The Fresh Loaf

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No pre-heat and raisin-walnut bread

JMonkey's picture

No pre-heat and raisin-walnut bread

Last night, I was making a batch of whole wheat raisin-walnut cinnamon bread. I've been pleased with how the no pre-heat worked with my sourdough sandwich bread, so I naturally tried with this bread as well.

One of the reasosn I've been so pleased with no pre-heat is that not only does it use less energy (and less prep to pre-heat), but it didn't markedly increase the amount of time it took to actually bake the bread. Generally, this raisin bread takes about 50 minutes to an hour to bake, so at 55 minutes, I took it out of the oven. But the loaves were kind of pale and only registered 165 degrees F in the center. Hmmmm. So I popped them back in for another 15 minutes. This time? 175 degrees. OK, now it's midnight and I'm a bit perturbed. But I put them back in for another 15 minutes. Finally they registered 190 degrees F. The loaves were a bit of a disappointment though, with a much thicker crust than I usually get.

So, a question. Was it the no pre-heat that extended the bake by 45 extra minutes? Or did I somehow pierce a nut every time with my probe and got an incorrect reading? Or something else entirely?

BROTKUNST's picture

JMonkey, either way you put it, every loaf depending on the formula and shape needs certain minimum temperatures plus energie (in form of heat over time) to bake.  The balance of the 'heat over time' has alot to do with how your crumb and crust turns out. Of course you can produce a loaf that you like without preheating, in terms of Energie I would doubt though that you used less Energy after all. One may think about how much preheating is indeed required in order to save energy - everybody would agree that two hours is excessive, but does it have to be 30 minutes or could it be less in your oven ? In my opinion pre-heating produces superb loaves with a perfect crust and crumb - plus it's a fix starting point, a reference that is always the same. The no-preheat strategy works only on your first loaf .. the second loaf if you want to bake one will have to take the heat face on.BROTKUNST

mountaindog's picture

Gosh, JMonkey, I'm not sure why your raisin walnut bread took so much longer to bake as a no-preheat, maybe because of the fruit and nuts. Is this bread enriched with milk, egg, or similar, and therefore more dense? What temp did you bake it at? As Brotkunst pointed out, there are so many variables. My lean sourdough did not take too long to bake as a no-preheat at 425F but that could be because the bread is lean, not dense, and baked at a much hotter temp than say a sandwich bread. I was surprised at how fast the oven preheated to 425 with the bread inside, only about 10 min. (gas oven) so it didn't extend the total bake time by much. Maybe try the no-preheat at a hotter temp for this rasin bread and see if that works better, i.e if it is an enriched bread that you normally bake at 375, try baking it no-preheat at 400 to see if it bakes quicker and you get a thinner crust by the time it is done. Just a thought...

JMonkey's picture

Yeah, it was strange. I've given it some more thought, since I wrote. Brotkunst had some interesting things to say, as well. It is a highly enriched bread, with buttermilk, butter, an egg, honey and cinnamon in it, in addition to the raisins and nuts.

I think what may have happened is that I ought to have given it 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes to cook, but every time I took it out, it cooled down such that it had to warm up all over again.

Just a theory. I'm concerned about going higher than 350 for fear that with all the honey and buttermilk, it would burn too easily.

Ah well, I'll try letting it go for 1 hour 5 minutes next time, and we'll see what happens. Thanks!