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Soapstone vs Firebrick ?? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Soapstone vs Firebrick ??

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  • #61
    Re: Soapstone vs Firebrick ??

    Not me! It would be called a "soap oven" probably would melt stick with brick ask the pigs!

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    • #62
      Re: Soapstone vs Firebrick ??

      Originally posted by SCChris View Post
      My take on the porousity and crust is a bit different than David's. Right or wrong in logic, my feeling is that the stone and the crust create a layer of active steam that escapes out under the pizza, out the top and into the nice little bubbles in the crust, and in the end you get a crispy crust.

      I used a 3cm soapstone pizza stone in my oven for a couple of years, mostly to bake bread on but also for the ones and twos pizzas from time to time. What I found is limited to the ability of my kitchen oven to reach more than 550F, but crispy crust wasn't really a problem.

      What I found to be the culprit for soggy crust was over topping with wet sauce and cheese.. I feel that the advantage of the soapstone is getting the temps even on the floor and really being able to slam the heat into the pizza dough. The soapstone can hold more heat per weight and transfer more heat faster than the brick but brick is cheaper and twice the thickness 6cm vs 3cm.

      I feel that in an oven where the volume of pizzas is high, the soapstone can heat charge faster than the brick and recover faster to the ideal pizza temps. In most of our ovens volume of pizzas out of the ovens isn't really the problem. The value for our ovens would be getting the heat into storage faster and getting an even floor temp. We might also expect to see a faster evening out of temperatures within the oven so, for instance, when you prep the oven for bread the amount of time to reach an environment where the dome and floor are close to the same temp is decreased. We might also see that, since the floor is non porous, the bread is steamed more fully because this is one less surface absorbinbg the steam.

      I've read that brick is better than soapstone for true bread baking, I'm ok with this if it's so. The statments about bread on soapstone are that the bottom cooks too fast relative to the top crust. I don't know and haven't seen any first hand information on bread on soapstone except what I've done and I'm quite happy with the results.

      I'm sure that the quality of the pizza and bread is more a function of the cooks knowledge and the ingredients.

      Just my opinion..

      Chris
      Chris, you got it right, the SS moves heat faster, so, no cold spots...we can put pies over one spot all night if we want (but at 81 inches, we don't have to if we don't want)...crispy crust
      Trying to learn what I can about flours, fermentation and flames...

      My 81 inch first build; http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f37/...ost-11354.html

      My 52 inch mobile; http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f37/...ing-20874.html

      our FB page; https://www.facebook.com/pages/Artys...20079718042660

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      • #63
        I am thinking about making a large pizza oven for a commercial application out of soapstone. The dome and floor will be 1 " thick soapstone with a ton of insulation. Any thoughts on the topic?

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        • #64
          Originally posted by Brendon View Post
          I am thinking about making a large pizza oven for a commercial application out of soapstone. The dome and floor will be 1 " thick soapstone with a ton of insulation. Any thoughts on the topic?
          sounds like iT will not have sufficient thermal mass to sustain long term cooking without a constant heat source, I also doubt the structural rigidity for a mobile oven which are most often cast

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          • #65
            I live in Vermont and have access to cheap soapstone, granite, firebrick etc. In my second pizza oven, I decided to put a 5/4 inch soapstone floor in, but surrounded it with a rim of 5/4" firebrick (all on a 2" sand base which was sitting on top of a 2" fireproof insulation block from FB). After one or two initial fires, I quickly learned that: 1) soapstone absorbs heat to such a significant degree that the soapstone cooking surface exceeded 1000 degrees easily, burning the bottom of pizzas, and 2) making fires directly on the soapstone led to the development of multiple cracks in the soapstone (due presumably to uneven heating during the burn). Due to both issues, I removed the 5/4" soapstone slab, and replaced the cooking surface with regular firebricks, which are much more suitable to cooking pizza.

            As for using the soapstone for the actual oven walls, while it will certainly absorb and hold heat, I would be concerned about both issues cited above: 1) controlling the amount of heat in the walls, and thus perhaps too much air temp, and/or 2) the likelihood of cracking and breakage in the actual walls, creating both a structural problem long term and a likely fire hazard over time. Also, as someone mentioned above, the thermal mass of the oven is at least as important as the material used to build it. Only one inch of wall--even soapstone--will not provide the mass necessary to keep a consistently high air temp without continual heating or relatively large fires. (My oven has 2" firebrick walls covered with 2" of cement cladding topped by a 1" ceramic blanket, all buried in a vermiculite shell about 4" thick on average (and will remain at 500 degrees for two days after the fire has gone out).

            Overall, I have found that firebrick is the perfect material for all aspects of a pizza oven in that they are durable (I have yet to replace a broken or cracked one), maintain temerpature well, and can be readily regulated to maintain the 600-700 degree floor temperature which is ideal for a range of pizza/dough types.

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            • #66
              I have partial soapstone floor over a layer of regular firebrick, haven't had any issues with it getting to hot or cracking. It could be that my dome is so thin the floor is only ~750f by the time im ready to cook, or that i use ~80%+ hydration dough. Cracks could be from soapstone with talc lines, mine is pretty much clear of any talc. Here are some pics from the build, I havent had a ton of fires so far but I there has been 0 issues with the oven and I pretty much always cook on the soapstone side.

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