The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Deck Oven Question

albacore's picture
albacore

Deck Oven Question

In an electric deck oven with stones, are the bottom and top elements in direct contact with the underneath of the lower stone and the top of the upper stone?

Reason for asking is that my domestic oven has top and bottom heat and I wonder if I were to sit my bakestone directly on the floor of the oven, would it emulate the way a deck oven heats, at least at the bottom?

Lance

jbovenbread's picture
jbovenbread

I really cannot comment on commercial deck ovens as I have not had the opportunity to take one apart, however I believe that most if not all make use of large and thick firebrick that provide a stable baking temperature when the oven is at its operating temperature and have the bread / baking sheets placed directly on the stones.

If you are using a standard (thin) baking / pizza stone I would strongly suggest that you do NOT place this directly on the stove heating elements.  This could lead to the stone cracking from the sharp temperature differential created in the area in direct contact with the element and adjacent portions of the stone when heating is initiated.

Also, while you would get a more even heat with a baking stone placed on the bottom of the oven, you would lose the opportunity to have your bread baked directly on the stone, and from personal experience the benefits of doing this are noteworthy.  As well most  sources recommend placement of the the bread to be baked near the middle of the oven for best results.

If you want to go all out (in a limited way) you could buy thin firebrick (the ones 1" thick) and place them on the lowest rack of your oven ..... AND place a thin baking / pizza stone on the middle of the oven to bake on.  It would certainly provide you with more heat stabilization but would reduce the amount of oven space / flexibility is using the oven at the same time.

 

albacore's picture
albacore

Thank you - you make some good points. I think the problem with a domestic oven is that most people also need to use it for "normal" cooking. I would happily load up the base with 1" firebricks, but I'm mindful that the oven would then take an age to heat up for normal usage and use a lot more energy. And loading the firebricks every time I baked bread would be mighty tedious.

I did stumble across an interesting site about Rofcos and it looks like the bottom element is in direct contact with the stone. However the stone looks seriously thick and the guy says it gives hot spots!

Interestingly, it looks like the loaves are directly exposed to the top element - I've always kept the grill pan in place to stop burning.

So I might try sitting my 3/4" bakestone on the oven floor, but raised off it on some metal standoffs by about 3/4" and also I'll try direct exposure to the top element at the same time.

Lance

 

FueledByCoffee's picture
FueledByCoffee

Typically there is not a top stone in professional ovens.  Here is a link to a corny video on the MIWE condo line https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MggjZwTSmXY and you can see the top heating element. In fact I've burnt my hands on the top cleaning element while trying to clean the oven in the past.  As far as the bottom element goes I have never actually removed the stones but I assume there is some gap because in my experience there were no significant heat spots.I've seen some ovens in which the top heating element is covered with sheet metal that has venting holes in it but never a top stone.  Considering the bread would never actually touch the top stone I think the radiant heat directly from the element would be more effective than having it mitigated through a stone.  Also it would seem that if you needed to cut top heat to slow top bake that a stone may make this technique ineffective.  That being said I'm certainly not an expert in the thermal properties of different materials in relation to oven design...But again, on all the ovens I have worked with I have never seen a top stone...

albacore's picture
albacore

Thanks - very useful info. I'm starting to understand deck oven construction a little more now and it seems to me that if you put a thick bake stone on or nearly on the base of  a domestic oven with bottom and top heat then you have some good similarities with a deck oven with a 12" deck height.

I also reckon that nearly all the bottom elements must heat the air space below the bottom stone, because when you look at them, they are not true contact elements, they are the thin tubular variety of heater.

Nevertheless, I will initially play safe and sit the bakestone on 15mm standoffs.

I will give the new set up a try soon and report results!

Lance

Cliff's picture
Cliff

I got a large hunk of Aluminum Jig Plate  3/8" thick.  It was large enough that if I cut it in half I had a piece that would fully cover  each of my two racks..  My bottom rack on the floor has been serving as  my heat sink (thermal inertia device) with a large hunk of  cast iron and an aluminum pan filled with ceramic briquettes. 

The two hunks of jig plate are excellent thermal heat sinks too.  I can slide pizza on them with a peel and they  do a better job than anything I had prior tried.  Pizza was why I got them in the first place. 

I've  been baking bread on them also - - - - but  I recently encountered a woman who was trying to reduce the thickness of her bottom crust.  They will never break like  one of those stones

After considering  her issue I suggested  maybe she try a welder's fireproof kevlar blanket and a sil pat. The idea being to get the  dough off any conductive  heat source.  

albacore's picture
albacore

I'm pleased with the new setup as shown in the photo. Steam is injected via the nozzle you can just see on the left.

It is produced by my external steam generator, AKA pressure cooker! Current setting is 1.5min steam, 3.5min no steam, 1 min steam, 9min no steam, vent steam and bake for about 15mins more.

The bakestone is getting hotter with being nearer the element, but the loaf bottoms are crisp, not burnt, so that's OK! I don't think I'll drop the stone any lower, as it seems to be working well as is.

Lance

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Lance,  I don't see the nozzle on the left, but I do see two very nice looking loaves.  Congrats. 

albacore's picture
albacore

The nozzle is at the left edge of the picture, 3/4 way up. I guess position is not too critical, as long as it's not blasting onto the loaves or the door or light glass.

Lance