In both Dough & Crust I recommend putting a baking stone in your oven before pre-heating and baking directly on the stone. I use granite and often suggest that people use a granite chopping board (examples are available very reasonably from Morrisons and Asda and it is a convenient size and thickness). We have never had any issues with any of the pieces of stone we have used but one customer contacted us recently to say that they had used a granite slab from Asda and it had shattered in the oven during use. As I said I have never had any problems so in order to make the use of granite boards as safe as possible here are my recommendations for using a board in this way…
- Place the granite slab onto the bottom shelf where you have any exposed electric elements or onto the base of the oven where this is safe (for example in an Aga although in an Aga you can also bake directly on the floor of the oven);
- If you use one of the granite chopping boards, place them into your oven the wrong way up – i.e. bake on the rough side;
- When creating steam only use a misting spray. Some people recommend throwing water into the oven or placing trays of water or ice cubes into the bottom of the oven but I have to say I don’t agree. Where you use larger quantities of water you are much less likely to get the steam you want and if you are using an electric oven it seems to me you can only be creating a safety hazard. Misting sprays are easy to buy from garden centers and kitchen shops and we will be introducing them to our online shop soon;
- Don’t worry if your slab simply cracks – this often happens – indeed many of the pieces of stone I have in my ovens have cracks in them. It will not make any difference to your bread.
If you have had any problems with baking stones do let us know.