The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rustic Country Bread - Baked in a Dutch oven

  • Pin It
holds99's picture
holds99

Rustic Country Bread - Baked in a Dutch oven

I was thinking about one of the main objectives of TFL (encourage, support and assist new bakers) and with that in mind I decided to attempt a "tried and true" recipe that would perhaps be appealing to bakers just getting into artisan baking. I set out to make a bread that would be easy and as fail-safe as possible for entry-level bakers to produce. I chose the Rustic Country Bread recipe from King Arthur flour. The recipe is available on line at their website. I thought it would be a good recipe to introduce bakers who haven’t used or had experience with using a pre-ferment method (poolish) when making an “artisan” bread and because of its simplicity it’s a good one for new bakers to try. I used a Dutch oven for baking the bread, which pretty much eliminates the problems of moving the fermented loaf onto a stone and running the risk of having it sink or losing it completely. Anyway, here are the steps I followed. I made the dough per K.A. recipe using stretch and fold technique. Instead of dividing the dough into 2 boules, I kept it in 1 piece and made a large boule. After shaping the boule I placed it in large skillet, lined with parchment paper (make your parchment paper long enough so you will be able to have enough overhang on each side to enable you to pick up the boule and lift it up out of the skillet and place it into the Dutch oven without dropping it). I placed the skillet containing the boule in a plastic bag (you can alternatively cover it with film, stainless steel pot...whatever), closed the bag to let it rise until nearly doubled. An hour before baking I put the Dutch oven (empty) with the lid on into the oven and preheated the oven to 500 deg. F. After the boule had doubled in volume my wife helped me lift it out of the skillet (holding the ends of the parchment paper) and place it into the preheated Dutch oven. I scored/slashed the top of the boule with 3 long slashes, put the lid on the Dutch oven, placed it in the oven (be extremely careful here, you’re dealing with a 500 deg. cast iron pot) and closed the oven door.  I immediately turned the oven temp. down to 450 deg. F and let it bake for 30 minutes, then took the top off the Dutch oven for the final 10-15 minutes of baking. Don't forget to remove the lid, so your loaf will brown nicely.  Because this is a double size boule, you’ll have to bake this one about 10 minutes longer than the smaller boule. Using a thermometer inserted into the boule check for an internal temp. of 210 deg. F. If the top is getting too brown and it still hasn’t reach 210 deg. F. internal temp. put the lid back on and let it go for a while longer. Remove boule from Dutch oven, picking up the parchment paper edges, and place it on a wire rack to cool for a couple of hours.  DO NOT cut until completly cool.  So, here are the results.

 Rustic Country Boule baked in Dutch Oven

Rustic Country Bread - No 1: Rustic Country Boule baked in Dutch Oven

 Rustic Country Bread baked in Dutch oven.

Rustic Country Bread - No 2: Rustic Country Bread baked in Dutch oven.

 Rustic Country Bread - Interior/Crumb.

Rustic Country Bread - No 3: Rustic Country Bread - Baked in Dutch oven - Interior/Crumb.

Comments

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Howard, that looks great! Did you have a stone in the oven? I notice your bottom crust is a nice color - mine scorched in the cast iron Dutch oven but does fine in the stainless one. I don't take the pot out, just slide the rack forward - and be sure to use an oven mitt because the top elements can give a nasty burn. Very nice post, A.

holds99's picture
holds99

Annie,

Yes I use a stone in the oven at all times.  I bought 2 square pizza stones and had one cut at Home Depot (with a water saw that they use to cut ceramic tile) so now I have a stone that covers my entire oven rack (actually 1 whole stone and the cut stone fitted together, the water saw cuts a very straight line).  Without a stone you risk burning the bottom of your loaf because your baking pan is taking some heavy duty direct heat from the bottom oven heating element.  You really need a stone if you don't have one.

Howard

Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

It should ecourage those who are thinking about baking bread to do so. I jumped in about a year ago and haven't looked back. It's fun to have a creative hobby that doesn't cost tons of money (unless you want to buy the extras...) and is very satisfying!

 

Trish

holds99's picture
holds99

I can start baking and forget all my problems.  It's great therapy, I just lose myself when I get into the process.  Thanks for your kind words.

Howard

hullaf's picture
hullaf

 to holds99 -- even though I've been baking a while sometimes there are new elements of a recipe I want to, and need to, try such as the above method in a dutch oven pot. I had an old pot used previously for camping (and it suspiciously looks just like yours) So, I did what you did, tried the KA recipe, the French-Style Country Bread with the sponge starter and added the 1/4 cup whole wheat flour plus 1/3 cup of rye flour, for the heck of it.  I hadn't totally made a bread with only the stretch-and-fold method so this was new to me too. I did that 3 times and then proofed the one large boule in a parchment paper lined colander (as this seemed the best size to form the boule to fit in the pot.) I managed to move it to the preheated pot and had a glass lid which was awfully nice to watch it in the oven. Total baking time was 30 minutes covered and 20 minutes uncovered. I had a hard time waiting for it to cool but . . . I fudged just a bit and the taste is great, crumb nice, and new things accomplished. Thanks a lot.    Anet 

 

 sliced rustic country bread

 

Rustic country bread

 

Rustic country bread in cast iron pot

French-style country bread in cast iron pot 

holds99's picture
holds99

Hullaf,

I check to the power.  You really did a great job on that bread.  It's a beautiful boule; great color, markings, interior, terrific oven spring and...well, just lovely.  You out shined me and I'm glad.  Your Dutch oven looks exactly like mine  Well, it really isn't mine, it belongs to my mother-in-law who was kind enough to loan it to me for my experiment.  It's very old and the lid was lost so I found a heavy aluminum lid in my collection of pots and pans that fits perfectly and she has allowed me to keep it indefinitely, so that's goodness.  You also did very good on your parchment paper length.  Mine was a little short but my wife helped me get it into the baking pot.  Thanks so much for posting your pictures, they're great.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

holds99's picture
holds99

Hullaf,

How did you score your loaf? It opened beautifully during oven spring, with very nice ears.  I've been trying different ways of scoring and have been having a problem.  I have a lame, which has a double edge razor blade but it doesn't work all that well.  It doesn't seem to go deep enough and it tears the skin of the dough sometimes.  I occasionally watch a live cam from a boulangerie in Paris and those bakers really make me mad.  They score a baguette soooo fast you can hardly see their hands move...zip, zip, zip, and before you know it the boulanger has score 4 pans of baguettes and he acts like it no big deal.  I hate guys that do that.  I couldn't tell what kind of blade he was using but it must be very sharp.  One of those French secret weapons that they use to keep their boulangers on top :-).  Recently I started using single edge razor blades and last time, I tried using a utility knife with a new sharp blade.  The utility knife seems to work best so far.  Someone, Mark Sinclair I think, uses a serated knife, which I'm going to try.  You sure did a great job of scoring that loaf.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

 This was a busy baking weekend. I made 2 loaves of sourdough in my new brotforms, 2 loaves of Anadama, bread pudding with the leftovers from last week and a Pain de Provence. I had a terrible time with the Pain de Provence. I tried to do the final rise in the brotform and the bottom of the loaf kept opening up. I pinched the heck out of it twice. Finally I just reshaped and baked it freeform. It didn't look too great after having been degassed and reshaped 3 times, but it tastes good!

holds99's picture
holds99

Paddyscake,

Really appreciate you posting the picture, That's the kind of scoring I've been trying to do.  I even tried dipping my blades in water before making my cut and that helped a little, but didn't give me the nice openings like you have on your loaves.  Did you dip your serrated knife in water or just use it dry?  Anyway, I'm a convert.  Guess I wasn't thinking "outside of the box", so to speak.  Very nice loaves you did---Thanks.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Hi Howard,

It took a bit of practice, but I've got it down now. I use a dry 8 1/4 inch serrated knife
that I only use for slashing. It's one of those demonstrator type knives that you see at a fair..like Ginsu. I find what works for me is to slash in one stroke. Occasionally, I have to give the end of a slash another stroke if doesn't seem to open enough. I found once I got over being timid with the knife they looked much better. Hope that helps..let us know how it goes.

Betty

holds99's picture
holds99

Betty,

Thanks, I really appreciate you expaining the process.  I love knives and have a small collection of Henkel knives that I have accumulated over the years and used a lot back in the days when I was cooking for a crowd.  In those days I had a very large kitchen with a nice Wolf gas stove.  Now that I've downsized to a smaller house and kitchen I still cook but baking is my true passion.  You made my day, now I have a reason to go out and buy a nice, shiny, new, serrated knife that will be dedicated completely to scoring loaves.  I have some "mad" money set aside for "special" needs.  I'll let you know how I do with my (soon to be purchased) new knife.   

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

audra36274's picture
audra36274

Holds99 ans hullaf, those are perfect! I can't wait to try it myself!

                                                                                          Audra

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Howard,

That's a beautiful loaf and a very good write-up.

I agree, the Dutch oven does work amazingly well to get that nice crust. I've tried it once pretty much the same way with the parchment paper and a very similar looking Dutch oven. The only small point I ran into was you had to be extremely careful not to get burned handling it and the lid or burning a surface setting it down somewhere.

Bill

holds99's picture
holds99

Bill,

Thanks for your very kind words. You are so right about being careful with the very hot Dutch oven. I use heavy oven mittens to handle it because it's extemely hot, close to 500 deg. F, and like you said, you have to be very extremely careful where you set it down.  I put it on a front stove burner directly above where I took it out of the oven so I don't have to move it around any more than necessary before it goes back into the oven.  

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Howard,

That makes sense. You have a good setup for handling the Dutch oven. 

My situation wasn't quite as smooth, although it worked. I have two ovens stacked together on one side of the kitchen, and the stovetop is on the other side on an island. I did carefully prepare a landing spot with some silicone heat pads. Even during the very short walk, maybe a few seconds, from the oven to the spot I had prepared, I could feel the heat building through the oven mitts. In retrospect, I should've used silicone oven mitts, too. A little longer walk, and I might have been forced to set the Dutch oven down on my wooden floor, which might have left an interesting round toasty spot on my kitchen floor. Then, after setting down the Dutch oven on the heat pads, I realized I hadn't made a place to put the blazing hot lid and had to scramble and get a couple of additional heat pads.

Bottom line, it all worked, and the baking results were very good with it. It just required being very careful and thinking out how to move it and set it and the lid down ahead of time. It's probably safer and less likely to result in any damage than some of the methods involving spraying water into the oven, depending on how and where the water is sprayed. Anyway, I thought it was worthwhile to mention how surprisingly hot that Dutch oven can be.

Bill

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Howard and Bill, maybe I am being really dim ( my son would roll his eyes!) but I don't know why you are risking life and limb and nice wood floors by lifting the 500* pot out of the oven. I figure after an hour at 500* my baking stone will keep the temp. up - and it is going to be reduced to 450* anyway - so I slide the rack forward, drop in the dough, pop on the lid and slide the whole deal back and shut the door. I am not noted for my speed and agility but it works for me. Of course my oven door drops down, not sure where you would put the banneton with a side opener. I also really like Susan's method, the ss mixing bowl rinsed in hot water and placed over the loaf on the hot stone. Hard to say which gets the best results, A.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

AnnieT,

That sounds so simple, but "in the heat of the moment" it didn't occur to me to just open the door, pull the rack out, and drop it in. It was my first try with it, so I was overthinking things, something I rarely ever do (believe that and I have some swamp land across the street here in NJ for you to consider, hehe)... Your approach sounds a lot easier and safer.

Bill

holds99's picture
holds99

AnnieT,

I usually use a banneton if I'm baking directly on the stone or in a pan lined with parchment paper.  When using the pre-heated Dutch oven I let the dough rise on parchment in a large covered skillet until it has doubled in volume then place it into the preheated Dutch oven.  The reason I took the Dutch oven (baking pot) completely out of the baking oven, instead of leaving it on the stone while I deposted the boule into the baking pot, was because, first, my oven rack doesn't pull out far enough to be able to easily and safely set the boule into the baking pot. Second, I lift the boule out of the skillet by holding onto the edges of the parchment---and I had cut the parchment a little too short and my wife had to help me lift the boule out and place it into the Dutch oven baking pot.  The point of using a covered Dutch oven is to keep all the moisture from the loaf inside the Dutch oven during the baking process.  The sides of the Dutch oven also lends support to the boule and the intense heat inside the Dutch oven gives great oven spring, while holding in the steam.  It really isn't all that complicated and dangerous.  It really boils down to whichever way you like to do it. 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Howard, isn't that what makes us Loafers interesting - we all have our own ways of doing things? I haven't tried to add steam to my oven (with hot water or ice cubes) since Susan taught me her stainless steel mixing bowl idea. Luckily my bowl is big enough to cover batards too - guess I won't be making baguettes. My local library got me a copy of Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads so that I can decide whether I need another bread book. I haven't delved into it yet as I am reading "American Food Writing", edited by Molly O'Neill. Not too much about bread but great writing. The only problem is that it is almost as heavy as the Clayton book and I'm afraid if I doze off it will brain Henry the ancient cat who likes to sit on my lap! A.

holds99's picture
holds99

AnnieT, I have a number of stainless steel bowls, various sizes, I bought over the years and I will try that method next time I bake boules.  Sounds like it works very well...without having to buy extra homeowner's insurance.  You're right-on about "us Loafers". 

Re: Bernard Claytons book: it was one of the first books I purchased, many years ago when I first started baking.  I really love that book, it's an old friend.  I still make Pain De Compagne Honfleur and Madame Doz's Peasant Loaf (Pain de Compagne) from his book.  The Egg Harbor bread is also very good.  My book is starting to come apart and I keep adding Scotch tape to the pages to hold it together.  Thanks---and by all means keep Henry out of harms way :-)  My wife and I watched the movie Harry and Tonto last night and the cat in that movie reminded me so much of our cat, Max.  Cats are such great animals and so independent...until they want something.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

judith's picture
judith

For some reason I can't find the recipe on the King Arthur site - not with the name Rustic Country Bread.  I'd like to compare the ingredients for that recipe with those in the recent recipe in Cook's Illustrated for the No-Knead bread that also uses a skillet to hold the dough when rising, and used the same techniques for transferring and baking. I was disappointed with the results from the CI recipe.

Could you please provide a link or more info on the KA recipe?

Many thanks,

holds99's picture
holds99

Judith,

In the interest of saving me having to input the recipe, if you'll send me your e-mail address I'll send you a copy of the recipe as an e-mail attachment.  I also checked the K.A. site and it isn't there, which is pretty hard to believe considering that the recipe was included in the DVD case for King Arthur's Bakers Forum - Artisan Bread DVD that I purchased from them recently, on-line. 

Anyway, send me your e-mail if you want me to send you the recipe.  I'll scan it in and send it to you as a PDF file and that way you will be able to open it and print it using Adobe Acrobat reader, which should have been installed at the factory on your computer.  My e-mail address is holds99@bellsouth.net

Don't know how it stacks up with Cook's Illustrated No-Knead.  I also used a skillet for proofing the dough, as you describe.  This recipe uses a poolish (12-18 hours/overnight) which gives the loaf good flavor.  It's a winner and I bake it frequently.  I thought it would be a good exercise for entry level bakers wanting to understand and get the feel for pre-fermented dough and it isn't an intimidating exercise like some other recipes...best of all it's not labor intensive if you have a mixer.  In the bulk fermentation stage you just have to turn it out onto the counter and do a "stretch and fold" a few times at 40 minute intervals.  It's really easy and produces very good results. 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

holds99's picture
holds99

Sorry about posting my e-mail address incorrectly. 

Correct address is holds99@bellsouth.net  

NOTE: I edited the original post and corrected it.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Howard, I'd love the recipe also, and am sending you my email address. This bread looks wonderful!

You might want to re-edit your email address to something like holds99 at bellsouth dot net   There are a lot of spam enterprises that scour the web for email addresses.

holds99's picture
holds99

If you don't receive it via e-mail or have a problem opening the file let me know.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

hullaf's picture
hullaf

 Judith -- I also couldn't find Howard's specific recipe but thought it might have been the KA recipe called "French-Style Country Bread" on their recipe site so that's what I used and it did very well. 

Howard -- I scored my boule with my lame (which is on the 'lam', in flight and half broken, the handle has broken off) but next time I'm going to try the serrated knife technique. I scored it in a tic-tac-toe shape but it sort of messed up and I really didn't mean to get ears. I think I forgot to rotate the pot half way through so that's what happens.  And I am empathetic with all the above comments on handling that HOT cast iron dutch pot. I've learned to be careful and "focus/focus" when I'm reaching into the oven as my arms have old marks from hurried reaches! (And when using knives - gosh dang!) But next time I'll try the stainless steel bowl method - that'll be new for me too. Just bought one at the local store.  Anet

 

audra36274's picture
audra36274

Since we are already try to do the parchment papre thing and slide it in to the hot cast iron pan, could you not just let it rise IN a stainless steel bowl that will just fit inside the cast iron dutch oven and then just slide it down in when you open the lid? I have a problem with my dough deflating when I move it. Would this work?

                                                                            Audra

holds99's picture
holds99

Audra,

Although I have not tried letting it rise in a stainless steel bowl (lined with parchment I presume) and after it has risen placing the stainless steel bowl into the Dutch oven it seems to me that method should work just fine.  As long as you can get your lid on the Dutch oven and the boule won't rise up and touch the inside of the lid that method should work fine.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

audra36274's picture
audra36274

I have stainless steel bowls of all shapes and sizes. I was already digging to see which ones would fit my dutch oven. I love it when we find a whole new take on idea! I love your bread in the cast iron, photos. About a month ago a thread was going on about the same process, but it was your pictures that made me fully understand what every was talking about. as they say a picture is worth a thousand words.

   Hope your enjoying nice warm Florida weather down there. My Alabama weather is almost warm, and 62 today, but with a cool wind.  Your post came at a good time. I was baking tomorrow for the weekend, and you have given me a whole new menu plan for the weekend now. I love to cook, but coming up with what to cook isn't so fun. That is the great part of this website. You can have no idea what to cook, look on here a few minutes, and you walk away with lots of new ideas to get you going! Everyone here does a wonderful job on inspiration. It is so funny, in my cookbook where I file my "keepers" they are labeled by name like they were old friends-mark's Portuguese sweet Rolls, Zolablues cinnamon rolls, ect. Years from now when my little girl gets my book to take with her when she moves away and asks me, "mama, who is Howard that gave you this country bread recipe recipe?" And I will just smile and say "and old friend". All of these are my friends, friends who taught me to make the wonderful breads ya'll have been enjoying for years.

                                                                                              Audra

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Audra, let us know how it works.  If you have a bowl that will work, it can't hurt to try.

Rosalie

audra36274's picture
audra36274

could you also use loaf pans? As long as your dutch oven is large enough? You know if all this works out, this may be the most action my dutch oven has seen in years. We all have one, and it sits in the cabinet or tucked away on a shelf, and we use them only once or twice a year. I bet if it could, the old girl is sitting in there smiling as we type! I'll let you know!

                                                                                Audra

holds99's picture
holds99

Audra,

You should give some thought to how you're going to get the bread out of the stainless steel (S.S.)bowl and/or out of the Dutch oven.  The Dutch oven is going to be HOT (500 deg. F) and the S.S. bowl, which will be inside the Dutch oven will be about the same temperature...HOT.  So you may want to line your stainless steel bowl with parchment before you put your boule into the bowl to rise.  Take a look at hullaf's photos on this thread and make sure the parchment is long enough on each side, extending from the edge of the S.S. bowl, in order to lift the boule out of the HOT S.S. bowl (which is inside the Dutch oven) at the completion of the baking cycle. 

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

audra36274's picture
audra36274

I had planed to use parchment. Honey I would use it scrambling eggs if I thought it would help keep the mess out of the pan! But I will be sure, now that you mentioned it to be sure the SS bowl doesn't fit too tight so that I have trouble sticking something beside it to help pop it out. A good trial run may be in order. Thank you for the helpful advise.

                                                                                        Audra

judith's picture
judith

www.judithconwayglass.com

 I've emailed you with my email address for the original recipe you used. I am anxious to try it.

I have had great success with an adaptation of the original No Knead Bread recipe that I bake in a cast iron Dutch oven, following much the same steps as you outlined. I have tried for 20+ years to get the flavor and crust of true Artisan breads such as we eat every day when we are in Europe, and this approach comes the closest.

holds99's picture
holds99

Judith,

Thanks for your note.  I sent it out as a PDF attachment to an email.  You should be able to open and print it with Adobe Acrobat Reader, which comes installed on your computer.  If you have a problem let me know and I'll figure out another way to get it to you.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

Kat52's picture
Kat52

With so many requests for this recipe, why not post the link here on the blog site??

dwfender's picture
dwfender

So, when you cook inside a dutch oven, do you place it directly on a stone or do you put the stone on a shelf below it to deflect the heat? 

margieluvschaz's picture
margieluvschaz

Hi- I have one of my oven shelves lined with quarry tiles.  I place my dutch ovens on a rack above my tile lined shelves.  after I preheat my dutch ovens, I line my dutch ovens with a black oven liner that I've cut in half.I got mine at Ross but Bed, Bath & Beyond carries them as well.    Be sure it can take 500  degree temps.  I them put my bread still in parchments sling into dutch oven & cook 30 minuutes with the lid on.  After 30 minutes when I lower oven to 450  I place an empty cookie sheet on shelf with the tiles  underneath the dutch ovens.  This process has great results for me because I was constantly scorching my bread bottoms.  It has worked for me in both ovens I've had.  My crust on the bottom is golden and 90 % of the time does not scorch. HTH.


Margie 

rpgrigsby's picture
rpgrigsby

Lots of these great recipes call for a sponge which seems to be nothing more than a short duration starter using commercial yeast.  I'm trying to use real starter as much as possible.  Is there a way to convert these sponges into a quantity of starter?  Thanks!

Rick

margieluvschaz's picture
margieluvschaz

Hi-

I use the No knead Sourdough recipe from www.breadtopia.com .  See earlier posts about scorched bottoms of bread- that has been the only problem I've encountered with that recipe.  Good Luck!

Margie

Rickh's picture
Rickh

I am just starting out to learn Dutch Oveb baking and I have not found the basic KA recipe that you reference. I notice that you sent it to a few people, would youplease send it to me also? My email is rickchorn@gmaildotcom

 

Thanks,

Rickh

 

Rickh's picture
Rickh

My email is rickchorn@gmail.com

ibtiggers8's picture
ibtiggers8

What size dutch oven are you all using?  Looks like 5 quart but not sure and I am going to invest in one for bread making.

Thank you :)

Kat52's picture
Kat52

Can you email me the Rustic bread recipe fro the King Authur site please?

kemarvel52@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

bjwilcher's picture
bjwilcher

Can you email me the recipe for Rustic Country Bread from King Arthur?  Thanks.

brenda.wilcher@gmail.com

holds99's picture
holds99

Brenda,

I just sent the recipe to you, along with a link to K.A. for other Rustic Country Bread recipes.  Wow!  I just looked at the date on my original blog post for this bread---5 years ago.

Hope the recipe works for you.

Howard

MachineFree's picture
MachineFree

Howard, first of all, thank you for this awesome post. I'm new to baking bread outside of my bread machine, and I just happened to start with KA's Simple Rustic loaf recipe! I was so excited to find this post. I have a question. I tried this bread again today (for about the sixth time), and there were spidery cracks in my crust after the loaf cooled.


My oven is electric with the heating element thingy on the bottom. I baked it in a Browning 12" Dutch Oven, preheated for an hour at 500, then turned down to 450. I monitor the temperature with an oven thermometer. I baked covered for 25 minutes, then uncovered for 10 mins. The Dutch Oven was on a makeshift baking stone.

Anyone have any ideas about why the crust cracks like that? I'll be trying again tomorrow, so any tips would be helpful.

Thank you!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I hope Howard will forgive my answering your question addressed to him.

The spidery cracks in your crust are highly desirable, since they are associated with a crisp crust and moist interior and a well-baked loaf. So, congratulations!

The cause of the crackling is that the crust has a lower water content than the crumb, and it is well-baked enough to not allow water vapor from the interior to wet it. As the loaf cools, it contracts. Since the crust is rigid, it cannot accommodate, and it cracks.

David

 

MachineFree's picture
MachineFree

David, 

Thank you! Had no idea that was a good thing.

Since we're on the subject of bread and all...

I had another question...

The dough for the Rustic Loaf bread is really wet (sticky?)...and it doesn't rise very much.

It tastes good...and it has those pretty holes inside, but it's kinda flat looking.

If I adjust the dough and add less water...will it rise more?

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

The picture I get is that you are talking about the shaped loaf not rising much but spreading out during proofing. My response is based on this. If I have the wrong picture, the answer may be off base.

I don't know this recipe, but from Howard's photo, I'd guess the hydration is already in the 65-70% range. I wouldn't reduce it further.

The loaf may spread out because the gluten is not well developed and/or because the loaf is not shaped so as to form a tight gluten sheath around the loaf to provide structural support.

In any case, when you make bread with higher hydration doughs, the loaves need lateral support  during proofing to keep from spreading too much. This can be in a basket lined with a floured towel, a French banneton or a German brotform. Or you can proof the loaves on a "couche" - a nest of bakers' linen or baking parchment that is folded to provide support to the sides of the loaf as it rises.

If I were going to follow Howard's baking routine for this bread, my inclination would be to proof the loaf right on the baking parchment you are going to use to transfer the loaf to the DO. Just support the sides with rolled up dish towels while the loaf is rising.

So, in summary: There are three factors to consider - Gluten development, loaf shaping and proofing with support.

David

Pages