We are getting ready to have a farm kitchen done by spring and baking bread made with wheat grown on the farm. The owner of the kitchen was interested in a steam injection oven (used, possibly), but was told that after 10-15 years they are so rusted out that it wouldn't make a very good purchase. She was figuring upon just using a pan with some nuts and bolts and ice cubes, etc. --a method a lot of home bakers use and with some very nice results, but I am wondering if it would yield enough steam for a really nice finished product, something one really couldn't replicate in a home oven. We would be baking multiple loaves at a time so there would be a fair amount of steam just from the moisture content in all the loaves being baked at a time, but would a steam injection oven or another more professional type oven be better or more worth it? Are there other professional oven options besides a steam injection type oven? Are steam injection ovens really so subject to rust and breaking down?
Go for the steam, most stoves are built to last 7-10 years, so if you get to 15 and rust out, you well exceeded most!! The bolts and ice cubes work well for some but will likely not come close to a true steam injection system. The other issue is steam ovens are usually close, wheras convention oven are vented and the steam dissipates quickly. I'm sure there will be many other views, both for and against!! Keep researching... Good luck!
I'm not the baker - the baker is Teresa Greenway who blogs at http://www.northwestsourdough.com
Check out her link http://www.northwestsourdough.com/discover/?p=3157#more-3157
She is baking multiple loaves of sourdough boules in a professional pizza oven for sale at a local bakery. Her solution was to shape domes from tin foil which covered each boule for the beginning of the bake. A cheap yet effective solution.
If you don't know Teresa, she is a highly experienced home baker who has been blogging for years. Her breads are fantastic.