Author Topic: Soapstone vs Cordierite  (Read 14515 times)

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scott123

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2010, 06:12:18 AM »
Dave, I'm extremely NYcentric, but I have done a handful of 575 deg. soapstone 2.5 minute bakes that were solidly in the Neo-NY territory.  It wasn't quite leoparding, but it was close. If a 75 deg. difference produces comparable results between soapstone and cordierite, then, when comparing it to the less conductive traditional WFO firebrick hearth, you could be talking as high as a 150 degree drop. In other words, hearth-wise, 700 deg. soapstone could match the output of 850 deg. firebrick. Based upon my 575 2.5 min. bake, I'm quite confident this is the case.

Now, that's just the hearth, though.  As far as I can see, soapstone doesn't buy you much in terms of the radiative ability of a ceiling. It's not like you could go with a soapstone ceiling in a WFO and be able to lower the ceiling temp 150 degrees.


Offline Tampa

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2010, 01:23:34 PM »
Thanks Scott.  Iím still wanting to give ĹĒ soapstone a try in my rotisserie setup.  Our supplier, Creative, sent me a note saying it was in the works.

Iím not trying to get you out on a limb, but, does it seem reasonable that I could brown the bottom crust made of Caputo 00 at 700F on Soapstone vs 850F for Eggheads like Jackie Tran?  (No offense JT)

I get that the top and sides are a different problem, and I think Iíve got a way to handle that.  Iím just wondering if you think the bottom crust will look comparable.

Dave

scott123

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2010, 01:58:56 PM »
There's no limb here, Dave, the two would be identical.  Assuming, of course, my 150 projection is correct.  I reserve the right to be off 25 degrees in either direction  ;D

Not only would they blister and char in the exact same manner, but the barely perceptible contrasting absorption phenomenon that you've documented previously would be completely imperceptible.  I sincerely believe that as the baking time decreases, the phase change from water to steam occurs so quickly that absorption becomes even less of a factor- this is why you can find cast iron bakes with very Neapolitan-ish looking bottoms.

Offline Tampa

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2010, 02:30:29 PM »
This should be fun then.  I'm looking forward to giving it a go.  I'll post up when I've got some results - but expect a week or two given the custom stone, some fitting, and I need to get some 00.

Dave

Offline Bobino414

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2010, 03:33:41 PM »

Dave

Feel free to finish my bag of Caputo

Bob

Offline Ev

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #30 on: August 23, 2010, 06:13:16 PM »
I used Norma's extra soapstone in my home oven last week. I baked four pies for my neighbor but I was trying to hurry, so I didn't take any notes or photos. I can say though, that seemed to cook about the same as my 16" cord. stone. The upside, as previously noted, was the extra ease of launching a 17" pie.
 Norma had asked me to cut the stone to better fit her oven. The stone is now 19"x14". The cut off piece is 3.5x14. I was able to use both pieces together, giving me a cooking surface 19x17.5, with two short corners. ( the cut piece is only 14" long)
 While each pie cooked, I dressed the next, and was able to cook all four pies non stop. I noticed no appreciable loss of heat from pie to pie.
 I'll conduct a proper experiment soon and report my findings and photos.

Offline Tampa

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #31 on: August 24, 2010, 08:45:08 AM »
Thanks for the post Ev.  I'm looking forward to your next report.  Of course I took particular interest that this and the cordierite stone cooked about the same (except for the residual heat).  That is what Bob said with his soapstone.  To me it is no surprise that different bakers report different results.
Dave

Offline norma427

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #32 on: August 24, 2010, 09:51:43 PM »
Thanks for the post Ev.  I'm looking forward to your next report.  Of course I took particular interest that this and the cordierite stone cooked about the same (except for the residual heat).  That is what Bob said with his soapstone.  To me it is no surprise that different bakers report different results.
Dave

Tampa,

Steve and I tried the soapstone out at market today in the 1/4 size convection oven.  I will post the pictures tomorrow, but the pie didn't bake any different with soapstone today. We even left the oven on with the convection feature on for over 2 hours.  The temperature of the soapstone when we did the bake was 520 degrees F.  The soapstone was 3 inches from the top of the oven and the whole inside of that oven is stainless steel.

Norma


Offline norma427

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #33 on: August 25, 2010, 07:12:43 AM »
These are the pictures from the small pie Steve and I baked in the 1/4 size convection oven yesterday.  As I said in my last post, we let the oven heat up for well over two hours and the pie was baked fairly close to the top of the oven.  This small dough ball we used was a preferment Lehmann dough ball.  We didnít have time to take consistent temperatures for how long this soapstone took to preheat, but we did monitor it some and it took well over an hour and a half for the temperatures on the top of the soapstone to slowly come up in temperature.  This was even with the convection feature on all the while.

We had a loading mishap, because we didnít have time to make a peel out of a pizza box, like Steve did the last time.  We just decided to use a paper plate to load the pie.  Well, that was a disaster.  It wanted to stick on the stone, before it was fully loaded.  It can see by this pictures that this pie didnít bake any different or less better than in the deck oven on the stone.  In the next experiment we will use a proper way to load a pie.

From the few experiments Steve and I did so far, (him in his home oven with a soapstone, me at home using a soapstone and the two experiments in the 1/4 size convection oven) that the bottom of the crust gets a lighter or different color from using the soapstone.  More experiments will follow to see if this stays the same, when using soapstone.

Pictures below,

Norma
« Last Edit: August 25, 2010, 07:18:29 AM by norma427 »


Offline norma427

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #34 on: August 25, 2010, 07:13:33 AM »
rest of pictures

Norma

Offline Tampa

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #35 on: August 25, 2010, 07:23:30 AM »
Quote
From the few experiments Steve and I did so far, (him in his home oven with a soapstone, me at home using a soapstone and the two experiments in the 1/4 size convection oven) that the bottom of the crust gets a lighter or different color from using the soapstone.

Thanks Norma.  If you get more data to support this and/or develop an opinion about soapstone using lower cooking temperatures compared to cordierite, please share.

Dave

Offline norma427

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #36 on: August 25, 2010, 07:35:35 AM »
Thanks Norma.  If you get more data to support this and/or develop an opinion about soapstone using lower cooking temperatures compared to cordierite, please share.

Dave

Dave,

Steve and I will keep experimenting with the different pieces of soapstone to see what happens.  His home oven can get to higher temperatures than my home oven.  So far I like the cordierite stone better, but time will tell how well a soapstone does, when used in different settings.  I haven't tried the soapstone in my BBQ grill set-up, so when I have time to do that, it should be interesting.

Norma

Offline norma427

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #37 on: August 30, 2010, 08:44:11 AM »
I made a pizza on a small piece of soapstone last evening in the BBQ grill set-up.  I wished I had my IR gun at home to measure the temperature of the soapstone.  It seems when there is a higher bake temperature the soapstone does work out well.  Someday, I will place the small soapstone on top of my cordierite stone in my market deck oven.  I will let it there most of the day and also bake a pizza that way, to see if the soapstone acts different in my deck oven.

Pictures below of pizza made on soapstone in BBQ grill set-up.

Norma

Offline Tampa

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #38 on: August 31, 2010, 07:17:34 PM »
I picked up a ĹĒ thin soapstone from Joshua at Creative Soapstone earlier today.  Below are the results from the first pizza.

I was not able to validate the idea that I can bake at a lower temperature on Soapstone than on Cordierite and get the same results.  I was hoping to throw the pizza at 625F, but by the time the pizza was ready, the stone had already reached 685F and I was hungry.  So I threw at a typical cordierite temperature and the result was very similar to what I would have expected on Cordierite (although the bottom crust may have been a bit more crispy, which we like).

At the risk of predicting too much based on the first pie, I have the following comments to share.  Iím sure this soapstone is going to crack in my setup.  Why?  Three reasons: my grill burners causes a fast temperature ramp, this is a thin stone, and stress concentrations.  One stress concentration is due to the irregular underside profile (the bottom center area is a little thicker just like the cordierite stone).  The other stress is caused by my rotisserie setup, where the center disk-shaped area is supported but the outer rim (~6Ē) is unsupported.

You may remember that I had a thick slab of soapstone to begin with and wasnít happy with the lengthy warm up time.  Creative made me this thin version for a nominal fee.  When I met up with Joshua, he offered to cut my slab (with a router using a diamond bit) so Iíd have a back up stone.  He also offered to make this slab a little thicker than the other one so I could which I preferred.  Joshua knows customer service!  It turns out that as he started work on the slab, Joshua noticed a long crack already present.  He said, it must have been a defect.  I think probably not.  I think that when I heated that slab up to 700F in that one and only test, the thermal shock caused the crack.  If so, Iím toast on this new thin one.  Weíll see, but Iíll enjoy the thin soapstone as long as it lasts.

By the way, it seems much easier to get an incorrect thermal reading on soapstone than on cordierite.  In my environment, the IR thermometer reflects off the somewhat shiny surface onto the back wall.  Only by measuring almost perpendicular to the stone, was I able to get a correct thermal reading.

Dave

Offline Bobino414

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #39 on: August 31, 2010, 10:14:39 PM »

Dave

At least the soapstone looks pretty !

Oh by the way, leave the bacon at home next week. :-D


Bob

Offline norma427

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #40 on: August 31, 2010, 10:20:54 PM »
Dave,

Your pizza looks delicious!  ;D

Norma

Offline Tampa

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #41 on: September 01, 2010, 01:48:11 PM »
I went out this AM and took another look at that beautiful soapstone all cooled down.  Everything looked perfect.

Unfortunately looks aren't everything.  The crack test is pour a little water on the top, wipe it off, turn the stone over and look for wet lines.  One such line appears in the photo below.  Bugger.

Given I'm half-smart and know that most cracks tend to grow because the endpoint is a high stress concentration area, I'll probably try drilling a very small hole to see if I can "save" the stone.  This is an old time trick on car windshields so ovens are the same, right?

FWIIW, I think cracks are a necessary part of life for soapstone bakers.  It's not a problem where the bottom of the stone is supported in some way - e.g. sitting on an oven rack.  But in my rotisserie, I'm probably better off with that reliable cordierite stone that has survived hundreds of hot/cold cycles already with nary a scratch.

Forum member jgame also has a rotisserie pizza grill setup, but his design incorporates a circular wire frame setup from a weber-style grill.  If someone wants to venture into the soapstone baking environment, I'd advise supporting the stone.  I've seen some soapstone slabs cut exactly to fit the width of an oven without secondary support, and if/when that cracks, there could be a nasty noise in the oven.  Sure it could cause damage to the oven, but think about the damage to the pizza...


Offline Frank99ta

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #42 on: September 01, 2010, 11:07:13 PM »
I've been making pizza at home for over 10 years and have started experimenting with my gas grill for the last few years.  I recently bought a new grill that has the rotisserie infared burner on the back.  I have never used the soapstone, only the cord.  I use a basic 15 inch round stone.   I have found 2 methods that have helped cook the top and the bottom evenly.  First method:  I put the dough directly on the stone with the infared burner on low and rotate the pizza every 45 to 60 seconds 1/4 turn until the pizza is done.  Second method:  I put the pizza on a screen and then put it on the stone.  The screen seems to slow the cooking process, which in turn gives the top longer time to cook.  This way, I don't need the infared burner.  Once the top is almost done, I pull out the screen and brown the bottom as dark as I like.  I've found method 2 to be more consistant, but both work very well.  I have a grill I bought from Lowes, nothing too fancy.  Another method I use to use prior to my new grill because my old grill just wouldn't heat up as well worked very well.  I had a round 14 inch stone on top of the grill surface.   I bought some beer chicken stands they sell for the grill.  Next, I placed them on the  corners of my round stone and rested a square 16  inch stone on top.  Then, I would slide the pizza between the 2 stones for about 4 minutes.   Thanks for everyone for sharing their info.  I am also in the process of finding a new stone for my grill because this one cracked as well.  They all seem to crack, so I was thinking about the fibramat because it comes with a warranty.  After reading some posts, I might have to look into some firebrick also. 

Offline Tampa

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #43 on: September 02, 2010, 08:33:20 AM »
Hi Frank,

I see that you have been making pizza for many years but donít author many posts.  Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Iím not sure what you mean by ďonly the cordĒ.  If you mean cordierite, many folks use this with great success, although the commercial stones (~1/2Ē thick) tend to hold up much better than the thin ones at local retailers like Target.

Given weíre both using a grill equipped with an IR burner, you may be interested in seeing pictures & results from my setup. http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,10241.0.html

Dave

Offline Frank99ta

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #44 on: September 02, 2010, 11:59:01 PM »
Yeah, I've been reading the forum for a while but never posted.  I love what you did with your grill, but I'm trying not to use the infared burner.  Unless my stone would rotate on its own, its a bit of a hassle rotating the pizza every 40 to 60 seconds.  The screen seems to work better for me and cooks the top more evenly.  The infared seemed to cause darker areas because I could rotate it evenly.  But, as long as it tastes good in the end, that's all that matters.  I, like you, am a pizza junkie.  I make pizza 1 to 2 times a week and eat pizza out probably at least once a week.  Basically, as much pizza as my wife will allow us to eat.  I have a wonderful supportive wife.   

Offline Tampa

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #45 on: September 03, 2010, 10:38:31 AM »
Thanks for the note Frank.  If you do decide to use the rotisserie motor, it doesnít take much work as long as you are a little handy with tools.  It seems daunting at first, but on most barbeque setups, there is plenty of free space between burners.  A small hole (~3/8Ē) for the stainless shaft and you are good to go.

It sounds like we eat about the same amount of pizza, although I donít go out much anymore (for pizza).  Pete Taylorís Wood Fired Pizza is great, but it is a bit of a drive for us.  Otherwise, I like what we make better.

Back to the soapstone.  I drilled the stress relief hole yesterday.  Let's see if the stone survives tonight's pie.

Dave

Offline Frank99ta

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #46 on: September 04, 2010, 11:22:39 PM »
There are pizza places about on every corner where I'm at and I drive about 30 minutes to the one place that has about the only pizza I will eat.  My wife loves mine more than going out, but I still like to go to my favorite pizza joint.  Once you start cooking pizza at home and cook it well, you realize how crappy most of the pizza places really are.  Good luck with you stone..

Offline Tampa

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #47 on: September 05, 2010, 06:01:30 PM »
Iíve run a bunch of tests on the ĹĒ thin soapstone in my grill setup (same thickness as the original cordierite stone).  The pictures below show the results.  The first pictures are Kyrol flour at 62% hydration with a spoon of molasses cooked on soapstone five minutes with an initial throw temperature of 620F.  The second set of pictures is King Arthur Bread Flour, all else the same except 600F throw temperature.  After kneading the bench rise was about six hours for each flour (I like active yeast).

A few key learnings.  First 62% hydration on KABF is really wet and hard to manage.  The extra hydration is nice for oven spring, especially on the crumb, but I found it difficult to get our desired thickness in the center of the pie.  The leoparding on the underside of the Kyrol was better at 620F than the KABF at 600F.

I still donít know what to write about the soapstone.  In a 15 minute warm up with both top and bottom burners on high, the soapstone heats to 600F and the cordierite heats to 700F.  But as Scott123 has said, the soapstone seems to cook well at the lower temperature.  Iíve still got some learning to do on the soapstone because I tend to cook the pie another minute or so but have to turn down the upper rotisserie burner to avoid overcooking the cheese.  The result, when it works is a nice crispy underside crust.

So far, Iíve drilled three stress-relief holes in the soapstone to stem the propagation of cracks.  Hopefully that is it for a while.  The good news is that the holes are done with a standard 1/8Ē bit and soapstone is easier to drill than hardwood.  Iíd give the odds about 50/50 that a crack finds its way to the other side and half the stone falls onto the burner below.  In the meantime, letís eat pizza!

Offline Mick.Chicago

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #48 on: September 06, 2010, 09:28:35 AM »
Nice Pies

Are the edges brushed with olive oil?

Offline Tampa

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Re: Soapstone vs Cordierite
« Reply #49 on: September 06, 2010, 12:58:27 PM »
Thanks Mick.  Yep.  We are still using the "Mellow Mushroom" clone recipe which includes about a tablespoon of molassas per dough (note the darker crumb), and garlic butter painted around the rim with a sprinkle of parm.  I recently started substituting EVOO for butter (but kept the garlic and parm) hoping for a long life and more years of pizza.
Dave


 

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