The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


NancyB's picture


 Hi all: New to artisan bread. Religiously following Hamelman and BBA. I was feeling pleased with myself for the baguettes with poolish when I forgot to take the teatowel off the ovenglass after adding water to my pan. My back was turned to the oven and my husband asked " Is it alright for your bread to be smoking?" Merde. My teatowel is toast however the baguettes were saved. I feel so foolish and more than a little shook-up. Please advise of an alternative method of steaming. My new hobby is not worth burning the bloody house down.



cranbo's picture

 forgot to take the teatowel off the ovenglass after adding water to my pan. 

I don't quite understand; do you mean you covered the glass inside your oven with a tea towel? 

I've never had an issue with steam and the front glass, although I cracked the light bulb cover at the back of the oven, as a result of steaming I think. 

Floydm's picture

That would be frightening.

The upside-down aluminum foil turkey pan covering the loaves is an inexpensive, low-risk technique.  The biggest issue I've had with that is geometry: finding a pan is long enough for baguettes or tall enough for large boules.  But it is one to consider.

Chuck's picture

I third Floyd's suggestion. For about a year I fiddled and diddled with various ways to generate steam: pans, spoon rests, poking tiny holes in pans, lava rocks, new uncoated finishing nails to hold the heat, cast iron (mini-rectangular cast iron pans weren't easy to come by), and sink tailpiece pipes and seals for getting the water where I wanted it in a hot crowded oven without danger of burning my arms. I was so into it I had even learned how water's surface tension varies with temperature.

Then I tried a $4 roasting pan from my supermarket, with a couple 79¢ hooks from the hardware store screwed through holes I poked, and an old wiener roasting fork to move it in and out of the oven without any risk to my arms. It worked just as well as all the other stuff, was a whole lot easier, doesn't present any threat at all any electronic oven controls, and doesn't involve anything that can drip or crack. (I do spray the inside of the inverted roasting pan with my mister much of the time  ...I haven't figured out yet whether or not that's really necessary.)

(One way to find out more is to search "magic bowl" here:-)

jcking's picture

The foil pans work well and can be reused. I spritz some water into to the pan before covering the loaf.


flournwater's picture

The solution to your problem isn't finding an alternative method of steaming.  You just need to focus on what you're doing and not allow yourself to become distracted.

NancyB's picture

Thanks for the input. It's true I was distracted when I was baking the last of my loaves--tired too. I still think I'm going to ditch the tea towel idea. I bought an aluminum roast pan today and will try that this weekend.  It's all part of the learning curve. *S*