The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pale Bread with Baking Stone?

SpoonandSparrow's picture

Pale Bread with Baking Stone?


I received an Old Stone Oven baking stone for Christmas. The pamphlet that came with it says its made from heat retaining clays.  I have used the stone periodically and every time I've used it my loaves seem to be lighter in color than expected, even when I bake to to fullest time given and check temp. They are baked through, its just the color that seems off and sometimes the crust is a bit soft.  I've baked a few breads from Rose B's Bread Bible where the breads are in the loaf pan, baked on the stone.  Then last night I tried the Rosemary bread from Local Breads book, the loaves are baked directly on the stone with parchment and should be a "dark caramel" color...well, they are pale gold, and soft outer crust (which I think is okay for these, its just they are so light in color). 

I am confused because I thought a baking stone would help the crust brown and bake evenly on the outside too, is this not the case?  Am I doing something wrong? Are there better types of stones than others for bread?  The pamphlet with my stone says that it can be used for "restaurant style" pizza, foccaccia and bread.I use this mainly for bread.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience.  


jcking's picture

Are you pre-heating the stone for at least one hour? Have you verified you oven temp is actual/correct. A higher oven temp may be your answer.

Temperature finishes the crust. Time finishes the crumb.


SpoonandSparrow's picture

I have not always been consistent with waiting a full hour for the pre-heat.  I pre-heat the oven and stone together, but I didn't think to add time to allow the stone to warm further even after the oven is pre-heated.  Thanks everyone, I'm going to keep trying.  Also, I know that my oven is at least 5 degrees off, but its been getting a lot of us lately, maybe its time to do some checking to find a trusty oven thermometer! 

dabrownman's picture

Depending on the stone, they take a long time to come up to temperature.  The minimum I use - once the oven beeps to say it is at temperature I then set the clock for another 20 minutes because the stone lags the oven temperature.  As a rule of thumb , 20 minutes is roughly the extra time it takes  for the stone to match the oven temp but depends on the stone.

I usually don't put tins on the stone.  They are just fine on the oven rack.  The stone is always on the bottom rack of the oven all the time even if I'm not using it - ala Alton Brown.    Keeps the oven temps more consistent.

Happy baking

hanseata's picture

I use unglazed terra cotta tiles as baking stone, and always preheat at least for 3/4 hour. If I bake on two tiers I use the stone as one tier, otherwise I have it near the bottom of my oven and use a rack in the middle.

The baking stone really helps keeping the temperature steady, especially if you have to open the door several times.

Happy baking


Ford's picture

I usually set the oven temperature about 15°F higher than the temperature I want and then allow an additional 20 minutes at this elevated temperature for the stone to heat.  I put the dough in and then I set the temperature back at the baking temperature.


dwfender's picture

How big is the stone that you are using? Does it cover most of the shelf? There is also convection of heat going on in your oven. If the stone is too big, heat can't distribute properly. 

jackie9999's picture

Are you covering your loaves?

I use an inexpensive 'pizza' stone and preheat oven to temp then plop the bread on and cover with a clay pot that has been preheating along with the stone. Gas is too expensive here to let the oven heat for an hour every time I bake a loaf of bread :)  I remove the lid after 15 minutes and it always browns up nicely.

Sadassa_Ulna's picture

I rotate my baguettes at a halfway point in the bake time because otherwise they do not darken evenly. I do it as quickly as possible and I just use my oven-mitt-covered hand because the loaves are solid enough to be picked up at that point. I also add a little more water to my steam pan (cast-iron skillet) at that point to get a crust that is really crackly.

You could try re-arranging your loaves once at a mid-point in baking?