Is there anything better than bread fresh out of the oven? Is there a sensation greater than tearing into the crust of a loaf to find the insides light and fluffy, as the smell rises up in greeting? Perfectly baked bread is one of life’s simple pleasures – so why does it feel so hard to get right?
Bread can be surprisingly difficult to perfect. Sometimes, you lift it out of the oven to find that rather than a crisp, golden crust, all you have is a soggy and pale outside. Even when it feels like you’ve done everything right, that bakery crust is difficult to achieve.
A baking stone can help make the process a little easier. These simple tools are exactly what they say they are – a stone that you bake on. The material distributes heat for an even bake, and can absorb moisture for a crisp crust. If you want bakery style bread, then it’s worth investing in a baking stone.
5 Best Baking Stones For Bread
Once you’ve mastered perfect bread, you want to make it all the time. Honestly, it becomes difficult to resist whipping up a new loaf as soon as you’ve finished the crumbs of the last one. In that case, you need a baking stone that requires minimum effort to use.
Rocksheat has created the perfect stone for the frequent baker. It’s light and easy to carry, conducts heat evenly, and is small enough to fit in almost any oven. But the real advantage is the handles. Rocksheat has 4 handles on the design, which allows the stone to be flipped.
If you enjoy experimenting with your bakes, this is a particularly handy feature. I like to keep one side for savory, and one side for sweet, to ensure absolutely no mixed flavors.
In terms of size, at 15 x 12 inches, Rocksheat is a little on the smaller side. However, for a frequent baker, this has some distinct advantages. For a start, you can leave it in the oven most of the time. It also makes it quicker to cool, and quicker to heat, so can be used often.
If you’re a big fan of fresh bread every day, the Rocksheat stone is a handy piece of equipment. Able to reach temperatures of 1500F, it can add a crisp finish to any loaf.
- 15 x 12 inches – The smaller size allows it to stay in the oven between uses, and it’s easy to move.
- 4 handles – Both sides can be used, for versatile baking.
- No odor
- 0.63 inch thickness – A thinner stone is more prone to cracking.
Perfect bread can seem like magic, but it’s often a matter of science (and lots of repetition). The Solido baking stone uses science to craft a piece of kitchen equipment that delivers magical results. It’s all about the spiral.
On the underside of the Solido baking stone is a unique raised spiral design. This works to distribute heat all across the stone, ensuring every part is warmed evenly. If you’ve ever had an over-crisp crust, or underdone pizza toppings, this spiral can ensure that never happens again.
It also helps the thick stone heat up faster, and keep that heat for longer. There are also sculpted feet, so you can grip the stone, and keep it balanced.
There’s more to the Solido than just a curious underside. The 14 x 16 inch size is ideal for most ovens, with a rectangular shape that allows you to cook more at once. It’s easy to clean, with surface stains wiping away quickly, so you can get baking again.
In terms of temperature, it can withstand up to 2000F – more than enough for whatever you might be cooking.
A bad batch bake is often raw in the center and burnt on the edge. Using the Solido spiral, you can get a perfect finish, all the way through.
- Unique spiral design – The structured underside holds heat across the stone, for an even finish to every bake.
- 1.1 inch thickness – Less likely to crack, retains heat well.
- Feet on base – Easier to grip, and maintains stability.
- 13.5lbs – Heavy to carry, difficult to maneuver.
If you’re unsure about the usefulness of a baking stone, then you need something durable and simple that will get the job done. In that case, you should try the Unicook cordierite stone. The low price, easy use, and quality results ensure you won’t regret the purchase.
Cordierite is a fantastic material for baking stones because it can reach extreme temperatures without the risk of breaking. This can mean it comes at a cost. However, this Unicook option uses quality materials at a budget price.
This cordierite baking stone can reach a temperature of 14750F, with a thermal shock resistance that reduces the likelihood of cracks. The surface is full of tiny pores, which absorb the moisture of the dough, giving your loaf that perfect finish.
For fans of helpful extras, the Unicook stone also comes with a plastic dough scraper. This handy tool helps with cutting dough, and scraping off residue.
A baking stone is a simple piece of equipment, and this Unicook version has only the most basic of features. However, the absorbent design can easily improve your baking. Getting the perfect crust can be easy with the Unicook stone.
- Price – A reliable stone at an affordable price.
- Cordierite – Able to heat up quickly, without the risk of cracking.
- 6.6lbs – Lightweight and easy to transport, great for use on an RV.
- Stains easily – Stains are always a risk on a baking stone, and they’re particularly hard to remove from this option.
For the most part, I prefer a rectangular baking stone. They allow you to fit more on, and it’s easier to bake big batches or long baguettes. However, there are some definite advantages to the circular baking stone. If you’re after something traditional, Cast Elegance have created a round stone with lots to love.
Round stones are perfect for pizza, as you might expect. The circular design heats the pizza evenly, from the toppings in the center to the crust at the edge. When creating round loaves, the circular shape has a similar benefit. The heat distribution is matched to the shape of the food.
Cast Elegance have created their stone using Thermarite. This strong material has an incredible thermal shock ability, so it can be heated quickly to higher temperatures. Useful for grilling and baking, this is a versatile stone. The Thermarite is also absorbent for a crisp crust, and odor-free.
If all that wasn’t enough, Cast Elegance have included a few extras to sweeten the deal. As well as the baking stone, each purchase includes a plastic dough scraper, and a 30-page recipe book!
- Thermarite material – Incredibly durable, can withstand high temperatures without cracking, and no odor.
- Perfect for pizza – The round shape distributes heat in a way that finishes a pizza crust to perfection.
- Includes dough scraper and recipe book.
- 16-inch circular shape has a smaller surface, less useful for larger bakes.
The Pizzacraft stone may be designed for pizzas, but it can have a pretty amazing effect on your bread.
The ThermaBond material used to create the stone is thermal shock resistant, allowing it to heat up without cracking. With absorbent cordierite and a large surface area, even experienced bakers will appreciate what this stone can do.
With no seasoning required, the Pizzacraft stone can be used almost straight out of the box. The size and shape heats quickly, delivering a golden crust in no time at all. The square surface will fit into most ovens, and allows for a versatility of use.
Getting a good crust isn’t complicated with the Pizzacraft stone. Easy to clean and easy to use, it’s ideal for regular bakers.
- Oven or grill use – Versatile, for different types of baking.
- 15×15 inch size – Large surface, can fit an array for bakes.
- ThermaBond material – Naturally resistant to thermal shock.
- Unwieldy – The large size and shape can make it difficult to move.
A baking stone seems simple, but there are a few factors to consider before making your choice. The right baking stone should make your bread better, and the cooking easier. However, not every stone is right for every kitchen. Use this buyer’s guide to find out which features you need to take your bread to bakery quality.
The material the baking stone is made from will affect how well it heats up, and how much moisture it absorbs. It will also affect how easy it is to use in your kitchen. Choosing the right material should be one of your first considerations.
Ceramic is a popular material for a baking stone. It’s covered in tiny pores, which draw the moisture out of the crust and gives that incredible crunchy finish. Ceramic can also be heated up to quite extreme temperatures, and is often the cheapest material on the market.
However, ceramic is fragile. It can crack during the heating and cooling process. Bumps and awkward handling can also lead to breaks.
Cordierite is another material that’s very popular. It’s much more durable than ceramic, and can handle high heats without cracking. It also holds that heat, and distributes it evenly across the surface. The small pores absorb moisture, for a crisp finish.
Cordierite may be more expensive than ceramic, but the results are worth it. A cordierite baking stone is likely to last much longer than ceramic.
A cast iron baking stone is ideal if what you want is durability. It doesn’t deliver quite the same finish as a ceramic or cordierite option, but the chances of it breaking are minimal.
A baking stone made from steel is technically not a baking stone – it’s a baking steel – but it’s worth mentioning here. The immediate advantage to steel is the durability – they can reach incredible temperatures, with no risk of cracking. However, they don’t distribute heat in a completely even way.
They’re also heavy to carry, and require some upkeep. A baking steel is fantastic for strength, but doesn’t have the same finish as stone options.
Baking stones tend to come in three shapes – circle, rectangle, and square. All options have their uses, but rectangular baking stones have a distinct advantage. The shape means you can buy larger, giving a greater surface area.
You can arrange multiple items across a rectangular baking stone, in a way that isn’t possible with other shapes. They also tend to be easier to take in and out of the oven, with plenty of space to grip.
Although shape is important, the primary concern is size. The baking stone needs to be able to fit in your oven, with space around the edges for the heat to travel.
Make sure there’s at least 1-inch clearance around every side of the stone. Otherwise, the heat can’t circulate. If the stone is pressed against the sides of the oven, it’s liable to crack.
The thicker the baking stone is, the less likely it is to crack. For that reason, it’s often better to purchase a thicker stone. There are a few disadvantages, however. A larger stone is heavier, and so can be inconvenient to use. A thicker stone often takes longer to heat as well.
These are smaller inconveniences, and overall, I think a thicker stone is worth the hassle. After all, a thin stone that has broken is no use at all.
Glazed VS Unglazed
As well as material, the finish of the baking stone is important. An unglazed baking stone is often more absorbent, which is better for the crust of the bread. However, they’re difficult to clean, and stain very easily. Although these stains don’t affect the bake, they can be ugly.
A glazed baking stone often uses a micro glaze. That means the surface isn’t completely smooth, allowing some moisture to absorb. Glazed baking stones are easier to clean, but lack the quality that an unglazed stone gives the crust.
Both have their distinct advantages. Which works better for you is a matter of personal usage.
Handles And Design
It should come as no surprise that a baking stone is heavy and very hot. Sometimes, getting them in and out of the oven can be a nightmare. Built in handles are an incredibly useful feature, because they give you a better place to grip. Perfect for when you need to load up the stone with as many treats as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Use A Baking Stone For Perfect Bread?
A baking stone needs to be heated before use, to provide a warm surface for the dough to sit on. This stops the base from becoming damp, and gives that crisp finish we all love. How long it takes to heat the stone depends on the thickness.
A stone roughly ½ an inch thick will likely need around 30 minutes to heat through fully. Any thicker than that, and it can take longer than an hour. Finding the perfect time requires some experimentation, as it depends on the stone and oven.
Some brands recommend covering the stone with a light dusting of cornflour, or parchment paper, when using homemade dough. Otherwise, it might stick.
When you’ve finished cooking, leave the stone to cool down completely before cleaning. Clean using water only, and then dry the stone in the oven.
Is A Baking Stone Or Baking Steel Better For Bread?
Both baking stones and baking steels can be used for making bread, and the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. A baking stone is often better, because it distributes heat in an even manner, and the porous surface absorbs moisture.
The main advantage of a baking steel is durability. They’re very unlikely to break or chip unless seriously mishandled. However, a baking steel will often require seasoning, to keep the surface non-stick. This is a time-consuming process.
How Do You Care For Your Baking Stone?
Properly cared for, a baking stone can last for a very long time. To care for your baking stone correctly, it’s important to always start heating it in a cold oven, to gradually build up the temperature, and to give it time to cool before washing.
Be very careful when cleaning your stone. Always leave it to cool down completely before washing, or you risk cracking it. Stone is porous, so don’t use dish soap. This will be absorbed, and give the stone a bad smell/taste. Warm water should be all you need to keep it clean.
Once cleaned, the stone needs to dry thoroughly before storage. Heat it slowly in a warm oven, or leave it to air dry. If it isn’t completely dry, mold can grow.
When moving your baking stone, be careful not to chip it.
Always buy a baking stone that fits your oven, leaving a 1-inch gap from the oven walls on each side. If the stone is pressed against the oven wall, it can crack.
Some baking stones require seasoning before use.
Each baking stone is different. Be sure to read the guide before use, so you can care for it properly.
Are Baking Stones Worth It?
Yes! A baking stone is an easy way to ensure a consistent finish to your bread, and a perfect crust. They’re simple to use, relatively inexpensive, and versatile.