The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Will Steaming Damage my New Oven

mizrachi's picture
mizrachi

Will Steaming Damage my New Oven

With my ancient but reliable electric oven, I steamed with great success using a tray of ice cubes and a spritzer.  But now that I moved and own a new and expensive gas oven, I'm afraid steaming might damage the electronics.  How can I reliably steam without destroying my oven?

 

 

fpatton's picture
fpatton

Heck, my oven's electronics can't stand up to the oven's own cleaning cycle. The only problem I've ever seen induced seems to be due to high heat, not steam. (I've been baking at high temperatures a lot longer than I've been using steam.) That's on a decent GE electric oven, not gas,  and as always, YMMV. However, my experience in the semiconductor industry suggests that heat, and specifically heat cycling, is the bigger deal with electronics.

Fred

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

Before you do something that might invalidate your warranty, call the maker to ask you question.  I all that they say is that you should not do it because it'll invalidate your warranty, you'll be ahead.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Cover the bread with something like an upside down foil roasting pan (cheap at your sumermarket), the top of a roasting pan (bought off eBay?), etc. Also try searching "magic bowl" here.

For me it works just as well. (I usually "mist" the inside of my cover pan before putting it over the bread  ...not sure if that's really necessary though.) Probably the biggest problem will be dealing with awkward loaf dimensions; for example have you ever seen a roasting pan as long as a baguette?


Steam condensation damage to an oven's electronic controls is a real crap shoot. It very seldom happens (in fact if you want it to happen so you have an excuse to get a new oven, it will probably never happen:-). But if you're one of the few unluckly ones, you can suddenly be faced with an inconveniently dead oven followed by a very large repair bill. To me it seems easy enough to avoid the small risk simply by switching methods from steaming the whole oven to steaming just the bread.

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Removed - because Chuck is faster :)

larryparis10's picture
larryparis10

For what it's worth, I blitzed my electronic control, called the clock in repairman's lingo, and gave up contracting one of two repairman after talking to them--it was a kind of the cost is what the cost is. So I decided to do the job myself, and I'm glad I did. First of all, the "clock" was reasonably inexpensive, about $150 for a classic and beloved GE profile, and while taking the oven apart I was able to clean off an almost unimaginable amount of grease. As for the work itself, it was pretty much writing down what I was taking off, and the clock itself, with the wires still attached, made the substition a no brainer.  Anyway, this was my experience, for what it's worth. (About $300, not including the part, I would guess.)

fpatton's picture
fpatton

...at least on my GE Profile, is the ribbon cable between the control panel and the module. What appears to be a failure (but which can often be rectified by a "Fonzie-style" pounding on the panel) may just be the ribbon cable losing continuity at the connection. I've successfully fixed this particular failure a couple of times by detaching the cable (there's a latch, so don't just rip it out), cleaning the copper contact surfaces, and re-attaching it. Sadly, it's not permanent.

This sort of thing might be exacerbated by steam production, but it's a relatively easy fix. I'd think this would be a more likely outcome from using steam than complete electronics failure.

Fred

Chuck's picture
Chuck

...cleaning the copper contact surfaces...

If it's like a personal computer, the contacts are pretty thin and delicate. It's awfully easy to scratch them. And many "cleaning solutions" leave a thin residue that over time actually eats away the metal. So a "quick fix" can easily make the next failure happen sooner.

The best printed circuit contact cleaner I've found (believe it or not) is a pencil eraser! I keep one of those big blocky PinkPearl erasers in my electronics toolbag for just this purpose. "Erase" the contacts until they're clean (and often shiny), connect up the ribbon cable again, and if you're lucky the fit will be so tight it will keep condensation out and won't fail again for a long time.

fpatton's picture
fpatton

Yes, sorry, I should have specified the cleaning method. This particular ribbon is fairly heavy duty, but another good tip is to move the eraser toward the end of the ribbon only. Scrubbing back and forth is a good way to end up with a folded or torn ribbon cable. (Learned from bitter personal experience...) And be sure to support the back of the cable against something solid, like a small block of wood.

Fred