Brian's Photo Blog — Article 509
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Baking Artisan Bread in a Superstone Covered Baker
Thursday 7 January 2016   —   Category: Cooking & Food
Well, Christmas has come and gone. I was very blessed to receive as gifts a number of items from my Amazon wish list. My always-generous mom gave me a Superstone Cov­ered Baker. For its inaugural use, I decided to make a loaf of bread in it.

As I explained in Artisan Baker Wannabe Not Ready For Prime Time, lately I have been trying bread recipes from the cookbook Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza by famous Portland-based baker Ken Forkish. For this loaf I used, once again, Ken’s White Bread With Poolish recipe.

Before baking, I formed the shape of the loaf and let it proof in a new oblong brotform which I also received for Christ­mas. Ken’s wet doughs are quite sticky, so even though I had put a lot of flour on the brotform, the dough was still a challenge to get out.

My biggest concern was whether to season the Superstone with oil before its first use or not. The skimpy instruction sheet said to do so. But then it also said that the Superstone will season itself naturally with use. Some customers on Amazon said that they had seasoned theirs with no problems, but some customers reported bad experiences.

After much hesitation, I decided to just go ahead and bake a loaf of bread without seasoning it first. Once it was done baking, the bread simply popped out with no sticking at all, so I was happy about my decision.

I used the Superstone in exactly the same way Ken uses a cast-iron dutch oven in his cookbook. I preheated the oven to 450°F with the empty Super­stone in the oven. Then I put the bread dough into the very hot Superstone — with some prying and stretching of the sticky dough, trying to get it out of the brotform. After putting the lid on the Superstone, I placed it back in the oven. I cooked the bread for 30 minutes with the lid on, and then 15 minutes with it off.

As you can see from the photos to the right, the loaf came out looking really nice. And it tasted even better than it looked — the crust was wonderfully crispy, and the wet dough contributed to a not-too-dense texture. My family and I were going to eat it with some soup for our main meal the next day, but we easily devoured it before that! For the bread I made for the soup, see Italian Tomato Soup and My First Home­made Focaccia.

I’m really happy with how the Superstone Covered Baker performed, and I’m eagerly looking forward to making more bread in it! Thanks, Mom, for the wonderful present!
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 509
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Reader Comments
On August 12, 2018, Beth wrote:
I just had to deep clean my beloved Super Stone (set oven on the 'clean oven' cycle and left the baker in at super high temp for a couple of hours, came out 'like new' clean) and couldn't remember how to prime it. Your post was the best information I found—thank you!

When it was new, I think I first primed it with some olive oil and then put it in the oven for awhile. I think. Can't really remember. But, I think, like you, I'd found the instructions vague. After awhile, the baker developed a gorgeous, dark brown, non-stick coating from baking many loaves of bread (only). But, the finish became damaged so I needed to re-proof it. Your advice made me look forward to trying it without oiling it initially. Happy baking!
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 509
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