May 23, 2012 - 11:02am
I have built a dome-shaped oven for my backyard kitchen and just deciding what material to buy for the actual cooking surface. I have heard alot about Fibrament-D baking stones, but also many people have mentioned that simply some fire bricks work very well.
Im concerned with three things
-good results (taste)
Please tell me whats best..
I can tell you a bit about firebrick, but not much about a fibrament stone.
Price - I paid $1.15 USD per brick for medium duty firebrick about two years ago. Price probably hasn't changed much.
Size and Weight - The brick's standard size is typically 9"x4.5"x2.5" and they weigh about 8 lbs per brick. If you are concerned about the weight, they do make a firebrick "split" which would be half the thickness (1.25") and half the weight.
Good Results (taste) - Yes, I get very good results from firebrick. I will stop short of making any recommendations without having more information about your oven.
Another option is to use kiln shelves. They are a quite often the best deal when it comes to cost (not sure how they compare to fire brick or the 'fire brick splits' mentioned above). I don't know all the types of kiln shelf materials that are out there, but the cordierite (CoreLite etc) type is food grade and works well ...and many places that sell kiln shelves will custom cut them to the size and shape that you want as well. No reason to go thicker than around 5/8" on them either. ...Just one more thing to consider. Oh yeah, don't buy used kiln shelves ...they are probably contaminated with non-food grade yuckies.
I kinda agree with Karl, but your original question doesn't give enough information to get a good answer. You say you've already built your oven, but give no information about the construction details. The ideal is to have the deck be pretty much the same thermal mass and insulation factor as the rest of the oven so it's neither hotter or colder than the rest of the oven during the cooking cycle. Not quite so important for fire-in cooking (e.g. pizza), but much more so for fire-out baking (e.g. bread). Usually the cooking surface is integral to the deck and is built before the walls and dome, but there's no reason you can't do it the other way around -- provided you planned for it and set your door height to allow for the higher deck. (The ratio of door height/oven ceiling height is pretty important for proper draw and heating.) If you did, that pretty much dictates your choice between brick and baking stone since the thickness will have been predetermined. As for the baking stone option, even unglazed clay tile will work fine over a decent deck, and will be cheaper. Also, if your deck already has sufficient thermal mass, the thickness of the cooking surface is less important from a mass standpoint.
Hope that helps.