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John A

Baking Stone Problems

12 posts in this topic

I've been trying to use my baking stone for fixing pizzas with mixed results. I understand that it's necessary to preheat the grill and stone but with the stone in place it is very difficult to get the dome to temperature because it blocks the heat. To get the temp high enough I have to open the vents all the way and by the time the temp gets over 500 deg I'm almost out of charcoal. It seems that it might work better if the stone where smaller to let the heat by. Any suggestions?

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Some questions to help us diagnose:

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The reason your dome/lid temp gauge shows <500º, or whatever your target temp is, is because you haven't heat soaked the baking stone.   I usually allow at least 45-minutes to thoroughly heat soak the baking stone (target and ambient air/stone temp directly influence the time it takes to get the stone heat soaked).   This, of course, assumes your KK is thoroughly heat soaked.  

Although I use both my baking steel and KK shaped baking stone they allow me to use them for different reasons:   The baking steel comes up to temp/heat soaked very quickly compared to the KK stone.   Not a "which one is better" but two different tools for different results.

Also, typically its a 90-120 minute affair to get my 23" KK and baking stone thoroughly heat soaked at my 600-700ºF average pizza baking temp for Neapolitan pies; a little less time when using the baking steel for 500-550F bakes.    I build a fire to get everything heat soaked ...usually less than my actual baking temp (more important when baking at 650F+) then once heat soaked I add lump to take it up to the full-on baking temp and duration.

 

Edited by dstr8
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1 hour ago, John A said:

I've been trying to use my baking stone for fixing pizzas with mixed results. I understand that it's necessary to preheat the grill and stone but with the stone in place it is very difficult to get the dome to temperature because it blocks the heat. To get the temp high enough I have to open the vents all the way and by the time the temp gets over 500 deg I'm almost out of charcoal. It seems that it might work better if the stone where smaller to let the heat by. Any suggestions?

A common mistake is people using a heat deflector below the baking stone, this is not necessary. Another problem is that charcoal creates heat/BTU's by weight, not volume.  If you are not using dense hardwood charcoal although it looks like a lot of fuel in the basket, by the pound it's very little.  You could also preheat the grill's lid some without the baking stone.. then put your drip pan on the main and slip the baking stone in the already hot grill on the upper.. the drip pan would shield the stone from too much sudden heat/ shocking the cold stone after 10 minutes pull the drip pan and you are direct and heat soaked.  I'm guessing the issue is your charcoal is not very dense and at high temps you are burning thru it.  Please feel free to call me to trouble shoot this further..

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Thank you for the input. I've been using royal oak and I have been opening the lower vent about half way and the upper about two turns and letting it heat soak for at least an hour and it usually ends up around 350 after an hour. I have also tried to heat it up slowly opening the vents just a little and then after heat soaking cranking it up but either way by the time it's hot enough I barely have enough charcoal to finish one pizza and still not getting an even cook.  It would help to know what settings you guys use start to finish. Thanks!

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I experience the same problem. What I do is similar to what Dennis suggests. 

Preheat the KK up to temp with no diffusers or stones. Don't just get to temp let it sit at temp and stable for at least 30 minutes or more. After that add the baking stone. The temp will drop but don't touch the vents. The temp will slowly start to rise. Once it gets back to temperature (about an hour) everything is heat soaked and ready to go. 

Nothing wrong with RO, it's all I use. Definitely fill the basket full up to the handles maybe even humped up a little higher in the middle. 

 

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1 hour ago, ckreef said:

I experience the same problem. What I do is similar to what Dennis suggests. 

Preheat the KK up to temp with no diffusers or stones. Don't just get to temp let it sit at temp and stable for at least 30 minutes or more. After that add the baking stone. The temp will drop but don't touch the vents. The temp will slowly start to rise. Once it gets back to temperature (about an hour) everything is heat soaked and ready to go. 

Nothing wrong with RO, it's all I use. Definitely fill the basket full up to the handles maybe even humped up a little higher in the middle. 

 

Thanks I will try that. That makes a lot of sense. But curious, do you still go through a lot of charcoal?

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Well I fill the basket humped in the middle. Depending on how long and what I'm baking I'll go through half to all the basket to get it done. I've never ran out and had to reload. 

 

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18 minutes ago, ckreef said:

Well I fill the basket humped in the middle. Depending on how long and what I'm baking I'll go through half to all the basket to get it done. I've never ran out and had to reload. 

 

I started with a full basket because I was scraping the bottom of 3 bags. I let the KK preheat for about an hour and 20 min before adding the stone and let it go for another 45 min. I was able to get 3 pizzas done and guess there's a 1/3 left. Still have some learning to do with the vent settings. Had to take out the guru plug to get past 500 deg. Even without the stone. May have something to do with the tiny bits of charcoal at the bottom of the bag. After the first pizza it started to heat on up. First pizza 19 min , sec 15 min and the 3rd 8 min. The 3rd was a thin crust thought. I'll get the hang of it eventually. 

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1 hour ago, John A said:

I started with a full basket because I was scraping the bottom of 3 bags. I let the KK preheat for about an hour and 20 min before adding the stone and let it go for another 45 min. I was able to get 3 pizzas done and guess there's a 1/3 left. Still have some learning to do with the vent settings. Had to take out the guru plug to get past 500 deg. Even without the stone. May have something to do with the tiny bits of charcoal at the bottom of the bag. After the first pizza it started to heat on up. First pizza 19 min , sec 15 min and the 3rd 8 min. The 3rd was a thin crust thought. I'll get the hang of it eventually. 

I'd say you got the basic technique down. Now you just need to fine tune it. 

 

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+ 1 on moving the top grate back a bit.  I bent my therm rod the first time as I had the stone too far forward.

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14 hours ago, bosco said:

+ 1 on moving the top grate back a bit.  I bent my therm rod the first time as I had the stone too far forward.

Been there, done that! 

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