There has been lot of talk lately on the Masonry Heater Association Chat list about bread baking and I thought I'd share some ideas about how I get a shiny bread from a wood-fired oven.
My niece traveled to France a few years ago and interviewed a baker
there who was using a wood-fired oven - the same one used for
generations by his family, and the oldest in France. The baker said that he put a tray
of water in the oven every time he bakes, and that is all he does. The
breads do come out with a nice shine to them. You might try it and let us
know if it works for you.
I do know of another method which has
been used by my Italian side of the family for years - they make an
egg wash, just a beaten egg - and brush it over the loaf before putting
the bread in the oven. Not sure where that idea started, but I use it
when I bake egg bread every Christmas in the family tradition. That may
be considered cheating by the bread baking purists, but it sure does
make a nice looking loaf of bread. When I find a picture of one I'll post it.
The photo above is a loaf of egg bread I made last Thanksgiving without the egg wash and it is not shiny - but it sure tasted great anyway!