The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Reinhart's WW Sandwich bread - steam & stone?

mscolvin's picture

Reinhart's WW Sandwich bread - steam & stone?

I'm a beginner, making my first loaf pan bread using Reinhart's "Everyday 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread" recipe from "Artisan Breads Every Day".  (All my previous efforts have been hearth breads.) The recipe does not mention using a baking stone or steam when baking in a loaf pan - is that an omission, or should I use one or both of these techniques?  And, if I use a stone, is it OK to put the pan directly on the stone?

Ford's picture

I use both stone and steam for all my bread whether in a pan or out.


thihal123's picture

I'm also a novice baker, but this is what I understand:

depending on how you want your loaf bread, you do not necessarily need steam. Steam creates a crunchy crust. Traditionally, loaf breads are not crusty, so you wouldn't need steam. However, I go against convention and do steam my loaf breads because I love the crunchy exterior.

As for the stone, it couldn't hurt to use it. The stone is only going to help maintain a more even temperature in the oven.

Janetcook's picture

Yes, it is okay to put your loaf pan on top of your stone.  My baking stone is too bigand heavy for me to take in and out of my oven so everything that goes into my oven gets put onto it.

Stones = store heat which means when you open and close your oven to put bread in the temp. recovers faster than without.  Stored heat also means that when you put a loaf directly onto the stone the heat rises up (radiant heat I think is what this is called) into the bread and increased the oven spring.  Last thing that a stone does is create a more even heat throughout the oven.  I am sure there are probably other benifits to using a baking stone but that is all that comes to mind at the moment....Oh yeah, it creats a very nice crispy crust on the bottom of your loaves or with pizzas....

Steam = Moistens the crust so loaf can expand during the initial  part of the bake when the yeast are speeding up their life cycle before being killed off once the temp inside the loaf reaches about 120°.  Without the steam the outer layer of dough dries out and limits the spring.  It also creates the crunchy crust but if too much is used it softens the crust.

Recommendation = Have fun experimenting in your oven and see what happens when you mix and match :-)  Part of the fun of baking is the surprise that awaits once the baking process is over.  Good notes help alleviate any frustration you might run into :-)

Have Fun


mscolvin's picture

I decided to use both, and just pulled the loaves from the oven - beautiful!   Thanks for the advice and insights - this forum is a great resource, and I look forward to continuing to learn.

BellesAZ's picture

That even if you're not cooking directly on the stone, that you heat your oven well in advance to thoroughly heat the stone.  Even as you preheat your oven and it alerts you that its come to temperature, that stone in the oven is not fully up to temp and will draw out the cooking, making the process of baking a bread both uneven and incorrect.. LESSON LEARNED here! :)

thihal123's picture

Indeed, it takes an oven longer time to preheat if there's a stone in it versus if there isn't. It makes sense. The stone is mass, and that takes a lot of energy to heat up.

sphinxie's picture

So how much extra time would you add to the preheat for a baking stone, and for a pizza stone, respectively?

mrfrost's picture

Depends on the stone(thickness mainly and material), your set up(oven, etc) and the person honestly(the results one is looking for), to an extent.

There are those that, in general, just preheat for one hour.

For my situation(stone, oven, etc), 30 minutes works almost perfectly for me, in most cases. I have a 5/8" thick cordierite stone positioned about 3" above my medium sized electric oven's exposed bottom heating element.

But If you have a large oven, with the heating element buried beneath the floor, a very thick baking stone, etc, it very well may take an hour or more for the stone and oven to reach optimum temperature.

A thinnish, cheapish, generic "pizza stone"(for as long as it lasts), may take less than 30 min.

WoodenSpoon's picture

I preheat my oven/stone as high as my oven will go, then once the oven indicates that its preheated it let it sit another half hour or so. I then load/steam and in a minute or two I'll turn the oven down to a little above my my desired baking temp, then fifteen minutes later I move it down to the actual baking temp.