The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Is there a difference in the bread between using a couche, or parchment?

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livingdog's picture
livingdog

Is there a difference in the bread between using a couche, or parchment?

I have learned to use my cloche and really like baking in it now.


Transfering the semi-dry dough to a 500+ degF cloche is not an easy process unless you use parchment. (The parchment acts as a handle on the dough.) But then isn't the parchment going to not bake the bottom of the crust in the same way as direct contact with the cloche would? E.g. I no longer need to add cornmeal... or should I still add the cornmeal?


However, the couche makes for one small balancing act when transfering the dough to a hot cloche, but it allows for the cloche to be in direct contact with the dough. Throwing, flopping, inverting, etc. all make for a small baker's adventure.


Thanks in advance,


-ld (Ecc. 9:1-4)

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Quote:
Transfering the semi-dry dough to a 500+ degF cloche is not an easy process

Yep. My (strictly nonscientific) impression is this is the biggest drawback with no-knead style bread. There are endless discussions, lots and lots of suggestions of other methods (even including not preheating the cloche at all:-), but so far nothing that's very clearly "the best".


Quote:
But then isn't the parchment going to not bake the bottom of the crust in the same way as direct contact

This is a bigger issue with losing the absorbency of a baking stone. It's not much of an issue with a cooking vessel, which is non-porous. Parchment paper is pretty thin  ...but it does block the transfer of moisture (such as wicking moisture out of the bottom crust).


In the baking stone case, the difference in the bottom crust is often considered "worth the price" of the added convenience of parchment. The usual suggestion is to try it and see if you notice (and don't like) the difference, and if so figure out how to remove the parchment in mide-bake as soon as the bread "sets up".


Quote:
I no longer need to add cornmeal

That's the theory: with parchment paper you often don't need cornmeal any more (except possibly for either flavor or nostalgia). Again, try it, and do whatever works for you.

livingdog's picture
livingdog

I am working on a solution. A peel is not possible since I have a tight space and a low oven.


Here is my latest attempt, but first some comments:


1) the oblong was supported by a well floured couce; the boule by paper,


2) the oblong had flax "hairs" stuck to it out of the oven; the boule had paper stuck to its burned bottom (the paper did not release 100%).


3) the crumb was tacky. I think it's because the oven is too hot. I baked them for 30 mins covered (I only use cloches so far); 25 uncoverd (I smelled "burnt!").


The taste was acceptable - not "bland" - as in my other misses.


Crust 1: http://img713.imageshack.us/i/nkb02crt02.jpg/


Crust 2: http://img18.imageshack.us/i/nkb02crt01.jpg/


Crumb 1: http://img18.imageshack.us/i/nkb02crb03.jpg/


Crumb 2: http://img716.imageshack.us/i/nkb02crb02.jpg/


Crumb 3: http://img229.imageshack.us/i/nkb02crb01.jpg/


Crust 3: http://img209.imageshack.us/i/nkb02crt03.jpg/


 


The bottom of the boule apparently was "bubbled" because of the way I put it on the paper. So the unbaked flour center bottom is due to this "hump" on the paper that I mistakenly created. The surrounding bottom rim got most of the heat and so started to burn at the 25 min uncovered mark.


 


Thanks in advance,


 


-ld (Ecc. 9:1-4)


 

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Quote:
A peel is not possible since I have a tight space and a low oven.

You'll hear, especially in the context of either wood fired ovens or pizza but even in the context of kitchen bread, that a "real" peel should a) have a long handle and b) be made out of wood. Forget It!


Get a short handled peel. It will reach the back of your oven just fine. And there'll be no pesky long handle to trip over or to hit the other wall or to knock things off the counter. And metal (which is thinner) is at least as good and probably even better for baking bread in your home oven.


I got a short-handled metal peel initially because it was all I could afford. I've come to really like it and appreciate its usefulness, and now I wouldn't trade it for something else even if I had the opportunity.

highmtnpam's picture
highmtnpam

I saw a piece of cast iron that was called a combo pot.  It had a deep bottom with a frying type handle and a shallow top that can be used as a frying pan.  This baker (can't remember who) places his boule on the shallow (frying pan part) and then covers it with the deep "casserole" part of the combo pot. I thought it was kinda nifty.  Of course, it in not dish washer safe. It will probably cost twice as much to ship as to purchase.


 


 

livingdog's picture
livingdog

To Chuck: I have a canvas peel. The dough is rolled off of the supporting peel from the canvas sheet (which acts as a conveyer belt). But since I am using cloches any peel is not useful.


 


To highmtnpam: this thread is about getting the dough into the oven as easily as possible... ALSO you mention an interesting item and have no information about it. "Hey Joe, someone from somewhere called you at some time about something." ... thanks?


So now that you mentioned it you must find it and post the info in this thread. :)


 


-ld (Ecc. 9:1-4)

highmtnpam's picture
highmtnpam

Sorry about the lack of info.  I really didn't know where i had seen this.  I looked around this afternoon and realized that I had read about it in my new cookbook Tartine. The author simply calls it a cast iron combo cooker.  I looked an google and there are several sites, but I though this one was pretty good.  You will need to scroll down a bit, but it is there.    Pam http://www.dutchovencookware.com/dutch-oven-campware.html

livingdog's picture
livingdog

Perfect.


I always wanted a cast iron pot and held off ... until now. This is the one for me. :)


Thanks!


Here's the direct link:


http://www.dutchovencookware.com/lodge-combo-cooker.html


 


-ld (Ecc. 9:1-4)

highmtnpam's picture
highmtnpam

As you can see I am new at copying and pasting links.  Thanks for getting this right.  I am practicing getting my pix on the site now.. Stay tuned. 


Pam

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

Rose Levy Beranbaum (the Bread Bible) suggests heating only the lid of the cloche and letting the dough rise in the unheated base.  When it's time to bake, put the unheated bottom in the oven and put on the lid.


I was skeptical at first and fearful of cracking my clay baker (I don't have "La Cloche" but a less expensive clay baker) but after lots of disasters trying to get my slack doughs into the hot base with and without parchment, I decided to give it a try.


To my utter surprise, everything baked just perfectly this way, AND my clay baker was unharmed.  I do this all the time now.  


RLB specifically mentions using La Cloche, so I guess it will work safely with that.  

livingdog's picture
livingdog

My friend, with less baking experience than and ice cream maker, suggested this. So naturally I told him to not make silly suggestions. Now I have to eat my words. Thanks Jan! :)


Definitely will try it.


 


-ld (Ecc. 9:1-4)