Fire and ice = great oven steam!
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.
A present for my friends here on TFL (not bread)
I love KFC's slaw, I have found that people either love it or think its too sweet. For me its milky creamy sweetness mixed with the cabbage crunch is about as addictive as crack. It is my all time favorite slaw. I searched a long time for an "Copy Cat" recipe until I found this post online.
"I worked for KFC for many years and I made cole slaw several times a week. This recipe was invented by Sanders himself. We made 25 pounds at a time and the recipe was equal amounts of Miracle Whip and sugar and 1/4 the amount of oil and vinegar. But here it is in a table serving amount
1 head of cabbage, shredded
1 or two carrots
1 cup Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
1 cup sugar (yep, I cup)
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup vinegar
Mix together and pour over cabbage mix. Let it sit for a few hours before eating and I guarantee it is the exact same as KFC."
I have made this recipe dozens of times and it IS the KFC recipe. I know it looks all wrong, "A cup of sugar!!! argh! trust me. Make it and you will become a believer.
I offer this to the members of TFL as my gift to you.
Happy Holidays from me.
Hi from California
I have never made bread before with out using the pre made frozen dough you can buy at the grocery store. However I do make pizza dough all of the time! And it turns out fantastic. I did that by hand. So now I have finally gotten a kitchen aid stand mixer which I have wanted for I don't know how long, and I am trying to make bread. It seems like my dough is coming out drier then my pizza dough did. The only thing that I can really think of being different is that I put 2 tsp of olive oil in the mix. Any one got any suggestions. I really love making the pizza dough, and I thought I would try my hand at bread. I just love the whole process of creating great food!
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
On the third day of holiday baking, I present you with white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. This is an unusual recipe in that the butter and brown sugar are creamed together and the white sugar is added later with the dry ingredients. It's how I learned to make these but I don't know why. They are crispy at the edges and chewy in the middle!
Pannetone in a can
I've learned a lot from both this forum and from baking lots of bread. One of the lessons I learned early on is that specialty pans are expensive and that 99% of the time there is an alternative in the cupboard already. So-not having a pannetone pan and not planning well enough ahead to order the papers for holiday baking was not too much of a barrier. I decided what size loaf I wanted to bake, went to my cupboard and found some adequately sized cans-YES cans!
These are individual sized pannetones- turns out the water chestnut can and the mandarin orange can were the perfect size for my project. I also decided that since the dough was so sticky, I should have a release paper liner with parchment paper. I tried exactly one time to form-fit a pannetone paper that would sleekly hug the can and have a disc of paper on the bottom so the bottom wouldn't stick. I used all my scissor skills learned in kindergarten. What a job that was! No way I'm doing that 10 or more times! What I ended up doing is taking a square of parchment paper,centering it over the top of the can and using the next size smaller can as a plunger and carefully plunging it into the receiving can-taking care to flatten all the folds (and not tear it) in my version of a tulip paper. (more like a chrysanthemum paper). I sprayed the inside with pan release and I was good to go!
I filled them 3/4 of the way since this dough was not going to rise much-it had risen for about 24 hours and I projected at least a 5 hour rise in the can-it turned into a 9 hour rise,even in a warm,moist environment. I didn't take a pic of that but here is the crumb.
This was from floydm's Pannetone recipe on the homepage picture. It is quite delicious but more fruit bread than bread with fruit. I think next time I will use only about 1 1/2 c fruit total (fruit and raisins together) than 4 cups (as in recipe) as I prefer my holiday bread to be more bready. It may rise faster,also. I had orange flower water and added vanilla for a really wonderfully scented bread. The dried fruit I used were craisins,candied orange peel,candied pineapple and golden raisins. I had slivered almonds instead of sliced. Sliced almonds would have been better. The topping was sugar mixed with a few drops of the orange flower water and vanilla,stirred to a wet,crumbly stage and put on top before baking for a crackly kind of finish.
A new camera is on the Christmas wish list-this one is almot dead! Wish the pics were better.
Happy Holidays! and don't let the holidays break your bank. Take a look around for what will work! It's a good exercise for the brain!
Thanks to floydm for the delicious pannetome and brioche recipes! My co-workers and family love you for it!
Muffuletta Bread and olive salad recipe
We just made some Muffuletta bread for our olive salad turned out great. Baked in cast iron skillets to get those nice round loafs. First try on this one, but, turned out really good.
Recipe and info at our blog
Have a great day!!
Used the recipe by harrygermany in this thread, comparing to the BBA version last year, this one is richer, denser, and more dilicious in my opinion.
Used osmotolerant SAF Gold yeast (24g) instead of the 84g of fresh yeast, the dough rose well and had great ovenspring - a little too much oven spring actually, I think a bit of proofing time wouldn't hurt. But the formula works great as is.
I waited for over a week before cutting open the first one, the other two are wrapped and frozen. Will cut another one around Christmas, the third one sometime next year to see how flavor develope. The generous amount of butter brushed on the finished loaves is really the key for great flavor, even after only "aging" for one week, I am impressed by how rich the taste is. The texture of the loaf is like a rich pound cake, or even a shortbread cookie! I prefer this one over the BBA version.
Submitting to Yeastspotting.
It's sweet but it's not baked -Almond Pecan Caramel Corn
I have started my holiday baking. For the next 7 days I plan to post a new treat each day. This caramel corn is sweet, salty, crunchy and very addictive.
WW sweet rolls ideas?
I want to make some beautiful sweet rolls as neighbor gifts this christmas, but I am afraid that people won't like them because they're whole wheat. I don't bake with white, and I feel like you can't separate fluffy white bread from cinnamon rolls in most people's minds. Is there a combination that you think would naturally compliment the flavor of whole wheat, like pear or orange rolls? I'm just looking for some good ideas.