The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cast iron or hand formed loaves

Neddy's picture

Cast iron or hand formed loaves

I've been making some new high hydration artisan bread recipes that call for baking in cast iron pans.

But since I have a newly completed wood fired oven with  an 8-10 loaf capacity I don't feel the need or want, to use cast iron. 

Unfortunately the loaves like to spread considerably when removed from the proofing baskets. all of these recipes call for stretch and fold with no conventional kneading.

Thinking that gluten development would be helpful, I've tried version with extra kneeding in my Magic Mill and reducing the hydration up to 10%. The bread tastes fine and I'm getting some oven spring. But, must I be satisfied with the horizontal spread and minimal height gain without the cast iron to keep the more compact width?

Any thoughts ?




Laurentius's picture

Hi Neddy,

I also bake in my WFO, my first question would be, how many loaves are you baking at once? If its a single loaf, you`re probably not getting enough stream to generate proper oven spring. 

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

May I ask an ancillary question, please?

I have read of a user whose Lodge Dutch Oven 'exploded' because they pre-heated it empty.

Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast, though, recommends doing just that.

Who's right?


Gingi's picture

are you placing some steam in your wood fire oven?

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Gingi - thanks!

In relation to my question, it's a regular built-in domestic electric oven. Skip for above…