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Adding a blast of steam for baking - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Adding a blast of steam for baking

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  • Adding a blast of steam for baking

    I am reading the Bread makers assistant, and he mentions that after inserting the bread he pushes a button and the oven adds a 20 second burst of steam.
    So far I was thinking about doing that with a spray bottle as I think most people are. But has anyone seen a design where you build a pipe for that into the oven. The temperature of the oven could heat up water in the pipe and when you are ready to release it you open a valve ? Would that interfere with consistent temperature around the dome or any issues like that. Seems like a 20 second burst is a lot more then my spray bottle will deliver.
    Just a thought.

    Christian

  • #2
    Re: Adding a blast of steam for baking

    Most people use a small garden sprayer with brass wand to withstand the heat. I think the problem with a pipe into the oven would be the water vaporizing prematurely.Think about it.

    Mark

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    • #3
      Re: Adding a blast of steam for baking

      Maybe in a high volume commercial operation it would be beneficial and worth designing a system, I can't see a true need by anyone on this forum; and we have several artisan bread bakers who turn out a lot of bread.
      If done with the door installed you would need a somewhat precise metering system (since you won't be able to see the water injection). With the door off, why bother with a system? a $15 garden sprayer is proven to be perfect. If it is really on you 'want' list go for it.....in the end (whether it works or not) you will wish you had.

      RT

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      • #4
        Re: Adding a blast of steam for baking

        Thanks, I was just wondering. But if the hand sprayer works good, than thats great and enough for me.

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        • #5
          Re: Adding a blast of steam for baking

          Still building the oven but our plan is to make the door out of wood. Then soak the door in water prior to closing. That should steam pretty well at first.
          By the way that is a great book. My wife has become an expert at making naturally leavened bread in our home range.
          dave
          Album: http://picasaweb.google.com/fornososo/Pizza#

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          • #6
            Re: Adding a blast of steam for baking

            Thats a good idea. The oven is done now, and we made some bread in it, that tasted great. It doesn`t have the different colors yet, but the crust is awesome.
            I just used the spray bottle, which was a problem to hold straight and get close enough to the opening. Once you hold it sideways you can only get a few sprays till it stops sucking. So I`ll go and get a big sprayer at Home Depot.

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            • #7
              Re: Adding a blast of steam for baking

              Spraying water in a WFO is a partial compensation for the fact that you are not loading the oven adequately. Traditionally, the bread provides the humidity to give a great crust. In my experience with a one meter oven that requires about 15 pounds of dough, At that point I find spraying makes little difference.

              I personally use a dedicated, pump-type garden sprayer with a metal spray wand and head. (This should be purchased NEW and never be used with insecticides or herbicides.) With it you can deliver a finer spray in larger volume than with a simple hand sprayer. And you can reach to the back of the oven where the humidity will not escape so fast.

              While a sprayer is better than nothing indoors, the current favorite is pouring boiling water into a cast iron skillet full of lava rock that has been preheated with the stone. This works far better than the spray bottle.
              Jay

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              • #8
                Re: Adding a blast of steam for baking

                I was wondering why not just use a cast iron dutch oven full of water at the start and let it boil during baking? If it was full at the firing of the oven, there is no way it would be empty by the time you start to bake. One could just add boiling water if it gets low.

                Rob.

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                • #9
                  Re: Adding a blast of steam for baking

                  I'm working on a AS style oven and have come up with something I think may work for me. I had thought of incorporating a length of 1" copper tubing in the refractory mortar work (laying it tight to the exterior of the brick dome under the cladding). This would run from the front top of oven above the door, curving over and around to the lower rear side and terminating a couple of inches above the hearth floor. The opening above the door would be reduced to 1/4" and attached to a pressurized garden sprayer (without the spray nozzle attached); the terminus would be open into a cast iron receptacle of some sort on the hearth. There would be no dips or loops in the system, but a continuous smooth drop from top to bottom.

                  When the oven is at temperature a few ounces of water could easily be squirted into the upper end. As the water falls down the 700F degree tube it would instantly vaporize and vent out the lower end and into the oven. Any possible water droplets that might actually make the journey to the end would be collected in the cast iron container provided for that purpose. The pressurized sprayer tank valve and reduced tubing size would effectively prevent any back pressure and consistently deliver the desired moisture into the hot oven in sufficient quantity to actually do some good.

                  Since water expands approximately 900X in the conversion to steam, you could easily calculate how much water to inject to completely fill the oven. Needless to say, you'd probably want to stand back from the oven opening during the steaming process (and probably leave the door off), for there will be XX amount of hot air being displaced by the live steam - and it's gotta go somewhere - out the door??, up the flue??

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                  • #10
                    Re: Adding a blast of steam for baking

                    Hi Rob!

                    The current fad (and it is a good one!) for indoor ovens is to heat a cast iron skillet full of lava rocks and to pour a cup of boiling water into the skillet to humidify the oven. It provides a strong burst of steam (and burn hazard). Something similar would work well in a WFO. I don't think I would go over a cup of water though (which is more than one puts in with a sprayer) and I would warn you not to use cold water (you can break a cast iron skillet!).

                    If I were doing it in a WFO, I think I would put the boiling water in the skillet and load the skillet into the oven before I started baking. Note: You want the water to evaporate in about ten minutes. You want the oven to start drying out after that or your crust will be weird!

                    Good Luck!
                    Jay

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