The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Oven disaster

JMonkey's picture

Oven disaster

I had a good bake Saturday morning, but I ruined my oven in the process.

I was making two 1.5 pound loaves of hearth whole-wheat sourdough, and two more of the same, but sandwich bread. I was just ready to put the boules in, so I stuffed two oven mitts wrapped in aluminum foil into the vents to trap the steam. I put the boules onto the stone, poured two cups of boiling water into the steam pan and shut the door.

The steam, alas, found a way out -- right up through the digital readout and computer controls for my gas oven. The display started to blink in and out. I removed the foil and opened the door to let the steam out, but it was too late. It still works, but the dial and the readout don't match. When I've set it for 400, for example, the readout shows 280. And when it finally heats up, I get an F2 error, whatever that is.

So no pizza Saturday night. A fellow from Sears is coming by on Tuesday to fix it. I hope.


Bread tasted good though. Oh well.


Floydm's picture

That stinks. Makes you long for something durable and analog.

JMonkey's picture

Yep. What's even worse is that the oven doesn't belong to me -- it's my landlord's.

It's a great oven, but not so great for bread baking. It's extremely well ventilated, so I can't seem to keep any steam in the oven itself. It all rushes out the vents. And, given what happened Saturday, I don't think I'll be covering the vents again.

I may try Peter Reinhart's method of spraying the oven every 30 seconds. I dunno. I'm just not getting the spring I'd like to be getting.

Joe Fisher's picture
Joe Fisher

I can attest to Reinhart's method. I use it to great success.


JMonkey's picture

I tested the oven this morning, to see if it was still squirrelly and, lo and behold, it worked fine! I cranked it up to 550 and let it sit there for 30 minutes. No errors.

All I can figure is that some moisture got up into the works of the digital controls, which caused a short. Once it evaporated, the problem went away.

That said, I'm taking Joe's advice and going with Reinhart's method.

deblacksmith's picture

Do a search on Susan's Magic Bowl or just Magic Bowl and there are lots of threads on using this method to retain steam in you overn.

It works !


Dragonbones's picture

JMonkey, glad to hear your oven recovered!  I have found that putting a cast iron griddle on the oven floor, then tossing a quarter cup of water on it after loading the bread works well. The volume of steam is greater than from squirting with a spray bottle. Repeat two minutes later.

I have switched from using a small round Lodge griddle to the larger Lodge Double-Play grill/griddle, so that I can toss the water onto the left side one time, and the right side another time. The larger griddle has more mass, so it retains more heat and can boil off more water. Don't block those vents. Just create lots of steam in the first few minutes, then let the steam find its own way out.  I'll probably try the ice cube method soon, too.

LindyD's picture

Hmm.   Not sure if you're aware that JMonkey posted that message three years ago.