Fast remineralization of bone defects by means of tissue engineering is one of many targets in orthopedic regeneration. This study investigated the influence of a range of pre-culture durations for human bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) before inducing differentiation into osteoblast-like cells. The aim was to find the conditions that lead to maximal extracellular matrix (ECM) mineralization, in terms of both amount and best distribution. Additionally, the influence of silk fibroin scaffold pore size on mineralization was assessed. The formation of mineralized ECM by hMSCs cultured in osteogenic medium on silk fibroin scaffolds was monitored and quantified for up to 72 days in culture using non-invasive time-lapse micro-computed tomography (micro-CT). ECM mineralization increased linearly 3 weeks after the beginning of the experiment with addition of differentiation medium. Biochemical end-point assays measured the amount of DNA, calcium deposits, alkaline phosphatase activity and cell metabolic activity to corroborate the hypothesis that an initial pre-culture period of hMSCs on silk fibroin scaffolds can accelerate mineralized ECM formation. According to the micro-CT analysis mineralization on silk fibroin scaffolds with pores of 112-224 µm diameter was most efficient with an initial cell pre-culture period of 9 days, showing 6.87 ± 0.81× higher mineralization values during the whole cultivation period than without an initial cell pre-culture period. © 2011 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.