The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

another bakeing stone question

vince hav's picture
vince hav

another bakeing stone question

ok iv read pretty much evry post on bakeing stones and only once didi i read about making it non-stick. the instructions with mine (which is just a cheap round pizza stone maybe 1/4 or so thick) states that i should put corn meal on the stone before placeing the pizza on it for bakeing to keep it from sticking to the stone. i read one post that said to cook bacon on it or something greasy to season it. correct me if im wrong but is seasoning and make non-stick surface different from each other? also i dont remember whether the instructions stated to put the cornmeal on the stone before i preheat or after i pre-heat the stone. iv only used it about 2xs an i have put the cormeal on it after heating it but its hard to spread cornmeal onto a hot stone. there seems to be so many variations of stone questions that i think there should be a a space in the hankdbook going into great detail of the hows and whys and what to do and not to do concerning stones. thanks again

flournwater's picture

I've never "seasoned" a baking stone.  I have sprinkled them with corn meal but, quite frankly, I have my best result by simply placing the loaf on a piece of parchment paper before loading it into the oven.  The parchment acts as a non-stick surface (I usually dust the parchment with corn mean to eliminate any possibility of the dough sticking to it  -  but it's not usually necessary) and handles the responsibility of preventing sticking to the stone.

I wouldn't use any animal fat on the stone in any case.  Animal fats can go rancid in time and that's not a good thing.

maurdel's picture

I don't use cornmeal, but semolina instead. I believe it does not burn as cornmeal does. However, it is the same principle at work and many folks say use either one.

I use it by rubbing a very small amount on my wooden peel onto which I place the dough. This keeps the dough loose enough to slide in onto the stone quite easily, and also puts a light layer of semolina between the stone & bread.

One warning: don't let much semolina get onto your floor, it acts like thousands of tiny marbles and can be quite slippery.... obviously the reason it works well on a peel.

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

Whether I'm cooking a loaf of bread or a pizza on a stone, parchment paper works for me. I use a basic Sears gas stove with an oven that's usually preheated to 450F. The stone is oven when I turn the gas on.  I've learned  that taking the dough out of the form with the paper on top and then just flipping it gently onto the sheet pan I use to load the loaf is simple and works. No cornmeal, flour, or semolina ends up on the stone or the floor of my oven. After 15 minutes I can turn the loaf around for even browning and just pull the parchment paper out from under the loaf. The bottom of the loaf is caramelized by then and so far I haven't noticed any problem with the fats I use in my breads staining the stone or smoking during the baking.

Elagins's picture

the way baking stones work is that when you put water-containing dough on a 400+ degree surface, the heat literally causes the moisture in the dough to explode into steam, which actually lifts the dough off the stone by a microscopic amount. At the same time, the heat also cooks and hardens the bottom surface of the dough, so that when the dough settles back into contact with the stone, it's hard surface against hard surface; therefore, never any sticking.

if i use cornmeal, semolina, etc. at all, it's to facilitate getting the dough off my peel or flipping board and onto the stone. in my experience, the problem of dough sticking to a hot stone is virtually nonexistent. of course, if you're baking glazed breads, fruit breads, or heavily enriched doughs that contain lots of sugar and/or fat, i'd use parchment to keep those other ingredients off the stone.

Stan Ginsberg

vince hav's picture
vince hav

ok iv tried to just put a store bought pizza on it after heating to 400 degrees as the oven heats up and without the cornmeal and the cool pizza, which i left on the counter to thaw while i waited for oven to heat, instantly tried to stick to the stone. i had to take my peel a push it under the pizza an rub cornmeal on stone an put the pizza back on it. yo put the corn meal on the stone while it heats or put it on afterwards? iv never heard of semolina but im new to all this so that aint saying much.

Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

when doing pizza, i dust the dough with semolina b4 i shape the ball into the final shape, dunno...jstu the way ive always done it...seems to work for me!

cereberus99's picture

You should also let the stone heat up properly. Wwhen the oven has reached the desired temperature, give it around an hour. I've seen an article where they tested the result of the pizza crust after putting the dough directly when the oven reached temp, after 30 min and after 60 min and the result is impressive. The crust really gets golden when heated for an hour after it's reached temp.

vince hav's picture
vince hav

that just seems extreme for a store bought pizza that will take bout 5-10 min to cook. i can understand if i was baken a pizza dough i made but ihavent gotten to that point yet. the other day i tried again..i put the oven on 450 till it heated up turned it back down to 400 after it heated up (the stone was in the oven the whole time while oven heated up) i put the pizza on the stone an the direction said for 15-20 mins..15 min later i checked it an i should have checked about 5-10 after putting it in cause it was almost burned..haha..i like the crispy crust an i ate it but its all a learning experience to me with the stone. iv just alway used a pan but im trying to learn new stuff..whats your thoughts?

mredwood's picture

When dough is placed on a hot stone it tends to stick. It sticks for only a short time and then when it's baked or partially baked it releases and can be turned. When you use parchment with silicone the same thing happens. It sticks. As it cooks it releases. Try an experiment with a bit of flour and water. It works. Every time. The semolina helps the dough to roll off the peel on to the stone. But heaven help us when we don't place it correctly & try to pick it up and move it. Not a pretty sight nor is the language it elicits from us. If you place the semolina on the parchment paper and think you are going to rearrange it forget. It is more trouble than it's worth. Let it bake. About 1/2 way through you can easily remove paper and readjust the loaf.



FaithHope's picture

I just use PP too!  Works great!  No mess, and you can move it around easy!!  Why fuss with all the other stuff?