The Fresh Loaf

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My first bake in Lodge Combo Cooker

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

My first bake in Lodge Combo Cooker

Today I baked in the Lodge Combo Cookers for the first time. I debated what bread to bake and decided on the San Joaquin Sourdough. The results pleased me.



The boules weighed 510 g each before baking. The oven was pre-heated to 500ºF. When proofed the loaves were transferred to the shallow half of the combo cookers which were not pre-heated, scored, covered and baked at 480ºF for 20 minutes covered, then another 15 minutes uncovered.



Boules proofed



Ready to bake



Uncovered after 20 minutes at 480ºF



Out of the oven after another 15 minutes baking uncovered




Crumb


I'm happy to find that the Combo Cookers work well with smaller loaves that do not cover the base. I did shape these with a very tight gluten sheath, so, even though this is a pretty high hydration bread, the loaves did not spread when transferred to the Cooker bases.


David

Comments

Jaydot's picture
Jaydot

Gorgeous loaves!


I'm so glad you (and other TFL-members) pointed out this no-preheat method, it works really well, doesn't it!


You must have a really big oven if you can fit in two of these combo's with long handles. I probably couldn't even squeeze one of them into my little oven. Just as well they're not available in Holland :).

wildeny's picture
wildeny

Hi, David, what did you use to cover the bread?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The "Combo Cooker" deeper pan.



David

Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

David: I was just over at amazon looking at these and it appears they have a couple of different sizes. What size did you buy?


Trish

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

See photo, above. It's 3 qts.


David

Candango's picture
Candango

David,


   Thanks for the post and the photos.  I have a combo cooker on order and it should arrive tomorrow or Tuesday, so I will have a chance to experiment.  I noted you did not heat the shallow part of the cooker, which you used for a base.  How about the deeper part, which you used as a cover; did you preheat that as the oven was warming or were both parts cold when it went into the oven?


Thank,


Bob

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Neither part was pre-heated.


David

happylina's picture
happylina

Hi David


Combo cookers looks work very good.


I want to know  you cover the pan or no? The cooker looks like thick pan. they are iron or  alloy steel or other material?


 


Thanks for your new style bread.


Happylina

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The cooker is cast iron.


David

louie brown's picture
louie brown

These pot baked loaves are really beautiful. Presumably, enameled cast iron won't give the same color because it isn't dark.


 


So, it seems you can bake any size or shape up to the diameter of the base. That's good.

longhorn's picture
longhorn

Beautiful as always, David! Too bad there aren't elongated models for batards and baguettes!


I may have to trade in my cloches. The seal on the cast iron is clearly superior and trapping more steam!


Thanks for sharing!


Jay

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Great job, and lovely crumb shot, David! 


I really have to give you credit, getting 2 CC into your oven, looks like a tight squeeze.  For me this pot is a nice size,  except I would have very much liked for it to be a little taller. 


One is enough for me to handle.  I pre-heat both top and bottom separted, with the oven to 500F and slide my loaf in on a parchment lined pizza paddle, put on the lid, I don't remove either from the oven.


Sylvia

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I use the "moves" shown in the Breadtopia.com video for the La Cloche to load the loaf. It works well.


I'll try pre-heating the cooker, just to see the difference, if any, but it's so much easier to handle the cold pan.


David

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I thought you pre-heated the top and not the bottom...  It would be much easier working with cold pots.  I'll give it a try next go...iron does heat up fast...hard to beat iron pots.  I also love this set for cooking...won't lose the seasoning.  I wonder how they pre-season..though I understand it's a healthy process.  I like seasoning my pots..watching them turn from silverish to black...always amazed me...I felt quit hurt : ( when I watched the thick black flakes of time come off my old seasoned pan, I used for lava stones. 


Sylvia

JerryW's picture
JerryW

David -- which video on breadtopia.com for La Cloche loading "moves"?  From scanning the titles available, it wasn't obvious?  Tnx.


Jerry

SallyBR's picture
SallyBR

Beautiful!!!!!


 


Amazing oven spring you got there,   and with the non-heated base, which makes even better!      I should have taken a photo of my Tartine bread before placing in the oven, it had a very similar "flattish" shape of your St JOaquin,  and it also ballooned like magic in the oven


 


I miss my oven......

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi David,


Lovely bread as always, in every way.


I've been experimenting baking "under cover" myself; just about to post on it.


Can you give me an idea of the diameter of your version of this Dutch Oven?


I'm thinking I will need one in excess of 20cm.


All good wishes


Andy

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The part on which the bread sits is 10" in diameter. That's 25.4 cm. It ought to work for you.


Regards,


David

Franko's picture
Franko

Terrific oven spring on those beauties David, they look awesome!


How is the Lodge CC for bottom coloration? The DO I use is heavy aluminum and I've been getting some almost scorched areas on the bottom of my loaves. I'm curious if you've had anything like that using the Lodge.


Franko

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Thanks for your kind words.


The bottoms are darker than ideal. I should try one of the ideas put forward to mitigate that.


David

belfiore's picture
belfiore

I didn't think of using the top to load the bread into...that would eliminate the bread becoming misshaped during oven spring from the parchment crinkles when used in the deeper bottom.


Has anyone tried using the pre-cut round parchment used for cakes just under the bottom to help prevent over-browning?


A friend dug up a 5qt DO bottom but couldn't find the lid so I ordered one from Amazon for $16.98...kind of a gift to myself in that with $25.00 order you get free shipping~so I added Jim Lahey's book My Bread!  The lid should be here this week.


Beautiful looking loaves as usual, David. I wish I could get decent pictures of what I bake...not that better photos would make mine look as good as yours...but at least get the lighting right enough for crumb detail.


Toni

longhorn's picture
longhorn

In my experience using a circle of parchment helps but is not enough. The bottom still comes out too dark IMO.


As for method, I simply let the bread rise on the parchment and then cut the parchment into a circle slightly larger than the dough. Then used a cookie sheet to pick up the parchment and slide it onto the lid.


That part worked well. I continue to have mixed feelings about the cast iron - it seems too heat conductive and I haven't found the right temp yet!


Good Luck!


Jay

belfiore's picture
belfiore

I'm of the same opinion...I love the way the bread turns out until I look at the bottom crust. I've tried parchment rounds & then cut rounds from silicone baking mats. It was better but the bottoms are still far too done for me. Next experiment will be a perforated steaming tray that will keep the loaf about 1/2" off the bottom. I'm hoping that since the dough comes into contact with the sides of the DO without burning, removing it slightly from direct contact with the heat mass of the DO bottom will be enough. My husband suggested this and also wants me to try using a small amount of water in the space below. I'm game...I love science experiemnts.


I don't recall seeing an exact reference in Lahey's book for how far above his heat source he's placing the DO..."middle rack of the oven" spacing could vary by several inches depending on one's particular oven.


Any additional thoughts, anyone?


Toni


 

longhorn's picture
longhorn

As I have said in other comments, I generally prefer La Cloche. It's not perfect either but I think it gives more control because of the lower heat conductivity and the bottom won't darken as much.


Good Luck! Look forward to your results!


Jay

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Toni, Jay,


Have you thought of using silpat rubber insulated baking sheet?


You could easily cut a piece to size, and use that as a base if the silicone paper is inadequate.


Just a thought!


BW


Andy

longhorn's picture
longhorn

Hi Andy!


In my experience (and here I am confident we all have somewhat different results depending on our oven/detailed practices) the bottom is not disastrously dark - just more than I like so a silpat would probably be enough - would certainly help and in my case might be enough. 


Another interesting thought would be to find a smallish ceramic disk that would fit inside the Combo Cooker and serve as the base. That disk would probably need to be hot though for it would probably heat too slowly if it began the baking cold.


Thanks!
Jay

ananda's picture
ananda

I have used wire mesh inserts in the deck ovens which sit underneath the baking sheets.   Also, you can get diffusers with handles to sit on gas flames on domestic ovens.   Take the handle off one of these and you may have another answer.   Silpat seems ideal to me; isn't that the purpose of their design in the first place.


I remeber my mother had some fabric on a roll which was designed to replace silicone.   This is probably robust enough to do the job, but I ca't remember what it was called


Thanks


Andy

belfiore's picture
belfiore

...a rocket scientist's experiment but hopefully helpful.


I made 2 loaves of Lahey's basic dough, placed 1 in each DO without preheating them, covered and placed into the oven at 475 degrees for first 20 minutes. I removed the lids, reduced the heat to 450 degrees and baked a further 25 minutes, removing them when instant read said 200 internal temp. I slid them out of DO's onto a rack for about 10 minutes so they could crackle and sing. I wanted the crusts to firm up a bit so I placed them back to sit on the rack in the cooling oven.



Insert



Silicone round



Insert loaf cooling after removal from DO



Silicone round loaf cooling (it hit the lid of the DO and flattened out a bit)



Bottom baked with silicone round...pretty much perfect doneness for me



Loaf baked with insert and parchment...a little blonde, I think.


I'm thinking the best result will be the silicone rounds with some time & temperature adjustments.


Sure has been fun playing in the kitchen on a rainy day!


Toni

msbreadbaker's picture
msbreadbaker

Hi Toni,


I have been using the Combo Cooker for a short while and do not have any problem what so ever with the bottoms of the loaves being too dark. I do not use any parchment paper, inserts or any of the other suggestions I have seen here. What I do is what one would normally do when baking, I grease the inside of the bottom and top with Crisco. It is not heavily coated, but sufficient. The bottom is a beautiful brown as is the rest of the crust. I don't think there is any chance of the "crisco" getting into your system as some may fear, it merely protects the bread and is most likely absorbed into the pan itself.


I think that sometimes folks make things much more complicated than they really are. I must add, I do not preheat either the top or the bottom, all turns out well without doing that. I liked the post where the TFL person did the comparison and found preheating was not necessary.


Happy New Year and continued good bread baking, Jean P. (VA)

belfiore's picture
belfiore

Thanks for your comments! What temperature are you baking at? I have to admit I have not tried the Crisco because I think the last time I purchased any was about 20 years ago!


Maybe I'll buy a very small tin & give it a go...then hide it from my husband!


Cheers,


Toni

msbreadbaker's picture
msbreadbaker

Hi Toni, A small container of Crisco will do you fine. I never use "substitutes", ie, cheaper brands. When you make cakes, what do you grease your pan with? If you haven't used it in so long, you will want to make sure there is a fairly nice layer inside the pan. I do the lid as well, but maybe not quite as much.


You asked what temperature I baked at, and my first thought was, "well, whatever that recipe called for". I  double checked the recipe to be sure and then I realized I had never set my oven to 500F, much less 550! I am a scardy cat, although, I'm sure many folks would say, what difference does 50 degrees make. A valid argument. And this is a good oven, well insulated. But I use 450F then turn it down to 425. I certainly would NEVER use the self cleaning feature!!! HA


Also, in addition to the combo cooker, I put the 2nd loaf in an old 8" cake pan and it turned out just as good. Well browned, good crust, even browning on bottom and top.


Remember you are not eating the Crisco by the spoonful. (hiding it from your husband) I still have some delicious recipes that use 8 Tablespoons in the icing. Makes a wonderful cake.


Take care and hope you find smoother waters in your bread baking. Jean P.(VA)


 

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Beautiful loaves, David.


So, my assignment next weekend is to bake la miche en pot de fer, experimenting for the first time with my newly acquired Dutch oven and Organic T85 flour.


Glenn

belfiore's picture
belfiore

>my assignment next weekend is to bake la miche en pot de fer<


I don't know why this comment immediately popped a picture of the Swedish Chef from Sesame Street into my mind...and your cat was wearing an apron that said "Sous Kitty" !!!


LOL


Toni