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Soapstone floor - Advice - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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I'm Peter Reinhart! Ask Me Anything! Monday, February 15, 2016 7:00-8:00 pm EST

To kick off our AMA feature, we have invited author, chef and master bread maker and host of Pizza Quest, Peter Reinhart, to be our first host! Peter will be in the Forum on Monday, February 15th, from 7:00 - 8:00 pm EST. If you are unable to be online during the live session, you can post your questions in the sticky post. Peter will answer those questions during the live session on February 15th. You can view Peter's answers to your questions as well as what happened during the live session in the session thread.

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Soapstone floor - Advice

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  • Soapstone floor - Advice

    Hi, and thank you for an excellent forum!

    I'm building an oven this summer.
    I got soapstone some soapstone slabs 2 inches thick very cheap locally, and thought that this would be very good for the oven floor.

    However. I just bought the book "The bread builders" by Daniel Wing and Alan Scott.
    I quote the book "Althought soapstone slabs make an attractive and durable hearth they are more expensive than firebricks , and they store and transfer so much heat that the bottoms of loaves of bread tend to get burned by the time the top of the loaves are baked. Soapstone is fine for flatbread, but why limit yourself to flatbread?"

    Now I am not able to decide. My oven use will be 50/50 bread and pizza.
    I've found several threads on this forum about soapstone, but none with personal experiences.

    Please help me decide. Btw. Firebricks are very expensive here in Norway (6.5 USD a piece), and I have already bought the soapstone...

    Best regards,
    Bjorn

  • #2
    Re: Soapstone floor - Advice

    Seems straight forward to me if you already bought the soapstone, all you have to do is keep an eye on the floor temps. If my floor is too hot i drag a wet cloth across the cooking area, and it brings down that area's temp.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Soapstone floor - Advice

      If Ovencrafters indicates that Soapstone may be a problem with direct contact you might consider using some sort of diffuser when doing your bread. Something like a porcelain tile might be enough. I think I’d go ahead and use the Soapstone and if you’re only baking a few loaves at a time I have to think there is an easy low tech workaround. One of the benefits of Soapstone should be that your oven has a more consistent, more even temperature throughout. Another passing thought was that you could mix your floor by installing Soapstone and Firebrick and using these areas when appropriate for the cooking application.

      Chris

      PS I'm using a 3cm slab of Soapstone in my standard oven and love it. I haven't seen a problem with burning the bottom of the loaf but I have seen the oven spring of the bread increase over the ceramic pizza stone that I was using.

      PSS Ovencrafters is the standard for wood fired Bread ovens. If bread is you goal you might want to use brick as a floor. Texassourdough is a great resource here when it comes to bread.
      Last edited by SCChris; 06-02-2010, 11:36 AM.

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      • #4
        Re: Soapstone floor - Advice

        Hi Beron,

        Just following up on your original thread and wondered how far you have gotten with your oven. I am pleased for you that your soapstone purchase was so reasonable as soapstone in the U.S. is quite expensive. (I just bought enough soapstone to cover the floor and entryway of a 42" Pompeii oven).

        If you have begun (or finished) your oven might you have some pics to share?

        John

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        • #5
          Re: Soapstone floor - Advice

          I just laid 1 1/2 inch soapstone floor in my oven over the firerick floor Im having great results with heat retention ....makes easy heat management...but im just doing pizza and roasting

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Soapstone floor - Advice

            Congrats on your SStone over firebrick floor. At what temps are you cooking pizza and what hydration levels is your dough at?

            Chris

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            • #7
              Re: Soapstone floor - Advice

              725f ....using the forno bravo dough recipe at 65% hydration....I use 60% double zero and 40% king arthur bread flour.

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              • #8
                Re: Soapstone floor - Advice

                Gotwood,

                Your soapstone installation sounds like a winner, especially regarding heat management. Did you cover a portion or all of your floor with it? Would love to see a pic if you have one!

                John

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                • #9
                  Re: Soapstone floor - Advice

                  Hello John...there is one solid piece 24" by 26" that I was able get in through the front door entrance.....and the edges i cut and fit as precise as i could.its pretty solid all the way around.......there is a shop in Escondido Ca that has all the Soapstone anyone may need....at around $22 a square foot

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                  • #10
                    Re: Soapstone floor - Advice

                    Thanks! I was able to pick up 4 pieces of 3cm soapstone (pics here: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/8/octoforno-7122-2.html) and am planning to cut the floor and entryway for a 39" Pompeii this weekend. Man, this stuff is heavy! I am curious to find out how hot it gets with a fire going on top of it, and how efficient it is tranferring heat to the firebrick floor below.
                    John

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                    • #11
                      Re: Soapstone floor - Advice

                      Thanks for the additional info Gotwood. I wonder too how the soapstone over the brick functions for heat transfer, bringing the floor up to the working temps. I know the SStone is going to spread the heat evenly over the underlying brick and hopefully it heats more of the brick floor quicker and with less wood. I'm curious as to what the cooling would look like over a 5 day period with a tight door.

                      Chris

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                      • #12
                        Re: Soapstone floor - Advice

                        I just removed the firebrick floor and going straight with the SS floor.... I have a refractory floor beneath that came with the modular kit.....Im going to fire it up in a few hours to check it out....

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                        • #13
                          Re: Soapstone floor - Advice

                          Gotwood, Let us know how it works out.

                          Chris

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Soapstone floor - Advice

                            Originally posted by SCChris View Post
                            I wonder too how the soapstone over the brick functions for heat transfer, bringing the floor up to the working temps. I know the SStone is going to spread the heat evenly over the underlying brick and hopefully it heats more of the brick floor quicker and with less wood.

                            Chris
                            Chris,

                            After work last week I pulled my soapstone floor up to re-level it past the government standards I had originally installed it to. The sun had set and the entire backyard had been in shadow for a good forty-five minutes. Although the soapstone was still very warm (almost hot) to the touch, what surprised me was the temperature of the underlying firebrick. I should have taken an IR reading, but they were hot and radiated a significant amount of heat, absorbed exclusively from the direct sun-heated soapstone on top.

                            I am now convinced of your prognosis: the soapstone will transfer (oven fire) heat directly to the firebrick below quite efficiently. Because soapstone gives up it's heat slowly, I'm hoping for increased oven heat retention as well.

                            BTW - I mentioned your solar panel/heating element idea to my 18 year old son and he's hot to build a panel from purchased parts!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Soapstone floor - Advice

                              Thanks to your son for the offer of help. I'd like to see if I can meter some info about what it would take to hold a temp of X.. If I pickup a "Kill-O-Watt" and a heating element, I should be able to get an idea about how much energy it would take to hold the temp at say 250F. This in turn would tell me how much PV panel it would take to hold the temp.

                              Anyway it fun to think about..

                              Chris

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