The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

pampered chef baking stones

ed minturn's picture
ed minturn

pampered chef baking stones

Has anyone used the Pampered Chef line of baking stones. They tell me not to preheat them as they may crack when I put a pizza or bread dough on them. Also they say they should be at least two thirds covered for them to work and not crack. I have ordered three of the 15 inch pizza stones for myself and my kids.  Thanks for any thughts.     ed

Mustang 51's picture
Mustang 51

Not preheating the stone defeats the purpose. They are intended to be hot when you start baking. I have seen posts where someone sprayed water on the hot stone and it cracked. Good luck with those. I hope you read something incorrectly.


Paul

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

I have one of the stones you're talking about, and regularly pre-heat it to 500F before baking pizzas on it.  In short, don't worry about it. :)  Just don't get water on it once it's pre-heated (mine broke clean in half because of a mishap while steaming... 'course, it still works great, it's just a little more work to load into the oven :).



Paul:  As an aside, she's not misreading.  The directions for those stones really do tell you not to preheat, which is absolutely baffling... TBH, I think it might just be a bit of CYA.

ed minturn's picture
ed minturn

Thanks for the input on the stones. I did call Pampered Chef and they do say to not preheat there stone. I can see maby a stone cracking if you put a frozen pizza on it but can't see how it can hapeen with room temp douigh. They also say that its importent to have the stone at least two thirds covered. I wonder about that as well. I'm do to receive my stone this week. Will see how it works out. Thanks for any more thoughts on there stones.    ed PS what is CYA?

Aprea's picture
Aprea

One from Pampered Chef - 8 years old - the other from a generic grocery store purchase.  The generic one cracked in half this week - the pampered chef is still going strong - I have one in each oven and pretty much leave it there unless I am making a roast or something.  I am curious about the kiln shelves that someone mentioned on another thread though - I wonder how steaming would work with a kiln shelf - 

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

HI,


I use steam with the kiln shelf routinely and have never had a problem.  My method of steaming involves a metal container (used to water plants) that has a long skinny spout.  I fill this with hot water and carefully add it to a baking pan that is kept in the bottom of my oven.  The long spout helps me to not get water on my glass oven door or on the baking stone, and to avoid burns.   In addition, I often steam my oven walls with a spray bottle, and at times the water has had contact with the stone, but with no ill effects.

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

CYA == cover your a$$.  Basically, my guess is they're being super-cautious so that they don't have to pay for constant replacements from people who do truly dumb things (like put frozen pizzas on a preheated stone).

patnx2's picture
patnx2

i recently bought a pizza stone at wallmart for 10 bucks. works great and they have a great return policy. the stone works great amd ithink it has helped me  to get a nice crispy crust. enjoy, Patrick from Modesto

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I've been baking with the same stone for twenty-one years, a Christmas present from one of my sons who was, at that time, in the food service business. It's seen thousands of loaves of bread and pizzas (probably half of them frozen), been run through the "Clean" oven cycle dozens of times, had cold water sprayed on its pre-heated surface; but except for a few minor chips on its edges where its been abused by a misguided peel and a dark grey patina sporting an abstract pattern of burnt pepperoni spots, its as good as new. Unfortunately, I've no idea the brand name, and there are no markings on its bottom, nor does my son remember anything about it.


I will likely leave the stone to someone in my will, however I've been thinking of buying a second stone. I think I've got enough room in my oven to do double decker baking for rolls and small cross-section loaves. I've also thought it may be desireable to have a stone "roof" on my oven's chamber.


I've been researching stones, and eliminated many (now, including Pampered Chef). The advertising hype is all I've found about Fibrement stone online, and a few good comments here on TFL. Anyone have any pros and cons to add?


David G

amcnutt's picture
amcnutt

My wife is an independant consultant for pampered chef.  She constantly reminds me that preheating the stones (as well as using soap to clean) is forbidden.  They can crack from this.  I've seen many a stone returned from the old "hot/cold/hot" treatment.  Listen, from a guy who does a lot of baking (indeed I do), these stones really are worth it.  The deep bakers are AWESOME for breads (and other stuff too of course).  Saved me loads of time and has kept me from burning my edges on just about everything.  Yes, I'm biased, but we've been through so many competitor items just researching for her biz.


If you ever want to ask her a direct question about the products or even place an order. Just shoot over to the website.  She or another consultant can help you get the most out of stones, and usually get free recipes too.


If you've already got a stone.  Trust me, don't preheat it.  And don't use soap on it either.  Wash with warm water and a scrubber.  They cure wonderfully.

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

"Trust me, don't preheat it."


Again, that's just false.  I preheat mine all the time, all the way up to 550F for making pizzas, and it works very well.


The simple fact is, not preheating your stone *completely defeats the purpose*.  You actually get *worse* crusts because the stone remains relatively cool during the first part of the bake, and so your pizzas (or other items) will be undercooked on the bottom.


So, either ignore Pampered Chef and preheat, or don't buy their products.  But buying a stone that you don't feel you can preheat is a complete, utter waste of money.

Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

I'm at a loss then as to the point behind using a pizza stone that's the same temp as the pizza going in. In that case I can only see it acting as an insulator, keeping the heat away from the underside of the dough since the stone would actually take longer to heat up than a metal pan when you want to bake the bottom of the bread while the toppings are getting full-on heat.


Can you explain the reasoning behind using an unheated stone? What would it bring to the process that cooking on a metal pan OR a preheated stone does not offer?


As to using soap, I can see this being an issue and would expect this to be the case for any oven stone; the soap would soak into the pores and leave a residue as the water evaporates. There's unlikely to be any issue with a stone that's got drips on it anyway aside from "looks".

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

I am on my second one and that is a good, not a bad statement. My first was damaged in moving.  The only downside is that it is heavy and akward. If you do a lot of non-bread baking you should not leave the stone in the oven as it changes the heating properties of the oven. So, moving it in and out and then storing it can be a pain. But for bread and pizzas, it can't be beat. And, like others have said, you do preheat a stone and the fibrements can take a nice long preheat.


 


Paul

saintdennis's picture
saintdennis

How can I will bake frozen pizza??? If I buy frozen pizza that they say preheat oven with stone to 400 F and put the pizza in for 30 minutes. Something is with the baking the bread,bagles and etc. the dough is cold when you put it on the very hot stone. Maybe I do something wrong.


                             Saintdennis

Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

I've got a heavy-ish round pizza tray that is perforated which could obviously take a cold, frozen pizza without issue. I've only used it two or three times so I can't really say it's great or not and obviously would defeat the point behind a stone with fresh dough. 


The idea, I presume, is that the perforations allow more heat from the heating coil/source to get directly to the dough, letting it get that blast of heat immediately where putting the dough on a plain flat tray on an oven rack puts an extra layer of insulation between the heat and the dough which is not what you want. 


Looks similar to this one:


Perforated Pizza tray


It's a totally different animal to a baking stone but would be a good candidate for those who do frozen pizza - or other frozen items that need access to heat quickly.

photojess's picture
photojess

I have a bunch of stones, and preheat them without a problem.  I was also a consultant, and believe that they don't want to replace stones that were mishandled, like the hot with cold objects or water accidents.


I don't wash in soap at all, but if my hubbs does dishes, he will put them in the dish water, but not to soak.  It doesn't really hurt it as long as the stone isn't hot, and it doesn't sit in soapy water.

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

I've got one of the perforated pizza pans and a well used stone for cooking pizzas. The pan is great for summer time here in Kansas when I don't want to balance pre-heating a stone against the burden on the AC.


I've not had a problem with putting a frozen pie on a hot stone other than ingredients falling off onto the stone's surface. I clean the surface with a wet paste of baking soda, an old method that I learned when I was home brewing beer. It doesn't leave an after taste or residue as long as it gets rinsed off with hot water after scrubbing the baking surface of the stone.

Elagins's picture
Elagins

i find the easiest way to clean my stones is to leave it in the oven when i run the self-clean cycle. at those high temps, all the residues burn away and i'm left with a pristine and deeply cleaned stone.

also, re: the question of preheat or not preheat, one of the virtues of baking on stone is that putting cold dough onto a hot stone ensures that the bread won't stick. that's because the dough never actually touches the stone initially: instead, the hot stone creates a microscopic layer of steam that actually floats the dough above its surface long enough for the dough to set and cook. when the steam finally abates and the dough does come in contact with the stone, (a) the stone surface where the dough settles has actually cooled enough so it won't char the dough, and (b) the direct heat creates that nice bottom crust.

one way we beat the AC challenge during our Southern California summers, btw, is to bake at night.

Hope this helps

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

davidg618's picture
davidg618

...if Pampered Chef stones are subject to cracking when pre-heated, don't buy a Pampered Chef stone.


David G

mlgriego's picture
mlgriego

I have the round pampered chef stone and a larger rectangular one that is much thicker.  I use them both the same in that I pre-heat the stones before I put anything on them, and not necessarily 2/3rd full, plus I only wash them with hot water and a scrubber.  I have had both of these for at least 5 years and they are in perfect condition aside from baking scars.  I do use a spray bottle to mist the oven when baking breads, my frozen pizzas are not straight from the freezer to the hot stone and no issues.  Clearly the risk in buying the Pampered Chef version is they will not replace it if you are pre-heating so we get to make choices based on this information.  I have several stone baking dishes I purchased from Sassafras which I believe is the same company that makes the Pampered Chef products and they are great for baking breads. Again I have used these for well over 5 years.  The only one that broke was the one I dropped on our brick floor a month ago but I found a replacement on eBay!!


Postal Grunt - I like the baking soda option when something is rock hard.  I will keep that in mind.


Melody G in Santa Fe

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Hi Melody,


I know it's early for the chile crop (green for me) but do you have any suggestions for a chile bread?


I wish I could grow those Sandia chiles up here in Kansas like they do in the Land of Enchantment.


Postal Grunt

alldogz's picture
alldogz

I use this recipe (sorry its not in weights but this is the only way i make this one)...usually use a sharp white cheddar when i do it..and it is EXCELLENT..i have been cutting the yeast back a bit more so if you are used to using a lot less yeast go for it! This recipe freezes really well and has been my standbye for camping trips etc.

Jalapeno Cheddar Bread (allrecipes.com)

 

Original Recipe Yield 3 - 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pans

 

 Ingredients

8 cups all-purpose flour **(use 7 cups if you use the starter)

4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (chop one 8 oz block, shred other 8 oz block)

1 1/4 cup minced jalapeno peppers

1/2 cup white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 cups warm water

3 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast**

4 tablespoons olive oil

**(optional 550 grams of 100% hydration SD starter/cut back to 4 tsp of yeast)

 

Directions

1. In a very large bowl, combine 7 cups of flour, cheese, jalapenos, 7 tablespoons sugar and the salt; mix well.

 

2. In a separate bowl, combine the water, yeast and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Let sit about 10 minutes; stir until all yeast is dissolved. (add this point stir in with starter and mix well).

 

3. Add the oil to the liquid mixture, stirring . Add half of the liquid mixture to the flour mixture. Mix with hands to moisten flour as much as possible. Add remaining liquid mixture to dough and mix until flour is thoroughly incorporated.

 

4. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until smooth and elastic to the touch, about 15 minutes, gradually adding only enough additional flour to keep dough from sticking.  (5 min with Kitchenaid)

 

5. Place in a large greased bowl and invert dough so top is greased; cover with a dry towel and let stand in a warm place (90 - 100F) until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch down dough.

 

6. To Make Bread: Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Form each into a ball, then stretch out dough with both hands and tuck edges under to form a smooth surface. Pop any large air bubbles by pinching them. Form into loaves. (Note: I like to use a rolling pin and roll out dough, which pops all bubbles easily and quickly.) Place in 3 greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pans.

 

Cover with towel again and allow to rise until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

 

7.Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) until dark brown and done, about 1 hour, rotating the pans after 25 minutes for more even browning. Remove from pan as soon as bread will easily lift out, after about 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool about 1 hour before slicing.

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

I have a pampered chef round stone that I've had and used for years.  It's almost black from use.  I've never had a problem with that, however I also had purchased the cookie sheet/jelly roll stone from Pampered chef. hadn't used it much, put it in the oven and it cracked in half.  I still haven't researched out whether ot not they'll replace it.  It was expensive.  I still have both halves.


I think the less expensive store versions are just as good. IMHO


-Susie

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

If you're not supposed to preheat your bread baking stone, why do so many recipes call for "preheating your stone for 30 minutes"?  I guess if the PC ones will crack if you do that - they're worthless for bread baking.  actually - I guess I'm not sure what they'd be used for.  I do preheat my stone and never had an issue.  The one I didn't preheat - the cookie sheet one - DID crack. I can certainly understand shocking a hot piece of stone with frozen something.  That's why the corning ware people use the phrase - freezer to oven to table.  There is an advantage to putting frozen onto/into hot.


I never use mine for pizzas, only scones and breads.  Those doughs are room temp.


Who makes a stone that says it CAN be preheated? Aren't they all pretty made of the same stuff?


-Susie

photojess's picture
photojess

but I guess it comes down to what you are willing to try.  LIke I and others have said.  We haven't had problems with ours cracking.  I'd also like to just mention to make sure you start out with your stone in a cold oven when turning it on, then they both gradually heat up together.  I don't think you should ever put a cold stone in a hot or very warm oven without anything in/on it.  I use the PC cookie sheet, although I have the pizza stone and the jelly roll pan too.  Most of my stones have baked many a good cookie batch!

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

That's actually a very good point.  When I say I pre-heat my stone to 550F when making pizzas, it's important to note that the stone goes in to a cold oven, and then is pre-heated along with the oven.

AOJ's picture
AOJ

I use the old round PC stone to bake breads on (10 or 12 yrs. old). I got a new rectangular PC. It broke within the first couple of bakes. It is much thinner than the older model. PC will replace the worthless things, apparently, if you return a small chunk of the broken one.

MattT's picture
MattT

I recently got one of these round pampered chefs stones from my grandmother who never uses it. It didn't come with any instructions like don't preheat which doesn't make any sense to me.  I thought you would want the stone to get hot. In fact many recipes say to let your stone heat for half an hour at the baking temperature to let the temperature of the stone rise. Anyways I was going to make pitas on it and I opened the oven and it was cracked in half. I used the broken parts to bake on and it worked okay. But what kind of product is this. Especially since I googled why it broke and all I am seeing is that pampered chef says don't preheat it. What a useless product. How would it even work if you just put it in with your bread.

Very Dissapointed in this product.

SourdoLady's picture
SourdoLady

I have PC stones that I have used for bread baking for at least 10 years. I always pre-heat mine and have never had a problem. I don't put refrigerated dough on the hot stone and I do use parchment paper underneath.

MattT's picture
MattT

I didn't use parchment paper but neither did I use cold dough. (In fact there wasnt even dough on it when it cracked) I noticed some of the other comments seem to say the older stones were better. My grandmother never used it but it was sitting in a cupboard for a couple years. Maybe it suffered some trauma there. All i know is it is dissapointing to open the oven door and your stone cracked in half on its first use.

 

alldogz's picture
alldogz

I have an Old Stone Oven stone ...very thick...(and heavy, but i just lug out it out if i am baking something else) and a Mario Battali (?) CI pizza pan that i use...the cast iron is great for frozen pizzas (don't shoot me..sometimes company shows up unexpectedly)...no way is that baby gonna crack and the OSO stone is a real trooper..i do have some pampered chef bread pans that i absolutely love..but if they are selling a stone that says no preheating then it isn't for you....OSO..good, thick and not that expensive.

JamieK's picture
JamieK

I've had mine for about 12 years and have never had a problem.  I pre-heat mine @ 500°F every time.  Works great.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Simple question. Why would anyone buy a stone incapable of preheating?

Wild-Yeast

gerhard's picture
gerhard

I have to agree with everyone else, a stone that you can't preheat defeats the purpose of having a stone.  

I had one stone that cracked and what happened was I washed it after making pizza and before baking bread, it went into a hot oven wet.  I would have thought that it would be o.k. but it cracked, now I don't wash the stone at all I just scrape it and if I do pizza leave the oven on at a high temperature for an extra 20 minutes to half hour.

Gerhard

Lovemebread's picture
Lovemebread

I actually have one that is about 12 years old and I never knew I couldn't preheat. I've been doing that for years and it's still going. I had two and the one that cracked was cause my husband dropped it! ;)