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Large Rectangular Baking Stones?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am looking into purchasing a rectangular baking stone for making pizza and bread in my home oven. My oven is 16" x 22" and I'm looking for a stone that's close to those dimensions. I did a search online and came up with only one place that had larger than 14 x 16 (bakingstone.com) but they seemed a bit pricey.

Does anyone know of a good source for oversized stones?

Does anyone have any advice of what to look for in terms of thickness or material?
post #2 of 17
check your local restaurant supply house for used stones. Should be farily easy to find and not too expensive. You will have to cut to size though. 12x12 fire tiles are available from a place in l.a., earthstone ovens, but are not cheap.
I've also used cheap unglazed tiles from home depot, etc... in my oven. They tend to crack easily but ~$15 for a box of 10-12 will last you quite a while.

hth, danny
post #3 of 17
About 14 years ago I went to a local tile shop and bought 6 unglazed quarry tiles 1/2" thick for use as a Pizza/bread stone. I am still using them to this day. I think the ones you get from home depot are thinner than 1/2" and more prone to breaking. Also, at the tile shop you can get the tiles cut to fit exactly the space you want. You don't want to cover the entire surface of your oven rack because you need a space (about 2") all around to allow the heat to circulate in the oven. If you got enough tile cut to fit a half sheet pan, that would probably be enough.

Jock
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Those are great ideas, thanks. Regarding unglazed tiles - do you ever have any problems with the tiles shifting as you remove the pizza (or bread) from the peel?
post #5 of 17
Scott, no probs with tiles moving. Jock has got a great idea about placing tiles in a 1/2 sheet. Pull it when ya don't need it .
I placed tiles on the deck of my oven, but like jock said don't cover the entire surface, especially the vents on either side ;).
Now i use a 12x12 fire tile from the last place i worked at. It stays on the deck permanently and really helps when roasting etc... to radiate heat. Size is perfect for pizza or boules, baguettes are a little problematic. But hey it was free.


hth, danny
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have been reading that different "stone" materials have a different thermal conductivity. Apparently it's easy to get a stone that won't brown enough or one that will brown too easily. Are you two happy with the color you get from your tiles? What temperatures do you cook your pizzas at?
post #7 of 17
Scott, no problem with browning/carmelization on the cheapos i.ve used. Just preheat oven for at least 1/2 hr before baking. Make sure you sweep-clean the deck before baking so ya don't have burned bits of flour, cormeal, etc... stuck on the bottom of your product.
Temp wise for pizza i bake as high as the oven can go-period. At home thats maybe ~500 with the broiler door cracked and on broil. Restaurant gas pizza ovens should get you to about 600-650. Just remeber to spin the pizza 1/2 way through baking to promote even cooking. Depending on size, opening the door, and so on pizza's done in 5 min or less.

hth, danny
post #8 of 17
I get good color on my hearth breads and pizza. The tile I use has ridges on the back side (for the tile mortar) and they "lock" into the oven rack and don't move.

I second Danny's advice on keeping the stone clean, etc. I also agree on the baking temp - as high as the oven will go (in my case that's 550 degrees.) The crust is thin and the raw toppings are cut small/thin to cook in the short baking time (8 to 10 minutes.)

I want pizza now!!!

Jock
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks, you both have been very helpful. I'll keep an eye out for some good thick unglazed quarry tiles.
post #10 of 17
One more thing , those wooden pizza peels look cool, rustic, etc..
but they are too thick for turning and extracting product. Get a metal peel and it will help you keep your sanity;). Just hang the wood one somewhere for show.

danny
post #11 of 17

more sources

scott123,

Plenty of other sources for you.
post #12 of 17
I have used fire-brick from a local fireplace store that worked great. The bricks I used were 12x12x1.5 and I sawed them to fit perfectly. Serious thermal mass. Fire-brick are made to withstand repeated heating and cooling without crumbling. The ones I bought were not glazed, however with repeated use they were "seasoned and sealed up' with stuff that kept them from sticking, even after keeping it clean.
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
Reply
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
Reply
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Peachcreek, a fireplace store is a great idea. I made about 30 phone calls and found a place that sells fire tile about an hour away and it looks like that's where I'm headed. I'm curious about a few things. How long does it take to preheat your tiles? What kind of oven do you own(brand/gas or electric)? I was told by the sales rep at bakingstone.com that home ovens don't have enough BTUs to preheat stones any thicker than 3/4" in a reasonable amount of time (less than a half hour).

I'm also curious about what temperature you cook your pizzas at. Does the extra thickness give you enough thermal mass that you don't have to crank your oven to it's max?

Are your oven shelves sturdy?

Do you have any problems with shifting/sliding tiles?

And lastly, you mentioned "sawing" your tiles. I'm pretty good with my hands, but I've never worked with brick or ceramic tiles. Should I think about paying someone else to cut them to size?

Dano, I'm glad you mentioned the metal peel. I was pretty much sold on the aesthetics of the wood one.
post #14 of 17
I have used firebricks in an electric and gas oven. When I did it in a gas oven I put them right on the bottom. On an electric range I put them on the rack and put the rack on the lowest shelf. After that I only moved them when I had to. In a gas oven I was able to take out one rack and put pans, dough, etc right on the brick. In the electric once the bricks were on the rack I didn't try to move the rack as it does weigh a lot. And I never put a heavy item, like a turkey on the bricks. Also, the bricks were smaller than the bottom of the oven so the heat could circulate.
As for sawing and sizing, a friend of mine let me use an electric masonary saw that had a water bath to cool down the blade as it saws and makes for a very fine edge. It took all of a minute to cut each brick. If you are confident on the size you need cut, I would imagine the fireplace shop cutting them for free.
BTW- I preheat my oven for at least a half an hour before making a pizza,(right now in my current home oven I use a 16" pizza stone) and some cookbooks I have read say preheat for at least one hour, bricks or not.
As for the cooking temp- at least 450F and that is when the oven is well preheated. As for fire-bricks sliding, first they weigh enough that they stayed in place and since they were unglazed the bottoms were rough enough not to slide around.
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
Reply
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
Reply
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
I finally bought my 12 x 12 x 1.5 fire brick. The brick place where I bought it had it stored outside and it seems a little on the weathered side. Having never seen fire brick before I was curious, is it supposed to be so rough/porous? For some reason I was picturing something a lot smoother. It also has tiny little cracks (about 1/8" long) all over it. The cracks are only on the surface though (about 1/32" deep). There are no cracks on the surfaces of the sides that were cut today. I'm thinking about sanding it down to below the depth of the cracks.

Peachcreek, you had mentioned that after repeated use the brick became seasoned and sealed up. Doesn't your lengthy preheat cook off any seasoning the bricks might acquire? I definitely don't want to oil these, right? The oil will start smoking once they get hot enough.
post #16 of 17
No oil on the stone is correct. I didn't sand mine, but if I did I would rinse and thoroughly wire brush them after sanding to remove any grit.
I put cornmeal on the bottoms of my pizza to keep them from sticking and it was the cornmeal and stuff cooking on and burning off that eventually seasoned the bricks. I would brush off the excess with a bristle brush after making a pizza but unless you ardently clean the bricks after every use "seasoning happens".
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
Reply
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
Reply
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Peachcreek, are your bricks porous/rough? Mine are similar in surface to a cinder block. Is that normal? They also seem very soft and fragile. It almost feels like I could crumble them with my fingers. Is it safe to assume that they are made to take heat - not rough handling?
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