The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Steaming Technique

pdurusau's picture

Steaming Technique

I don't juggle getting baguettes in the oven and throwing boiling water into a pan very gracefully. As a matter of fact you could call it awkward. ;-) And involves a towel over the glass in the door. 

Yesterday I decided to try putting the 1 1/4 cup of water in the oven when I started heating it. The extra 1/4 cup to account for whatever evaporated before I put the baguettes in the oven.

Putting the baguettes in was much simpler and very crisp crusts resulted.

Has anyone else experimented with putting water in the stove when it begins heating?

Hope everyone is at the start of a great week!




David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I was thinking yesterday that it would seem a lot easier to just put a pot of water in the oven and take it out when you are done steaming.

I've not tried it, because so far I've been baking in the combo cooker. But I am glad to see it worked for you.

amberartisan's picture

I use SylviaH (Freshloaf member)'s technique, with a couple modifications, that puts steam in the oven before and during the bake:

I drench rolled-up kitchen towels with water, place several in a brownie-type pan, place in the oven 10 minutes prior to the bake, and then when I load the bread, the oven is nice and steamy. The towels continue to produce steam even after the bread goes in-- about 10-15 minutes after the bread goes in (at which point I remove the towels!)


Hope this helps,


David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

That seems obvious but just wanted to clarify, since taking out hot wet towels without the pan seems like a bit of an invitation to disaster.

dabrownman's picture

steaming pans in at 25 F below the set preheat temperature.  If I don't put at least 1/4 of the pan full of water too then I run out ot of steam too early.  I also put a pan of lava rocks in there too - also 1/2 full of water.  Together the 3 pans take up the bottom rack of the oven and they make Mega Steam:-)

golgi70's picture

I put my steam towels in 15 minutes prior to loading but like DAB I also use lava rocks.  But I leave them dry and after all loaves are loaded I pour water in the lava rocks right before closing door.  The towels give the continuous steam while that first burst from the lava rocks gives the intense steam right as the door is being closed and then continues to steam similar to the towels.  

So many ways to skin a cat.


pdurusau's picture

I like the pan/pot towels/lava rocks in/out modification. Steam without risking my pouring into a hot stove skills. Guess I could get something with a longer handle to reach into the stove.

I suppose I could attach a metal cup on the end of 1/4" metal tubing about 18" long and sell them on e-bay. ;-)  

Wishing LG made a solid replacement door for my stove, but I checked, they don't. 

Thanks for the tips and alternatives!


David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

But I don't think that solves the problem of a drip on your glass when you remove the can.

Laurentius's picture

Hi Patrick,

Go to the hardware store and buy a dipper or maybe I`m just exposing my age.


pdurusau's picture

N0. Showing your wisdom!


PetraR's picture

I always use the Water when the Oven is heating up and also use a spray bottle to Water in to the Oven for the extra Steam.

I mainly use a Dutch Oven now for baking, but bread rolls and baguettes I do the Water with the Oven heating up.

marcyoung57's picture

Not quite the same idea but. I found juggling the water kind of dangerous so I use a small brush and paint the bread when it is time to bake. Crust is great and no pans or bowls of hot water to worry about.

AnnieT's picture

I mostly use the combo cooker or a ss bowl on a baking stone but if I use the pan of lava rocks I add water using a long necked wine bottle ( or are all wine bottles long necked?) A.

pdurusau's picture

Not all wine bottles have long necks. Mad Dog 20/20 has a short necked bottle. ;-)



placebo's picture

I just toss in about 1/4 cup of hot water into the oven right before I put a loaf in. Then two or three times again during the first five minutes. I found using a tall, narrow cup helps me control where the water goes, so I can avoid getting it on the baking stone and bread.

I used to use a spray bottle, but the amount of water was too small to generate a good burst of steam. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

water on the hot oven surface will crack your oven surface enamel.  What a disaster!   Pour into an extra pan not the bottom of the oven and preheat with the oven.  

Opening the door two or three times in the first 5 minutes also lets out more steam than you can put into it.  

pdurusau's picture

Good point about letting steam out.