The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First time using a dutch oven

mepnosis's picture
mepnosis

First time using a dutch oven

Recently purchased a dutch oven and am very happy with how this batch came out.  I'm still using the tartine recipe, though I am adding about 50g of rye flour.

mepnosis's picture
mepnosis

hreik's picture
hreik

perfect in every way.  Nice oven spring, lovely ear and ideal crumb.  Bet it tastes delicious... and you're wise to add rye.  5-10% rye adds a lot to a white loaf.

Great job.

hester

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

Nice bake, love the crumb.  I use stone, as the bottoms always get too dark with the DO method.

mepnosis's picture
mepnosis

i used the stone before, the bottom turned out about the same for me as when using the stone.  the crust and ear turned much better for me than when using the stone.

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

How were you steaming the bread baked on stone?

mepnosis's picture
mepnosis

i tried spritzing water in the oven, i tried ice cubes on a hot pan, it seems it was not quite enough steam.  i have a few other posts with pictures, this batch is by far much better than what i've been able to achieve in the past.

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

Yes, spritzing and ice do nothing except lower the oven temp.  What really kicks up the steam is boiling hot water on heated lava rocks.  You heat the lava rocks in two separate pans beneath your stone.  Right before loading, steam the first pan with about 2 cups, and right after loading, steam the second pan the same way.  Steaming before and after loading is the Hamelman way.

Example, not sure how many lbs I bought.  You can also get them at Home Depot and the like:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072JQQNVZ/ref=sspa_dk_detail_1?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B072JQQNVZ&pd_rd_w=76sq4&pf_rd_p=f0dedbe2-13c8-4136-a746-4398ed93cf0f&pd_rd_wg...

mepnosis's picture
mepnosis

i might give that a try at some point, the one drawback is that i only have one dutch oven so can only bake one loaf at a time, whereas before i could do 2 or 3.

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

I've found no discernible difference between the two methods.  I think the DO is a great innovation, but stone works equally well when you manage the steam.  I got the largest stone that would fit in my large oven, a $25 one from Target.

vstyn's picture
vstyn

Filomatic

Does the the 2 set of  lava rock and water really work. I try every way of steaming with failure.

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

Have you tried my method?  The lava rocks must be heated super hot—heat them in a pan along with the stone—and you must use boiling water.  This creates a ton of steam. It will dissipate quickly in a gas oven, but it’s sufficient for your needs. 

I’ve tried wet towels and it didn’t work for me. It’s generally accepted now that spritzing the oven has little or no effect. Ice lowers oven temp. Hot water in a hot pan is probably the next best to lava rocks, but lava rocks create multiples of more steam.

Let us know if you get the steam you’re looking for.  

vstyn's picture
vstyn

It works great! Best rise since I been baking Bread. The second pan rocks helps. I try to send a pic, but I couldn't.

 

Thanks Filomatic

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

Glaf it worked for you. I knew it would. 

brec's picture
brec

Two-step steaming: interesting idea. (I'm just about to use a Dutch oven for the first time after a final proof is done, but a stone allows more lateral freedom, such as for baguettes. My D.O. will be placed on the stone already in the oven; I have used the stone a few times in my newborn baking avocation.)

But I have a small oven. I was using a broiler pan under the stone and throwing about 1 1/2 cups of hot water into it just after loading the loaf. To get two pans on the same shelf under the stone, they'd have to be narrow as well as shallow. I wonder if I could put the lava rocks in the broiler pan, and throw hot water into one side before loading, and into the other side after loading. What's the function of the rocks?

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

Lava rocks create steam galore when hot water hits them. Yes, find whatever way you can to create steam before and after loading. Steam is crucial, but you don’t need 15 minutes of steam as some claim, at least in my experience. For example, commercial bread oven use ~5 seconds of steam, 

brec's picture
brec

Do you know why hot lava rocks make more steam than a hot broiler pan? --Not saying they don't; just curious as to what makes them so "steamy." Wild guess: larger effective surface area than the pan area they'd sit on.

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

I don’t, but I’m sure the internet does ...

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Lava rocks offer both advantages.  

Paul

pmccool's picture
pmccool

A commercial oven uses a jet of pressurized steam from a boiler and the oven is sealed.  Consequently, there is a large amount of steam present in the oven until the baker vents the oven.  Venting frequently occurs 10-20 minutes after the steam is injected, depending on the baker's intent.  

Paul

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

Yes, but what do you suggest a home baker do, Paul?

Phil

pmccool's picture
pmccool

One, introduce more steam in the oven to address losses from venting.  A pan with lava rocks (or old nuts and bolts or old bicycle chains or...) and boiling water as has been discussed.  Or Sylvia's towels.  Or commercial or homemade steam injection devices: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/40100/hot-rod-steam-injection , http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1838/steam-maker-bread-baker-company , and others.

Or, trap the dough's own moisture with a cloche, a lid, a combo cooker, etc.

Paul

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

Paul, do see signs of poor steaming in my breads? I’m interested in your thoughts. 

The towel method didn’t work for me. The other steaming options are fine if you want to transform your oven but almost no one will do this. 

I found no difference in oven spring between stone with lava rocks and a Le Creuset. 

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Don’t get tunnel vision about steaming; it is just one factor of many that affect our breads.  

Since I have an electric oven, all I do is poor a cup or so of boiling water into a preheated broiler pan. The water boils off 10-15 minutes into the bake, by which time it is no longer needed. 

If it was a gas oven instead, I would probably need to use some form of covering to retain the dough's own moisture as steam.  The volume of air that has to move through a gas oven for proper combustion would outstrip any quantity of steam that I could generate.  

Use whatever method works best for your circumstances and needs.  

Paul

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

You might be confusing my OCD with tunnel vision.  Joking aside, your comment did suggest we're all under-steaming.  As to DO, I've done DO and stone and found no difference in oven spring.  This is why I'm skeptical of claims that 15 minutes of steam is necessary or that DO is the only way to get proper oven spring.  But I'm more than open to challenging my assumptions adjusting my approach to get the best results, hence my OCD.

pmccool's picture
pmccool

Run a series of bakes where the only variable is steaming method.  Once you settle on a preferred method, run a second series of bakes where the only variable is steaming duration.  That will give you a baseline for how that bread responds in your oven. From there, you can branch out to other breads and fine tune for their best results.  

It may be tedious (or maybe just what your OCD wants) but it is the surest way to turn a bunch of theory into usable information. 

Paul

p.s. Remember to do a couple of bakes with no steam as a control for measuring the results of the other bakes.  

PastMyBreadtime's picture
PastMyBreadtime

I use a DO as well and keep my dough on parchment during the bake, haven't had an issue with the bottom getting too dark.  I don't know if it makes a difference but you might try it if you're interested.