The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking stone

HPoirot's picture

Baking stone

So i'm toying with the idea of getting a baking stone.

Can i just use an unseasoned cast iron pan?

Will i need to flour a baking stone/cast iron pan before use?

Should i use a parchment instead? Can i put a silpat directly on it?

I figured since i have the pan lying around, i might as well put it to good use.



hrunar's picture

I would suggest trying the cast iron pan first. The main difference between your home oven and a professional bakers', is the ability to create sufficient amounts of steam during the first 15-20 minutes of baking. This prevents the crust from setting too early, reducing so called "oven spring" of your breads. The cast iron pan (with a heavy lid on) will trap the steam present in the dough for as long as you keep the lid on, giving you the best oven spring possible at home. 

A baking stone will be of more use to you when baking pizza, which is not dependant on the steam creation. So do try that as well, but for breads I don't think it will give you the effects you're after.

I sprinkle my hot cast iron pan with a little semolina just before dumping the bread in, it doesn't color or burn as easily as plain white flour. (Course) rye flour would also be better than plain white.


aroma's picture

an unglazed terracotta dish with very good results.  It's nothing special - just a 10 inch terracotta flower pot dish (a new, clean one of course) which I seasoned with olive oil and it was very cheap.  I have tried it back-to-back with a Dutch Oven and the results were virtually identical in terms of crumb, and oven spring.  I have no trouble with dough sticking to the dish.  

I suppose we all have our own ways which we've tried and tested - each to their own.



ghazi's picture

If you can get some building bricks, they come very cheaply. About 3 or 4 however many to give you the right size for your bread works wonders. They get VERY hot and stay hot for whole 8 hours after baking

Steam is key for that lift.

Cast Iron pan is always good , cant go wrong


108 breads's picture
108 breads

I use a baking stone, sometimes with parchment paper for a wet dough, and a la cloche top to cover the dough and get the benefit of steam, as if baking in a small Roman oven. I take out the parchment paper about 10 to 15 minutes before removing the bread from the oven.

Lately, due to familial demand for oblong-shaped breads, I have been using either an oblong la cloche or a loaf pan covered with the top of an oblong la cloche. Just be careful to move the oven rack gently so the hot pre-heated la cloche top does not topple off of the loaf pan.

When using the oblong la cloche top and bottom, I keep the parchment paper in the whole time and the breads are just fine.

Two benefits of the oblong breads are reduced baking time and they are easier to cut than boules.

PetraR's picture

My family demands the oblong bread shape for the same reason :)

I find shaping a Boule much easier, I just can not do the batard and believe me, I watched Videos on Youtube MANY times. sighhh

I wonder, if I shape an Boule and than kind of roll it or form it ... hmmm

Any tips?

doughooker's picture

Dutch ovens work great for keeping steam in. You will get a face full of steam when you remove the lid. I recommend an aluminum dutch oven as aluminum is a better heat conductor than terra cotta or any ceramic material, even cast iron.

PetraR's picture

I had an Aluminium one in the beginning but my Le Creuset works much better, I do not see any difference to be honest.

I much prefer the Le Creuset because of the heavy nature of the pot and the lid, no steam will escape, I had that problem iwth the Aluminium one.


PetraR's picture

My Dutch Oven is like the Le Creuset, just cheaper, same Material , looks just like it just the knob on the top is also Iron.

I love love love it.

The Steam is great, the Bread rises great and , well, it is just a fantastic way to bake bread.

I used to do the Baking sheet baking with a bowl of Water in the Oven for steam and spraying Water in the Oven, but, why do it the hard way when it can be so easy.