Dutch Oven Bread?

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Dutch Oven Bread?

Postby Low-N-Slow on Sat Jul 31, 2010 7:47 pm

Been doing some web research on baking bread in a cast iron dutch oven, mainly trying to get a feel for time, temp, and technique. Will be using a long-fermented no-knead dough. In the meantime, has anyone else tried it, and have any tips to help shorten the learning curve?
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Re: Dutch Oven Bread?

Postby hungryone on Sun Aug 01, 2010 3:00 pm

Get your hands on Jim Lahey's "My Bread"...he's the proprietor of Sullivan St. Bakery who popularized the no-knead, dutch-oven method, and his book tells you every little tip & trick. The classic Lahey recipe produces a very wet dough that's tricky to handle unless your hands are well-floured. I still bake it from time to time, but I've never been completely happy with the resulting crumb texture.
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Re: Dutch Oven Bread?

Postby Low-N-Slow on Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:05 pm

Thanks. The name "Lahey" is indeed the main keyword for anyone searching information on this topic. I'll experiment with a non-preheated technique first, and the pre-heated later.
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Re: Dutch Oven Bread?

Postby hungryone on Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:46 am

The preheat is essential for the best oven spring. In fact, the preheat is the whole point of the closed-vessel method. Without a preheat, the loaf won't give off any steam, and the crust will set before the interior expands fully, leading to a heavy, gummy interior (technically cooked all the way thru, but an inferior, unpleasant texture). The preheated, closed pot simulates a steam-injected oven (what is used in professional bread bakeries)--only the wet dough is the source of the steam.
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Re: Dutch Oven Bread?

Postby Low-N-Slow on Mon Aug 02, 2010 10:06 am

Luckily, with baking, most experiments only cost a few cents worth of flour. The dough I used was something I already had on hand, and not of the level of hydration called for by the NYT NK recipe. The dutch oven was also a brand new, pre-seasoned one, and I wanted to test it on something, anything. It's upside down in the oven now, slathered with oil. The bread didn't burn, but the bottom sure did stick tight to the pan. I found a recipe on RLB's blog that gives the ingredient proportions by weight. I'll try that one next.
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Re: Dutch Oven Bread?

Postby hungryone on Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:43 am

I've never done a no-knead bread in standard cast iron, only in enameled cast iron. I can see how dough would stick like the dickens to uncoated cast iron (even if it's heavily seasoned). Lately, it's been too hot to bake anything. I did manage to cook some whole-wheat pita in a CI skillet on the stovetop.
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Re: Dutch Oven Bread?

Postby Low-N-Slow on Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:25 pm

RLB talks about experimenting with parchment paper and coffee filters to deal with sticking in her blog entry.
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Re: Dutch Oven Bread?

Postby hungryone on Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:16 pm

Parchment, of course, I can understand, as it is fabricated for baking & silicon-coated. But I'd be wary of loose, fibrous coffee filters. FWIW, King Arthur sells precut parchment just the right size for half-sheet pans. I hate buying those rolls--they're not the right dimensions for half sheet pans at all.
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Re: Dutch Oven Bread?

Postby Low-N-Slow on Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:59 pm

Looks like she's using plain CI here:

http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2006/12/noknead_balloon_bread_loaf_10.html

There's another, earlier post on there in which she uses a combo of parchment or some teflon paper on top of a coffee filter:

http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2009/09/another_word_on_no_knead_bread.html
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Re: Dutch Oven Bread?

Postby hungryone on Tue Aug 03, 2010 3:12 pm

RLB seems like a nice lady, but I find her recipes & instructions overly fiddly & complex. Her bread bible recipes insist that salt added w/yeast will harm the yeast, yet no other baking book in my library suggests that salt be added to doughs as a separate step (not Silverton, Leader, Reinhart, Hamelman, Malgieri, Calvel, etc). I have her books, but somehow they just don't resonate. Leader's "local breads", on the other hand, makes me want to bake every day.
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