Oven Spring

I finally got a clay tablet for the oven a few weeks ago and just got around to using it today. I've wanted one for a while but when I go to these home kitchen supply stores and see the tablets they have and how much they charge and how thin and small they are it seems ridiculous. I was thinking about having a stone cutter cut a peice of granite to fit the oven, then I could bake two loaves at once. But I found out that the polishing agent emits toxic chemicals at high heats. So, at the thrift store around the corner I bumped into this tablet. It's exactly the kind I didn't want but the price was right. Anyway, it turns out to be amazing. The loaf on the right used to look just like the one on the left. This tablet makes the bread swell up like a balloon! I heated the oven up to 500˚ and waited until my infrared thermometer said the tablet had also reached that temperature. I scored the bread a little too lightly as you can see, but it didn't matter, it sealed right up and I had to score it again after baking for a few minutes to let it rise even more. So much steam was being generated by this tablet that if I didn't rescore it an air pocket of dough, like on the first loaf, would shoot out the side. The finished bread was similar to New Seasons loaves, thin crispy crust, very moist and shaggy crumb, mellow flavor. All in all, I'm very excited.