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  • rwiegand
    started a topic Baguettes? Water into a hot oven

    Baguettes? Water into a hot oven

    I'd like to try baking baguettes in my oven, but am very leery of the idea of throwing a couple cups of water onto a hot oven floor to generate steam. Presumably a pan would mitigate the thermal shock to the bricks, but is adding water to my pizza oven a mistake in any event? Anyone out there routinely do some kind of steam injection, with or without disastrous outcomes?

  • rwiegand
    replied
    We drive past the Kink Arthur store up in Vermont in a fairly regular basis, so I enjoy trying out all of their various offerings. The only thing I've had the time and discipline to really get right is my pizza dough, which I'm pretty happy with. Other breads I don't make often enough to really develop fine distinctions-- there's a waistline issue with too much good bread in the house!

    I have gluten (from King Arthur) that I can use to supplement my flours. I suspect it is a controlled substance here in gluten-phobic MA.

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  • SableSprings
    replied
    General Mills packages my favorite bread (and pizza) flour under two names. The smaller packaging 5 & 10 pound bags are named Better for Bread. The larger, commercial aimed bags (50 pounds) are named Harvest King. The flour is very close in protein to the what the French use for their best baguettes...~12% gluten. (In the US, most artisan bread bakers categorize this as a higher end all purpose flour--not bread flour.) Because I bake for my neighborhood as a retirement project, I buy 100# of Harvest King about every 2-3 months. When I do whole wheat or rye breads, I normally supplement with the highest gluten content bread flour I can find locally (I use Bob's Red Mill Artisan Bread flour since AllTrumps and King Arthur Sir Lancelot are specialty orders for me...to my knowledge, all three contain the highest gluten protein on the flour market.)

    I use the Ardent Hills Harvest 25# sacks of flour from Costco to refresh my levain (sourdough named Chef Bill) and for bench flour. I haven't used the Costco flour for bread since I'm extremely happy with that flour for both my breads and pizza. Yes, I do agree that flour is an important factor in what you are baking and how it turns out. I'd be interested in having you do a side-by-side comparison of the Better for Bread and your Caputo Blue 00 in pizza skins.

    When I started doing larger and variable quantities of bread, I decided having a spreadsheet to calculate my ingredient weights was important. As you noted, consistency in bread making means being consistent in ingredient weights and procedures. I do all my breads (and pizzas) using grams instead of cups & teaspoons or ounces. The biggest pain is the conversion between a bread formula you want to try that is in the cups/teaspoon to weight format. I really appreciate when the Bakers Percentage is used and understood...it just makes things so much easier (and consistent)!
    Last edited by SableSprings; 01-07-2019, 01:22 PM. Reason: Correct Costco bulk AP flour name (in Oregon)

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  • rwiegand
    replied
    Wow, those are beautiful! (they look delicious as well).

    Appreciate the recipes-- the spreadsheets convey a sense of organization I can only aspire to at this point! But I suppose that is the key to consistency and good results.

    What so you like for flour? I've been using the Antimo Caputo Blue 00 flour for my pizza, but either King Arthur bread flour or the Golden Harvest (? not sure of the name) bread flour that comes in 50 lb bags from the Costco for bread. Both seem quite nice, but I was impressed and surprised by the improvement in my pizza when I switched to the Tipo 00, so I've become more of a believer in the importance of particular flours.

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  • SableSprings
    replied
    I didn't mention in my earlier post, but I prefer to bake my baguettes at around 575F (takes about 15 minutes). This temp has given me the best oven spring and an open crumb with the 66% hydration dough. I've attached a couple pictures--one of Asiago baguettes and the other of plain baguettes. I use both a poolish with IDY and a natural levain component in the overnight ferment for flavor. (Chef Bill is Billy, my sourdough/levain starter from 1974 - Doesn't everyone name their pet sourdough? ). Pale 6-row malt has been replaced by Distiller's Malt, available in brew supply stores. I've attached both a two and four loaf pdf of my formula worksheet for you to compare with what ever formula you intend to use. Looking forward to your success!
    Attached Files
    Asiago baguettes Plain baguettes
    Last edited by SableSprings; 01-05-2019, 09:54 AM.

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  • rwiegand
    replied
    Excellent! I'll give the garden sprayer a try. That sounds easy enough. I got sourdough starter from a local bakery that is performing better than any I've ever tried before and starting to get more interesting as I passage it-- I suspect the bakery kept it well supplemented with baker's yeast and now the other bugs are starting to compete more successfully. I'm hoping to finally make an acceptable sourdough baguette, something that has eluded me over the decades.

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  • deejayoh
    replied
    I use a garden sprayer. the kind you use for weed killer (without actually ever having used for that). Holds a lot of water, and shoots it in pretty fast. The issue I found with small spray bottles was that I couldn't get enough moisture in fast enough that it wasn't all gone before I got the door on. Garden sprayer did the trick. I think I picked that tip up here somewhere. It is slightly larger than what Sable uses - but not much

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  • UtahBeehiver
    replied
    Look at Faith in Virginia's thread, she does not participates in the Forum anymore but she toyed with steam injection from a pressure cooker. Mikes sprayer process may be more user friendly though. Just another option.

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  • SableSprings
    replied
    Never throw water in a hot oven...yes, you can crack/break bricks if you do that. I was down in Lake Havasu several years ago and was talking to the person working a commercial pizza oven. He told me shortly after the restaurant had installed the oven, an employee was told to clean the oven when they closed. His "idea" was to throw a bucket of water into the hot oven and then towel/brush it out . Consequently, the restaurant had to pay several thousand dollars to have a couple guys come in and replace the shattered floor tiles.

    I make 15-20 baguettes each week in my oven and have tried a lot of different techniques for increasing the moisture in the chamber. I've tried heating pieces of chain in a iron skillet, then adding water...too much can go wrong and it took up valuable space in my oven. I've tried adding ice cubes in various heated vessels...also a pain. What I've settled on is a pressurized water sprayer. Mine holds about 2 qts (2 liters) and is meant for misting house plants. I pump it up and adjust it to a good spray. I give the oven chamber a couple of seconds of spray, load the chamber with dough and give it another 2-3 second burst. (I tried the constant hand-squeezer sprayer but it just was too much work and didn't give me enough moisture in the chamber.) There are many who mention that if you are baking an oven load of 8-12 loaves, the dough will supply the added moisture needed to keep the crust(s) from forming too soon. I just liked to give the oven a little shot to amp up the oven spring. We did have a lady on the East Coast who set up a pressure cooker with an injection system for her oven...looked fabulous, but again...a lot of work.

    I've attached a picture that has my pressure sprayer (green top) sitting above the peel on the oven landing with a batch of baguettes cooling on the side rack. Sorry I don't have a better picture handy.

    Hope that helps answer your question.

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