Sunday, January 31, 2010

Size matters

Katya has pointed out that the sides don't brown as much as the top if the dough does not see as much open oven. When a pot is too small the dough is less exposed to the oven air and it may hit the top of the lid. 
Janes stuck to the lid when she removed it. 
Ejo's also hit the roof, making for a nice positive of the inside volume of the pot.
However, my understanding is that the bread should have that hot air above to fully grow and crust nicely.
So I ask you to take a minute to send me three dimensions.
Lid diameter, height at the lid seat, and with the lid on. Do not include the handles.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

January 30 - Bread with nuts, seeds and rasins

Working on my second loaf. This one has added nuts (walnuts and pecans), seeds and raisins.
This time i didn't put the dough in the fridge to rest as i did last time. And, it tripled in size!
i will attempt to post ictures. When i took the bread out after the 30 minutes of baking the top was sealed onto the bottom. It took alot of trying to pry the top off. with it came some of the bread. So, i managed to get what was stuck to the top and "paste" it onto the bottom! i'm not sure what caused this. i did use 1 cup of a flour that i'm not sure what! Might have been a whole wheat flour. So, i used 2 C of AP and 1 C of the mystery flour.
i did put corn meal on the bottom of the bread pot and this time the loaf came out easily. Stuck to the sides just a little bit.
i'm eating my first peace. Awesome.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Rye Bread

I just took "Judy's Rye Bread" out of the oven. The dough was not as loose with the rye flour(I guess that's BECAUSE of the rye flour). I am no longer having any problem getting the bread outof the pot because of the semolina that I use. I just tasted the bread-delicious.

Pain de Campagne (ish)

Another recipe with a large percentage of prefermented dough. This was supposed to be a rustic style bread, but it came out unusually soft and even-crumbed. I think this often happens with kneaded, slightly drier doughs, in the baker. Good sandwich bread.

Formula: (Adapted from The Bread Baker's Apprentice)
1.5 cups pate fermentee
7/8 cups unbleached bread flour
1/6 cup whole-wheat or rye flour
3/8 tsp instant yeast
3/8 cup water, lukewarm

(the measures are a little approximated--I just got a scale and will soon be able to document down to the gram--very excited)

Just mixed it all together, kneaded, fermented for 2 hours, shaped into a ball, proofed for another hour and half, and baked in a 500 degree oven, turned down to 450 about ten minutes in, cover off after 30 minutes, baked about 20 minutes more.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sweet Potato Rosemary Bread, In and Out

This time, I finally made enough dough to do an inside/outside test, one loaf baked in the baker, one out on the baking stone. The test was a little unfair because in order to get the best out of the baker, I baked the loaf at a slightly higher temperature than would have been ideal for it. Both came out well, but for this loaf at least, the pot-baked loaf was much prettier. Because the pot protected it, the inside loaf showcased the beautiful color of the sweet potatoes much more. I haven't checked for difference in the crumb yet--this is meant to be a fairly fine-grained, soft bread, but I'll update when I do. Pot or no pot, this is a really nice bread. It's made with a pate fermentee, which is really just a piece of yesterday's dough, but you can find instructions for making some here.

Formula: (adapted from The Bread Baker's Apprentice, by Peter Reinhart)
1.5 (about) cups Pate Fermentee
3 cups plus 2 Tblsp A/P flour
1.5 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper (I may have used more)
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
1 Tblsp olive oil
1 Tblsp crushed dried rosemary (this is really to taste, the recipe recommended 2 Tblsp fresh but i didn't have any, it probably would have been even better)
3/4 cup to one cup water

Cut pate fermentee into small pieces. Mix all ingredients, knead, adding flour or water as needed.
1st rise: two hours at room temp plus 4 hours in the refrigerator (not necessary, scheduling related)
Proof: 1-2 hours, until doubled.
Baked at 450, turned down to 400 later in, for about 45 minutes. Uncovered baker after about 20 mins.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Here we go!

11:30 AM Saturday morning. i just put the kneaded dough , covered (bowl) into the fridge. Looking forward to tomorrow to do the actual baking. Finally could put the 18-24 hours together to let it sit!

Joan's second try

Hi all,
With more pictures than you could ever want, I tell the tale of loaf #2.
Not much of a tale, actually.
Dough less wet. I put the saran wrap on top of bowl, instead of on dough - much better!
Put more flour when I laid it out...thus a flour-y finish.
I baked it at 450 rather than 500 degrees - it had a softer crust and a denser interior. Used exact same flour, water,yeast,etc. but think I forgot the salt!!!
Good for sandwiches, did not stick to pot, liked the first loaf better.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pain a L'Ancienne in a Pot

This could get tedious for those of you who follow my blog, but I'm going to combine this testing project with a baking-through-a-book project that I'm already doing (and neglecting). This will let me test how a variety of recipes work in the baker. When possible, I'll do side by side tests in and out of the baker. I just posted the first of these experiments here.

This was the recipe:

3 cups AP flour
1 1/8 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
approx. 1.5 cups water
whole wheat flour for dusting

Kneaded for 5 min and then covered (in baker) in refrigerator for almost 24 hours.
Removed from refrigerator, additional rise/warm-up of 2-3 hours.
Shaped into round, rose on counter covered for 1.5 hours.
Baked in baker at 450 for 20 minutes with lid, additional 30 minutes with lid off.

My baker is getting a little more weathered, with some brown spots and cracks in the glaze. This recipe was the best I've done in it yet. The lack of a decent handle is still proving the major hurdle, the shape improves with a kneaded dough.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A failed bread in a commercial pot

Hey bakers,
I have been at my mom's this last week and baked bread three times. I struggled to find a pot to bake in. I tried a vertical porcelain crock first and made a can-shaped rye. Then I tried one of mom's corning ware baking dishes--too wide-- and made a low flat rye. Tasty, rustic, but not a great shape. So I envy the lovely round loaves you are making.
Anyway, we ran out of flour and my mom's boyfriend brought over the flour he had in his home. I tried an all white loaf. It did not rise well. I was running out of time so I tried to bake it last night in a smaller corning ware baking dish. These are the squared ones with glass lids. As I was putting the dough in the hot pot the lid slipped. I wisely did not reach to catch it (avoiding burning my hand) as the lid slipped to the floor and shattered into a million shards of glass. So, after an hour of floor cleaning, I ended up baking it in a not preheated pot under less than ideal conditions.
We could barely cut into the loaf this morning, it was hard and heavy. I looked at the flour bag to find it was "self rising" which means it had salt and baking soda in it. Yuck. It was salty like biscuits. We tossed it and left for the airport. (Rich and I will be in Culebra this week)
So I am more convinced of the value of these baking pots.
Keep on baking. I am enjoying and learning from the feedback and love knowing my pots are in your hands.

Baking in the Snow

Several loafs have come and gone since I posted last, all with great success.
The last loaf came out of the oven and in my great hurry, I left it sitting on top of the stove with the lid on. When I came back to it, about 6 hours later, there was condensation and the bottom of the loaf was moist- I wouldn't say soggy, but moist. The upper crust was not as crisp as it usually is, BUT- here's what I loved- the bread was moist and rich and dense. It reminded me of the bread I grew up with in Germany. It is delicious, slightly sour, and has such a wonderful crumb, it holds up well in sandwiches and toasts great.

Here's our latest recipe:
2 c bread flour
1 c whole wheat
1/2 c sliced olives
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp yeast

mix olives and herbs in the the flour and yeast and salt, add water last. proceed as usual.

(we had this with roasted garlic and minestrone soup in the middle of a snowstorm, and we ate in front of the fireplace. I think that even my 2 1/2 year old understood that the whole evening was pure magic!)

My pot still pings, the surface color is changing, but after 4 loaves, it is starting to have a very rustic, humble but beautiful feel and look.

happy baking from Thiago and Johanna

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First Try

finally got to the bread baking.
I used the trusty rye recipe (2c. white flour, 1 c. rye)
The dough was wetter than I remember and I lost a fair amount in the saran wrap.
Dough rose for 19 hours and then 2 hours.
The bread stuck a bit to one side but was easily pried off.
The loaf was a pleasing shape.
I served it on an appetizer plate with cheese, etc. and everyone commented on the bread, even those who had no idea I made it.
The texture was great and the crust perfect.
I still like bigger loaves (greedy, I know, but why not after all that waiting and rising?)
Would have appreciated handles.
Agree with other posters re: recipe on lid (mine doesn't have it) including oven temp - but in very clear print (maybe a template?)
All in all, a smashing success.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chestnut Corn

A full recipe this time, mixed and fermented in the baker.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup coarse cornmeal
1/4 cup whole wheat
1/2 cup (approx) chopped cooked chestnuts
1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups water (approx)

First fermentation time: 22 hours
Second fermentation time: 1 3/4 hours
Baking notes: with lid 25 minutes, lid off, 15 minutes
could possibly have baked longer

The cornmeal and the chestnuts reacted to the long fermentation with a lot of flavor, the result had a very sourdough/playdough edge--a pretty wet crumb, from the wet dough, the texture wasn't as light as I'd hoped but the taste was enjoyable-good for cheese. As usual, the sides of the bread didn't brown as well as the top b/c they never see open oven. This one fitted well in the baker.

Inside of Rona's Lid

This was the picture that I took when I did my first rising. I am no longer using the pot to rise the dough in. Don't laugh, but I have finally found a use for a forty year old pyrex type of covered casserole that my grandmother got with points or stamps at her Coney Island
Waldbaums. I've also posted a picture of the inside of the lid as it looks after it's second baking; becoming harder to decipher.

Random Comments

I agree with the last posting, I forget who made it, about how helpful it is to have the ingredients and instructions in the lid. Keep that, Judy. My lid doesn't have the oven temperature and times and I think that it should.Also, mine says one T. of salt, which I think is too much. The lid on the last posting said 1 teaspoon; I think that's a better measurement.The size of my pot really is perfect. The dough fits nicely, unbaked and then baked. I'll check to see if I still have the picture of the inside of my lid; If not I'll post another one. The white slip isn't as bright anymore, but I think the writing will still show up alright. I'm wondering if the ingredients will be readable after many uses of the pot.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ejo posted her first bread on facebook...

I followed the original recipe the first time. I was concerned about how wet the dough was, but it certainly did not cause any harm. I let the dough rise for 18 hours. I preheated the pot for 30-40 minutes. I did hear a ping when I removed it to add the dough. I did not notice any cracks in the clay after I baked the bread. I almost had too much dough for the pot. I tried shaking the pot per instructions, but still had some dough peeking out after the lid was placed on top.

I baked the bread for 30 minutes with the lid on and 15 without the lid. The bread was a beautiful brown. We are bread lovers in this house and almost ate the entire loaf immediately.

The bottom on my loaf was slightly round, but not a hindrance when cutting. The bottom of my loaf was much darker in color than the sides of the bread. I am not sure if I need to cook for less time, or if the bottom of the pot could be slightly thicker. I had a bit of trouble with the lid of the top. It was hard to grasp with the oven mitt. Using tongs solved that issue.

My next attempt will be with my wheat sandwich bread recipe. I am interested to see how the crust will differ in the clay pot compared to my loaf pans. We are looking forward to the next loaf.

I love the recipe written on the lid. You must keep that in there. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hot From The Oven

Bread Number Two is hot from the oven. This time I used 2 cups of white flour, 1/2 cup of oats and 1/2 cup of white wheat. The other ingedients and measurements were still from the lid of the pot. The result is the same, though healthier of course. I'm thoroughly enjoying the small loaves that come out of this pot; thanks Judy.

i just received my bread pot!

and am eager to bake a loaf over the weekend. i will post pix and words when i do.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

great bread on a cold day

Our first test loaf was successful: Thiago helped with the dough mixing, and we let it rise for about 20 hours near the woodstove. Pot went into the oven cold, I did hear some pings and pops when I took the hot pot out to put the dough in. We used 3 cups flour- half whole wheat half high gluten bread flour- and it was the perfect amount for the size of the pot. The loaf was done in just over 45 minutes. I'm exploring the locally milled flours, and stoneground flour seems to produce the most delicious loaf.

Observations: The pot makes a good sized loaf- big enough to share with several people for a few days, but small enough to finish off before you get bored and want to bake again! The pot has ample handles for easy lifting, so does the lid. (I used a variety of pot holders to test functionality.

Concerns: I dont' know if the clay body will stand up to the thermal shock over time. I also wonder if the greater public will have an issue with the shape of the loaf. It's not exactly a loaf as we know it here, and it's not exactly a classic rustic bread shape; the slightly rounded bottom causes it to tip over when it's cut in half. That's fine by me, but perhaps not so for everyone?

Up Next: I'm going to try some variations, with cranberries and nuts. Also, I'm going to try putting the bread dough in the cold pot and letting it all heat up together and bake.

No photos yet, my loaf looked a lot like the Rona's.

Happy baking!
love, J and Thiago

My first product--from Rona

We just ate half of the first bread with soup and salad. Judy, I liked the finished shape; good planning.

Nice crust.

I allowed the dough to rise for about 48 hours, due to other committments this week. No harm done at all.

Lifted nicely out of the pot. I gently used a spatula in one or two places to release it from the pot.

2/3 Formula Buckwheat No-Knead

I thought I'd try a slightly smaller recipe, 2/3 what Judy wrote on the lid of the baker, and instead of rye, I tried buckwheat. Buckwheat, unlike rye, has no gluten at all, and so breads made with buckwheat are often heavy and dense. I thought the very wet no-knead formula might help to counteract that.

all-purpose flour - 1 and 3/4 cups
buckwheat flour - 1/4 cup
water - 1 and 1/4 cup
salt 3/4 tsp
yeast 3/4 tsp

First fermentation: 18 hours
Second fermentation: 2 hours

It wasn't the best bread ever, but it was pretty cute. And there was plenty of room in the pot.
I baked this one in the pot the whole time.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rona got her pot

 I got this message on facebook today from Rona:
Hi Judy. I received the pot today and have the dough rising. Do I send you messages directly or do you want me to post on the blog? I am almost embarrassed to say that I wasn't sure if I should let the dough rise in the pot. Before I received it I was SURE that I was going to do the rising and the baking in it. Then, when I looked at the recipe you sent, I had second thoughts. However, I finally decided to rise in the pot; that just feels right. I love the look of the pot on my counter, knowing what's happening inside of it. I guess that I might(not sure) have to clean out the pot before the baking. Also, I decided to use the recipe inside of your lid...not the one in the NYT. Next time I might try that one. I will take pictures and keep you posted; just want to know about how you want us to use the blog. Bakers Gone Wild! Love it. Rona

I don't mix or rise the dough in the baker, but go ahead and let us know how it goes. Definitely clean it before baking. Since you have to heat the pot in the oven to 500 before baking, if it is not clean it will burn the gunk on. I will also set you up to directly to post here soon. And, my mom says hello.

Friday, January 8, 2010

First test report from the ugly pot and beautiful Katya

Our first report:
"the main thing I've noticed from my first informal tests is that I've been putting in loaves that are slightly too large, thus the crust gets nice but the bread didn't have large holes in the crumb. i also tipped the loaves out about 10 minutes before done-ness to brown them up. perhaps with a smaller loaf i would just need to remove the cover. handles are a good idea, i think, (mine doesn't have one) for handling fragile vessels."


Let the testing begin

I have assembled a team of friends who will test these bread bakers, keep records of the use of the pot, take pictures, and make notes.
1. Katya, who has already started, posted about it on Second Dinner. She has one of the overfired, glazed, ugly ones.
2. Joan got an earlier design with added handles, in the best color of clay, fired at cone 6, unglazed.
3. Johanna is taking the one pictured, the nicest yet clay body, a little small for the white and black sesame bread I made this week. She will also ask the When Pigs Fly people to test it in their wood fired oven.
4. Jane will get one of the three that came from the kiln this morning. Hers has a blow out in the foot and interior because I was rushing and it was not dry. The clay was a mix which I find anemic in color and will not use again.
5. Rona will get the other light colored one that has an s crack in the lid.
6. Ejo will get the one made from Standard 547 sculpture clay. It is very groggy, nice color.
Carol and Susan will get pots to test from the next batch in February.

I will include a recipe and no knead bread method, but I hope you will try other things and keep notes. I will share all the info here. In addition to baking, I want feedback about design, marketing, naming.