The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking Stone Alternatives???

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Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Baking Stone Alternatives???

I am currently baking in my garage using a counter top oven that is too small to hold a 'conventional' store bought baking stone.

I have read many threads here where people recommend using un-glazed quarry tiles for baking stones due to the affordability of them and that they can be used in just about any size of oven.

I have gone to both Home Depot and Lowes in search of them and the only things that come close are marble and travertine.  Everything else is either ceramic or glazed tile.

Can travertine be used as a baking stone? Does it fall under the category of a quarry tile?  (I am not sure what the exact definition of quarry tile is other than material that is excavated out of a quarry......)  It is used extensively in building large objects :-) but I can't find anything that states that it will hold up to baking at high temps. without breaking.  

Any suggestions are appreciated!

Janet

Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

Go to home Dept/lowes...Buy some bricks...they hold heat GREAT and wrap em in tin foil.

If you are worried about the tin foil causing problems, bake on parchment to remove the reflectiveness.

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

baking trays (that came with the oven) upsidedown on the lowest position of the oven.  Just leave it there and slide parchment with dough onto it.

Zoologuy's picture
Zoologuy

Ace Hardware stores carry Fire Bricks that come six to a box and are made of a refractory material specifically for high temperature locations (fire places, wood fired ovens, etc.). If there's no Ace near you, they are available online. Pick-up at an Ace location will save the cost of shipping. At half the height of common bricks they will steal less of the vertical space inside your oven.    There is very little rounding of the edges of the bricks so they  form a continuous surface when laid out close together with minimal gaps or dips between them. Three will make a 9" x 13.5" rectangle with about a third more thermal mass than a 1/2 inch pizza stone that's 14" x 16".

 

(Rutland #604 FireBrick, Ace #4066171) $17.99 for six 9" x 4.5" x 1.25" bricks.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Thanks for the ideas.  The regular bricks would take up too much room.  My space in the oven I am using is very limited.

I am going to Ace tomorrow and will look into the firebricks but the thickness is a bit much.  I am looking for something about 1/2 inch thick as the spacing between the shelves in my mini oven is only 3".   (Are they considered food safe?)

When I bake on cookie sheets I get a different result than when I bake on my regular stone in my large kitchen oven.  While the cookie sheet heats up fine the oven spring is different and my baking stone provides a more even and consistent heat in my oven. I might have to resort to using them since they take up a lot less vertical space than regular or fire brick and I have several that will fit the space I am currently using.

Thanks again for the suggestions!

Janet

 

isand66's picture
isand66

Janet,

Go to this web page on Amazon and you will find exactly what you are looking for in baking stone tiles.

They even have one made to the size of a toaster/mini oven I believe.

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=baking+tiles&tag=mh0b-20&index=aps&hvadid=70270747&ref=pd_sl_75y9yr0gnp_b

 

Here is another link about using the unglazed tiles from Home Depot.

http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/diy-pizza-stone.htm

Toad.de.b's picture
Toad.de.b

Hi Janet

I bought a cheapo pizza stone at a Homegoods some time ago. It was cracked out of the box so I cut it back to rectangular with a wet tile saw (I now put it on the shelf below my 'real' baking stone and move it to one above the loaf when I remove my steam apparatus).  You can get one of these stones at Homegoods, TJs or even Sur la Table. Lowes has a wet saw for employees to cut a tile or two for customers. Smile sweetly and one will cut a pizza stone down for you esp at slow times (weekday evenings). Quarry tile is high temp fired clay. Not natural stone. Food safety on them?  Not sure. Travertine is natural and probably safe but is very soft. I've used them on sides and top of oven for thermal mass and had no problem. 

Sounds like you're in the throes of a kitchen remodel. Fun!

Good luck!  Lotsa solutions to your problem. 

Tom

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

quite carrying unglazed quarry tiles several years ago to force people to buy more expensive tiles, you can still get them in  12"x12"and 8"x8" at some specialty tile stores that import from Mexico - but not many.

Heidela123's picture
Heidela123

I am so sad to hear this and so glad I bough my box ( many many years ago #30 for $7 ) if you can find them they are wonderful!
Not one has broken and I ABUSE everything in my kitchen. Less preheat time and energy and faster cool down than bricks
I put two racks lined with quarry tiles in crank my oven up to a preheat as high as possible toss pizza on the bottom shelf of tiles ( they fit perfectly) ...It comes out perfectly! The results are I am able to make the pizza imprinted from the Providence RI pizzerias where I grew up

My loaves of bread also bakes very well ( when and if the baker is on her game that is )
sad news
I freaking hate hate hate box stores and feel a slave to them as the same time because of our work and life argh once a week I trudge in for crap we need so..I will check the local ones maybe there is some lost box sitting somewhere

This was a cheap and a great solution for home bakers ! I hope folks who want to try quarry tiles can find some!

blacktom's picture
blacktom

The stairs at the old Simpson's department store in London are made of travertine, I think, and they're very badly worn less than 80 years after the store opened. But I'd think it was ok for baking. Granite is a better material and you might get a  memorial mason or kitchen-worktop supplier to cut a piece to size for you.

Neil

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

WOW,

Thanks to all for these other ideas :-) 

Ian, I am amazed at what comes up on Amazon that I miss.  I did search there first thing but the large stone is what came up.  Never saw the smaller ones.  I am following the lead dabrownman had about searching at a tile speciality store but if that falls through  I just might do the Amazon ones as they are nice and small and versatile and I have a gift certificate burning a hole in my wallet for Amazon.  :-)

Dabrownman, hadn't thought of my speciality store.  Just gave them a call and the guy who helped me remodel our bathrooms last year is doing a search in the basement of their store to see what they have.  Never would have thought of that!  Thanks.

Tom, thanks for the definition of what a quarry tile is.  That helps when I ask people for them.  I have a friend who does remodeling for us and he has offered to cut anything down that I find if I can't get little ones to do the job.  He gets a loaf of bread from me weekly so is more than happy to help out BUT he is a busy man and the saw is big and heavy and needs to be set up etc so I don't want to impose upon him unless my attempts fail.

Neil, that is what I have read about travertine too so for now I am avoiding it for now.

Thanks again to all who have responded!

Janet

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Goodwill too.  I see the stones made for Mini Ovens (12 " round and square) there all the time for $4.99.  I keep trying to get them on $1 Thursdays but they are always purchased by someone else before then.  You don't have to be as cheap as I am :-)

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

I use flat aluminum bars that we extrude at work.  Perhaps a tour through Lowes or Home Depot will bring you to a selection of flat, thin aluminum slats you can cut to size.  Cut edges need to be sanded for safety reasons.

FF

barriehiebread's picture
barriehiebread

Good idea FF!  I was thinking along the lines of bar stock except maybe using steel, hold a bit more heat.

 

Barrie

PeterS's picture
PeterS

have flat stock decks. For home, a scap piece of steel would work fine. I just can't think of where one would find a 13-16" square 1/4" thick piece.

I use a couple of ceramic tiles, the heaviest ones that a Menards or Home Depot have that will fit in my oven, about 16" square. Much has been said about whether these are safe, but for baking bread, there is no issue: the bread is not going to extract anything out of these tiles even if there was something to be extracted. Only thing is that one has to be careful with is steaming an oven; no water on hot tiles as they will crack.

WishfulSpirit777's picture
WishfulSpirit777

Terra cotta planter saucer turned upside-down. They come in all kinds of sizes and it's good enough for Alton Brown, so it's good enough for me.