The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Home brew steam injection on the cheap and easy

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

Home brew steam injection on the cheap and easy

There was a recent post (which I cannot seem to find) that discussed a cover that went over the baking stone and had a hole for injecting steam. The steam generator appeared to be a Bissell home steam cleaner.

Rather than buy another large container that required already non-existent shelf space, I went to Amazon. There were several home steam cleaners, including Bissell's. I settled on one of the less expensive clones, the DBTech steam cleaner. My review is here.

My Amazon review covers the general method of use, so I'll mostly let a few pics tell the story.

First, as a baseline to judge the oven spring is the shaped dough. My bread form is flat bottomed, thus a flat top when turned out.

Steam is injected to saturate the oven space.

The vent is blocked with a wetted dish towel.

I  repeat the stream injection a couple more times, and get this oven spring.

Once spring has sprung, unblock the vent, rotate and allow to finish. The example loaf is a white sourdough, about 62% hydration. There is a bit of whole wheat for a flavor kick and about half milk from DMS.

Here is a crumb shot which clearly shows the spring.

There are certain issues to be worked out, such as temperatures (compared to pre-injection), and the timing and duration of steam shots. The control I gain with this method gives me a warm fuzzy regarding the possible quality of results. It's just so simple compared to pans of hot water or spritzing.

cheers,

gary

Comments

decatur's picture
decatur

Is there a way to adapt this method to a wall oven.  Must vent, but I don't know where!  I have the steam injector and use it with a chafing dish cover with a hole in it.  I much prefer your method, but no clue if it is possible.  Thanks. Jane

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

Did the rest of your comment go away?

If you're saying the wall oven has no vent (mine, at previous residence, didn't), just crack the door open a bit and shoot the steam in.

cheers,

gary

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

That is some fine spring for a 62% hyradation dough.  Well done!

decatur's picture
decatur

Sorry, apparently the message disappeared!  You are right on, however, and I will try it.  Thanks.

fotomat1's picture
fotomat1

Good old Yankee ingenuity...Thanks!!

DanAyo's picture
DanAyo

Gary, are you still using steam injection?

It’s been almost 4 years since you posted this method. Has it pasted the test of time? Any tweaks? Has the steam hurt your oven?

Dan

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

My, how time flies when you're having fun. ;)

Due to having developed an extreme case of wheat belly, I've cut back on my bread making, limiting myself to enriched, panned sandwich loaves. I've discovered that a braided dough provides sufficient area to absorb the oven spring without tearing. (I use a simple, single strand braiding.) Plus, for panned loaves, I now start with a cold oven, and simply block the vent until I can see the loaf browning.

For lean bastard or round loaves, I still do steam with a couple of minor tweaks. The tweaks are more for my benefit than for the loaves'. Not changed is that I do preheat since I'm using a stone.

  1. Block the vent by wrapping a wet dish towel around the nozzle and sticking it into the vent hole.
  2. Slide the loaves onto the stone, spritz the oven walls and close the door.
  3. Trigger the steamer until it runs out of steam. It may be that there is still water, so give it a minute or so to generate more steam and trigger it again.
  4. Remove the nozzle from the vent and use the wet towel to re-block it.

Use your own experience or the instructions you're following to determine when to unblock and vent the oven.

Damage to the oven? None that I'm aware of.

gary