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KK as Steam Oven for Bread

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Experimenting today with the technique posted by @Syzygies for generating steam in the KK for bread baking. Specifically, heat soaking with a 16" cast iron skillet with two spools of heavy chain (total weight around 30 lbs), and then introducing 350g of ice to generate steam in the initial stages of bread baking. Doing this with a sourdough boule -- 78% hydration with 30% whole wheat flour (bread flour for the rest). 

Here is the pan with chains on the lower rack:

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Closed down the vents a bit to keep the steam trapped. 350g of ice generated steam for a solid 10+ minutes.

The finished product. I like the look of the crust -- comparable to what I'd expect in a CI Dutch Oven.

IMG_1832.jpg

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2 minutes ago, DennisLinkletter said:

You could also fit a copper/metal tube from the polder tube to the pan with chain. Then you could simply pour water into the pan from outside the grill.

Yeah, saw Syzygies flirt with that idea in his thread as well and I may give it a go at some point. I was pretty surprised and pleased by the 10 minutes I got out of just 350g of ice, though. 

5 minutes ago, DennisLinkletter said:

Next time pretty pleeaase one shot of the finished product in the grill shot from far enough away that I can crop it square for Instagram  THANKS VERY BIG.. 

Can't believe I forgot that this time! Here's another shot from an earlier loaf. 

IMG_1668.JPG

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Delicious looking!  I am a fan of no knead bead done in cast iron pot.  May need to adjust recipe to work in our KK and her a whirl.  

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bake.jpg

The ice is a nice slow fuse, enough time to get the KK closed again. I like a thin flat slab, formed in a ziplock bag or a chamber vacuum bag (sealed with an impulse sealer as one would for freezing stock). A thin slab will melt sooner than a block of ice, and one does want the steam at the very beginning of the bake.

A theory review: Commercial bread ovens introduce ample steam at the beginning of a bake. Baking a boule in a cast iron pot is one home fix for this, effective but not quite the same. While this is associated with "no knead" breads, the Tartine Bread book (now $2.99 on the Kindle) has a fresh take on kneaded loaves (similar to ours) and also advocates baking in a cast iron pot.

Instead introducing ample steam allows arbitrary bread shapes, multiple loaves. We routinely make two bâtards.

The idea of using ample steam at home was recently popularized by the Bouchon Bakery cookbook, though it can be found in earlier professional sources. 350g of water will produce enough steam to fill a home oven or a 23" KK several times over. In contrast, a few spritzes from a spray bottle will be 10g of water if one is lucky. Scale matters.

It takes 80 calories to thaw a gram of ice, 100 calories to bring that gram to the boiling point, and a whopping 540 calories to then turn that gram of water to steam. By weight, steel holds about 13% as much heat energy as water. These numbers explain why one needs so much metal to boil the water, and why it hardly matters whether the water starts out as ice or hot water.

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23 hours ago, HalfSmoke said:

Yeah, saw Syzygies flirt with that idea in his thread as well and I may give it a go at some point. I was pretty surprised and pleased by the 10 minutes I got out of just 350g of ice, though. 

Can't believe I forgot that this time! Here's another shot from an earlier loaf. 

IMG_1668.JPG

If one was using this setup it would be easy to slip the sheet of ice into the frying pan below by just lifting the hinged part of the main grate.

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The flexibility to do multiple, arbitrarily shaped loaves was what first drew my interest to this technique. I'd seen the steam technique in Bouchon Bakery, and this method is an easily implementable adaptation to the KK, putting the KK with Steam Pot (...needs a name like "Smoke Pot" to roll off the tongue) on par with commercial ovens. In my opinion, there's really not much point to using a CI Dutch oven on a Kamado for bread since it's sitting in the Dutch oven most of the time anyway. So the next step up the bread baking ladder is a steam oven, and the KK turns out to work great for that. A rung or two higher up that ladder lies a home grain mill, but not quite to that point...yet...

Just estimating, but I'd expect an additional roll of chain and 50% more ice would be sufficient for a BB 32" (future note to self). 

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1 minute ago, MacKenzie said:

If one was using this setup it would be easy to slip the sheet of ice into the frying pan below by just lifting the hinged part of the main grate.

Yes, that's exactly how it works. Lift the front flap, slide in the ice, close lid. Watch the steam for the next 10 minutes. Works great, and super simple!

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3 hours ago, Syzygies said:

Tartine Book No. 3: Modern Ancient Classic Whole

Amazon has many Kindle books on sale for Cyber Monday, and I picked up Tartine Book No. 3 for $3. Some amazing extensions on what various of us here have been doing with bread: Fermented porridge, ancient grains. I'm excited to try some of these ideas.

Bagged it. Thanks for the heads up.

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So...who has a home grain mill? Picked up Tartine book #3 and it's nudging me in that direction. If you have a mill, what do you have and how do you sift to get less than 100% extraction?

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