The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


balabusta's picture

Steam Time

July 29, 2009 - 7:43pm -- balabusta

How long should dough be steamed in the oven?  In his book, BREAD, Jeffrey Hammelman states, "From 4-6 seconds of steam is ample." (p. 100) in 460 degree oven.  In stark contrast, in BREAD BAKING, Daniel DiMuzio states, "The quality of the crust in hearth loaves in enhanced by exposing the loaves to steam for the first 5 - 10 minutes of baking." (p. 130)

That's a huge difference.  Any reasons for this disparity?


xaipete's picture

Should I use steam or put a cloche on it?

July 13, 2009 - 10:03am -- xaipete

A while back I had a discussion with David about when he used steam and when he used a cloche (or something like that), and I think his reply was some like "I'm still working that out". I've been trying to work that out over the last 3 or 4 months now too, so I thought it might be a nice time to share my thoughts and get the opinions of other TFLers.

When is it better to use steam and when is it better to use a cloche (I'm using cloche here as a generic term for an inverted roaster, tin foil pan, Le Cloche, etc.)?

Pablo's picture

crispiest crust yet

April 25, 2009 - 10:20am -- Pablo

Thinking about baking with a cover and steam injection, but I don't have that equipment.  I put my baking stone on the top shelf of the oven, slightly over 3" down from the top element of the oven.  My pan o' rocks for steam was on a middle rack.  I misted the baguettes before they went in the oven and then baked with steam at 515 for 10 minutes and another 12 after removing the rock pan.  Far and away the crispiest crust I've gotten yet.

mizrachi's picture

Two simple questions regarding my new FibraMent baking stone:


Does one place a La Cloche or other bread pan on top of this baking stone? 

Will steam crack a FibraMent stone?


Many thanks!







ehanner's picture

Wet Steam

November 6, 2008 - 10:01am -- ehanner

I'm doing some computer work for a local engineering firm that specializes in heating ad AC systems. They design and sell a lot of steam boilers and are very familiar with the industry and the sub specialty of bakery's. I noticed a client name that I recognized as a old name in the community that is a well known bakery and asked what they were doing. I was surprised to find they were working on the steam system for a large commercial tunnel oven.

fredsambo's picture

So it has been a while since my last post, I guess it was a busy summer, LOL.


I made some simple baguettes today. I did a 4 hour poolish and then mixed up an ordinary french bread recipe (water, salt, flour, poolish). I then put the dough in the refrigerator, since I wanted to go to bed (9pm). My wife took it out at five this morning and this is what it looked like at seven, when I got up:


First Rising


I cut the dough into four somewhat equal pieces and shaped them into logs; I set aside the fourth piece for my next batch.



Then I let them sit on the "bench" for an hour.

Covered with a dish towel.


After pacing around drinking coffee for the longest hour ever, I flattened out all of the air...



...and rolled them into baguettes.



Now, I usually cover my french bread with a big pot, to emulate steam injection, but alas, these baguettes were too long! My solution was to start off at 550 degrees preheated for an hour and then carefully pour 1/2 cup of water into a small cast iron skillet, closing the door quickly. I think the key is keeping the oven above 450 degrees the whole time, since the evaporated water will make the temp drop dramatically. My water never stopped boiling and the steam cloud upon opening the door was impressive. CAUTION: A lot of steam comes out of the oven when first opened up, don't go sticking your face down there!



After proofing for another hour I scored and then brushed them with plenty of water. Once they hit the stone I turned the temperature down to 500 degrees for four minutes, then removed the skillet and turned the temp down to 450 for the remaining time.

Ready to go!


I am pretty happy with the results, although they could be darker, but they taste wonderful!



I am making a country style next, with the old dough I saved from this batch!


Happy Baking!


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