The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


MoonshineSG's picture


Many posts and reciepes suggest steaming the oven in advance, few minutes before baking the bread. I never did that, so I wonder what the benefits are ? Wouldnt all the steam come out when I open the door to add the bread in ? 

fminparis's picture

Not enough to matter. Just takes a few seconds to put the bread in.  If you're steaming, the door will be open and much of the steam can escape and the temperature drops during that time.  At any rate, shouldn't make much difference and all you have to do is try it one way, then the other on the next bread and see for yourself.

hanseata's picture

When I had a chance to live chat with Peter Reinhart a few years ago, I asked him just that question. He answered that pouring hot water in a preheated steam pan after placing the bread in the oven was sufficient.
I tried pre-steaming (baking Bertinet's breads), pouring hot water and spritzing water against the oven walls (as in Reinhart's "The Bread Baker's Apprentice"), and, after I read his "Whole Grain Breads", only pouring hot water - there was no difference at all.

My oven is very well insulated, though, and hardly any steam escapes. Otherwise I would use Susan's hot towel method, or "Cook's Illustrated's" baking sheet full of lava rocks.