Steam in the oven
Back in the 1970's I lived in Plainfield, NJ. We were blessed with a number of Italian bakeries but the best was Pat Natalies. He and his wife made the best light, golden brown, flaky crusted bread and rolls I have ever had. I questioned the wife once as to how they achieved the crust. She told me that they spent as much if not more money on steam generation as they did to heat the ovens.
With that clue I have attempted to recreate their breads but with little success to date. I realize the difference between my home oven and a commercial steam injected oven. What I am hoping for are suggestions to try to duplicate, in part at least, their product. I use King Arthur bread flour and malt powder, filtered water to eliminate chlorine and cold ferments to enhance flavor. Of course I have a pan of hot water in the oven under the baking stone and I spray the walls several times during the first few minutes of the bake time. I think I am getting closer but the flaky element of the crust still eludes me.
I would appreciate any and all comments and suggestions for improving my results. Thanks to all!