Sunday, March 28, 2010

Soap Stone Hearth

 Soap stone slab sit on firebrick floor
Soap stone is used for the hearths of some pizza ovens because soap stone is a very dense, heavy material that absorbs lots of heat. This is ideal for something that should be baked very fast, like pizza. For bread baking, a soap stone hearth is probably not a good idea because there is a very good chance the bottoms of your breads will burn before the interior gets baked.
Anyway, a friend gave me a soap stone slab, and I placed it right on top of the firebrick floor to check it out. What happened was that the intense oven heat caused the soap stone to spall (chip/flake). I had heard that soap stone might spall, but I had to try it for myself. Perhaps there are different grades of soap stone, and perhaps a different grade would perform better. I don't know. Is there anyone out there who has had experience with soap stone?

3 comments:

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Unknown said...

Great article.

I'm wanting to use a piece of soapstone counter top,
cut about 12"x15" and honed to about about 5/8"
thick.

My oven is not at hot as a fireplace but I have been reading how some people use slate and granite tiles for breadbaking.

Your right about thick slabs of soapstone for PIZZA making. For breadmaking slabs, tiles, stones not so popular,but your right pizza people are looking for high 700f temp.

My problem is I don't know how thick to make my slab. I'm more worried about heating time and fuel economy tho.

I also want to ask -are these soapstone counter slabs as food safe as the soapstone pizza stones I could buy online?

Don

Breadhunter aka Stu Silverstein said...

Hi Don,
I suggest you get in touch with Flatbread Co. in Portland, Maine and "The Bag"at Sugarloaf Mountain in Kingfield, Maine and ask them what they think of using soapstone for a hearth surface. I don't think 5/8" thickness is nearly thick enough. Why not simply use firebrick since it's much more versatile.
Stu