The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Using Steam

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ghazi's picture
ghazi

Using Steam

Hello everyone

When is it better to use steam ? Through time I started not using for enriched breads and only for Lean breads. Is this the idea or should I always be creating steam first few minutes when bread goes in?

Thanks

Ghazi

Bob Marley's picture
Bob Marley

Your oven needs full steaming around 3 minutes prior to stuffing your loaf.   ....And around 5 minutes following stuffin your loaf.   And halfway thru your bake open slightly the oven door to release ALL humidity to ensure a crackly crust.

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Benefit from steam at the onset and the "first half" of the bake.  This is quite variable pending said dough and desired results.  Some heavy Rye breads want steam the whole way through (hence a covered pullman) while others only for a couple of minutes at the start.  Even enriched doughs will benefit from some steam at the onset of the bake unless they are egg washed which assumes the position so to speak.  But for example a sandwich bread made with milk, butter, and honey would still benefit from steam at the onset.  The idea is to keep the exposed part of the loaf moist through oven spring allowing for maximum volume.  At the same time your crust isn't setting up for the first 15-20 minutes with the humidity and keeps it from becoming overly thick and hard.  Baguettes are baked with steam for almost the entire bake and just vented during the last 10-20% of the bake to ensure a crisp thin crust.  

So yes, and how you manage steam and removal of it will vary the final loaf.  

It's the hardest function to mimic for home oven baking and the reason "dutch ovens" are so popularly used by home bread bakers.   

Cheers

Josh

Bob Marley's picture
Bob Marley

Great stuff to know, Golgi/Josh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

ghazi's picture
ghazi

Great explanation Josh, thank you. This clears things up for me, so if I just spray the bread with water before it goes in, this is also OK without steam since the top is moist. 

As for the venting, that is a new now for me and very much happy to learn this. Thanks for all the help

Ghazi