The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Best way to bake and steam with a Fibrament stone...?

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MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

Best way to bake and steam with a Fibrament stone...?

A couple of questions:


I have a Fibrament stone in my oven that maybe leaves an inch or inch and a half around the edges from the oven wall. I always use convection heat, since I thought it might be best to move the hot air around in the oven, but now I wonder if that's still a good idea, with the airflow severely restricted by the stone? I have also noticed a couple of hot spots in the back center of the oven, close to the spot where the convection fan is located.


Also, if I still want to create steam, how would I do it in a way that would be safe for the stone? I imagine a blast of steam coming from the bottom of the oven and then hitting the bottom of the stone would not only be problematic for the stone, but also not reach the breads very well. Is there a better way of delivering steam to the breads - ideally just once, to keep the oven door closed during baking?


I should also add that I recently had to replace the convection heating element in the back of my Maytag oven - I am suspecting that the steam I used in the past had something to do with it. I'd usually pour about a half cup of water onto a hot pan on the bottom of the oven (this was before I got the stone). Somehow, the motor that moves the hot air around burned out. If I use straight heat, will that eliminate the risk of burning out that motor again (since the steam most likely will not get "sucked into" the system?


Stephan

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I also use convection heat when baking my bread.  My stones '2' and a rack to hold them came with my oven and the directions stated that the stones should be placed on the bottom level of the oven when they are in use.  The two stones cover the rack leaving very little space around the edges, so I steam from above and on the stones.  I use this method of steaming and have had very satisfying results along with others. There are other photos on my blog baking with this method of steaming with the microwaved towels.  You can heat them up what ever way you choose...but I find that microwaving the towels first heats them internally much hotter than just pouring boiling water over them, they are hotter and the steam lasts much longer and stronger for me this way. If I want more steam I just open them up using tongs.  I can also move the pans about freely, depending of the amount and shapes of loaves Im baking.


There has been discussions on why steaming under the stones is not a good idea. 


When using my convection heat, the heat does not come from my fan area...the fan sucks in the air and it is circulated out vents around the back side of the oven, I didn't realize this until I attached a small piece of foil onto the grid in front of my fan area.  Some ovens the heat comes from the fan area.  This might be why you are getting a hot spot.


I can set my oven for using the convection setting or regular oven.  My oven is set for regular oven heating just before placing my loaves in and while steaming, after steaming is complete I then set my oven back for convection heat.  If Im venting my oven, leaving the door cracked open for any length of time I always set my oven on regular heating or off so I don't overheat the convection burner and cause it to burn out sooner.


Convection fan heating element has burned out.  Did you know that if you leave your oven door open for fairly long periods....with the oven set on convection, that it will cause stress on the heating element and can could cause it to burn out in some ovens or not last as long?  I think because maybe the element stays on and the fan goes off when the door is opened.


Sylvia


 


 

K.C.'s picture
K.C.

I use convection, a stone and steam but I leave the convection off for the first ten minutes. I put steaming water in a ceramic oven safe bowl before I put the bread in and make sure there is enough water that it'll continue to steam for most of the baking time.


 

Jolly's picture
Jolly

I use a large roasting pan to steam my Artisan Breads and fine it much easier.


To save energy I start with a cold bake. Artisan breads bake up beautifully using the cold bake method.


Cold Bake


Step 1---To conserve energy I slash my batard place it in a cold roaster, set the roaster on top of my fribrament stone, mist batard with water, cover with roaster lid, set oven to (470ºF.) Conventional Bake for 45 minutes, remove from oven (using oven mitts) remove roaster lid and very carefully pick up the loaf and place directly on the fibrment stone and Convection bake at (455ºF.) for 20 minutes.


Hot Bake


Step 2---Now for my second loaf. Preheat oven and large roaster/with lid to (500ºF.) for 20 minutes.


Then transfer second batard to a piece of greased parchment paper and slash.


Very carefully remove hot roaster from the oven, remove lid, pick up the parchment paper using the paper as a sling and set the batard in the roaster, mist with water, cover with lid and place in oven.


Reduce oven temperature to (450ºF.) and Conventional Bake covered for 20 minutes, Then remove the lid and let it finish baking in the open roaster set on Convection Bake for 20-25 minutes more or simply place it directly on the stone.


Using the above methods for baking I produce light airy loaf, and my slashes had beautiful ears. The color of the batards a dark honey gold, and are covered with scads of blisters.


No steaming was needed other than misting the batard just before placing the lid on the roaster.


I found my roaster at the GoodWill store for $7.00.


Brand name is (Miracle Maid) the bottom half of the roaster is dark gray and the lid is sliver. I read a post about the roaster on this site and it mentioned that this particular roaster was made from a special metal that really absorbs heat. When I first Baked with the roaster and removed the lid I was surprise how much the batard had risen and the beautiful ears on the slashes. The crumb was laced with an array of holes. I've never baked up such beautiful batards.


I had revised Susan's recipe from Wild Yeast, Norwich Sourdough Rye Bread.


I added oat and barley flakes to the recipe. The Batards were awesome.


Before I started baking with the Mircale Maid Roaster I was steaming my artisan breads with lava rocks and began having trouble with my oven. I now have a new oven and will continue using the simplicity of baking in a roaster and eliminate steaming altogether.


When I read the post about the Miracle Maid Roaster I never dreamed I would fine one at a Thrift Store. When I saw the Roaster sitting on the shelf I got so excited and was expecting to pay at least $20.00 for the roaster. I fipped when I saw it was tagged $7.00 bucks.


I don't know if the manufacturing company is still around. But I do know that you can fine then at thrift stores.


Miracle Maid Roaster---bottom half measures 15 7/8"


Dome Lid---Depth 4 3/4"


It gives you plenty of room to place your artisan breads, especially when its hot.


Jolly


 


 


 

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Miracle Maid cookware was anodized aluminum.  Aluminum is a great material for even heating and heat conduction.  A lot of high quality cookware incorporates aluminum.  Despited often repeated concerns about the effect of aluminum on health, there is in fact no evidence linking aluminum cookware with Alzheimer's or any other health risk.  The only problems with aluminum cookware are that it's soft and dents and dings easily, it discolors easily, and it reacts badly with acidic foods.  Anodized aluminum uses a layer of purposely oxidized aluminum to help protect from scratches and to prevent the interaction with acidic foods.  Most cookware today that uses aluminum incorporates it as a core layer, thus getting the benefits of aluminum's even heating and heat conduction/dissipation. 


The "special material" is aluminum and we (the public) are just now coming back to understanding how useful aluminum is for cookware. 


 

bnom's picture
bnom

I also have a fibrament stone, but no convection. I've tried numerous options for steaming, including tenting.  What I've landed on as easiest, most versatile, and best results is using the wet towel approach adapted from Sylvia's post.  I have a couple of aluminum foil pans that I keep lava rocks in. I preheat them on the top rack. Then a few minutes before adding the loaves, I dunk two kitchen towels in boiling water then lift them into the two pans.  Load the bread and then add a splash or two of the boiling water to the lava rocks. Remove after 10 -12 minutes.


I was surprised at how effective this technique is - I didn't think putting the steaming devise on the top rack would work but it really has made a big difference in my bread -- I regularly get the crust and grigne I'm looking for.   Plus, I have a large stone, and I like that I can bake three  20 inch baguettes concurrently - harder to do if you're fussing with tents.


Here's a pic - not great scoring but pretty good grigne.



 


 


 


 

RoBStaR's picture
RoBStaR

I use a steam tray drilled with aluminum handle and another hole on the front for steam insertion. I remember a link to this and the gu was selling it for 150-200. So I decided to make my own and obtained all the parts from amazon for roughly $70. I have the same stone and because of fear  and several horror stories about cracking it, I use a heavy duty parchment paper cut to my stone size. Before baking, I preheat my stone for about 1-1:15 min @ 500 F. Transfer my baguettes using a peel into my parchment over a pizza peel. I orient it unto the stone, cover with steam tray hole facing me and insert a steamfast steam cleaner nozzle into the hole and steam for about 20-25 secs.Turn down the oven temp to 475F and  bake covered for about 10 mins and remove cover and bake for additional 12-15 mins uncovered.


here's a video of the crust and crumb using this method.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Slp8rLTGgkU


MNBäcker's picture
MNBäcker

Rob,


do you have any pictures of your steam tray? I'm assuming it covers the bread, is maybe 3-4 inches high? With some sort of a port in the front that you connect the steam cleaner to?


This sounds interesting - I would love to get more details!


 


Stephan

RoBStaR's picture
RoBStaR

Stephan,


 


Here is the original link for the guy selling the kit with or without a stone. http://www.steambreadmaker.com/home_bread_baking_steam_generator_models_2007.htm


I bought a 6" steam tray and steam fast cleaner from amazon. Drilled a hole in the front and two holes on top for the aluminum handle.


I preheat my stone at 530F for an hour. Then i use a parchment paper cut to my stone size, I transfer my baguettes into th parchment on top of a pizza peel then i just place it on top of my stone. Immediately i cover it with the lid and inject steam for about 20 secs close the oven and cook covered for 10 mins @ 475F. I then remove the cover and cook  for additional 12-15 mins.


Note: how long you steam and cook it covered affects th thicknest of the crunch of the crust.






 

BWTurner's picture
BWTurner

I'm a noob to the site hear so I apologize if this issue has been addressed fully in another thread, although this one seems the most likely if it has been. I was looking for a definitive answer to the OP: is it safe to use direct steam with a Fibrament stone?

I recently purchased a Fibrament-D stone from Forno Bravo after my two thinner stones (1/2") both broke while baking bread. I have always used steam, with a large, heavy duty, shallow roasting pan in the bottom of the oven (my LG oven has the heating coils hidden under the bottom deck) and a spray bottle during the first 30 seconds to minute of baking. Oddly enough, my two stones broke only during the times when I didn't use the convection feature of my oven. Until then, they had withstood the rigors of high heat and steaming. Does anyone have any experience with stones breaking when not using convection vs convection?

More to the point, I have not read any posts or replies that definitively state you shouldn't use direct steam with the Fibrament Stone. I've seen alternative approaches offered but is anyone using a steaming method like I described in the previoius paragraph with their Fibrament stone? After shelling out over a hundred bucks for it (yeah, I know I could have gotten it cheaper), the last thing I want to do is break it. The Forno Bravo website has a FAQ section for the Fibrament-D stones but there is nothing there about steaming with the stone. Any enlightenment is greatly appreciated.

Great website and forum. Thanks for creating it!

RoBStaR's picture
RoBStaR

Hi Bwturner,

I have the same stone as you do, and if I recall correctly, the instructions that came with the stone specifically mentions not to get it wet or it might crack. As shown in my picture above, I use a parchment paper to protect my stone in any baking requiring steam.

If you are using a pan for steam, try putting a parchment paper cut to your stone size below your stone to protect it from moisture during this stage. If you are spraying, you can also cover the top with parchment and remove it just before putting your bread. The important part is creating a humid environment just before baking your bread in order to aid in the so called "spring" and not necessarily spraying directly at your stone. try spraying the walls and back of your oven instead of dierecting it to your stone. Both scenarios will create steam and can save your stone. 

hope this helps you.

Rob

BWTurner's picture
BWTurner

Thanks for the reply Rob.

The instructions that came with the stone state that you shouldn't let liquids come into contact with it and not to expose it to thermal shock. Taken together, those two rather vague caveats would inform me not to use steam at all because of the possibility of the water accidently dripping on the stone or the steam creating 'thermal shock', although the steam itself is not a liquid. Without an explicit warning to not use steam, I could interpret it to mean use steam at your own risk but it's not a likely cause of breakage if done carefully.

I like your double parchment paper approach. I've always used parchment paper on top of my stone but putting a piece under the stone also makes sense. Have you personally used this approach with success?

 

Wayne

BWTurner's picture
BWTurner

My final solution to this was to put my two silicone mats under the stone and use parchment paper on top. That way I have a more permanent barrier against thermal shock under the stone so I can continue to steam from the bottom but spray from the top. So far so good!

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

I use the Magic Bowl method. Lots of posts about it on this site. It works great and doesn't damage the stone.

Pattycakes

flournwater's picture
flournwater

" I imagine a blast of steam coming from the bottom of the oven and then hitting the bottom of the stone would not only be problematic for the stone, but also not reach the breads very well."

I can't speak to the issues about your stone.  I've never owned a Fibrament stone.  But I'd like to help you clear up what appears to be some confusion about the steam.  "Steam" doesn't have to "reach the breads ...".  Steam simply increases the humidity throughout the heated oven and steam emitted from any source at just about any position in the oven will accomplish that.

Stream has never adversely affected my stone(s) but I have broken them when cold water mist (while using the oven misting method of steaming) and liquid ingredients (e.g. tomato sauce on pizza crust) leaked onto the stone's preheated surface.  I cured that by covering the stone with parchment paper when loading the prepared dough into the oven.