The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

So much for my basalt baking stone... now limestone

  • Pin It
Marni's picture
Marni

So much for my basalt baking stone... now limestone

I posted a couple weeks ago about the lovely baking stone my husband had made for me out of 3/8" thick basalt.  We were conceerned about it being too thin.  We were right.  I baked one loaf and it cracked in half!  Here it is:


 



 


I also think it might be too big for the oven.  Could that be part of the problem?  I know it affects circulation.


Anyway, the bread came out great, and of course we know that's what really matters. :)


 



 



 


So now I have a 1/2 piece of limestone sitting here that he plans to have cut to be about a third as big as the basalt was.  He's having fun looking at rocks and I'll keep baking.  It works.


 


Marni

dstroy's picture
dstroy

oh no!    D:


Glad at least the bread came out.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

IMO, size/circulation is not part of the problem here. Could be wrong though. Kind of hard to judge the side clearances in your picture.


I've had this 16 x 16" cordierite stone(below) in my oven for about 4 weeks or so. There's a scant more than an inch clearance on the sides, and a scant less than an inch front and rear. I was really worried that it might be too large. I guess, according to the "book", it is too large. Conventional wisdom says there should be a least an inch clearance on all sides. Guess it's just cutting it.


Oven seems to be preheating and cycling on and off about the same as ever. Breads browning as evenly as ever. Being that it's a thicker stone(5/8"), I think the oven actually cycles on and off even less, once it's preheated. Over all, much superior to the previous 3/8" x 15" round pizza stone. At least, so far, having baked about 10-12 batches to date.



Marni's picture
Marni

Thanks Dstroy - the bread was yummy.


dwighttsharpe- Thanks for sharing your pictures- my stone does have at least an inch all around, so maybe it wasn't too big.  Also, I wrote the wrong size for the new stone.  It will be a bit more than 2/3 the size of this one.  I have a large (bigger than this) piece of limestone sitting in my living room right now waiting to be cut.


What is Cordierite?  I'm not familiar with it.


Marni

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Cordierite is supposedly the material used in many commercial deck ovens. It is said to be able to withstand extremely high temperatures(2500F), and temperature changes(cold, moist dough, etc.) without cracking.


Mine was purchased from nybakers.com, a member and advertiser(main page) here on the forum. Relatively inexpensive, if it performs like it's supposed to.


I had a little $15 pizza stone which held up for 4 years or so, with only and occasional pizza. As soon as I started baking breads, with all the high temps, misting, moist dough, etc, over a period of about 6 months, it gradually cracked into 6 pieces.

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

It looked like a lovely stone.  I hope your next stone works out.


And your bread is lovely!

will slick's picture
will slick

I personally do not use a stone yet. I have seen a few posters here that just keep using there cracked stones. Maybe try heating it slower start a 200F for ten mins then go up to your cooking temp. Now that is cracked you could also cut an inch off both pieces if your concerned about circulation. But I doubt that was the cause of the crack. However if there is little clearance it will help with a more even temp.


Will

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

The crack won't make any difference at all to the baking. There's no point in wasting money on a new one!

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

If it cracks again, the cracks will probably come more frequently. After the 4th or 5th crack, it gets to be a pain when shifting to another level, or removing.

Marni's picture
Marni

Thanks Jan, Will, Mary and Dwight for your responses.


It was a lovely stone, and so I have used it a couple times since it cracked.  It seems okay, but I haven't tried to take it out of the oven.  I've just been baking other things on top of it.  I also have a second oven that I can use too.  Putting it in and taking it out will be much harder this way. 


It hasn't cracked any more yet, but who knows and yes, it feels like a waste of money to me (this cost more than a pizza stone), but my husband is having fun researching heat /rock subjects.


Even better, the manager of the tile shop does a little baking, and since hearing our plan for the tile, I'm sending him some starter and the instructions to care for it and bake with it.  He plans to try out a few different stones himself!


Marni

Fanciesmom's picture
Fanciesmom

Was the stone, by any chance, wet when you put it in the oven?  I've cracked a couple of pizza stones that I had rinsed and just didn't let dry long enough before I tried to use them.

Marni's picture
Marni

Nope, it was perfectly dry.  I can see where the dampness would do that though, thanks for the thought.


Marni

salma's picture
salma

My first pizza stone had cracked into 3 pieces and I just kept baking on it.  When we got our outdoor bbq, I put the cracked stone on it and baked my first pizza.  The pizzas were great but my hubby and guests made fun of me for using the cracked stone.  I went out and got another of the same, which cracked the first time I used it.  Now I have a heavier rectangle that sits in the bbq outside and it has behaved. I put unglazed tiles (6) in my oven.  I still think using cracked stone is like using tile pieces.


Salma

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

Yes. I used a cracked stone for years then Spouse cut some marble for me. I hadn't asked him but it seemed churlish to refuse it.


So the cracked stone was discarded, with regret, and the marble replaced it. It's turned dark brown over the years but hasn't cracked and is super for baking on - exept that if I do want to remove it from the oven it's very heavy.


I've stopped trying to restore its original colour ...

weekend_baker's picture
weekend_baker

I have a marble stone that I cracked one day when I left it in the oven, made roasted chicken, turned it down really low to make a meringue, then turned it up to the top temp to make bread, and sure enough--the stone cracked neatly in two.


It's never happened again and I've been baking happily on my cracked marble ever since--which must be about two or three years now.


Having it in two pieces makes it much easier to get it in and out of the oven if needs be (i.e. for a cool oven to make pavolva)...