The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Steaming a FULL oven

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proof419's picture

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!




fotomat1's picture

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

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

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

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.


proof419's picture

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

upload the picture so I can see the setup?

gary.turner's picture

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.



proof419's picture

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