The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Funky oven problems

Renee B's picture
Renee B

Funky oven problems

I live in a rental for the moment while my husband and I are buying a house.  The oven here is a brand of electric oven made by Whirlpool called "Roper", they also make lawn tractors.  The lawn tractors they make are pretty good, but the oven... not so much.  The main problem is that I can't get a nice bubbly crackly crust on my boules and baguettes, even on my sandwich loaves because there is this wierd pipe coming up through the back of the stove that vents all of the heat and steam out into my kitchen (yeah this is really great for my cooling bill, I live in the south and my oven blows 450 degree air into my kitchen).  I slather my loaves with water and put a pan of water into the oven, then mist them occasionally, and they still only come out mediocre and god forbid I forget to do all of these things, I get a leathery crust on my baguettes that is 1/8 in thick.  Any ideas on what I can do?

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

My electric stove was the same vent pipe was held in by two screws on the inside of the oven.  I unscrewed the screws to loosen the pipe then wrapped it with tin foil and put the screws back in has been working. It's also easy to undo.

Renee B's picture
Renee B

I'm so glad to know I'm not alone.  I was thinking foil over the pipe, either that or a roasting pan over my bread, but then it would be a pain to check on. Thanks.

Roo's picture

Was just going to post to see if the vent could be covered with foil.  I was thinking more inside the kitchen, but inside the oven would be better.

Scott M's picture
Scott M

For what it's worth... Roper is the absolute bottom of the manufacturer's line, so it's not uncommon to see it in a rental. You'll need to experiment a bit to see what you can and can't coax out of it.

I've used Roper appliances in earlier points in my life. A few things come to mind:

- temperature calibration could be off. Get one of those remote oven termometers with the stainless cables.

- Good news: these are basic, simple ovens. You don't need to worry about screwing up a bunch of electronics with your steam generation technique!

longhorn's picture

The easiest way to get great crust on boules is IMO to use a cloche or a bowl on a baking stone. That way the oven doesn't make as much difference though it will put more heat into your house which is clearly undesirable.  Which makes aluminum foil soung better and better!


Renee B's picture
Renee B

I was going to try this and see how it works.  But I think I may put the foil over the vent anyway just to keep the heat out of the kitchen.   I used to live in this cute little efficiency in Florida and it had the smallest stove.  It didn't look like much, but boy was it well built.  If I cooked something at night and shut the oven off and closed it up, it was usually still warm when I woke up in the morning- pretty good heat retention for a little rinky dink stove.

jjainschigg's picture

The sour-faced landlord on the 70s sitcom Three's Company?

jyslouey's picture

I know this is off topic but it brings back fond memories of my days in the UK...his wife was called Mildred?  I  love the british sitcoms, esp. Only Fools and Horses...

Renee B's picture
Renee B

There was a Brittish "Threes Company"?