The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hey, I'm new!

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SaxPlayer's picture
SaxPlayer

Hey, I'm new!

So here I am, a music student on a site about baking. Sounds funny, eh? But anyways, I'm a freshmen Music Education student, with a fierce love for bread and most things baked. It really all started in my first semester of college, jsut trying to make things, because a) I can, and b) I need food to live. So one thing leads to another, and I discover the ease of slapping some flour, water, salt and yeast together to make this thing called "bread". So I did it, and it was very easy ad fun. It did not, however, come out how I wanted it to (it was supposed to be a french bread, but there was no crust.) The bread was ver tasty, but there was no crunch I would associate with French bread. But oh well, I'm just rambling on here.

I've been browsing this site, as well as a couple of others, and I must say, baking breads is really fun. Not my favorite thing ever (music takes that,) but really really high up there. I just love doing it.

 Also, something I've been meaning to ask, how do you guys steam your breads in the oven? I've heard of putting a pan in the oven while preheating it, and then pouring hot water in, but isn't that pretty dangerous and easy to get vapor burns from? Also heard of the method with a pan with holes in it for water to drip down onto the oven floor and create steam that way, but in some ovens, wouldn't that completely destroy the heating element, since water onto something very hot and fragile is never a good idea?

 One more thing: This is quite the awesome website. 

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Hey there,

Welcome.

Yes, pouring steam into a hot pan can be dangerous and can lead to vapor burns. It can also lead to the destruction of your oven, but that is what I typically do. I wear big oven mitts and try to keep my face as far from the oven as possible.

The drip technique works too. I've kill one coil in the last 5 years and that may have contributed to it, though I suspect sweet potato goo was the primary culprit.

GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture
GrapevineTXolda...

steaming the oven can be a precarious adventure, well, for me it can.  I'm down one pizza stone and one heirloom pyrex dish, but guess what?  I'm not fazed.  I'm not giving up and I'm not forgetting the journey.  LOL.

There are many different ways to add steam, it varies depending upon whom you ask.  My favorite method (this week), is a cheap little pump sprayer that I use when loading my loaves.  A heavy spritz or two, into and onto the dough in the first minute, repeated at the second minute, is my answer.  (This is subject to change upon the installation of a new oven down the road, but for now, it works.)

I am also known for placing a small souffle dish filled with hot water into the oven in the preheat stage.  I leave it in place and am sure that it has enough water in it to handle my bake time....I especially like this method if I'm baking a challah or sweet dough.  I can't explain why I like it other than it is something I have always done.  It keeps that dough tender crusted, a must for me on this type of bread.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

I guess you came to the right place. We've got property over near Poolville with some cows munching on natural grass. We make it down to the Yellow Rose every once and anon (have to get some of that Texas rambunciousness into me every so often!).

The best way to obtain a hot steam blanket for good crust development is to place a cast iron frying pan into the lower shelf prior to heating the oven to baking temperature. Once the loaf is placed on the cooking surface and slid into the oven throw two to three handfulls of ice cubes into the frying pan and close the oven door. If the oven has a vent use a cotton towel to impede the vent flow so the steam will tarry in the oven while the bread expands through the oven spring phase. Then remove it (6-8 minutes). The steam superheats in the oven preventing the crust from drying out excessively in the spring expansion yielding a chewy crust devoid of expansion fractures...,

 

Wild-Yeast

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Saxplayer,
Welcome to the site. My son is a sax player out trolling the Med on a cruise ship at the moment. He has reminded me on several occasions that he makes his living with his hands/fingers and doesn't do anything to risk damage to them.

As far as steaming goes, you can skip the whole deal with pouring hot water into a hotter oven. Get yourself a stainless steel bowl or roaster pan that fits on your sheet pan or stone. Load the dough on a piece of parchment paper and then on the baking surface and cover it with the bowl. Leave the bowl on for about half the cooking time and then remove it with care. I use a spatchula and oven mitts. Then brown the loaf as usual rotating mid way. The best looking breads I make are not steamed and have a nice thin, crispy crust. Good luck.

Eric