Todays Bake

Bill44's picture

Just a shot of a bake I do about every five days.


219 users have voted.


Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 March 16

Hi Dom,
Yes, I put a tray of hot water in the bottom of the oven when I start heating it up, and I top up after each loaf. I also spray the top of the loaves at the start and twice more in the first ten minutes. Chewy crusts.

SourDom 2006 March 16


I think the theory is that you need a burst of steam in the first few minutes of cooking to get the best crust. Later in the bake you actually need reduced humidity. If you put water in the oven when warming up, the danger is that you will lose all your steam when you are putting in the loaf, and it won't build up again for a few minutes.

At the moment I put the loaf in, close the oven door so as not to lose too much heat, grab a mug with (maybe) 100mls (cold) water in it, open the door quickly and chuck the water onto a hot grill tray at the bottom of the oven. THen I close the door and don't open it again for at least 20 minutes.
At 20 or 30 mins I open the door, let out any remaining steam, have a bit of a gander at the loaf (maybe turn it around), then close up and let it finish off.

I used to do the spray every few minutes, but gave up as to be honest I couldn't tell the difference. I have also tried ice cubes or a tray of hot water. The above method is simple, easy and seems reliable.

I don't know that this is the best way, but it seems to give a nice crust. What do other people do?


Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 March 16

Dom, I should have stated that I give about 6 sprays inside the oven when I put the loaf in as well as spraying the loaf a couple of times. Using my method you are actually getting superheated steam from the tray in the bottom as well, thats why you can't see it.
The spraying at the start (and the 2 following sprays) give the moist steam.

For a 1Kg loaf I bake at 220C for 45 min. Great crust, moist crumb, stays fresh for 2 days, will freeze and refresh in the oven and come up like a fresh baked loaf, and makes toast to die for. Works for me.

I bake on a 350mm x 350mm x 20mm unglazed unsealed quarry tile, takes a bit to knock the heat out of that sucker.

northwestsourdough's picture
northwestsourdough 2006 March 17

Bill, I wouldn't mind having those loaves around my house every five days! I spray for the first five minutes and then not again. It seems moot after the initial spring but I guess it depends on what you are after. This morning I am baking rye sour and the first loaf I sprayed during the first five minutes and the dough basically fell apart. The next loaf I sprayed once and not again, the dough is staying together and it looks great. So I guess the lower gluten loaves don't have to be sprayed as much or maybe even over proofed loaves.

Bill44's picture
Bill44 2006 March 17

Teresa, rye loaves have a lower gluten content compared to white loaves, so too much water spray is destroying a rather fragile structure.
Easy on the trigger lady.

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