Sunday, December 8, 2013

WHO Knew - Baking Bread Without the Bread Pan

I share cooking ideas with a number of folks, including my good friend and fellow Whovian Rev. Paul, up in Alaska, who has a daughter who is a world class chef in the making.  This isn't gourmet by any stretch, but it's a good recipe to have on hand.

It was 10 degrees on awakening.  It was 10 here, 10 in Indianapolis, 10 in Lafayette and 10 back at the Range.  That was one big cold air mass.  A perfect day for staying in and baking some bread, especially as Partner drove down late last night to keep me company.

But I don't have  bread pans here, having not brought any down from the Range.  Hmm.  I have a French Oven (it's like a dutch oven but it's beautifully enameled and slightly pretentious)
It's great though.  The first time I'd had something in one was when Mr. B. cooked this incredibly "cut with a spoon" tender roast in one for Midwest Chick and myself, with a very inexpensive cut of beef.  After that,  I had to buy one for myself.  Stovetop cooking or in the oven, it makes a variety of  wonderfully tender stewed and braised meats.  But what about baking in it?

Don't think you can make bread?  Don't have a bread pan?  This is the recipe for you.
Crusty French oven bread.


1 package active dry yeast
1 and 1/3 cups warm water
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar

Mix the yeast and warm (test on the inside of your wrist) water in a small bowl, stir until dissolved.

In a large bowl combine flour, salt and sugar. Stir in water with a big spoon until a dough ball forms, (the dough mostly holds together but is still sticky and shaggy looking).
Knead the dough on a lightly floured board for three and a half to four minutes. Please the dough in a large oiled bowl, cover with a clean dish towel and raise in your oven (with the light on to keep it a bit warm) for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours (double in size).

Punch dough down, turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead about 8-10 times and put back into the bowl, cover and let raise in the oven for an hour.

Remove dough and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place some parchment paper in the bottom of your dutch oven. Place the dough ball in the center and using a sharp knife, make an X across the top.  Bake with lid on for 12 minutes then remove lid and bake for another 15-18 minutes until top is  a light golden brown.  Cool  (well try and cool) and slice. 
On the stove top was braised pork chops cooking on a bed of onion and apple slices caramelized in some butter flavored olive oil with a splash of apple cider vinegar and water and a little drizzle of molasses.  But we didn't wait until it was done to eat the bread  We stood at the counter and cut big slices and ate this warm out of the oven.  I remembered on piece two why I don't stay alone with bread pans down here :-)

May you all stay warm and dry and have pleasant company, whatever time zone or time dimension you are in.
 - Brigid


  1. This bread sounds great! I didn't find what temperature to put the oven at.

  2. Very nice! Me, I'm looking at well, less palatable stuff right now.

  3. I experimented with this "no knead" dutch oven bread recipe a couple of times before I went back to school. I had mixed results, but even the "failures" were delicious.

    If you're bored one day, I'd love to know the secret to making the recipe work.

  4. Huh. I almost never use a bread pan (actually most of my "Ted Bread" is done on cookie sheets.

    But I also have a cast iron doodad like yours (nicely enameled and maybe un petit peu less pretentious than yours - which is very pretty, though, and looks to be a little larger than mine).

    Ahem. As if size matters.

    I shall try this one. Looks good.

  5. Bread making feeds he soul as well as the body. Good work!

  6. Pretty much any bread is better hot and fresh out of the oven.

    LOTS of your favorite fat-based spread, be it butter or margarine, or what-have-you.



  7. YUM! I baked bread in an oval pan today. After the first rise I braided the dough and brushed it with egg. Turned out pretty well and we'll be eating a lot of it. I made it for a Christmas Party tomorrow that has been cancelled because of the bad weather coming again. Hmm. How about French Toast tomorrow morning.... ;)

  8. I strongly disagree, my friend ! You are gourmet in my book, any day of the week !

  9. Looks good, and I can almost smell that baking from here! Enjoy the season!!!

  10. "But we didn't wait until it was done to eat the bread."

    DUH! :-)

    Warm, fresh homemade bread is one of life's great pleasures.
    With butter, or cinnamon-sugar, or jam, or...

    You get the idea!


  11. 8 degrees here this morn.

    I usually cook my French bread on a cookie sheet. Gives me that long oval loaf that I like.

    Stay warm!


  12. Harder to do with a square one....

    But yes, any "Dutch Oven" type of pan should work.

    My mom's mom used to do it in a cast iron skillet in an oven. Best crust you'll ever eat.

    Alas, I must have missed something when she taught me. My skillet bread is best used in a trebuchet for knocking down castle walls. Somehow it comes out denser than lead. Harder than cast iron too.

  13. We love the moose & TARDIS!

    The bread ain't so bad, either. :)

  14. I did this one one time, and it was quite the hit in my living room.

  15. The other B is not me, but it sounds like we bake the same deadly

  16. Ah, the joys of baking with white flour...I never get such beautiful results with my homeground whole wheat flour. BUT, it certainly IS tasty!

  17. idahobob - I had a gift cert from Williams Sonoma and after my main purchase, there was just enough left for this little meshed rack to cook two loaves of french bread. I haven't tried it yet, but it should be fun.

    Debora - It was in one of the later paragraph. I should have made it bold so it wasn't so hard to see but it was 400 degrees F. Thanks for visiting and I hope you like it!

    Keads - during the work week it's often sandmiches, yogurt, pre mixed salad, apples and popcorn(in a proper pan, not microwaved). (or when traveling by air, in coach, pine cones and gruel). So on the weekends, I enjoy cooking.

    Mark - we had some at lunch with hummus and veggies and it was still really good (with some seasoned olive oil to dunk it in).

    Monkeywrangler - I bet your flour is wonderful. White bread for me is a treat, not the norm. I do a lot of honey oat, and corn and barley flours.

    B. - I'll try the cast iron, no guarantees but it will be fun to try. The pizza turned out pretty darn good.

    Brighid - I've baked more than one brick in my time :-)

    Rev. Paul - glad you liked it. Thanks again for the note at home.

    Tin Can - I will indeed, try that one. Thanks!

    Jane of Virginia - thank you. Tonight we had leftovers with chicken thighs smeared with garlic mayo, then dipped in panko with sage, oregano, basil, red and black pepper and cooked at 375 for an hour until all crunchy. It was pretty good for a meal that took 5 minutes to make.

    Roscoe - I have that one as well and have not tried. Will keep you posted. Thank you SO much for the Dr. Who tape that arrived this week. Excellent!

    Lois - I froze the remainder as everyone is traveling this week, so no french toast for now. But it made great toast.

    Mark Alger - you have that right. I can't eat bread out of a "whacked can" for anything, any more.

    Armed laughing - making a mixture of butter and honey and smearing some toast with that, then the cinnamon sugar and broiling it.. . mmmm.

    Unfortunately, after this weekends'cooking, tomorrow morning will be a yogurt and a clementine :-)

    c.w. swanson - I could not do low carb for anything, but I limit the white breads to the weekend. It's SO worth it.

  18. Doh! I'm going to have to try that 'oven with a light on' thing. Had a total 'Failure to rise' with a Portuguese Sweet Bread recipe today.

  19. I have some time for experimenting over Christmas, but the recent PDX weather has us thinking about relocation once school lets out. Plus, I accumulated a lot of electronic components over the semester that are begging for attention/tinkering.

    FYI: The "Bowties are cool" Doctor departs Christmas Day.

  20. Empty coffee cans (real tin cans, not plastic tubs) make great bread pans. Provides a nice round slice and kept in the cans protects the bread for travel.

    If you have it try adding about half a cup of acorn flour to your bread recipe. Makes a nice crunch and adds a mild nutty flavor as well as upping hte protein content.

  21. The only Dutch ovens I use have 3 feet cast into the bottom, a rim around the edge of the top and are heated with coals. I've baked my share of bread in them - and pizzas and pork chops and tenderloins and chickens and pot roast and pies and one fine afternoon, in a large one, an 11 pound turkey stuffed with breading, rice, coarsely chopped apples and cooked Italian sausage (because that's what I had around the campsite). That last won the Dutch oven cooking championship at Boy Scout summer camp that year.

  22. Reading this blog just before lunch is hazardous to my waistline.
    Something else to try with my DO.
    Was this bread flour or multi-purpose?

    "I have a French Oven (it's like a dutch oven but it's beautifully enameled and slightly pretentious)."
    My first thought was about how my German cousin can tell the difference between the Dutch athletes and the French athletes (and which Belgians are Flemish or Walloonian) by how fashionable they look. She claimed to be running 100%.

  23. Greg, in my bread-baking days I've killed the yeast with it being too hot in the oven. My solution is, with the oven cold I put a big pot of hot water in it along side my pan with the intended-to-be-rising dough. Warm, moist, a happy place for the yeast.


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