The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Using Fibrament baking stone

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robertdmay's picture
robertdmay

Using Fibrament baking stone

So I recently purchased a Fibrament baking stone to replace my old one, which was cracking.  My problem is this: whenever I bake on it, the bottom goes too dark and the inside bakes to between 200 and 210, but the top barely browns at all.  Strange, right?  Any one have any ideas why this happens?  I've been doing artisan baking for 6 years now, and I've never encountered this problem before. 

davidg618's picture
davidg618

How close is your baking stone's bottom to the oven's bottom heating element?


What preheat temperature do you use, and do you maintain that temperature for any time after loading, or do you reduce the preheat temperature to a baking temperature immediately?


I bake with a Fibrement stone, and found location in the oven, and preheat temperature are critical to even baking.


David G

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

David G, can you share where you place your stone, your preheat temp and bake temp?  I too just bought a stone and have not yet used it.  The only place it can fit is about 1/3 way up from the bottom, which will leave enought room to get loaves


I usually preheat at 470 degrees and bake for 10 min at this temp, then reduce to 400 for rest of bake - when I want a really crispy crust,   And good success if I want a lighter crust preheading at 420, baking for 10 min at this temp, then reducing to 375 for rest of the bake.


Appreciate your thoughts...  thanks!!

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I place my baking stone approximately in the middle of my oven. The top of the stone is 8" from the oven's top, and 7" from the bottom, so the bottom of the stone is 6-1/4" from the bottom of the oven.


I have a sheet of aluminum foil, the same width and depth as the baking stone, covering the bottom of the rack the stone sets on. This is there to divert steam rising from the wet-towel lined half-sheet pan I use for steaming, preventing the steam from condensing on the baking stone's bottom and cooling its surface.


I preheat the oven in the convection mode for about 45 minutes at 550°F, I pre-steam the oven for about five minutes before I load the loaves. Immediately following loading, I reduce the temperature to 450°F and place the oven in the conventional mode to stop the rear wall fan. I do this for baguettes, and boules or batards up to 1.5 lb. For loaves heavier than 1.5 lb. I reduce the temperature to 440°F or 430°F depending on the flour content of the loaves.--more whole grain, lower temperature.


I remove the steam pan after 10 mins (baguettes) or 15 mins. (boules and batards), vent the oven of residual steam, and finish baking in the convection mode at the reduced oven temperature.


I'v had a couple part whole-grain loaves develop darker than normal bottoms (not burnt) since I've added the aluminum foil, so I intend to lower the pre-heat temperature to 500°F the next time I bake that formula. Baguettes brown evenly using the 550°/450°F regime mentioned above. 


I'm working hard to learn the nuances of my oven, especially when it's tasked to bake bread, and make steam simultaneously.


David G.

caviar's picture
caviar

David your steaming and other procedures your mentioned are interesting. Do you have a special oven for venting or do you have a simple way to do it?


Herb

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I remove the towel-lined pan when the steaming time finishes. The simple fact of opening the oven, even though its open less than ten seconds, vents the oven of a lot of steam. If you try this method be aware a lot of hot steam will rush out.  Keep your hands, bare arms, and face away for a second or two while it clears. 


I also place a towel over the oven's stovetop vent during the steaming interval. I remove the towel coincident with removing the pan. Returning to the convection mode, the circulating fan vents what little steam remains.


I used to steam with a pan of Lava rocks, throwing hot water into the pan just before loading the loaves. Because of its placement on the oven's bottom I never attempted to remove the lava rock pan, so I gauged how much water would last for the steaming duration. I've found the wetted towel method I favor produces equivalent steam, offers more control, and is safer.


David G

MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

I had the same problems with my Fibrament baking stone burning the bottoms of my loaves. After some experimentation, I have found that in my oven (Wolf convection mode) placing the rack 1/3 the way up and baking at 410 F gives good results. I get even bottoms and tops in the expected baking time in the recipe at this lower temperature.


Hope that helps.


Michael

caviar's picture
caviar

I have a wolf oven and have had a problem when baking two different breads consecutively. If I set the oven for the first bread at 350 and then 500 for the second I never know what the temperaturein the oven is. The readout just indicates set point. I have tried first shutting the oven off and resettiong itat 500 but it still just indicates set point. If I revewrse the order I don't know what the oven is as it cools. I have an infared tester but it's maximum is 338 F.


Ihave a fibermat and place it in the middle of the oven and had a problem with excess browning only once, that was with two loaves ofPR's Casatiello bread in pyrex loaf pans where the top browned nicely and the interior of the bread was only a little above 100F. Unfortunately I removed one of the loaves after 20 minutes to test the temp from the bottom and the loaf collapsed.


                             Herb

robertdmay's picture
robertdmay

First: thanks for the responses guys!


So ever since I had gotten into artisan baking, I had pretty much pre-heated at 500 degrees (my ovens have always been gas non-convection) with the rack and the stone in the middle, reduced to 450 after loading and steaming, and then rotated loaves half-way through the baking time.  Got great results. 


My old baking stone didn't break--it's in a cracked-about-to-break stage.  So I thought: "Cool!  I can use that as a top stone in the top 1/3 of the oven and the Fibrament as the baking surface on the bottom 1/3."  So the old stone wound up being about 2-4 inches from the top of the bread.  Here's the thing: the tops hardly browned at all (while the bottom was more or less black).  I did this twice with the same result.  Today I removed the top stone and shifted the fibrament to the top 1/3 of the oven.  I got better results, but not like I had with my old stone.


Perhaps this Fibrament really is that good and I can lower the oven temp to about 400-420 degrees.  That just goes against my artisan baking mentality, where I have always baked at higher temps (450-500).  We'll see.       

bnom's picture
bnom

I ordered a 15/20 inch Fibrament about a month ago and am still waiting for delivery.  Apparently the History Channel profiled their product for a show about innovations and they've been slammed ever since. 


I had the same thought you did--was planning to use my old stone on the top rack.  I'll be interested in hearing about your continued experiments. After all this waiting, I'd hate to have burnt crusts!

wknight022's picture
wknight022

Has anyone expericed tranference of the Fibrament material to bread? I just got a loaf out of the oven and noticed a gray coating along the edges. Upon checking my stone there is a corresponding pattern on the surface. Very slight, but erosion none-the-less.

I was wondering if anyone else has had this happen.

I bake using the Artisan-Bread-in-5 minutes-a-day method so I have slack dough that I am using. I usually brush the surface with warm water before the coup-de-grace slashes. I dust with coarse yellow corn meal, use a super peel for insertion, and have a pan beneath my stone with hot water for steam.

Beautiful loaves come out but I am concerned about eating this stuff off of the Fibrament, as well as continued erosions effect on the stone itself.

Yes, I did thoroughly pre-dry as instructed when I received it.

This has left me rather surprised.

After reading some wild posts about memory loss, etc. , I wanted to come back and say this is not where I am going. Just wanted to know if any of you have noticed transference of the material to bread. And this was just plain, white, 5 Minutes a Day recipe. Didn't notice this when I cooked several loaves using a whole grain recipe - they were great a well!

I Like the product - just looking to be sure it is normal performance. I have written to Fibrament as well.

As stated above, this is not meant to be a "Troll" thread, just a simple question. i don't think I'm gonna die or anything because of it ;)

 

wknight022's picture
wknight022

Made sure that I used flour and corn meal on the peel and stone...no problems. Second loaf came out fine.

Got to thinking about the Fibrament handout saying the stone could be covered with foil...thought I might try just putting my dough on some parchment paper and sliding it onto the stone.

I think what might have happened the first time was moisture from the loaf (brushed with warm water before baking) somehow loosened loose pieces of material that adhered to the edges of the dough. Most of it was on the end I ate...didn't taste it or notice any gritty-ness. I'm sure I'll be fine. Been exposed to lots of much worse things in my job as an Aircraft Mech. Like the stone - it is a GREAT heat source.

Second bake today I also did as I had on previous occasions and gave the stone a good 46 minutes to get hot and my bottom was much crispier. Excellent reult.

I am curious about other folks writing about using marble slabs. Up in Cherokee County, GA, speciafically Ballground, GA , there are lots of shops that sell irregular slabs of marble. Might have to try that as well sometime.

The Fibrament stone seems to me a good value for the what you get.

srise's picture
srise

Yes, I get transference of the Fibrament material.  It's a gray coating and it tastes chalky.  I get this even after thoroughly cleaning the Fibrament before baking.  Not happy about it.

davidg618's picture
davidg618

...or more times a week for about a year and a half. I've not experienced, ever, what you report. I've also run my stone through the "Clean" cycle (3 hours, 800 -- 900°F) twice with no subsequent problems. If I ever need to replace it--doubtful--I'll buy the same thing. Unless they've changed their formula or process, I think what you're experiencing is transient.

David G

wknight022's picture
wknight022

...it seems to work fine. I'll be sure to use plenty of meal/flour for seasoning and to minimize sticking.

Have you ever used something on parchment paper on your stone? What I really was thinking is how easy it would be to slide pizzas off onto the stone. Even using the super-peel if I wait too long (while assembling the pizza) it tends to not want to come off of the linen.

Sounds like a good excuse to make pizza this week!

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I know "lubricants" isn't the right word, but it is the right meaning. I've experimented with parchment paper, cornmeal, and brown rice flour over the past two-plus years. I also own a super-peel.  By far, dusting my super-peel, my aluminum peel, and the piece of quarter-inch birch plywood I use to place baguettes in my oven (it's cut to the width of my baking stone, 20") with brown rice flour works best. I also use a 50/50 mixture of brown rice flour and AP flour to dust my bannetons and their liners, and my linen couche.

After each bake, and when the stone cools I sweep away the rice flour with a stiff brush, and finally wipe it with a dampened (not wet) cloth. I know the manufacturer cautions not to use water on a Fibrement stone, but I don't think I'm doing any harm. Also, I run my home oven through its Self-Cleaning cycle twice each year. I've been leaving my pizza stone in the oven during these cycles for more than twenty years with no ill effect. The last two cycles I've been doing the same with my Fibrement stone without ill effect. The manufacturer kilns the stones at approximately twice the temperature of the cleaning cycle, so I'm not concerned I'm damaging it. Both my pizza stone and Fiberment stone emerge from the cleaning cycle with a fine coat of ash on their surface. Once the ash is wiped away the Fiberment stone's surface looks almost new. The once beige pizza stone's surface has turned nearly black over more than twenty years of faithful service, but it comes out of the cleaning cycle smooth as a baby's bottom.

A little more about peels. Although I like both the aluminum peel (bought originally just for pizza), and the super peel, I like my piece of birch plywood better. held along the long side (I wear Ov-gloves) it loads stone-wide baguettes handily; held by the short side I load, one at a time, two boules, ovals or batards side-by-side without marring the side of the first, already loaded loaf.  Both the super peel, and the aluminum peel are too wide to load two loaves, side-by-side one at a time without touching and damaging the first loaf, and too narrow to load two loaves two at a time. Loading twenty-inch long baguettes with either commercial peel is impossible; hence my trusted home-cut birch plywood peel. I only use my other peels for large, single loaves: the super peel for loading, the aluminum peel to unload.

David G

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I've change my preferred steaming method since writing the original post. I now create steam with water-soaked towels on a half-sheet pan placed on a rack in the highest position in my oven. This has necessitated placing my baking stone on a rack in the lowest position. I cover the bottom of the rack with aluminum foil--leaving an inch open on each side for convective air flow. Regardless of what lean dough I'm baking I've settled on pre-heating at 500°F; and baking, depending on the loaf shape and ingredients, between 430° and 460°F. Sweet doughs, with or without the stone I only preheat to the baking temperature, some as low as 350°F. I'm getting excellent oven spring, and uniform browning with both lean and sweet doughs with this arrangement and choices of temperatures.

David G

whosinthekitchen's picture
whosinthekitchen

I place my stone on the lower rack of my LARGE oven (DCS with the 6 burner top and a griddle).  I also have a convection option even though the appliance is natural gas.

My artisan style breads do well with the stone.  I  have better crusts with crackling and depth.  It is important to remember to add the steam shortly after placing the loaves on the stone and again with in a couple of minutes.  I love my oven and my stone.  If your oven is smaller, it is more important to have the stone centered(top to bottom)  and consider setting the temp a bit lower.  You will find the right combo of position, temp and steam for desired results. Electric bakes a bit differently from natural gas.  My sister has great results with her smaller, electric oven and a stone that goes in during the preheat time frame prior to baking the bread or pizza.

 

Happy baking.