July 18, 2006 - 12:19pm
Did steam break my oven??
I'm sitting here without an oven! It went down with my last batch of ciabatta. It won't go above 350 degrees F and the preheat light (an indicator) stays on instead of shutting off. Like most of you, I toss a cup or more of hot water into a cast iron skillet on the bottom of the oven when I put my loaves on the preheated stone -- lots of steam. Do you think this could have killed the sensors in my oven? Any of you had a similar experience?
and, now, a working oven!
JMonkey had a similar experience. I thought his oven came back to life after it dried out, but now reading back through his blog it looks like he may have needed to have it repaired.
Indeed, it did briefly come back to life, but it died once again soon after. The repair guy said that the super heated steam went rigt through the digital controls, completely frying them.
I still steam my oven, but I've not tried to block the vents anymore, and haven't had any trouble.
You know, for ciabatta, you might want to think about using a cloche. I don't do hearth breads very often, but if I did, I'm pretty sure that's what I'd get.
Wow, this does sound similar. My variation is that the oven really never hits the desired temp no matter what the digital readout states. My good old analog oven thermometer tells the story - the oven won't go above 350 degrees. But yes, it looks like that Maytag guy is going to have to get up and actually do some work.
In search of the perfect crust & crumb
May I make a suggestion? I preheat my electric oven to 500 for a 1/2 hour or so then place
a 9x13 metal baking pan with about an 1 1/2" of hot water in the oven for 10 minutes at least.
You will see steam rising out of the vents. I get nice crispy crusts, good color, blistering.
Maybe not such a sudden shock of steam..but a gradual build up is a safer method for the home
I think a whole cup or more of water is way too much. I use about 100ml at the very most which is less than half a cup...
I've used a cup to 2 cups of water probably 100 times in this oven and a similar number of times in my previous oven and never had any problems. Both were relatively recent models, with digital timers on them and such. So... I'm not sure this proves anything, but it does show that some ovens can handle it fine.
I am going back and adding disclaimers to some of the recipes and places where people talk about steaming the oven so folks at least realize there is some risk involved in doing it.