The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Seasoning a baking stone ??

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mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Seasoning a baking stone ??

I've been looking around various posts to see what people are using for hearths in their ovens with much interest.

I live in the Catskills where there is a lot of cheap local bluestone, and I'd like to pick up a big piece that fits my oven rack well. I see others have used bluestone or thick slate, and some have mentioned "seasoning". What do you consider "seasoning", just heating slowly over time? Has anyone ever heard of oiling a stone with vegetable oil and baking to season it, like you would with cast iron, or would that be counter-productive to keeping the stone porous for humidity? Seems like oiling the stone may prevent cracking at high temps?

Currently, I use 1/4 inch thick untreated granite tiles leftover from my countertops. They produce great crusts, are porous, and have not cracked when misting, but the various scrap-pieces I need to cover my oven rack are messy to clean with cornmeal or other oven spills stuck in between pieces.

Darkstar's picture
Darkstar

Mountaindog,

 

When I purchased my Fibrament stone it gave instructions to "season" the stone by putting it in a 200 degree'ish oven for a set time while gradually increasing the temperature until it reached something like 450 degrees. This took 3 hours or so but the idea behind it as explained by the manufacturer is to slowly drive out any excess moisture that may be in the stone before I bake with it.

 

I'm not sure if natural stones are the same way as my man-made stone but that may be what you need to do.

 

Anyone out there using bluestone and know what is meant by "seasoning" it?

popthebaker's picture
popthebaker

Any stone material, manmade or natural, has some residual moisture and the process of gradually increasing the oven temperature serves to drive off this moisture. If heated too rapidly the moisture turns to steam and can crack the stone.

Fibrament is a manmade product. The company has produced stone oven bottoms for many years and when I purchased mine they offered only one size of stone for home use. They can be cut to fit the oven with a masonry saw leaving a minimum of one inch clearence from the oven sides.

merrybaker's picture
merrybaker

Ooh, I've been wanting to get a Fibrament stone!  Tell me Darkstar, can you clean it?  I use unglazed quarry tiles now, and when they get covered with pizza droppings and set off the smoke alarm (!), I put them through the oven cleaning cycle and they look like new.  And how do you like the way it bakes?  Had you tried other methods before it?   

tananaBrian's picture
tananaBrian

You're not supposed to "clean" a FibraMent stone ...but it is OK to scrape off any lumps and bumps of "stuff" along the way.  I keep mine on the lowest oven rack, covered with foil, all the time.  FibraMent suggests keeping the stone in the oven all the time, and the foil helps my wife and I get along when she bakes things that spill or dribble.  :)  I just move the FibraMent to the shelf that I intend to bake bread on, and remove the foil, when I am baking bread ...and after it cools, I return it to the bottom shelf and put the foil back on.  So far, FibraMent baking stone and marriage are still intact!


Brian


 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I hadn't heard of bluestone before, so I had to look it up. It is apparently a variety of sandstone. I didn't find anything that would answer the question about seasoning or whether it would hold up for use in the oven over the long haul. If you have a local source and it's cheap, then replacement cost shouldn't be a big issue if it turns out not to be durable.

Has anybody looked into using soapstone as a baking stone? People have been building stoves with it for centuries, so I would expect that it would stand up to use in an oven. I just don't recall seeing anybody advertising baking stones made out of the stuff.

PMcCool

NahikuRay's picture
NahikuRay

I have a round, copper clad, soapstone pizza stone that I bought from Sur la Table a couple years ago. I use it now to bake my bread on, when I'm not playing with the "pot" method. It was pricey, and, honestly, except that the copper accents look nice, and possibly make it more durable, I don't think it beats any other kind of oven stone.

 

Ray

Somewhere under the clouds,

Nahiku, Hana, Maui

Willard Onellion's picture
Willard Onellion

I have a fibrament baking stone and have used it for a year now. I replaced a 1/4" stone with the fibrament 3/4".

I have been very happy with the results obtained. I did have to become accustomed to heating the oven 45 min to an hour before baking to permit the stone to become heated through and through.

The manufacturer recommends ". . . that you clean Fibrament only by lightly brushing it to eliminate excess crumbs." "Never clean your Fibrament Baking Stone with a high abrasion brush or water as it may crack.""Never season Fibrament with any type of oil."

"Liquids should never come in contact with the stones. Wipe the baking stone with a dry rag." Now, I cheat on this a little. When baking bread directly on the stone, I do spray water on the walls, bottom of the oven and on the stone itself. So far, so good

As recommended, I leave the stone in the oven at all times and place baking pans directly on the stone. I use the La Cloche pottery  baker a good bit, and it works great on the stone as do the hearth breads cooked directly on it.

The stone does become discolored with use, especially with any spills. No problem. Wipe or brush off the part you can and just live with the discoloration.

Summary: If my stone ever breaks, I will get another one.

Willard

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Thanks Willard - I guess that probably answers my question about seasoning with oil for any stone type. Looks like the stone should be bone dry to avoid cracking. I was looking at the Fibrament website and it looks like a great product - I especially like the recommendation they give to use an upper and lower stone to create more of a stone oven-like effect. I may try this with cheap local bluestone, a sedimentary rock, first and see how it holds up to misting. My husband thinks the igneous rocks like granite could withstand shattering better than bluestone, though, which may explain why I've not had any problems with the granite tiles I've been using. I also find I have to pre-heat the tiles (1/4 in. thick) at least 45 min. prior to baking or my crusts do not get crisp enough despite the misting.

nova's picture
nova

I got 2 Fibrament stones for my 2 ovens...has made a phenomenal difference.  Am still learning how to preheat with them since I do so many different types of breads with different baking regimens.  But the ovens are so much more stable and quick in returning to temp after opening the doors for spraying, rotating, temp-taking and the like.  Well worth the money....


nova

mredwood's picture
mredwood

I have a question. I have been wanting to leave my stone in the oven during the clean cycle. I know the stone will be ok. What I want to know is where do you put it? On the oven floor? Standing up leaning against the side or back? My oven has chrome racks and the manual says remove before cleaning. I have a gas stove and am concerned about putting the stone on the floor of the oven and the heat build up. Thanks for any input.


Mariah

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I have an electric oven and I leave the stone in during cleaning with no trouble. I don't use it all the time but I do mess it up with pizza toppings which come clean every time.


Eric

Ricko's picture
Ricko

I love my Fibrament stone for my sourdough bread baking. I think it makes a big difference in the amount of oven spring and overall final results. Since all my bread is baked on parchment paper, cleaning is not a big issue.


One thing I'd like to mention is that when I purchased my stone, the depth dimension was fine, but the width of the stone was too large. I did call the factory and they told me, contrary to what the instructions ststed, was to use a cement blade in a circular saw to trim off the excess. This worked fine as long as you didn't force the cut too fast. Actually, the material of the stone will let you know how fast you can really push the cut. I cut the stone allowing for a 1 inch clearance on each side to the oven wall.


I know the stone only comes in specific sizes, so don't be put off in getting your stone if you don't get the perfect fit for your oven. Go for the correct depth and just trim the width! It's simple to do. My I also suggest to cut it outside, as it is a very dusty process!

arumugam49's picture
arumugam49

I am using Teracotta tile 9 by 9 inch size, 1 inch thick for making pizza


& pre heat it for 250 deg C for 15 mts. It give good result. Bottem of pizza base


get cooked well when using pre heated baking stone / tile.

David White's picture
David White

An old forum I know, but I just tried bluestone in the oven for the first time, and so far so good.  We had some stone left over after a paving project, so I had a friend cut a piece down to 18" x 14" and that is a cozy fit in the oven.  It's half an inch thick, I seasoned it by leaving it in the oven at about 170 for a few hours.  When baking day came around, I heated it gradually to 460 over 3 hours.  No cracking, flaking etc., but I have only tried it once so far.