Throw water in oven

ynnejMay 11, 2012

A recipe I'm thinking about making calls for water to be thrown in oven. My oven is electric. The recipe insists it's perfectly safe- can any of you vouch for this? Thanks

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I think a lot of people use ice cubes. I'd put ice cubes in a large flat pan.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 12:37PM
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I would not 'throw' water in the oven. I have used a spray bottle to mist the sides of the oven when baking crusty breads. It hasn't caused a problem.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 1:05PM
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I used to use the method outlined in The Cook's Bible by Christopher Kimball (Cook's Illustrated founder and editor) and was happy with it until I purchased a couple covered Superstone Bakers. The Cook's Bible method worked very well and wouldn't damage my oven like tossing in water or ice cubes or spritzing had the potential to. But since using stone bakers, I never use any other steam other than what is generated in the covered bakers - LOVE at first try.....

Here's what Chris Kimball's test showed and why he uses the heated pan and hot water method:

....tests confirmed that ice cubes lower oven temperature much more than hot water.

....A head-to-head test also proved that you get a better crust with HOT water versus ice cubes.

....A cold pan will not do the trick because the hot water will just sit there. A preheated pan, however, will vaporize some of the hot water the second it is poured into the pan.

....Spritzing the bread every few minutes is another method, but according to Kimball, "the results were poor -- a thin, pliable crust". Using the hot water in the preheated pan method, no peeking!!! If you open the door in the first 20-minutes of baking, you'll let out the steam, which is why the spritzing methods doesn't work all that well.

How to: Heat 2-cups water in a kettle to a boil, then place the water for steaming in a small pan (I use a small cast iron fry pan) that was preheating in the oven. Tip - wear a really long oven mitt and long sleeves for this process to prevent steam burning you, and place the boiling water in a (clean) long-spouted watering can.


Here is a link that might be useful: Sassafras Superstone Covered Baker - Reviews

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 1:17PM
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And this is why I just BUY all of my yeast breads. :)


    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 1:39PM
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AWWWWW gee barnmom - where's the fun and sense of adventure in that??? (LOL) If I didn't make our breads we'd have NONE.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 2:12PM
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I have an electric oven.....and I throw water in it....
Now the thing much water are you going to throw? A cupful? a quart? A handful?
The point of the water in the oven is to create steam....I find I get more steam by having a squirt bottle set at "stream" and squirting a stream of water on the sides of the oven....more steam than a handfull of water would create. And I never remember to have that hot iron pan in the oven when I am ready to put the bread in.

I wouldn't be tossing a cup of water in my electric oven, but what you can hold in your hand will not hurt....but you will get more steam with a squirt bottle.
Linda C

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 2:24PM
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I used the Chris Kimball method, got a good loaf of bread. Now my brand new electric oven is broken. Coincidence? Who knows!! They are coming to fix it next Monday so we'll see what went wrong with it. It's a cheapo electric oven, I think the thermometer was bad from the get go, so I don't know that it was the water that ruined it. I would not put the water directly into the oven though, it could run down into cracks and cause rust, goo, etc.) and ice cubes don't create enough steam and they lower the oven temp.

I am going to experiment with baking in a closed bread pan, as soon as I can afford one, probably clay. I've tried using my Corningware casserole, it was difficult to use and keep the bread from sticking, even when I used parchment paper. The bread always seemed to outgrow the bowl.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 2:40PM
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I use a spray bottle and have been happy with the results I've gotten, but I've never had an electric oven, except for the toaster oven, and I do not spray that. I often spray stale bread before I put it into the toaster oven, however.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 2:55PM
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I great a great crust using the ice cube and spray method. I've used this method for years.

The oven I have now has a sealed bottom so the elements are hidden. But I've used this method with both gas ovens as well as electric with elements showing. Immediately after sliding the loaves on to the stone, I toss in the ice cubes and I also spray the loaves with water. (The stone is preheated for at least 45 minutes at 500ðF.) I continue to spray the loaves at 3 minute intervals for the first 10 minutes.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 3:44PM
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Have used ice cubes in the past and now use a spray bottle for my crusty breads. I don't think it would hurt your oven tossing in a small amount of water. Just don't go overboard with it. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 4:33PM
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I think whether or not your oven looses a lot of heat with the spraying or ice cube method depends on how well your oven is insulated. I just have a cheapie one and I know it is not well insulated, I have to cover the burners with pans when I bake, for example, just to try and get the stove to hold its heat at least a little bit.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 7:12PM
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Thank you all. I was surprised at what a bargain that covered baker is and I appreciate all of your tips.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 8:11PM
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I don't think water, ice, or hot water will impact oven temperature much.

To turn one cup of ice to water, you use up 72 BTUs.

To turn one cup of water to steam, you use up 485 BTUs.

An oven can give you 15,000 to 18,000 BTUs per hour.

I will try not to splash water on hot oven interiors. Thermal stress, differential expansion/contraction of different materials can fatique most material.

Unless the oven is pressurized, there is a maximum saturation of steam at a given temperature and no more.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 9:29PM
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I kind of use the Kimball method, as it suits me, LOL.

My broiler is on the bottom of my stove, under the oven, so when I heat the oven for bread, I heat the broiler pan. I put the bread in the oven, place the now hot broiler pan under it, pour in a cup full of warm/hot water and shut the door. The water creates steam when hitting the hot pan and since the broiler in a place where it's basically inaccessible, I never use it anyway.

Win, win, and crusty bread. I never forget the pan because it stays in the broiler anyway.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 10:02PM
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I've done it- it causes my oven bottom to flex and make loud scary noises while the bread is cooking. Also, if there's any gook in the bottom of the oven, it makes sort of a gook stir fry and smokes. It works really well to move one rack to the very bottom, put an old pan in there before you preheat the oven, and throw the water into that when you're ready. It still hits the hot pan and turns into steam.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 10:07PM
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Grainlady,I have a question regarding the covered bakers you linked to. Do they need to be preheated before placing the dough inside? My concern with the dutch oven baking is trying to deal with a super hot and heavy receptacle for dough. I'm scared of getting burned. That's one reason I never tried the no-knead recipes.

For what it's worth, I use the spray bottle method and have had no problems. I spray free-form bread loaves before placing them on the heated baking stone. I probably spray in my electric oven another 2-3 times at about 3 minute intervals, just like Ann T. I'm careful not to aim at the oven light, mainly just the areas immediately surrounding the loaf or loaves.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 11:06PM
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Shambo, it depends on the recipe. When I did the no knead bread, I kept finding that the bottom burned. When I started putting it in a cold dutch oven, it came out well. Another neat thing about heavy cast iron pots is that you can put them in a non preheated oven (as long as the lid's ok) and the dough will rise as the oven heats up. It's great for getting bread on the table quickly, though you miss out on the nice sourdough taste of a long, slow fermentation.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 11:15PM
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The covered stone bakers themselves don't require preheating - and you can use both a preheated AND cold oven method for baking as jessicavanderhoff mentioned.

I also like them because they bake bread at a much lower oven temperature (preheat oven to 450-degrees F for a Crusty Country Loaf and turn the oven down to 400-degrees F after 15-minutes; 375-degrees F for an enriched loaf of Home-Style Honey Wheat Bread). In fact, 450-degrees F is the top oven temperature for most of the covered stone bakers.

Another advantage to covered stone bakers, they produce even heat distribution and moisture absorption. They can be used in a conventional, convection or microwave oven. James Beard, in a nationally syndicated column, said "The bread that I have been baking in it [Superstone La Cloche] is nothing short of sensational". They are great for cooking meats, poultry and fish in as well.

As stated in the link below... The lidded stone baker reproduces the effect you get with a brick oven. Steam generates from the baking bread and emulates a steam-injected oven. And the King Arthur model uses the cold oven baking method, which means a lot of energy saved by not needing to preheat your oven.


Here is a link that might be useful: Long Covered Baker - King Arthur Flour

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 3:00AM
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Sorry, I read that quickly and didn't realize you were talking about stone!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 10:50AM
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