The Fresh Loaf

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Steam Leaking from Combo Cooker

Rosie11's picture

Steam Leaking from Combo Cooker

I have a combo cooker with the skillet/Dutch oven design and place my bread dough on the skillet covered with the Dutch oven while baking.  It is not a Lodge brand, but a similar design.

I was curious whether this setup leaked steam.  I proceeded to boil water in the skillet portion covered by the Dutch oven as if I were baking.  The result was a great deal of leakage of steam from between the pot and skillet.

Although boiling water does not replicate baking bread, my concern is that I may not have an adequate seal and am losing precious humidity while baking - thus decreased oven spring.

Is it possible that I have a defective product?  I tried the same experiment with a Le Creuset 5 qt. pot and lid assembly and it also leaked steam.

Would hate to make an false assumption and buy another Dutch over assembly!

Any advice would be appreciated.


idaveindy's picture

Hey! Welcome back!  LTNS.

As long as you're baking on the skillet, not on the pot part, you should be okay.

Steam rises because H2O (water) weighs less than O2 (oxygen), so it will rise and be trapped in the inverted pot.  Hence only the excess steam leaves/escapes.

Another reason you want some steam to escape is that the pot would eventually explode if it didn't.  You don't want to convert it to a pressure cooker.

Rosie11's picture

Thank  you - My concern was that ALL the steam was leaking rather than doing its job.  The commenters were helpful in clarifying the issue

mariana's picture

Sure, my antique cast iron combo cooker is designed to leak steam and steams bread perfectly well. So well, that I have to remove the top part to finish baking it, to dry its surface out, otherwise, it will resemble a giant steamed bun.

Even a perfectly sealed pressure cooker leaks steam at certain levels of high pressure, it is necessary to prevent an explosion.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

it has to leak steam and air.  As air heats up, it expands and leaks out of the pot.  Also as the hot pot cools, air will leak back into the pot.  If the seal was tight there's a danger of exploding and a hot sealed pot cooling down would create a vacuum. This vacuum seal whould make it most difficult to separate the top from the bottom of the pot. You might never get the lid off unless the pot is reheated. So a leaky seal is a good safety feature.  

TIP: While on the subject, this type of vacuum can happen with hot pan lids set down flat on smooth surfaces, the tip: always set hot lids down on something to prevent a "seal" like resting on a spoon handle or stove edge or upside-down.

You won't loose a lot of steam as there is steam coming off the loaf to replace any escaping steam.