The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Newbie gets steamed...

thebreadfairy's picture

Newbie gets steamed...


I wanted to introduce myself as this is my first posting. I have just started to learn breadmaking and have found this site to be tremendously helpful and informative. I began by purchasing a Mini-Zojirushi in November and, never having made bread before, was amazed with what I could produce by just following directions. I never intended to go any further but the more recipes I made, the more I realized the limitations of a machine. It was daunting at first to go hands-on but with all the helpful people here and at other sites I have made some progress. Besides I'm a "gadget freak" and now there are so many new things to buy!

I wanted to share some pictures of what I am learning about the incredible interplay of factors that go into baking a quality bread. Hopefully they can help other newbies also appreciate them.

I made my first baguette today and am quite pleased with the result. I was able to buy a Baporama on eBay and baked the baguette in that. I also made a small roll from the same dough which I baked along side the Baporama pan out in the open in the oven on a baking stone. Although I have read about the importance of steam to make a good crust, I was amazed at the difference that steam in an enclosed space vs. a bare oven can make.

This first picture shows the finished baguette and next to it the little roll I baked out in the open (I was experimenting with it before trying to bake some Kaiser Rolls in the future). The baguette was baked for 30 minutes with the lid on (using ~1 oz of water in the pan) and 10 minutes with the lid off at 450°.


The next picture is just a close-up of the two breads showing huge difference in the crusts.


This a cross-section of the two with the roll on the left and the baguette on the right.

The roll crust looks about twice as thick and was barely cuttable while the baguette was nice and thin, and crunchy and a joy to eat. The crumb on the baguette was also much better developed.


So, I am enjoying learning all this stuff almost as much as I enjoy eating the bread. I do find, however, that the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know. I am looking forward to taking advantage of all the accumulated experience that is shared in this forum.









beeman1's picture

Look's ggod enough to eat. It olny get's better from here.

thebreadfairy's picture

Thanks for the encouragement. I am discovering that making good-looking bread is definitely not the same thing as making good-tasting bread. So much bread and so little time.

sciam's picture

Can you post the recipe of your baguette? It looks good.

thebreadfairy's picture

Hi sciam, Thanks for the compliment. That was so long ago I no longer remember which formula I was using as I have tried many different ones since then. I suggest you search this site for other formulas by the experienced bakers such as dmsnyder and DonD and others. The variations on the baguettes of Anis Bouabsa are particularly simple and tasty. Good luck. Jessica

holds99's picture

Good looking crust and crumb.  Don't recall having seen one done in a Baporama before.  It does a nice job.

You're off to a great start, glad you've joined us and best of luck with your baking adventures.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Welcome to TFL!

I have to agree that baking in a small enclosed space is much safer than pouring hot water into a tray on the bottom of the oven!  That is why there is so much experimentation here with lids, covers, steamers, magic bowls, stainless bowls, ceramic pots, roasters, etc. 

Please, pretty please, may we see or have a link to view your pan?  It looks like it is in 3 parts.  How big is it & how long do you leave the lid on and how much water does it need to bake up such a lovely baguette?   lots of questions....



thebreadfairy's picture

I'll give you as much information as I have on the Baporama. I actually first heard of this system here on TFL. The pans are no longer being manufactured and, as far as I know, the company has gone out of business. They come up for auction periodically on eBay which is where I bought mine.


The full name is the Baparoma Steam Baking Master. A set consists of 5 metal parts (I think they are silicone-coated steel) about 17" x 7". There is one lid (seen on the right) and one base (seen on the left). There are three middle inserts for different kinds of foods, one of which is for baguette-shaped breads. This is the part in the middle. 

To use it for bread, you add water to each of three channels in the base (this part has three linear channels with bumps sticking up in them). You shape your loaf and put it into the center of the middle pan (this has perforations to allow steam to rise from the bottom pan and surround the bread) and then put the lid on.

What is really interesting is that it takes only a small amount of water in the base. Each of the side channels gets 1/4 ounce of water and the center channel gets 3/4 ounce. That's all. I haven't tried it with more water to see what kind of effect that will have. I think they have designed it this way so that you only get steam during the early part of the baking process which seems to be what most people recommend.

There are other aspects which make this really easy to use. The loaf can be proofed right in the pan. When proofing is done, you can then place the assembled pan in a pre-heated or non-preheated oven (I used a pre-heated oven). My loaves were baked at 450° for 30 minutes covered and then 10 minutes uncovered. The dough was developed using a modified no-knead recipe. Technically, I thought the loaves came out great. I still need to learn a lot more now about developing flavors in the bread.

I hope this helps to answer your questions. The baking part was really very easy (it almost feels like cheating) and there are still a lot of options to investigate such as temperature, amount of water and lid on/lid off times. If you have any more questions let me know.



Carl Seaquist's picture
Carl Seaquist

In addition to trying to learn to make bread I am trying to learn to navigate a website like this--if this comes out in the wrong place I'm sorry.


I like the way your baguette looks, Jessica. Very nice. The Baporama looks pretty cool, too! We were very tough on our oven until we started using a dutch oven but the Baporama makes baguettes possible.


Thanks for the posting and the great pictures.




Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Wow!  That answers my questions and it is interesting just how little water is used. Just a few soup spoons really!  But a little trapped steam sure makes a nice colorful crust.  Too bad you didn't work for them earlier in their advertising department, they might not have gone out of business.  Good write up.    Thanks.



mbonbainbridge's picture

I found mine in a moving box and am anxious to use it again, would love to have the intructions that came with it.  Do you have them?

thebreadfairy's picture

Hi, I do have the instructions but I don't have access to a scanner to get them to you. I would be willing to try to answer any questions you have. Basically, for breads, you add 3/4 oz. water to the central reservoir and 1/4 oz. to the side reservoirs and bake at 400° for 25-40 minutes depending on the dough.

For myself, I have stopped using the pan because I was not satisfied with the crust or the openess of the crumb and there are limited choices to make adjustments.


SteveK36's picture

In case you haven't found them yet (or it others are looking), the full booklet that came with the Baparoma is available online at

Like you, I had to find the instructions again after digging out the pan.

I see some are described as having 5 sections (three different inside trays) but mine has only 3 (lid, bottom, and inside tray) and I'm quite sure it never had more than that.

thebreadfairy's picture

I am going to be trying something you might want to look into yourself. I am trying to develop a process where I can easily make fresh sandwich rolls at night since this is what I usually like to eat. The Baporama technique worked so well that I am going to try using one of those low-fat meatloaf pans with a perforated insert as a mini-Baporama pan and cover it with some sort of dish or pan. This has the advantage of keeping the roll dough from spreading laterally and becoming too flat which it might do in a regular Baporama. I'll try to post a follow-up if I get around to trying this.

swtgran's picture

Have you tried bagels in your pans yet?  They aren't quite as good as boiled bagels but if you are in a rush they really are acceptable.  The trapped steam seems to do a decent job of taking the place of boiling.

I especially like the seminola recipe, from Artisan in Five, done on the flatter pan.

thebreadfairy's picture

Thanks for the recommendations. It sounds like you have a Baporama pan as well. Do you have any other tips or advice? I've only had the pan for a few days and appreciate any thoughts you have from your experience with it. 

Great timing on the semolina tip. I have the ABI5 book and have also been thinking of exploring semolina breads so I will definitely take a look at that.

mattie405's picture

Thanks for reminding me about these pans. I have 2 of the sets I purchased about 5 years ago and dug them out last night to use again. Made 2 loaves today and they came out with great crisp crusts. I also made some pizza directly on my stone and that was dinner, both the breads and the pizza came out exceptional today......the stars and moon must have been lined up right for me, either that or I am making some progress in bread making. I used to cook meals in these pans too, mostly pork tenderloins with veggies, made some great dinners a few years ago, I'll have to start using them more.  mattie

thebreadfairy's picture

Pizza with bread! You sound like you really know how to live well.

I also ordered a second set of pans just in case I do something really dumb to this first set.



ChristineH's picture

I had bought 3 years ago, and recently sold 2 on ebay. I kept one because they're no longer available. I hope I'll never regret selling them!  Bread Fairie maybe you bought mine! 80)


I've always wanted to make baguettes but with TMJ, I can't bit through the crust without regret!


Happy baking!