Reliable baking stone for home use

Hi,
I bake sourdough bread and pizza on a pizza stone in my home oven.
Recently, I bought a 1/2-inch round stone from a local store, but it
cracked after just a few months. Although my store replaced it, I am
now looking for a sturdier stone. I want something that I know will
last a very long time without needing to be replaced, and am
especially interested in products that are safe to use with a steam
pan.
Does anyone have any suggestions? I've searched Usenet archives and
facts going back several years, and I can't find a clear answer to
this specific question.
Thanks very much in advance.
Reply to
drei
I have been using a baking stone that I got at Williams-Sonoma for several years without any problems. I leave it in the oven during the cleaning cycle and it comes out almost like new.
Reply to
Vox Humana
On Tue, 23 Sep 2003 00:22:50 GMT, "Vox Humana" wrote:
OK, here's the problem. I had a stone that I used for a while, then tried it for pizza with a very high temperature (450+). It was fine at that temperature until I slid the raw pizza off of the peel onto the stone, closed the oven door, then heard a big crack :<
How do you use your stone? Do you go up to such high temps and then put cool dough on it?
Sue(tm) Lead me not into temptation... I can find it myself!
Reply to
Curly Sue
Good for you. Pizza in 8 minutes.
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, I bought a 1/2-inch round stone from a local store, but it>cracked after just a few months.> What else is new. :-$
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I want something that I know will>last a very long time without needing to be replaced, and am>especially interested in products that are safe to use with a steam >pan.> 10 year warranty is piece of mind. But you have to be carefull, no stone should be splashed hot with water. I don't use steam at all anymore, I hydrate the dough properly, 65 to 75 =
% liquid to flour proportions. If the dough brings the water, the oven is runnig at 500-550 F, no need=20 to steam.
You must not have searched much, I remember we covered that in depth in=20 news:rec.food.baking, a little while ago. But you are right, the tile recommendations from the Home Depot just=20 give you more grief.
Anyway, my baking agony was over as soon as the stone hit my doorsteps=20 and was baked in/on.
--=20 Sincerly,
C=3D=A6-)=A7 H. W. Hans Kuntze, CMC, S.g.K. (_o_)
formatting link
, snipped-for-privacy@cmcchef.com"Don't cry because it's over, Smile because it Happened"_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/=20
Reply to
H. W. Hans Kuntze
I've been using a large square baking stone from Williams-Sonoma for about 8 years. I heat the oven as high as it will go, put several cold loaves on it and then add boiling water to a pan in the oven. In the past I have sprayed the oven with water to create steam and I know that I had lots of over-spray on the stone. I've dropped the stone in my kitchen and while the stone suffered no damage, it cracked my tiled floor and gouged an appliance on the way down. I'm satisfied with it. Janet
Reply to
Janet Bostwick
That satisfies my requirements- thanks.
Sue(tm) Lead me not into temptation... I can find it myself!
Reply to
Curly Sue
I use unglazed terra cotta floor tiles set into a baking sheet with sides. Had the guy at the flooring shop cut the tiles to fit the sheet snugly. They're about 3/4" thick and take 25 minutes to fully heat to 450F with broiler and baking element working. For pizza, dry oven. For crusty breads, steam.
Glazed tiles aren't made to be food safe and might contain lead glazes. Best to stay away from them.
Some pizza stones are designed to be used starting from cold rather than to heat before using. The old Pampered Palate stones were like that. I still have one I was given in the early 90s. Dunno if they're still that way.
Pastorio
Reply to
Bob Pastorio
Hmh - I must be in a permanent grieving process about it then.
Guess I would be if a $ 60 item makes this typical noise and needs replacing..
Seriously ;-), there are several approaches to it and buying a more precious stone does not cross my mind in my way of handling the oven environment in particular since the heat storage by stone appears pretty low tech and improvements should be possible for example in employing a flat metal container serving as baking object carrier which is filled with a material having a phase change at maybe 350 F supplying immense heat storage and supply at that point normally unobtainable with a regular home oven and baking stones.
Anyone his/her own way - the original poster asked for the safe stone solution, but since you brought up my suspected unfortunate stone issue as a source of grieving, it is definitely not, I find it most entertaining.
In replying, I discovered that this thread is cross posted in three news groups - wow! The justification for a crack I find questionable.
Happy cracks!
Samartha
Reply to
Samartha Deva
in article snipped-for-privacy@news-server.nyc.rr.com, Curly Sue at on 22/9/03 6:52 pm:
I use a kiln shelf piece, preheat to 450 for 40 minutes and slide dough straight from the refrigerator onto it with no problems. Ellen
Reply to
Ellen Wickberg
On Tue, 23 Sep 2003 05:13:07 GMT
on 22/9/03 6:52 pm:
Unfortunately, a quality kiln shelf costs way more than a fibrament stone.
Reply to
Eric Jorgensen
I preheat the oven to the required temp (400-500F). The cool food goes on it and there have been no problems. I leave it in the oven 24/7 so it also gets cold or frozen pies placed on it along with roasting pans with cold meat. I have the rectangular stone from WS that fills the entire shelf of my oven.
Reply to
Vox Humana
snipped-for-privacy@posting.google.com...
OK, here's my suggestion. Forget the "stone" and the "steam"=20 altogether.
The idea behind the so-called baking "stone" is to deliver heat=20 quite rapidly to the doughloaf causing "oven push", which is a=20 supplementary rise, after a rise which is not quite completed=20 before the bake. The "stone" is a poor approximation to a hearth=20 in a masonry oven (or a deck in a deck oven), since (1) it is=20 typically quite thin and since (2) the superheated steam of the=20 masonry or deck oven is not available in home ovens, save a=20 modest amount of moisture from various nifty tricks (ice cubes,=20 water pans, "spritzing", pressure cooker trick, etc.). The superheated steam is a big factor in conditioning the surface of the dough and cooking the loaves very rapidly.
As was pointed out in this thread, the bread itself supplies a=20 modest amount of moisture, serving to keep its surface pliable=20 for oven rising, and, as has been previously discussed in other=20 threads, closing the damper or oven exhaust (electric only) can=20 effectively preserve some of the innate moisture. (With gas=20 you'd need to turn it off while the oven is closed.)
So, my suggestion is this: take the rise, or most of it anyway,=20 before starting the bake. Then you can forget the tricks that=20 are intended to facilitate rising in the oven. Just take the rise=20 before the dough goes into the oven. (Then you need to cut=20 the top a bit earlier in the rise so as to avoid deflating the=20 doughloaf, as it is quite fragile when fully risen.)
A considerable disadvantage of using baking "stones" is that=20 power or fuel is wasted by preheating the oven so as to get the=20 "stone" hot. So my suggestion is to forget the preheating as=20 well as the "stone". In the summer, if one does not use air=20 conditioning, that might be the difference between having and=20 not having home-baked bread in the summertime.
There is a prevalent belief that the crust can be improved by=20 having or introducing some moisture in the oven to start. I have=20 not been able to demonstrate that to my own satisfaction. It=20 seems most unlikely that steaming tricks are able to gel the=20 dough surface in the way that the superheated steam of commercial=20 and artisanal ovens does. That is where the thick, chewy crusts=20 of commercial and artisanal breads comes from, and quite possibly=20 the large holes in the crumb. Very few, if any, persons who=20 recommend oven steaming tricks seem to have comparatively tested=20 (with and without "steam") their "steaming" procedure.
Here (not for the first time) are pictures of bread cooked on a=20 tray rather than a stone, from a cold start:
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ain't exactly the holey grail, but it's not too bad! --=20 Dick Adams dot at bigfoot dot com
Reply to
Dick Adams
[...]
So sorry, Dick. Not only did you miss the boat on this one, you are not=20 even close to the station.
OK, forget about the steam, but never my baking stone. Your observation=20 just ain't true.
Unless you are trying to imitate Wonderbread.
--=20 Sincerly,
C=3D=A6-)=A7 H. W. Hans Kuntze, CMC, S.g.K. (_o_)
formatting link
, snipped-for-privacy@cmcchef.com"Don't cry because it's over, Smile because it Happened"_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/=20
Reply to
H. W. Hans Kuntze
Donno 'bout that Hans; I've experimented with a variety of stone/no-stone, spray/no-spray; hot start, cold start...and I hafta agree with Dick.
His descriptions and results seem to mirror my experiences as well. I found that a cold start on a simple metal plate thick enough to prevent scorching worked just as well as my efforts with a stone (except that a cold start on a stone requires extra care to ensure that the bottom gets done). My crusts are thick and chewy without added "water tricks"...but I do mist the loaf heavily (until it drips) before I slide it into my cold oven.
As always, with the unique individual variety we each bring to this task, you should keep in mind that YMMV.
Regards all, Dusty
[...]
So sorry, Dick. Not only did you miss the boat on this one, you are not even close to the station.
OK, forget about the steam, but never my baking stone. Your observation just ain't true.
Unless you are trying to imitate Wonderbread.
Reply to
Dusty
in article snipped-for-privacy@xmission.com, Eric Jorgensen at on 22/9/03 10:28 pm:
Mine didn't, it was part of a broken one. check it out! Ellen
Reply to
Ellen Wickberg
On Wed, 24 Sep 2003 02:21:06 GMT
on 22/9/03 10:28 pm: >
My friends who are into ceramics tell me that they pay about $130 for a shelf comparable to a $60 fibrament stone. And they keep the pieces when they break, never know when you're going to have to stack odd sized items in the kiln.
Reply to
Eric Jorgensen
Metaphor salad!
There are pictures of your results with you fat fancy slab, which puts you way ahead in this crowd.
But, Chief Chef, it seems to me the loaves you show are low and tight-grained. If you wanna be the Head Baker around here, you gotta show some holes in those kind of loaves. To create total amazement, a 4-pound holey country loaf would be good.
Do my loaves look like Wonderbread to you?
Under the pictures at
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say: "Just look at the pictures, there is brown and there is BROWN.=20 There is crisp and there is long lasting CRISP."
May it be deduced from that that the purpose of the expensive "stone" is to achieve BROWN and CRISP. Well, I suspect that=20 those properties can be obtained without any stone at all. Chewy crusts are more difficult.=20
Reply to
Dick Adams
Looks good to me too.
Is your oven gas or electric?
I've got an electric and have found that starting cold actually shortens my bake time by about 5 minutes relative to pre-heating the oven.
My theory is that this is because when you set an electric oven, the elements are on, full and steady for however long it takes to reach the set temperature. If the loaf is in there at that time it is being bathed with a steady 'blast' of radiant heat, like unto that in a well heated wood-fired brick oven.
I'm pretty sure this won't be the case with a gas oven.
Reply to
Carl West

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