The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Oven Steaming Mk II

albacore's picture
albacore

Oven Steaming Mk II

I posted recently on my oven set up, with a baking stone near the bottom of the oven and a grill tray near the top with two terracotta tiles in.

I put the dough in, then pour a good splash of boiling water on the tiles and quickly shut the oven door.

This works pretty well, but I'm always looking for improvements and wanted the steam to last a bit longer. i guess I could have gone down the road of pressure cooker as steam generator, PTFE tubing, brass nozzles, etc, but even for me this seems a bit OTT! So I came up with a very simple solution: an empty tuna tin with a small hole in the bottom, positioned just above one of the tiles.

I still splash the boiling water on the tiles, but then I fill up the tin and shut the door. The hole is 1.5mm diameter and probably gives about 2 minutes extra steaming. I removed the label from the tin and burnt off the laquer with a blowtorch prior to using. Early days, but the results are promising..

Lance

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

Very cool, and very nice results.

I am a little concerned about pouring water that is vastly cooler than the stone temperature on the stones themselves. Are you not worried that they will crack?

 

albacore's picture
albacore

I've used this set up for a while minus the tuna tin and not had a problem. In my original write up I switched off the top oven element (my oven has this setting) as I was concerned about direct heat on the tiles, but now I leave it on.

The tiles are so porous, I'm thinking they don't have the same stresses as a glazed tile.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

holes, one to drip onto each tile with placement of the can in the middle.  Is the rack needed or could the can rest on the tiles directly?   

albacore's picture
albacore

I like your enhancement suggestion Mini! Time to eat another tin of tuna... 2 x 1.0mm holes...

Yes I'm sure the tin could go right on the stones. Maybe the dripping from a small height produces slightly more steam? I just did it as shown because the rack normally lives in the grill pan and I just slip the tiles underneath.

Lance

doughooker's picture
doughooker

The Acme bakery of Berkeley, California uses an arrangement not unlike this. They have a water pipe situated above some heated cast-iron plates. The water pipe dribbles water onto the heated plates and steam is created.

Do you remove the tuna tin 20 - 30 minutes into your bake?

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

I saw a Moffat commercial gas oven that used the same technique. Pressing the steam button squirted water onto a plate mounted on the side of the baking chamber and steam is generated as long as you hold down the button. Since the baking chamber is sealed the steam remains in the chamber until vented.

As long as you can control the venting of the oven this system probably works quite well.

albacore's picture
albacore

I bake with top and bottom heat for 20mins, then remove the grill tray with the tiles in and the tuna tin. I actually slide the grill pan into the bottom of the oven under the bake stone (there's just room), so it's hot for a subsequent baking.

This gives me some direct heat from the top element which helps to brown the loaves. Normally 10 mins like this (so 30mins in all) and the loaves are done.

Lance