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Articles & Baking Notes> Crust and the Impact of Steam Injection and Lid-on Times

Crust and the Impact of
Steam Injection and Lid-on Times

The Steam Maker Bread Baker allows the home bread baker to achieve professional quality crust by mimicking two functions of the professional baking oven:

  1. steam injection at the start of baking, and

  2. controlled venting of the steam part way through the baking process so baking finishes in a hot dry oven.

The Steam Maker Bread Baker can be used to achieve a significant variation in crust thickness.  The results are dependent on control of two variables: the steam injection time and the lid-on time.  The lid-on time mimics the length of time the baker leaves the steam in the oven prior to venting.  There are three rules to keep in mind when deciding how long to inject steam and how long to leave the lid in place.

  1. Longer steam injection times will yield thinner crust and shorter steam injection times will yield a thicker crust.

  1. Shorter lid-on time will yield a thinner crust and longer lid-on time will yield a thicker crust.

  1. Steam injection time is more important in determining the crust thickness then lid-on time.

Steam injection times will vary from 5 to 25 seconds.

Lid-on times will vary from 7 20 minutes.

 Bread Styles

Baguettes, rolls and other bread shapes that have a high amount of exposed surface area (crust) relative to the weight of the bread or the amount of crumb will typically be made with a thinner crust.  Longer steam injection time (20-30 seconds) and shorter lid on times (7-12 minutes), will yield the thin, crispy crust characteristic of these breads.

Boules and other spherical or slightly oblong shapes that have more crumb relative to the amount of surface area (crust) typically have a thicker, chewier crust.  Shorter steam injection times (5-15 seconds) and longer lid-on times (10-20 minutes) will yield this thicker and chewier, but still crispy crust.

Experiment and enjoy!

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