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Cold Oven Test


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Cold Oven Test

I was planning to do a couple of experiments this weekend. Top of the list was to make myself some diastatic malt powder but somehow, the bag of wheat grains that I ordered at the organic produce shop did not show up. As luck would have it, I ended up with diastatic barley malt. That saved me all the trouble of making it myself.

I added just a teaspoon of the stuff using my standard test vehicle, a basic white bread with 70% hydration. Another experiment that I have been wanting to do is a cold oven test using my main oven. I had tried one in the middle of the week using my old Rowenta counter top oven. As far as I am concern, it is the quintessential kitchen heater with terrible insulation. Its quality and performance is a sad long story which I will not mention here. Anyway, 5 minutes into the baking, it tripped and I had to get down on my knees to beg it to resume. The resulting bread did show some spring, to my surprise. However, its bottom was pale and this was not good.

Bad as that bread was, I was inspired to continue using my trusty main oven. The results were amazing. I did not even introduce steam into the oven but the spring was very good. The bottom was equally browned. From the results, I can only conclude that a good oven does not need preheating. So, why do all those major authors advocate a baking stone and pre-heating. I can only surmise that the stone and preheating increase the success rates of the bread for readers who have less than ideal ovens.

I must admit that I am a poor scientist because I am not testing apples to apples. For one, the bread that I baked today has malt. I guess I would have to do a couple more experiments with the malt but one thing for sure is that I am unlikely to preheat my oven again as my energy costs is killing me.

I thought the breads were even better than before. My theory on why no steaming is necessary is that Singapore is humid enough and the air in the cold oven is pretty humid.













This site was last updated 05/16/07