The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need feedback on Steaming technique

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

Need feedback on Steaming technique

I'm wondering if anyone has tried this or has thoughts on it.


 


My electric stove oven has its vent tube in the left rear of the oven and exits under my left rear surface burner.  I can easily pop out the burner element revealing the tube. I am thinking of using the tube in conjunction with a funnel and some copper pipe so that I can pour hot water down the tube, around/past my stone and have it wind up in my cast iron skillet placed on the bottom of my oven below the tube. While it is steaming i can place a metal weight over the tube to keep the steam in.  Can anyone see a problem with this.


 


Paul

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Paul,


I tried a similar set up on my wall mounted electric oven. The vent is in the top of the front frame on top. I ran a 1/4 copper tube down the vent and over to the wall so it would run into my steam pan filled with broken firebrick. When I attached the funnel and poured water in, I got a little burst of steam back at me when the water hit the hot tubing just inside the oven. I decided to take a more aggressive position and used a turkey baster connected with silicone tubing. When I hit the bulb and squeezed the warm water in, it steamed well.


My advice is be careful. Hot steam has a mind of its own and it will try to escape out the vent that is not blocked. I quit doing this after a few attempts even though it worked.


Eric

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

to come up with these elaborate steam schemes that can be dangerous to the person and harmful to the oven.  If one of the guys on Mythbusters made bread, I'd expect to see ideas like this on the show ;o)


Modern ovens have delicate electronics that can be easily damaged by errant steam.  And the vents are there for a REASON--block them at your peril.  Plus, steam does move easily and it's a terrible, fast burn if it contacts human skin.  Or imagine that water hitting the light bulb in the oven, or the glass on the door before it turns to steam . . .


I never understand all these machinations for steaming.  Covering your dough  for 1/2 to 1/3 of the baking time with a simple foil pan or a big enough bowl or pot or a clay cloche or whatever you can find works beautifully and without the element of danger.  It's not exciting and macho, but it works. 


It's turkey season--a good time to pick up a big foil roasting pan for cheap to give it a try.  It really works, it's safe, it's cheap. 


 


 

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Quote:
Modern ovens have delicate electronics that can be easily damaged by errant steam.

Yeah. There are way more than just a few posts here on TFL along the lines of "all I did was ..., and now my oven won't even turn on any more".


If there's an alternate vent route that goes by the controls, steam can get into it and condense on the electronics. If you've ever spilled coffee over your computer keyboard, you know firsthand that electronics+water=bzzt_oops.


Problem is, you don't really know whether or not your oven is sensitive to steam in the electronic controls until it's too late.


I'm lucky to have a very old oven with mechanical controls, and I plan to keep it as long as I can.

yy's picture
yy

I totally understand the obsession to make sure all the variables in the bread baking process are perfect, and I don't think it necessary relates to testosterone levels. However, I do agree that there are simpler yet still effective steaming techniques, as evidenced by the great photos on this site. I haven't tried this myself, but it seems like a lot of TFLers have had success with SylviaH's towel steaming method and the cloche method, as suggested above.


of course, the discussion here is irrelevant if you want to mcgyver a steam-injecting oven for the sheer pleasure of DIY. Have you seen this link before?


http://cookingwithcrack.com/bread/steam/index.html

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

A guy thing!?Macho!?


Insulting but probably true.


Here is the reason ... if i do the cover the loaf thing (as I have done with my cast iron dutch oven from time to time,  then I can only do one loaf at a time.  If I inject steam, then I can do several loaves at a time. I almost always bake in mutiple loaf batches.


As for problems ... i have been doing the "hot water into the cast iron pan for steam" thing for a long time and the reason for switching is that i don't want to have to open the oven to put in little bits of hot water over the first 10 minutes of the bake to keep up the steam ... lets out both steam and heat.  I have also for years been blocking the vent for the first 10 minutes to help to keep the steam in (it still does escape but not nearly as fast). Finally, I stand to injure myself with steam a whole lot less if i am simply pouring water in from the outside (puff-backs are acknowledged).  As for the delecate parts of the oven, they have been enduring steam for quite a while now with no noticable effect, whether it is from bread baking or from braising meat.


I will admit that i have not been tempted to disable the door lock to do high temp pizza so I have hot quite achieved Mcgyver status.


Thanks ehanner ... I'll look at silicon tubing from my bulb baster (which I was going to use to put the hot water in anyhow).


 


Paul

Ford's picture
Ford

I have no problem with baking multiple loaves in my oven and steaming them.


I bring my oven up to temperature (usually 450°F) allowing about a half hour more for the stone to come to temperature.  I place an empty roasting/broiling pan on the bottom shelf (below the stone).  I add boiling water to the pan and close the oven door.  I spray water on the risen loaves and place them in the oven.  I'll spray them a couple of times in the first five minutes and then leave them.  After fifteen minutes I remove the roaster/broiler pan of water.  No problems.


Ford

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz


A guy thing!?Macho!?


Insulting but probably true.


Here is the reason ... if i do the cover the loaf thing (as I have done with my cast iron dutch oven from time to time,  then I can only do one loaf at a time.  If I inject steam, then I can do several loaves at a time. I almost always bake in mutiple loaf batches.



Well, OK, I'll give you that one.  That makes sense. 


Yy, I was thinking more Indiana Jones than McGyver.  Look at pjk's hat ;o)

yy's picture
yy

....doesn't really matter, as long as we avoid MacGruber (maybe a bit too specific of a reference? I wonder how that movie shot almost straight to DVD...).


http://www.hulu.com/watch/1433/saturday-night-live-macgruber-1

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I'm a gal and if I could figure a way to run a water tube into my gas oven for steaming, I'd do it in a heartbeat. 


Others have done it, in addition to Eric:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/18648/selfmade-steaminjected-oven


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1838/steam-maker-bread-baker-company#comment-6883

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

with it's arid dry cabin air knows how fast and pleasent it is to get a hot steamy towel.  The humidity increases so fast in the cabin!  The same in your oven with steamy towels.  I would go the steamy towel route before drilling holes into the walls of an oven.  The towel could go dry with lots of folds to prevent spashing tucked into a loaf pan in the oven.   When ready for steam, pour up to a pint of very hot water into the center of the towel.  Remove to quit steaming.  One cotton terry hand towel would do it.


Soon I will be flying back to Austria and saying good-bye to my little electric steam oven.  I will miss it.  It served me well.


On my electric oven in Austria, I noted that to steam bake it does have instructions to us the baking tray with water on the lower shelf and bake on the rack using fan and lower heat.  Anyone try it yet?

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

All towels are not made the same. If you put a wet towel into a 450-500F oven and that towel has man-made threads in it, you are, once the towel gives up its water,  going to get some serious melting of those threads. And for gosh sake, those same threats will burn like crazy if you pick it up with your hands.  Come to think of it, I don't know ar what temp cotton ignites.


PK

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Check out these links:


 http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/18203/nuovo-forno  


  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20162/oven-steaming-my-new-favorite-way


Steam is used only in the first ten minutes or so of the bake, so the towel isn't going to dry out.