Mass has its advantages

There is another advantage to adding heavy pizza stones, or even actual bricks, to your home oven that I didn’t mention yesterday. That is consistency of heat. Most of us assume that when we heat up our home ovens they stay consistently and uniformly hot. This is not the case. In fact if you could see the temperatures in your oven mapped out over time, the graph would look like undulating waves on an ocean — a constant cycle of cooling and heating as the oven “makes up” heat that’s lost out the door, through cracks and through its thin walls. There’s a price to be paid for this cycling in the quality of your bread.

My big oven, being made out of about a ton and a half of brick, concrete, and vermiculite insulation doesn’t have that problem, or anyway not to that degree. The heat it soaks up it keeps, then radiates it back out again, steadily, over a period of many hours. Think of brick or clay mass in your oven, then, as a stabilizer. Like ballast on a ship, giving your loaves a smoother, more even ride.

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