The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

dutch oven

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Netvet007's picture

Hearth breads

March 6, 2013 - 12:41pm -- Netvet007

After last week's debacle with baguettes, I went back to boules and an oblong loaf.  The boules were Ken Forkish's white bread with Poolish and the long loaf was Peter Reinhart's transitional multi-grain hearth bread which I made on a pizza stone with hot water into a cast iron pan for steam.  Much better results.  I have two small boules of sourdough rising on the counter to bake yet. 

baybakin's picture
baybakin

Oakland sourdough:

This is the basic sourdough that I keep around the house. Nearly every sourdough bread that I do is an edit on this basic recipe, which is sort of a combination of Daniel Leader's Pain de campagne and Chad Robertson's Country Bread.

Ingredients:

310g Sourdough Starter (130% hydration)
250g Water
440g Good quality unbleached AP/Bread Flour
60g Whole Grain Flour (I use whatever I have, WW/Rye/Spelt, etc)
12g salt (I use course grey sea salt)
(50g boiling water)

Method:

In a large bowl, mix sourdough with water and flours until a shaggy dough forms. Let autolysis.

Measure out salt into a small bowl, pour boiling water over the salt to dissolve it. let the salt water come to room temp.

After 45 mins mix the salt water into the dough. (I do this all by hand within the bowl, ala tartine)

S&F the dough a few more times over the course of the rising time (about 2-4 hours, depending on the temp of the house). At this time I either retard the dough in the fridge (on a weekday, so I can go to work), or proceed to pre-shape.

Pre-shape the dough into a round (If removing from fridge, let dough reach room temp before pre-shape).  Let pre-shaped dough bench rest for 15 mins, then shape into a round and place in a cast-iron dutch oven to rise.

30 mins before bread is proofed pre-heat oven to 500F.  Place lid on DO and put into pre-heated oven.  Bake for 20 mins covered.  Remove lid, turn down to 450F and bake for 15 mins.

Take bread out of DO (carefully) and let cool on a rack. Enjoy!



The pictured bread is cracked wheat/White Whole Wheat as the whole grain part.

svar's picture

dutch oven

November 2, 2011 - 12:27am -- svar

I am writing from India, having recently read about using Dutch ovens to make certain kinds of bread.  I wanted to order one (from amazon, as it can be shipped conveniently) and am unsure about which one to order.  The two options for me are:

1) A 5 quart Dutch oven (Lodge Logic Dutch oven with loop handles)

2) A combination of a 3 quart deep skillet and a 10.25" shallow skillet/lid (Lodge LCC3 Logic Pre-Seasoned Combo Cooker)

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

My wife and I took a few days this past week to visit an area of South Africa that we had not seen before: the Drakensberg (Dragon Mountains) in the KwaZulu Natal province.  While there, we arranged for a trip over the Sani Pass into Lesotho, a small, mountainous kingdom entirely surrounded by South Africa.  And why would I be mentioning this in a bread-dedicated site, you might ask?  Well, because of something that we did not realize was part of the tour: a visit to a small village just a few miles past the border.


Getting up Sani Pass is a challenge, whether for bikers, hikers, or vehicular traffic.  The pass itself tops out at 9,470 feet.  The route there is an unpaved road that twists and turns as it snakes its way up the mountainside.  4x4 is the order of the day for vehicles.  The following picture was taken about half-way in and about a quarter of the way up:



As you get closer to the top, the going becomes even more challenging:



After reaching the crest, there's the obligatory stop at Immigration:


After leaving Immigration, we drove across a plain whose tallest features were the shepherds and their flocks.  Vegetation seemed to consist primarily of knee-high tussocks of grass and heather.  We eventually arrived at a village consisting of perhaps a dozen stone huts:



Notice the white flag flying at this hut.  No, the occupants haven't given up.  The white flag indicates that bread and beer (a sorghum-based brew) are available for purchase.  A green flag would indicate vegetables and a red flag would indicate meat for sale.  


You might think from looking at the hut that the kitchen facilities are far too limited to support a bakery/brewery operation.  Limited, yes, but not too limited.  The "kitchen" is a battered wooden table against the wall opposite the door.  It holds a few bowls, some enameled metal drinking cups, and not much else.  There are a couple of larger plastic containers to the right of the table; that's the brewery.  The oven is a Dutch oven that rests on the hearthstone in the center of the hut.  The bedroom is a single bed against the wall to the right of the door; the living room is a stone bench built against the wall to the left of the door.  There are no interior walls.  Nor are there windows.  The local thinking is that windows make the hut harder to heat.  Smoke from the fire escapes through the doorway, if the door is open, or through the thatched roof.


The available fuel for fires:



The pile of "bricks" on the left is dried cow manure.  It is the primary fuel, supplemented with brush from the bundles on the right.


Despite what many of us would view as absolutely impossible conditions for turning out anything other than a flatbread, or maybe a bannock, Miriam (the hut's owner) makes some beautiful bread that she sells to flatland tourists like ourselves and to her neighbors.  And I'm not being patronizing in the slightest when I use the word beautiful.  See for yourselves:



Miriam's bread is both elemental and artisanal, in the best sense of that overworked word.  The ingredient list is limited to flour, water, salt and yeast.  She has no scale, yet each segment is wonderfully uniform in shape and size.  I'd guesstimate that each section weighs around 400g, perhaps a little less.  She regulates the heat by the quantity of coals beneath the DO and on its lid.  As you can see, the crust is a lovely brown; neither underbaked or scorched.  The crumb was moist and soft straight out of the DO.  I think that the flour used was mostly white, although some flecks of bran were visible.  The flavor was exactly what you want from bread: wheaty, yeasty goodness.


After a brief tutorial on Lesotho, in general, and life in the village, more specifially, we bought some bread and some handcrafts and then bid Miriam goodbye.


Before heading back down the pass, we stopped at the border for lunch at the highest pub in Africa:



Somehow, the pass looked even scarier as we started down than it did on the way up:



However, our driver got us back safe and sound.  And with a much greater appreciation for the so-called necessities that I think are required for making bread.  Knowing the difference between essentials and conveniences may be Miriam's biggest gift to me.


Paul


 

yy's picture

Dutch Oven baking - coated vs. uncoated, effect of size?

April 12, 2011 - 8:06pm -- yy

I'm looking into buying an oval dutch oven specifically for baking bread, so I was wondering if there was any experience on this forum that I could benefit from. I have two questions on my mind:


1. What effect does an enamel coating have on the crust vs. an uncoated cast iron dutch oven? I know that uncoated DOs tend to scorch more easily, but does a coating affect other attributes of the crust, such as how thick it is, or how crispy it is?

olaugeb's picture

Help with design of earthenware baker ( römertopf, la cloche, dutch oven etc. )

February 3, 2011 - 6:05am -- olaugeb

Hey there,


I'm a ceramic student who have chosen one of his favorite hobbies to make a project out of. Baking.


I've had enormous success with an old Römertopf I bought used, both for doing stews but especially baking.
The old Römertopf had some shortcomings though, it was really big, necessitating a rather large bread, or a half used space which is an energy waste I rarely tolerate.
I accidentally broke the lid by putting it on a wet tablecloth, thermal shock of the right kind will make it crack :s

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

Sourdough Rye with Seeds – cast iron bake


First, thanks to Eric Hanner for this post providing inspiration to explore covered cast iron cooking recently:  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/21006/my-combo-cooker-experiment.  This is my second bake with cast iron and I like the results!  Flavor and texture were awesome!


I already owned a 5 qt Wagner Dutch oven with a glass lid that has been in the family as long as I can remember.  The diameter is the same as the 3 qt. Lodge combi cooker - the higher capacity of the Wagner being due to taller height.  So I had vessels that would allow two similar sized loaves to be baked at once- albeit with one having glass and one having cast iron cover.  Both loaves came out identical


 


 


Sourdough Rye Recipe for two loaves (2,066gr or 2.3 lbs prior to baking)


Overall Formula:


60% bread flour (697gr)


25% fresh ground whole wheat (293gr)


10% fresh ground whole rye (114gr)


5% Oat bran (I tend to add to all of my breads for health reasons - 58gr)


23 grams sea salt


20 gr molasses (approx 2 tbs)


10 gr malted wheat powder (approx 2 tbs) – sprouted, dried and ground into flour (malted barley would substitute)


40 gr mixed seeds: Flax, charnushka/black caraway, sesame, poppy seeds (approx 4 tbs)


72% hydration ratio: 834gr water including starter build up.


 


Build Stages:


1.      Stage 1 - build rye starter (100% hydration) to 228 grams (11% of recipe).  This uses all of the rye flour.


2.      Stage 2 – add 293gr of whole wheat, 58gr oat bran, 38 gr white bread flour, all of the seeds, 389gr water.  This approximates 39% of the total formula.  When combined with Stage 1 equates to 50% of the total recipe.  Let proof 8 hours at 78° (oven off light on gets works well).


3.      6pm: incorporate remaining ingredients other than salt.  40 minute autolyse.


4.      Add salt, mix 6 minutes on low speed.


5.      Stretch and fold 3 times at 45 minute intervals.  Keep at 78° between folds.


6.      10:00 pm: Preshape loaves, rest 25 minutes, shape into final loaf and place in floured banneton (actually: $1.50 colander from the dollar store lined with a microfiber dinner napkin and lightly dusted with flour- micro fiber wicks away moisture and releases fine with modest dusting)


7.      Place in plastic bag, leave overnight in refrigerator.


8.      Preheat oven 1 hour at 500° - include Dutch ovens and lids


9.      Plop dough into hot vessels, spray with water, score, and cover.  In they go.


10.  Reduce heat to 450° after 5 minutes


11.  Remove cover after 30 minutes


12.  Baked another 5 or so minutes until internal temp is 195°.  Shut oven until internal bread temp was 202°. 


Note: While the loaves came out nice, the crust is not rock hard as Eric was striving for and as was pointed out in his post/link above.   While my crusts were not rock hard after a 30 minute cover, I am still happy with the outcome.  


Perhaps next time I will leave the temp higher and in the oven longer to see what impact that has on the crust. And not spray dough after putting into Dutch ovens?  Or perhaps shut the oven sooner and leave until 210° or so internal?  Any suggestions on that elusive crust would be appreciated!


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