Oven Spring & Oven Top Heat
This is a topic we have discussed frequently on TFL and the general consensus is that for those lucky enough to have an oven with switchable top and bottom elements, then the top element should be off for the initial steam phase of around 20 minutes. This is so the dough doesn't prematurely skin over and inhibit oven spring and ear formation.
Of course we are talking about open baking here without the use of a dutch oven or similar.
Idaveindy has always championed this advice and helped many a baker with oven spring issues.
I too have followed it with good results, but I was mindful of the fact that bakers with steam injected deck ovens don't do this - they leave both elements on all the time.
So, as Danny (danayo) would say "Enquiring minds want to know" and I decided to try an experiment.
I heated up the oven to 225C on fan/convection with bakestone in and then switched to top and bottom heat. I gave a quick presteam with my external pressure cooker steam injector and then put the loaves in. I gave a good intial blast of steam and then trickled steam in for 3 minutes.
I vented the steam after 20 minutes and baked for another 20 minutes. The result was pretty good:
So it seems it will work as long as you have a good source of steam and your oven is well sealed so as not to leak steam. And as long as you have at least a couple of loaves in, the top heat may encourage the "self creation" of steam from the dough itself (surmising here).
I will probably carry on with this method, but for most, it's probably still best to switch off that top element for the steam phase, or cover it if you can't.