The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Steaming a FULL oven

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proof419's picture
proof419

Steaming a FULL oven

I've got a question.  I recently baked 12 loaves (boule) at once in my range oven using both racks.  The bread turned out ok, but I want more steam.  

I spritzed the oven and loaves every five minutes for the first fifteen.  

The oven spring was great but I'm used to baking in the dutch oven and i miss the glossy crust!

Tried to upload a pic of my setup but it keeps rotating upside down!

Thanks for the input!

 

 

 

FueledByCoffee's picture
FueledByCoffee

If you do not get the right amount of steam within the first 30 seconds or so of baking you can forget about a glossy crust.  Calvel did some experimentation on this and I have daily first hand experience...It has to happen very quickly and no amount of subsequent steaming will produce the glossy crust...If you go in to a dry oven and your steam doesn't hit the loaves quickly enough it's game over.  You could try pre steaming your oven before loading and then again immediately after loading...

proof419's picture
proof419

Thanks for the response!  That's exactly what I needed to know. I could maybe work out a way to pre steam. Would misting the loaves just before baking help?

FueledByCoffee's picture
FueledByCoffee

I can't really give you an answer to that which is informed by first hand experience.  When baking at home it's typically very small amounts and I either use a cloche or cast iron with water for steaming if the product doesn't lend itself to being under a dome.  My home baking time is nearly non-existent now and I am using an oven with steam injection when baking outside of home...Years ago I used to spray the walls of my oven and such but never really experimented with misting the loaves.  Theoretically it may help as the steam is supposed to create condensation on the crust that prevents the nearly immediate gelatinizing of the crust that would happen in a dry oven...I would say a very light misting may help but I don't think you want to get to heavy.  Perhaps there are others on the forum that could give you a bit more guidance on this.  Best of luck.

fotomat1's picture
fotomat1

prior to loading then spray the walls of the oven 3 more times in the first 5 minutes. I raise the temperature by 30-40 degrees higher than the reccomended prior to loading and reduce it once the spraying is complete.

Antilope's picture
Antilope

Add about 1/8 inch of water to it and slide it in to the warm oven below the shelf of bread or on the bottom of the oven. Not being preheated, it will release its water over a longer time. All of the water will evaporate over 5 or 10 minutes.  Use this in addition to spritzing.

proof419's picture
proof419

Thanks for the input! Spritzing and some kind of pre steam are in order I think. I don't have room on the oven racks for anything but bread and the element is on the oven floor. 

I'm open to any more suggestions. 

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Using both oven racks may exclude you from this method, however, here goes.  Lava rocks packed into a 500 degree resistant pan placed on the lowest rack just over the heating element.  Let them heat up along with the baking surface for the entire pre-bake time (45-60 min).  Load oven with your loaves and immediately pour 1-2 cups of very hot water on the rocks.  It isn't necessary to pour over all of the rocks, just into the pan is sufficient.

Make sure that you cover the glass portion of the oven door with a terry towel.  Even boiling water is significantly cooler than the interior glass door, and you may feel sorrow as well as a wallet pinch if the glass cracks.  Wear an oven mitt over the hand that you use for pouring.

Close the oven door tightly.  And don't open the door again to peek at your masterpieces for about 10 minutes or more.  That's what the oven light is for.  Don't forget to remove the terry before closing the door ;-) .

If you feel the need for pre-steaming of the oven, pour some hot water into the lava pan just prior to loading the dough.

There are a handful of helpful approaches to generating steam, this above method is the one that I chose as most successful - for me.

A bag of lava rocks from your local gardening/BBQ dealer is a cheap investment to see if this will work to your satisfaction.

alan

proof419's picture
proof419

I'm intrigued by the lava rock method but you're right. I don't really have room on the rack for it. 

It might work for pre steaming though. 

fotomat1's picture
fotomat1

upload the picture so I can see the setup?

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

I posted yesterday on my new (to me) method of getting the oven all steamed up without using pans of water, etc.

See Home brew steam …. It may be the solution to your problem.

cheers,

gary

proof419's picture
proof419

Here's the setup I used except I switched the thicker stone to the bottom and the top was all tiles.