So, I baked two loaves yesterday with the same recipe - one mixed by my mixer (assistent) adn the other by my breadmaker (Panasonic). In both cases I cooked on a stone using steam on a cast iron pizza pan underneath. Both times I preheated the oven for an hour before baking. The only diference is the first time I baked at 350 degrees for 45 minutes like the directions stated and the second time I preheated to 450 for an hour, cooked at 450 for 5 minutes, dropped it down 400 degrees for the rest of the 25 minutes baking. Both cooled on the same rack.
The first one (lower temp) is normal and good. The second is chewier interior and better (both are a 100% whole white wheat recipe).
Question is - why do all books say to cook for 45 minutes at 350 then? What is the optimal temperature with a stone and steam.... maybe that's the difference?