The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

My Everyday Bread in the Cuisinart Combo Steam and Convection Oven

davesmall's picture

My Everyday Bread in the Cuisinart Combo Steam and Convection Oven

I bought one of the Cuisinart Combo Steam and Convection Ovens about a year ago. There are two baking features that fascinated me. First of all, a steam cycle that could be set to 100F, perfect for a proofing oven. The steam keeps bread dough moist when rising and maintains an ideal temperature. Secondly, a built-in bread baking cycle that bathes the loaf in steam during the early baking stages and turns off the steam a bit later. Ideal for forming a nice crust.  Steam conducts heat much better than air, which is why this works so well.

Here are the details on the oven

My goal was to be able to put a small loaf of good bread on the table more often, several times a week, with a minimal effort. I didn't want to mess with feeding starters or getting out the mixer for heavy kneading. I knew that refrigerated no-knead dough was the way to go.

I loaded up a food grade plastic shoe box from the Container Store with 2 lbs King Arthur Sir Gallahad flour, 1.5 TBLS kosher salt, 1.5 TBLS instant yeast, and 26 ounces luke warm water. Mixed those ingredients just enough to wet the flour. No more than 5 minutes from start to finish. Set the shoe box out on the counter for several hours until the dough had risen and was full of bubbles. 

I could tear off about one fourth to one third of the dough at this point, proof it in the Combo oven for about 45 minutes, and then bake it for 30 to 50 minutes depending on the size of the loaf. If using cold dough from the refrigerator, the proofing time increases to about an hour and a half.

The shoe box then goes into the refrigerator for up to three weeks. When time to refill it with a new batch of dough, I leave at least a cup or two of the old dough to mingle with the new dough. That enhances the yeasty flavor of the bread.

To bake a small loaf, I simply tear off enough dough to make a small loaf and shape it into an oblong loaf shape. I use the metal pan that comes with the Cuisinart oven with a piece of parchment paper between pan and loaf.  I put it into the oven and set the steam proofing cycle at 100F for 30 minutes if fresh dough or 90 minutes if refrigerated dough.

After the proofing cycle, I reset the oven to the Bread Cycle for 30 minutes if a small loaf or 45 to 50 minutes if a larger loaf. I don't slash the top of the loaf until the bread has been in the hot oven for about 7 to 9 minutes and has partially risen. I use a serrated knife smeared with oil. I hot slash my loaves because it is so much easier than slashing uncooked wet dough.

Always comes out great and so very easy

hreik's picture

Really nice. Yum

barryvabeach's picture

Nice post.  Can you give any details on the bread cycle -  what temps and how long for the steam plus heat, and how long it is just heat? 

davesmall's picture

The Cuisinart owners manual doesn't give details on the algorithm controlling the bread function. It does, however, work very well. 

They're simulating a professional bread baker's oven by giving an initial burst of steam followed by convection baking. You can set the temperature for the bread cycle.

Baking times may be shortened from a traditional recipe. Keep your eye on the bread during the last ten minutes of the bread cycle.

BobBoule's picture

I love it! Would you be kind enough to post more pictures of your bread before and after slicing, please?

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

Fascinating idea!

Strope23's picture

Thanks for these fresh breads, they are really mouth watering!

Gramcrackergran's picture

i often make bread, but have only just bought a Cuisinart Combo Oven.  i can see from your photos too, that because the steam makes drips of water on the loaf you get little bubbles on the crust.  That's a relief that you get them too!  No problem with that, although i don't get nice air-holes in the bread like you do.  Any ideas would be welcome please. 

davesmall's picture

Here is a more detailed explanation of my methods. I make this bread about twice a week. It is great to have on hand.

The 16 cup plastic food grade storage container that I use came from Walmart (online). If is vented (you don't want an air tight container.

To make the refrigerated dough, I weigh 26 ounces of warm water and two pounds of King Arthur flour, then add 1 ½ Tablespoons each of instant yeast and kosher salt. Mix together with a big spoon until the flour is wet and fully mixed. Let stand for several hours until the dough is risen. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. This is what the dough looks like when taken out of the refrigerator after a week.

I weigh out 1.5 pounds of the dough, which is roughly half what the container holds. Then I fold and stretch four or five times on a floured surface. The dough is then shaped into a rectangular loaf and set into the oven on parchment paper with the rack in the lowest position. 

At this point, you want to check the water reservoir to be sure it isn't too low. For proofing, set the oven to the steam cycle with a temperature at 100 degrees F for two hours.  After that time, your loaf will have risen and should look like this

Now you're in the home stretch. Set the Cuisinart oven to the Bread cycle with the temperature at 450F for 30 minutes. Set a timer, or ask Siri, to remind you to wet slash the bread in seven minutes. At that time you can slash the bread easily with a serrated knife.

After 30 minutes the bread will be fully baked. Remove the parchment paper and move it to a cooling rack.

synthacide's picture

davesmall thanks so much for the post! im new to baking artisan  breads and live most of time in an rv that I dont use the oven in, this seems like the answer to my problem! ive been using the cuisinart cbk200 with pretty good results, but this bay area kid needs his sourdough so thats my goal at home, this seems like a beautiful method thanks again for the psot

davesmall's picture

This gives a good look at how the hot slashing technique is working for me.

Hot Slashed Convection Oven Loaf


Incidentally, I make this loaf at least once a week. When we have left overs, I slice the remaining bread about ½ inch thick and freeze the slices in a zip lock bag.  I then use these frozen slices for all sorts of things including bruschetta, sandwiches, breakfast toast. I just pop them directly from the freezer into the toaster oven and they come out great. 

davesmall's picture

Bisnilo's picture

I wonder if you suffer from the same problem as I do with this oven.  I find that after using steam I get water accumulating in the rubber seal.  Obviously this is not ideal for getting a good crispy crust.  I wonder if other users are finding this and/or if they have found a solution.

davesmall's picture

When you use a steam oven there is always gong to be some condensation afterwards. I leave the door open which allows the oven to dry out.

However, on the Bread cycle, steam is only introduced during the first part of the cycle. It dries out during the dry bake latter part of the cycle.

Bisnilo's picture

Unfortunately I find that water accumulates in the rubber seal and continues to generate steam at the end of the cycle.  So I was wondering if anyone else had experienced the same problem.  In your case apparently not so I am wondering if my oven is defective.  I love the oven for the same reasons you have stated; it is incredibly convenient as well as doing a great job of steam proofing and steam baking.  But this detail is irksome.  My solution has been to dry out the rubber seal with a tea towel and also to leave the oven door open for a while as you suggest but I would rather be able to set a 30 or 35 minute cycle and come back after 30 or 35 minutes.


dabrownman's picture

stem was available but it was only $99 too.  I use it all summer long for bread making and making steam in it isn't easy.  Your bread looks great and your oven works wonderfully for making it.  My Pullman 60% rye is in my MO right now  no steam required:-)  Well done and happy baking

JonnyLitch's picture


I have a Cuisinart and have made bread in it.  My only issue is that it scorches the top of the loaf.  It is not golden brown but black and burnt.  Cutting off the burnt top, the rest of the loaf is fine.  Can you give many any tips on how to cook bread but not sear the top.  I have followed the recipes in the Cuisinart book and used the bread settings and time recommended.

sirrith's picture

If you make smaller loaves and lower the shelf to the lowest position you'll be good to go. There's  no way to avoid burning the top if the loaf is too tall.