Steam-Baked Sourdough Boule

Scott Heimendinger
Scott Heimendinger
August 31, 2023
There's a reason professional bread bakers use steam in their ovens. Steam does magic things to bread. It delays the crust formation so the bread can expand with an open, airy crumb, and it delivers heat to the loaf more quickly. Because steam is so important, you'll see plenty of hacks for home cooks to deliver steam to their bread in a home oven. But with the Anova Precision Oven, you don't have to go to resort to throwing ice cubes into a hot pan or drop a proofed loaf into a hot Dutch oven in order to get a steamy bake. Simply turn on full steam and you'll finally get the oven spring and rich, dark brown crust you've been chasing. Start with your favorite high-hydration sourdough or no-knead recipe with these oven settings for the best bread you've ever baked at home. Notes: Timing for this recipe may vary according to your bread recipe. Proceed to the dry baking stage when the crust is set and the loaf has stopped expanding. Let the bread cook in dry heat until it has browned and crisped to your liking.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Steam-Baked Sourdough Boule
4.86 (15)
1 (700 to 800g; 1 1/2- to 2-pound) batch
sourdough bread dough, proofed, shaped, and ready to score and bake

1. Preheat Oven and Baking Surface

Place a cast iron griddle, large cast iron skillet, baking steel, or baking stone on the lowest wire rack position and turn on the oven.
Preheat Oven and Baking Surface
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: 100%
Temp: 482°F
Heat: Rear

2. Turn Loaf Onto Parchment

Carefully flip the proofed dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper.
Turn Loaf Onto Parchment

3. Score

Use a lame or sharp knife to score the loaf in your preferred pattern.

4. Steam Bake

Immediately after scoring, use a peel to carefully move the loaf and parchment onto the griddle inside the oven. Use care to keep hands away from the hot steam and oven walls during transfer. Bake at full steam until the crust is set and the loaf has stopped expanding, about 20 minutes (see note).
Steam Bake
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: 100%
Temp: 482°F
Heat: Rear
00:20 Timer

5. Let Oven Adjust for Browning Stage

Continue to bake the bread without steam until browned and crusty, about 10 minutes (see note). If you’d like, you can crack the oven door for 5 to 10 seconds to release steam at the beginning of this stage.
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: Off
Temp: 401°F
Heat: Rear
00:10 Timer

6. Remove and Rest

Use a peel to carefully remove the baked loaf from the oven. Let the bread sit at least 30 minutes before slicing.
Remove and Rest

7. Slice

Use a sharp bread knife to slice the bread, taking care not to crush its top.

8. Serve

Spread the bread slices with butter and finishing salt. Enjoy!
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