I've just seen that Victoria's Basement have quite cheap pizza stones. http://www.victoriasbasement.com.au/Product_Detail.aspx?ProductID=64422
Would these be okay as a basic option for use is a domestic oven?
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Such a thing would be perfectly satisfactory. I used a similar one for a while and then suddenly it fell in half :( Not from any form of abuse or mishandling.
I then bought an unglazed terracotta floor tile (about 330 square x 15 thick) for a few dollars and it has been giving good and faithful service for years.
I then bought an unglazed terracotta floor tile (about 330 square x 15 thick) for a few dollars and it has been giving good and faithful service for years. Farinam
I have just found what I assume is terracotta tile (a heavy red tile has to be terrcotta right?) Its smooth on top and corrupated underneath. Its been outside so is a bit grubby. If I clean it up that should do the job shouldn't it?
I bought mine at the outlet of Northcote Pottery though I gather they don't have them any more. I am sure that your local tile shop would be a place to start and if necessary they can refer you on.
I have just found what I assume is terracotta tile (a heavy red tile has to be terrcotta right?) Its smooth on top and corrugated underneath. Its been outside so is a bit grubby. If I clean it up that should do the job shouldn't it?
Also, to stop the loaf sticking to the tile people use semolina right? Does it matter which type, large or small grain?
It should look just like a terracotta flowerpot and not be really smooth and shiny on the top side - slightly rough to the feel. If it meets that requirement then I would give it a good scrubbing in hot water (wouldn't use detergent unless absolutely necessary - and if you did would give a thorough soaking and rinsing several times). Then let it dry naturally - out on a good hot sunny day would be good. Then, put it into your oven and progressively turn up the temperature 50C at a time and give an hour at each setting through to 250C. This slow heating/soaking is to get rid of any moisture that might be lurking inside.
You can use semolina if you wish, I think the fine grade would be better. However, it is probably not really necessary as the high stone temperature and heat capacity do a good job of being non-stick. However, using semolina or similar on your peel would be wise to avoid sticking to that. If you are still concerned you can turn your dough out onto a sheet of baking paper and use that as a non-stick layer. You can remove the paper after about 10-15 minutes baking or when you remove your steam generator (if used).
Hope this helps.
I had some leftover unglazed terracotta tiles (pretty colour, Portugese) and they broke one after another in the oven. My large pizza stone went the same way after a couple of months. I am tracking down some granite now.
Farinam, you are a font of knowledge delivered with good humour, can you answer a quick question please? If I am leaving my starter in the fridge for a week when I go away, should I refresh it just before I store it? Thanks in advance.
If it's only for a week you could get away without doing so. I was away for a month last year and the beasties came back to life from the first feed though it probably took a few before it was back to full strength.
Terracotta tiles might depend on the method of manufacture. The one that I use and that I think redrich is describing have been extruded and as I understand it that gives a strong high density tile when compared to moulded ones. perhaps yours were moulded.
Have a good holiday.
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