da cloche

799
12
Joined Feb 21, 2001
I was truly astonished when I opened my new cloche on Reinhart's new 165% old dough French bread. Crisp, thin, golden brown crust, which unfortunately stuck a little to the clay. I got it out in one piece though. Now the question, has anybody had any luck at all steaming bread in a home oven with the cup of hot water thrown into the cast iron pan and then spritzing at intervals?

I baked two loafs of the same bread that rose in bannetons and they couldn't have looked any more different from the one in the cloche. I tried with the hot water in the hot pan and made such a mess, and per Reinhart's recommendation I had the oven temp waaay up. I got so annoyed I was going to write him to see what's the deal?

I thought I wrecked the new igniter in the oven. I don't care for the technique at all. I was thinking of taking the top of the stove off to see if the little hole where the thermostat wire goes into the oven chamber could accomodate a heat proof tube, which could be bent to aim for a pan in the bottom that was full of large steel nuts or ball bearings.

Also, I wonder if the position of the oven rack has anything to do with the crust color. These two loafs were shiny golden brown halfway up, and then faded to a duller brown on top. Maybe raising the rack up so the tops are in the upper third of the oven might help.
 

isa

3,236
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Joined Apr 4, 2000
TBH,


There was a thread last year on the cloche. You can read it by clicking here.
 
1,635
158
Joined Aug 14, 2000
I am trying to improve my crusts. I have been using the pan/cup of water/spritz method. I was able to ge nice color and initially a very crackly crust. As the bread cooled, the crust would become more chewy than crackly. I polled members of The Baker's Dozen and the consensus was that I was generating too much steam. I have recently tried the cup pof water without the spritz. This seems to help a little. ANy thoughts? I dont't seem to have the same logistical problems as TBH, but would love a crunchier crust.
 
4
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Joined Dec 29, 2001
Purge the oven of steam during the later stage or the crust cannot develop, full steam til the end will make for leathery crusts.

I've never baked in home ovens, they don't look too suitable but I guess if people are used to them they'll work great.
 
799
12
Joined Feb 21, 2001
When I was using a hobart rotary oven we would steam the hard crusted breads for 10 seconds, and then later open the damper to let the remaining humidity out. The stuff came out nice and crunchy, but would soften soon. It was crappy bread anyway, up to 3% yeast, not much bulk fermentation. Nothing like what I make today. I have a loaf of Reinahart's cinnamon raisin with the Dutch crunch topping in the oven right now. We buy a loaf at work that has some mysterious crunchy stuff on it and now this has got me wondering. I love replacing products they buy with stuff I make. Worked great this summer with bialys and bagels.
 
1,635
158
Joined Aug 14, 2000
The cinnamon raisin bread from Bread Baker's Apprentice is great. I've done it both with and without the nuts. I need to get more aggressive with the swirl. Both times I've done it, it has disappeared into the crumb.

I use a cup of hot water poured into a pan when I load the loaves. That's it for steam. I also turn the oven off and leave the bread in, after it has reached 200 degrees. I think I need to try baking longer. What is the highest internal temperature sourdough will tolerate?
 
799
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Joined Feb 21, 2001
Made the NY deli rye from Baker's Apprentice today, and followed all the tips I found in a thread here, and the stuff was extrordinary. It is screaming for nitrate-laden fatty cold cuts, sharp mustard and nutty thinly sliced cheese. Very good stuff. I'd say the best bread I tried all year was Craig Ponsford's Beer Bread. This runs a close second. The cast iron pan and the spritzer made a big difference.
 
386
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Joined May 11, 2001
I used the same method from Baker's Apprentice to make 4 sourdough loaves - two with leftover spanakopita filling and two with Asiago cheese and fresh ground black pepper. I preheated my oven with the cast iron skillet on the upper rack at about 550F. I loaded in my bread, poured in a cup of very hot water and closed the oven door. I spritzed after about 20 seconds and closed the door. I did this two more times then turned down the heat. All the loaves would have been a perfect golden colour except that I almost burned the spinach ones because I was on the phone with my mom. Nevertheless, all four loaves had the best crust ever according to my taste. Thin, crisp, crackly and messy to eat. The crumb didn't have as much holes as I'd like but it was nice and creamy. I could never get that following the Silverton book. I also never heard the loaves crackling before as they cooled until this time around.

I had actually taken the spinach loaves out a little earlier, but I put them back in as soon as I noticed the absence of the crackling sound. Reinhart wrote something about telling his students to push the baking time to the maximum and I think that makes a big difference. I was always scared of burning the loaves and the Silverton loaves were always so dark for some reason.
 
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