The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Steam

MNBäcker's picture

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

February 13, 2011 - 9:30am -- MNBäcker
Forums: 

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.

varda's picture
varda

Over the past few weeks I have been trying to "take it up a level."   I had hit the wall on getting properly shaped and slashed naturally leavened loaves.    LindyD's recent post http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21045/fire-and-ice-great-oven-steam on generating steam set off a lightbulb in my head.  The symptoms I have been trying to cure are cuts that open a little and then seal over, and a split side.   I had been convinced that this was caused by underproofing even though I was doing my best with the poke test, rise times and so on.   When I read her post I started to wonder if I was having trouble with steam.   I had been preheating a dry jelly roll pan on the base of the oven and pouring in cold water at the same time as loading the loaves.  This sets off a cloud of steam and then the water continues to boil for around 15 minutes before it evaporates completely so I thought I was all set.   But I do have a brand new gas oven and after reading Lindy's post, I began to suspect that it was efficiently venting out steam as fast as I could generate it.   After surfing around a bit, I found the following excellent comment in a post on side splitting  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10363/my-bread-keeps-quotsplittingquot-side#comment-54369.   So I surfed around some more for steaming methods that didn't involve going out and buying rocks and I found the following:  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20162/oven-steaming-my-new-favorite-way and I tried it and dramatic improvement.    But it involved a little too much mucking around with steaming hot towels so I experimented some more and came up with a similar, but what seemed to me like a simpler and safer method.   I placed some soaked towels into bread pans half filled with unheated tap water on each side of my stone half an hour before loading the loaves, and let them preheat with everything else.   By the time I loaded the loaves, I got hit in the face with a cloud of steam.   Then fifteen minutes later, I removed the bread pans (with a long tongs) and once again got hit in the face with a cloud of steam, so I figured that the oven had been steamy enough in the interim.    The bottom line is the cuts opened, and the sides did not.   In fact they opened too much.   I have overdone it.   Too much steam?   Something else?   By the way, this site is just fantastic.   I would still be baking out of Clayton using speed em up 70s methods if it hadn't been for all of you.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

For the past year and a half I’ve been trying to generate a healthy dose of steam in my extremely well vented gas oven. Steam that would be present in good volume for at least the first 15 minutes.  My experimentation had mixed results.  The bread tastes great, but I want the appearance be as good as the taste.

I’ve tried water in a preheated pan, ice cubes in a preheated pan, a cup of water over preheated lava rocks in a pan, spraying the bread, covering the bread, plus the great tips offered by Giovanni and SylviaH using hot wet towels.  While these techniques sure did humidify my house, open cuts and a nice grigne just didn’t materialize. 

One method that did work with some success was SteveB’s.  Alas, my thrift-store aluminum roaster cover is a tad wider than my stone, so I don’t have a good seal between the lid and the stone.  

David Snyder had written about the steaming technique recommended for home bakers by SFBI 

It looked interesting, but I didn’t want to buy yet another gizmo.  So I made my own version by  poking holes through a foil loaf pan (three for a buck at the local dollar store) and setting it on top a layer of lava rocks in the bottom of a metal loaf pan.   The holes were large in the first version.

I experimented with both steaming versions over Thanksgiving weekend using Hamelman’s sourdough formula.    

The loaf in the background was baked covered, using SteveB’s technique. Oven and stone preheated to 500F, loaf loaded and covered (the cover was not preheated).  Two shots of steam were directed through the hole in the cover, plus one cup of water was poured into a wide broiler pan containing lava stones (done because of the cover overlap).  I forgot to turn down the heat until I removed the cover, 15 minutes later. Bake finished at 460F.

The loaf in the foreground was baked uncovered.  After loading the bread into the preheated 500F oven (and stone), one tray of ice cubes was placed in the foil tray resting over the lava rocks on the left side of the oven and about 1.5 cups of water poured into the broiler pan containing lava rocks on the right side of the oven.  Temp reduced to 460F.  After 15 minutes the broiler pan was dry and emitted no steam so it was left in the oven.  The foil-trayed loaf pan was removed.  Although I screwed up the scoring on the bread in the foreground, the results looked promising.

I didn’t think the sufficient steam had been generated, so I made much smaller  holes in another foil pan and replaced the original version. 

I mixed the same dough the following weekend.  Oven and stone again preheated to 500F.  A  batard was scored and loaded.  This time TWO trays of ice cubes were dumped into the foil tray and 2.5 cups of water poured into the broiler pan w/lava rocks.  About 16 minutes later I removed the loaf pan; I could see the steam still coming off the lava rocks.  I left the broiler pan in, as that water had evaporated.  Here’s the result.   

To make sure this was no fluke, I followed the same procedure with the second batard.  It worked again!  

I am overjoyed to finally have figured out how to generate an abundance of steam in my oven for those crucial first minutes.

Finally, my bread looks as great as it tastes! Thank you SteveB, David, and all the other fine bakers who have been so inspiring.

ww's picture

Slashes close up, help!

November 2, 2010 - 12:20am -- ww
Forums: 

Does anyone have the problem of slashes on the loaf closing?? Mine open quite nicely then close up after about 10 mins into the bake. I don’t think it’s a matter of my cuts being too shallow. 

And what is the normal sequence? Oven spring preceding/ followed by/ accompanied with the opening?

I have a over-proofing problem but I wonder if too much steam or too little has something to do with it as well. Help!

AnnaInMD's picture

Ceramic Grill

October 17, 2010 - 2:36pm -- AnnaInMD

The cat's meow ?  I saw this awsome ceramic grill at Lowe's today. Talk about being able to bake with steam outdoors ! The inside was unglazed clay and offers many ways of cooking, steaming, baking, grilling, roasting and all with charcoal.  The link here shows it from another vendor:

 

leahweinberg's picture

Horror Story: when I confused the windex for my shpritser

August 25, 2010 - 2:57am -- leahweinberg
Forums: 

It was Tuesday morning. I was at a wedding last night until 2 am so it's no surprise that I made this mistake. I guess it could happen to anyone. I just didn't expect it to happen to me. 

I woke up groggy- but with one thought going through my mind- "must. bake. bread". I've had the dough all ready to go, sitting in my fridge now for a few days. Still in my pjs, I dumped the dough out and started shaping it into one large boule. I turned on the oven and made myself some coffee. 

Axel's picture

Self-made steam-injected oven

July 10, 2010 - 11:00pm -- Axel

Hello everybody ! I am Michael and I am here just a week.

I live in the country where baking is unknown game and it is extremely difficult to buy anything related to baking ( for home baker ).  So I made my own steam oven in 5 minutes.

I took a shower pipe , removed inner plastic pipe, connected one side to the pressure cooker and the other into the oven. Everything fits perfectly tight without any nuts and bolts. then, of course, boiled water and got an enormous amount of steam inside oven.

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