The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bowl over my dough...

patman23's picture
patman23

Bowl over my dough...

Hey folks, got a question, if ya dont mind...

So for the last couple months, I’ve been playing with sourdough recipes. So far, loving it! I’ve made some really nice loaves, consistantly and am trying to master the crust.

I have a decent baking stone in my regular, basic gas stove. I’ve been playing with sourdough recipes and I have found one that I like but Im working on perfecting the crust. I bake one loaf on that baking stone and another in a flat lid (older) type Pyrex 2.5qt casserole dish. The “Pyrex Loaf” comes out great but Id like a bit more crunch / ear-? If you wil, on the “Baking Stone Loaf”. I’ve use a bowl to cover my Baking Stone Loaf and cant seem to get my timing down. 20min covered, 20 min uncovered just ain’t working. I dont wanna make 8 more loaves If I can avoid it. That said, how do I adjust my time and/or temp when using a large ceramic bowl as a cover for a loaf being baked on a baking stone. As it stands, the recipe asks for 30 - 35min at 450f without the bowl. Ive baked it twice now with the bowl and I cant seem to figure out my timeline. It keeps coming out a but too moist in the center. Not uncooked, but just too moist, maybe very slightly undercooked... Anyway, I’m hoping someone has a little insight that might help me sort this out. 

I imagine that there is some formula that says if you cover your bread, at such and such temp, then you need to cook for x amount of time covered and y amount of time uncovered. But my imagination can come up with all sorts of silliness. :-)

Much appreciated

Pat

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

Maybe not what you want to hear, but I just do half covered and half uncovered. Makes everything simple for the timer and works for me. On some breads, I turn the heat down slightly for the second half, but on others, where I want a darker bake, I leave it at max.

OldLoaf's picture
OldLoaf

I don't know of any formula that would help you.  Everyone's environment is different so what works in my kitchen will probably not work in yours.  The times listed in recipes are typically just a reference, not absolute.

Your ceramic bowl, is it a thick, heavy one?  It may be absorbing too much heat which would cause your loaf to cook slower.    Do you have a large stainless steel one you can try?  (Plain stainless, not one with rubber non slip bottoms)

Your stove may be running cooler than what the display says.  How long are you pre-heating your oven/stone for?

Use a digital "instant read thermometer" to check the internal dough temp towards the end of the bake.  Many recipes will give you a target temp like 208F-210F as a final dough temp.  Thumping the bottom of the loaf with your finger is not necessarily a good indicator that the loaf is done.

I use both a cast iron combo cooker, and a covered clay baker.  I bake the same few loaves twice a week and usually remove the covers at 20 minutes.  The second half of the bake (uncovered) is always different.  Sometimes it's 15 minutes, sometimes 25+ minutes.  Same recipe's, same kitchen, different times on different days.

Jeff

patman23's picture
patman23

So this morning I baked off a couple more loaves. Again my Pyrex loaf cam out great, 25min covered, 25min uncovered. My baking stone loaf seems okay but I’ll Kmow more after they are cooled off. 

I usually preheat my oven for 2 hours prior to adding my loaves at max setting (500). My oven runs a bit cool so it works for me... 

As for the type of bowl, yes, it was a heavy ceramic bowl and I did not preheat that so you make a great point, it could have been stealing heat...

Im thinking about just getting another Pyrex dish and calling it good,considering how well they turn out. I usually bake once or twice a week and offer my extra loaves to my neighbors. 

 

Here are this mornings loaves...

 

The one in the front is my Pyrex loaf...

 

As always, thanks for the help folks!

OldLoaf's picture
OldLoaf

very nice looking loaves!!!  

JeremyCherfas's picture
JeremyCherfas

Agreed, absolutely.

patman23's picture
patman23

Much Appreciated!

They turned out pretty good this time around.

I delivered my extra loaf to some folks at the hospital here in town. They were kind to me a while back and I wanted to offer some glutinous love to show my appreciation.

As for hte bake, I ended up doing 25min covered and 20 uncovered and that helped a lot. Nice and crispy and chewy... mmmmmm... 

I might give try 25 and 25, like my Pyrex loaf just to see how it works out next week. 

Thanks again for being my sounding board and providing insight. Blessings!

 

AGGut's picture
AGGut

an improvised earthenware cloche over a heavy hard-anodized aluminum braising pan.  When I removed the cover after 20 minutes the boule was pale but promptly crisped and browned.

But, I much prefer these

cheap stainless steel bowl cloches for ease of handling.