The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking methods examined

makebreadnet's picture

Baking methods examined

After reading this site (and many others) for some time, I have read and learned many tricks and tips from fantastic bakers on how to make a better loaf.  My goal is to just keep improving and making my loaves a little better each time.  I don't really make them for anyone in particular.  My wife will have a piece once in a while but I usually make bread for myself.  I think I've achieved a pretty consistent recipe that yields a fairly consistent loaf, and I would like to use this blog spot to discuss the different cooking vessels for baking the bread.  Although the cooking vessel won't necessarily improve the flavor of the loaf, it's interesting to see what kind of difference these things make while baking. 

In the next few post, I plan share with you all the results of my baking so that we can all see what an average (or sub-average) baker with readily available (and relatively inexpensive) tools and equipment can make in his home kitchen.  In particular, I will use my standard recipe as a control and will bake the loaves in: a sheet pan, on a pizza stone, in a dutch oven, on some newly-acquired fire brick, and maybe even on my grill with some of the aforementioned vessels so that we can all actually see what we get when we cook bread using these different techniques.

I hope to start in the next few days and will use the following "Plain as Jane" white bread recipe for all future loaves in this series:

4 cups AP flour (unbleached, of course)
1 1/4 cups water
1 tbs sugar
1 tbs salt
1 packet of yeast

This has produced a somewhat bland but soft and tasty loaf for m and I will use it as a control in my upcoming "experiments".

After this series is over, I will explore different recipes in order to expand the flavor of the loaves but, as Alton Brown says, that's another show.


pmccool's picture

Keep us posted on what you find.  Offhand, I would guess that there may be some jiggering of temperatures and times required.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

out of it.   Half the fun is going "where no home baker has gone before" and trying without too much guidance other than a whim "to make it so." 

Do some of the experimental vessels include pipes and cabbage leaves, large coffee cans and stray sauce pans, cookie tins and parchment boxes, browning bags, gelatin molds and iron antiques, parchment foil, stainless stones, cast aluminum, hollow bricks and ancient tomb tiles?  How about banana leaves (watch the sap!) or a wok, metal & glass mixer bowls, a mail box or a metal lunch box or a juffy pop pan complete with rising foil?  (Do they still sell that stuff?)  And how about the neat shapes one can make with the new parchment lined aluminum foil?  Silicone & Silpats?  Using steel, alu, or enamel (basically white, grey, & black) cookie sheets; heavy griddles, stew pots, pressure cookers, hot pots, rice cookers, electric fry pans and a variety of toasters and browning devices. 

Loafers have been known to bake dough in and on just about anything.  English muffins on an Iron?  Also possible and some irons come with steam!

Welcome fellow mad scientist,