Ideas requested for an inexpensive "pizza stone" (thick brick for electric oven)

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Any suggestions for an inexpensive 15"x17" baking stone?
With the wife out of town for the summer, the kitchen is essentially undefended, so, I am baking my own meals from scratch for the first time in my life:
https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2902/14662162576_e8acbbbba2_b.jpg
But, the breads aren't coming out the way I want them to:
https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2903/14685124395_7b8346e3a8_b.jpg
They're not being cooked evenly it seems, even at 425°F:
https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2920/14662116166_1d15dfbd30_b.jpg
Neither are the pizzas, even at 550°F in the electric oven:
https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5594/14498661247_f4fedcfe12_b.jpg
But, mainly, the pizza crust isn't cooking like I want it to:
https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5568/14498515859_cfc0be4c0a_b.jpg
While, the pumpkin breads seem to be coming out just fine:
https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3882/14498516069_238b8df40b_b.jpg
Of course, I could blame either the recipe or the cook:
https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3904/14684823122_a46ba5cd5d_b.jpg
But, first, I want to see what happens with a pizza/baking stone:
https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3905/14684691032_1e04f447d7_b.jpg
Problem is, I don't have a 15x17" stone & these need to be cut:
https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3835/14682739504_599cbf9d99_b.jpg
It's not a big deal to cut what I have, but, they're kind'a thin to start with. And, a single slab would fit right on the bottom without having to fit on a rack.
So, while I was baking, I was just wondering if you had any good ideas for a cheap thick 15"x17" baking stone?
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On Fri, 18 Jul 2014 17:48:00 +0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

I used a big chunk of flagstone (silver quartzite). I took my side grinder with a diamond wheel to square it up a bit. You should be able to find some kind of suitable flagging at any stone yard. Those tiles in your last picture should work tho.
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On Fri, 18 Jul 2014 17:48:00 +0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

    Try posting in rec.food.sourdough     We are all fanatics there, and the group needs reviving.     []'s
--
Don't be evil - Google 2004
We have a new policy - Google 2012
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email.me:

Did you come up with a solution for the water problem?
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On Fri, 18 Jul 2014 17:48:00 +0000 (UTC), "Danny D."

Can't help with 15x17. Maybe you can get it custom cut. I use this - well, my wife uses it - for pizza. Works good. Cooks the crust well. But we have gas oven. (Amazon.com product link shortened) You don't need a stone, but if you insist, you can get stone at Home Depot.
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On Friday, July 18, 2014 3:32:26 PM UTC-4, Vic Smith wrote:

If you can find one that works, it's probably cheaper there. But you can also buy pizza stones at places like Bed, Bath Beyond, probably Walmart, etc. for $10 or so.
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Zaky Waky wrote, on Fri, 18 Jul 2014 18:52:47 +0000:

The real solution is either 'rain' or 'deeper wells'; but we did solve the immediate problem, with all your help.
What we did was put a plastic tank in the back of a truck, and we filled from the fire hydrant with a borrowed 2-1/2 inch fire hose fitting.
We had borrowed a pump, but that was the slowest part, pumping the water about 50 feet from the back of the truck to the top of the neighbor's water tank.
In the process, the neighbor told us she had a wet spot in the ground, which, when we looked, sure seemed suspicious (the water table is hundreds of feet down).
She's getting that looked at, but, between you and me, we suspect a break in the pipe underground from the well to the tank.
I guess I should have updated the other thread, but, it has been an ongoing thing. I do appreciate all the advice, as the collective experience here is vast!
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trader_4 wrote, on Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:47:39 -0700:

They were a lot more on Amazon! :) (Amazon.com product link shortened)
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trader_4 wrote:

What you said . Our daughter and her hubby gave us a 15" round one as a gift and it's the best thing that ever happened to our homemade pizza . Which reminds me , I need to make another batch of sauce .
--
Snag



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Terry Coombs wrote, on Fri, 18 Jul 2014 17:05:45 -0500:

For my sauce, I'm blanching ugly "Heirloom" tomatoes, 30 seconds in scalding water and then 30 seconds in ice-cold water, and then, after peeling the skin off, I blend to a paste before adding a few ad hoc spices.
I then put a bit of grated parmesan cheese on top, and then liberal slices of relatively dry (but too wet to grate) mozzarella cheese.
A top sprinkle of salt and a few basil leaves from the garden, and that's about it for the sauce before it goes into the oven.
I'm still working on improving the dough though ...
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Danny D. wrote:

I found a good dough recipe online for use in my bread machine . Got my recipe for sauce online too , it's supposed to use canned tomatoes , first batch was made with frozen ones from last year . I have 8 Roma tomato plants , all are loaded ... and they make great sauces and paste . I expect I'll be growing more of my own spices soon , just ordered a buncha seeds . Life's pretty good out here in the woods .
--
Snag



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On 07/18/2014 10:48 AM, Danny D. wrote:

I use unglazed terracotta tiles for cooking pizza in my oven, they work great.
Jon
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Jon Danniken wrote, on Fri, 18 Jul 2014 18:46:47 -0700:

The ones I have aren't as thick as I'd like them to be, and, I have no idea if they are glazed or not:
https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5557/14686110594_f8dd79a2b8_b.jpg
It turned out to be much harder to cut them than I thought:
https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3858/14501859618_e24f7b273d_b.jpg
At first, I put them in a vise, but that just cracked them in half!
https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2929/14688213352_143ec6e18b_b.jpg
Finally, I cut them with a diamond-tipped saw to fit the oven:
https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3923/14686109874_644e5e074a_b.jpg
Since they're wet, from cleaning, I'll wait a day for them to dry out, so that they won't crack at the 550 degrees which is the hottest I can get the oven without modifying the door lock for the self-cleaning 800 degree heat.
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On 07/18/2014 10:21 PM, Danny D. wrote:> Jon Danniken wrote, on Fri, 18 Jul 2014 18:46:47 -0700:

Just look at them and touch them. Go to the tile store and look at glazed tile (like the kind you would use on a bathroom wall), and then look at the unglazed ones (like a plant pot).

I have a wet saw now, but you used to be able to get home depot to cut them for you for a small fee.
Jon
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would putting 2 tiles [that you already have] on top of each other, help any, i wonder?
marc
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Terry Coombs wrote, on Fri, 18 Jul 2014 19:59:12 -0500:

I'm still working on improving the dough!
https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2937/14705007963_602d07917b_b.jpg
It turns out, I have plenty of room for improvement!
https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5552/14665488456_ba83e9c239_b.jpg
The easiest dough to make is the pumpkin or banana flavored breads:
https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3912/14682739714_cfde9b6c71_b.jpg
And, the hardest is the pizza dough for New York Style (which I haven't reproduced yet and have a long way to go before I do):
https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2905/14498708297_4094ac3770_b.jpg
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Oren wrote, on Sat, 19 Jul 2014 06:34:43 -0700:

Ah, Calzones. That's a great idea for my new ersatz "pizza stones".
Here's my very first pizza made with the newly cut stones!
https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3896/14519531499_0f1dae0264.jpg
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21blackswan wrote, on Sat, 19 Jul 2014 10:39:33 -0700:

That's an interesting idea as it would effectively double the thickness.
At the moment, all I've done is lowered the rack to the lowest possible setting, and put the cut stones in it as shown here:
https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3896/14519531499_0f1dae0264.jpg
I'll try that out for a while, but, what I think I'll do, long term, is find a thicker slab of 15x17" stone for the long-term solution.
But, for now, this will work.
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On 7/18/2014 12:48 PM, Danny D. wrote:

http://bakingstone.com/shop/home_oven/
Other option: a cast iron griddle. Cast iron works wonderfully for baking in/on.
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Moe DeLoughan wrote, on Mon, 21 Jul 2014 14:18:46 -0500:

I already have 3 steel frying pans, but I agree.
Next time I need a frying pan, I'll get one without a non-steel handle.
100% cast iron would be perfect.
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