The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New Steaming Device; wood-fired baking for Hexham Farmers' Market, July 2012

ananda's picture

New Steaming Device; wood-fired baking for Hexham Farmers' Market, July 2012

Hello from Sunny Northumberland [a pleasant but temporary change!]

I drove down to visit my brother, all too briefly, on Tuesday.   He had some wood for me; a lot of wood, very dry and cut in good-sized lengths for my oven!

We filled the car up with all this wood, then he reminded me about a steam-stripper he was looking onto, which he showed me how to turn into a device to use in my bread oven.   So, I brought that back to Powburn too!

Today, in surprise sunshine, I made Gilchesters' Miches, Moscow Rye Breads and Spicy Buns.   A slideshow is below for you to watch.   And, the oven was hot!

Tomorrow, early doors, I am driving to Nigel's house so we can spend the day baking more bread for Hexham.   I am ready to make 26kg of Gilchesters' dough, plus 9kg Moscow Rye.   Nigel will be making around 20kg of White dough, and the same of Linseed and Light Rye.   The weather forecast is dire.   Still, I am optimistic about Saturday's market.   I also have some Croissants and Pain au Chocolats to tempt people with too.

Here is the video:

Happy Baking!


ps.   And some crumbshots of the Gilchesters' Miche; so tasty from the heat of the oven!



dabrownman's picture

You bread has a the dark crust that tastes so good.  It was a hot oven.  Love the Moscow Rye.  Have a good time at the amrket and sell out!

varda's picture

I think there should be a market for those steamers given the near constant discussions on TFL.    Best of luck with market day.    The ryes are particularly tempting.  -Varda

isand66's picture

Great looking breads as always Andy.  I love the shine you have on those spicy buns!

Thanks for sharing your slideshow and good luck on market day.  I hope you get a break with the weather.


breadsong's picture

Hi Andy,
You won't be tempting your customers only with Pain au Chocolat and Croissants - it all looks fabulous!
Your new steaming device looks fabulous, too. We talked about steaming during my WFO class at WheatStalk,
and the technique you're demonstrating is one we discussed.
Your brother sounds very resourceful, finding wood for your oven, and steaming equipment for you!
Best wishes for your Market day!
:^) breadsong

SylviaH's picture

What a nice video of the delicious looking breads and your new steaming device.  The spicy buns especially look like a very nice treat for your patrons.   I don't think you will have to tempt anyone..they'll be standing in line to get your delicious breads and pastries.


Franko's picture

Hi Andy,

A tad late, but here's hoping it was a sell out day for you at the market. No doubt it was, with all the fine breads and rolls you had to offer the lucky market goers. Did you find the new steaming system made a difference to the product, or is it more convenient than what you were doing before. I ask because I've never thought your breads lacked for bloom or crust development in any of the photos you've posted in the past. The steam aspect of WFO's is something I've been wondering about how to deal with when I eventually build my own, (now looking like another winter away) and interested to know whether you found this method more or less effective than previous methods.

All the best,


ananda's picture

Hi, and thank you all for your kind comments, as always.

Things all ended up quite stressful, as we discovered the Hexham Market takes place next Saturday!!!   This at a point where we had 100 loaves cooling in baskets, and 6 loaves left in the oven and it 16:15 on a Friday afternoon!

Rapid thinking, and some luck, saw me swing this round by taking a stall at the Saturday Market in Alnwick.   No marketing as such, but we pitched up and sold most of what we had made; all but 18 loaves.   Whilst trade was steady, some people came along and bought loads of bread enthusisatically.   A regular from my Friday gig came and bought bread at 3 different times throughout the day, laying claim to being my "best customer"...justifiably.   So some really lovely people to talk to and do business with.

Franko, I believe a good steaming system can be seen as less important in a brick oven...especially a large one, say the size of Nigel's or bigger.   I think this set-up made a bit of difference in my oven, so I will continue to use it and see if I can make it work better.   But in a large oven, with lots of loaves sitting on the sole of the oven, and a beautiful arched brick roof, the steam generation within the oven chamber is pretty impressive in its own right.   Much depends on the degree of solidity behind the construction of the oven in the first place, of course!

So, we are now baking again at Nigel's on Friday, for Hexham on Saturday.   This will be interesting, as Nigel has a baking day of his own that Saturday too.   So I'll be going solo to do the selling that day.   I'm really taking to doing that side of the business these days; it's so good to meet really lovely people who are so enthusiastic about [my/our] bread/real bread in general.

Best wishes