The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pot for Jim Lahey bread

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zaydeshap's picture
zaydeshap

Pot for Jim Lahey bread

I want to experiment with Lahey's method, but I'm not ready to invest in optimum equipment in case I decide this is not for me.


He recommends a cast iron or ceramic pot.   Could I use a regular Farberware steel saucepan (with plastic handles removed) just to see if this has some promise ?

Dillbert's picture
Dillbert

results may not be optimum - the stainless is so thin it will not retain enough heat to set the bottom crust.


all the plaastic has to come off - otherwise = disaster city.


any cast iron in the house?  I'd prefer that - tented with alum foil . . .

zaydeshap's picture
zaydeshap

I don't quite understand about retaining the heat.   The pot gets its heat from the oven, and will be at the same temperature as the oven regardless of its thickness.   Retaining the heat would only be an issue after it is taken out of the oven.  Is that when the crust sets ?   Please explain.


 

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

You obviously want to use the only pot you have. The (supposed)beauty of these pot breads is just about any pot can be used. It is just a known that stainless steel does not brown the breads(especially the bottom and lower portions) like some of the other pots.


If the bottom half of the bread does not brown to your satisfation, try totally removing the loaf from the pan for the last portion of the baking.


If you happen to have a baking/pizza stone, an even better set up may be to place the loaf directly(or on parchment) on the stone, and invert the pot over onto the loaf. Remove the pot for the last portion of the bake.

Ambimom's picture
Ambimom

Lahey's method is a way of recreating the high heat and steam injection used in professional bakeries.


The pot is preheated at up to 500 degree F before the dough goes in, a lid goes on top of that, and the whole thing is put into your home oven (reduced to 425-450).


As long as you don't use plastic or anything else that can melt at that temperature a metal pot will work but not as well because metal won't retain heat as well as cast iron or ceramic.  Pyrex works too.

zaydeshap's picture
zaydeshap

Thank you for the detailed replies.   I'm going to try it with what I have, and if it's not ideal, I'll understand why.

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

is done immediately after the bread goes in the dutch oven or after 25-25 mins when lid is removed?  I've been getting charred bottoms from the dutch oven but that could be due to the fact that I sprinkle the parchment paper with wheat bran.  I will try and switch to using semolina flour to line the bowls during second proof to see if this will improve.  Thanks.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

I have read that setting the pot on another pan, like a cookie sheet, etc, has woked for many. Shields the heat on the bottom.

carefreebaker's picture
carefreebaker

I set my dutch oven on an insulated cookie sheet for the uncovered portion of the baking. Problem solved for me.


 

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

on the lower rack while the bread bakes on another sheet or dutch oven on the upper rack and your suggestion is to put the cookie sheet directly under the dutch oven, am I correct? I hope I haven't misunderstood anything here.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

I've seen both versions. Maybe one will work for you. It should. It's sort of the same idea as the insulated cookie sheet to diffuse the heat delivered to what is resting on top.

jkmanosque's picture
jkmanosque

and they all have produced decent results.  I've used a pressure cooker pot without the lid, instead I used aluminium foil on the top - the bread was excellent, it may have taken a bit longer than my creuset pot but no difference in quality.  The same goes for a larger pasta pot i've used, with the lid - bread was perfectly fine.   I am finding the more I get confident with my breadbaking the less I rely on the "typical" tools of the trade, for example, I no longer believe that a brotform is any better than a glass or aluminum mixing bowl for proofing (unless it is the rings you after).  I use my hand instead of a dough whisk, etc. etc.  I've also made his baguette recipe and baked it on a pizza stone without a pot cover - end result = excellent.


The cool thing about Lahey's method is it simplicity - including the fact you'll never have to use parchment paper again.


enjoy,


jk.