Thanks a lot. Exactly the type of information I am seeking. As long as it behaves like granite or marble when opening a dough, I am good to go. We are actually thinking it will be fun to watch and manage the stone over time via oiling, etc.
In speaking with the gentlemen at the soapstone dealer, it sounded like you can actually go back and forth in the oiling process. Oil it as you wish. But, if you decide you want to go to the non-oiled finish look, he said some rubbing alcohol will bring it back to the non-oiled look. any comments on that?
If the dough opening process (or bread kneading) makes a dry spot that needs a bit of oil, I am not a bit worried about it.
BTW, regarding the silicon mat - my perception was, although it is great for baking non-stick, the raw dough would stick when trying to open, spin, etc. I guess not.