Two heads are better than one, so....

Bill44's picture

Just read on Teresa's blog where she has started using an oven stone on the top shelf of the oven as well as the one she bakes on.
I noticed the other day that the local "Reject Shop" has 300mm round ceramic pizza stones for $10.00, they were only about 12mm thick so I didn't buy one, but I might get one today and try it as a top stone.
This is sort of like a poor imitation of a brick oven idea.

261 users have voted.


Croc 2006 July 18

most reject shops should have those?

and boy what a bread, i will have to wipe the keyboard from my drool

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 July 18

Got my tile.


End of range.


Currently have tomorrow's bake in the fridge getting sour ... hopefully ... and about to take my new pasta roller for a run! Wish me luck because I plan to be having home-made pasta for dinner!

Croc 2006 July 18

ah the memories, your home made pasta ......mmmm this reminded me of something

if you got sweet tooth here is recipe
in short, you pour some boiling water over popy seeds than cook popy seeds on its own (without any water just having them weet) on very small fire so they sweat just keep stiring so it doesn't get burnt once the whole thing is steaming and there is no more watter at the bottom you stop then you mince it(on fine mesh) couple of times, you want to crash them till you see juce coming out of them.

then wallnuts, you burn by pouring boiling water over them and leave in this water for about a minute or two but not too long so they go too soft (now here the freaky thing, my mum used to peal the thin film of them by hand after that, crazy )

then raisens burn in boiling water for about minute

mix wallnuts with bit of honey than mix with everything else and add bit more honey to taste and mix in (don't over do the honey but you want to taste sweatness)

serve at room temperature, store in fridge

cup or two of popy seeds
wallnuts and risens are sort personal choice, i don't like risens too much so i put 1/4 cup of them and then 1/2-1cup of wallnuts

honey to taste

now this is how i do it but if someone want to play safe i can double check with my mum and get it too the dot.

Jeremy's picture
Jeremy 2006 July 10

Hi Bill,
There actually is something on the market like that, I can't remember what it is called but I am sure your gonna have something out there that will have us drooling!


Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 July 11

Well Bill McScrooge lashed out the princeley sum of $10.00 on a ceramic pizza stone, and it was well worth it.
One of the advantages of having a "Standard" bake is that if you wish to try a variation then it is very easy to see a difference. So today I did my standard 3 white, but with the addition of a top stone.
This is the oven setup, with the top rack perched on some egg rings to give me room for the loaf.

The next three shots show the loaves, two with a long slash and one with a modified vienna slash. You have all seen my standard loaves before so you will note the difference, remember they are made in the long bannetons not the round baskets.


Note the high spring in that last photo.

To bring things into perspective the sliced section of loaf in the following is 175mm (7inches) wide x 100mm (4inches) high.

You may not be able to tell from the pics but these loaves are larger than I normally get when using only a bottom stone. I feel that this is a multiplication of the advantage of using a baking stone, and I will try to put my feelings into words.

My oven is at least 26 years old and it's insulation is poor judging by the heat that escapes from it, and the rate at which the heating element cycles. Now heat in an oven is normally given by direct radiation from the element, when it's on, and some small radiation from the oven walls, as well as conducted heat from the hot air. When you use an oven stone you are getting a constant conducted heat to the bottom of a loaf, and those of you that are using a stone will know the difference from not using one.

In a single stone setup the top of the loaf is relying on conduction from the hot air in the oven for its heat source, and the air is not very good at doing it's job , as it is reliant on the air that has heated the loaf being replaced by new warm air, usually by convection, that is cold air falls hot air rises.

When you use a top stone you have a good solid source of radiant heat being applied to the top of your loaf. For an air/top stone comparison, imagine a brick fence with two vehicles approaching at 60Kph. One vehicle is a Mini Minor and the other is a Cement Truck, the temperature iis represented by the 60Kph. The Mini will do a bit of damage to the fence and then be stopped, the Cement Truck will go straight through the fence and most likely go through the house behind it too. This is because of the difference in "Kinetic Energy", the amount of stored energy. This is basically what is happening with the stone/air comparison, the air has bugger all stored heat energy and the stone has heaps of it. I noticed a greater span between the cycling of my element with the top stone in place.

So how does all this apply to the bread? Well you are getting a more even heat to the loaf which enables the whole loaf to cook more evenly. Instead of the top of the loaf cooking slower than the bottom, and the crust hardening fast relative to the cooking of the top, you are getting the top of the loaf cooking quicker and expanding before the crust hardening can impede it, and when you get the improved spring from the cold core caused by good heat from the top as well as the bottom, you end up with a much better loaf.

Another benefit is that the addition of the top stone has virtually eliminated the "Hot Spot" from my oven.

SWMBO has been mumbling about a new oven for a little while but, with the result of todays bake, I have a horrible feeling that a lousy $10.00 stone may have ruined my chances of getting one

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2006 July 11

Shoot! Not you too! There's a list of stuff in the house which needs to be replaced but HWKFT (He Who Keeps Fixing Things) kills my chances of doing so time and again.

Good thing you propped the top stone as high as possible, with that kind of spring, your breads need all the space it can get. Way to go, Bill!

COFFIN GIRL's picture
COFFIN GIRL 2006 July 11

I've had a pizza stone in my cupboard for ages - a present that rarely gets used - might dust off the cobwebs too!!!! My oven is probably the cheapest nastiest one ever to be put in a kitchen. We are in process of building new house with a new you-beauty-oven.... CANT WAIT but the stone will help. Thanks to birthday boy - many happy returns Bill xx hey what does SWMBO stand for??????

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 July 11

[quote="COFFIN GIRL"]
hey what does SWMBO stand for??????
She Who Must Be Obeyed.

northwestsourdough's picture
northwestsourdough 2006 July 11

Wonderful Bill!
That was a great treastise on oven heating. Sorry if you lose out on your new oven. You need to remind SWMBO that a poorly insulated oven will still lose money over the longhaul, and that money could have been better spent on a new oven! You bread is noticeably different. The crust had a better color and the oven spring is quite nice!
Can't wait to hear how the side bricks improve bread baking!

Jeremy's picture
Jeremy 2006 July 12

I hate the price too but I think that the purpose for the hearth is so that the top surface of the oven serves as the.... top of the oven and the sides and bottom send the heat to the top!



Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 July 15

So what size unglazed quarry tile would you all recommend?

Bill ... what size is the one in your oven?
Carol, as big as will fit, or you can get. Mines 305mm x 305mm.

SourYumMum's picture
SourYumMum 2006 July 16

Bill ... how thick is it?

In the photo it seems a bit thicker than the 10mm pizza stone. Are quarry tiles all the same thickness? I visited a few places yesterday with no luck.

I will post photos somewhere later of my glorious RETURN TO BAKING ... thanks to SourDom and his starter.

It's an ugly loaf, as usual, but glorious on the inside. Not proofed long enough as we were rushing out to dinner and it was my contribution ... but it was enjoyed and appreciated.

My oven is only 12 months old, fan-forced with top and bottom elements, but I expect adding a stone will help maintain heat substantially.


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