Baking bread in a CSO

January 2, 2016
last modified: January 2, 2016

I have a Wolf CSO and want to try baking the 5 minute artisan bread in it. The basic recipe in the book calls for a pizza stone to be preheated in the oven, and then pouring a cup of very hot water into a pan beneath the stone. I'd prefer to try using the oven's steam capabilities, but these won't work in a preheated oven. Wolf actually calls for bread to be started in an unheated oven. Has anyone actually tried baking this kind of bread in a CSO?

Also, my wife bought some fresh croissant dough that calls for the croissants to be baked in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Would these benefit from being baked on the auto steam bake function (not preheated) instead?

Thanks for your help.

Comments (49)

  • Chanop

    I have a Miele, and bake sourdough bread in preheated oven. I wonder if following procedure would not work: preheating the oven in convection steam, insert the dough, after initial steaming phase of 8-15 minutes, turn the steam off. As far as I understand during product research, Wolf convection steam mode should keep producing steam all the time. Baking from cold oven works as well, but I get better crust with preheated oven.

    This video from Miele claims a good result baking croissant from cold oven. I have yet to try baking puff pastry myself. Auto steam bake should be fairly similar, apart from that it is more fully automatic than Miele's way.

  • greasetrap

    Thanks Chanop. I hadn't thought of preheating with steam, but that might work. Tomorrow I'm going to try baking from cold using Wolf's pre-programmed Gourmet mode. If that doesn't work, then I'll try preheating with the convection steam mode. The lack of documentation in the Wolf manuals is very frustrating. Do you use a stone when preheating with steam?

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  • greasetrap

    I just tried preheating to 425 on convection steam. The oven certainly produces a lot of steam and doesn't vent it out as temperatures climb. I then opened the door for about 30 seconds and quickly closed it to simulate putting a loaf of bread in. The problem is that a lot of steam escapes when you do this and the oven doesn't seem to produce any new steam (even though the indicator says it's still in steam mode). From what I've seen, the Wolf CSO just won't produce new steam when the oven temperature is above 212 degrees. The manual, of course, says nothing. I'll need to call Wolf during the week to see if this is the way the oven is supposed to operate or whether it's a problem with my oven.

    All things considered, I'm disappointed with Wolf and wish I had investigated Miele more thoroughly before purchasing. The user has almost no control over the various cooking parameters, and the oven forces you to use various pre-programmed cooking modes. The problem is that the manual gives you absolutely no information on what happens if you choose one of the pre-programmed modes. For example, there's a Gourmet mode for yeast pastries, but I have no idea whether this would work with croissant dough or not.

  • Jo

    As far as I remember (might be wrong though), Miele doesn't give much info on their Automatic programs either (phases and temperatures) in the user manual. I did however find a ton of info on these in the cookbook that came with the oven.

    I made croissants using an automatic program and a cold oven. Turned out great!

    I don't know about Wolf, but in Miele, when using Combi mode, there's an option for a burst of steam (which you can use as much as you want) which could be used with a higher temp.

  • Chanop

    @greasetrap, I have experiment with a few options baking bread in my Miele combi. Without using stone, I get a good oven spring, crust as well as well brown bottom crust using perforated baking pan with preheated oven. I only have a small pizza stone, and have tried using it preheated, and got a pretty decent oven spring on it better than on perforated baking pan, however, bottom crust is not well brown. So at the moment, I am in the process of getting a thicker baking stone to try.

    Also at 425*F, steam is generally invisible to naked eye. How long have you left the oven stayed at 425*F? For my combi, once it has been preheated for more than 10-15 minutes, there is no visible steam through the oven door. There should still be a gush of heated steam coming out when opening the door which is quite different to opening the door of hot oven in pure convection mode. After closing the door, I can hear the pump working up steam again.

    For Wolf CSO owners who are keen on reading metric recipe as well as manual of V-Zug (who manufacture Wolf CSO) combi, here are some links to:

    Operating manual and recipe book were for older model until 2014 which should be very very similar to Wolf CSO. Magical Steaming is for newer 2015 model. Much of the contents are the same, but it gives explicit instruction about heating mode. There are some bread recipes that call for preheating in convection steam, insert food, continue in convection steam, and turning steam off as I suggest earlier.

    Also please note that Wolf and Zug use different terminology to describe the same operating modes, kinda like Miele for North America and Miele for the rest of the world. Here is a list that I can remember on the top of my head

    • Convection <-> V-Zug hot air
    • Convection humid <-> V-Zug hot air humid
    • Convection steam <-> V-Zug hot air stem
    • Reheat <-> V-Zug regeneration
    • Auto Steam Bake <-> V-Zug Professional Baking
    • Gourmet <-> V-Zug Bakeomatic
    • Slow roast <-> V-Zug Soft roast

    Also, there is a blog called run by V-Zug cooking demonstrator based in Melbourne. She has pretty good information and recipes about V-Zug combi steamer.

  • greasetrap

    Thanks Jo & Chanop. I realizee that steam is invisible at higher temperatures. When I first open the door on my Wolf CSO at 425 (using convection steam) though, a lot of steam pours out. So much so that you have to be careful not to burn yourself. I then closed the door and let the CSO run another 10 minutes. This time no steam came out when I opened the door, which is why I think it doesn't produce steam at higher temperatures.

    Thanks for the links to the V-Zug manuals. I'll try reading those to see if I can get a better idea of what's going on. It's frustrating when I can't see the underlying cooking parameters. For example there's a slow roast feature for different types of meat that somehow incorporates a resting period so the meat is ready to carve when it comes out of the oven. It worked great roasting a tenderloin, but there's no setting for a strip loin. I'd like to be able to program the oven myself to deal with other types of meat not included in the basic program.

  • eshmh

    The manual says:

    Convection Steam: Steam transfers energy to food more efficiently than hot air alone, which speeds up cooking time. Food retains its own moisture. Use Convection Steam mode to cook foods that are tender inside and roasted or crisped outside. Press MODE to activate or deactivate steam.

    If I understand the manual correctly, one need press MODE to add/stop steam (additional) steam if there is still water in the tank. And there is no regulation to maintain steam percentage, at least not a user operable feature. If all correct, Miele steam combi is more advanced.

  • greasetrap

    I'm not sure how one should define advanced, but it sounds to me like the Miele gives the user much more control over the baking process than Wolf. I can tell you for a fact that, unless there's a problem with my oven, the Wolf will not put steam into a hot oven. You can push the MODE button and the display says it's generating steam, but when you open the door, no steam comes out.

    I tried baking my first batch of the 5 minute artisan bread today using the Wolf Gourmet setting. It didn't come out that bad, but I didn't get a lot of oven spring, and the bread itself was a bit dense and gummy. My wife and daughter loved it though. I'll post pictures a bit later.

  • eshmh

    Yeah, that was what I meant, more controls and more sensors. Did you check there is water in the tank when no more steam can be generated? It could be the water was dumped to steam at one shot by the oven. I would ask Wolf support about the issue, or check a live unit out in a showroom.

  • greasetrap

    There's plenty of water in the tank, although another annoying problem with my CSO is that it says there's no water, and I have to shut the oven off and play with the tank a bit before it accepts that there is water there. From what I've seen, the oven likes to start out cold. It then dumps steam in at when the temperature gets to 200 or so, stays there for a certain amount of time, and then shuts the steam off as the temperature climbs higher than that. This is fine as far as it goes, because the earlier steam is held inside the oven. The problem occurs when you open the door. Then most of the steam comes out, and the oven doesn't seem to replace it.

  • eshmh

    This behavior seems fine for auto steam baking, but does not make sense for convection steam. As described in the manual, the user should be able to start / stop the steam on the go. I would ask support about what the behavior is supposed to be. If it does not match what you have, then you want it fixed.

    So the "no water" warning probably is why the oven cannot introduce more steam when the MODE key is pressed. As there is in fact plenty of water in the tank, I would ask support what the condition is to show "no water" warning. This could be a problem.

    Are you able to deactivate steam in convection steam mode at the beginning (i.e. during preheating stage), then activate it after you put in the food?

  • greasetrap

    I just tried turning on convection steam, setting the temperature to 425, and pushing the MODE button to turn the steam off. After it reached temperature, I opened the door and, as expected, there was no steam. I then shut the door and pushed the MODE button again to turn the steam on. I let the oven run about 10 minutes like this, and the oven did make some noises when I pushed the MODE buuton. Unfortunately, still no steam when I opened the door 10 minutes later though. Maybe something is broken. I'll have to check with Wolf support.

    i don't think the Issue with the oven not sensing that it has water is related to this. When the oven senses that there's no water, it beeps, puts up an error message and opens the panel where the water tank is located. It won't work in steam mode until it senses that it has water again.


  • Jakvis

    Try heating the oven to 425 without the steam then shut off the oven. Then turn it back on in Steam mode.

  • Jo

    Well, I tried making the no knead bread with a cold oven. Made some frankenbread :) Ugly as hell but tasty. Don't think the cold oven had anything to do with it, but the dough was a problem.

    From what I've seen in the pictures, I should have been able to form a boule. Not a chance! Mine was more like batter. Well, nonetheless, I dumped it in a pot and put it in the oven. It baked quite all right, but it was nothing like the pictures (probably because of the wetness of the dough). I think I might have measured the water incorrectly, because I tried to make the dough again and this time it had a good consistency.

    I'll experiment further with this and let you know.

  • gigelus2k13

    @Jo: the no-knead dough is wet, very wet (70% hydration or more). You cannot bake it in a cold dutch oven placed in a cold oven. The dutch oven must be hot (450*F or more) when you plop the dough in it.

    Furthermore, the steam needed for the oven spring comes from the dough itself and is retained in the dutch oven by the use of a lid. There is absolutely no need to inject extra steam in the main oven cavity.

  • Russ Irwin

    We moved back into our remodeled home 6 weeks ago and have both the CSO and an M-series oven. I've done some baking and here is what I've learned and tried.

    First, I've been through two classes at San Francisco Baking Institute and that set my expectations and that's the performance I'm trying to reproduce at home. For reference, we baked in deck ovens at 420-440F. For artisan breads (no loaf pans) the usual procedure was to load the oven (four decks), steam for 2-3secs, bake 25min in a sealed oven, then open the vents and bake another 10min.

    Here is what I've tried with the CSO baking two artisan naturally leavened demi-batards of 375g in each batch.

    Auto Steam Bake at 440F with no preheat on a stone. The loaf was cosmetically lovely and had a reasonable crust, but the bottom was very thin, not really a crust.

    Convection at 440F, preheated a stone. Loaded the loaves, switched to Convection Steam for 5 minutes, then Convection Humid for 23min, then Convection for 5min. The crust darkened quickly, no gloss. The crust came out almost burned, somewhat similar to a wood oven bake like Dela Fattoria. Excellent crumb, well baked bottom. Possibly could have reduced the Convection Steam time by 5min. Good bread, not cosmetically pretty.

    Auto Steam Bake at 440F, no preheat, on the solid pan that comes with the CSO for 35min. The glossy crust returned, bottom baked better than when on the stone crust is good, though still a bit thin for my preference. Very good crumb, not quite as good as with the preheated stone.

    In all cases I've learned that the loaves must be rotated half way, otherwise the side of the loaf exposed to the fan will be much darker and/or burned. This is a real pain with the thin solid pan because it warps badly when hot and does not want to slide out! That pan needs to be placed on the rails, rather than inserted between them like the racks.

    Auto Steam Bake seems like the best choice and I'm going to experiment with spraying the loaves before baking to get a thicker crust. Improving my scoring technique will also help the crust.

    It's not a deck oven, but I think it's better than a standard oven.

  • Russ Irwin

    I saw an earlier post about putting the CSO over an M-Series. That's exactly what we did and here is how it looks today. We have both the red and black knobs. We started with the black knobs, then put the red knobs on for Christmas and haven't taken them off yet!

  • Chanop

    @mantaraydiver, if you can find a perforated baking pan, like Miele one that I use, bottom crust should be fairly good with Auto Steam Bake. I get a good result with Miele program starting from cold, but preheated oven produces a bit better result. The perforated baking pan is thicker than perforated steam pan, and has enamel coating. Here is a loaf I baked yesterday with preheated oven, and perforated pan.

  • Jo

    Chanop, you are making me spend money and I really don't wanna! :)

    Your breads always look amazing!

    Miele Cso cookbook has a recipe for ciabatta. The baking program has 3 steps:

    Step 1: 220 C 0% moisture (for 20 or 30 min)

    Step 2: 220 C 60% moisture (for like 3 min)

    Step 3: 220 C 0% moisture

    Any idea why the second step has moisture? I assume that by that point the crust has formed...

  • Chanop

    Thank Jo, I am still trying to find my ways with bread baking, fairly new to this game, but the combi oven makes it really easy to get into.

    For that ciabatta recipe, perhaps the middle step with moisture injection is only for making the crust shiny.

  • greasetrap

    Mantaraydiver, I have the same setup as you (Wolf CSO stacked over an M Series). Does your CSO actually inject steam when the oven is preheated? I'm pretty certain that mine will only inject steam into a cold oven, and then heats up from there. I've been meaning to call Wolf to find out if this is intentional or whether there's a problem with my oven, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

    I'm new to bread making and have been using the 5 minute Artisan bread recipe (so there's lots of things I could be doing wrong in addition to the baking part). My first loaf was a 1 lb. boule that I baked on the solid pan using the Wolf Gourmet mode (I chose the Artisan Bread with a Medium Brown Crust setting). This setting seems to inject just a small amount of steam up front, and then bakes the bread for 47 min at a temperature around 330 (the oven won't actually tell you the temperature until it shuts off). This may have undercooked the bread slightly. I checked the crumb temperature with an instant read thermometer, which showed it to be slightly less than 200 degrees (the book says it should be 205-210). There was very little oven spring (it rose only about an inch) and the crust was an attractive light brown color (but nowhere near as dark as most artisan loaves that I see in the stores). The crumb seemed a bit moist to me, but my wife and daughter loved it.

    My second attempt was a 2 lb. sandwich loaf. I baked this in a loaf pan on the oven rack using the Auto Steam Bake mode set at 425 (the book recommends 450 but said to reduce the temperature 25 degrees for convection). This setting produced a lot of steam at the beginning and then quickly increased the temperature to 425. I baked this until my instant read thermometer read 205, which was about 15 min more than the recipe called for. This time I got a huge oven spring, but interestingly enough, the crumb seemed much denser and heavier than the first loaf. The crust was very nice and thick.

    For my next attempt, I was thinking of preheating a cast iron pizza pan in the regular oven, moving it to the CSO, and then using the auto steam bake mode set to 445. I was also going to try using the oven's temperature probe set to 205, to let me know when the bread is cooked. I thought that this might give me some of the benefits of a preheated oven with a stone in it. Does this make sense?

  • Russ Irwin

    Greasetrap, steam or no steam when pre-heating is a function of the mode. I heated on Convection, so no steam. If you pre-heated on Convection Steam you'd get steam, but I don't think it would do any good since you open the door and out goes the steam.

    I believe that steam in injected whenever you have a steam cooking mode. It's less apparent at higher temps, but I'm pretty sure it's still there. In Convection Steam mode, there is a little note on the display that says to push the Mode button to turn steam on or off.

    I called Wolf with a question about whether the Auto Steam Bake mode used "humid" (i.e., no venting) during the "hot air" phase of it's cycle, but even after consulting a "senior" person, it was clear they were guessing. I'm going to look at the V-Zug manuals when I get a chance, and may even send them email to ask.

    I used a digital oven thermometer with remote probe to check the Gourmet A11 setting and found it was trying to bake at 350f or so, like the 330F you observed, so I've never used it.

    Internal temp is not a great way to determine if a loaf is baked or not, as determined by the guys who make the thermometers so I trust their work on this ( It's essentially difficult to over bake bread, unless you burn the crust beyond your preference. When in doubt, bake longer. The other thing that people don't do is let the bread cool. Considerable moisture will leave the bread while cooling. I know we all like bread hot from the oven after just 15-20min, but you'll find the bread is much better (thicker crust, lighter crumb) if it's allowed to cool for at least an hour and a half.

    I'm very safety conscious and don't like the idea of moving around big heavy hot stuff in my kitchen so I'm not keen pre-heating the pizza plate and then moving it to the CSO. If you do try that, at least get some gloves that will protect your forearms ( I think it's better to try the thin solid pan that comes with the CSO, or buy a thick perforated pan as Chanop suggests (which I also plan to try).

    BTW, if you want to dive deeper, take a one week course at SFBI. It's oriented to professionals, but usually about 1/3 of the students are home bakers. It will really up your game. Or consider buying Michel Suas' book Advanced Bread and Pastry ( The first sections provide all the theory and background on every aspect of baking that you'll ever need. And then it has formulas for every product.

    For now, I'm going to experiment further with a) manually changing modes (convection pre-heat, steam, humid, convection) and using my stone, and no pre-heat with the solid (or thick perforated) pan and the Auto Steam Bake mode. And I'm going to try a loaf pan bread (WW Cinnamon Raisin) with Auto Steam Bake rather than the M-series.

    And as you point out, there are other aspects to baking as well. Scoring in particular will have an impact on your oven spring and crust.

    I'll report back in a week or two! And I hope others will also keep posting their results, either with the Wolf CSO, or other steam ovens.

  • Russ Irwin

    BTW, this thread might be more effective on a bread baking forum like Houzz is not really a baking forum.

  • Kathy Harrington

    I hope people keep posting here on the Wolf CSO results as it can be tricky to operate. I haven't done bread, but croissants. We find the Convection Steam at 375 for 12 min with egg brushed over the croissant just right.

  • greasetrap

    Harringk, was that fresh croissant dough that you made yourself? My wife bought some frozen dough made by a small local market. The instructions said to bake from frozen at 350 for 25-30 min. I did this on auto steam bake and my wife made some as well in our conventional oven. We couldn't tell the difference between the two. But I understand that frozen and fresh dough are different animals.

  • greasetrap

    Mantaraydiver, My problem is that my oven doesn't seem to inject any appreciable amount of steam when the oven is hot. I've tried this through every combination of preheating that I can think of, but nothing seems to work. I'm not basing this on any kind of scientific measurements though, but my own observations when I open the oven door. For example, if I set the oven to convection steam at 445, start it from cold, and let it run for 30 min., steam pours out when I open the oven door. So much so, that I need to stand back for several seconds to avoid burning myself. If I do the same thing but with the steam off (by pushing the MODE button), then turn the steam on after the oven is hot, I can hear the oven making noises, but no steam comes out when I open the door. I'd be interested to know if other people notice the same thing on their oven, which would indicate that there's a problem with mine. I plan to call Wolf support about this but, based on past calls I've had with them, I doubt they know themselves. The Wolf CSO book say that you should start all cooking from a cold oven. I tend to think that this isn't due to culinary considerations as much as limitations of the oven. For example, the instructions for the M series oven say to always broil with the door closed. A technician who came out to repair my oven said this was due to sensitive electronics located right above the door opening. He said their concern is that moist air might get in if broiling is done with the door open and cause problems with the electronics.

    I was thinking of getting just a small 10.5" cast iron pizza pan that weighs just 5 lbs. I agree that trying to move a preheated stone or heavy pan would be dangerous. I used to be a volunteer firefighter and have a pair of firefighter gloves that should work well for this purpose. It's just an experiment to see if I can get a better result, given that I can't seem to get steam if I preheat a stone in the oven.

    Thanks for the SFBI recommendation. I actually live a bit more than an hour away from the CIA and could take courses there, but am not ready to make that kind of commitment yet. All of the work involved in making traditional bread seems a bit too time consuming to me and I was originally just interested in buying frozen dough to bake in the CSO. Everyone in the GW cooking forum tried to dissuade me from that though, and a helpful person there pointed me to the 5 Minute Artisan bread book. That seems to work well for me, as there's very little work, and even less cleanup. I posted my question about baking in the CSO here, as I thought it was more of a specific appliance question, as opposed to a general bread baking question. I'd be happy to start a discussion on the web site you mentioned, if you think it would be helpful there as well, though.

  • greasetrap

    Okay, I finally got my answer. Look at page 91 of the V-Zug manual that Chanop has kindly provided a link to above. No steam is produced at temperatures over 100C (212F). So you can't preheat the Wolf CSO and expect to get steam after putting the dough in.

  • Russ Irwin

    See my follow up comment at The Fresh Loaf.

  • Chanop

    I just received a granite baking stone from Black Rock Grill on Friday. Its size fits very well on my Miele combi rack, 38cm x 30cm x 2cm and weights about 6-7kg. First bake was a yeast dough, about 75% hydration, and dough was rested in the fridge over night before baking. I forgot to take the dough out from the fridge early, so proofing time after dividing, and shaping was a bit short. Dinner time was coming and I had to bake them. Oven spring with this stone is awesome, much better than small thin pizza stone, and perforated baking tray that I have used before.

    Baking steps is as follow:

    1. Preheat in conventional heat 225˚C, 1 hour
    2. Preheat in combi conventional heat 225˚C, 100% humidity, 10 minutes
    3. Insert the dough
    4. Bake in combi conventional heat 225˚C, 100% humidity, 10 minutes
    5. Bake in combi conventional heat 225˚C, 0% humidity, 10 minutes
    6. Bake in combi fan plus 225˚C, 0% humidity until done.

    Step 2, 4, 5, and 6 are executed as a user program. I just insert the dough in the middle of a program. Fan plus is convection mode, and conventional heat is top and bottom elements together. With Miele, when I open the door during combi mode, definitely there is steam coming out, although invisible through the glass pane.

    Because it was a new toy, I also tried pizza in combi convection heat 225˚C, 0% humidity and it turned out pretty decent. Didn't really time how long it took precisely, but it was definitely under 10 minutes for thin pizza. My pizza dough skill has not been up to scratch yet, and stretched this one a bit to far at one quarter and had a burned base.

    A sourdough batard is on baking schedule today.

  • Russ Irwin

    The bread looks very nice and clearly got a lot of spring. What is the difference between Combi Conventional and Combi Fan? Are you able to dial in any percentage of humidity?

  • Russ Irwin

    These were sourdough, 68% in the CSO using Auto Steam Bake at 440F with no pre-heat on the perforated pan that comes with the oven. The loaves get a nice golden glossy finish. Poor scoring, and the crust is not as thick as I'd like, but very tasty sandwich bread.

    At The Fresh Loaf a Miele oven user pre-heats a stone, then places the dough on the stone at 440F with 100% humidity which should be the same as the CSO Steam Bake mode. I tried something similar with the CSO and got a nice bread, but without the glossy crust, it had a very flat wood oven kind of finish.

  • Chanop

    @mantaraydiver, thank, and yes, I think perforated pan is probably the best solution for bread baking in Wolf/V-Zug if oven cannot inject moisture in after preheating at 435˚F. Or somehow, find a way to transfer hot baking stone or hot baking steel to the oven.

    Miele has three combi modes where you can specify humidity level as % from 0% to 100%. In Miele terms (European and the rest of the world apart from North America), Fan Plus means European convection where heat comes from the ring element at the back of the oven, Conventional heat means top and bottom heating elements and no convection, Grill means just the top element operating in grill (broil) mode. For these three modes, there are corresponding combi modes i.e. combi conventional heat, combi fan plus, and combi grill.

    When not operating in combi mode, Miele combi allows user to inject steam manually for most of the oven modes. Each burst is one minute long, but being a combi, you can keep pressing the button all the way through. I will experiment baking sourdough with manual injection sometimes soon.

  • rococogurl

    I bake sour dough in a Miele oven with an oven stone. I have an older oven so no steam injection. Would love to have that.

    I use a strong spray mister after the first 2 minutes and then I don't open the door until 20 minutes when I mist again. That's the way the steam injection worked when I spent the night in a French bakery. I'm very happy with the crusts. I bake at 450 F. I do find the cold oven start intriguing and plan to give it a try. In theory the gentle heating should yield maximum rise. But in my observations the bread sets and the rise stops after about 16 minutes in a hot oven. And a cold oven doesn't do much for the bottom of the crust. But I'll see.

  • Chanop

    Just finished baking a sourdough batard on new baking stone. Oven spring is confirmed, much better than perforated tray and thin pizza stone I have used before. Crust is not thick by any mean. It is still shatters when I cut open to see crumb. Crumb is fairly open, moist, and has a bit of gelatinous looking in the hole. At least I am heading in the direction towards holey loaf of bread.

    Baking steps are the same as my earlier post.

  • Russ Irwin

    That loaf looks excellent. I don't think you want a whole lot more air. I like the straight razor lame! Family heirloom?

  • Chanop

    Thank, mantaraydiver. Straight is an old Spanish Filarmonica #13 that I bought of eBay in a trash condition, and I cleaned it up and sharpened it, although not to the same point for ones I use on my face. There were a few people on knife forums suggesting straight for lame, they call it bread razor. Güde bread knife is called bread sword there, lol. I happened to shave with a straight anyway, so a good excuse to get another one just for bread.

  • greasetrap

    I just had my best result yet, but I'm still not getting anywhere near the oven spring that the rest of you are getting. I suspect that it's mainly due to my dough (I'm using the 5 Minute Artisan recipe instead of making traditional dough). The bread does taste excellent though, and successive batches are starting to get a bit of a sourdough flavor. Unfortunately my attempts to post pictures don't seem to be working.

    For my latest attempt, I preheated a 10.5" cast iron skillet in a traditional oven at 450 for 45 minutes, transferred the dough to the skillet, and them moved the skillet to my Wolf CSO. I baked the bread on Auto Steam Bake at 445 for 30-35 minutes. The CSO was slightly warm (maybe 100 degrees) from prior use when I put the dough in. I guess I should try baking in a preheated conventional oven with a cup of water in a broiler pan one of these days, to compare the results.

    If I were to do it all over again, I think I would have investigated Miele more thoroughly before making a purchase decision. It seems to have much more flexibility than the Wolf CSO, and can operate more like a true deck oven than Wolf. I'm not that dissatisfied with the Wolf though. The bread I'm making is much better than the "store baked" bread in local supermarkets, even if it's not rising to the level of true artisanal bread.

  • Chanop

    Out of curiosity for V-Zug hot air steaming mode and Wolf convection steam mode, I went to see a demo model in store at Winning Appliances to see how it actually work at hot end temperature. The picture below is a 2015 model V-Zug combi steam XSL. Despite interface differences, how it works supposes to be essentially the same as older models, as well as, Wolf CSO version.

    In hot air steaming mode, the oven heated up and there were a lot of visible steam and condensated water on the oven door, and on oven floor even at air temperature close to 230˚C. It took a few minutes at 230˚C for all of the water droplets to be vaporised and become invisible to naked eyes. At this point, once I opened the door, I could see and feel hot steam gushing out of the oven.

    I left the oven door open for 20-30 seconds, and closed it. Then there was a faint noise coming from steam system and pump working up more steam. I waited a few minutes and open the door to check. There were humid hot air coming out and made some condensation on cold glass surface at the control panel as well as adjacent ovens. However, it was not to the same degree (judged by feeling and visual) to how my Miele behaves at 225˚C 100% humidity.

    Next try was to turn the steam off, and wait a few minutes for the oven to dry out, and turned the steam back on again. There were moist air coming out after opening the door similar to previous test.

    So my thought was that the oven worked in hot air steaming mode as advertised, just that the amount of steam was not as much as one would have thought how it to be. As far as I know, V-Zug and Wolf have never published how much steam the oven should produce in hot air steaming mode any way, and probably tuned oven towards baking from cold.

  • Chanop

    I also tried baking bread with "Manual burst of steam" in my Miele. It turned out that the butter "Manual burst of steam" is not available in user program, even with normal "Conventional heat" setting.

    So I had to bake the bread manually in "Conventional heat" and keep pressing the "Manual burst of steam" a few times during the first 10 minutes before switching to a two-step program of "Convectional heat, 0% humidity" and "Fan plus, 0% humidity" as I usually do with recent bakes.

    Bread turned out ok, but I would go back to using combi mode program due to hassle free mode switching.

  • Nikki Blum

    Mantaray diver, I too am a SFBI grad trying to reproduce those artisan bread results at home. As long as I bake in a vessel (dutch oven or clay baker), my breads are as tasty and beautiful as I want them to be. But we're building new and I had my heart set on a plumbed steam-combi oven. Based on your experience, am I barking up the wrong tree? I had hoped the steam ovens would give me more flexibility in baking crusty breads, like baguettes, for which I don't have a DO or clay vessel.

  • plllog

    I don't use my Gaggenau CSO for baking (mostly due to lack of time/interest to do the test runs, but partially because it's mounted high and not as convenient). OTOH, I just got a Mason Cash terracotta baguette tray (couche), as well as a rectangular loaf pan. I have this obsessive new love for baking in terracotta. Sometimes old fashioned is good too...and the price of entry, even if you need two, is pretty accessible by comparison.

  • Nikki Blum

    Pillog, I'll check that out. Thx.

  • Jo

    I have finally reached a point where I'm happy with my 5 Minute Artisan Bread in the CSO (Miele).

    I settled for about 72-75% humidity dough (it really depends on the water content of the flour, by now I know what I'm looking for so I can adjust if needed).

    It's a wet dough, but not too wet (it does flatten a little bit, but not too much). I use the Miele perforated tray most of the time, because it's very convenient and the results aren't that much different from the baking steel (although I do want to experiment a bit more with that). The recipe I use (for 2 loaves):

    - 680 ml water

    - 910 - 950 flour (if it's shop bought I use 910, if it's the one I got directly from the mill, I use 950)

    - 7g instant yeast

    - 25 g salt (tho I think I'll decrease a bit because it is a bit salty for some tastes)

    Initial rise is about 2 hours after which it goes in the fridge. When it's time to bake I take it out, shape it and let it rise for about 90 min. I noticed this makes a very big difference. The books says to let it rise for about 40 min but my loaves were quite dense. When left for 90 min the crumb is light and airy.

    Preheat oven to 225 for 30 min with 0% humidity and another 10 min with 100% humidity. Insert bread and cook for 10 min at 100% humidity and 10 min at 0% humidity.

    Still need to work on scoring :)

  • mjocean


    Great thread! I have been baking both 5 minute breads and artisan breads in my Wolf CSO with fantastic results. Below is my method:

    Place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven. Preheat at 445 degrees for one hour on the convection steam mode with the steam off. Place loaf in the oven and turn on steam for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the suggested length of baking. Turn off steam for the remaining baking time. I get the crustiest breads, even those Ioaves I freeze are very crusty when thawed and reheated. I will comment the 5 minute loaves are not as crusty as the others, but still crusty.

    You cannot see the steam at higher temperatures, however you'll see the evidence of moisture in the oven. I can't remember the manufacturer of my stone, but it perfectly fits on the oven rack. I think it was the one recommended by America's Test Kitchen. Again, love this thread!

    Happy baking,


  • Mistman

    I bake 2 loaves of sourdough a week for sandwiches and occasional treats (cinnamon rolls) or a different kinds of loaves during the week. I don't like it to be too complicated but want what I consider excellent results. Personally, what works for me is just preheating the oven (Wolf CSO) to whatever temp I need in convection steam mode. If loaves in a pan 335, ciabatta type 445, free form loaves generally 400-425. I don't use a stone. One of the reasons I prefer sourdough is the 'to die for' crust and I get it w/the straight up steam convection mode. There's always a great poof of steam when putting the bread in and taking it out but you don't notice the steam in the oven as you would if steaming veggies while cooking. As mentioned steam only exists at 210 degrees over that the waters there but not noticeable until it is 210 degrees. I'm not sure how often or exactly when the water is injected, I can hear the valve working but I'm pretty sure it's not constant. I will sometimes use a large gas oven as I can heat it to ~550 or a large electric convection if I need a larger oven. The results from the CSO are always more impressive, the oven 'spring' is more noticeable and the crust is crustier w/the steam. I'm sure adding water to either of the other 2 would work similarly but like I said I'm in the K.I.S.S. group and don't like overthinking things too much.

    A lot of people get caught up in thinking rather than doing, having a good understanding of what you're doing, the 'why and how', will eliminate a lot of the guess work. Worse case is you mess up, so? You get to do it again but now you know more than last time. I don't use recipes or measure things a whole lot anymore, I have over the years but learned what to look for and the 'how and why' so have the latitude to experiment relatively successfully and don't get too upset when I fail. A fail for me is a boon for the chickens. My audience isn't very large, as long as we're all happy and occasionally overjoyed it's all good. The best night is when the kids say 'thank you for making this wonderful dinner dad!'. I have no idea where that came from, they started it when they were about 4 (now 8 yo twins). I don't get it every night I cook, but it makes my day when I do.

  • Chanop

    I have been baking quite bit of soft white bread and soft enriched bread lately. This is because two little ones prefer softer sweeter bread compared with crusty chewy sourdough that I like.

    For softer style of bread, combi steam oven is a really good tool. Recipes from Miele usually start from a cold oven with initial steaming / extra rising phase at about 40˚C - 50˚C for a few minutes, then temperature is raised to baking temperature with some moisture level, and it is finished off with dry oven.

    That initial steaming at 40˚C - 50˚C does give extra rise wonder. I am not sure if it should be called oven spring, but usually already proof dough would rise even more during that period.

    Here is a simple enriched bread:

    • 350g bread flour
    • 60g egg
    • 190g water
    • 50g butter
    • 7g salt
    • 4g yeast
    • 35g sugar

    It was kneaded in Magimix food processor with dough blade, let to proof, divided and put into tins, let to proof again. Proofed dough was not taller than the tin when it was put in the oven.

    My program for sweet enriched bread has four stages:

    1. 40˚C 100% humidity 8min
    2. 50˚C 100% humidity 4min
    3. 180˚C 50% humidity 10min
    4. 180˚C 0% humidity 15min

    This is at 180˚C 50% humidity stage. Dough has risen way beyond the tin.

    And here is the finished bread.

  • homepro01

    Lovely Chanop! Feeling a little jealous! I may have to get a Miele Combi Steam!!

  • Jo

    I gave enriched bread a few tries (used/tweaked recipes from my bread machine cookbook). It rose really well (using the program that starts from a cold oven) but I found we don't particularly like the sweetness. So I'm back to using the usual recipe (flour/water/yeast/salt) and varying the amount of water until I get a texture good for sandwiches.

    Might have to add some oil tho, as my last experiment had quite a crunchy crust.

    Wanted to ask: does anyone have a good recipe for pizza dough? I use one from, but it's a no-knead dough and requires at least 15-18 hours rising time. Which is fine when I plan for pizza. But sometimes I just get a craving and I'm looking for a dough that would be ready in 1-2 hours.

  • Kim G

    Jo - there are several basic pizza dough recipes on the web. I have had good luck with Ermeril Lagasse. The recipe I found uses honey instead of sugar.

    I ordered Peter Reinhardt's American Pie book and below is one of his that we like - I scale it back to make fewer crusts if I don't want to freeze some as I prefer fresh:

    His book is great read if you are a pizza foodie.

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