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Will adding something like a pizza stone smooth out the highs and lows of an oven's cycling (the switching the element off and on)?

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    What kind of things have you cooked where the cycling affected the outcome? How large are your oven's temperature fluctuations?
    – user141592
    Nov 29, 2021 at 12:54
  • Kinda sorta duplicate of this question: cooking.stackexchange.com/q/19969/7180
    – FuzzyChef
    Nov 29, 2021 at 22:19
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    For some reason I was thinking that the question was about turning on and off the oven while enjoying an evening out :D Nov 30, 2021 at 8:29
  • Every dish responds differently to an oven. If the cycling is a problem it's usually because of radiated heat from the element being too hot on the bottom of the dish. You can fix this when it's a problem with just a metal cookie sheet or any other piece of metal that can act as a heat shield between the bottom element and the dish. A stone would do something similar, but it takes much longer to properly come to temperature so you'd need longer preheat times doing it that way. A cookie sheet is usually enough to let you skip the preheat since it stops scorching on the bottom.
    – J...
    Nov 30, 2021 at 17:16
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    @FuzzyChef more like an exact duplicate? Use of pizza stone in gas oven Dec 1, 2021 at 19:03

2 Answers 2

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I've used pizza stones to even out fluctuations in two different ovens which had severe on/off temperature cycles. One oven was an older gas oven, and the other one an older electric oven. In both cases, installing the pizza stones did indeed lower the amount of temperature fluctuation in the oven; in the electric oven, fluctuations went from +/-45F to +/-20F, which helped a great deal with cooking times.

For this to work, the pizza stone needs to be sufficiently massive to act as a heat sink; each of the stones I used were over 15lbs. This will also cause the oven to take longer to heat up.

Pizza stones will also help even out random hot spots created by a bottom flame or element, but as @dbmag remarks, they won't do much, if anything, about top-to-bottom gradient.

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    If you're baking on the middle rack, with a pizza stone on both the top and bottom racks, it will take a bit longer for the middle rack to come to temperature, but provide the same heat shielding from both heating elements.
    – AMtwo
    Nov 30, 2021 at 2:03
  • The oven would need to be tall enough to have 3 usable racks, though, which a lot aren't.
    – FuzzyChef
    Nov 30, 2021 at 6:38
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It will go some way to reducing the temperature fluctuations, and is usually done to mitigate the sudden temperature drop caused by opening the oven door when making something that wants a high temperature like a pizza.

The consequences of the oven cycling on and off tend to be felt more in terms of placement within an oven; if the heating element is at the top of the oven, say, then food at the top is more exposed to periods of high temperature. That wouldn't be necessarily resolved using a stone.

The fact that this isn't a common practice for everyday cooking, whereas other techniques like putting food on the middle shelf or covering with foil are common, suggests that there's not much need for this. But if you suspect the cycles are causing you a problem then by all means give it a go.

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