The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Lava Rocks Rock!

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breadbakingbassplayer's picture
breadbakingbass...

Lava Rocks Rock!

So you want that thin crust that shatters when you cut/bite into it...  You also want your loaf to spring fully.  You've tried all of those other steaming methods, spray bottle, cast iron steam pan, crazy contraptions to get and keep steam in the oven...  I suggest you take a trip down to your hardware or home store and get a bag of lava rocks.  I got mine in Brooklyn for $5.34 including tax.  People in Manhattan don't know what they are...


 


Take the lava rocks, empty them into whatever pan you have just to get the amount correct.  I have a pan that is about 9"x13"x2".  Wash the rocks and put them into a pot of water and boil them for a while, 30 minutes to sterilize them.  Preheat your oven to 500F while you are boiling them.  After you are done boiling them, place them into your pan and put them into the oven and let them dry out.  You can turn your oven off and just leave them there over night...


 


So when you are ready to bake, place the pan with the lava rocks on your oven floor, if you ahve a gas oven, or on a lower rack if you have an electric oven and have it stick out a few inches from below your baking stone on the side.  This allows you to take a small cup, preferable with a spout, and just pour the water in with out moving things around...


 


So when you are ready to bake, your oven is preheated to the correct temp, before you load the oven, put 1 cup of water in the lava rock pan, and close the oven.  Prepare your loaves to be peeled into the oven, directly onto the stone...  Open the oven, put your loaves in, add 1 more cup of water to the lava rock pan, and close...  1/2 way through your bake, open the oven, let all the steam out, rotate your loaves, and finish your bake...


 


Also, having a convection oven helps too, especially if you are baking on 2 levels...

Comments

korish's picture
korish

Here is also an Idea that I learned when baking in a WFO, that's where I bake my bread. One thing is to have a wooden door that will close the oven, about 30 minutes to an hour before your bake take the door and soak it in water, also I use a wet towel that I wrap around the door before closing it in on the bread.


 


One of the best tools to get steam in to WFO is to use a garden sprayer, the ones that are used to spray weeds, BUT DON'T USE THE SAME ONE. I bough a gallon size in Home depot for under $12.00.  After placing all your bread in the oven spray a mist over the bread until you see steam coming out from your door. Close the oven with your soaked door and bake the bread. Also when baking in the WFO it is best to have it at least 3/4 full if not full to capacity.


Visit my site to see the last bake.


http://www.ourwholesomehomes.com/2010/01/bake-n-blog-triathlon-january-16-2009_5782.html


 

jackie9999's picture
jackie9999

Great idea! I had seen a youtube where someone poured water onto a plate full of nuts, bolts and heavy chain to create steam..but somehow that didn't seem quite right..who knows what elements you're baking alongside your bread...


I like this lava rock idea but wondered when you mentioned using convection. I read in other posts (or did I imagine it..?) that with a stone in the oven the convection doesn't work properly so I never use it when baking. Also, with my gas GE Profile, I notice, when you use convection the temp setting is about 20 degrees less than if you choose the bake cycle.


So convection on or off? Anyone know?

breadbakingbassplayer's picture
breadbakingbass...

Nuts and bolts were too expensive for me...  Some of them were like $2.50 each for the big ones...


I actually like convection since I bake with 2 stones on different levels.  I think it evens out the temperature.  I typically preheat for 45 minutes at 550F (as high as my oven goes).  I add 3/4 cup of water to the steam pan before loading the oven.  After I load the oven, I add another cup or so of water to the steam pan, close the door, and turn it down to 450F with convection.  Halfway through the bake, I'll open the door to let the steam out, rotate the loaves, and finish my bake at 450F with convection, or if they are bigger loaves, then turn down to 425F with convection.