The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pre-Heating Baking Stones

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DennyONeal's picture

Pre-Heating Baking Stones

I would like to let my breads rise on a baking stone and place this in a pre-heated oven when the loaves are ready to bake.

Would this work OK? I only wonder because I usually read that baking stones should be pre-heated too.

What happens to me rather often is if I let loaves rise on a peel (on top of parchment paper) and then  as gently as possible slide the loaves from the peel to the pre-heated baking stone, they often fall 20-40%, even though they pass the proofing tests. This happens with many recipes.

So I'm trying to find a way to get around this.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

Pablo's picture

Hi Denny,

You let them rise on parchment and then you slide the loaves with the parchment onto the baking stone and get the collapse?  Are you using a peel?  I sometimes get a little collapse when I do that, usually I attribuite it to being a bit rough when I slide the loaves from the peel onto the stone, but it is almost always made up for by the oven spring from the hot stone.  I imagine you've tried being as gentle as possible when transferring to the stone?  Perhaps setting the loaded peel down on the stone and carefully grabbing the paper at the back and sliding the peel out then?  Hard to do with a hot oven and stone, but if the stone is not too close to the top of the oven and there's no rack above and you're careful...



davidg618's picture


Have you entirely eliminated the possibility you're overproofing your loaves? I deposit loaves directly on my preheated baking stone, and I'm not the gentlest baker in captivity, without any apparent deflation. What you describe is a classic symptom of overproofing.

Secondly, there is a tool on the market, Super Peel, that gives one a lot more delicate control over placing your loaves on the heated stone. I have one. I bought it because, using parchment paper on an aluminum peel I dumped a sourdough boule into the convection fan housing, and another time a baguette into the space between the oven and the oven door. It's a little pricey--$42 + S&H, but I'm glad I bought it. I find it especially useful when I'm placing a couple of batards, or up to four baguettes in my oven.

There's a thread running at the moment about pre-heating stones. I think, for top-notch artisanal baking preheating a baking stone is a rule, not an option.

David G.


LindyD's picture

What are you baking?  Are you scoring the bread before you load it?

Something is wrong and I agree with David G. that it appears that you are overproofing the bread.  You should be loading the bread when it is about 85-90 percent proofed.  If it's fully proofed, it will fall flat.

You need your baking stone to be hot when you load the bread  (and steam your oven).  That helps with the oven spring.

I'd experiment with the proofing time before spending $45 on a peel.  Forty-five bucks can buy a lot of flour.  Or food.

Janknitz's picture

If you are not, that could also account for the fall. 

I get amazing oven spring, not by true steaming, but by covering the loaf for part of the baking time (on a preheated stone).  This takes the place of steaming because the hydration in the dough produces its own steam. 

You simply cover the loaf with a great big disposable aluminum roasting pan (costs $1 - $3) for 1/2 to 1/3 of the baking time.  Make sure the pan edges are flat on the stone so that it traps the steam.  Remove the pan at the designated time and let the loaf continue to bake. 


BreadintheBone's picture


You do need to preheat your baking stone; that's pretty much the reason for having one. There are a few solutions, though.

Don't proof your loaves quite so long, and score them beforehand.

Put a bit more cornmeal or rice flour on your peel. You should, after a bit of practice, be able to thrust the peel forward and then jerk it back, leaving the loaf on the stone. There will be times it will slide right past the stone, and times it will fall short. You will get past that.

If you're using parchment paper, all you can really do is pull the leading edge and tip the loaf onto the stone. That will put the loaf top-down, which is fine if you've planned it that way. Score it very quickly, or not at all.

Or, have it prove on a thin cookie sheet with cornmeal, rice flour or something that won't absord moisture, get sticky and glue the loaf down. Put that on top f the stone. It won't spring up quite as fast, but I find that bread is pretty forgiving.

LindyD's picture

If you're using parchment paper, all you can really do is pull the leading edge and tip the loaf onto the stone. That will put the loaf top-down...

Are you suggesting that the bread be dumped from the parchment so it lands upside down on the stone? 

If so, why?  The bread is going to bake just fine if left on the parchment and transferred to the hot stone - right side up.