Steam/No Steam; Fan/No Fan; Steam B/f vs Aft....THEORY only, disregard water, flour????

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chueh

Senior Cook
Joined
Feb 9, 2009
Messages
136
I've searched for the subjects quite a bit, by reading blogs/articles and watched videos about it.

I do understand the BASIC principles about using steam at the beginning of baking helping the oven spring and preventing the crust formed too quickly, such as sourdough boule or just basic artisan bread with steam for the 1st bake and finish up without to brown it. I just don't understand why steam would make crispy crust??? (Chinese steamed buns are all 100% steamed without dry air, Artisan bread crust gets crusty because of the DRY Baking on the second bake changed the jell molecule, right???

Nevertheless, I am very confused about most soft crust buns, rolls, or sandwich breads are baked WITHOUT steam at all!.

Chinese steam buns are steamed from the beginning to the end of the cooking process, and they are super soft in and out (I am hesitant to use the word "crust" for the outer skin of the steam buns, for they are NOT crusty at all). Having this concept, isn't it all the best to just using 100% steam while baking buns, rolls, and sandwiches? To me, it seems to be, for both my husband and I have weak teeth and prefer softer bread and crust. So...
Q1. Isn't it contradicting the idea to form the crust quicker with harder crust without steam???? Most of the soft crust bread are not baked with steam at all! I do understand that those baked without steam are baked with very short time. Is this WHY they don't use steam?


I focus only the "steam" and "temperature" from some recipes below to compare:

Shkupan sandwich 350F Steam N/A

Classic Sandwich 392F Steam 60% (1st bake)

392F Steam Off (2nd bake)

Challah from Babish 392 Steam 60%

360 Steam Off

Traditional Challah 350 Steam 60% bottom rack

350 Steam 60% top rack

Dinner Rolls 375 Steam 100%

375 Steam Off

Hamburger Buns 350 Steam 100%

Hot Cross Buns 325 Steam N/A



I understand that I cannot just look at the temperature and steam for comparisons but every recipe process and each ingredient affect the outcome. However, I picked those recipes with very similar processes and ingredients with similar percentage of ingredients and similar baking time. Anyway,

I just want to KNOW the THEORY behind the above examples. They all yield for SOFT crust.....

Q2. The only thing I can gather from various recipes is that the higher the baking temperature goes, more steam is needed, whereas the lower needs less steam or no steam. Is that right?

Almost always, if steam is called for, it's for the 1st bake. However, I saw also a grilled cheese sandwich recipe in oven, as well as toast recipes, starting out with dry bake and then steam later to get both crunchy and chewy texture.
Q3. what's the different result between steam 1st and then brown vs. bake dry 1st and then steam? They all seem to be the same result to me???? What's the theory behind steam 1st or later????? I would assume dry bake 1st and then steam would make the toast soggy, but nope. it's the same as steam 1st and then dry bake. Why would they be still crunchy with steam afterward to finish them off?

Convection helps air circulated better and shorten the baking time, BUT
Q4. If I want softest crust for any kind of bread, should I just leave the fan out? We all know that air dries things out!


Thank you in advance for your input
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
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29,224
Location
near Montreal, Quebec
I have never baked with steam. I don't bake bread or rolls often, but they have all had a definite crust, but not a crispy one or a very soft one.

The Chinese steamed buns are maded using a steamer The temperature won't get over 100°C (212°F).
 

pepperhead212

Executive Chef
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
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Location
Woodbury, NJ
Commercial ovens are often started with jets of steam, and finished without, but this is not something most of us will have built into our home ovens! We try to approximate this, by dropping a brick or something else in a pan of water in the beginning, or baking in a Dutch oven, with the lid on - steaming it in the beginning, then giving a crunchy crust afterwards.
 

Silversage

Head Chef
Joined
Aug 31, 2004
Messages
1,322
Location
Florida
I have an oven capable of steam baking (it's actually my second steam oven), but never use it. I just don't bake much anymore. That said, there is an excellent wenbsite devoted soley to steam baking. I would probably look for answers there. Emily Rhodes, who runs the site, has also wrritten cookbooks devoted to the topic. She is probably the most well known expert in the area for homecooking. (Commercial is a whole 'nother animal).

Steam and Bake
 

chueh

Senior Cook
Joined
Feb 9, 2009
Messages
136
Thank you Silversage. Yes I had gone to her website before I started this thread, but I did not get any reply to my question.
 

Silversage

Head Chef
Joined
Aug 31, 2004
Messages
1,322
Location
Florida
Thank you Silversage. Yes I had gone to her website before I started this thread, but I did not get any reply to my question.
At tyhe bottom of her page, she has a link to her facebook page. If you want to ask a question rather than research, you should try there.
 

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