The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking Stone - How to Transfer?

nicolesue's picture

Baking Stone - How to Transfer?


I've recently purchased a ceramic pizza baking stone. What's the best way to transfer the bread dough (like a boule) to the baking stone while it is pre-heating inside the oven. I don't have a peel.

At the moment, I proof my dough on a thin silicon mat. Prior to baking, I'll remove the baking stone from the oven, and slide the whole thing (silicon mat and dough) onto the baking stone, before putting it back in the oven again for baking. I do not remove my silicon mat until the baking is complete.

Will i lose significant oven spring by using a thin silicon mat on top of a pre-heated baking stone the whole time? Am I rendering the baking stone ineffective by doing so? Let me emphasis the silicon mats I'm using are pretty thin (similar to parchment paper), and definitely not as thick as SILPAT.

As always, any advice and help is welcome. Thanks.





mrfrost's picture

Use the backside of a large(ish) cookie or baking sheet. Dust with corn meal, semolina, or flour just like a peel. The breads can also be placed on parchment but still dust the sheet(pan) for easy slide off.

pmccool's picture

Most have recommended maximum temperatures of 400F or lower, which is less than the normal baking temperature of many hearth-style breads.  Dunno what you might be exposed to if the recommended temperature is exceeded but there's no point in finding out the hard way.  Even if no harmful chemicals are released by higher temps, the life of the mat will definitely be shortened.


nicolesue's picture

Hi Paul,

Not sure about the temperature tolerance - but these are the kind of silicone mats you can get and use for cookies and cakes. They sell them specifically for baking use. My guess is, these are the cheaper spin offs from the SILPAT. They're thinner in nature, and kind of turn a bit dark after prolong usage, but has serve well for cookies and bread so far. However, I won't hesitate to doubt about the possible chemical release from these materials, as all things made in China - you can never be sure. The issue is, how do you test and find out?

As for the lifespan of the mat, well, they cost USD3 for 2 pieces that fit right into the oven... i don't think much of their long lastingness in terms of cost.



ehanner's picture

You can get by without a peel but your options are better if you get a thin sheet of aluminum or a metal peel to move your dough. I use a home made flipper board made of 1/4 inch plywood dusted with cornmeal that I sanded the edge so it is tapered on the edges for single  loaf loading.

The easiest answer to this issue is parchment paper. If you proof on paper, it is then easy to slide a peel of any kind under the paper to load the dough....


nicolesue's picture

Eric - my thoughts exactly. I was planning to re-use the wooden cardboard that comes with any cake you pruchased from the local bakery/ Wash and peel off the aluminium foil, and you have a smooth wooden cardboard that looks like a peel, especially if you look for one that is rectangular and small enough to enter the oven. My previous attempt with parchment paper causes the paper to burn to crisp, so I could only use it once.



Broc's picture

I agree with Eric.

I use parchment to proof, then simply slide the boule w/parchment onto the pre-heated stone.

No need for flour, corn meal, yada-yada... parchment right onto the stone.  Leave the parchment there for the bake.  Save the parchment to use a second time!

Start with a cold oven, with the stone cold.  Then, pre-heat to 425F... wait 15 minutes after the oven has reached tem to get the stone to temp.

I drop the temp to 400F five minutes after putting it into the oven.  BTW, I use a very slack dough, with lots of internal moisture.

Bake until 195+F internal.

Good luck!

~ B



nicolesue's picture

Hi B,

My parchment tend to brown and crisp each time I use them, hence I wanted silicone mat so that I can re-use them again. I do the same, dough on paper - and ploink the whole thing in the oven, bake till done - hassle free. Sue

maybaby's picture

I've been using a set of cedar fish barbeque planks that I got from Costco.

There were six in the package and they were under $10 (Canadian $).

They are very light in weight and work well for small boules and batards/shortish baguettes.

Having the six planks makes it easy for me to assembly line bake off different breads as I can give them their final rising on the "peel".

If it's a particularily sticky dough or I'm doing rolls, I line the plank with parchment.

mamatojade's picture

I just use parchment.  It seems to work well for me.

dlstanf2's picture

I had the same problem initially. Even with cornmeal on a cookie sheet I would end deflating my dough while transferring. Now I use a thin cookie sheet, with cornmeal, on which I put my my shaped boules to retard overnight. I don't use the sheet bottom. I remove from the fridge, score, and then put the cookie sheet with the dough directly on my stone. About the last 15 minutes before my bread is finished, I remove my dough from the cookie sheet and transfer directly to the stone. It works for me. I found that if I put a pan of hot hot water to steam my bread under the stone it would cool the stone enough to leave my the bottom too soft and undercooked. Now I spray several times during the first 10 minutes to get that chewy crust.