Pizza Stone Bread: Some Background
Stones and Steam
If you are like me, you have probably wondered how great bakeries can convert the same flour that you and I can buy into wonderful, crusty, chewy, flavorful bread. It always seems to me that no matter how hard I tried, whether it was special recipes, hand kneading, or special pans, I could not never make a real baguette.
I think I always knew that it has something to do with "steam" and a "stone", but it never really sunk in.
Then, I bought a pizza stone. Initially, I used the stone for making, well, pizza. And we have had a great time making crisp pizza stone pizza. We have made great pizza on charcoal BBQs, gas BBQs, and in just about every type of oven. The pizza stone extracts moisture from the pizza dough and quickly converts it into steam that gives the pizza crust its crispy crust.
After reading about the importance of steam and baking, I finally experienced it first hand with pizza, This was event that started me on the path to launching Forno Bravo.
I decided it was time to take the plunge and see if steam and a pizza stone would really work for crusty bread. My lingering fear was that I would invest a great deal of time and effort, and really only end up making mediocre bread that no one would really want to eat. Or worse, that I would know that the bread was mediocre, and everyone else would tell me how good it was. Luckily, I was wrong.
After a great deal of trial and error, I can say with confidence that the pizza stone really does work; that it is not that difficult to master, and that the results are truly worth the effort. In fact, I would say it another way. Trying to make artisan bread without using steam and without using a stone of some form is a waste of time. You will be disappointed with the results, and will eventually give up. But with the right tools and a little practice, you can do it.
It's time to get started.