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Steam Injection

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  • 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,


  • #2
    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!
    "Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity. " Charles Mingus
    "Build at least two brick to make all the mistakes on and the other to be just like you dreamed of!" Dutch


    • #3
      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.

      Pizza Ovens
      Outdoor Fireplaces


      • #4
        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.


        J W


        • #5
          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?


          • #6
            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.

            "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827


            • #7
              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



              • #8
                Re: Steam Injection


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

                "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827


                • #9
                  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...:-)


                  • #10
                    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


                    • #11
                      Re: Steam Injection

                      I have tried many things in a home oven.

                      Spraying water directly into the oven, can warp the insides,
                      crack any porcelain, crack the door glass, and build up a calcium deposit.
                      The same is true for spilling water when adding it to a pan, or the use of ice cubes.

                      The "latent heat of vaporization" of turning water to steam,
                      uses a great deal of heat. Taking it from the oven.

                      You are looking for "saturated steam" not "superheated steam".
                      You're not tring to bake the bread with steam, but to keep the crust
                      soft while the loaf springs.

                      I ran a length of copper tubing into my kitchen oven, through the top edge of the door,
                      down the inside between the oven wall and the oven rack supports,
                      curved it at the back, and fed the end into a small cast iron fry pan (15 cm).
                      Once the oven was up to temperature I used an turkey baster to inject water
                      into the open end of the copper tubing. As the water travels down the tube
                      it quickly turns to steam, building up back pressure, and getting me wet.
                      I learned to hold it tight and covered with a cloth. The water never makes
                      it to the frying pan, it's steam long before it gets down the tube.
                      A pound of water makes 27 cu ft of "saturated steam". So a baster holds
                      plenty of water to fill a small oven with steam, and you don't have to cool
                      off the oven while adding it.

                      Here is a more elaborate steam system I found online.
                      Homemade steam injection for bread baking
                      An advantages of this one are several. Calcium buildup can be removed,
                      heat needed to create steam is not taken from the oven, better control,
                      able to generate plenty of steam for a longer time period.

                      I have since started using a "La Cloche". Giving me brick oven results and little trouble.

                      Enjoy life! It's limited, you only get as much as you take.


                      • #12
                        Re: Steam Injection

                        Steam - Seite 1

                        More pics of the steam injected using an old espresso machine.
                        The steam quantity is 2.7 cu ft / min


                        • #13
                          Re: Steam Injection

                          This is all fun and interesting. I keep thinking someday I might try running a steam line from my steam generator for a steam shower to my oven.
                          My Build Thread


                          • #14
                            Re: Steam Injection

                            Why don't you just a metal nozzle from a misting system which can be inserted through a whole drilled through the door (if it doesn't work all you will need to do is to replace your door). You can even make it so the hole can be plugged someway. We use misting systems here in Arizona quite a bit and most of the water evaporates long before it hits the ground in our heat. I am assuming that it would be no different in the oven.

                            Here is a link to a manufacturer that I use (I have a system on my patio - which uses a pump), they even have cheep systems that can be hooked up to a garden hose (without the use of a pump). Home page - Pool & Patio Misting Systems: Aero Mist Outdoor Mist Systems


                            • #15
                              Re: Steam Injection

                              wow.....must re-read before posting...... "Why don't you just USE a metal nozzle from a misting system"

                              Sorry about that!