I finally got my oven working again. It turned out to have a couple of problems. First, the temp sensor apparently went bad, as they do after some years. The repair man said they are usually good for 7-8 years. Mine has lasted 13. Then of course there is the electronic oven control that got steamed. $90+ bucks for a knowledgeable professional assessment of the problem, $250 worth of parts, several hours of discovering that the knowledgeable professional gentlemen didn't actually know how the thing came apart, therefore their "just undo these screws and the front comes off" advice for a do-it-yourselfer wasn't any good, and a free call to the local repair shop for a real knowledgeable professional advisement, fairly complete upper dismantlement of the unit with a subsequent thorough cleaning, installation of new parts, and viola, I can bake again. I expected and got a deserved query from my wife as to whether I thought it wise to be steaming in that oven... my rather uncertain assurance that it was risk free... a thankfully successful baking of my country rye bread... leaves me thinking it's time to seriously consider building a brick oven.
Until then, I had to bake a pie to avoid wasting that fresh rhubarb, and I have been eating that crap they sell in the stores for bread so I had to bake something wonderful like rye... come Thursday I can begin the process of some good sourdough batards and life will again be good. But if I over-steam that new EOC to death, I can kiss baking bread using steam goodbye.
As to the leaky nature of todays ovens... now that I have had one apart I see that my earlier comments were very naive. It's not that the engineers can't or won't build one to hold in the heat, they make them breathe with really big lungs! I discovered there is a sheetmetal box at the back of my Amana gas range about 8-10" wide and 2"+ front to back with an opening at the top of the oven about 2" high that is wide open, with only one baffle, to the wide open spaces in the cabinet behind the unit! It rises up to the vent visible at the front of the rise behind the burners and drops directly down out of the back too. Obviously they expect some serious exchange of expanding gasses. My attempt to keep the steam in the oven by blocking that top opening with a towel was akin to closing the front door of my house, laying a towel along the bottom of it to keep out the winter cold, while leaving all of the windows and the back door wide open!
So I am trying to decide whether to build a modified Forno Bravo brick oven that I can move with me from this house to the next, or just risk the newly fixed gas job. I won't build a permenant one, it would be like a permanent hot tub. We all would love one, but the guy who is looking to buy your house when you want to sell it sure doesn't want one. So a lightweight trailerable one seems like a good solution. Gas fired too. Who has time to light a fire?
That's my story, and I'm stuck with it,