The recent Kneading Conference put me straight. The bread oven needs an injection of steam immediately following the introduction of bread loaves.
At the conference, this was done with a plant sprayer. Commercial ovens have built-in injectors. The sprayer is aimed at the dome roof. Cast refractory oven owners may want to spray onto a metal pan in the oven as spraying the cast refractory may shock it. Brick ovens are more durable.
|bread on left, sprayer on right|
The second aspect to great artisan bread is what is called, 'the spring'. This is when a round of dough, placed on a 500 degree hearth, rises so that the resulting loaf curves upward. The pleasing shape of the boules, batards, or baguettes, is as organic as our bodies.