Interersting phenomenon with wet loaf in oven
I was baking a fairly wet loaf (King Arthur country recipe + 1/3 cup chopped sunflower + 1/3 cup cracked wheat + "Floyd Factor" extra water) and I noticed something interesting.
Toward the end of the bake, with the oven at 450 deg.F, I poked the Thermapen into the middle of the loaf to get the temperature (180 deg.F - back in it goes). When I pulled the Thermapen out it left a nice round hole in the crust, which was fairly thick. Steam (or at least very hot water vapour) started puffing out from the this hole as if from a teakettle! I was able to call my son over to watch so it went on for at least 90 seconds before I pushed the loaf back in.
I thought that was interesting, because although I like the overall texture of the high-hydration artisan loaves I do think they are often just barely on the right side of gummy, even at 205 deg.F internal. It seems that the crust once formed is quite effective at keeping the water inside the loaf.