baking on a stone vs do


Greetings folks!

I'm rather new to bread, but have baking mostly sourdoughs based on Tartine and FWSY with decent results using a DO. Last night I tried to bake some loaves on a pizza stone that I've had for some time. The first loaf burned a bit on the top, which I believe was due to the fact that I didn't wet/spray the dough with water before baking. The second loaf which I did spray cooked much more evenly but (I had also lowered the oven temp a bit) I wound up pulling it a bit early because I didn't want a repeat of the first loaf. Both loaves came out of the oven at the same internal temperature of 207.

I used ice cubes in a pan for steam.

It's pretty obvious from the bottoms that I had issues with this dough being extremely wet and have a lot to learn about shaping.



318 users have voted.


jimt 2016 June 17

this is the boule, not sure why the first one got clipped, guessing i need to resize them a bit better.

Guess the main question I have is how to get a full bake on a stone and get better color without burning the bread? Did I not get enough steam for a full bake or would the second loaf have been better if I let it bake longer? 

One other question is how to promote a better oven spring when you don't have the help of the DO? These are straight sourdough (no yeast)


farinam's picture
farinam 2016 June 17

Hello jimt,

The pics that appear in the header are just cropped to a particular size.  When you click on them and go to the gallery they are there full size.  Just a little quirk of the current page layout.

This is a bit of a guess but I wonder whether you used a different shelf level to accommodate your stone that put the loaf closer to the oven elements.  I assume that your loaves are satisfactory when baking without a stone.  By the way, what is a DO?

Another point about using a stone is that the stone is a large heat sink and so the oven temperature is a bit more stable and recovers quicker after a door opening so the effective temperature of your oven could be a bit higher with the stone than without it.  The other thing to do would be to get hold of an oven thermometer and check your thermostat settings.  They can be a fair way out sometimes.

Generally you only really need to have steam in the early stages of the bake to delay the setting of the crust so I don't think 'running out of steam' is your problem.

I have found that there is a bit of a trade off between degree of proof and oven spring.  That is, an underproved loaf can spring more but has a greater risk of excessive bursting (sometimes in unwanted places) whereas a well proved loaf might spring less.  Obviously in the over-proved case the loaf can/will fall flat and not spring significantly at all.

Your flat bottoms/soft dough could be down to a bit of over-proving and, yes, your shaping technique can also have quite an effect on the final result.  Practice is by far the best medicine. As an aside, what hydration dough were you working with?

Good luck with your projects.


jimt 2016 June 17

Thank you Farinam! 

My oven runs hot so I compensated on the setting (I use a thermometer) and the temp was right @ 475f/245c. I moved the stone to the same shelf that I use for my DO (Dutch Oven, sorry) to try to keep things as consistent as possible. 

Hydration was about the same as most others I've made recently (~78%). I assume that the high hydration/lack of commercial yeast may contribute to flatter breads but again it is not an issue I've had in the dutch oven. This is the overnight country blond from fwsy.

Your point about shaping technique makes the most sense as it's the point in the process that seems to be most inconsistent (as you say, practice, practice). 

I'm including a pic of the crumb to show how much darker the top was than the bottom as this was the source of my initial confusion. It was also the most separation I've had of the crust from the crumb along the top--perhaps this is related to an overproof? 

Overall, I still have a lot to learn, perhaps I should stick with one recipe until I can get it figured out:-)

Thanks again Farinam


edit to say that I just loaded a few more loaves of a different recipe and these were definitely overproofed...I have been trying to push the proofing a bit to see how far it should go and these split before I could score them...a lot to learn.

farinam's picture
farinam 2016 June 17

Hi jimt,

A hydration of 78% is pretty high to be trying to find your feet on.  I'd normally be thinking of somewhere about 70% to give you something that develops well and handles easily.  If you have a look at my recent post, I have only recently started to really come to terms with higher hydration dough myself.

If you haven't already, have a look at the Beginners Blogs on the Home Page here (links in the right hand panel).  SourDom gives lots of good advice and his Pane francesa recipe (sourdough version) is a really good one to learn the ropes with.

From the profile pic it does seem as if the major source of your heat is coming from the top which suggests a couple of things.  The first is that, if your oven has top and bottom heating elements, the stone is shielding the bottom element too much.  The second is that you have not pre-heated your stone for long enough and that it is still 'cold'.  Because of the low conductivity, you might need 45-60 minutes to get it up to full oven temperature.

Good luck with your projects.


jimt 2016 June 18


I'm not exactly sure why I didn't think about preheating the stone which I feel rather foolish about's been a while since I used it for pizza and somehow forgotten how long it takes to heat up. The second loaf cooked better which makes sense even though the stone would've lost a bit of heat to the first loaf?

I'll go back and try some of the lower hydration doughs but had pretty good success just by going back to the dutch oven last night (pic attached of ~78% hydration spelt loaf). 

Really appreciate the I said, next will be a few lower hydration doughs to get things back in check...seems high hydration issues mostly related to determining proper proofing and final shaping...again, lot's to learn.

Cheers for the help



vet_ca 2016 June 27

Hi Jim,

Just wanted to say I'd give anything to have the crumb that you display in your second picture.  Beautiful!!!

Thank you for all the great information Farinam ... great stuff as always.

Cheers to all.

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