The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

The Spring Oven

thespringoven's picture
thespringoven

The Spring Oven

Hi guys, 

My name is Patrick, I'm an entrepreneur based in Brighton and a keen sourdough baker. I thought I would just post this to get some feedback on my bread baking product The Spring Oven. I designed it a few years ago to help people steam their bread at home. 

The concept is a new way to bake bread using steam at home. Inside the terracotta ovenware vessel is a lowered channel for water that generates steam while your bread is baking.

The idea is that adding pots of water/ trays of ice cubes in the oven while baking has some disadvantages.

1. Many home ovens naturally won't hold steam and so it is hard to get enough steam in the oven to make a difference on your bread.

2. Having a pot of water in the oven cools the working temperature of the oven and so restricts bakers from getting the high temperatures required for good bread baking. 

 

The Spring Oven is a unique solution. To fill the inside of the vessel with steam requires much less water, so you can create high humidity baking inside the Spring Oven quite easily. Also the oven can continue baking at high temperatures because it doesn't have lots of water to get to boiling.

Let me know what you think, and please check out my website too ;)

www.thespringoven.com

 

Patrick

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

looks nice...but any advantages over(?):

https://breadtopia.com/store/round-cloche/

https://www.amazon.com/Lodge-LCC3-Cooker-Pre-Seasoned-3-2-Quart/dp/B0009JKG9M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518533404&sr=8-1&keywords=lodge+combo+cooker

I have used the cloche and it works fine, but I really like the combo cooker...hard to beat, and shoots down the claim of a unique solution on your part...sorry

thespringoven's picture
thespringoven

Thanks. I agree, the Cloche and Dutch oven you attached are great bakers. Baking within these vessels all of the steam comes from moisture inside the dough. 

The unique advantage of baking with the Spring Oven is the added steam generated from the water reservoir. The added steam keeps the dough surface supple so you get the best possible rise, and then once you take the lid off the steamed surface super heats and develops a good crust. 

The idea is to try and imitate the process of baker ovens, now, of course you will never get close to the high temperature steam injection of a deck oven, however this unique solution is a step closer.

That would be my answer to that anyway. 

I will try to attach a picture with the lid on.

suave's picture
suave

But the math does not support your assertion that you need extra water.  Say, we a have a 5 quart dutch oven, and 500 g flour 70% hydration loaf of bread in there.  The empty volume in the DO is about 3.5 l.  The density of steam is about 0.6 g/l. So, to fill it up with steam we need about 2 grams of water.  The bread will lose about 50 g of water during the baking and the bread surface will stay perfectly moistened by the self-generated steam.  That's why dutch ovens work so well.  Obviously, the same holds true for the even more confined space of the clay bakers.

gillpugh's picture
gillpugh
  • Can't quite see if the lid fits to the outside rim of bottom, if it does then your design keeps the water off the bread whilst baking, but keeps the steam inside .  That is better than the other example posted by bikeprof   Don't know if you have tested it with home bakers, but that might be the way to go before you spend out a lot of cash on stock.. I have a lodge, but one issue with it is that it's so heavy, yours will be lighter.
gillpugh's picture
gillpugh

Also, just a thought, how are you going to get the lid off and on?  Perhaps you need a knob or hook on the top. 

thespringoven's picture
thespringoven

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

OK the water reservoir is a theoretical point, so the actual baking comparison is what will matter.  The combo cooker is pretty fabulous at getting good spring and a wonderful crust...and it has handles.  I'm having a hard time imagining doing better, but if it is, then that would be pretty fantastic.

As for mimicking steam injected ovens...they provide steam right when you push the button, while a combo cooker requires some loaf evaporation.  I'm not seeing how your item is going to change the latter equation...taking a little time to generate steam, which the combo cooker does do quite well.

Also, it seems that the straight sides on the lid would limit the size loaf you can bake in it, for its overall dimensions.

For gillpugh, I have never had an issue with water running onto the loaf inside a combo cooker, nor have I ever heard of such an issue having a negative impact on a loaf.  Do you have that problem?

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Patrick, it looks nice, though as gillpugh says,  I would think a handle on the top will come in handy.  There are currently several options -  traditional DO, which comes in cast iron, ceramic, and other materials,  a cloche, or  combo cooker - AFAIK it only comes in cast iron.  The cast iron DO and combo cooker both work well if the dough is sized correctly -  as others have noted, if the dough mostly fills the space, the moisture from baking does a good job keeping steam in the remaining head space.  It does not work all that well if you use a large DO and small loaf.

As for cast iron, the great advantage is that it won't crack, but the disadvantage is the weight.   Cloches and enamel DO are much lighter, but pose a risk of cracking either during rough handling, or due to temp changes - which is why there is some debate about whether an enamel or similar material should be preheated or not, or loaded cold.   

Since yours is not cast iron, do you know whether there is a risk of cracking due to thermal shock if water is added after it is preheated?

 

BTW, I  have read in the past that some have used an old style roaster in a similar manner.  Apparently some were offered with a lid and a rack, and some users place the dough on the rack, and put some water in the bottom.  Here is just one example -  since it is heavy aluminum, it doesn't pose a risk of cracking, and also,  i assume it will heat up pretty quickly.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Magnalite-Classic-18-Inch-Oval-Covered-Roaster/232652837825?epid=2255340527&hash=item362b3093c1:g:5u0AAOSwp7tadQW0

Good luck with your project, I suggest a lot of testing, with existing products like a DO or combo cooker to see if there is any improvement.

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Appears to be a modified earthenware Moroccan Tagine. Is that where you're having it manufactured or the origin of the inspiration?

Wild-Yeast

thespringoven's picture
thespringoven

 Yes, definitely inspired by the tagine. When I was researching for it I particularly focused the tagine shape as it is designed to recycle condensed steam down the sides back into the stew. Same principle applies for the Spring Oven keeping the condensed steam from dripping onto the dough. I'm actually getting it made in the UK, from a small pottery in the midlands. 

To respond to the comment about cracking, some of my customers have experienced cracking although it is quite rare. I clearly instruct people to add warm water to the channel before pre-heating the SO, as thermal shock is a possibility with pottery.