The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Tip: Creating Steam

thihal123's picture

Tip: Creating Steam

I have a tip that maybe some of you have discovered and already use. It's about how to create steam in the oven when we don't have a built-in steamer. The tip is to bake the bread while baking something moist, like vegetarian meatballs (made with tofu). That would create a good amount of steam, even for baking at 375°F. I don't find ice cubes to create the kind of steam I need.

The expanded version of this tip is this:

Using the Zen Monastery Cookbook's meatball recipe (basically mashing tofu with various ingredients, including egg, forming into balls and bake), I made a tray ot veggie meatballs. Then when I was ready to bake my bread, I put in the tray of tofu meatballs first, then when the oven became steamy (which was quite soon), I put in the bread to bake. Steam galore!

I don't know why, but the ice cubes on tray don't seem to work too well for me, and the boiling water on heavy pan doesn't work well unless the  oven is super heated to 400°F, and sometimes the bread I want shouldn't be baked at that temperature. Using this tip, or a variation of it, seems like good amount of steam will be produced at a moderate temperature oven.

Of course, it won't be practical every time to bake tofu meatballs when you want to bake bread, but maybe using the general idea, you can think of other things you can bake for dinner that will also help create steam for the bread you're baking.

Hope this helps someone! :)

bpezzell's picture

What breads would you be baking below 400 degrees that would need steam?

thihal123's picture

Well, from what I understand, the steam helps to create a nice crust. I was partly following a recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book which called for baking at 375°F, and it didn't say anything about steam. It was a loaf bread. Well, I just wanted some steam to get a nice crust, and it worked :) Or so I think.

dabrownman's picture

where a reducing lower temperature is used and pullman pans with toppers are not available, will benifit greatly from heavy steaming which they would normally get in an enclosed pan.  Having bread taste a little like meatballs or baked tray veggies sounds pretty good too :-)  We bake challah at 350 F too.

Nice tip.