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Baking stone, why do you like yours?

Hello all

I've just used a baking stone for the first time, (bread) but am not too impressed with how they work.

I have a double wall over & used my usual heavy duty sheet pan in my top oven for two loaves, & used the baking stone in the lower oven for a single loaf.. The stone was put in the oven to preheat for 1 hr before baking the bread.
My oven temps are spot on as I check them regularly to make sure they are, so no problem there.

The bread in my top oven ( I used the convect option) baked up great as usual, nice golden crust, at the normal amount of baking time. The loaf in my lower oven ( bake option only ) on the baking stone, took 15 minutes longer to develope a nice golden crust and be fully baked, even though the oven temp of the lower oven is always set higher since it's bake option only. The loaf on the baking stone also burst out from the side where the dough meets with the stone. I have no idea why that happened?

I purchased two, 32 cm rectangular baking stones. I've read so much about them on blogs and baking sites such as this one, so thought I should get with it and join the baking stone lovers.

My stones are probably not the best on the market, ( they're made in China), but I wasn't about to pay more than the $30 each,plus tax, they were on sale for, since I'd never used one.

I know I should probably experiment with oven temps if I'm going to continue using the stones, but it almost seems like a waste of time even bothering with them, when my sheet pans have done the job so well.

I'm wondering if I might have pre-heated the stone too long? Then again, I'm also thinking no I didn't, because of the bread taking 15 minutes longer to bake than the bread in my top oven.

So, a question for all you baking stone lovers out there.. Clue me in on why I should be loving my new baking stones, but do not.

Thanks

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  1. Perhaps you don't love them yet because they are still 'new'. Wait until they are nicely seasoned. Your bread will bake up nicely, even the bottom

    Then you will love your baking stones.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pdxgastro

      I agree. I actually have 4 stones and they are all in different stages of seasoning. My GO TO stone is the first one I purchased and is very dark. This pizza stone is a very cheap one I picked up at a dept store for around 5 bux. I have several from Pampered Chef, but grab elcheapo most of the time. To season faster I would recommend getting some cheap canned biscuits like Grands or something. Or some make some cookies. 2 of mine are dedicated to cookies, but my pizza ones see everything from french fries to taco rings. & of course the occasional lazy day frozen pizza. The more they are used the more you will love them.

    2. I keep mine sitting in the lower rack of the oven 24/7/365. It's my belief that it helps keep the oven temp more stable. Eventually, after a decade sitting there, getting occasional use, it finally cracked in two.

      Best thing I like about its replacement, from Wilton, was that it was 1/2-off at a local store a couple of weeks ago. I paid $7.50 for it, a 15" diameter model.

      2 Replies
      1. re: RelishPDX

        Mine cracked also, and I still keep it in the oven. Its functionality has not changed

        1. re: RelishPDX

          My Wolf range repairman told me it was the reason it was taking my oven FOREVER to pre-heat to the proper temp when I complained. When I took it out, it got better.

          Yes, it helps regulate the interior temp while you are baking (especially), but unfortunately, using the stone in the oven wastes a lot of energy in the process.

        2. I have this Emile Henry pizza stone. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...&

          I bought it because I thought it would do wonders when cooking up frozen pizzas. I have it on the top shelf in the oven. I don't think it does anything. Perhaps these are only useful when making pizza from scratch?

          Perhaps I should just retire the stone to the lower rack to keep the oven temp more stable as one poster says?

          Also, I wasn't aware I was supposed to season my stone.

          1 Reply
          1. re: omotosando

            Omo, it's a passive seasoning, not an active seasoning. The stone develops a lovely brown patina after a while.

          2. Odd, I thought I'd get an update via email, that my question had been responded too, as I have in the past, but didn't. Has that changed with Chow?

            That aside, thanks for responding all.

            Questions.
            Seasoning the stones. Is there a certain step I should be doing beside baking on them?

            If cookies are baked on the stones as suggested, wouldn't the cookies leave an aftertaste on the stone itself, since the stone is only wiped down after use?

            So, the more I use the stones, the darker they'll get. I'm guessing that means a dark stone will bake a better loaf of bread than my brand new stones?

            This is probably my stupidest question, but, if I just left the stone in the oven without baking on it, just heating it up multiple times, will that season it faster, (thinking cast iron here) or am I way out in left field on that one?

            Thanks again

            1 Reply
            1. re: Joyfull

              The stones do not retain a cookie aftertaste. :o) Think of the high heat it can withstand, it can burn anything off. That said, you don't ever want to use dish soap to wash it, which it sounds like you already know.

              And yes, a dark stone bakes better than a new one. I think use is the only way to season them.

              Also Joyfull, if you click on your name on Chowhound, it will show a list of posts you started or replied to, and you can see if there are any new replies.

            2. Sorry seasoning isn't the correct word. I did not season mine like you would cast iron with grease or oil. They obtained the patina simply by baking on them. The only reason I keep 2 for cookies is simply my own experiment. I just wanted to see how long it will take. I have never had flavors cast off from the stones. I don't keep mine in the oven anymore because I bake a lot and use both racks frequently. When I only had one it lived in the oven. No room for 4. LOL. The bottoms of mine look nasty, but I enclosed them to show the color they started at. Just use the heck out of them for everything!! I hope you learn to love them!!

               
               
              1. We have been using Pampered Chef Baking Stones for years. We have a round and a rectangular. We have NOT tried any bread stones.

                We use the round stone to bake frozen pizza every saturday night. It is also used when we just want to bake frozen french fries. No need to turn the fries.

                We use the rectangular stone for chicken nuggets and french fries.

                We make sure we don't go over the recommended maximum temp.for the stone, and we evenly distribute the food because we have heard that if you leave part of the pan uncovered it might crack.

                We do NOT preheat our stones, but have heard that some call for preheating.

                1. Mine has lived in my oven for over 20 years. I never take it out even when i run the self-cleaning cycle. The reason I do this is that the stone helps to keep the temperature in my oven even. Electric oven's heating elements cycle on and off while baking. They reach the set temp and then stop and then when the temp lowers they turn back on again. Of course we do use it for bread baking and pizzas too.