The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

method of adding steam

sewin44's picture

method of adding steam

I read somewhere about a method of adding steam where you place an empty pan on the floor of the oven while it is preheating, and when you load the bread on the stone on the top rack, you place a foil pan on the bottom rack with water in it and a small hole in the foil pan that allows water to slowly drip onto the hot pan beneath, creating steam in the oven.  However, I can't remember the particulars, and would like to know where it was that I read it.  I'm thinking probably someone here could help me!  Thanks. 

suave's picture

In practice it comes down to this - it's not so much about steam generation as it about oven's ability to hold onto it.  So, if you have an electric oven there is no need for convoluted approaches, pretty much any steaming method will work.  If, however, you have a gas oven the only thing that will work is separating baking volume from oven volume - dutch oven, baking under a lid and so on.

Maverick's picture

Many electric ovens have a vent that comes out by the stovetop (under the controls). I find that sticking a towel in there is needed to keep the steam in when I am doing breads that I can't cover.

Maverick's picture

Here is something similar:

Personally, I would just boil some water and toss it onto the empty pan if you can't cover the bread. I don't think the dripping adds much. Just make sure to plug any vents.

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

See David Snyder's report here:

edit:  And I'm happy to pitch my steaming method here:

Has worked very well for us since I posted that.

Tarus Baldeschi's picture
Tarus Baldeschi

I have never heard that method before....interesting idea

I Have had success with using 600 pans tightly foiled like you would a dutch oven.... the moisture in your dough will create enough steam to give really nice oven spring and give you that signature steam oven crust as well.... just put whatever bread loaf or baguette pan in the 600 and seal really well with foil... I use a double layer to ensure a good seal. 

Brotaniker's picture

I bought a very small cast iron pan for that, Ø is 10cm/4" or so. When I find any stainless steel nut/bolt/washer it goes in there too. When I put the dough in the oven I put about 40ml boiling water in the pan, that last for about 10 Minutes, which is perfect.

That I do for baguettes or Brötchen, for loafs I do the steam free Dutch Oven method.

Barbarat's picture

HI, I am using a old cast iron skillet filled with lava rocks. After loading the oven I pour 1 c of hot water onto the stones and close the oven door quick!. the vent is covered by a pot lid. After 15 min I remove the pot lid and turn down the temp.Works perfect and my old secondhand Maytag oven has never yet complained about this abuse :)

PS put a long handle onto the handle of the medal cup. With a thick glove I pull the skillet out about 1/4 to pour the water in it.