The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

steaming nuance

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rayel's picture
rayel

steaming nuance

Hi all, borrowing heavily from this post's constant flow of great ideas, I've come up with a twist of wet paper toweling around the perimeter of the loaf, inside the stainless wok cover. Got a nice delicate, crispy crust , and some scores that nearly did what I wanted to achieve. It's Petaluma Rye again, and the loaf pan version, unsteamed, needed some time in the fridge to slow it down. I would have liked baking them together, but lack of space was the issue. Some pictures, I hope, included.  Ray

rayel's picture
rayel

Went amok with my picture posting.

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

I cover my dutch oven dough with ice chips before the cover goes on (and, of course, have spritzed the dough with water).

rayel's picture
rayel

I proofed the round loaf with the wet paper in place, under the lid. I now think I didn't need to make so moist an environent. Perhaps I just succeeded in softening the loaf too much, and allowed it to spread. Mabey just befor the bake would have been enough? Anyway I think I am on the right track.


I hope this is an original idea, regarding the wet paper toweling, within the enclosure. Has anyone done this out there? Thanks,  Ray 

jkandell's picture
jkandell

Rayel, your bread in photo does look like too much moisture-- it soaked in and spread out.  This sometimes happens to me when I get lazy and slop on water right before baking rather than the more controlled steam method.  Done delicately it's a quick-n'-dirty method of getting steam crust; but done with a heavy hand it results in bread that looks like your photo. :-)  I wish people posted their failures more often here rather than just the "glamor shots."

rayel's picture
rayel

Hi Anna, I am wondering if the dutch oven is preheated first. My set up was not. To your point, whatever works. Thanks for your comment. The paper had dried after 20 min. when the lid was removed. I left the paper in, as it had become stuck to the pan. Perhaps cloth, as in a kitchen towel ,would have been a longer , moisture source. Thoughts?  Ray

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

I have researched and tried this steam thing ad nauseam, and even in a cold dutch oven the bread seems to rise well. I went overboard when I first started and thought I would need the La Cloche and of course ye ole iron dutch oven, both about the same price and the dutch oven also makes great chicken and dumplings. I now mainly use my German Römertopf (clay baker). With it I just spray a bit of water on the dough which rests on parchment paper, I cover it with the presoaked (in cold water for 10 minutes) top and it goes into a cold oven set to 500 degrees. I bake a 750gr loaf this way for about 40 minutes covered and  cut the temp down to 425 and bake 10 to 15 minutes uncovered to brown the crust, just making sure that the internal dough temp is at least 190 degrees before taking it out to cool.


 

rayel's picture
rayel

Hi jkandell, I really didn't think this was a failed attempt. The whole process is trial and error, but I honestly think leaving the wet paper  out durring the proof and placing it in just before the bake,might have worked a bit better. Ray

dosidough's picture
dosidough

I recently read a post that mentioned a steaming method similar to this and it is nice to see it in action. The post I refer to said they used damp towel. I have a lot of issues with my oven, the steaming method being only one of them. I did make a mental note to try something along these lines and may try a set up for this next weekend bake.
I over wet a loaf of Eric’s Favorite rye last weekend and in hit the edges of the cover (tearing off the ends). This Sunday I made the same loaf and went a little easier on the spray... ends stayed intact but this time the cover was off center and it took off a little of one side, not deeply though.  

As I understand it though the steaming should only be for the first 12 minutes or so of the bake using a cover. So you may have really overdosed the steam if you did it for 20 min. Go with your instinct and apply the wet towel just before it goes in the oven and try taking the cover off after 12 min. if it will take 25–30 min total or 15 for a 30–40 min bake.  It looks like a promising method.

Even with a bit more spread than you may have expected its a really nice looking loaf. Your scoring on both is lovely!  I don’t know the Peteluma Rye but I will see if it comes up on the TFL Search.  

Good luck with it and...Bake-on!
Dosi

dosidough's picture
dosidough

LOL.


I just found the March post you made on the Petaluma Rye. I got a chuckle out of some of that thread. Old Hippies never die, we just age strangely!  I have Laurel's book but have only made a few things from it and I missed this one. Rye and whole wheat...mmmm! Gonna get out my tie-dyes and bake it up.


This is a bonus post, I got 2 tips in one!


Thanks again
Dosi

pattycakes's picture
pattycakes

but do you spray the inside of the cold lid as well as the dough right before baking? Bake 15 minutes, remove the top, and finish baking. It has been addressed several places on this site...This works very well for me.


Patricia

rayel's picture
rayel

Wow, so many methods, and timings. I wanted steam for the shine and crispy crust. Do you achieve both ends with the use of ice shavings? This latest bake resulted in a better crust on both counts, than my first attempt. I am encouraged to continue tweaking this Idea. I have used Romertopf for bread in the past, I can't remember many of  the details of the bake,  I am quite sure I started it in a cold oven, and the rise was good,but what ever I might have done differently than you, the resultant crust was not particularly crisp. Thanks for your continued interest.  Ray

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

the dough is baked at a higher temperature, directly on a tile in a 500+ preheated oven with a container of boiling water next to it for the first 10 minutes. Unfortunately, I can no longer do all that because of a disability of my right wrist (awaiting surgery) and, therefore, I had to find easier methods to pretty much achieve similar results. I hail from Germany and a shiny crust was not necessarily something we looked for so I have not tried to achieve this other than a cornstarch and water wash which I found in Greenstein's "Secrets of a Jewish Baker". He also mentions an egg wash for a darker glaze and if using only the yolk then not to steam the bread. 


Cornstarch glaze:  While bringing 1 cup of water to boil, dissolve 2 tbls cornstarch in 1/4 cup cold water then wisk into the boiling water until thickened.


For higher shine brush x 2, once before baking and again right after out of the oven.


Egg wash:  Beat 1 egg with 1 to 2 tbls of water. If using only the yolk, don't steam the bread.  Brush the first time before proofing, let dry, second time before it goes into the oven.


Best,


anna

rayel's picture
rayel

I have seen many references to the use of wet towels, usually being used in heated metal trays, and another in conjunction with stones and metal containers, but haven't seen incorporating this idea in the confines of a small enclosure. 


Mishaps are common at my house, when it comes to bread. I find it convenient to skip the gory details, but I am sure it would make for good laughs.


My recipe indicated a 45 min. bake at 350, I started at 450 and removed the lid at 20 min, per Laurel's suggestion on pg.107, steaming in a covered caserole. Then continued to bake, cover off, for an additional 20 min. The loaf temp was 205 degrees, but I think I could have gone the extra 5 min, or following your suggestion, remove the lid earlier and lower the temp. earlier, and bake longer. I always thought it unwise to disturb the baking loaf too early. Appparently you have done it with no ill effects. Times to remove the lid vary wildly it seems, but I am open to your suggested 12 min. Will give it a try that way. My loaf despite the internal temp, did not have the hollow thump, so you might be correct re. your timing.


I used whole rye for the small rye portion, whole wheat for the larger qty. both flours were organic. Thanks so much for your encouraging words. Well appreciated.  Ray

rayel's picture
rayel

It worked well for me also, but this set up made for a thinner, crisp crust. I have also left the lid on almost to the end of the bake. This was following a stove top steaming through a perforated pan, over steaming water, then into the oven, onto the stone, pan, loaf, lid and all. That loaf was oddly overbaked, with thick bottom crust, but yielded a nice crackly top with deep, shiny color. Thanks Patricia, I really appreciate your interest. Ray

rayel's picture
rayel

Your second post mentioned you'll be baking the Petaluma rye. I would appreciate your feedback on how it went. Pictures would be great. I believe a finer whole wheat was recommended, mine was mostly a courser grind. Keep us posted as they say. Thanks again for your kind compliments.  Ray

rayel's picture
rayel

Hi Anna,I will try the 500 + degree preheat for ten min. The cornstarch and water I have not tried, except once with molasses as a third ingredient, and the results were awfull. Mabey I put it together badly, but I couldn't see the bread through it. Might give the simpler version a try sometime. I have used egg washes from time to time, and with some loaves it is traditional. The steam gives the shine as a free ride, so to speak. Your point about when you are not looking for it, it might not be that important, is quite true. At a bakery,when expecting to remove an entire load of french bread, it was discovered  that the plumber had turned off the water, including the oven's supply line. Panic ensued. They tried different things like splashing water in where they could, but it yielded dull, colorless loaves, which were thrown out. It nearly made me cry. Then they made that batch all over again. In that setting, when expectations were not met, that batch of bread was deemed a failure. I often wondered how that dull bread, without the crackle and shine, would have gone over with the buying crowd. Would it really have spoiled their day?  All the best,  Ray