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Old 02-21-2011, 09:04 AM   #181
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mine looks like everyone Else's

But it looked lonely, so I made this for it.
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:29 AM   #182
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
If you want to move beyond the pot, buy a pizza stone. Thicker the better. I've heard of home bakers cutting thick slabs of granite or slate to fit in their ovens for more surface area. Your back to getting steam in the oven which the pot seems to address though.
I've not had great luck with a pot in the oven, even with boiling water. I've had better luck using a very shallow pan on the bottom of the oven (mine is gas) with just a little bit of water. Do this while pre-heating the oven. I have also thrown some ice cubes on the floor of the oven to generate steam 'right now'.
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:50 PM   #183
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so lets chat baking stones, do I got to the chef place and bust out 15-25 on a pizza stone or get an unglazed bit of tile (unglazed) from the hardware store?
if hardware store version what type of store am I looking for, or tile for that matter?
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:05 PM   #184
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Thermal Mass

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Originally Posted by AngryScot View Post
so lets chat baking stones, do I got to the chef place and bust out 15-25 on a pizza stone or get an unglazed bit of tile (unglazed) from the hardware store?
if hardware store version what type of store am I looking for, or tile for that matter?
I'd hate to claim that I know a ton about this. Here's the thing though. You want thermal mass. You want alot of heat that transfers to and rises up through your bread. That is one of the reasons convection ovens don't work well for thick crusted bread. They pummel the bread with heat from all sides, rather than sending it through the bottom up.

My old oven was the best oven I ever used. Unfortunately, we outgrew it. The floor of the oven was 3" thick refractory concrete. There were lots of other reasons this oven was so amazing, but that was part of it.

When shopping for a stone for your oven, I would look for the thickest you can find. I've heard about home bakers using thick slabs of slate or granite as well.

Someone commented on not being happy with the stone, but I would bet that had to do with not getting steam in the oven, or not preheating enough. I doubt there are too many home ovens that even get hot enough. Add to that not preheating enough and you have problems! That stone is going to take at least 45min. to heat through. We bake our breads at 240C. and it never really cools down. Our stones are always hot! I would recommend giving your oven a solid hr. with the stone in their before baking.

As for steam, you may be able to rig something up similar to what my oven has. Quite simple design actually. There are U-shaped pieces of cast iron that run the length of the oven. Through the center is a long pipe with small holes drilled in it. When we hit the steam button, it shoots water onto the hot cast iron. Voila! Steam. That's it. Simple yet effective. I'm not suggesting you get a U-shaped cast iron bit. Maybe, a cast iron pan, then spray some water? Cast iron is great, because it's thick and has... THERMAL MASS!!! If you put a thin pan in your oven and tossed some water in there, you might get some steam, but it's gonna lose heat fast. The thick cast iron will retain somewhat.
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:11 PM   #185
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Man, I don't know why I haven't looked in this thread before. I used to be a baker at a small artisan bakery, still do a few loaves a week for myself, and pizza every week or two. I use a sourdough starter that I started about 8 years ago, it keeps getting better.
Last batch (saturday) was an old favorite, potato bread with fennel seed.

Anyway, I use a kiln shelf (for pottery) for a baking stone. They tend to be thicker than most pizza stones, and granite or soapstone can transfer heat too fast if you have your oven hot, and will burn the bottom of the bread.



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Old 02-22-2011, 07:14 PM   #186
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. . .

refractory concrete

http://www.traditionaloven.com/tutorials/concrete.html
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:16 PM   #187
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I'll add a couple notes from what Jim said- I use a spray mister to steam my bread- it's definitely not as good as the real system that a bakery has, but it works. I let the oven preheat with the stone for quite a while (probably 45 mins), put in the bread, spray liberally, and shut the oven door, and I don't open it again for about 15 minutes. Then I take out the loaves, rotate them around, and put them back in to finish. Time varies depending on oven temp and loaf shape/size. My oven is usually around 450 F.
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:30 PM   #188
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I'll add a couple notes from what Jim said- I use a spray mister to steam my bread- it's definitely not as good as the real system that a bakery has, but it works. I let the oven preheat with the stone for quite a while (probably 45 mins), put in the bread, spray liberally, and shut the oven door, and I don't open it again for about 15 minutes. Then I take out the loaves, rotate them around, and put them back in to finish. Time varies depending on oven temp and loaf shape/size. My oven is usually around 450 F.
Noticed your from Berkeley. I worked at semifreddis, bread garden and artisan bakers in sonoma once upon a time. Where did you work?
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:37 PM   #189
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That's great! Get the biggest sheetpan that will fit in your oven and pour he concrete onto it as thick as you can. Let it dry and boom your in business. Both ovens I've built required a slow heat up to allow all the masonry to dry out completely. You could do something similar with this...
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:15 PM   #190
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Noticed your from Berkeley. I worked at semifreddis, bread garden and artisan bakers in sonoma once upon a time. Where did you work?
Anjou bakery, in eastern washington state. Actually a very good bakery, though I think they've stopped doing much bread nowadays. . . . disappointing.

I've been to your bakery, and seen that wonderful rotary oven that you used to have- good stuff, great bread.

Nowadays, I live a few blocks from Acme bakery in berkeley- very good bread for when I don't make my own. I go to Semifreddi's from time to time also- their bread is not quite as much to my tastes, but them make a seeded baguette, which I love.
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:20 PM   #191
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Dumb question from a cooking enthusiast/bread idiot:

Wifey made banana bread last night. We have a new oven that is far better than old oven. Bread cooked perfectly. Had great crust all around the outside, done just right inside.

So I chew up a few pieces last night while it was still warm. Wonderful. Especially the crust, my favorite part.

I have some today, after it's in a plastic bag, and my nice crunchy crust has equalized moisture with the rest of the bread, and it's not all crunchy and fun now.

How would a guy store the bread so the crust might retain some of that fresh from the oven textural goodness?
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Old 02-23-2011, 03:23 AM   #192
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Originally Posted by ShadyRascal View Post
Dumb question from a cooking enthusiast/bread idiot:

Wifey made banana bread last night. We have a new oven that is far better than old oven. Bread cooked perfectly. Had great crust all around the outside, done just right inside.

So I chew up a few pieces last night while it was still warm. Wonderful. Especially the crust, my favorite part.

I have some today, after it's in a plastic bag, and my nice crunchy crust has equalized moisture with the rest of the bread, and it's not all crunchy and fun now.

How would a guy store the bread so the crust might retain some of that fresh from the oven textural goodness?
Don't put it in a plastic bag. There's really nothing else you can do.
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:37 AM   #193
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Originally Posted by AngryScot View Post
so lets chat baking stones, do I got to the chef place and bust out 15-25 on a pizza stone or get an unglazed bit of tile (unglazed) from the hardware store?
if hardware store version what type of store am I looking for, or tile for that matter?
I have one of the proper baking stones. It was a gift and I have no idea what it cost, nor can I recall the brand. It works very well for pizzas. Seems to reduce cooking time and also makes the base nice and crisp, which I prefer, rather than doughy. Pizza also seems to taste better when cooked on it. Could be the stone imparts some flavour, could be "Emporer's New Clothes", could be it just tastes better because it is cooked better. If I broke/lost mine, I'd buy another.
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:03 AM   #194
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Anjou bakery, in eastern washington state. Actually a very good bakery, though I think they've stopped doing much bread nowadays. . . . disappointing.

I've been to your bakery, and seen that wonderful rotary oven that you used to have- good stuff, great bread.

Nowadays, I live a few blocks from Acme bakery in berkeley- very good bread for when I don't make my own. I go to Semifreddi's from time to time also- their bread is not quite as much to my tastes, but them make a seeded baguette, which I love.
I don't know why I never worked at Acme. Always chasing the almighty $$ I suppose. They are still regarded as one of the best bakeries in the country. I have a tremendous amount of respect for what they have done and continue to do. Semifreddis bread has never been great, but it sure was a good experience for me! Have you done the 5:00pm line up at Tartine in the city? I'd love to try their bread. It's supposed to be pretty impressive!

I can't believe you've been to my place! How cool! That oven was a Llopis Spanish oven. Wood fired. The hearth rotated, and if the oven was kept full it was an unbelievable oven. Whoever designed it understood oven design as well as bread baking exceptionally well. It is a perfect design in many ways. I really miss it!
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:17 AM   #195
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So to do the dutch oven method what size do I need?
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