The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Slate paver as baking stone

kenaparsons's picture
March 28, 2006 - 7:41pm -- kenaparsons

Here's a solution I found while living in Vermont. I went to Long Acres in Lebanon, NH, looking for unglazed quarry tiles and instead came home w/ a $2, 22lb blue slate paver. It is almost 1 inch thick, sat on the bottom rack of my stove, and heats up (and retains heat) quite well. Much better than those 1/4 inch thick pizza round stones. Not to mention, I've heavily misted loaves before and this doesn't seem to think about cracking. The garden center had lots of sizes to choose from so I just measured the base of my oven and got one to fit. I now have an old gas Magic Chef stove, and it fits right on top of the metal plate which hold the heat element, so it works even better now. My oven spring and consistency of baking has improved a lot.


Pedro Pan's picture
Submitted by Pedro Pan on

Now that is a beautiful solution. I love the fact that it fits the oven so perfectly. And I love the look of natural stone--even if it is in your oven, why not look great? I have a Thermadore Professional 36' Stove and the slate would compliment it a lot more than the unglazed tiles set in a metal fram I use now!
And when you want to clean up the burn't flour, corn meal, etc you just sweep it out once it cools!
At 22 lbs, you just leave it in there all the time, right?
Here's a question: I wonder what the increased energy cost is in terms of extra gas used to preheat the oven every time you cook something?

kenaparsons's picture
Submitted by kenaparsons on

I never take it out. As far as I can tell, there is no increased time to preheat since I left a one inch gap all the way around so that the heat will quickly rise around it. In that case, the thermastat in the top goes up as usual and shuts off the same time as without the stone (as far as I can tell). May depend upon one's oven though. An electric one I was using before in an apartment took a little longer, but no painfully longer.

One thing I am beginning to notice is that if you rush the baking before it is thoroughly preheated, loaves on the outer side perimeters brown more quickly. I assume that is from the rapid heat rising around the stone as the oven continues to run at a more constant rate.

MommaLynn's picture
Submitted by MommaLynn on

I think this may be a great idea, but it may be a very bad one. Before you adopt any natural material such as stone as a cooking element, be aware that many contain toxins that are released by heat or through contact with liquids. You might want to find out about yours.