I love baking bread, and I love using my pizza stone. Naturally, that led me to the question: how would baking bread on a pizza stone affect my final product?
To cut to the chase: you certainly can bake bread on a pizza stone. Baking bread in that way may result in a thicker crust on the bottom, but you’re also sure to elevate the crumb throughout a loaf Baking bread on a pizza stone will lead to a lighter, crispier loaf of bread.
Read on if you are keen out find out more about Baking Bread On A Pizza Stone
Baking Bread On A Pizza Stone Recipe
There are so many different tips and tricks out there to cook bread using alternative methods, and this is a great one in itself. There’s a lot of interesting baking science going on that we’re so glad we dove into. Before we get to that, let me share my favorite recipe:
- 3 cups unbleached flour.
- 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar.
- 1 ⅓ cups warm water.
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt.
- 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil.
- 1 (¼ ounce) package active dry yeast.
- 1 egg.
- 1 tablespoon water.
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal.
- Begin by placing the flour, brown sugar, warm water, salt, olive oil, and yeast in the pan of your bread machine. We’d recommend consulting with the manufacturer’s guidelines to see the order of addition recommended by the manufacturer. Select the dough cycle, and press start.
- Place your pizza stone in the oven, and preheat to 190˚C. The oven must be preheated at least thirty minutes before baking to ensure that the stone is hot.
- Knock the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Form the dough into two loaves. Place the loaves, seam side down, on a cutting board generously sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover the loaves up well with a damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in volume – this should take about forty minutes.
- In a small bowl, beat together with an egg and a tablespoon of water. Brush the risen loaves the egg mixture. Make a single long, quick cut down the center of the loaves with a sharp knife. Gently shake the cutting board to ensure that the loaves aren’t sticking – that can wreak havoc on their overall shape. If they have stuck, use a spatula or a pastry knife to gently loosen them. Finally, slide the loaves onto the pizza stone (which should be incredibly hot) with one quick but careful motion.
- Bake the loaves of bread in a preheated oven for thirty to thirty-five minutes. When they’re done, the loaves will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Well, first things first, let’s quickly address what a pizza stone is so that we’re all on the same level.
A pizza stone is a thick slab of stone that is preheated to an exceptionally high temperature and used to cook pizza. The high temperature means that the crust of a pizza will rise well, and the outside will be pleasantly crispy.
The defining characteristic of a pizza stone is that it absorbs and retains heat very well. A pizza stone that does those things well is a good product – it will channel heat into your pizza very well.
Baking bread on a pizza stone will affect the bread in two ways: crispiness and oven spring.
The crispiness of the bread will see an increase in exactly the way that you might expect. Any situation in which the temperature of the bread dough increases rapidly on the outside will lead to a wonderfully crispy outside crust on a loaf of bread. Cooking a loaf of bread on a pizza stone will mostly affect the base of a loaf, leading to a crispy base which can be the best part of a sandwich.
The oven spring, however, is slightly less expected. Oven spring is a term used to describe the initial fast rise of any dough that is being baked.
Typically this is seen in yeasted doughs as the oven’s temperature will greatly speed up the activity of yeast in the dough. In turn, this means that more carbon dioxide is produced very rapidly, and so the crumb will have larger holes due to bubbles of carbon dioxide forming.
When a pizza stone is used in this context, the stone will transfer heat to the dough very quickly. This will give the oven spring a powerful kick start, leading to a looser crumb.
You certainly can use a pizza stone to bake bread. People have been using pizza stones and other pre-heated equipment while bread making for centuries to ensure certain crispiness of crust and lightness of crumb that is ideal for an artisanal loaf of bread.
A similar concept is employed when making dutch-oven bread. Dutch-oven bread is a popular method where a loaf of bread is cooked within the body of a dutch oven. The extreme heat of the preheated pan allows for the same crispy crust and light texture that a pizza stone will give your bread.
While we can’t give you a definite yes or no answer as it’s a matter of preference, we think we’d definitely say yes. Using a baking stone when baking bread will almost always give you a much airier crumb, which is ideal for artisanal and flavored loaves of bread. If you do not have a baking stone at home, the one we use is the CastElegance Durable & Safe Thermarite Pizza Stone which comes in different size and also a free recipe book and scraper.
As well as that, making sure to use a preheated baking stone can cut down on the time you need between making loaves of bread. Keeping a big, heavy stone in your oven at a high temperature will help to maintain a high average temperature over a long time period. This will mean that you can cut down on the overall time needed to pre-heat and re-heat the oven when making a large meal.
The main reason why you might choose not to use a baking stone is if you’re making a lot of loaves for sandwiches. Sandwich bread typically has a very tight crumb so that none of the sandwich fillings can fall out. Using a baking stone will make achieving that texture very difficult.
You also may find that the temperature of your oven takes a longer amount of time to control when you’re using a baking stone. If the stone is cool then it may take longer than normal to heat your oven, and vice versa to cool an oven with a hot stone in it. With that said, the time addition is generally considered negligible when you consider the improvement to your bread.
Yes, it is! The only difference that you might see between a pizza stone and a bread stone is the general shape. The reason they might be different shapes is that a pizza stone is designed to cook one pizza at a time.
On the other hand, a bread stone may be designed to make several loaves at the same time on the bread stone, or potentially even in pans to ensure a more uniform size and shape.
When buying a pizza or bread stone, we’d recommend getting one with handles. If you don’t have handles on your stone then you can make the process of picking up the stone much more dangerous. Don’t forget that a stone can be a very big extremely hot object, making it particularly dangerous.
Interestingly, there is no right or wrong side to touch your food when you’re using parchment paper. With that said, there is a great tip that we love to use whenever we’re using parchment paper to line something.
Parchment paper can be notoriously difficult to use as it likes to spring back to its rolled-up shape. To prevent that from happening, tear off the piece of parchment paper that you’ll be using and crinkle it up into a ball, squeezing it with your hands. Unroll the ball, and then place down the creased sheet of paper. The paper now won’t attempt to spring back to any shape, remaining ideal for use when baking.
This is a common problem that is shared among many bakers, so some very clever people have devised wonderful solutions to the problem.
The first solution that we have for you is prevention: make sure your dough isn’t overly wet when it first comes into contact with the parchment paper. If your dough is particularly wet, then it can bond to the paper and become difficult to remove.
Alternatively, you can try a light oiling of your parchment paper before you apply the dough to it. Doing that will ensure that your loaf of bread slides right off the parchment paper after baking, although it may also slightly affect the base – watch out for that.
Finally, we come to the best tip that we’ve seen: make sure your bread is hot when you remove the parchment paper. The reason for this is that during the cooling process a loaf will shrink ever so slightly. This means that your loaf is more likely to pinch small portions of the parchment paper, and thereby make it really difficult to get off. If your bread has already cooled, try reheating it slightly in a hot oven.