Most of us don’t have a brick oven at home, but you can still get that great brick oven taste if we bake our bread on a baking stone. However, if artisan bread is something we’re going to be baking a lot of, we need to find the right stone.
There are certain qualities that we’ll be looking for in our oven baking stone, such as thickness, material, and size. Sure, you could probably use just about any old pizza stone to bake your bread on, but finding the right one can mean the difference between really good bread and really great bread.
Since bread tends to be thicker than pizza dough, it is vital that we find a stone that will absorb and distribute heat as evenly as possible. We don’t want to end up with bread that’s burnt on the bottom and soggy in the middle.
There are also a lot of other factors that need to be considered as well. Factors such as bread preparation, oven temperature, preheating your stone correctly, and more will affect your bread.
If you’re in a hurry, the Old Stone Oven Rectangular Pizza Stone is my pick for the all-around baking stone for bread.
Let’s consider a few tips for baking great bread with your pizza stone.
Tips for Bread Baking with Your Pizza Stone:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
Many items that are cooked on pizza stones require higher cooking temperatures, but bread needs to cook at a lower heat for a longer period.
Let your baking stone get hot
I recommend letting your stone heat up for at least 30 minutes after your oven is at full temperature.
Use an oven!
Pizza is great for cooking on a grill, but bread needs to be surrounded by heat on all sides to cook properly. Just having your heat source underneath your bread will likely lead to burnt and or unevenly cooked bread.
Use a pizza peel to insert your loaf onto the preheated baking stone
This will allow you to put your bread loaf on the hot stone without burning yourself. Be careful though!
Lightly mist your bread with water during baking
During the first ten minutes of baking, mist the bread. This will cause steaming, which helps the crust soften so the bread can continue to expand freely. The steam that comes into contact with the bread will dissolve the sugars in the dough, and what sugars are left will caramelize, creating a crispy and glossy crust for your bread.
Use parchment paper to prevent sticking
If you have a problem with the bread sticking to the stone, parchment paper can help. Using grease or oil on the pizza stone is not recommended. Over time the stone will become “seasoned” naturally.
Average cooking time is 30-40 minutes
The average bake time for bread is usually between 30-40 minutes. A lot of variables factor into bake times. Factors such as temperature, elevation, and the oven, itself, will greatly contribute to the total bake time of the bread. The best way to know if your bread is done is to test the loaf by tapping it. Your bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on.
Best Bread Baking Stones
There are many baking stones on the market that work well for baking bread, but here are our top 4.
Prices and/or availability last updated on 2019-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Old Stone Oven Rectangular Pizza Stone
The Old Stone Oven Pizza Stone is by far the best bread-baking pizza stone that I’ve found and is the one I would recommend most to my family.
The stone has a rectangular 14″x16″ baking surface and is made of cordierite. The size fits in most ovens and is large enough to bake any size bread loaf you could imagine.
Whether you are baking a small artisan loaf or a large bread, the cordierite stone heats quickly.
It’s also highly resistant to thermal shock, so you won’t have to worry about cracking it in normal use. Beyond that, it performs well in the oven.
The stone is solid and weighs in at 10 pounds. It has raised edges on the bottom to make it easier to pick up, especially when on the counter. Overall, this is the best pizza stone and is the one I recommend most.
Old Stone Oven Rectangular Pizza Stone on Amazon.
Emile Henry Clay Pizza Stone
Though the surface of this pizza stone is round and fairly small, it should be large enough for most bread loaves. Made of 100% clay, the glazed surface provides a crispy crust every time you use it. This stone is relatively thin, which means it can’t retain heat, as well as other pizza stones, do, but the glazed clay surface slightly compensates for this feature, so you will still be able to enjoy a crispy crust and an even cook.
The Emile Henry Clay pizza stone is convenient and easy to handle. It comes with handles built-in to the stone, which makes handling and maneuvering it a breeze both in and out of the oven. Furthermore, it comes with a 10-year warranty if you purchase it new.
However, you can also buy a used Emile Henry Clay pizza stone if you want to save a few dollars.
View the Emile Henry Clay pizza stone on Amazon.
Best Crispy Crust Pizza Stone
The Best Crispy Crust Pizza Stone is made of thermarite and is very thick, which is important when you’re baking bread. The thicker the dough, the thicker the stone should be also to ensure even cooking.
Thermarite is a tough material that absorbs moisture better than other pizza stones and allows for very even heat distribution. Thermarite’s heavy-duty qualities make it thermal-shock resistant and extremely durable, able to withstand all kinds of abuse that other pizza stones couldn’t.
However, if baking bread is the sole or primary reason you’re interested in a new pizza stone, durability shouldn’t be a factor (unless you’re clumsy like me!). If you intend to use your stone to cook other items and plan on doing a lot of grill cooking, then you should take the pizza stone’s durability into consideration. If you are looking for a pizza stone, check out our roundup of the best ones for the grill.
I think the free recipe book and the complimentary pizza scraper alone will make this pizza stone a great buy for anybody. I highly recommend this stone. Not only are the bonus items great, but the stone is great too, especially for baking bread.
Ultimate Pizza & Bread Stone
The Ultimate Pizza & Bread Stone by Love This Kitchen is a 16″ round pizza stone with some unique features.
The Ultimate Pizza & Bread Stone is made from Cordierite and is able to withstand up to 1500 degrees, which makes it very resistant to cracking. At 0.83 in thick it feels fairly substantial. It’s backed by a limited lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.
It also includes a raised handle at the back of the stone to prevent your bread from sliding off. This also makes it easy to pick up the stone from the oven or the counter.
A couple of negatives about this stone, though.
First, it’s a light brown color which can be prone to staining after extended use. That being said, it doesn’t affect the performance of the stone, only the appearance.
Second, some users have reported that it can emit a fairly strong odor, especially on the first few uses. The manufacturer, Love This Kitchen, does offer a 60-day money back guarantee if you notice this problem with your stone.
Final Verdict – Choosing Your Stone
When selecting your pizza stone, be sure to consider all the different factors and tips that I’ve covered here. Ultimately, you will know better than anyone what’s best for you. The pizza stones and tips that I’ve recommended are based on a set of criteria that consumers find to be important. Rest assured that all of the pizza stones I’ve recommended are completely safe, perform well, and measure up to the highest industry standards.