Too Much Steam, But The Deer Are Nice

This is what over-steamed bread looks like. Like someone took a varnish brush to the crust. In fact the photo doesn’t do justice to the shine on these loaves. You can see your reflection in them.

Here in our tiny sometime-(not-often-enough)-house (where my husband and I, having shipped our daughter off for adventures in places unknown, can claim a few days of quiet sunshine, blissfully uninterrupted by the teenager’s constant lamenting that her life is waiting for her back home, so when can we leave already?), there is a perfectly good oven.

But this, my sometime-oven, is different from my most-of-the-time oven, and I clearly haven’t mastered it yet. Last time I baked bread in it, when I poured water into the heated steam pan, the steam came pouring, and I do mean pouring, out of the vents. Leading me to wonder if there would be any steam at all left for the bread in there. So this time I sprayed the hell out of the loaves with water first, as extra insurance. Too much insurance, as it turns out, which is why the bread looks like some giant plastic Happy Meal toy.

Not that I’m complaining. Not about the bread, which tasted fine. And not about the oven either, because it’s part and parcel of the house, and who can complain about a house when you get to have neighbors like these?

Post a comment » 18 Comments

  1. :)
    I always have a bear of a time trying to make bread in ovens that aren’t my regular (low-quality) trusty.
    I just saw some deer very closely yesterday during a hike. They looked at me just like that.

  2. Beautiful bread (the shine wouldn’t put me off!) and beautiful deer. Sounds like a lovely house!

  3. Well, I think your bread looks delicious! Its been too long since I’ve made my own bread. Your making me want to do it again!

    That picture of the momma and baby deer is amazingly close! I love it! We have had a momma and fawn across our road every night but I have never had them come close enough for me to get a good photo.

  4. I just showed the deers to my little kids. They are so cute!
    The bread may be over steamed but they look lovely!
    Happy holidays to you.

  5. I grew up in the country where seeing deer was the norm and oh how I miss it. I also grew up eating homemade bread rather than store bought. Your bread looks just wonderful and I am sure tasted good, over steamed or not.

  6. Beautiful creatures, aren’t they? I’m a big animal lover. And thanks for another informative post – I’m always learning something from your blog!

  7. I think your bread looks tasty. It’s fun to see deer in the daytime too. When I lived in Indianapolis, I used to ride my bicycle around the park and I’d see ton of deer. It was always so peaceful.

  8. Those are beautiful loaves still. Looks like they got good oven spring. I’m curious … what was the crust like? Was it very thick or hard or …?

    My newest neighbor around the house is a bear. Fun to watch, but I like to keep a good distance! :)

  9. I would still happily tuck into those loaves! The deer are absolutely beautiful – great picture!

  10. Susan, is your second oven a gas oven and your primary one electric? I find that gas ovens are not nearly as ‘air-tight’ as the electric ones, probably by design (airflow is required to keep the flames burning efficiently in a gas oven). With my gas oven, I’ve found that I would quickly lose whatever steam I generated using the ‘water in steam pan’ method. I’ve since found, as some others have as well, that for a gas oven, using a cover over the bread for the first 10 minutes of baking solves the problem by trapping the steam generated either by the loaf itself or by a handheld steam generator.

  11. The bread looks fine to me. Maybe the smell of freshly baked bread got your “neighbors’” attention.

  12. umm . . . shiny bread in that oven with those neighbors, I’d be happy! The woods just restore me.

  13. I really love the look of your breads! Can’t resist a bread like this. Yum!

  14. Hey Susan you kidding? I sort of like rustic floured loaves my self. Deer are cute, good thing I am not a hunter, cause the would make a great ragout or pate! ; )

  15. What a lovely blog, lovely bread and extra lovely neighbours! Lol!

  16. rainbowbrown, they have this kind of “yeah, you know we were here first” look.

    Astrid, thanks!

    HoneyB, these were maybe 20 feet away. They are quite tame actually. This is a rural area but the houses where we are are quite close together and the deer think nothing of grazing on trees and plants in the small back yards.

    Jane, kids seem to love deer, don’t they?

    Kim, I hope you’re able to get back out to the country from time to time.

    Madam Chow, glad the post was (at least a little) informative!

    Mary, yes, they actually come out more at dusk so we were a little surprised to see them mid-day.

    Claire, yes, I’d want a very good distance! The crust was quite thick, and somewhat crisp at first but after just a few hours could only be described as leathery.

    Helen, thank you!

    SteveB, actually both are electric. I do have a terra-cotta-pot cloche that works fantastically as a cover for just one loaf.

    Jude, maybe so!

    Tanna, yes, restore is a good word, I’m pretty happy to be here.

    farida, thanks!

    Jeremy, hah, I’ll bet you were the one that did Bambi’s mother in.

    Clumbsy Cookie, thanks for stopping by!

  17. The bread looks lovely! I live in a rural “developed” area, too, but the deer always run away from me (makes sense when I’m actually running!). One day, I will take a great picture of the local Bambis, though.

  18. Shiny or not, they look great. Live and learn. I once dusted my loaves with some decorative bloops of flour AND THEN proceeded to “spray the hell out of them,” yet ANOTHER thing ‘not to do’.

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