#1  
Old 02-15-2007, 05:55 PM
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Location: WNY
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Default Cold pizza stone + hot fireplace = ??

I'd like to put a pizza stone in my fireplace from time to time for baking purposes. If I put a cold stone into a hot hot fireplace, would that cause anything bad to happen to the stone?

The stone would be placed on an iron rack.

Many thanks.
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  #2  
Old 02-15-2007, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: Cold pizza stone + hot fireplace = ??

I'm trying to picture the utility of a stone in a fireplace. Perhaps you can give more details about what you are trying to do? In general cold and hot don't play nice with masonry, especially slabs like a pizza stone. It might work ok if you place the iron rack in cold with the stone on it directly, but you risk cracking the stone from thermal shock. A fireplace also isn't a great way to use a stone as the heat is pretty uneven - no heat retention. I'd be interested to hear how it works if you do try it.

When I was a child we used the fireplace for cooking only when roasting chestnuts. My dad used a cheap metal cake pan and rotated it fairly frequently to even out the cooking.
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Old 02-16-2007, 01:48 AM
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Default Re: Cold pizza stone + hot fireplace = ??

Id say us a BBQ... this just doesn't sound like the greatest idea... unless, like maver said, you are using it for some interesting application. If you were to use it you would pretty much have to put the stone on the fire while it is still cold (that is just started) otherwise it is almost certain to explode on you.
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Old 02-16-2007, 02:24 AM
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Default Re: Cold pizza stone + hot fireplace = ??

Hearth cooking is very traditional. There is even a cookbook on the topic -- I think it's called Elements of Fire. I think there is a chance that the stone might crack if you were to put it on your iron rack when the rack and fire were hot. So don't try this with a pizza stone you are not afraid to lose.

One option might be to purchase something inexpensive, such as an unglazed tile, or a handful of firebrick splits. They will not give the consistent performance of a serious pizza stone, but the results could be good -- and you would have the pleasure and fun of making pizza in your fireplace.

I would give it a shot.
James
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Old 03-11-2007, 06:42 AM
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Default Re: Cold pizza stone + hot fireplace = ??

Thanks for all the great responses.

I ordered the circular stone because the larger one would not fit in my oven. I did an oven test last weekend and this week, which yielded nice pizzas.

Tonight I put the stone in the fireplace. Since we have a fairly small fireplace, I did not want to put the stone in before building the fire because there just wasn't enough room for that and a decent fire. But nor did I want to put the stone in cold, for fear of what might happen. It is still not clear to me that anything bad will happen, but at this point I'm not willing to take the bet. So what I did was heat the stone up in the oven first and then move it to the fireplace when I was ready to cook. It is not an elegant solution, and there is some risk involved, but it seems to work fine. I moved it on a wooden cutting board and used welders gloves to handle it. I had first tested the board and the gloves with the stone at 300, 400, and 500 degrees to be sure that nothing untoward would happen; everything checked out OK, so I went forward.

I cooked two pizzas tonight, one tomato/mozz/pepperoni and one caramelized onion/swiss. Both turned out really nice, but I think there was some temp loss between the first and second, which I suppose is to be expected in a chamber not meant to hold heat. Also, I'd like more browning of the top. Maybe this is a good excuse to go get that blowtorch....

Worth it? Too early to tell. It seems to me that the crust was better than the ones produced in the oven, but that may be due to the extra time it sat in the fridge; I made the dough on Wed and cooked half last night in the oven and half tonight in the fireplace. I used a basic crust recipe (Cook's) and I think some more experimentation is in order. There was nice charring on the bottom and big bubbles on the top.

Unfortunately, I had left my camera on and so had to recharge the batteries tonight. I did manage to get some shots, but only after the actual cooking had taken place.

Summary: does it work? Yes. Is it worth doing beyond the fun factor of cooking in the fireplace? Probably, but a little early to tell.

Next up: can it roast a chicken?

Again, thanks for the responses.

Meez
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Old 03-11-2007, 06:48 AM
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Default Re: Cold pizza stone + hot fireplace = ??

Here are some pics.

The fireplace, with and without flash:





The stuff:



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