I might be crazy. It’s 82 degrees in my house right now, and I’m preparing to set my oven to 500 degrees so I can roast up a fresh loaf of bread. The heat isn’t my favorite, but I love bread.
I use Peter Reinhart’s technique for steaming bread as it’s baking. When I’m not feeling too lazy, that is. And as it turns out, I’m lazy more often than I’d like to admit. But the steaming does get a little complicated. You have to preheat a heavy-duty pan in the oven. Once you put the loaf in to bake, you add hot water to the pan–quickly so as not to let all the heat out of the oven–and carefully so as not to splash water on the glass oven door or lightbulb as they might crack or shatter if they come into contact with water. All while not burning yourself. And then there’s the periodic misting of the loaf (again, avoiding misting the oven light) and the removal of the pan once the water has fully evaporated.
It can be a little much.
But by happy accident, I may have found a new way of steaming. (I’ll test it again this evening to make sure it wasn’t just an accident.) Last time I baked, I had washed the baking stone and figured it was dry enough, but apparently, there was still quite a bit of water in the stone, because when I opened the oven to slide my loaf in, I was met with a gust of steam. If I can replicate it, it’s a winner in my book–none of the extra pans and heating water and careful pouring and extra misting–the oven’s already full of steam when you put the dough in!