How to Cram 4 Loaves of Filthy Good Sourdough Bread into a Domestic Oven!

7 Aug

If there is anything in this world that I’m jealous of, it’s bakers’, their commercial ovens, costing as much as a small car, and, the perfect control over the baking environment they achieve. Steam, stone, heat from top and bottom, quick open and close doors, loaf loaders! They are one of the keys to achieving Sourdough Bread perfection.

Replicating this with a domestic oven worth a few hundred dollars is a challenge for one loaf & an even bigger challenge when you try to cram four loaves in. After a many trials and tribulation, including a few exploding tiles, here’s my latest setup.

Four 800g Bread Loaves in a Domestic Oven with Steam Tray Pizza Stone and Terracotta Tiles by Paul Kaan

From bottom up:

  1. Roasting tray for steam generation.
  2. Pizza stone to add heat holding capacity & shield the terracotta tiles resting on it.  Stops thermal shock from steam cracking tile. I got a rectangular oven sized one from the “Big Green Shed” Matador brand with a peel for about $45.
  3. Terracotta tile cut to size. Extra stone helps keep heat and brown base of loaves. Requires two pieces cut to size using diamond cutting disc on an angle grinder. Terracotta tile is almost twice the weight of pizza stone by area & another two of the finest! Terracotta tiles were $3 each 30 x 30cm from a brick supplier. These need to be cured before they are used.*
  4. A couple of loaves of the finest.
  5. More terracotta tile. two pieces cut to size using diamond cutting disc on an angle grinder, terracotta tile is almost twice the weight of pizza stone by area.
  6. Another two of the finest!

BOOM! 4 x 800g loaves squished in! Occasionally the loaves hit the rack above, but, I can usually wriggle them out OK. There’s always a nervy few seconds moving fast when loading them. It’s not too bad. Two at a time. Having more stone & pre-heating the oven for an extra 10 mins to 260C helps with heat retention to get that initial oven spring.


*How to Cure your Terracotta Tiles: Submerge them in tap water for 24 hours and then drying them in a slow oven < 100ºC for a few hours. DISCLAIMER: Do this at your own risk! My uncured ones exploded. My cured ones placed immediately above the steam tray cracked when I added water to the baking tray, hence, the addition of the Pizza stone.

Uncured Terracotta Tile Exploded in Oven by Paul Kaan

Hope you enjoyed the first post under the Bread Files. If you have any tips or questions please leave a comment. Subscribe to stay up to date with the latest Filthy Good Bread adventures.

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