The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole oven cloche

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

Whole oven cloche

I have a 20x15 Fibrament baking stone. Been able to fit a Lodge 3.2 combo and a Lodge 5qt combo plus a smaller inverted clay pot on it to bake 3 loaves at once.

It's not enough.

wondering about getting a larger commercial roasting pan to use as a whole oven cloche on top of my stone.

found this one below. It measures 20 1/8 x 16 1/8 x 4 1/2

i can use the full surface of my baking stone. Bake 4 - 6 loaves at a time and some 18 inch + baguettes.

Can i get some feedback / opinions on if this may work well? is 4.5 inches height enough?

i think if i load up 4 - 6 loaves they will generate enough steam. but i'll use my DOs if baking less than 4.

Thanks.

-James

 

https://www.webstaurantstore.com/vollrath-4482-wear-ever-11-5-qt-aluminum-roast-pan-with-straps-and-handles-top-20-1-8-x-16-1-8-x-4-1-2/9224482.html

naturaleigh's picture
naturaleigh

I've seen some comments that reference this kind of set up, but not with so many loaves.  I think you would want to make sure to not pack too many loaves into a confined space...you still want decent air circulation around each loaf.  I would be concerned about the increased thermal mass with so many loaves doing a couple of things: dropping the temp beneath the cloche lid and perhaps so many loaves generating too much steam and/or not having enough air circulation.  But, just theoretical concerns of course ;-)

SheGar's picture
SheGar

Pricey thing (in Canada at least). I have seen them with a bottom and a top but unsure if you can just buy one and later a second one or if that's a pair that needs to go together? Any idea?

Now for the multiple loaves in one roaster. It works. I have one but it's smaller (17x12? graniteware) and I can fit 3 boules (700g dough) that bake great without touching (unless I don't place them well). NO issues baking many in tight space. Steams great too.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

You can buy top and bottom separately.  the link i posted shows ~$95 for the top and it's another $15 for shipping + tax.

it's just bigger than my baking stone, but i think because it's tapered going up, it should sit over it perfectly and still fit in my oven.   I wonder if the 4.5" height is sufficient though. i measured a few loaves and it's just right under 4.5". there may or may not be any air gap with the stone. if there is it shouldn't be 

good point on cooling oven too much loading in a lot of loaves.  i think  i'll just have to make sure to preheat this thing higher. in terms of steam, should be no more than a steam injection oven.

i'll look around some more and decide if i will pull the trigger on this one. thanks for the input.

-James

dwcoleman's picture
dwcoleman

I've tried turkey roasting pans, doesn't even come close to a dutch oven in my opinion.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Don't know how well it will work, but I like the look of the strap and handles. If you are looking for something less expensive, search for hotel pans,  also called steam pans.  They come in a wide variety of dimensions   and depths,  and are usually pretty inexpensive.  https://www.webstaurantstore.com/guide/556/food-pan-buying-guide.html

 

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

I really want to find something that fits well over my baking stone. This one is made for roasting so i think it will handle the high heat well. The full size steam pan is 20 3/4 x 12 3/4.. a little bit too narrow for my stone of 20 x 15 that i want to maximize. they do come in taller sizes which is great. i just wonder how well those take 500F heat.

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Hotel pans will do fine in high heat, they are often used in combi ovens in convection mode as well.  Some have suggested putting a weight on top of an inverted pan to keep it tight against the stone.  Not needed for a cast iron DO since they are so heavy, but most other pans are pretty light in comparison.

SheGar's picture
SheGar

All the ones I have seen are 12 inch or narrower. I want something 15-16 inch

Timothy Wilson's picture
Timothy Wilson

I think it would be really useful device for your cooking time management. I start thinking about buying it too. It would really cut down time spending on baking. But I think it's a bit expensive, maybe we should look for something more affordable.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Except it is wider than the stone . I have the same baking stone. I tried to do three batards on it but the heat didn't get to the middle loaf as well. I use the graniteware roasting pan and can do two but it is a tight fit.  The 4 and half inches is just barely tall enough. I have been looking for something like this. I found a stainless steel cat liter box on Amazon that is the right size and 6 inches high but I am not sure how it would hold up to bread baking temperatures.

SheGar's picture
SheGar

oh! Do you have a link please?

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

The measurements shown are not exact. They show the same 20 1/8 x 16 1/8 x 4 1/2 for top and bottom but clearly the bottom one is slightly bigger. And if you look at the combined set it shows 9 3/4 tall! I wish someone who has one could measure it out for us. 

$95 is kinda pricey but my current two Dutch ovens costs that combined. I know what you mean about the middle loaf not getting enough heat though. 

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

I sent in an inquiry and these are the specs i got back for this pan.  it's 4 3/4 tall!

SheGar's picture
SheGar

It's too wide by 0.75 inch for my oven :(

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

I think i have 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch to spare if the specs are right.  I'm thinking real hard about this one.

i'm baking 2 - 3 medium loaves at a time now.  with this i can do 6 medium or 4 large.

the time savings alone is huge.   i'm really close to getting. it.. trying to think of other uses for this to help justify.

i think it will make a really nice ice bin for bottled drinks for a gathering...

i think i can even use it on top of the grill

-james

SheGar's picture
SheGar

Does it fit on your oven rack? I need a new oven anyways. So that will be something I am going to keep in mind!

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

It does fit on my oven rack or at least i think it will.  i have a 30" wide DCS oven/range in my kitchen (gas stove burners, but electric oven).  the rack measures 20 1/2 wide and about 18 1/2" deep but there is a bit of support metal that sticks out from each rack rail maybe 1/2 inch making that part 19.5" wide only.   i'm hoping the next rail up, the support doesnt come up against the roasting pan.  since the pan tapers, i think i should be ok. but like i said... it'll be a tight fit

 

 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

I've read about baking stones/steels/pans interfering with air circulation if they are too close to the oven wall.  The oven's built-in temp probe is usually near the top. So.... if you reduce circulation enough, the radiant (direct shining) heat from the lower element will overheat the stone/steel/pan by the time the upper temp probe gets up to temp.

The air that does circulate will also be overheated, and may overheat the oven's side wall as it squeezes around the pan, passing excess heat to whatever is outside the oven on the sides or back wall.

I read something from a baking steel maker about an 'average' 1.75" clearance (front,  back, sides) between the baking steel and the oven walls, but I don't know how authoritative that is.

What's the clearance guideline from the folks at Fibrament?  I went looking, but could not find it on their website.

 

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

just the way the oven's designed, i probably have ~1.5 inches of clearance on sides due to the way the rails work. and over 2 inches front and back.  i know it's not ideal.  i do have a thermometer inside that i keep my eyes on as well.

It could turn out to be a $115 litter box for the cat. (it's probably the perfect size for that, btw)  but until i get a new oven setup or a new kitchen, it still seems attractive.  thanks for all the insight and input on this though.  really appreciate it.

james

SheGar's picture
SheGar

How about getting something custom made? I literally just need a lid. I wonder if a local welding shop can make something like that to spec and how much that would be. Stainless steel? Heat resistant to say 550-600F, 6 inch tall for good measure!?

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

SheGar,  yes a welding shop can make something, and you may find someone on Craigslist that would do it.  Not sure what you mean by heat resistant up to 600F, but most steels don't begin to deform until so far above that,  that won't be an issue.  One issue in pricing it will be how thick do you want the walls.  The thicker the steel, the more expensive the part.  I actually bought several sheets of plain steel to make exactly that, but then a few projects came up and I used up most of the steel, and decided to try another route.  

SheGar's picture
SheGar

I just threw in the temp to have all criteria together.

I don't think the walls need to be super thick. I bake in a turkey roaster right now (cheap graniteware) and it works super well.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

Well... i ordered the Vollrath roast pan... not exactly sure when it will get here but i'll be ready for it and will report back on:

- crowding with multiple loaves
- cold zones
- height issues
- oven fit
- heating/preheating
- air flow around the pan and how it affects oven temp control

 

Verc0003's picture
Verc0003

Hey!

 very interested in seeing how this goes. 

Will you be using a stone bottom or another tray?

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

Still in transit from Nevada to California. so it should be couple days at most. i'm excited and nervous about this, as there is a slight chance that it may not actually fit in my oven.  Will update when i get it.

I use a fibrament stone that's 15x20. so im thinking 16x20 cloche gives me a small gap which may not be ideal, but i will try to funnel a little additional steam in through there. with a steam tray right under it.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

dang it.. the roasting pan is delayed. turns out they're out of it. only the kitchen scale i ordered with it shipped.  hopefully not too long.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

and it’s a perfect fit. Actually measures out to 20” x 16” x 5” on the outside. 

I have a double batch ready to test it out tonight

if I line up the back and side edges to the fibrament. I get about 1/2 to 3/4 inch gap in front from the pan to the stone. I will have a steam tray under there. Or I can shift I back 1/4 inch and I’ll have very little gap. 


Benito's picture
Benito

James that is perfect, I’m sure it will work out really well for you.  Can’t wait to see your bread baked using this new set up.

Benny

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

I was so excited about this.. the ability to bake on the entire surface of the baking stone. The preheat went fine. seems to have came to temp faster than cast iron DO, which makes sense, thinner material. But then i remember what doc dough told me about the reflectivity of aluminum may impact readings from IR temp guns. so i preheated to nearly an hour.

loaded 4 medium sized loaf on my first trial run. added a little bit of steam at the floor pan to feed some moisture in through the little gap i have.   i gave it a little over 20 minutes of covered  baking.

timer went off, nervously opened the oven and lifted the inverted roasting pan.   at first glance.  hey, great, perfect oven spring, good bloom from the deep scores.  but.... wait...

the color is off. everything looks paler.  drier.  dull. oh no.. i've seen this before.  it's what i call "ghost crust".

I've had it happen at least twice before. never understood what caused it.  had some theories that i eventually dismissed because i have never heard anyone talk about this..

I let the loaves continue to bake uncovered.  20 mins.. still no color.. 30 minutes still pale. took them out. they're done.

Last time i experienced ghost crust, i baked a couple of free form loaves with an aluminum pan on the rack above the loaves and steam pan below.

This confirms to me that it's something about the aluminum. maybe the reflectivity of it?  it seems to have sucked all the moisture out of the surface and sealed it so that steam can no longer come through. 

I'm preheating my trusty lodge cast iron DOs now for my second batch.  very disappointed.

Wll post some pics from the phone and talk about what next... not ready to give up on this.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

@cia: on this other thread

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/65195/cold-loaf-not-browning

the oven is different, but it is also a case of a pale loaf, likely due to adding too much moisture early on. Abe mentions the water sprayed on the dough might form a gel that might inhibit browning.

Could it be possible that your pale loaves got too much steam?

There's also the thermal mass diff between aluminum and cast iron. Maybe 30 seconds of running the broiler/upper  element immediately after loading the oven might get the aluminum back up to temp quickly. 

I can't help but think your  new setup is restricting airflow somewhat and the upper space in the oven might be cooler than the stone and below.

Good luck. And thanks for sharing this adventure.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

Yeah, Dave. When I wrote That thread I did recall my experience and dismissed it as a fluke. And then when this happened. I distinctly recalled that thread too. Problem with this pale crust is that no matter how long I bake it. It stays pale. I threw one back in along with my next batch the whole length and it’s still pale. 

very possible about thermal differences. I’ll have to do some experimenting with a single loaf and using more  or using no steam. Or maybe putting some parchment  on top of the dough. I cannot reliably measure the temperature of the aluminum due to its reflectivity

i didn’t turn on the broilers but did put on convection when the loaves went in.
Relative to the next batch back in the DOs. These were not as well risen. So maybe not enough heat. 

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

Oh and I did have a thermometer that hangs near the top of the oven. Temp reading was normal. 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Oh, good. I didn't realize, or had forgotten, that your oven is convection. That should totally take care of the circulation issue.

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

Would be my guess. The lack of mass from the cast iron and the amount of heat required to heat that much dough quickly your home oven could not produce. I would omit the steam and seal the opening. I spray a mist of water on the inside of my cold graniteware pan but it is probably not necessary with that many loaves. You should also try preheating your oven to the maximum and put the cover on the stone open end up to preheat a little just before loading. Then reduce it when the cover is removed after 20 minutes. MTCW Good luck

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

I think that's one of the most likely reason.  But i do have some reservations on that theory because

1) I did preheat with the pan open end up on max for 50 minutes. temp gun registered 470F but i'm not sure if that's reliable due to the reflective surface

2) i had this happen before with an aluminum tray directly above the dough as a steam tray and i used my normal baking temperatures. (although that may be exactly why. since boiling water i pour in is ~200F vs oven temp of 500. I'm really creating a cool spot right above the loaves)

it's very strange to me that a cold spot will cause the crust to form a pale hard shell that looks dry.  it should still trap steam and stay relative moist, no?

What would be a good device to use to measure the air temperature inside the pan? something that i can clip to the stone and measures the air space just above the loaves.  that way i can do empty bakes to test, or test with some small containers of water under the cover.

 

fotomat1's picture
fotomat1

 As far as your setup....I have had success with similar setup but my top was cast aluminum and uses a baking steel slightly small than the top with steam pan below feeding what it will upwards into the cast top. Only 2 loaves at a time

MTloaf's picture
MTloaf

The Bread Builders 

bread builder

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

I am almost certain that it's too hot.  and maybe that and the reflectivity.  i ran another bake on the assumption that it wasnt hot enough. so i raised up a rack.  i cranked up the preheat and then after loading the loaves,  i turned on broiler over the inverted pan. 20 minutes later... same pale crust.  i had a thermometer inside on the stone.  it registers 350F when i lift the pan. 

then i tried something different with another loaf. i preheat on high again. i put a piece of parchment inside the pan as a liner and i shot off the heat after i loaded the loaf.  the crust came out normal, though a little under risen.  but color was good and has the shine.

so at least i know i have something to work with now.  i also ordered a thermal prob to check the temperature inside there. will run more tests when that gets in.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

got my Thermoworks high temp air probe.  preheated stone without the pan, then added in the pan to heat on broil.  air temp inside only got to about 355F. so not too hot.  This means that it has to do with the reflectivity. i guess it makes sense, radiant heat, right? heat does bounce around like light and its just bouncing around the whole inside of the pan?

I made a parchment paper tent to put inside between the loaves and the top of the pan.  it worked.   no pale bread.

not quite as good as dutch oven though. but i guess that was expected.  it is good enough to allow me to bake 4 bigger loaves at a time.  i just have to figure out a good way to keep the parchment in there as it falls out and there's no good way to make it stick.... because it's parchment. and it's already browning after 2 bakes.

would something like black oven paint work? or maybe i should just use the roasting pan to cook for a while so it has some wear inside so that it's not as shinny.

 

Benito's picture
Benito

I’ve been following your set up with interest.  I must have missed something James, but why do you think placing the parchment paper inside between the pan and the dough helps with browning?

It is very interesting to see the effect of the reflectivity of the pan on the temperature inside the pan, I never would have thought it would have as great an effect as you measured, remarkable.

Benny

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

regarding "why do you think placing the parchment paper inside between the pan and the dough helps with browning?" - 

my guess was that the inner surface of the pan is doing something with the heat.  i came to that reasoning because some time ago, i've tried to bake with an aluminum tray just above the loaves as a steam tray and i got the same pale crust. so either reflectivity or something to do with aluminum. it really dries out the crust

parchment is not a long term solution.  i'm going to try to "season" the pan to see if that helps any.