The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Parchment paper on your baking stone - counter productive?

Breadhead's picture

Parchment paper on your baking stone - counter productive?

From what I have read, the biggest benefit of using a baking stone is a crustier loaf, which is due to the dry and porous surface of the stone. If you slide your dough onto the stone with parchment paper, wouldn't you negate the benefits of using the stone, since the PP would seal in moisture and shield the dough from the dry stone surface?



mrfrost's picture

Some doughs are so "wet" that it is all but impossible for many bakers to load the dough onto the stone any other way than to use parchment(or pan, etc).

Some doughs may be rather oily, and/or may contain other ingredients that may stain the stone, or just make a chore in cleaning the stone after the baking is done.

Similar situation as pizza. Many people just use parchment to load their pizza, rather than risk messing it up trying to slide it off the peel, onto the stone. Same with bread. For some doughs, it takes a certain level of experience, and skill. If you don't realize this now, you probably will when you handle a wet dough.

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

If you don't realize this now, you probably will when you handle a wet dough.

The word "probably" made me laugh out loud.

Oh, the catastrophes I've had trying to slide wet doughs and high-hydration pizzas off the peel.

"Well look at that! I seem to have missed the stone altogether. Quick, get the fire extinguisher, open the windows, man the smoke alarms!"


Parchment paper to the rescue.

Also, parchment can be removed (for most doughs) after about 10-15 minutes.

All at Sea's picture
All at Sea

... love it!

I would also love to see a compilation of all TFL's members'dough-loading mishaps. All that love and care and conscientious effort only to be foiled at the bitter end. Such exquisite cruelty!

And even with parchment things can go wrong - I've had one beautiful batch of dough skid so damn fast off the peel, it shot half off the back of the baking stone, impaling itself on the grid underneath the stone. End result a gorgeously risen but hideously surreally monster. Kind of Dali art meets dough ...

All at Sea

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

I know exactly what you mean by Dali art meets dough.

I usually get Dali loaves when the oven spring pushes the loaf off the front of the stone.


That's exactly what happened to my pizza: it shot completely off the back of the stone and down onto the bottom oven coil. With the oven at 550 F for 1 hour already, I'm suprised the ordeal didn't require the intervention of the fire department.

dablues's picture

I slide my bread on the stone with parchment and after steaming remove the parchment paper.  Bread comes out fine.  I forgot once to remove the paper and baked all the way to the end with the parchment paper, and the bread still was fine.  No problems.

Nickisafoodie's picture

Simply "No" is the answer.  LOL

hanseata's picture

I bake all my breads on parchment paper (through the whole bake). Never had a problem whatsoever with it. Sometimes, when I bake only one loaf, I slide it directly on the stone. Never noticed a difference, and I bake several loaves every week for sale.

I had my share of pizza sliding catastrophies, too. The filling landed in the oven, while the dough got stuck on the paddle.


Wild-Yeast's picture

The parchment paper is removed from underneath the loaves after steaming, they won't stick to the stone at this stage. Cleaning up a stone with a belt sander also works - after you find out that you should have used parchment paper...,


gary.turner's picture

If you leave the stone in the oven through the self-cleaning cycle, it will come out looking almost brand new.



Grenage's picture

I bake on parchment paper, and have no problems; I place parchment onto a tray, place that on the banneton, flip the whole lot, remove the banneton, and slide the parchment from the tray onto tho stone.  The paper normally comes out so roasted, that it crumbles if scrunched up.

hanseata's picture

I re-use my parchment papers several times until they get too brittle.


AnnaInMD's picture

Costco and it lasts well  2 years with 3x weekly baking. 


Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

I use the reusable teflon liners - I started with a Super Parchment and have since bought some Pan Pal liners from the Webstaurant store online.  The Pan Pal liners are a good deal heavier (and also cheaper), but my original Super Parchment is over a year old now and still going strong, though definitely showing signs of use.

I've cut them to size for my cake pans, my baking stone, and cookie sheets.  Love the stuff.  It turned pizza baking from a huge hassle to easy as pie.  Neither I nor my son could ever get the hang of the special nose twitch holding your mouth just right while praying to the baking gods to get a pizza off the paddle and into the oven (on the baking stone I mean, not splattered all over the back of the oven and the floor of the oven and the door ... LOL!).

And I don't care WHAT they say, corn meal does NOT act like little tiny ball bearings - at least not in my household, LOL!  It's just one more thing to stick to the paddle and the stone and burn like a mother.  I much prefer using the pan liners.

I usually pull it out after about 3 mins - you don't have to but I imagine it helps the liner last longer.

Since this is not a paper product it is not breathable, but the one time I forgot to pull it out and let the pizza bake all the way with the liner still in there, there may have been a barely detectable difference in the crispiness of the crust - but there may not have been either.  Either way, it's easy enough to pull it out after the dough has set up.

sandydog's picture

Teflon sheets are "Absolutely fabulous" and easy to use/remove mid bake if you wish - Well worth the money. The same material can be used to line the bottom of your oven which makes cleaning it a "Doddle" (Northern England slang for really easy)  Make sure you read the instructions though, so you get the ones safe up to 260/500 degrees C/F, suitable for us bread bakers.

Added benefit is (As Grenage noted above) no crumbly parchment paper bits on your kitchen floor after baking.

This is very convenient if it is you who have to clean the floor after you bake - but absolutely crucial if you leave the kitchen for someone else to tidy up after you (Not saying I do that - but I bet you catch my drift) - My senior domestic manager hates crumbs.


blacktom's picture

The real benefit of a baking stone is its thermal mass - materials like brick, stone and iron have high thermal mass, which means they absorb and store heat. When you put dough in pre-heated oven, the heat energy flows into the relatively cold dough, and will continue to do so until the temperature of the dough and the interior of the oven cavity have equalised. Problem is, the dough will absorb the heat more quickly than the heat source in your average oven can supply it.

Bread needs a large and continuous input of heat during the early stages of baking, when it is expanding most rapidly. If the heat drops off, the crust will begin to form before the interior of the loaf can expand to its maximum extent. As a result, oven spring is curtailed, and in the time it takes to bake the loaf right through the crust can be over-baked.

Because the stone stores heat, it can continue to supply heat to the dough even when the electrical element or gas burner is struggling to raise the temperature in the oven: the stone acts like a reservoir. The amount of heat the dough receives is maintained, and oven spring is maximised.

This benefit isn't to do with the porous nature of the stone (whether it's ceramic or actual stone) - it's an inherent property of the material. Using baking parchment, silicon liners or kitchen foil won't affect it. And, as others have pointed out, there are times when it's difficult to get by without it!


Moya Gray's picture
Moya Gray

Has anyone tried to bake dough on Silpain and then placing the Silpain on the heated to 500 F degrees stone?  The Silpain is oven proof to 500F but I'm unsure of its reaction to the direct heat contact with the stone.

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

I've had that stuff - and ended up throwing it away.  It gets this slimy sticky feeling after it's been used for awhile that nothing on this earth can remove, short of disolving the whole thing in a vat of acid.

Not to burst your bubble, but the stuff didn't work for me at all.  Also, it's much harder to handle than the teflon sheets, particularly as pertains to baking pizza on a stone.

Another serious (to me anyway) shortcoming is that you cannot cut the stuff to size - it's no longer foodsafe if you do, and might not be ovensafe anymore either.  At any rate the manufacturer sternly warns against doing so.

With just plain bread it might be ok-ish, but if you bake ANYTHING ELSE on it, it becomes noncleanable by any means.  You can't use it for cookies, and you CERTAINLY better not try using it under a pizza.

I prefer the teflon liners because I can use them for everything I ever bake.  I have a friend who even roasts veggies and even small steaks on the stuff, though that's not an "approved by the manufacturer" use for them.  She swears it works fine, so I guess it does.  It may shorten the total life span, but the stuff lasts so long anyway that I guess it might be worth it to some people, even if it does wear it out faster.

Some of it (it being the silpat type stuff) is only rated to 400F too, you have to be careful of what you actually end up with.  Like I said - bread, maybe ok - but I wouldn't use it for anything else.

Breadhead's picture

Thank you for the great explanation! You have furthered my understanding of the baking process.



Moya Gray's picture
Moya Gray

I have also noticed that the at has a funny feel to it - not quite slimy but off putting nevertheless.

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Yeah, it's kind of slimy and sticky both at the same time.  Really grossed me out, in a tactile sort of a way.

I know people who have them and say they like them, but they definitely put a crimp in my enthusiasm for baking.

JoeV's picture

who would have you believe that if you don't do something the way it has been done for 25, 50, 100 or even 200 years, that your end result will be an abysmal failure. BALONEY! I personally think they are sadists, and enjoy preying on newbies in this and every other sport/hobby/endeavor in life. They are miserable people who want you to be miserable with them either through failure or guilt of not performing up to THEIR standards and expectations. I see this form of elitism in my fly fishing hobby with the old timers who poo-poo the new materials and equipment that makes fly fishing easier to learn, and in my ham radio hobby with the old guard who thinks everyone should still be miserable by tapping out code on a paddle key instead of speaking into a microphone or using the new digital computer technologies for the hobby. If there is an easier/better way of doing things today, then by all means use it, as long as it does not affect the flavor or texture to YOUR liking. Cooking and baking is fun, as are any hobby you undertake, and there should not be any anxiety in doing so. Oh, and pray for those miserable elitist people, because they need it and it will drive them crazy knowing you are doing so. LOL

BLinn's picture

Teflon and Silpats have maximum temperatures! Teflon is horribly toxic and no Teflon cookware should be heated past 450-500 Deg F.!!!! One of the biggest clothing manufacturers just announced that they are eliminating all Teflon (also known as Gore-tex) from their products because it is so toxic to the environment. If it is so toxic in clothing - how toxic is it in your FOOD!?!  Also note:  Teflon never breaks down - all the teflon than has been made is still on the planet. 

Silpats are made from silicon and also should not be heated past certain temps.  I love them for cookies & scones.

I use parchment for my breads & pizza and keep promising myself that I will get so skilled that I won't need it eventually - but usually chicken out & use the parchment! I  wonder what they have put on the parchment paper - lots of paper has BPA (the stuff Canada banned from baby bottles) coating.

Note for you braver bakers:  Nancy Silverton's book points out that rice flour and white rye flour are much better than cornmeal for sliding bread off a peel. They both work much better than AP flour for me when I use bread baskets to shape loaves.

I totally agree that if a newer technology is better, we should use it!  BUT!  We shouldn't blindly accept all the stuff 'they' want to sell us for profit with no regard for the long term consequences. 


Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Teflon is safe unless heated to 650F.  It starts to outgas (in micro amounts) at above 650F.  Its unlikely to be noticeable to humans until about 750F.

I'm pretty sure none of us are baking at over 500F in our home ovens.  Even your stovetop cookware is not going to reach outgassing temperatures unless you've set your stove on fire, in which case you have a larger problem to be concerned about.

We shouldn't blindly fear all the things "they" tell us to fear either, as sometimes "they" are attempting to sell us stuff for profit also, LOL!