The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking in a cast iron pot

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carthurjohn's picture
carthurjohn

Baking in a cast iron pot

I have recently been baking all my round sourdough loaves in a cast iron pot and had really good results: an excellent crumb and really good crust. Short of a wood fired oven it gives the best results I've ever had.


But one thing I still haven't mastered is how to get dough into the pot without them becoming misshapen loaves. Inevitably, I hit the side of the pot as I tip them in from the banneton, trying not to burn my fingers on the top edges. I shake the pot to give it a semblance of a round load, but it always looks a bit of a mess. It wouldn't be so bad, but I use cane bannetons, so the poor shape is really evident in the finished loaf!


I've thought about trying to use some form of peel, but think I would still have the same problem.


Has anyone found a good technique for getting the dough into the pot without ruining the finished item?


Thanks,


carthurjohn


 

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Hi,
can you tell me if your pot has think bottom and sides? I have a couple of monoblock cast iron pots that are 1cm thinck on all sides, but I never thought that they would fit well for baking bread.

What does cast iron bring to baking?

Thanks.

carthurjohn's picture
carthurjohn

nicodvb,


They're about 3mm thick. The reason I use them is simply because they produce a higher quality loaf. This is how I use them.


I proof the dough in a banneton, as per normal and towards the end of the proving time I put the pot with its lid on in the oven with it turned up to max. When the oven comes up to heat, I take the pot out and tip the loaf from the banneton into it, put the lid on the pot and back into the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 mins, I remove the lid and turn the heat down to 200 degrees for 15 minutes. Then I take the loaf out and tip onto a cooling tray. Surprisingly the loaf does not stick to the bottom or the sides, so you don't need to oil the pot.


The pot functions like a mini steam oven, as the lid keeps the steam in, so you get a lovely authentic colour and crust to the bread.


SourDom in Australia uses this technique. See here for a video of him demonstrating it:


http://sourdough.com/video/replicating-professional-baking-environment


Hope this helps.


carthurjohn


 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

One method described in thread linked below:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/15292/stock-pot-loaves


Dropping into a LaCloche method. Pot should be same; just a few farther inches to drop. Scrool down to first video(and play it) to see method:


http://www.breadtopia.com/basic-no-knead-method/


Parchment sling method. Scroll down to 2nd video. He does a demonstration with a pot, but actually bakes in cloche again:


http://www.breadtopia.com/cooks-illustrated-almost-no-knead/


And, if you haven't already seen it, the original NYT no knead video:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13Ah9ES2yTU


Good luck.


 


 

wwitkows's picture
wwitkows

I've been baking the same way and it really makes a great crust. What I do is proof it in a banneton in floured parchment paper. Then you can grab the edges of the parchment paper and transfer it to the cast iron pot and it will still pretty much retain it's shape.


Warren.

margieluvschaz's picture
margieluvschaz

I use the banneton sprinkled with rice flour & drop it on parchment & carry it sling style leaving the paper in the pot, or I proof it on the pachment & do the same thing just leave it in the sling.


Margie

swtgran's picture
swtgran

I use a cast iron pot for my NK bread, also.  Before I heat my pot, I put my parchment in and press and crease it into the shape of the pot.  I remove the paper and try to keep it in the shape of the pot.  When it is time to put the bread into the hot pot, I pull the pot out, gently place the parchment back into the pot.  I then tip the bread into the parchment lined pot.  I have found that if I tip it so that the bread seems like it is going to hit the back rim of the pot, it actually lands in the center.  If it does not, the parchment is then used to position the loaf so it can shape itself, evenly, in the center of pot.


When I don't use the parchment, the best method I have found is to make certain I tip it out toward the back of the pot (the rim away from me), not the center.  Terry R

kutzeh's picture
kutzeh

On the no knead bread, after the last flour addition, I tip the bowl and move the dough to one side and spray sides and borrom...it slides out easily

maddy bondi's picture
maddy bondi

Try what I do, it works fab:


Rise the bread in the cast iron pot.


Put the pot in a COLD oven, lid on.


You will get the final rise, if you put the bread in at 80% proofed.


AND no misshapen loaves!

Franchiello's picture
Franchiello

and it works perfectly!  I love my cast iron pot for bread baking, I get a nice crackly crisp crust (which is my favorite part of the bread) and a chewy crumb.  I tried the parchment paper sling today, just to move a proofed loaf from the cookie sheet to the baking stone, works great - I'll have to try the method the next time I bake.