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Baking Stone(s) Updated Advice Needed

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Baking Stone(s) Updated Advice Needed

Emme | Jul 26, 2011 09:36 AM

Through some fortunate miracle, I have been pre-gifted a baking stone... I was told to get "the good kind," and the benefactor would reimburse me "every penny." (She's an odd woman, but a stickler like that.) Now, I've been coveting various baking and pizza stones for years, but I haven't really settled on one, as I hadn't committed in my head to buying one yet. I've combed through the previous posts on the topic, and still have a few questions, and desire for more recent input... hope that doesn't offend. So, here's where I'm at....

1. So many different brand recommendations... and positive and negative reviews on both
Fibrament http://www.bakingstone.com/order.php
Pampered Chef http://www.pamperedchef.com/our_produ...
King Arthur's Flour http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/i...
Emile Henry - PIzza Stone http://www.emilehenryusa.com/Pizza-St... or the Grilling/Baking Stone http://www.emilehenryusa.com/Flame-To...
Sur La Table - the Charcoal Companion http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO... or the Pizza/Baking Stone http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...
Williams-Sonoma http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...
Oneida -- leaning away from this, as I read a significant number of negative reviews
World Market -- cheap but also read mostly negative reviews

I'm sure many have many different ones, but if anyone has had more than one, and can compare or tout the merits... I don't want to spend gobs, but I don't want to buy one that is rubbish, and have to buy another one anyway...

2. One baking stone or two.... I know you can buy one and put in on the floor of your gas oven. I also know that to simulate more accurately a kiln, you can place a second stone on the top rack of your oven. Some questions... should I fork over the dough for two stones? Do I need to purchase the same stones for top and bottom, i.e. can I go a little cheaper for the second/not totally necessary stone? I understand I can leave the bottom stone in the oven at all times. (Any reason not to though?) If I do opt for having two, should I remove the top one, after it's cooled of course, from the oven if I'm baking other things?

3. Any advice you have for use would be much appreciated. I have the basics down, and want to avoid cracks at all cost. Consistent, gradual cooling and heating; no cleaning with soap; clean with water and allow to fully dry before using again... Does anyone routinely bake cookies or muffins or cakes on the stone (within another pan obviously)? Will I be a convert? ;)

Thanks in advance so much for tolerating a semi-repetitive post... I just want to get something I will love, and that will last me a long time (given careful use).

Cheers!

Side Note: Does anyone have one of these Himalayan Salt Plates? Like it, love it, need it?
http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...

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