{top tip} Steam Your Way to Crustier Homemade Bread

In my home kitchen, I use a lot of shortcuts and tricks gleaned from my checkered pants past. From time to time I will pull one out of my toque and share it with you! If you have questions or requests, leave them in the comments and I’ll tackle them in a future post.

Have you ever tried making bread at home and found that it didn’t come out with a nice crust? What you need is some STEAM in your oven. Commercial bread ovens have steam injectors to get the crust brown and crisp. You only need steam on the loaf for the first 10-15 minutes of baking. There are a couple of ways to get the steam in your home oven for a better crust:

  • Moderately Dangerous But Pretty Darn Effective Way: When you turn on the oven to preheat it, put a metal pan (like a 9×13 pan) in the bottom of the oven. When the oven is preheated, put the loaf pan on a rack and pour boiling water into the hot metal pan. This will make a big amount of steam really quickly, so close the oven door so it stays inside and don’t open for at least 10 minutes. Steam burns are very painful, so be reeeeeally careful to position yourself as far away from the pan as possible when you add the water.
  • Lazy Way That Works But Not Quite As Well: Throw a couple of ice cubes in the bottom of the preheated oven as you place your loaf pan on the oven rack.
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2 comments

1 Damian { 03.22.11 at 4:20 pm }

Karen, we have had really good luck with this no-knead bread recipe from the NYT. SUPER-crusty and extremely easy…

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html

2 Karen { 03.23.11 at 9:31 am }

@Damian – I have been meaning to try that forever- thanks for the extra push!!! :)

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