The Fresh Loaf

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Basalt baking stone - advice?

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Marni's picture
Marni

Basalt baking stone - advice?

My sweet husband has been listening to me debate about a baking stone for a while now, and so presented me with one last night.  He had it cut to fit our oven at a nearby tile distributor.  It is a 3/8" thick piece of buffed (not polished) basalt.  Beautiful and heavy.


Although I have been baking bread for years, I have only  started with artsian breads in the last year and have not used a stone before.  Any advice please?


Thanks!


Marni

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

He's a keeper!


I'm not sure how a basalt stone will do because basalt is pretty porous.  And with it being so heavy, you probably want to leave it in the oven all the time.


I'd start out baking on parchment, and suggest covering it (e.g. with foil) when you cook other messy things on higher racks in the oven so that it doesn't absorb the drippings.  


Enjoy experimenting.  A stone really gives your breads a lift.  

Marni's picture
Marni

Thanks for the tips.  It really isn't too heavy (says the woman who hasn't used it yet) so I hope to move it out (where to put it??) when I'm not baking.  Hmmm... I'm almost always baking :)


I am really looking forward to some big oven spring!  Thanks again,


Marni

osx-addict's picture
osx-addict

Keep in mind that any baking stone will hold heat for quite some time and should aid in controlling temperature spikes I would think.. I've got a large rectangle one in my large oven and it's in there all the time.. Just make sure the heat can get around the sides so you don't effectively make a barrier between the lower/upper areas of the oven.. I think you want to ensure the heat can be evenly distrubuted throughout the oven.

Marni's picture
Marni

I was thinking about that because the stone is not as deep as the oven rack, but it is as wide.  I could cut it down on the side a 1/2 inch or so.  Does the air need to circulate all around ?  What is enough movement, I wonder?  I think trial and error will have to be the way to know. 


When you leave it there all the time, do you just put pans and cookie sheets on it, or above it on a different rack?  (When you're not baking bread)


Thanks for the advice!


Marni

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Hi Marni, yes, you need circulation around the stone, not only for air but for steam.


I stopped moving my stone out of the oven after I chipped my stove's enamel while doing so.  It now stays on the same center rack and cookie sheets, roaster pans, etc. just sit on top of it during baking (I always use parchment under my bread).


Enjoy your new stone!

osx-addict's picture
osx-addict

I agree -- I'm not sure 1/2" is going to be good enough to provide sufficient circulation around the stone.. I'd go with at least 1" if not closer to 2" if at all possible..  I've got a nice big oven (on my 48" Bluestar range) so its not an issue for me but I have had problems in my small oven (also on the Bluestar) if I use a 1/2 sheet pan because it leaves very little wiggle room on the width and anything above the sheet pan is lacking proper heat..

Marni's picture
Marni

It turns out he has ordered a second, smaller stone too so I'll se what size is best.  I can have the larger one cut down, But my pizzas will need to get much smaller. :)


Marni

scottsourdough's picture
scottsourdough

I would bake directly on the stone, without covering it. Also, a heavy stone like that is going to need a really long time to preheat. Leave it in the oven while it's preheating for at least half an hour.

Marni's picture
Marni

I plan to bake my bread on the stone (on parchment) but was wondering about when I bake panned baked goods. That's what I was referring to before, but thanks for confirming the idea.  Thanks also for the preheating reminder!


Marni