The Fresh Loaf

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bread baking on a gas range - so frustrating, any tipps?

Kuchenfee72's picture

bread baking on a gas range - so frustrating, any tipps?

Hi everyone!

Ive been baking bread for quite some time now and used to do that in an old electric Frigidaire oven. Now we moved to a new house with a quite new Samsung gas range and nothing is like it was. I was used to steam my bread by shooting in half a glass of water at the beginning of the baking process with 465F. I always baked six breads on one tray!

Now I'm trying to bake bread in that gas range and I#m really frustrated about it. I can't shoot in water, there is no crust, no even browning (bottom is brown, top of the bread still light although I use the top rack). It tastes okay but not like I want my bread to be.

so - give up and give in to buying a new oven? Or can you help me with useful tips?


Thank you all so much!

pmccool's picture

of a gas range, neither my wife or I have much love for a gas oven.  So, we went the dual-fuel route with our current and previous ranges.  That gives us gas burners on top and electric ovens below.  This is the model we currently have: .  It even comes with a small steam tray that hangs beneath one of the racks, making a separate steam pan unnecessary.

If your range is new enough that you don't want to replace it, your next best bet is to bake your bread in dutch ovens, roasters, cloches, or any other covered vessel that is large enough and oven-safe.  That will give you the steam retention you need during the early stages of a bake, instead of seeing all of the moisture vented along with the combustion products of the oven's burner(s).



Kuchenfee72's picture

Thank you for your help! I used to bake in dutch ovens until I started selling bigger amounts of my bread under the cottage law from my house. But maybe you are right, maybe investing in a few smaller dutch ovens is cheaper than buying a new range...

BluesLoverInATX's picture

I've not done this but have seen it recommended several places. I usually use the Dutch oven method for my bread.

Place a cake pan or other flatish vessel on a lower shelf or the oven floor. Put a layer of clean lava rock in the pan. When you put your loaves in add some water or ice cubes to the rocks in the cake pan. You'll probably need to experiment with the quantity of water to get your desired amount of steam. It's a workaround but may help without buying a new oven.  Good luck. 

Kuchenfee72's picture

Thank you! Lava stones sound good too. 

alcophile's picture

You might want to check the temperature with a trusted thermometer. You can use an oven thermometer or if you only have a digital probe thermometer, you can fill a small oven safe bowl with a deep layer of table salt and let it equilibrate in the oven. Measure the temperature immediately by plunging the probe into the middle of the salt. The salt should provide a thermal cushion before cooling.

I haven't used an electric oven for baking bread, so I can't compare it to gas. But I've been using my 20+ year old gas oven for baking bread. The breads I'm baking may be different from yours (mostly whole grain or high % rye), but I have not had any trouble with browning of crusts. Sometimes they even get too dark.

I use a pan on a lower or bottom rack for steam. I usually pour a cup of boiling water into the pan right before or as I'm loading the oven. I remove the pan after 5–15 minutes. I find the water usually lasts about that long but I realize that a lot of that steam is escaping.


foodforthought's picture

His gas oven vents steam and combustion gases as it should. So I invert a graniteware or stainless pan over the dough. For steam I place ice cubes around the loaves. A baking stone provides a good heat flywheel and the inverted pan retains the ice steam for long enough. Works as well as a Dutch oven in my opinion and involves fewer dangerous maneuvers. Does have capacity limitations…

Good luck,



foodforthought's picture

Slow server response. Deleted redundant post.


Another Girl's picture
Another Girl

Hi, Kuchenfee. Fellow gas oven owner here. My gas oven is the bane of my existence and I can’t wait till it bellies up so I can replace it with a dual-fuel range such as the one PMcCool described above. I’ll have to upgrade the electrical service in my house to do it, but I don’t care. 

The problem with gas ovens is that they are designed to vent the combustion gases from the oven cavity. Unfortunately, any steam you generate within the oven cavity gets vented with the gases. Safety trumps glossy blistered crusts, so we gas oven owners just have to deal with it. Any steam you generate inside the oven such as with lava rocks only helps if you have a way to trap the steam. I used to be able to get acceptable crusts from my gas oven by placing a large stone (only 1” margins all the way around to allow for air circulation) on a shelf above the bread, a smaller stone on which to set the bread, and a cast iron pan full of lava rocks on the floor of the oven. The pan of lava rocks was offset so as not to be directly beneath the lower stone but still beneath the upper stone. (Placing it directly beneath the lower stone would impede the circulation of the steam and cool the baking stone on which the bread is sitting.) The top stone trapped some of the steam trapped long enough to have a good effect on the baking bread. This method was passable for a while, but eventually it wasn’t good enough anymore. I assume the oven’s seals around the door and window weakened over time allowing even more steam (and heat) to escape.

Most cooking or baking vessels are great, but they do restrict you by shape. For example, Dutch ovens hold boules and not much else. I prefer shapes that provide evenly-sized slices, and those don’t fit in Dutch ovens. If you want to achieve an effect similar to DOs and give yourself more flexibility as to the size and shape of the breads you bake, you can place the loaf on a baking stone or steel with the lid of turkey roaster (or similar) over it. This will allow evaporating water from the bread to steam your loaf and give you more flexibility as to the size and shape of breads you bake. If you wish to generate even more steam, you can place that pan of water or lava rocks beneath the baking bread. Just be sure to arrange things in your oven so the rising steam from the lava rocks can circulate freely and then be captured by the turkey roaster. You can see an example of how to set it up here. Hope this helps.

cfraenkel's picture

This year at Thanksgiving, my gas oven (seemed to) die, it stopped working, wouldn't light, no gas flowing etc.  I was SO HAPPY! Other than figuring out what to do with the Turkey...called the electrician to have a 220v line put in, priced the new dual fuel oven was ready to go and the next day the stupid thing just started working again.  <sigh> 

I use dutch ovens...and if I'm baking anything else, I have an extra aluminum sheet pan that goes on the bottom rack to help dissipate heat because the oven heats so unevenly that otherwise everything burns.

Some day I'll get my new range.

Another Girl's picture
Another Girl

Your post cracked me up. Thanks! (Fingers crossed for next Thanksgiving, haha.)

naturaleigh's picture

I have a gas oven too and have not had any issues baking in it.  I've tried multiple methods (several mentioned in the previous comments) including inverting a casserole lid over the dough that has been placed directly on a pre-heated stone, direct baking on the stone with ice cubes tossed in a pre-heated pan below, as well as multiple different kinds of dutch ovens.  My favorite method, now, is with clay bakers.  I've got multiple shapes, including boule, batard and long 'torpedo' shaped one that is good for toaster loaves.  The batard and 'torpedo' one get used almost every week.

In my experience, these do the best job at trapping steam for this type of oven with the least amount of fuss--of course, you have to exercise some caution, but that is true any time you are working around very hot things.  Any time that I baked directly on the baking stone, the bottom crust turned out a little thicker and more dense.  So, I almost exclusively use the clay bakers now.  I've had many of them for years and they've held up wonderfully.  I was using them when I had an electric oven as well.  The one 'knock' I've read people complaining about is that the lids don't seem to sit tightly on the bottoms, but I've never really had any issues...they are apparently sitting tightly enough.  For the batard clay baker, I actually turn it upside down and use the lid as the bottom, which makes loading the dough and parchment pretty easy and safe since the lid is pretty shallow.  As far as overall crust, I like a bold bake and I can achieve a nice caramel colored crust without any problems in the bakers.

I'd love to have a fancy oven with steam injection some day, but for now the clay bakers are helping me kick out nice bread.  Hope you find a happy solution!

plevee's picture

I use an electric oven but it is convection only and steam vents from the oven as soon as water is poured in. An Australian baker helped. I heat the oven to 500F with oven stones and a pan filled with lava rocks on the bottom, then load the bread, pour boiling water into the pan, turn OFF the oven for 14-15mins then turn it back on at 425F for ~20 mins till the bread is baked. I don't know if this would help with gas but it might be worth a try.