The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Oven Tiles VS Pizza Stone

Moriah's picture

Oven Tiles VS Pizza Stone

I , like a lot of people am on a tight budget. I want to buy a pizza stone but I've read stories where people say they've bought their stones, tiles or bricks at Home Depot and they work just fine and are much less expensive. Does anyone have an recommendations or advice regarding this? 

xaipete's picture

I've owned a number of pizza stones over the years and had good results with them. However, I usually manage to break them sooner or later, and although they are quite useable broken (as long as they are in multiple pieces!), I eventually break down and get a nice new one. I much prefer the rectangle to the circle. Recently, I found out that not all stones are equal: some appear to be about 1" thick while the ordinary supermarket type is about 1/2" thick. Since I currently own a broken, thin one, I've been thinking about getting a new thick one. I've never used the unglazed quarries.


dtaffe's picture

I had also read about using quarry tiles, but my local home depot doesn't carry unglazed tiles. I may check with a local tile store (there is a granite quarry a few miles from my home with an associated tile store.)


LindyD's picture

The remark about buying unglazed tiles reminds me of a trip I made to a local Home Depot some time ago.  I was about to buy a box of such tiles for ten bucks -  until I started reading the fine print on the outside of the box. 

When I got to the warnings about the release of carcinogenic substances used in the manufacture, I put the box back on the shelf.  For me, spending another twenty bucks to buy a food safe baking stone was worth the peace of mind.

My only suggestion is that if you are going to buy any type of tile or stone that has not been specifically manufactured for baking and high temperatures, read the fine print and manufacturer's spec sheets first.

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

I have this stone from Williams Sonoma

It's about $40.00 USD not including shipping.  I have used it for about 9 years, and it has served me well so far.  It is 14" x 16".  I have yet to find a better stone that costs less...


xaipete's picture

How thick is this stone? Thanks, --Pamela

breadbakingbassplayer's picture

It's probably about 3/8" to 1/2" inch thick...  It's got some risers on the bottom of the stone so the entire stone does not rest on the rack...


xaipete's picture

Thanks, I'll check it out. --Pamela

xaipete's picture

I guess the food safety/food grade issue with respect to unglazed tiles has been in the back of my mind too. Wasn't there something a few years ago about lead in pottery? I don't know if that applies to unglazed stones though. --Pamela

davidm's picture

The flurry of concern about lead was with respect to glazes, rather that clay content. And it was (is) a legitimate issue, you want to be sure all your glazed pots are lead free.

Very few clays have a high natural lead content however, so unglazed wares should be fine from that standpoint.

There are a few folks around here who bake, indoors and out, on the unglazed saltillo tiles that can be had for about a dollar each in a 12 by 12 size. They break after a while, but at that price, hey, no big deal. They are hand made, about 3/4  of an inch thick, and sometimes you find a kid's handprint in the clay, or a cat's footprint. They dry them outside in the sun before firing and, you know, kids are kids, and cats are cats.

I like, and use, the williams sonoma style stone mentioned above.

sphealey's picture

Having worked for 5 years for a manufacturer of industrial and commercial refractory, and having some knowledge of the components of those materials, I can tell you that lead is the least of your worries.  Personally I don't cook on any refractory surface that isn't sold as food grade (or has an MSDS available).


Paddyscake's picture

This was one that Floyd suggested about 4 years ago. I have been using mine non stop since than and love it. It's on sale now for $29.95, $8.99 for shipping. Occasionally they have free shipping, but it comes out about the same price.

It's 14 x16 and 1/2" thick


LindyD's picture

That's the same stone I wound up buying - but about ten bucks cheaper now.

It's a nice, solid stone.

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

I have this stone, purchased in 2009.  It is still fine.  I leave it in the oven 24/7, on the bottom rack.  Depending on the oven you may want to move it up to a more center position - I had a really crappy oven for awhile that vented directly through the top of the stove through the rear burner and would not maintain oven temp over about 350 to 375F, hence the lower element was on just about 100% of the time for anything close to pizza-cooking temps - which superheated the stone, which cooked the crust way too fast and left the toppings barely warmed if I left it on the bottom rack.  However if your oven maintains temp alright you shouldn't need to move it.


EDIT:  Oh dear, a necrothread.  Oh well, LOL!

These are highly rated:

Dough Joe Pizza Tiles, set of 4

They are very well received by the people who use them.  The folks on pretty much deride them as allegedly "just $2 quarry tiles".  I can't answer to that, seeing as I've never been able to lay hands on any 3/4" thick unglazed quarry tiles locally.  I'd pay $33 for that, especially given I paid more than that for the thinner, if one piece, Old Stone Oven baking stone.  Ooops, $45 with shipping ...

Or there is the option of buying kiln shelving - new of course - though you will probably need to get it cut to size if you want bigger than 14x16.  Merely scraping your paddle along the surface is not going to give you cancer.  If kiln shelves could impart carcinogens to whatever you bake on them, it would be impossible to make food-safe ceramic bowls, mugs, etc.  Merely placing the greenware on the shelf and then firing it would turn every coffee cup in the land into a little cancer ladle if that were the case, LOL!

The Dough Joe tiles, btw, will make a surface of 12x18, which is just a tad narrow to my way of thinking.  Too bad you can't get a set of 6 - but possibly 18" width would not fit in most standard ovens anyway.  I've never measured my oven depth so I don't know.  19" won't, not sure about 18".

flournwater's picture

My Pizza Stone, approx. 12x15 inches, was a gift from my daugther.  It's about five years old, and it's been well used

but it's still in very good condition.  Because it's "seasoned" it is vertually impregnable and I find it to be so useful for all kinds of baking support functions that I wouldn't be without it.

I prefer the squared stone to the round variety because I don't always get the bread/pizza centered and it makes it easier for me to slide the pizze off the peel and onto the stone more accurately. 

It's on sale at the moment ( if you're looking to make a decision at this time.

I use it to maintain an even temperature range in the oven when I'm baking cakes, pies, or anything else; not just bread and pizza.

I originally considered using an unglazed tile or similar item from the local home improvement store but I don't know where it's been, whether it's safe to use for food items, and other issues so my daughter agreed that something specifically designed for the intended function was the better choice.

Moriah's picture

Thanks to everyone who responded to my questions regarding baking stones. I looked around and ended up ordering one from Breadtopia.

 It was really reasonable and a good size: $69.00 for a stone 15x20 and 3/4 of an inch thick. I really thought about the unglazed tiles at Home Depot but can't bring myself to buy one - too many variables as far as purity, etc.

Thanks again everyone!

janij's picture

I went to Dal Tile and bought a case of 4" unglazed quarry tiles for about $20.  I love them.  I have not had any break after at least a year.  But I have enough for the whole block.  I searched on line and called and they said these tiles had nothing in them to worry about.  There was a little glue on the bottom of them that we burned off before we put them in the oven.  I broke tons of pizza stones and just got sick of having them break or explode.  Plus I was too cheap to buy a good one.

rts306's picture

Did anyone ever consider how much electricity or gas is used when one heats the oven for 45 to 60 mins in order to preheat the pizza stone?....I would prob only make 1 to 2 pizza at a time and could not see wasting all that energy....I usu use pizza pans initially and then remove them to place pizzas directly on the oven racks to finish them.

flournwater's picture

I leave my baking stone in the oven continuously, unless I need to remove it temporarily for some other oven use (think large turkey) and it heats perfectly during the preheat cycle (which takes about ten to fifteen minutes on my range) getting ready for the bread.  I typically preheat it to fifty degrees above the "coasting" temperature for my bread so there's no serious heat loss when I introduce the oven cavity and the stone is plenty hot enough to carry the heat stabilization responsibility.

If you're preheating your oven 45 to 60 minutes to achieve 450 - 500 degrees I think you're about ready for a new range.

baltochef's picture

I have performed some informal tests on preheating my oven in which I always keep my 14.5" x 15.5" x 7/16" baking stone on the floor of the gas oven..Unless I am using it to bake a pizza or artisan breads, in which case it is moved up to a shelf so that heated air can circulate around the stone..

Ore Ida 1/2" square crinkle cut frozen french fries are generally recommended to be baked at 425F to 450F for anywhere from 13-17 minutes from a fully frozen state according to the package directions..

If I slide a carbon steel 1/4 sheet pan that is 1/2 full of french fries into an oven that has been pre-heated for 10 minutes (the generally recommended amount of time that recipes tell someone to pre-heat their oven), it will usually take from between 19-25 minutes to bake the frozen french fries to a state of crispness that one would expect to experience from a similar french fry that had been properly deep fried in a vat of 360F hot oil..

In order to get the results that are printed on the Ore Ida package, time and temperature wise, I need to preheat my oven for AT LEAST 20 minutes, NOT 10 minutes..And my oven is quite accurate as I test it yearly with a Taylor Professional Oven Test Thermometer..I know exactly where to set the dial in order to achieve a specific temperature..My oven bakes from between 15F-25F hot when set to a specific temperature..

If I slide that same carbon steel 1/4 sheet pan into a cold oven as soon as I hear the burner unit ignite from the pilot light when the oven's dial is turned on; it will generally take from between 35-45 minutes to bake the fully frozen french fries to a crisp state..

So, my informal tests have shown me repeatedly that I need to preheat the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes in order to achieve the best, and most consistent results..I save NO time, and INCREASE my gas costs by not pre-heating for long enough, or by not preheating at all..

It is my belief that many, if not most manufactured frozen foods absolutely REQUIRE a properly pre-heated oven in order to bake the food to the texture and doneness that the manufacturer has specified on the package..By putting frozen foods into a cold, or partially pre-heated oven, I believe that the baker is going to require longer than specified baking times in order to achieve the doneness and texture that they desire..Which, of course, costs more money to achieve..



baltochef's picture

My stone is 14.5" x 15.5" x 7/16" with corners that are barely rounded off..It has resided in one oven, or another, ever since it was purchased in 1998..Although it is not as dark from usage as some other member's stones, it has been heated and cooled several thousand times since I first purchased it..

It sits on the bottom of a gas oven to act as a heat sink whenever the oven is turned on to be used for ordinary baking chores..I believe that this usage has further evened out the hot and cold spots in this particular oven, which was already very even in the temperatures as measured in various places within the oven cavity..

When I desire to use it to bake artisan breads or pizza I simply move it up from its resting place on the floor of the oven to one of the shelves which is then positioned in one of the two lowest settings..

When it gets crusty I scrape it lightly with my bench scraper, or a square-nosed spatula (pancake turner)..Once or twice a year I scrub the cooled stone under hot running water with a clean scrub brush (no soaps!!), and place it on one of the shelves to dry from the heat of the oven's pilot light..

I do not consider that I have been particularly gentle in handling this stone..I am curious as to the reasons why others (Pamela??) have broken their stones..My stone cost me $14.95 plus $0.75 tax in 1998 at a local kitchen store in Ocean City, MD..It was by far the least expensive baking stone I could find to purchase, and was far less expensive than ANY of the mail order sources of the time (Baker's Catalog, Williams-Sonoma, Chef's Catalog, etc.)..

I would love to have a 15" x 21" x 1" baking stone to replace this one..With a stone that had 3-4 times the thermal mass of my current one I could bake back-to-back batches of breads without needing to wait as long as I currently do for the oven to come back to baking temperature..


flournwater's picture


The one pictured above as "Old Gold" looks like this now:

Victim of my having believed that I had it completely protected with parchment when I spritzed the baking bread with a mist of water.  Broke my heart.  I've replaced it.  But I'll never spritz again, no matter how well protected I think the stone might be.

Janknitz's picture

Aww, that is so sad!

I hate the whole water to steam thing.  It's dangerous to you, your oven, and your equipment. 

I am a big fan of covering the dough with a cheap foil roasting pan, a cheap (from Goodwill) roasting pan lid, or a cloche (also from Goodwill).  They all work beautifully with no risk.  Some people spritz the dough first (OUTSIDE the oven) before putting it under a lid, but for highly hydrated doughs, that is not even necessary.

I hope you have such good results and a long life with your new stone.   

RFMonaco's picture

I would find a ceramic shop and see if attaching with kiln cement and refiring at the cement recommended temp. would possibly make it usable again. Of course you can still use it as is, just placing the pieces together. Good Luck!

The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...

At a resonable price. They are made for baking breads.

rts306's picture

May I ask if you guys can smell a slight "burnt baked goods" odor when preheating your ovens with the stone inside?  I had scrubbed my sonoma stone with hard brushes several has the usual brown/black stains.  Any suggestion as to how to get rid of this smell? 

So as not to add too much more stains, I now use parchment papers at the beginning of baking then remove them toward the end.

Also, my other smaller, round pizza stone had been used before for heating frozen fried fish you can imagine, it had gotten greasy....any suggestion as to how to get rid of the grease?  slight fishy smell?


Thanks in advance for any tips!

highmtnpam's picture

I don't like tiles, because about one time out of eight I jiggle my peel wrong and the tiles separate a bit and then I have a  misshapen  loaf.  You can buy custom sized stones...they are great. If you are interested  in ca custom size, look on this link.  If you can't find them just send me a note and I will find this info.