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Soapstone Slab for floor instead of firebrick

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  • Soapstone Slab for floor instead of firebrick

    I have a large slab of soapstone left over from a kitchen counter install.

    It is 1 1/4" thick about 36x36 square. I plan on building a smaller diameter oven.

    I would like to use this as the "floor" of my oven as it is flat and smooth.

    Everything I read uses firebrick for the floor with insulation underneath.

    Is there any reason why a slab of soapstone would not be a good idea to use instead of placing multiple firebrick and hoping they are flat and level.

    THANKS !!

  • #2
    Re: Soapstone Slab for floor instead of firebrick


    Have a read of the following threads

    Octoforno might be able to answer your question.


    • #3
      Re: Soapstone Slab for floor instead of firebrick

      Soapstone has far greater thermal conductivity/faster heat transfer than firebrick. You can work around this with some breads and with slower baked pizza, but if you want faster baked Neapolitan pizza, ie, work with a hotter oven, the bottom of the pizza is going to burn before the top is done- either that or you'll end up doming the pie for most of the bake.

      Building a wfo that has issues making Neapolitan pizza kind of defeats the purpose, imo.

      Also, soapstone varies tremendously from stone to stone- and is also very frequently misidentified. Misidentification can be dangerous, as marble can explode when exposed to intense changes in heat. As far as variations go, it's less a question of danger and more a question of durability, as soapstone can easily have impurities that cause it to crack easily. If it does crack, and, god forbid, you end up with an undetected shard lodged in the pizza/bread, it will wreak havoc on teeth.

      While, historically, many different natural materials have been used to make ovens, modern engineering has been able to produce materials that are far more reliable and far more safe. Stick to firebrick.


      • #4
        Re: Soapstone Slab for floor instead of firebrick

        1-1/2" is not thick enough for a floor anyway. Use split firebrick over the soapstone and you will be good.


        • #5
          Re: Soapstone Slab for floor instead of firebrick

          Split firebrick costs as much as whole firebrick.

          I will just use a whole firebrick but I seen no reason to do 2 layers of firebrick.

          This is only suggested for long term bread baking ovens. OR AM I WRONG ???!!!



          • #6
            Re: Soapstone Slab for floor instead of firebrick

            You do not need two layers, you just don't want to use the soapstone as a cooking surface. I suggested the splits because the total of soapstone/split firebrick will be about what you want for the floor (2-1/2 to 3").

            Since the soapstone is there already, go ahead and try it, it may work for the pizza you make. If it scorches your crust or doesn't hold enough heat, then you can add the splits later.


            • #7
              Re: Soapstone Slab for floor instead of firebrick

              Sorry Gooters - just getting back to the Forum after a brief trip.

              Everything mentioned above I have found true: Soapstone does have a greater thermal conductivity than firebrick, and for the most part, has served me well. It looks good, is a joy to move pots and pans around the oven when I cook with a live fire, and has produced the best pizza crust I have ever had. It also works wonderfully as a heating element for casseroles and pies, etc.

              BTW - I have a layer of 2.5" firebricks just under the 3cm soapstone giving me a total of 3.75" of floor which heats up really fast due to the soapstone.

              Now... that said: I recently picked up a cord of eucalyptus which burns really, really hot. So much so that my first pizza session with it burned terribly. I had to let the oven cool a bit and wipe the floor with a damp towel in order to continue. Same goes with bread. I have to fight the oven not to burn the bottoms while the loaves rise and brown beautifully.

              My advice? If you are serious about baking true neapolitan pies and bread, go with firebrick.