I have always wanted a baking stone. Actually what I really want is to close off the fireplace in the house which we do not use and open it up on the outside which is situated perfectly on the back patio and turn it into an outdoor brick oven.
While I work on getting my better half to agree to my great idea I'll have to manage with the baking stone that I broke down and purchased for making the TWD recipe of naan. I refrained from this purchase in the past mostly due to storage space. I justified my purchase with the reasoning that baking through the book Baking with Julia, which has a lot of bread and a few pizza recipes, the stone would get a lot of use and I would get my monies worth in no time. Still the dilemma of where to store this huge piece of heat-retaining clay persisted.
The cupboard where I keep my cookie sheets is already stuffed to the brim and in no way was it going to fit. To my delight the instructions recommend that you keep it in the oven. YES! Dilemma solved. So I thought. The instructions also state that keeping it in the oven does not affect other baking functions. I beg to differ.
I have made this banana bread too many times to count and it is one of my favorites. The bread has always turned out in the time specified with excellent results. As I placed the bread on the middle rack (the stone is on the bottom rack) I thought to myself that the oven may cook warmer with the addition of the stone retaining heat. I was concerned the bread would brown too fast on the bottom even though it was placed on the middle rack, not on the stone itself.
I found it strange that I had to cook it ten minutes longer than normal (skewer came out wet) even though the browned crust said otherwise. I covered the top with foil to keep it from getting too brown. After cutting into my beautiful loaf I see that the bottom half is darker than the top. I have always had uniform color throughout. Chalk it up to a lesson learned. I will remove the stone before using the oven in the future - if I remember.