The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cast Iron?

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jenniferw's picture
jenniferw

Cast Iron?

Hi everybody:) I just got a big cast iron griddle that im in the process of seasoning and am trying to figure out extra ways to use it... Has anyone ever baked a loaf on cast iron? Or does anyone have any thoughts or opinions on how to go about doing this? Thanks alot!

rainbowbrown's picture
rainbowbrown

Using it in the same manner as a baking stone?  That sounds quite interesting.  I would think that it would work well enough, but that the bottom of the loaf might burn, I don't know for sure though.  I'd go ahead and try it and see what happens.  In case you haven't thought of this stovetop application yet: english muffins. There are some great recipes here and on Susanfnp's blog Wild Yeast for sourdough and regular english muffins.

TFL Sourdough English Muffins

Wild Yeast Sourdough English Muffins 

TFL English Muffins 

 

These all make great muffins. It's such a great use for cast iron, especially in griddle form.

kayemme's picture
kayemme

I use cast iron almost exclusively for all of my cooking and baking, except sandwich breads since I don't have a cast iron loaf pan. If I ever find one, though... it's so mine.

 I usually coat the pan with a very light rubbing of oil and then dust it with cornmeal, polenta or semolina to keep the breads from sticking. 

The oil is only to keep the meal uniform, not for "frying" so I mean like a couple dime-sized pools of oil and then rubbed in with a towel.  You can skip the oil if you can get your "gritty" releaser to stay in one spot. 

 :D

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Kayemme, check out goodwood online at
http://www.goodwoodonline.com/store/comersus_viewItem.asp?idProduct=316
They have a cast iron loaf pan and other things that you should find interesting.

Eric

agordo's picture
agordo

I'm glad I'm not the only one.  I started using cast iron for no knead boules, but now I use cast iron for everything including baguette boules.  I like the taste and crust better than baking on stone.

jenniferw's picture
jenniferw

Thanks for the ideas! Cant wait to try it out!:) If all goes well Im hoping ill be able to use it for my pizza too...

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

I bake my no-knead bread in my cast-iron dutch oven with no problems aside from some near scorching of the excess flour that comes off of the clouche linen when i turn it into the dutch oven. It does seem to transfer heat a bit more rapidly than my stone does so you have to be more careful of the bottom getting too dark as your baking temperature goes up.

 

Paul Kobulnicky

Baking in Ohio

andrew_l's picture
andrew_l

 griddle in an oven instead of a stone (it won't fit in my new oven and stupidly I gave it away) and it worked really well. A slight tendency to overcook the bottom, but this was easily controlled by taking the bread out after about 20 minutes, putting it onto an upturned pizza tray then putting this in the oven on the griddle .

Now though I'm either doing preheated le creuset or baking from cold. How habits change!

 

Andrew 

Aussiebaker's picture
Aussiebaker

Hi Jenniferw

I have a small rectangular cast iron barbecue plate that I use for baking bread. I started using it when I realised just how long it takes to preheat terracotta tiles. The cast iron plate heats quickly and the bread bakes beautifully. The plate is slightly concave and has a small hole in it (designed for the barbecue fat to flow out) but neither of these make a difference to the bread.

I don't season the plate with oil. The bread sticks to it initially (as it does with all surfaces), then releases later when baking is more progressed. One thing that does happen is that the surface appears to rust slightly (particularly as I spray the oven with water a few times in the first few minutes of baking). I don't worry about that, as I scrub it with a dry brush, and it has not made any difference to the flavour of the bread when it bakes. The reason I don't season it with oil is that I'm concerned that at high temperatures the oil on the plate will just burn.

The plate is heavy (I wouldn't want to drop it on a toe!) but is relatively easy to handle. It fits in my standard width oven and takes a large miche or two small loaves. I remove it from the oven between bread baking sessions.

Just recently I tried the terracotta tiles again, and while they work well, they just take far too long to preheat. And, given that we should be taking care to avoid energy use as much as possible, I find it difficult to justify having the oven on for 45 to 60 minutes with nothing in it. I'm pretty happy with the results and it works well for me.

Hope that helps a bit.

LLM777's picture
LLM777

I use my griddle for loaves and my skillets for pizzas. They give a great crispy crust. For the pizzas, if I want a chewy (Pizza Hut type) crust, I pour 2-3 tbsp olive oil in before placing crust. It adds a nice feel and flavor to the crust, otherwise, we usually go for crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I just wanted to use what I had so I never got into tiles.

Does anyone use the hartstone cookware or earthenware for baking? I use the hartstone (non-glazed) for muffins and really like it.

LLM777's picture
LLM777

I remembered other uses I wanted to add. I just got into making tortillas and the cast iron is perfect for this also. Homemade tortillas cook over a dry heat and the cast iron is ideal.

I also cook elongated pizzas on my griddle instead of skillet; but pizzas cook a lot faster on the griddle than in a skillet, due to the thinner crust and toppings compared to the deep dish style of skillet pizza.

Usually when I bake bread loaves on the griddle I have let them rise on parchment paper on a cookie sheet before. I then carefully slide the paper onto the preheated griddle and save on clean up afterward. I let the bread cool on the parchment (off the griddle/on a rack) and once cool, it comes right off.

 

jbaudo's picture
jbaudo

To kayemme, I just posted this on another thread but I actually have a cast iron loaf pan and love it.  The bottom never burns and as long as I keep it lightly oiled (I use extra virgin coconut oil - high saturated fat which is good for pan but still healthy) I never have a problem with sticking.  Clean up is as easy as wiping it out with a towel.  I have used a large cast iron skillet to make salt bread and corn bread and that worked great too.  I bought my bread pan from amazon because I got free shipping but I have seen it cheaper from other sites.  Also I just found out that they sell cast iron pans  at those huge sporting good stores (we have a Bass Pro Shop and Cabella's) so that might be a good place to look. My mom just got me some cast iron muffin pans from Bass Pro and I can't wait to try them.


Jennifer

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

I was thinking of buying a Lodge Logic Double Play grill/griddle to put in my oven as either a steam pan or oven stone, and wonder whether anyone has this specific product. If so, how did it work out? Also, what are the exact outer dimensions? I asked Lodge customer service but haven't gotten an answer yet, and it will matter, as it is almost too big to fit in my oven.

sephiepoo's picture
sephiepoo

Out of curiosity, is there a reason why you wouldn't want to simply get a baking stone ($10-20, Target, Walmart, BB&B) and a Lodge skillet ($7-12, Walmart) so that you have the best of both worlds and can steam and bake at the same time? David (Snyder) has also come up with the really awesome idea of taking a cast iron skillet and filling it with lava rock for huge surface area extreme steam generation, if you're open to that idea too.


It seems really expensive and sort of a waste to spend that much on a double griddle ($50-70) and only use it as a steam pan or baking stone, but obviously not both at the same time. I have the single burner Lodge Grill/Griddle which measures 11x11" of actual griddle space, but that probably doesn't help you any... epinions.com says the double measures 20x10.5 so maybe try googling different combinations of the words "Lodge Double Burner Griddle/Grill" or something?  If you think it's too close for comfort, I'd recommend you don't get it and try another avenue :)

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

I do have a baking stone and a Lodge skillet, actually, but after a full preheat (max 250C), the griddle only has enough latent heat to boil off about 2/3c of hot water. The steam created is really good, whereas spritzing doesn't produce anywhere near as much. So I was thinking that the bigger griddle would have more mass and more surface area, and I'd be able to toss water on it more than once in the first 5 minutes to get much better steam and better oven spring. In theory.


The oven is big by local standards but small by Western standards, so there isn't really much room for a taller item like a pan full of lava rocks. (I'm not sure where I'd get those anyway.)


I agree it seems a bit expensive (about $106 US in Taiwan) to get the big griddle, but if I could be sure it fit, I'd be willing to spend the bucks if it will produce better results.


I'll play with my dutch oven first, though, and see how happy I am with the results. I've actually got bigger problems right now, in my basic technique. Thanks for your feedback!