I carried the stone over to the kitchen trash to brush off some left-over burnt corn flour before I put it away, and just as I reached the trash can, the stone broke in my hands! Actually, a good-size piece separated from a corner and the bulk of the stone crashed onto the floor.

This is the first stone I've owned and so I'm not sure what happened to precipitate the crack. My wife suggests the stone had burned through -- it was looking pretty black and ratty. I got it about two years ago, at Target, I think. Should I just expect that stuff is going to break? At any rate, I'll be shopping soon for a new stone; any recommendations? What about unglazed quarry tile, say from Home Depot?


eimear rose henry's picture
eimear rose henry

l would definitely go for a quarry tile, the thickest one you can get that your oven will happily bear. A thick, strong one should withstand the heat better (and hopefully not crack as soon) although it will of course take longer to heat through, so you will need to make sure to preheat your oven (and the stone in it) for longer.

photojess's picture

that's a big bummer, when you lose something you aren't expecting to.  Did it go through any temperature fluctuations rapidly, that may have contributed to this happening?

jswife0909's picture

Hi Ken, I have used the same baking stone from Pampered Chef for the past 10+ years, I leave it in the oven all of the time mostly, even while cleaning.  The only time I had one break was when I put a frozen lasagna on top of it after it was already pre-heated, they replaced it, no questions asked.  They are a bit pricey and thicker than the ones at Target etc, but well worth it. They have a web site. (no I don't sell the stuff, lol  so this is not a plug for business) The Large round stone is perfect for pizza.

Pjacobs's picture

I went to our local Menard's store and bought 2 concrete stepping stones for a buck each and I have been using them now for several years.


KenB's picture

I don't remember any extreme temperature fluctuations -- I put the stone in a cold oven and pre-heated it for about 40 minutes at 500F, just as I usually do. Sometimes the preheat is shorter (say, 30 minutes), sometimes it's longer (maybe an hour), but it didn't break those times. Just one of those things this time, I guess.

Anyway, thanks to those who offered advice on replacing it. I'll see what's available locally soon (and see what the checkbook can bear).


mickisdaddy's picture

I had a pizza stone from WalMart break after about 6 months of use.  I now use quarry stone and leave it in all the time.  Plus if you have one break you can replace just that tile.  The whole box ran just a little more than the small pizza stone.

tjkoko's picture

I've used my stone that's 3/4 inch thick from Williams Sonoma since 2000 without any problems although a week ago I've noticed a long crack in the surface of it - probably resulting from throwing hot water into the oven bottom with a bit landing onto the stone itself.  Although that stone has been a good friend for all of these years of bread baking, I plan to replace it with a Fibramint stone in the future.

Troy Larsen's picture
Troy Larsen

Pizza stones aren't made to be strong like tile (at least quarry tile).

I have a funny story about a pizza stone.  We would leave it in the oven all the time, including oven cleanings to clean the stone.  Well, one particular oven cleaning, there was a lot of soaked in oils in the stone from use.  During the oven cleaning cycle, the stone ignited, filling the house with smoke.  It broke at that time too. 

We started using quarry tile after that.  Some of the reason was that we had just done a floor in quarry tile and had some extra.

Troy Larsen's picture
Troy Larsen

I understand that this gets discussed here a lot, but please bear with me.  I am new here and have not been successful with trying to search the forum archives (do they exist?).

Why not use a slab of granite in the oven?  Stone shops sell odd pieces relatively cheap.  It is a natural stone and with the thickness, would have great thermal mass.  It would probably take a while to get the stone up to temperature.

LindyD's picture

But I'd want to check it first for radioactivity/radon.  And make sure the oven rack could handle the weight.

Richard Bertinent uses one:

granite baking stones

Written by Richard Bertinet
November 26th, 2008

In both Dough & Crust I recommend putting a baking stone in your oven before pre-heating and baking directly on the stone.  I use granite and often suggest that people use a granite chopping board (examples are available very reasonably from Morrisons and Asda and it is a convenient size and thickness).  We have never had any issues with any of the pieces of stone we have used but one customer contacted us recently to say that they had used a granite slab from Asda and it had shattered in the oven during use.  As I said I have never had any problems so in order to make the use of granite boards as safe as possible here are my recommendations for using a board in this way...

  1.  Place the granite slab onto the bottom shelf where you have any exposed electric elements or onto the base of the oven where this is safe (for example in an Aga although in an Aga you can also bake directly on the floor of the oven);
  2. If you use one of the granite chopping boards, place them into your oven the wrong way up - i.e. bake on the rough side;
  3. When creating steam only use a misting spray. Some people recommend throwing water into the oven or placing trays of water or ice cubes into the bottom of the oven but I have to say I don't agree.  Where you use larger quantities of water you are much less likely to get the steam you want and if you are using an electric oven it seems to me you can only be creating a safety hazard.  Misting sprays are easy to buy from garden centers and kitchen shops and we will be introducing them to our online shop soon;
  4. Don't worry if your slab simply cracks - this often happens - indeed many of the pieces of stone I have in my ovens have cracks in them.  It will not make any difference to your bread.

Troy Larsen's picture
Troy Larsen

Thank you for the reply.  I figured out the search function (who know putting words in a box was so difficult).  Truth is I did not see the search box before.

I will investigate the radon/radioactivity issue some more.  I am not sure if I believe it.


LindyD's picture

Your welcome, Troy.  

Not all granite is dangerous, but after reading this info from WebMD, I'm happy to continue using my food-safe stone which was made for the sole purpose of baking.