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Old 11-12-2007, 04:09 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I wonder if this type of stone has a limited life regardless of exposure to high heat or if that was the cause for its demise.

Any thoughts?
My Pampered Chef stone also broke in the oven after 5 or 6 years of use, but since I don't have a self-cleaning oven I know it wasn't because of that. I think it was just one of those things. There can be an unseen flaw that just all of the sudden causes it to break.

Speaking of self-cleaning ovens, I doubt I would be able to use one in my current house. I remember my mom always had to take the batteries out of her smoke detector when she cleaned her oven, since it always went off when she did. Our smoke detectors are hard-wired and tend to go off sometimes when I just open the oven door, so I know I would go nuts having to listen to them go off through the whole cleaning cycle!

Barbara
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:13 PM   #22
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My pizza stone is an 18-inch terracotta flowerpot under dish we use for pizza and rustic breads. I keep it in the oven and use it turned upside down to utilize the flat bottom. Only paid a few dollars for it at the garden store and have been using it for years.
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:44 PM   #23
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I bought another stone at Williams-Sonoma a week or two ago when they were having a 20% off sale. It's about 2 inches more in diameter than the old one and the same thickness. It cost about $8.75. I haven't had the chance to use it yet.
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:54 PM   #24
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Can I use any stone-like material, or does it need to be a pizza stone? Like bricks on a cookie sheet?

I'm craving a artichoke, roasted red pepper and black olive pizza.
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:59 PM   #25
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Can I use any stone-like material, or does it need to be a pizza stone? Like bricks on a cookie sheet?

I'm craving a artichoke, roasted red pepper and black olive pizza.
You don't have to use a stone at all - before I got my stones, I used a regular cookie sheet. The stones bake more evently, I think, but they're not necessary.
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Old 11-12-2007, 05:02 PM   #26
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I believe that there are two types of self cleaning ovens. One is brute force - high temperature to burn off the dirt. The second has a catalyst on the walls that convert grease to ash without the heat. I like the latter because every time you use the oven at a reasonably high baking temp you get some cleaning.
Try the silicone mats that fit under the electric heating element. They slide out for easy cleaning. At least the bottom is protected from splatters.
I broil in my gas grill outside, and I am working on a smokeless roaster that reduces spatter. One day... It's way down the invention-developement list here.
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Old 11-12-2007, 05:10 PM   #27
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Sorry. Back on topic this try, can you take the stone out when you clean the oven Barbara? I have been leaving the stone in my oven so the temperature doesnt jump around too much. And I am thinking of buying some fire brick for the sides of the oven for the same purpose. There is a company that makes a stone insert for ovens - @ $199 a pop. They claim it improves bread baking. I will try the firebrick and see what difference it makes.
The only problem with all that thermal mass is the oven will take longer ($) to heat. Hmmmm.
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Old 11-16-2007, 09:03 PM   #28
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Not sure anyone answered the original question.

The stone cracked because of the expansion and contraction it goes through. I had a Pampered Chef pizza stone and it cracked, too.

Ceramics are as finicky as any material. We'll take the extreme example, a fireplace. Firebricks and refractory mortar are designed to heat up very evenly and withstand extreme temperatures. They have very strong non-crystalline internal compositions that prevent stress fractures and hold heat very well.

The goal is simply to make sure the bricks don't get stressed from uneven heating and cooling. Regular bricks and mortar suffer the most as their temperature passes through 600 degrees. Uneven expansion and contraction is the magic formula for cracking in any hard material.

Getting back to the pizza stone, if you had it in the oven during the cleaning cycle than you definitely got it pretty hot. The extreme temperatures subjected it to a higher level of expansion and contraction and it cracked. It's not an expensive item, no high-tech ceramics there.

Try a Big Green Egg pizza stone. They are made of 2000 degree ceramic and are about an inch thick. I think a 14" stone is about $30.

If you are wondering, btw, why old time clay brick hearts never cracked or why old world pizza ovens don't crack it's because they are designed to be constantly hot. Temperature variation is the killer.

-Stooxie
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Old 11-16-2007, 10:52 PM   #29
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Thanks for the suggestions.

That stone went through a dozen oven cleaning cycles before it cracked so I guess it must be a gradual weakening process.
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