The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cordierite vs Fibrament baking stone

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Cordierite vs Fibrament baking stone

I have been baking bread on a baking steel...There is no question how evenly anything bakes on it..and that it is huge thermal bank.  Several cake layers, loaf pans, a large cookie sheet...For most part I am happy with it, it has improved my breads greatly.. But I 'think' something could be better.  Maybe it shoots too much heat in the first few mins to get burnt-ish or burnt bottom crusts.  This is great for pizza because pizza is done in a few mins...

I would like to get an baking stone, and see how that works, for me.  There are at least two 'good' quality ones I see on amazon:

Cordierite: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005IF2YOW/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

and 

Fibrament:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EXWTXVI/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I2LW3Y29CLVHLU&colid=3DQJ4KDP8NCFK&psc=1 

The advantages of cordierite are that it is quite a bit cheaper and lighter and it does not seem to have much negative reviews from breaking (from say impact or a splash of cold liq).  People are happy with it, lot of good reviews, but I don't know what they are comparing it to.  Any stone is better that no stone..But this could be a pretty good stone.  I wonder because it is light it does not hold heat that well?

Fibrament is much heavier, more expensive and issues with chipping and breaking come up...but the owners love it too.  I wonder why it is so much more expensive? Is it really better for breaking bread? Being very heavy, I think it will hold a good deal of heat, a more balanced amount for bread..? 

Can anyone comment from there experience?  What is a great baking stone to get, one that I can be happy with for many years?

Thank you so much!

 

 

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

I own baking stones and baking steels. For bread I always use the stone. I recently bought a Fibrement stone and I’m pleased with it. I chose to buy an oversized stone and have them cut it to the proper deminsions to fit my oven precisely. The cutting charge was very reasonable. I did this because I want to bake the longest baguettes possible for my oven. It wasn’t the cheapest route but it should last a life time.  I was very pleased with their customer service and their product is first class.

I know nothing about the other stone, but for the price it should be worth the money. But I can’t imagine that it would be as nice as the Fibrement. Either way, I think you’ll get your money’s worth.

Dan

Oh, you can use your steel either in the bottom of the oven or place on a shelf on top of your loaves as a heat sink.

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Thank you DanAyo!  I am leaning towards the Fibrement because of the size flexibility thing too and I think I will be happy. Its really not that expensive if it lasts and lasts and you love it every time you use it.  happy baking.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

I can't comment from experience, since I have not tested both,  but I have used cordierite and it works well for me.  The primary difference is in heat transfer - if you heat you metal pizza steel to 500, and a cordierite stone to 500, as well as the Fibrament to 500,  and then put a loaf of dough on it for 10 minutes, the one on steel would get very brown, the one on the cordierite would be less brown, and the one on fibrament would be the lightest in color.  In other words, the fibrament will conduct heat less efficiently.   Since they are both much less efficient than steel, I am not sure which you would prefer.    

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Thank you barryvabeach.  That is such a great piece of information. I didnt know there was that specific heat transfer gradient. If fibrament transfers heat the least then does it give the least oven spring? Actually, what I am asking is do you think so? 

MonkeyDaddy's picture
MonkeyDaddy

and I've noted that the bottoms of my loaves do not brown deeply.  Barry is right, the heat transfer is not as efficent as with steel.  However, because the stone is porous and absorbs moisture the bottom crust is nice and crisp despite the browning.  It also makes my pizza crust nice and crisp, too.

I'm glad to have seen Barry's comment, as I have often wondered about the comparison between the fibrament and cordierite products.  Barry, where did you find your data?

     --Mike

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Mike , there are tons of posts on the thermal properties of various materials on pizzamakingforum   ,  here is just one  https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=5645.0     The post i linked to suggests there is some debate on the issue, but there are many more recent threads and there is pretty universal agreement that cordierite is more conductive than fibrament.  Note that sometimes pizza makers want a stone with less conductive properties -  for example, in a wood fired oven that goes up to 900, some prefer a saputo stone since it transmits the heat less efficiently, and lowers the risk of a burnt bottom.  Other times, the oven does not go as high, and they want a more conductive material, and that is where steel shines. 

 

Katyanjini,  I haven't used fibrament, so I can't say how it would work, though as you note it is more expensive, and more subject to cracking than cordierite, so that is why I went went cordierite.  If you have a local pottery supplies house, you may find very thick,  1 inch thick, pieces fairly inexpensively, since shipping is a major cost.  It is sold as kiln shelving, and comes in rounds, squares, rectangles , etc.

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

I had a big fibrament stone in my oven at my previous place...it worked really well for pizza (especially when I hacked the oven to be able to run it on its cleaning cycle and still open the door...700F was easily achieved and I could load 2 pizzas at a time).  For bread I still prefer the combo cooker because of the steaming, but with the right roasting pan upside down on the fibrament stone, I think I could have done well too.

I now have a cordierite stone and a baking steel, and I really like the steel for pizza using the broiler method...but I use the combo cooker for bread.  I do get scorched bottom crust in the combo cooker if I don't put something on a shelf below as a heat shield, however.  I only use the cordierite as thermal mass for the oven.

katyajini's picture
katyajini

Thank you for all this info..especially the pizza forum.  

I just want to ask this question again, if it makes any sense to you.  As a surface conducts (transfers) heat more and more poorly then will there be less and less oven spring in the loaf? I may have this wrong but isn't it the huge amount of heat (within reason) transferred to the dough when it is placed on the stone that is responsible for most of the oven  spring?

Thank you again!