The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

1930's Magnalite Wagner Ware Roaster Used As Cloche for Multi-grain SD Challah

dabrownman's picture

1930's Magnalite Wagner Ware Roaster Used As Cloche for Multi-grain SD Challah

After changing my Multi grain Challah recipe to make it a S&F long ferment and retard bread, I decided to see if baking it in a cloche would make for an even better every day sandwich bread.  My Mother In Laws old Warner Ware Roaster 13" X 10" X 8" high seemed to be the only thing we own that might fit the bill.  I also has a nice rack to hold the bread pan off the bottom.    I heated the oven to 500 F (convection on) and put the entire roaster in the oven to heat up for 45 minuted.  No normal steam at all.  Once the roaster was hot ,I easily dropped the loaf pan in with oven mitts on and baked the loaf in the covered roaster for the first 20 minutes, turning the temperature down to 450 F convection.

The loaf, before it went into the roaster, had doubled in size from the overnight retard even though it still only came half way up the pan.  I was making a small test loaf.  The spring was an additional 100% as the finished loaf doubled again in the roaster.  After 20 minutes I took the roaster out of the oven, took the bread out of it and put the bread back into the oven to reach 200 F in the center of the loaf.  I then turned off then oven, cracked the door open and allowed the crust to dry.

The only thing I can say is that this might be the best loaf of this bread I have ever baked.  The crust was very dark brown with light brown specks.  Just beautiful!!  It was crispy crunchy yet still chewy.  The crumb was moist, light and also speckled with light brown flakes.  It tasted fantastic.  I bake this bread every week and this was by far the best.  I will bake it this way from now on.  The previous attempt I baked at 350 F with steam so the higher temperature played a big part I am sure.  So I will bake it next time the old way, No Cloche, but at the higher temperature to see what effects that has on this bread.

And who wouldn't want this bread to sop up a nice Garbonzo Bean Soup?


isand66's picture

Your bread looks like it came out great.

Any chance of getting your recipe?


dabrownman's picture

of the Garbanzo soup?  It is a M. Batali recipe that I changed around to my liking - and I really like it now.  I cook the beans in home made chicken stock instead of water and then used this garbanzo flavored cooking stock for the soup instead of water.  I subbed slit Whole Thai chilies for red pepper flakes, used fresh tomatoes from the garden instead of canned and added Italian summer squash.  I don't know why you can't see the soup as I can see it in the blog just fine.

Yes, you can have the recipe - here goes

120 g stiff starter (mine is built up 1:3:5 over 12 hrs from home milled rye, spelt, WW and Bread Flour in equal amounts)


20 g each - Semolina (ground to fine), Barley, Rye, Spelt, Farro, Amaranth, 6 grain cereal, Oats (ground to fin) - 160 g total - I use whole berries for the grains and grind myself.

5 g instant potato flakes

85 g whole wheat berries

150 g bread flour

100 g AP flour

10 g  toasted ground flax seeds

10 g salt

total dry - 510 g ( not counting salt)

I didn't use sunflower seeds in my post bread but I usually  put 20 g of toasted SF seeds into the bread too.  It is much better with the SF seeds!


50 g Molasses

100 g Honey

90 g eggs (2 large)

110 g extra virgin olive oil

200 g water

150 g milk

Ignoring the starter, total wet: water and milk 350g + 75 g for the honey and molasses (at 50%) + 68 g eggs (at 75%) + zero for the olive oil gives us 493 g total for hydration purposes or: 96.7% hydration - since half the dry is whole grains or oats that soak up the wet it isn't too bad to work with.

Method : In your stand mixer with a paddle.  Add the starter and all the wet.  Mix until the starter is completely diluted - no lumps.  Add the dry leaving out the Sunflower seeds and salt.  Mix with paddle on KA 2 until combined about a minute.  Move up KA 4 and mix with paddle for 2 minutes.  Switch to dough hook and on KA 4 kneed for 8-10 minutes until the dough passes window pane test.  Watch out - this dough is a climber in the beginning of kneeding.

Leave dough in mixer bowl, cover with plastic and autolayse for 60 minutes.  Move to oiled bowl.  Do 3 stretch and folds in the bowl starting when you move it to the oiled bowl and then every 30 minutes for 2 times more, covering the bowl with plastic each time or putting it into a plastic trash bag  On a floured work surface, preshape the dough into a ball with surface tension and place back into the covered bowl.  Let sit for a couple of hours until the dough doubles.  Cut dough into 2 equal pieces for smaller loafs (like I did for my test where I only made 1 small loaf)) or leave as one big boule.

Move to a floured work surface and shape into a loaf (or Boule) and put it into a oil sprayed loaf pan (or shape into a final Boule in a basket).  Cover with oiled plastic or use trash can liner.  Retard in the fridge for 20 hours.  Take out of fridge and let rise at 85 degrees for 3 hours until the smaller loaves reach the top of the pan.

45 min before bake time fire up the oven to 500 F and place the Wagner Ware Roaster in the oven that has a stone on the bottom rack.

Take hot roaster out of the oven, place loaf pan (only one fits into the Wagner Ware Roaster)  in the roaster with oven mitts ( the Boule can be placed in the roaster with a parchment sling).  Throw 1/4 cup of water into the bottom of the roaster (the liner will hold the loaf pan 0ff the bottom about a 1/2 inch) cover and chuck the roaster into the oven while turning it down to 450 F.  Bake for 20 minutes with the lid on.  Take roaster out of the oven, remove the loaf pan and place the loaf pan back into the oven for another 20 minutes or so.  Bake till the center of the loaf is 200 - 205 F.  Turn off oven. Remove bread from pan.  Put Bread back into the oven and leave the door cracked open for 10 more minutes to crisp up the crust some more.

You don't have to use a cloche for this bread I am sure.  You can just bake with your normal steaming method for 20 minutes instead, but I haven't tried this recipe that way yet.

You also don't have to be as insane with grains as I am either.  Just keep what ever whole grains you have about equal to white flours by weight.  If you go heavier with the whole grains you might want to add some more water to the mx.  Create your own Multi Grain Challlah. 

Happy Baking!


Virtus's picture

Thank you so much for sharing your challah recipe. It looks very good. I am definitely going to try it!

Thank you for taking the time.

dabrownman's picture

I needed to write it down since it is the only bread recipe that I ever developed ....and it only took 39 years :-) Back then, not too many folks were doing multi grain challah.

isand66's picture

Sorry Dan (I hope that is your first name...), I was just trying to be funny and actually didn't notice your photo with the soup....I do scare myself sometimes!

Anyway, your soup sounds great and your recipe does as well.  I am adding it to my list to try in the very near future!

dabrownman's picture

I thought you were gtood naturedly pulling my chain and spoofing me because the soup took up more of the photo then the bread did :-)

You might want to wait on the bread.  I have another batch fermenting in the pan right now trying to double at 75 degrees.  This batch is completely the same as the last batch.  I cut the dry in half when I made the first one, same pan, same oven, exact same starter with the same build - same old, same old, with the exception of when I put it in the oven tomorrow - after coming out of retard and 3 hours of 85 F final rise - it will go into a 500 degree oven, with pyrex pan half full of water heating for 1 hour and a screaming hot large cast iron skillet that will have a cup of water thrown in it as I turn the oven down to 450 degrees to steam my normal way for 20 minutes before the steaming apparatus is removed.   The last batch en Magna Ware cloche was the best yet but I am guessing that this will be better.  But the bread gods may think otherwise :-)

We will have the skinny tomorrow with photos to share.

dabrownman's picture

My friends call me Brownman and those that don't like me -  thankfully don't ever call :-)

Happy Baking !!