The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Just Used Unglazed Quarry Tile - but Not Natural Clay? Safe???

tdub154420's picture

Just Used Unglazed Quarry Tile - but Not Natural Clay? Safe???

Hi there, 

I have a question for anybody who knows much about Quarry Tile and its baking properties.  I just got some unglazed quarry tile that was cut in small thin strips so it could fit perfectly on my gas grill.  I planned to use this on my gas grill (which can reach 600F plus Temp) to cook pizza on.  It was hard to find the tile, but I finally found a bunch of backordered quarry tile at a tile outlet that was extremely cheap.  I just cooked 2 pizzas on my grill and it worked too good: the bottoms of both were completely burnt to a crisp.  Even so, me and my family still ate both pizzas.  

I'm posting this because after re examining the Unglazed Quarry Tile, I'm realizing that it may not be the safest tile to use.  The tile was unglazed, and I told the associate who helped me that I was using it for cooking and he thought it'd be ok.  The tile, however, is definitely not red clay.  In fact the clay used is a brown - dark brown swirl resembling the pattern found on hardwood flooring.  When I initially questioned the associate about this appearance, he assured me it was only the clay, but after eating both pizzas, I'm wondering if it was "natural" clay.  I wanted to know if this is a health concern at all, or if this in fact is a natural or unnatural clay that is safe to cook with.  



richkaimd's picture

Without knowing from the manufacturer what's in your tile, no one can answer your questions.  I, myself, doubt that, at the temperatures we use for baking, anything of harm could come out of the tiles in sufficient quantities to influence health.  I've been using unglazed quarry tiles for more than a decade without noticable ill effects.

FaithHope's picture

Why not use fire brick splits?  I've gotten several for all my neighbors!  You can use them in the oven, or on the grill.  You only need about 6 for a normal size oven.  Four side by side, and 2 perpendicular on the top!  Works great with pizza in the oven, preheated at 500 for an hour!  Fire brick is safe to use and cheap too!  You can find them at a local brick yard for around $.99!

Chuck's picture

I don't think brown (or swirled) is a problem in itself; although most clay is red, I expect not all of it is.

I do though understand very well why you're leery, as the brown swirled pattern may indicate something else. Just being "unglazed" isn't enough. If the sales description said anything at all about "sealed" or "coated" or "stain resistant" or "dyed" or "colored" or "artificial pattern", I'd have my doubts about baking on them.

(Maybe I'm just overly cynical, but my view of "sales associates" is they aren't usually as knowledgeable as they sound:-)

AnnaInMD's picture

and if I get too much cold water on the preheated tile and it breaks, I use the pieces for small stepping stones in the garden :)