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Ceramic vs. Clay???

Anthony Up NorthAnthony Up North Posts: 205
edited 9:09PM in EggHead Forum
Question: In using firebrick and pizza stone, what is the difference between ceramic and clay. Just this morning I saw a pizza stone that way made of clay and fired at 2200 deg. F. Seems that would be okay to use in the BGE.[p]And how about firebrick? Ceramic vs Clay? Why?[p]Anthony Up North


  • Lee2Lee2 Posts: 38
    Anthony Up North,
    If by ceramic you mean a glazed and fired product vs an unglazed but still fired (clay) product, I would suggest food-grade unglazed for most baking applications. Ceramic (glazed) will make a nice casserole, etc., but they don't produce the nice crust that unglazed clay tends to produce. Most fired clay, glazed or not glazed, is fired to 2,000 degrees F or more.

  • SpinSpin Posts: 1,375
    Anthony Up North,[p]I am not familiar with the composition of firebricks. I only know that they were never manufactured with the consideration that someone would cook directly on them. They are quite useful otherwise.[p]The vast majority of commercial pizza stones available are made of various mixtures of clay and are manufactured to only withstand the temps capable from an ordinary oven. The thermal stresses that your Egg (and/or the setup) applies can quickly exceed the limits of what a clay stone resulting in breakage. Ceramic stones are much more capable of handling these stresses.[p]IMHO, I like the reliability of the ceramic stones and I like the surface smoothness of a well worn clay stone. Clay is initially smoother and tends to tighten up more with use vs. ceramic. The ceramic, though very reliable, will provide a rougher surface that doesn't really change with use.[p]My favorite stone is a clay one that I have had for 5 years. It has withstood making pizza at 725F. I use it constantly in the large Egg, and when it dies, I will really miss it.[p]I'd appreciate a link :).[p]Spin
  • Spin,
    The Stone I am considering is a 13" stone made of 100% natural clay and mfc. by "Sassafras Enterprises In., P.O Box 1366 Evanston, Ill. 60204. It is one of the oldest and largest pottery factories in the U.S. The stone is called the "Superstone Baaking Stone."[p]I claims to produce a dry heat which absorbs moisture and creates a super crispy crust, with even heat distribution that liminates hot spots guaranteeing a uniformly browned crust. [p]It is sold for $22.00 but is on sale for $16.00. But with all of the talk about ceramic I was reluctant. [p]I'm glad to hear you have had excellent luck with your clay stone and that it is quite durable. Anything lasting 5 years at that price is a bargain. Nothing lasts forever.[p]Anthony Up North

  • Tim MTim M Posts: 2,410
    Anthony Up North,[p]When I told you to get a ceramic firebrick and not a clay one - I meant not a clay building type red brick. Anything that has been fired at 2000+ deg is going to be safe to use in the Egg, IMHO.[p]Tim
  • SpinSpin Posts: 1,375
    Anthony Up North,[p]My clay stone is quite a miracle. It was rated to 375F and has several hundred hours of cooking experience. i was kind to it as it matured.[p]The most important thing you need to learn is the manufacturers temperature rating that defines the limits of their warrantee. Aside from this, everything else is pure advertising BS.[p]This rating is the standard by which they all must adhere.[p]Spin
  • DeaconDeacon Posts: 13
    Anthony Up North,I have that stone, or I should say I had that stone, mine broke today after cooking 3 medium pizzas on it. It just can't hold up to the thermal stress the Egg puts on it. Maybe I just got a lemon, but....... best of luck with which ever you pick. Deacon
  • Char-WoodyChar-Woody Posts: 2,642
    Anthony Up North, Good posts and some points need to be clarified a bit. Clay is a ceramic. Just as is concrete. But its the compostition of different elements that make up your ceramics in cooking wares. If its kiln fired to 2200 degrees then it must be rated at around 10 on the cone fired scale. Most gas/electric kilns have settings in the heat ranges to the cone values you wish to attain in the materials your firing. It takes a really good kiln to meet the cone 10 values that BGE maintains in its products including the plate sitters and pizza stones they have in stock.
    So, IMHO, if I were buying a stone, clay or high temp ceramic, I would check with the manufacturer, or on the warranty for replacement. Most breakage is due to thermal shock when a very cold pizza is applied to a hot stone, or the cold stone is introduced to a hot environment. Best to heat the stone (clay or ceramic) from low to high temps.
    I have used the BGE stone both cold with a pizza on it and heated and layed a pizza on it and no problems. If I want to use a frozen pizza for experimenting, I will thaw the frozen pizza in a microwave till the dough is flexible. Then handle it like a fresh made one.
    (I am still trying to figure out the difference between kiln fired flower pot trays and food grade clay):-)

  • MaryMary Posts: 190
    Might only be lead in the clay mix. Flower pots don't have to meet food standards, so you don't know what's in it. Flower pots made in the USA are probably ok since just about all US potters got rid of the heavy metal contaminates. Who know if they were made somewhere else. There is a wide variety in durability of food grade pottery. Flower pots would be equivalent to the lower grade pottery.[p]Also, some ceramics are more porous than others. Clay is made up of very fine particles, so a really good quality clay will be less porous than a ceramic with a little more sand it like the firebricks. Porcelain clay is so fine that when fired, it forms a glassy surface looking and acting like glass.[p]Mary

  • MaryMary Posts: 190
    Lee2,[p]This is not true. A lot of pottery/ceramics are low fired and not heat tempered to 2000+F. One must be aware of what one is buying. I've got several pots made for cooking that are high fired.[p]Mary
  • Char-WoodyChar-Woody Posts: 2,642
    Mary, yup, mine were made in Germany, but with all the lead paint problems in the past, I wonder if there isn't restrictions on importing goods with lead in them. Like the brown snake of Asia, some maybe sneak in..:-(

  • MaryMary Posts: 190
    We have a lot less safeguards here than people think. For one thing, the last 20 years have seen an assault on government oversight, and who else would do it for us? And, imports are generally exempt from manufacturing rules, plus many US manufacturers take extra care nowadays to eliminate toxins because of the bad press and litigation problems - not an issue for importers. Germany might be ok - they have lots of rules, but in today's world - caveat emptor is the rule of the day.

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