The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

HELP: Appropriate size Baking Stone

nubkr's picture
nubkr

HELP: Appropriate size Baking Stone

Hi Guys:

Oven Interior measures 16 inches font-back; 24 inches side-side; I'd like to purchase a baking stone - unglazed quarry tiles or one single slab cut to exact size.

1. Could you please recommend the largest sized baking stone that I would purchse for my oven? Please include the recommended thickness range in your responses.

1a.I will be baking both bread and pizzas - would the thickness of the stone be the same for both?

2. Would I need 2 sets - one for the bottom of the oven and another for the top?

3. Sides - Please recommend dimensions for the two that I will use on the sides. Will they have the same font-back measurement as (1) above? What would the height be? Would the thickness be the same as above?

4. For the gas oven: Would I place the stone(s) on the floor of the oven(the coils are directly under it) or would I place it on the bottom rack?

Thanks in advance for your reponses. I'd love to purchase these today!

Nubkr - Yes, a new baker!

Jeffrey's picture
Jeffrey

One pizza stone, put it on the bottom rack. 

Preheat oven with stone inside.

Then put your pizza, or loaf on the stone, a peel helps here.

Willard Onellion's picture
Willard Onellion

I have used the fibrament baking stone in my electric oven for over a year now and have been very satisfied.

I recommend you look at the following URL for frequently asked questions of the mfr. Most of your questions are answered there:

http://www.bakingstone.com/faq.php

 

Fibrament says side stones are not necessary and add nothing to the baking results.

The stones are 3/4 inch thick and can be used for pizza as well as bread baking.

Fibrament recommends you leave the stone in the oven for all your baking, just placing containers directly on the stone.

In the FAQ there is a discussion of the value of a second stone to go on the rack above tha bottom stone. I have not tried that.

The stones are a bit pricey here but really do make a difference. I tried a 1/2 pizza stone with less than satisfactory results for my bread baking.

Willard Onellion

Darkstar's picture
Darkstar

I use a fibrament stone in a gas oven and love the results.  I will back up Willard and say fibrament is a good bread-stone.

sewwhatsports's picture
sewwhatsports

I have used a pizza stone for many years.  I also have quite a few stoneware pieces from Pampered Chef.  I just got the large flat rectange baking stone yesterday and have to temper it today in preparation of making some sourdough and rye bread tomorrow,  I want to have the bread fresh for Christmas morning breakfast with my husbands's family. 

 I have also used plain unglazed terra cotta tiles that I bought at Home Depot.  They have worked nice as well though I like a solid piece of stone better.

Has anyone tried the trick I saw on Good Eats from Alton Brown?  He uses a large clay bottom from the garden section to bake his bread.  I have heard you can buy a rounded flower pot and put it on top to create your own form of a cloche.  Anyone done that or have any ideas on it?

Well off to do last minute errands for the holidays and feed my sourdough culture.  Yum, the thought of good sourdough toast on Christmas is calling me....

Rena in Delaware

Baking Soda's picture
Baking Soda

I use this kind of -rounded- clay bottom that I purchased at the garden center for baking freestanding loaves and it works great, I use it as you would use a pizza stone. The downside is that the size is limiting the breads and it has an outer rim that goes up an inch. :(

 www.bakemyday.blogspot.com

wsewake's picture
wsewake

I love my Fibrament stone.  I forget what size it is but there is about 1.5" from the sides of the oven and is about 1.5" from the back wall and flush with the front edge of the rack.  I keep an old cast iron skillet on the bottom of my oven to produce steam.  When I bake bread, the Fibrament goes on a rack just above the skillet. Be sure to follow the directions regarding the seasoning of the stone and remember to preheat 30-60 minutes, 60 works best for me.  Good Luck and have fun!

wayne 

anawim_farm's picture
anawim_farm

  I recently started to look for a way to increase the baking area of my oven, usable interior dimensions 16 * 24.  I already had a hearth stone from Pampered Chef that I bought over 10 years ago size 12 * 15.25, I found that Pampered Chef still made that dimension stone so I purchased another one and put them both together for 15.25 * 24 inches of baking area 

Joe 

Cliff Johnston's picture
Cliff Johnston

...are made by a fellow who lists some on eBay.  He seems to know what he's doing, and his pricing is in line too.  I've got a 14"x20" ordered.  You can see a smaller one on this link, and then contact him about the other sizes that he makes:  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=160086690980&sspagename=ADME:L:RTQ:US:1

Cliff. Johnston
"May the best you've ever seen,
 Be the worst you'll ever see;"
from A Scots Toast by Allan Ramsay

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

hi Cliff,

I'm also interested in buying the 14x20 stone from this seller. Since you ordered yours a month ago, what's your opinion of it? Any comments  would be really helpful.

Also, how was the packaging? Did he ship in a timely manner?

Thanks 

Cliff Johnston's picture
Cliff Johnston

I found out about this manufacturer just in time to miss out on his last 14x20 stone.  He notified me Monday that they just finished making and curing a new batch and that they are now available.  I emailed him on Tuesday, but I've not heard from him.

Cliff. Johnston
"May the best you've ever seen,
 Be the worst you'll ever see;"
from A Scots Toast by Allan Ramsay

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

"easierbaking", the eBay name of the seller of this item, is NOT RECOMMENDED.

see http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/3074/re-buying-14x20-baking-stone-ebay-sad-tale for the saga of my attempt to purchase a 14x20" baking stone from her and my difficulties in obtaining a refund after the item arrived broken.

Cliff Johnston's picture
Cliff Johnston

I've had nothing but problems communicating with this seller.  I won't go into what the problems were, but suffice it to say that I've not been able to place an order with the seller.  I consider myself to be a fairly forgiving person, but some of what has happened is, to me, beyond poor business practices...  I certainly would not recommend this seller to anyone based upon my experiences...sorry if I guided some of you in the wrong direction.

Cliff. Johnston
"May the best you've ever seen,
 Be the worst you'll ever see;"
from A Scots Toast by Allan Ramsay

balabusta's picture
balabusta

I've been using a HearthKit for the last two years.  I bought it directly from the company at http://www.hearthkitchen.com/.  I just love using it to bake artisan breads.

I've used stones, but this really has been superior. 

 

mattie405's picture
mattie405

I too have a hearth kit for about 4 years now and love the results I get with it. It does somewhat cut down on the size of your usable oven space but still worth it to me. Once it is fully heated thru it does hold the heat for qute a long time, I remember when I first got it and used it while roasting a large turkey and vegetables for several hours it held the heat so well that the following morning my husband woke me up to tell me I had left the oven on all night because it was still so hot...........he needed me to get up and shut it off because I had just gotten the new stove too and he didn't knw what any of the buttons were yet.................needless to say the oven wasn't on at all, the heat was still from the night befores cooking. When I am making pizzas I preheat it for an hour to 550 and when I place the pizza directly on the stone it blisters right away and begins to char (the way we like it) in about 3 minutes, works out so much better for me than just using the bottom only stone I used to have, now I use that old stone as somewhat of a top for the hearth kit, I just use it on a rack above the kit insert. mattie

gianfornaio's picture
gianfornaio

I started with one 14" round stone (sorry, don't know the brand), then got about a 10" X 14" one last year-- two  months ago I started getting frustrated by not being able to bake more than two loaves at a time-- the rectangular one wasn't quite big enough for two loaves-- so I got some 6"X6" unglazed Terra Cotta quarry tiles from the hardware store (about .60 apiece at a big box hardware store) and a $17 tile cutter, and now both my racks are wall to wall, with just a bit of a gap at the sides to let a little air circulate.

They seem to get hotter, I guess because they're darker. 

I was hesitant to go this route because I thought it would be too labor intensive to put them in and take them out tile by tile, but I kind of like the process. That said, I've only baked on them twice.

I have mild concerns about toxicity, though. Anyone know of any concerns with this?  I know that various bread books and cookbooks recommend unglazed quarry tiles, so I figured they weren't any riskier than, you know, eating industrially produced meat.  

John

Sylviambt's picture
Sylviambt

Hi gianfornaio

Question:  why do you  occasionally remove your tiles from the oven?

Sylvia

gianfornaio's picture
gianfornaio

I only bake bread once every week or two, and sometimes we want to bake something that only takes 10 or 15 minutes (like a frozen pizza, or a pizza on a crust that has already been parbaked on the stones)-- we don't always have time to wait the half-hour or so for the tiles to preheat (okay, well, we do, but we don't always like to wait), and the tiles definitely slow that down...

Also, I like to sweep the cornmeal (or whatever is on the bottom of the loaves for sliding) out of the oven after I bake, and the tiles make that difficult... I probably don't need to do it every time, but I had a small fire in my electric oven once because the multiple loaves I had repeatedly slid into and out of the oven (for internal temperature checks, for example) continually pushed small quantities of cornmeal off the back of the stone, making a little pile of meal on the  back floor of the oven; some of it mounded on the spot where the heating elements attach, which flared up for a little while. I don't know how long it was burning, but it really did good things for the loaves in the oven at the time-- good things that I never intend to duplicate outside of a woodfired oven, of course. 

Anyway, regarding tiles and stones, I would certainly say that if you don't have to put yourself out too much financially to get oven-sized stones, I would do that-- but I'm kind of a tightwad, too.

John 

Cliff Johnston's picture
Cliff Johnston

John,

You have no reason to be concerned about using quarry tiles.  They are made for the most part with earth clays.  All of the contents are fused during firing.  Unless you start grinding them up as an ingredient you're OK :-)

 Cliff. Johnston
"May the best you've ever seen,
 Be the worst you'll ever see;"
from A Scots Toast by Allan Ramsay

rubyyarn's picture
rubyyarn

I started making artisan bread this past summer to sell at the local farmer's market.  The recipe in 'Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day' has worked well for me...but this site is showing me how it can be so much better!  I have been using a regular pizza stone, which works fine for one boule at a time, or a small baguette supported on parchment paper.

I would like a larger area, though.  We can get quarry tiles at Lowes, but they want you to buy an entire box.

Have any of you ever used fire brick as a baking stone?  We got some, but they seem awfully dusty!  I am concerned that they would continue to make dust even after a good sweeping.  Not good eats, I'm thinking!

I appreciate all input.

 

Ellen

Pizza Making Kit's picture
Pizza Making Kit

From the dimensions, you could come close to perfect with two 15" X 12" pizza stones.  Also, I'd go one (or two!) better than putting them on the bottom rack.  I'd put another 2 on a rack above so you can get heat from above and below.  More like a real brick oven. You could also bake on 2 shelves at once.

An idea anyway.  Here's a good candidate:  http://www.pizzahomechef.com/product/166-STONE12