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Topic: OT (maybe off my rocker) Steam Injection (23 msgs / 545 lines)
1) From: K W Matley
I was looking at a site that sells a small steam generator for 
injecting steam into a home oven and got to thinking that I already 
have a terrific steam generator sitting a couple of feet away from the 
oven, my Andreja.
My second thought, fortunately, was that the potential for severe steam 
burns is probably very high if you try to run a line from the Andreja 
steam wand to the oven.
The idea is that if you inject a blast of hot steam when you put a loaf 
of bread in the oven, that the loaf has longer to rise before the crust 
hardens. The steam also produces a thinner crust.
So has anyone on the list been fool enough to try something like this 
or do I have to do it?
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2) From: Michael I
I have often done the cast-iron pot trick (put pot/pan in bottom of  
oven for 10 minutes before putting loaf in oven, and add hot water to  
pan as you put in loaf).  Here's an idea from a website  
(baking911.com) that I've been thinking about trying, too:
I take aluminum muffin tins and poke tiny holes in the bottom of each  
well. I fill the tins with boiling water and place them on the bottom  
rung of the oven about a minute before putting the bread in to develop  
initial steam. The water will drip onto the bottom of the oven and  
create steam. After placing the bread inside, close the oven door to  
trap the steam. Remove the tins after the first 5-10 minutes.
That being said, I know that many people are concerned that steam will  
damage their ovens.  I gather this concern is mostly about misting the  
inside of the oven instead of using one of the above ideas, but I  
guess it's also possible that excessive steam could damage something  
in the oven.  I know there are some more serious bakers on the list  
that probably have more experience with this.
For me, though, I would not consider trying to inject steam from my  
espresso machine into my oven.  Apart from the danger, there just has  
to be a more convenient way.
-AdkMike
On Feb 2, 2009, at 9:33 AM, K W Matley wrote:
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3) From: Derek Bradford
I tried it with my Europiccola once.  It didn't work well at all.  What I
thought was a lot of steam at the surface of my milk turned out to be a
pittance as I directed it into the oven.  Peter Reinhart's pan of water/
spray bottle method (The Breadbaker's Apprentice) is much more effective.
--Derek
On Mon, Feb 2, 2009 at 10:33 AM, K W Matley  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Every path but your own is the path of fate.  --Thoreau
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4) From: Mike Chester
I have fortunate to have had the opportunity to take a couple of artesian 
bread making classes where we had the use of a commercial multi deck oven 
with steam injection.  They can't be beat, but I have found a way to 
simulate one at home.  First I heat a large pizza stone which simulates the 
deck.  In the bottom of the oven, I place a heavy pan, preferably cast iron. 
Before putting the bread in the oven, I brush the loaves with plain water. 
(egg washed breads are not usually steamed) I put the bread on the stone and 
just before closing the oven, I pour hot water into the hot pan and quickly 
close the oven.  It boils instantly in the hot pan and fills the oven with 
steam. (Be very careful doing this as steam burns can be very severe.)  When 
the stem begins to dissipate, I open the oven a crack and spray water on the 
oven walls through the crack.  I continue this until the steaming phase ends 
and then let the oven go to dry heat.  Bread baking is usually done with the 
convection fan off (except for a couple of recipes. I have made some very 
good crusty breads this way.
Having said all of this, I have been looking for a steam injection system to 
simplify this process.  What have you been able to find?   I hope that this 
helps.
Mike Chester

5) From: Zara Haimo
I bake a lot of our bread and am thinking about taking some artisan bread 
classes - Mike, where did you take those classes?
I have used the method Mike suggests with water in a cast iron pan and 
spraying the inside of the oven.  However, the very best crusts I get at 
home come from a very non-traditional approach in a recipe published in the 
NY Times a couple of years ago.  In this method, a very wet dough is plopped 
into a preheated cast iron casserole, covered with a lid, and baked that way 
for the first half hour, then the lid is removed for the remainder of the 
time.  The moisture in the dough simulates a steam oven when the lid is on. 
My kids like the bread from this recipe better than bread from gourmet 
bakeries.  The crust is incredibly crisp and crackly, and the interior is 
just the right texture too with lots of uneven holes.
Here's the article and a couple of follow-ups with some variations:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/08/dining/08mini.htmlHomeroast mailing list">http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.htmlhttp://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/06/dining/06mini.htmlhttp://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/08/dining/08mini.htmlHomeroast mailing list
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6) From: Brian Kamnetz
Thanks, Zara.
Brian
On Mon, Feb 2, 2009 at 5:44 PM, Zara Haimo  wrote:
<Snip>
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7) From: Mike Chester
At the local culinary school, Schoolcraft College in Livonia, MI.  Though 
this is part of a local community college, the culinary dept. is world 
class.  There are only 52 Certified Master Chefs (CMCs) in the entire US and 
we have 4 of them.  The salon team regularly beats much larger schools in 
national and international competitions.  I was also invited by one of the 
CMCs, (who was also on the US Culinary Olympic team twice, once as a member 
and once as the team leader.  They won the Gold metal both times)  to take 
special week long classes at his restaurant.  I spent three different weeks 
there and learned more than in years elsewhere.  Each day, we prepared a 
gourmet lunch and a 5 course dinner.  Cost of ingredients did not appear to 
be a concern, so we did some phenomenal things.  I was very lucky to have 
had these opportunities.  I was scheduled to go on a culinary tour of 
Thailand including going to a culinary school there with a group from school 
when 9-11 happened and the trip was cancelled.
Mike Chester

8) From: Sandy Andina
Years ago I took a High Holy Days cooking class (chicken soup,  
knaidlach, challah, brisket with tzimmes, and taiglach) from a caterer  
who was in our temple's Sisterhood. She suggested placing a small pan  
of water on the bottom of the oven in order to get a crisp crust on  
the challah. It worked.  Just for spits and giggles, I saved some  
dough to ferment, used it as a starter and made a killer sourdough!
On Feb 2, 2009, at 4:44 PM, Zara Haimo wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy Andina
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
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9) From: K W Matley
Derek,
You know the part in Peter Reinhart's method where he warns against 
splashing water on the oven window? He's right, it shatters. Thus my 
search for a different method, as my hands are a bit shaky. I've been 
wondering about the volume of steam as well, and your Europiccola 
experience indicates that it may not be enough. Thanks.
On Mon, 2 Feb 2009 13:59:37 -0400, Derek Bradford wrote:
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10) From: raymanowen
Can't get it too hot, or you'll kill the yeast- will stop rising.
I mix and knead the dough ball and let it rise in a 1.5qt Pyrex oven bowl
(coated inside with EVOO or a spritz of Pam) on the stove top. Plenty warm,
with the oven heating to 350° F.
Just cover the bowl with a plastic shopping bag, and as the loaf gets up
near the rim, spritz with Pam. Replace the bag.
An hour after the initial wet mixing, kneading, after final rise, I just set
the bowl sans bag in the 350° oven to bake for about 45 minutes or less.
Looks like a mushroom from Brobdingnag...
I've never done it before, but I'll fill a quart bowl from the tea kettle
and set it on the oven floor under the bread loaf shelf. The water will tend
to boil at 350°, and may even moderate the heat lower as the mass of water
turns to steam.
Tomorrow morning will be interesting! Day 5 of the IMV @ C.1 (C

11) From: raymanowen
"Schoolcraft College in Livonia, MI."
Aha! How interesting! What an experience that trip would have been.
A friend told me Schoolcraft College was in Detroit.. Fabulous training
institution- I never thought to widen out and check suburbs. Not too swift.
-ro
-- 
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976
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12) From: Derek Bradford
As careful as I am, I still managed to break my oven light the other day.
Ruined a loaf I was really looking forward to.  Fortunately, it had a twin
waiting for its turn in the oven, so all was not lost.
Was this the steam generator you were talkinga bout?  I've never tried this
one before, but the people on eGullet seemed to like it:http://www.steambreadmaker.com/ I'd think a homeroaster could probably put
one of these together without much hassle and for a little less money, too.
--Derek
On Mon, Feb 2, 2009 at 11:09 PM, K W Matley  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Every path but your own is the path of fate.  --Thoreau
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13) From: Mike Chester

14) From: Lynne
I'm enjoying a warm, delicious, crusty ciabatta with my half Ethiopian Yirga
Alern, half Papua New Guinea Decaf... of course, I think most of you would
assume this: no fancy steam injectors or any other equipment for me.
I've been baking bread since my neighbor introduced me to the art when I was
about fourteen years old.  Going to be 56 in April (can't believe I'm
admitting that..), so you guys do the math..
It wasn't until recently, however, that my skills really improved.
I do use steam - and yes, I once actually broke my oven because of my heavy
handed technique back then - I would throw a cup or so of water on the
bottom of the oven.
Oops... lucky for me, it was my own oven, and we were ready to remodel the
kitchen when that happened. Do NOT do that... the floor of the oven actually
split..
Today I put a pan of hot water in the oven. I did use the very popular
no-knead technique for a while, and actually learned quite a bit from that,
and incorporate that into other breads/pizza doughs. But my latest, favorite
way to make a good, crusty, rustic bread (my absolute favorite) is the *Pain
à l'Ancienne* from *The Bread Baker's Apprentice*. The key to this simple
bread is a cold rise in the refrigerator overnight, not over handling it
before you put it in the oven, and a pan of hot water (and spraying) in the
oven while cooking it.
It's really important not to over-handle the dough once you've kneaded it in
the beginning. Overhandling will make it heavy and ruin the crumb.
The instructions on this recipe says to preheat the oven as high as it will
go, put a pan of hot water in it, and spray some water on the sides a few
times. (Ha - not throw a cup of water in there).
I don't own the book (yet), but there are other great recipes and techniques
in this cookbook. My bread is coming out great, def. better than what I can
buy locally.
Lynne
(who always tries to have SM's greens and good quality flour in the
cupboard, and instant yeast in the freezer - not only will I not starve -
I'll have provisions fit for a king!)
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15) From: Zara Haimo
Lynne, I really like The Bread Baker's Apprentice too - great guide to 
baking wonderful bread.  I take it out from the library all the time and 
keep it until I run out of renewals or someone else requests it.  I'll have 
to get my own copy one of these days.
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16) From: Ira
At 05:45 AM 2/3/2009, you wrote:
<Snip>
What about connecting a hose to a the pressure relief of a garage 
sale pressure cooker. The stove top on high will make more steam than 
anything else you'll find.
Ira
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17) From: Mike Chester
I thought of that, but I decided that the risk of the whole system blowing 
apart and causing severe steam burns was too high.  Safety has to be concern 
#1.
Mike Chester

18) From: Mike Chester
Me too!  That is my favorite bread baking book.  I have owned a copy since 
it first came out.  I have also bought a couple other of Peter Reinhart's 
books and they are also excellent.  The Pain A La Ancient is one of my all 
time favorite bread recipes.  It is really amazing how much flavor you can 
get using only flour, water, salt and commercial yeast, not even sour dough 
starter.
Sandy mentioned making challah.  I made some for the restaurant while I was 
in the week long classes, where I stuffed each strand with caramelized 
onions before braiding them.  I have done this at home also.  For that 
bread, steam is not used since you want the crust to be soft.
Mike Chester

19) From: Lynne
Zara - same here! I actually photo copied some of the recipes the last time
I borrowed the book.
I'll make sure my kids know that this is one of the few cookbooks I'd like,
for next Christmas.
Also love Rose Birenbaum - her Cake Bible (I have *that* - got it for
practically nothing!) is awesome, as is her blog. I don't have her Bread
Bible, but I get lots of helpful info on her blog. She's working on another
book, too.
There is another bread book I absolutely love: The Village Baker, by Joe
Ortiz. It was out of print for awhile - they were talking about reprinting
it, but it doesn't look like they have.
Anyway, it's a testament to the kind of care we give our coffee - I love it
for the stories of different bakers throughout Europe [probably a dying art
:-( ]
Lynne
On Tue, Feb 3, 2009 at 12:05 PM, Zara Haimo  wrote:
<Snip>
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20) From: Ira
At 10:20 AM 2/3/2009, you wrote:
Don't use a small hose and there will be no pressure and no risk of 
anything but getting burned.
Ira
<Snip>
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21) From: Zara Haimo
<Snip>
<Snip>
I have used all of the above and like them too!  Great bakers think =
alike....
One of my other favorites, maybe because the recipes are exactly what my =
Viennese aunt used to make for me, is Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from =
the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague by Rick Rodgers.  She m=
ade =
a sachertorte for my birthday every year and this book has the recipe that =
comes closest to her version.  I highly recommend this book for anyone who =
likes to bake. =
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22) From: Lynne
I somehow missed this email from you, Mike.
Just requested a copy of Reinhart's book on whole grain breads.
I also made some challah a couple of times last month. My son never had it -
he loved it. Turned out to be just what I was craving - usually I like to
make rustic breads with crusts with a good snap to them. But I also
*love*challah, with a soft crust - and if you can find it around here,
it's
*very* expensive... the addition of carmelized onions sounds delish!
Lynne
(who has to stop getting distracted or I'll *never* learn Flash!)
On Tue, Feb 3, 2009 at 1:31 PM, Mike Chester  wrote:
<Snip>
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23) From: K W Matley
On Tue, 3 Feb 2009 09:45:51 -0400, Derek Bradford wrote:
<Snip>
Yeah, that's it. Intriguing.
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