What EXACTLY does steam in the oven do to bread?
I've used steam in my bread backing every time it calls for it in a recipe. And it does seem like basically all artisan breads call for steam of some kind. But what does it do? Sure, I know it makes for a chewier and a moister crumb. But I have noticed when baking a rescent batch of Kaiser Rolls (based on the Floyd recipe on this site), that the addition of steam seemed to cause the rolls to brown too quickly and deeply, as well as taking a roll that is supposed to be as crisp and crusty on the outside as any Parisian baguette, and turned it into a soft, chewy and dense dinner roll. I mean mine came out way too brown. Real Kaiser Rolls from Germany are about as beige as a brown paper grocery bag at the brownest. And the shell should be crackly-crisp and crusty, with a moist soft white crumb.
I'm inexperienced with bread backing, and I only have prescious time on the weekend to turn out a batch or whatever. So before I just try the same recipe again, but without steam, I'd like to know if you guys think that me leaving the steam out is going to crisp up these rolls, or if the recipe is just for softer rolls, and I should look for a new "Baguette-like" recipe?
Maybe I just used too much steam??? I preheated my oven with a cast iron skillet in the bottom of the oven, and when I added the rolls to the oven, I poured a cup or so of boiling water into the pan, and it steamed like mad. And I left the pan in the oven for the first ten minutes of the 20 minute baking cycle. Maybe I just steamed them brown and chewy. How should I have done?
Has anyone gotten this recipe to produce a crust like I am refering to? Because I think that the baquette recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Bread Bible, would produce the texture I want. What do you guys think?