The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Have no cast iron pot

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josip's picture
josip

Have no cast iron pot

Hi, i've read this forum for a long time, just never joined XD


 


Anyway, I am currently waiting for my bread to do its first rise, just regular white milk bread. I am not at home and I don't have a cast iron pot where I am... I was wondering if I could just put a pot which is metal on the bottom of my oven with water for the steam. Any ideas?


 


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

If your white milk bread is a panned loaf, you really don't need any steam.


Hearth breads baked on a stone should be steamed - and a loaf pan or similar type metal pan will work just fine as your steaming vessel.

josip's picture
josip

Ok, so my bread is just about done rising, for first rise anyway....so I was wondering how do I proof the bread if I have to put the pot in the oven and let it heat up.


 


should I proof it in another pot? then just put it in the hot one?

LindyD's picture
LindyD

What are you baking?  


I did a quick Google search and saw that "white milk bread" is a typical sandwich type loaf - a panned bread.


If that's what you're baking, forgot about steam.  Not needed. The pan doesn't need to be preheated.  Just shape your loaf, put it in the loaf pan, and allow it to proof. Then bake and enjoy.


Oh, and welcome to TFL.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

This is all a bit hypothetical because it seems you needn't generate steam at all for the particular style of bread you're making. -- Supposing you did really need to make steam: If you're somewhere else using somebody else's oven, I recommend using the "cover" technique (sometimes called "magic bowl" here) rather than trying to generate steam. That way you'll be sure not to risk blowing out the controls in somebody else's oven with condensing steam.


When you get back home, you may prefer to simply continue to use the "cover" method. If instead you really want to generate steam in your oven and your oven is suitable: The main reason "cast iron" is mentioned so often is the metal is thick and holds a lot of heat (or in more technical language it has high thermal mass). Pretty much any old metal pot will contain the water (except note that if the steam pot is located quite near the heating coil -as it usually is- the very high heat will wreck non-stick coating and/or warp thin metal and/or crack enamel).


So if you use a thinner metal pan, ideally you'll put something in it that holds a lot of heat. What I've found works quite well and is cheap is a pound or three of very large (about 4" long) finishing nails in the bottom of the pan. "Finishing nails" because the minimal heads allow them to lay fairly flat and nestle close to their neighbors. Line them all up in the same direction and spread them out over the bottom of the pan; hopefully they'll make a layer about 1/4 inch thick.


Of course regardless of whether you use "cast iron" or "pan with nails" you'll probably want to top off the pan with a layer of "lava rocks" (sold for use in barbecue grills) that will stand up to very high temperature and that have a large surface area. Experience is these work pretty well, probably because they minimize the evaporation that can reduce the temperature of both the steam device and the oven.


 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I am certainly no nail expert, but I would be sure that the nails used do not contain any toxic elements (lead, zinc, nickel, etc.) that might vaporize at baking temperatures.


Otherwise, good idea!


David

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Fortunately it's simple, so you don't have to be a metallurgist: just stick to "finishing" nails (no regular head, just a wide spot with a dimple). Finishing nails only come in "brite" (i.e. plain uncoated metal, similar to a collection of screws/bolts/nuts used for the same purpose).


The coatings that can make one a little leery ("galvanized", "cement", "zinc", "outdoor", etc.) are options on kinds of nails with regular heads ("common", "box", "deck", etc.), which you don't want anyway because those heads prevent them from nestling close to their neighbors.

copyu's picture
copyu

Just asking...


copyu