Author Topic: Cracked pizza stone  (Read 31367 times)

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Offline Ronzo

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Cracked pizza stone
« on: June 13, 2005, 08:18:09 PM »
Well, the other night I was had decided to cheat my way through half of the pizza making process and I used some really good store bought flat bread to make some personal sized pizzas for my wife and I.



I used my pizza stone that I purchased about 3 years ago and have used maybe 5 times since I bought it (I'm new to the pizza obsession).

I put the pizza stone in the oven (middle rack area) and set the oven temp to 500 - it's electric. I alternated between broil and bake for about an hour so the stone got nice and hot.

I laid all my sauce and cheese on the flatbread.

Put the flatbread in the oven.

After a few minutes on bake, I set it to broil.

As the pizza was getting happy, I heard a funny noise form inside the oven.

I looked inside, and lo and behold... the stone has split into two pieces.




Anyone have this happen before?

If I get another stone, is this something I'm going to have to worry about?

Fuggheddabowdit!

~ Ron

Former NY'er living in Texas
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Offline gully_foyle

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2005, 09:21:06 PM »
I cracked my first circular pizza stone after about a year's worth of use. I realized after it cracked that I had put it on something too cold when it was still very hot.

Any great temperature change may cause a pizza stone to crack. Now, I'm almost paranoid about not subjecting my stones to any big temperature changes. I have two stones now and have been using them for several years without a hitch.

I either leave the stone in the oven when I'm done to let it cool there or if I take it out (rarely) I set it on some heat resistant surface.

Also, cold to hot can be bad: I've heard of people setting cold pizza stones on hot stove burners and having them crack.

Lastly, its my understanding that the stone should simply sit in the oven until it reaches a nice hot temperature.  You describe alternating between 'broil' and 'bake' with your electric oven. It is possible that may have caused one side or the other of your stone to get quite a bit hotter than the other side resulting in that CRACKING sound...

Offline Ronzo

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2005, 09:23:17 PM »
Lastly, its my understanding that the stone should simply sit in the oven until it reaches a nice hot temperature.  You describe alternating between 'broil' and 'bake' with your electric oven. It is possible that may have caused one side or the other of your stone to get quite a bit hotter than the other side resulting in that CRACKING sound...
That may be the cause.


I let it get up to temperature in the oven, so the cold/hot thing isn't the reason.
Fuggheddabowdit!

~ Ron

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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2005, 11:06:16 PM »
nytxn,

The first stone I had cracked for no apparent reason. But it was a thin, cheap stone. I replaced it several years ago with one that is about 3/4-inch thick, and since then added a second stone (from Fibrament) that is also 3/4-inch thick. I switch between oven heat and broiler all the time, even when one of the stones in on the rack just below the broiler, and have had no problems doing this. It's thermal shock (going from hot to cold, or visa versa, or putting hot on cold, or visa versa) that usually causes cracking, but sometimes the reason isn't readily apparent. It's best to get a really good stone. And, while you are at it, you might want to consider how big it should be in relation to the largest size pizza you might ever want to make and the inside dimensions of your oven compartment (allowing enough space around the stone for air circulation).

Peter

Offline tjacks88

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2005, 11:35:20 PM »
Peter,
How do you like your stone from Fibrament? What are the dimensions?
Tom

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2005, 12:01:30 AM »
Tom,

I like the Fibrament stone just fine. The dimensions of mine are 13 1/4" x 17" x 3/4". My other stone (I don't remember the manufacturer's name offhand) is 14 1/2 " x 16 1/2 " x 3/4 ". In retrospect, I'm sorry I didn't get a bigger stone, but at the time I thought a 14" pizza would be a good size for my purposes. But when I started to make the larger NY style pizzas, I had to use a 16" screen, either alone or in combination with one of my stones. I would have preferred a larger stone. It is possible to get a larger stone from Fibrament, but when I inquired about doing so, it would have been a custom job with charges to customize the stone to my requirements. Fibrament may now have more standardized stones than when I bought mine, so if you are interested you might want to go to their website, at bakingstone.com, or call them. There are also other places that sell the Fibrament stones, sometimes even cheaper than from Fibrament itself (but you should compare prices after adding any shipping charges).

Peter

« Last Edit: June 14, 2005, 10:31:36 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline Ronzo

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2005, 10:15:55 AM »
Peter,

Do you have a ballpark figure of what you spent on your fibrament stone?



By the way... thank you for your advice, my friend.
Fuggheddabowdit!

~ Ron

Former NY'er living in Texas
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Offline Ronzo

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2005, 10:23:46 AM »
Never mind. I'm doing a google search on it. Looks like the average price of the 15+ incher is about $40.
Fuggheddabowdit!

~ Ron

Former NY'er living in Texas
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2005, 11:23:53 AM »
I went back to check on the manufacturer of my second stone (not the Fibrament) and it is sold under the name Old Stone. I also double checked the thickness, and it is about 1" overall but that includes what look like "feet" or pedestals on the bottom. The Fibrament stone has no such pedestals, and its thickness looks to be a tad less than 3/4". I have not been able to detect any significant differences in performance between the Fibrament stone and the Old Stone stone.

Other materials that you will find for pizza stones are cordierite, a blend of compressed earthen materials, and soapstone, a natural mineral product quarried like marble and granite. The HearthKit unit that is sold for baking purposes is made of cordierite. You will find many sources for cordierite stones, and my recollection is that they cost a bit less than the Fibrament stones of equal size.

Soapstone is harder to find for home pizza baking applications, although All-Clad, the high-end cookware company, sells soapstone cookware in metal holders. They are very expensive for the sizes of the soapstone inserts (around $100 for a small stone unit). It is possible to go to a soapstone company, like those that process soapstone for home use (countertops, flooring, etc.), but it is very expensive to do this. Out of curiosity, I called Vermont Soapstone, in VT. (the state that supplies most of the soapstone in the U.S.), and was quoted a price of $77 per square foot, plus shipping. If my math is right, for a 16-inch square piece of soapstone, or a 1.3 ft. by 1.3 ft. square piece, the price would be around $137, plus shipping.

I suspect that there is a way of determining which of the many types of stones is best for use in baking pizzas in a home oven. To know for sure, you would need access to heat capacity characteristics of the different materials for comparably sized stones. It would most likely be the one with the highest heat capacity, that is, the one that retains its heat the longest (and cools down the slowest). Mass, which is related to thickness, is also a factor. A large mass will take longer to heat up to a particular temperature, but will also cool down the slowest. This characteristic is especially important if you plan to make several pizzas at about the same time, where you will be opening and closing the oven door a lot. In those situations, you want to have a stone that will retain its heat for as long as possible.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 14, 2005, 11:38:34 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline Ronzo

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2005, 02:03:56 PM »
I'm not a pro baker or pizza maker... so justifying the price for that soap stone is out of the question.

I'm going to have a hard enough time justifying the price for the Fibrament one to the wife.

She'll demand bread and pizza at least once a week for life. ;)


I'll keep my eyes peeled for some other alternatives and if it comes down to it, I will promise the wife I'll keep her neck deep in pizza and bread. :D  :P



Also... the old stone I had was truly thin. It was about a half inch thick. I think I paid $25 for it 3 years ago or so.
Fuggheddabowdit!

~ Ron

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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2005, 05:27:50 PM »
nytxn.

You might keep your eyes open on eBay for a stone, if only to find a low cost replacement for your broken stone until you decide to upgrade. You might even get lucky and find what you are looking for right off the bat.

Peter

Offline duckjob

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2005, 03:49:29 PM »
If you are looking for an inexpensive solution, you can't go wrong with unglazed quarry tiles. Most Home Improvment stores will stock these, and they are really cheap, usuaully about $.35-$.50 per 6x6 tiles. These tiles are about 3/8" thick, I've been meaning to put a second layer on so that It will hold the heat a little better when cooking multiple pizzas. I paid about $6 for the following setup which compoletely covers my 23" x 16" oven.

(http://www.duckjob.net/pizza/pizzatiles.jpg)
« Last Edit: June 15, 2005, 03:51:05 PM by duckjob »

Offline Ronzo

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2005, 04:51:08 PM »
dj...

nice alternative.

Do you recall the exact brand or type those tiles were?

Fuggheddabowdit!

~ Ron

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Offline duckjob

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2005, 02:20:25 AM »
They are made by Dal Tile. But the key is that they are unglzed, which means they don't have any chemical sealants on them. Just ask for unglazed clay tiles.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2005, 08:24:09 AM »
nytxn,

Some time ago, Steve mentioned that the Daltile tiles he was using were called Red Beige Q40 unglazed quarry tiles. I don't know if that designation still holds, but if you call your local Daltile dealer, they should know what you are talking about. There is a Daltile dealer in Austin at 2515 Brockton Dr., Austin 78758, 512-837-6715.

Places like Home Depot and Lowe's also sell unglazed quarry tile, but the last time I tried to locate some in my local Home Depot, the salesman didn't know what I was talking about, especially when I mentioned that I was looking for unglazed quarry clay tiles to bake on.

Peter

Offline Ronzo

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2005, 08:51:01 AM »
but the last time I tried to locate some in my local Home Depot, the salesman didn't know what I was talking about, especially when I mentioned that I was looking for unglazed quarry clay tiles to bake on.

I can imagine the deer in the headlights look...  :o
Fuggheddabowdit!

~ Ron

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Offline Ronzo

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2005, 01:07:18 PM »
Ok... so there's a Lowe's across the street from where I work.

Went over there on my lunch hour and checked out the tile section.

I found Certile brand 8x8 inch unglazed quarry tiles.


I picked up a box of 16 of them for the whopping sum of....





























$13.34 including tax



Beats a $50 stone anyday... and if one cracks, it only costs 77 cents to replace it. Great idea.

Thanks for the advice folks. I'll be sure to let you know how the next baking project turns out on them.

Probably going to make bread or garlic knots this weekend since we have company coming over. Not ready to tackle homemade pizza yet.






I'm not going to die from baking something on these am I? LOL
« Last Edit: June 16, 2005, 01:17:23 PM by nytxn »
Fuggheddabowdit!

~ Ron

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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2005, 01:38:54 PM »
nytxn,

Before you give the new tiles their maiden voyage, you may want to put them through a heating cycle. All such materials have an initial outgassing that occurs in the first use or two. With my stone, I put it in a cold oven and then raised the temperature of the oven in increments and let the stone sit at each step for about 10 minutes before going to the next increment. I  started at 200 degrees F and used 50 degree increments, all the way up to my maximum oven temperature. I would think that a similar approach should work with tiles.

I assume your clay tiles are unglazed.

Peter

Offline Ronzo

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2005, 01:50:32 PM »
Yep.. unglazed quarry tiles is what the box says.

They're red.... and 1/2 inch thick. I was thinking about doubling the layer, so they'd be about one inch thick.



The initial 'firing' sounds like a good idea. I might do that tonight to get it out of the way before the weekend comes. If I plan on using two layers of tiles, do you think it'd be better to get the initial firing done with one layer on one rack and another layer on a second rack, or one layer on top of the other on one rack?

Whatcha think?




Thanks for the hints and tips, all. I really appreciate them.



Fuggheddabowdit!

~ Ron

Former NY'er living in Texas
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Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Cracked pizza stone
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2005, 02:20:32 PM »
nytxn,

I would put the tiles on separate racks. That heat-stresses both sets more--which you want--and it also allows both sides of the tiles to outgass.

Peter


 

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