The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Steam can do Wonders!

tssaweber's picture

Steam can do Wonders!

Reading through SylviaH's long blog (Oven-Steaming My New Favorite Way) I decided that I have to give this steaming technique a try.

I always felt uncomfortable with spraying my hot oven and I don't know how many times I burnt myself in pouring water on the hot bottom. Even though it is still working I believe I've done a lot of damage to the oven and this is probably also the source of all the issues I have with it not holding the temperature correctly.

Like others I was pretty amazed with the result!


The oven spring was so strong that I had blow-outs in my baguettes.

I don't think this happened because of poor shaping. (I'm Sinclair trained!  The Back Home Bakery) On the other hand it shows nicely how big irregular holes in the crumb are created and that scoring plays a big role.


Of course a very strong sourdough starter is very helpful too!!


Happy baking!




SylviaH's picture

Love the ballon bowl!  

Glad your enjoying the benefits of towel steaming!  Thanks for the plug, Thomas! I love the ease/safety of this method too!  The 'microwaving' of the towels, gets the center of the rolled towels super hot.  Just yesterday I had steam still releasing from the towels several minutes after removing them from the oven.  This always makes me smile.   Opening up the rolled towels with tongs anytime while they are in the oven, you will get even more steam.  'Tongs come in very handy for me'. moving the towels into the pans and opening up the towels. 





tssaweber's picture

I'm always happy to learn something, even better when it works that good and right away!!! I'm sure you know what I'm talking about...


Sjadad's picture

Add me to the ranks of converts to SylviaH's steaming method. I'm never going back to spray bottles, ice cubes, lava rocks, etc.

Thanks SylviaH!

ramat123's picture

What's the recipe you're using?

tssaweber's picture

A very simple sourdough formula:

350 g starter 75% hydration

800 g AP flour

500 g water

25 g salt

3 to 4 s&f and an overnight retarded fermantation in the fridge.

Shaping of the baguettes like Jeffrey Hamelman or Ciril Hitz as they show in their videos.

Hope that helps!