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Unread 03-27-2012, 01:14 AM   #1
LT72884
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Default My bread steamer update(pics)

The staff of life


Today i tried a new way to steam the bread. It did not perform the way i wanted it to. Kind of a waste of time and money in my opinion. I started off with the basic Boule. I used the basic for one reasone only, its cheap and if i mess up, the birds will be happy. The only slight problem, i added to much sugar to the recipe so it tasted like the breads i dont like. Dont get me wrong, i love Texas Road House rolls that are nice and warm and sugary, but for French bread, its a no go.

You can add a we bit of sugar or honey to it but dont add to much. Ok, i am off my soap box. Once i had the basic Boule dough made, i let it rise till double. Once doubled i shapped it and let it proof in either baskets or on a peel. I do slash some of the loafs. It makes a nice pattern and allows the extra gasses to be released, creating a soft and not so dense crumb.


For the steamer, i used a broiler pan with about 20 lava stones in it as mentioned earlier.



I pre heat the oven to 450*F. Once pre heated, i place the loaf on top of the stone. I add one cup of hot water to the steamer and bake. The reason i am so upset with this method is because the stones, even after a 45 minute pre heat, dont produce the steam i am looking for. I poured the hot water over them and nothing, no puff, no vapor rising to the ceiling, no nothing. As i have been writting this post, i have done a quick search using a 6 letter search engine to see if there is a better way, apparently there is. One way that i have done it was to use my steam cleaner to inject a bunch of steam for about 15 seconds into the oven. It worked pretty good.


(Thanks to scunci cleaners for the photo)

Since then i have came up with plans to add a hole in the back of the oven and put a tube from a pressure cooker in there. That way i have continual steam. How will this effect the crust of the bread? Great question. I have no idea.

So back to my original point with the internet search. I found, while writing this post that if you use a 10 inch cast iron skillet filled with lava stones, it will produce a killer crust. Well, it looks as if I will have to write another blog post showing my results of this. But back to this current post.



(Thanks to the fresh loaf for the photo of the cast iron)


You can see from the photos that the finished crust is dark and "carmely". It was an awesome crust for about 30 seconds then went super soft and the color went dull. I hope you have enjoyed this post and are willing to try the cast iron lava steamer.






















Thanks for reading. Enjoy and have fun!
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Unread 03-27-2012, 07:55 AM   #2
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Very cool idea.

The loaf looks beautiful!
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Unread 03-27-2012, 10:01 AM   #3
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do you preheat the cast iron and then add water?
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Unread 03-27-2012, 01:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildflower View Post
do you preheat the cast iron and then add water?

according to the fresh loaf website poster, yes you pre heat the cast iron in the oven to 450 and then add the water. Some even place a damp towel on the stones for 5 minutes then add the water. For me, i could not get any steam from the lava stones and broiler pan. With out the stones i get alot of steam. BUT i have not tried the cast iron idea yet.

thanks for lookin
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Unread 03-27-2012, 01:55 PM   #5
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Default cast iron

I use the lodge cast iron combo cooker. I pre heat it as high as my oven will go, than put the loaf in the pan on parchment paper, lift one corner of the paper and pour 1/4c water under the paper and pop the lid back on. What steam that puts out (I don't use any stones or anything) and makes great crumb and crust. Remove the lid after 15 minutes and bake until it's done. I have used 2 regular cast iron pans turning one upside down to make a lid, but found this to be somewhat tricky as they are hot and the top is just sitting on the pan. With the combo it has a small lip so the top does not slide around. I was not able to find a method to put steam in my oven in sufficient volume to make good bread. Good luck and keep baking.
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Unread 03-27-2012, 02:00 PM   #6
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Do you have a pic of the combo cooker you use? Does the top of the artisan loaf hit the top of the lid?

Thanks for sharing. Im always trying new ways to steam bread. I tried using a stainless steel bowl as a lid and then injected steam under it for 20 seconds with the steam cleaner. Produced perfect bread BUT its a hasle. Im thinking a tera cotta pot idea that i saw a while back and Phastry just did a he!! of a post today using a tera cotta pot. You should check it out.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...=128424&page=3
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Unread 03-27-2012, 02:34 PM   #7
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Default lodge combo

Check out amazon and look for lodge LCC3 and the image, customer reviews, and price should show up for you. I make around a 1000gram loaf and it "oven springs" like mad, but so far has not hit the lid. The bottom pan is around 3" deep and the top pan is around 1 3/4" deep so I have just enough height. The bonus is both top and bottom are cast iron skillets for other cooking but do fit tightly together to make a mini dutch oven. I have had great success with it both in bread baking and regular cooking. The pre seasoning was good enough to start cooking without having to re season and now they are both nicely seasoned and really non stick. I'll check out the terra cota plates next. Thanks and good luck
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Unread 03-27-2012, 03:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lola View Post
Check out amazon and look for lodge LCC3 and the image, customer reviews, and price should show up for you. I make around a 1000gram loaf and it "oven springs" like mad, but so far has not hit the lid. The bottom pan is around 3" deep and the top pan is around 1 3/4" deep so I have just enough height. The bonus is both top and bottom are cast iron skillets for other cooking but do fit tightly together to make a mini dutch oven. I have had great success with it both in bread baking and regular cooking. The pre seasoning was good enough to start cooking without having to re season and now they are both nicely seasoned and really non stick. I'll check out the terra cota plates next. Thanks and good luck
Perfect. thanks for showing me this piece of hardware. I know exactly what you are talking about. I have a bunch of regular 12 inch dutch ovens that would work great to bake in. I may have to try this out. I have baked in smaller dutchovens like the thin ones you buy for roasts and stuff.
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Unread 03-28-2012, 09:02 AM   #9
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I saw this on line this morning and instantly thought of you and your question. This may also be a method to help get steam without having to buy anything. I'm going to give it a try to see if it works, for when I make larger loaves that will not fit in my combo.

Putting the pan of water in the oven probably doesn't create
enough steam quickly enough. If there isn't enough moisture in the oven cavity right after you load the loaf, a dry skin forms and -- long story short -- the loaf won't brown very well when that happens early on in the baking process.

If you're willing to spend just a little money, go to WalMart and buy an inexpensive iron skillet (or use one you already might have). The thing is, this skillet will get rusty, so don't use a prized keepsake. For 15-20 bucks you can get a new one to dedicate just to this purpose, and that's not a lot of money.

Pre-heat the iron skillet together with the oven, on a rack just below the one which holds your baking stone. Locate the pan close to the oven door so that it is easily reached.

When you've loaded the loaf and you're just getting ready to close the oven door, throw maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water onto the bottom of the hot iron skillet. The heavy weight of the super-hot skillet gives it significant "thermal mass", which will convert a large dose of water into a cloud of steam very quickly. Close the door immediately. Open the door briefly after about 15 minutes -- not before, or you'll lose the benefits of the moist oven cavity too soon. You DO want to open the door after 15 minutes for a few seconds, though, because once the crust starts to form, the steam serves no more useful purpose, and its continued presence would only serve to inhibit browning. A loaf should finish in a dry oven.

BTW, I will tell you that you don't actually need to pre-boil the water you're adding to the pan. Using room-temperature tap water (or hot tap water if you like) is safer during the process, as spilling a little water won't scald your hands. At 450 degrees or so, the iron skillet will make plenty of steam upon contact with the room-temp water. Why risk an accident?
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