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carrieanddan 11-29-2007 06:07 PM

Steam Injection
I have heard that ovens in commercial "artisan" bakeries have steam injectors in them to promote a good "spring" when baking bread. When baking in my kitchen oven I usually spray water on the sides and floor of the oven to create steam when I put the bread in.
I am wondering if anyone has put some sort of steam injector in their backyard brick oven.
My thought was to have a tubing system with some sort of nozzle (like on a cappuccino maker) inside the oven, and the other end have a sealable container for steam generation (think tea kettle) with a stop-cock to control when the steam gets injected...
Is this a good idea? Bad idea? Or just a crazy idea that will most likely take lots of time and energy but produce little result good or bad?

Thanks for your input,


Dutchoven 11-29-2007 09:55 PM

Re: Steam Injection
Definitely interesting but I think it may fall into the lots of time and energy category because for the relatively small number of loaves baked it is just as easy to use a garden sprayer...unless you just devised something that was linked to the door? Have to give it more thought!

james 11-29-2007 10:37 PM

Re: Steam Injection
Hi Dan,

There might be two separate things in play here. First, the presence of steam in the right quantity for making great bread, and second, the ease at which you can put it there.

I think Dutch hits it right on the head talking about the number of loaves, and the number of times a week, that you are going to be baking. There is a wood-fired brick oven at a Healdsburg winery that rigged up a steam injector system -- but they are baking commercial quantities of bread and firing the oven 3-4 times a week. I talked with the owner, and they set up the steam system more for convenience than quality.

As an aside, they also have a nice cast iron door with a counter-weight -- which seems to follow. The oven gets serious use as a piece of commercial baking equipment, and the door is functional.


jwnorris 11-30-2007 09:16 AM

Re: Steam Injection
Here is an idea that may work.

Drill a small hole in one of the courses of the dome, maybe the sixth or seventh. Take a piece of metal tubing [maybe SS] with a cap on one end.

Drill a small hole in the cap and insert the tubing through the hole in the dome. The tubing should be long enough to extend to the outside of the dome. This length may be enough to minimize heat transfer by the tubing.

Connect the outside end of the tubing to a one gallon pump up style garden sprayer. There should be some sort of a fitting on the end of the tubing coming out of the dome to attach the rubber tubing from the sprayer.



Inishta 11-30-2007 09:27 AM

Re: Steam Injection
I'm not a baker but it seems like overkill. Is there a reason you cant just open the door and use the sprayer directly into the oven?

CanuckJim 11-30-2007 09:48 AM

Re: Steam Injection

I'm with you. I've certainly seen injection systems on large commercial ovens, but I didn't and don't see the need for it in my 4' x 3' oven. Could it be done? Sure. Question is what would you gain other than the experience of putting it in. Garden sprayer works just fine.


carrieanddan 11-30-2007 12:28 PM

Re: Steam Injection
Thanks all,
It sounded good in my head, but the more I think about it, and from your insights, I realize that it is yet another of my over engineered schemes.
Now if I could only come up with something that people actually need...
Thanks again


CanuckJim 11-30-2007 01:17 PM

Re: Steam Injection

Better mousetrap, paper clip, money making machine. They'd all be good, and maybe even possible. Perfect loaf of bread? Priceless.


Laotsuit 02-04-2010 07:48 PM

Re: Steam Injection
Don't listen to them Carrieanddan, I say it's a fine idea and with a little more thinking I'd say you could have yourself a great steam control. I work with steam quite a bit and have built several flash steamers and one major boiler operation(nothing to do with bread) but I can tell you that to fill the inside of a stone bread oven you don't need anymore than one small outlet coming into the inside of the oven, that and a garden hose, a stem valve(to better control the steam release) and then either a ten foot piece of copper that you wrap into a 6" diameter coil or skip the stem valve and buy a crock pot and some compression fittings from any hardware store and set the crock pot out by the stove on a single burner when you are baking bread, quick connect the steamer valve to a few feet of soft copper that is well above the height of the bread pointing down toward where the loaves will be, then just watch the dial on the flame because you will be amazed at the volume of steam you'll get.

And as an aside, It's better to be over engineered than Under Engineered. But Einstien said that genius was doing it with as few steps as possible...:-)

JeffinChiangMai 11-02-2010 07:05 AM

Re: Steam Injection
I've spent ages trying to think up a way to inject super heated steam into my oven and so far your's is the best idea.

Assuming I have say 1/4 inch copper coil inside the oven, how could I get the water in the input end? Probably a small water pump?

As you work with steam, can you think of a simple way to achieve this?

I actually put a small pipe into the side of my oven and connected this to an old espresso machine where the steam is produced by a small pump in the machine. It works but the steam isn't sufficient. My friend had a commercial oven where the steam is injected for only 7 seconds at the start of baking. The super heated steam permeates through the front door showing there is plenty of steam there.

Thanks Jeff

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