I have read a lot about how the use of steam, when baking bread, can vastly improve the quality of your loaf. Steam can help to produce a better rise, richer colour and a much tastier crust. Unlike a professional bakery, most of us don't happen to have a fancy-pants steam setting on our ovens at home, but there are things you can do to replicate this in a domestic setting, for virtually no cost.
To achieve the perfect amount of steam when baking, I use a spray water bottled (pictured, like one you might use for watering plants). Simply fill the bottle with cold water and spray onto the floor of your oven, as soon as you have put your loaf in. Another option would be to fill a baking tray with water and place on the bottom shelf of your oven. Do this when you are pre-heating the oven and then leave the tray in as you are baking your loaf.