“Atelier Du gout” Baking Demo

November 25th, 2009 | Posted by greg in Classes & Demo

The baking demo at the excellent L’atelier du Gout, was a great success and I can understand the so many questions from the passionate bakers attending the class. One of the question was about the stone to be used in a home oven.

Using a stone in home baking makes a big difference to your end product, whether you bake a pizza or a loaf of bread.
The stone can be the same nature as heat resistant “engineered” brick (used to build wood fire oven), or another common natural stone used is the cordierite. Granite and slate are also fine; of course any stone used to bake should not be glazed.

A thickness of about half an inch will be appropriate. The thicker the stone, the more time it will take to heat up. If you use a gas oven, it should take a total of about 45 minutes to bring the stone to even heat. And if you are using an electrical oven, it will take about 60 minutes. In a oven with bottom and top heat control, the stone can be directly on the bottom of the oven, but if the heat is too strong from the bottom, you might need to keep your stone on a grid at the lower level in your oven to avoid a too intense heat.

Every stone, either man made or natural have a certain degree of moisture in them and you will need to “dry” them or else the stone will crack or break at the first usage. So before baking with your stone, you have to warm it up gradually to “temper” it. For example 1 hour at  50C degrees followed by 1 hour at 100C degrees, followed by one hour at 150C degrees and finally half hour at 200C.

There is no need to get an expensive stone with brand name, visit a local stone shop and ask them to cut a slab of your desired stone for the size of your oven.


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15 Responses

  • Selena Choi says:

    Thank you for the great tips, chef!and welcome to the world of bloggers!

  • Natalie says:

    thanks for building the blog! it’s the most detailed description about baking stone at home i ever read on the web!

    thanks for your demonstration in L’atelier du Gout too. I’ve enjoyed it a lot. : )

    • A moon says:

      It was really a fruitful demo class and I learnt many that day!

      I can’t wait to make the breads esp. semolina bread and fougasse.

      Baking stone……! I am planning to have it……after change my oven to a more powerful one. :P

  • newnew005 says:

    Dear Chef,

    I should be grateful to meet you in your demo class. Do you remember the old man of wheelchair bound.
    Jonny sir who help me to ask you about the baking stone and the hole in the bread.
    Now I have another question, how do I know the Baguette or Europe’s bread is baking done? Because it has rock skin, I can’t press it, any method to test it?
    Thank you Chef!
    Europe’s bread

    • Gregoire says:

      Yes, of course I remember you – and thank you very much for your kind attendance at the demo.
      Good question, regarding the doneness of hard crust bread. Like many books mention, there is a time of baking, but of course, it is very much variable for so many reasons. More or less, we would assume that a bread loaf of 500 grams of dough will bake for about 45 minutes. From that point, we have to achieve the color by adjusting our oven’s temperature. And to check if the bread is done, you have to take it in your hand (using a cloth, as it is very hot) and hit the bottom of the bread with the tips of your finger – the sound that needs to be heard is cavernous, a deep-sound that will suggest that the texture of the crumb is done. As well, when holding the bread in your hands, you can feel the crispiness and thickness of the crust by its resistance and noise.

      Hope to see you again at the next demo! :)

      • newnew005 says:

        Dear Chef,
        I am a tetraplegia, my sensation is not well, anyway I know this trick to check it now. Thanks for your teaching! 26th (room temp around 22-24 degree C), I follow the note to made a baguette, after shape, I ferment it 1.5 hours then put in the oven, after bake, it has not bigger. A-moon who is my classmate of demo class, he said my bread is over ferment. Usually what is the suitable envirnoment (degree and humidity) for dough’s ferment?

  • may says:

    Thanks for your great demonstration !!!! Look forward to learn more from you !!!

  • Fallna says:

    Dear Chef, It is great demonstration and your expain in detail, I can know more about bread.
    But Chef, I am not sure the ferment time, I just make the little dough at home (e.g. 500g) how can I know their (bulk & final ferment) time.
    Thanks Chef and I look forward to next demo too!

    • Gregoire says:

      Hello Fallna,

      500g dough, following a “standard direct dough” would be 30 minutes bulk rest, weighing and shaping in ball, wait for 20 minutes, then shape and final proof most likely for 30 to 45 minutes. A small dough ferments fast, especially with a direct method.
      Hope it came out nicely!! :)

  • newnew005 says:

    Dear Chef,
    Today I make poolish again. I discover the baguette’s ingredients differ between the note (3g fresh yeast in poolish and 10g fresh yeast in dough)and the book of Artisan bread p53 (3g fresh yeast for poolish, but use 10G YEAST for dough)? I guess the book of recipes are using FRESH YEAST, just need your confirm. THX!

  • Gregoire says:

    Dear newnew005:
    There is another way to know if your bread is fully baked that does not require too much senses, it’s by using a thermometer with a long needle and dig it in the core of your loaf where the temperature should be between 87C and 97C. Interestingly enough, the core temperature will never pass above 100C, the boiling point of water.
    It seems A-moon’s comment is right about your baguette, if the baguette did not move in the oven. It is very hard to tell you a time for the last fermentation without knowing the yeast, temperature and other factors. When I make baguette, my last fermentation is 3 hours, but I work on sourdough and 75% humidity.
    Regarding the baguette recipe in the book, yes, I used fresh yeast. I like to work with low level of yeast and longer fermentation time. :)

  • Fallna says:

    oh! understand, Thanks your reply!

    • Gregoire says:


      As I always say, “failure is a learning experience”.
      It’s not easy to judge from a picture, but from what I can notice is that the baguettes are over proofed in both tries, but the second try is better. I also notice the “gray” color of the crust after baking. This is due to a lack of steam in the oven. Also, the cuts are not opening because of the over proofing, but also because the outer part of the baguette is dry before baking. You should keep a plastic sheet on them while they are proofing.
      In the second try, after baked, I notice the bursting of the dough on the side and this is due to different reasons. It can be the shaping where the closing point was not properly kept on the bottom or it can be that the cut were not deep enough and it can also be from the lack of steam.
      I can definitely see an improvement from the first try to the second try and that is what counts. In the second try, I think there is only little to change to have a proper product. I can see the texture after bake is getting there.
      My suggestions are: Less proofed / cover the dough while proofing / more steam at the start of baking (fine spray in oven)

      I hope it helps and happy baking!

  • Carmen says:

    Dear Chef,

    The demo class is extremely useful and the bread is very delicious. Hope to see you again.

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