The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Loaf pan + Enameled DO + Lahey method

DamianN's picture

Loaf pan + Enameled DO + Lahey method

Greetings fellow bread makers!

After a long wait to gather all my tools and equipment together, I baked my first loaf following the Lahey method this morning ready for my fellow housemates to wake up to the smell of fresh bread. Anyway, overall it turned out well although a little under done but I'm faulting the oven for that. My only gripe is that it's a little too flat, coming up just under 5cm tall at the highest point. 

I'm using a 5L Enameled Dutch Oven, and a little after bake tinkering led me to discover that my no-stick loaf pan fits perfectly inside. So, can anyone maybe help me predict how the loaf would turn out, in terms of crust, texture and crumb would be like if I were to bake the loaf in a loaf pan in a DO?

My main concern would be that the crust not being that thin and crackly. Also, I would have to do the second rise in the loaf pan itself which makes transfering easier.


Damian N.

richkaimd's picture

this.  Assuming that the nonstick pot is oven-safe, fits inside with Dutch oven, the Dutch oven's cover makes a good seal, and the volume of the inner pot is large enough to hold the fully expanded loaf, all will be well.  Try it and tell us what happens.

Felila's picture

A few years ago, I started baking no-knead bread. I used a Lodge cast-iron Dutch oven, which held the heat admirably. However, the high-hydration dough always gave me a flattish loaf. Thanks to TFL and a friend's gift of a Kitchenaid mixer, I discovered that it was just as easy to knead, do a few risings and French folds, and turn out tasty plump boules.

If you don't have a sturdy stand mixer and don't want to knead, no-knead may still be your best bet. But you might want to try a regular loaf and see how it turns out.

Mukoseev's picture

When I first started using the no knead method I was having similar issues.  I did two things.  I increased the amount of flour and switched from a 5 qt. round to a 4 qt. oval cast iron dutch oven.  That was the end of the flat loaves.  I now get loaves with nice height and a nice open crumb.

DamianN's picture

A little under done but it still felt good enough. Also, I think I accidentally put too much salt, tbsp and tsp mishap most likely. Anyway, crust was good and came out of the loaf pan with little effort.

Another thing I did was pour a little boiling water into the bottom of the DO before I put the loaf pan in. I was thinking this would compensate for the steam that would have been produced from the dough being in direct contact with the DO.

Overall, bread is still edible and my housemates love their salt, so it's all goood~ 

My next loaf will have less salt and hopefully bigger air holes although I'm guessing it's going to be restrcited by the loaf pan, so I'll take what I can get.

richkaimd's picture

about your pictured loaf and technique are these:  1.)  Your loaf looks like James Beard's microwave English muffin bread, a loaf I highly commend to everyone with a microwave, but which has the distinction of having virtually no crust.  I'm wondering whether you removed the cover after 30 minutes or so and then allowed the loaf to bake for another 20 minutes or so until well browned?  The entrapped steam from the dough in the first 30 minutes should have thickened the crust; the final 20 minutes with the cover off should have browned it.  Neither of these would appear to have happened.  2.)  I'm wondering whether your oven temperature is high enough.  Do you measure it with a thermometer?  It's really got to be up there to make this recipe.  3.)  I"m wondering whether the Dutch oven seals well since your loaf's crust seems so thin.  At the right temperature and with a well preheated Dutch oven, and especially with added and trapped water, you should always get a thick crust.  If you're losing steam, the crust just won't form.  4.)  Using the recipe as written, you should not need added water.  There's quite enough in the dough to do the trick.

I'd love to try that loaf to see whether the salt content you added was too much to my taste.

I look forward to the report of your next outing.  If your experience is anything like mine, most of your breads will be loved by non-bread makers, if only because most of them never get to eat homemade loaves.  They don't see the details we do in our breads.


DamianN's picture

Thanks so much for the critique.

1) I actually raised the covered time to 40 minutes and the uncovered time to roughly 30 minutes. I couldn't wait much longer than that to achieve the browning since I had to leave the apartment. Timed it for an hour in the oven, take out, and let cool while I'm out then come home to do the first slice and taste test. Come to think of it, my first loaf didn't have a really thick crust as well.

2) I'm actually using 2 different thermometers to calibrate the temperature. I'm really obsessive with accurate weights and measures. One's a cheap analog thermometer I leave in the oven and another is a digital probe I do spot checks once in a while. Both read 200C at the 10 minute mark. Maybe I should leave the probe in the DO to get the actual baking temperature, I'll try that next time and compare that to others. According to the last calibration I did, my oven is on average 20C hotter than the dial. I'm do miss my modern electric oven back home but I'm making to with the gas oven I have now.

3) I'm going to check the seal tonight when I make a batch of food and see if I'm losing too much steam, if the seals aren't tight, what can be done about it? It isn't a Le Creuset or anything fancy, just a basic no brand cast iron enameled DO.

Even a day after, it's way too salty to eat plain which is my preferred way of savouring bread, but it seems to do well with sandwiches. My Italian housemate mentioned that it's similar to foccacias taste wise.

I'm not worried that much, although I'm sure I'll be pressured to get better before Chirstmas, got to impressed an aunt who used to be a baker and a foodie sister. Afterall, all this is a learning experience!

richkaimd's picture

What temperature does your oven read when you put the bread in?  I can imagine that loaf coming out of a 350 degree oven but not a 450 degree oven.

I admit to ignorance to the effect of too much salt on the baking of this loaf.

I am looking forward to your next try.


bosco777's picture

A google search brought me to this thread.  I thought I had come up with the loaf pan in the DO idea.  I was looking for an easier transition into the DO, as trying to transfer from the proofing bowl to the DO often flattens my bread out too much.  I also wanted a loaf that would make uniform slices for sandwiches, etc.  The loaf pan was small, so this was 2/3 my regular loaf size, what I normally use for the bread machine.  I think it could have handled the whole loaf.  I currently use the King Arthur Flour sourdough recipe done no-knead style, with a starter from breadtopia.