The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

steam pan placement

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welldigger's picture
welldigger

steam pan placement

I'm wondering about putting my steam pan on a shelf ABOVE the baking stone. Mostly, directions say to put the steam pan on the bttom shelf. But I saw a photo of Peter Reinhart making baguettes and he had a lipped baking sheet on the top shelf ABOVE his baguettes. Any thoughts on this? 

It would be quite a bit easier to pour in the hot water if the baking pan were on the top. But then I'm wondering in the steam would be properly disbursed. Am I being too anal about this?

Also, is it worth the trouble to "spritz" the walls of the oven? And what if some droplets of water hit my preheated baking stone? Danger of cracking?

After 40 years of old fashioned bread baking, these techniques are all new to me. But it's time to drag myself kicking and screaming into the modern era. Pain a l'ancienne baguettes here I come!

Ford's picture
Ford

I place a roasting pan on the shelf just below the stone, after the stone has been heated at temperature for at least 30 minutes.  I then pour boiling water into the pan and close the oven. (I use oven mits.)  I slash my loaves and spritz them with water then place them on the baking stone.  Several times in the first ten minutes I'll spray water into the oven onto the loaves and not worry about the spray hitting the oven walls or the stone.  I have had no problem with cracking.  The droplets evaporate quickly .

This works for me.   Whatever works for you will be best for you.  I would think that the loaves would not brown properly, if the pan of water were place over them very closely.

Ford

welldigger's picture
welldigger

Thanks, Ford

I think I'll go with the steam pan BELOW the stone. And I'll try a bit of spraying as well. Dough is mixed and retarding in  the fridge. Tomorrow is the big test. 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

My oven stones are kept on their rack on the lowest shelf of my oven, as recommended by the manufactor.  Two oven stones are on a rack made to hold them.  They completely cover end to end of my oven rack and came with my oven.  

I always steam above and sometimes if only doing one loaf I add steam beside and above my loaves.   Never had a problem.   I steam with my micro-waved, wet towels method.

Sylvia

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

I switched to Sylvia's method some time ago and have had nothing but success (steamwise, anyway) since then.  I highly recommend the microwaved wet towels from above.  Also, just a warning about spritzing the oven with a spray bottle.  I strongly suspect this led to burning out two convection heater coils in my oven rather quickly.  Maybe I accidently got water on them causing them to fail, but they are costly to replace.  If you do spray into an electric oven, I would advise that you avoid spraying towards any heater element, especially the convection (if you have one).

-Brad

welldigger's picture
welldigger

Hey,

I'm open for anything. Tell me about this microwaved towel system for creating steam.

By the way, I just took my first baguettes out of the oven. Used The Reinhart "pain a l'ancienne" formula. My baguettes look almost exactly like the photo in Reinhart's book. And they taste great.  They're not as big in circumference as I would like, but that can be fixed easily.

Needless to say, I'm quite pleased.

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Here is a link to my method of steaming with nuked towels.  I have elec. ovens.   Some have had success with their gas oven's using this method.  Gas ovens have a different venting system.   

Sylvia

welldigger's picture
welldigger

Thanks Brad

I have a good gas oven. Don't think I can do much damage with the spritzer.