The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Once again, Baking Stones...

bobdrob's picture
bobdrob

Once again, Baking Stones...

Greetings to all in this pre-Holiday time! Before the Seasonal baking orgy gets into full swing, I need opinions on the following:  Soapstone &/or Granite as an oven stone? 


 The details: As I finish my home Kitchen renovation, I will have sizable remnants of Soapstone ( 1.25" new, countertop, deluxe!)   and polished granite (.75", old, polished countertop.) I understand that the soapstone is the preferable ovenstone which will go into the primary oven, but can I use the smaller, older polished granite counter pieces as baking stones as well in the other oven?


I suspect that the granite was of the cheap Chinese variety; any reasons why I shouldn't use it as a baking stone?


Plan B:  the granite will go to my local vocational high school's culinary program to use for chocolate & pastry work.


Thoughts & opinions greatly appreciated,  regards,  bobdrob


 


 


 


 

Paddlers2's picture
Paddlers2

I had never thought of that, but I looked around and found:  http://bakerybits.co.uk/Granite-Baking-Stone-30cm-by-30cm-and-3cm-thick-P388374.aspx as a good example that granite is used for that purpose....   Who'd'o' thunkit?


Cool idea!

lumos's picture
lumos

I'd been using granite chopping board which you can get from many supermarkets as a baking stone (after removing non-slip pads) for a while quite happily before I got Corderite one from a kiln manufacturer. You use it upside down, placing dough on  the unpolished side. (It doubled as my  pastry board, too, with the polished side up.)  I know many people in an UK-based baking forum use granite chopping boards for that purpose and, if I remember correctly, Richard Bertinet recommends granite as a good material for a baking stone, too.  

Occabeka's picture
Occabeka

lumos,


Just out of curiosity, how long does it take for the granite baking stone to be heated up sufficiently in order to bake your bread?


The reason I ask is because my first granite stone exploded in the oven when I put it in for the very first time. I had increased the temperature very slowly. Besides, it was black granite, which is supposed to be the least porous.


Occa

lumos's picture
lumos

I always put a stone in a cold oven when pre-heating it and have never had a problem of my granite one  cracking or exploding. As for the Corderite I'm expecting it to be even more robust, because it can withstand the heat of more than 500 degrees centigrade, according to the manufacturer.


I've never checked precise temperature of a stone with a thermometer but after 40 minutes or so, I find it's heated enough, but it may depends on how long your oven takes to reach a desired temperature.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

The porosity of "granite" varies hugely. Some granite makes excellent baking stones. Other granite threatens to explode all the time.


I remember reading somewhere you can test its suitability as a baking stone by putting a drop of water (or oil?) on it and measuring how long it takes to soak in (or of course you can simply avoid all "granite" entirely:-). Probably a websearch will turn up the details of how to perform such a test.


A likely choice is a piece of stone that was intended for use as part of a "granite counter top", as the seller is motivated to only use relatively non-porous stone for that purpose and as if they've used any sealer at all you can be sure it's non-toxic. 

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

I have used soapstone, very dense and heavy and commonly used as a hearthstone in fireplaces for its thermal properties.  Lots on the web and this site covering this.


It tends to take a long time to heat up - at least 90 minutes to reach about 550 degrees. This compares to an hour for my Fibrament stone.   The flip side is that hours later the stone retaines a huge amount of heat, at least 350 degrees F after two hours.   So very slow to heat and a long time to cool.  My piece is from a countertop and is 1 1/4" thick.  Can't comment on granite other than have read it is unsuitable for oven floors, so perhaps not the best choice


Use the search box and enter "soapstone" - plenty of posts on this and granite too...


Good luck!

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

The soapstone is an excellent material for this application.  At that thickness, it does take a long time to reach temperature.  I wish I had glommed onto the cutout section from the sink when my countertops were installed.


Paul