The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Which baking stone is the best

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Jean-Paul's picture
Jean-Paul

Which baking stone is the best

Which baking stone is the best? My pizza stone broke after a couple of months. Thanks! Jean-Paul

sephiepoo's picture
sephiepoo

Hi Jean-Paul,


You might do a quick search and check out a couple threads from the past that have great discussions on baking stones - here are a few:


Baking/Pizza Stones


Baking Stone


Baking Stones


From what I remember reading (and doing a quick glance through of these threads), everyone with a Fibrament or Hearth Kit loves them, but they're a little pricey.  I have an Old Stone Oven rectangular stone (16x14) that I purchased recently (for a ridiculous cheap price) and I love it.  So much more surface area than the original 15in round cheapee pizza stone I had for years from Target or WallyWorld.


I guess it depends on what you're mostly baking - bread or pizza.  Several people have also had success with clay tiles, but check out the threads and do a quick search yourself and you'll see a bunch of ideas :)

sphealey's picture
sphealey

The Hearthkit Hearthstone (they used both names at various times) was great if you were willing and able to deal with the weight and warmup time (and cost).  However that company now appears to be on "hiatus" as the TV show producers say, and there hasn't been any activity on their web site for over a year.  One of the kitchen supply stores on the web might still have some in the warehouse though.


sPh

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

I've been a TFL member for several years and members' ideas of the best baking stone vary widely.  Over time a general concensus on TFL has emerged that...

> a stone should be at least 1/2 inch thick
> a rectangular stone is more flexible than a round one
> a bigger stone is more flexible than a smaller one as long as there is at least one inch clearance on all sides

...and here are two specific brands that have gotten praise from TFL members

> Fibrament - 3/4 inch thick; rectangular and round stones in various sizes available (including custom sizes). This stone gets uniformly good marks but is more expensive than thinner stones  http://www.bakingstone.com
> Old Stone Oven - 5/8 inch thick - rectangular and round stones in various sizes available

I have a 15x20 baking stone purchased from fantes.com. Shipping was prompt and packaging was excellent. The stone was marketed as Old Stone Oven but, when received, was marked Dacor. (Dacor sells high end kitchen appliances and my stone can be seen on the Dacor site here). I think the same stone is simply being marketed under different names.


Fantes.com carries two rectangular sizes (15x20 and 14x16) as well as round stones and baking tiles. All stones are 5/8 inch thick. The 15x20 stone has a 0.4" high backsplash


 


The 14x16 Old Stone Oven size is also available with free shipping from amazon.com. However many Amazon buyers complain about poor packaging resulting in a broken stone being delivered. I've bought several free shipping items from Amazon over the past year and packing has been uniformly poor. I would not buy any item from Amazon that could break during shipping.

longhorn's picture
longhorn

I have three stones and a WFO. I think the Hearthstone is the best among those I have but I don't necessarily think the price premium is justified over more conventional stone. I actually prefer to bake boules in a conventional oven in a cloche. OTOH, my preferred stone is in my WFO and I tend to use it as the gold standard.


Jay

Elagins's picture
Elagins

They're Cordierite,which is the same material used in commercial deck ovens, 5/8" thick. I have them in 14/16 for $29.99, 16x16 for $34.99, and 18x18 for $39.99, all plus $10 shipping via FedEx ground.

If you're interested, please message me here or email me at elagins@sbcglobal.net

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

Sounds like excellent stones.  I've already got my new FibraMent (used only once so far!) in hand, else I'd talk to you.  You might want to let people know if you can do a custom cut or if longer (20") is available.  15" by 20" is the size that maximally fits most standard ovens in homes today, and still have good convection around the stone so the oven won't overheat (per FibraMent rep.)


Brian


 

Elagins's picture
Elagins

Yes, they're available, 5/8" thick, for $44.99. message me here or email me at elagins@sbcglobal.net if you're interested

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Elagins,


You've been a poster here for quite a while and have made some valuable contributions that are appreciated by me and by others.


You are also trying to get a business up and running, which is a gutsy thing to do in today's marketplace.


How about keeping the two at arm's length?  I want to keep seeing your posts on baking, but without having to sort through entries that are essentially advertisements.  Maybe you could sign up to be a sponsor with this site?  I imagine that would benefit your business, and Floyd, and the TFL community.  And it would free you to be another bread enthusiast posting here about his latest experience/interest/curiosity.  Just an idea.


Best of luck in both your baking and business ventures.


Paul

Elagins's picture
Elagins

Thanks for your feedback. I'll discuss it w/ Floyd and see where things come out.

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

I've partaken in many forums, and the idea that members should keep their private businesses private is a subject that often comes up.  It's more of an issue when the forum itself sells advertising space if the advertisers compete with a forum member's products.  In that case, then I think the forum member might consider paying for an ad spot.  Otherwise, if there is no conflict of interest and the member provides a product or products that are of interest to the other members of the forum, then I don't have any problem with seeing them mention it ...especially if it is, as in this case, in response to a post and on-topic.  That's definitely not the same thing as posting and trolling for customers.  I'm going to vote 'yes' for members to keep web site and contact info in their signature (manual or automatic) as well, then leave it up to forum operators or moderators to handle it privately if someone appears to be getting a bit carried away.  I for one do NOT mind hearing about applicable products, especially for good prices.  I say "Right on!  I hope I can help support your business at some point!"


Anyway ...that's my vote.  I've seen other forums allow a low-key and on-topic type mentioning of private businesses and they work just fine.  There are always mixtures of opinions, but hey, without the presence of said info, how would we find out about good stuff at good prices when someone in the group could otherwise provide them?  (Example:  The Alaska Outdoors Forums allows me to keep a URL for my web site where I sell plans to a boat that I designed, and they don't complain if I mention it to someone asking for something pretty close to what I offer ...It's been working that way for years and years now, no complaints from anybody.)


Brian


 

Elagins's picture
Elagins

I can see this topic is far bigger than my posts and I feel I ought to speak to it, since I seem to be at the center of things at the moment.

I've been thinking about doing this for some time, in large part because of my own baking interests and the OUTRAGEOUS prices that specialty purveyors like KA and most others on the Internet charge for their merchandise.

Now, I'm not opposed to making a fair profit; I AM opposed to gouging and profiteering in a market that, in the words of an old friend, is "overstimulated and undersupplied." Right now, I perceive a very powerful and widespread need for ingredients and supplies among hobbyist bread bakers like ourselves at reasonable prices, and sorry, but $2.50/lb that KA gets for their Type 55 clone and $2.67/lb for durum flour, plus postage, strike me as obscene. Someone commented here not too long ago that KA seems to have changed its business model from selling ingredients to selling heavily marked up equipment and high-priced, low value-added merchandise like their mixes.

My goal is to offer hard-to-find-at-retail ingredients, supplies and equipment at fair prices to people who want, need and appreciate value. Moreover, where better to communicate with those folks than on a site like TFL? This site has become a magnet for hobbyist bread bakers and the source of an enormous amount of information. I'm proud that I've both learned from others and shared over the 3 years or so I've been a member, and expect to continue doing so.

We are indeed a community, and, in my view, what better way of being a part of that community is there than to serve its collective needs fairly and honorably?

BTW, since this is so much bigger a topic than baking stones and deserves much broader consideration, I'm also going to post it as a separate thread. Apologies in advance if anyone finds that redundant.

-- Stan Ginsberg

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

I appreciate any legitimate offers from TFL members to do business with them that is related to the world of baking. 


I would not be happy to see such offers within a forum post from a major corporation.


Jeff

Elagins's picture
Elagins

... but a dedicated hobbyist baker (I have another career) who's gotten frustrated at the inaccessibility of ingredients and supplies in reasonable quantities at reasonable prices that I finally decided to take the plunge and do it myself. Right now, it's only me and it's something that I believe in. If and when the time comes that this business becomes a giant corporation, I'll market my goods accordingly.

Thanks for your support.

SG

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I just bought a 20 x 15 stone to replace my broken 16 x 15 stone.  I was excited about the ability to bake longer baguettes.  However I neglected to factor in the space between the baguettes as they bake.  I sometimes get the inside sides too light because they end up too close together.  If I had it to do over I think I might go for the 18 x 18 instead to allow for a bit more space between the baguettes. By the way, the 15" dimension on the fantes stone includes 1/2" for the lip, so there's actually 14 1/2" bake surface.  And i LOVE the lip as something to orient the peel to - I push the peel back until it hits the lip and I know where I am.  Very nice.


:-Paul

CanuckJim's picture
CanuckJim

All,


I've advised a lot of people about baking stones in the past, and this might help members out of the marketing/pricing/quality tangle. In the larger metropolitan areas, it's very likely there is a company that supplies refractory materials to the foundry, kiln, pottery, glassblowing, metallurgy fields.  Some, if not all, will stock "refractory tiles," read giant firebricks, in a variety of sizes and thicknesses (1", 2", 3", etc.).  The supplier I use in Toronto will even take custom orders for different shapes and thicknesses.  It's worth checking out in your area, because the price will probably be good, the quality is there, and they don't crack.


Jim 

sphealey's picture
sphealey

Not much time, so I'll be brief in this thread:  I worked for 5 years for a large industrrial/commerical/scientific refractory manufactuer.  I know what the ingredients of some industrial refractories are.  With that knowledge, I strongly suggest that you do NOT use any refractory for cooking that does not have either an NSF sticker or an MSDS whose ingrediants you understand and can look up yourself.  Many industrial and commerical refractories that are not intended for food use have nasty, evil stuff in them.


sPh

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Okay, I am curious.  Just what are the nasty evil ingredients?


Jeff

sphealey's picture
sphealey

=== Okay, I am curious.  Just what are the nasty evil ingredients? ===


 


Sorry, but I signed a number of confidentiality agreements besides ordinary professional responsibility.  You'll have to take my word for it.


sPh

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

He has been a respected member here for over 3-4 years.


Betty

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

I never doubted the authenticity of your the statement but was truly curious as to what ungodly things they put in there. I have one of those funny minds that likes to know what brand of poison might be in something.


Your warning has been heeded, noted and registered and I thank you for it. I am still curious (though I have a fairly good guess) and if you could point me somewhere that might have the information I seek that would be great and if not, I fully understand.


Jeff


 

CanuckJim's picture
CanuckJim

Took me a while to get back to this.  Sure, some high duty refractories used in foundaries and such are formulated to withstand much higher heats than any wood fired baker could ever need, hence the additions.  We use medium duty materials instead.  My refractory source tells me that medium duty materials do not contain anything "nasty."  Besides, I've been baking directly on a medium duty brick hearth for about ten years, and I'm still here.  Think about the nasties the next time you have a wood fired pizza baked at between 750 and 850 F; most of the floors are molded in Italy.  The problem is legitimate for high duty materials intended for different uses, but I think it's overblown for medium duty.


Jim

marc's picture
marc

Try Forno Bravo as well. They have a 15 x 20 that is 3/4 inch thick

dsoleil's picture
dsoleil

Just ordered a 15x20 baking stone from Fantes.  Just to confirm, it is a Dacor stone.  Can't wait to bake on it!

roxbakes's picture
roxbakes

Hello, just came around this thread. How do you like your stone, so far? I need to get a stone, too, and this one sounds like a great deal.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I've been using this one for quite a while now and I'm very happy.  I like the ledge in the back to keep me from overshooting and I like the 20" width to allow me to make really big baguettes.  Couldn't be happier, really.


:-Paul

leucadian's picture
leucadian

I just got a flier from Oneida for a 15x14 3/4 baking stone for $10.99. There's no other information about it (original mfr, thickness) and it seems very small, but the price is right. They claim the original price was $45, which would be fairly outrageous I think.


 

dsoleil's picture
dsoleil

The baking stone from Fantes works great for me.  It holds heat very well.  I'm very pleased.

Optionparty's picture
Optionparty

Pizza bakes quickly, so a thinner stone would work.
Bread requires more heat, so a thicker stone would work better.
This site has stones 50 mm (2") thick.

http://www.3-2-1-pizza.eu/index.html?target=front.html&lang=en-gb

Carl

Elagins's picture
Elagins

thin crust doesn't necessarily translate into thin stone.  a stone serves as a thermal sink, i.e., it absorbs and retains heat better than a plain rack when the oven is subject to changes in temperature resulting from opening the door, adding water for steam and/or putting dough in to bake. the thicker the stone, the greater its thermal mass and its ability to maintain a stable oven temp, even when subjected to temperature lowering events like those above.


because a thinner stone has less thermal mass, it will absorb and hold less heat and won't make a significant contribution to temperature stability inside your oven. yes, it will bake one pizza reasonably well at first, but will rapidly lose heat to the dough and bake the inside of the dough at a lower temp.


however, there's a tradeoff:  a 2" stone will bake a LOT of pizzas without significant heat loss, but will take several hours to heat thoroughly, consuming lots of energy in the process.  a 1/4" stone will heat quickly, but lose heat qucikly too, and make your oven work hard to maintain temperature.


for most home baking applications, a stone anywhere between 1/2" and 3/4" thick is ideal.  I like 5/8" stones because I've found them to have the right amount of thermal mass for 2-3 pizzas at 550F or multiple hearth loaves at 450F, and don't take an excessive amount of time to preheat -- generally about an hour.


Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

dscheidt's picture
dscheidt

Without specifying material, it's meaningless to make general statements about thickness.  There are lots of materials used for baking stones, and they cover a wide range of density, specific heat, and thermal conductivity.  There are people selling insulating refractory materials, with a thermal conductivity of about 0.6 W/mK as suitable for baking on, and people selling soapstone, which has a thermal conductivity of 6.4 W/mK.  In the same oven, at the same temperature, with the stone at equilibrium with oven starting temperature, the same thickness and area of the two stones, the two stones will behave very, very differently.    Volumetric heat capacity covers a similar range.

EvaGal's picture
EvaGal

What is the name of a good material for a baking stone? Dacor makes a 1.25" one from composite ceramic. Does that have good thermal conductivity and would it make good baguettes and pizzas?  I'd rather preheat my oven only 30 minutes.


EvaGal

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

For a well preheated stone that thick, 30 minutes is probably not nearly enough time. It's probably a little bit overkill(the thickness) anyway, for home baking.


For that preheat time frame, I find a 5/8" thick cordierite stone works very well in my oven. This electric oven has exposed heating elements. If the oven has hidden elements or for thicker stones, even 30 min preheating may not be adequate.


Cordierite is a naturally mined stone which is also processed and manufactured into a (ceramic?) material for baking stones(where it is also called cordierite). It is often used as kiln shelving and also as the decking in professional deck ovens. It is said to have almost ideal thermal properties for baking.


It also seems to be reasonably priced, at some places(nybakers.com). The 1/2" thick Old Stone Oven baking stone from Amazon, kingarthurflour.com, and other places, is a highly recommended best buy by America's Test Kitchen. It is said to be a cordierite stone, though I don't think it is advertised as such. Having had a thinner stone crack on me, I prefer one that is a little thicker. 

highmtnpam's picture
highmtnpam

to hear from Elagins.  I need a custom sized stone because of the size of my ovens (duh,Pam).


 Pam