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no knead bread... no dutch oven  RSS feed

 
Len Ovens
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I originally started making no-knead bread with the dutch oven as recommended. It was great. I did two different things right off, I used wild yeast and I used whole wheat... no problems. However, I can only fit about three pots in my oven at once... and I wanted something easier to use for sandwiches. So I went to bread forms (aka bread pans) to make sandwich loaves (4.5x10 for longer loaves). But decided I like baking on the stone... So, I now make a longer free-form loaf.

The dutch oven was to make things close to a brick oven and kept the moisture in. So I looked things over... lots of people recommend putting water in the oven to steam things a bit... however, I had modified my stovetop:

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Len Ovens
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Continued... (I don't know how to put text around pictures) and had found out about the oven vent. Now, a dutch oven or a brick oven don't have such things.... what was it there for... could I safely block it? I did some research and it is there for casseroles which put out a lot of steam... Ok, I can block it. (pictures below show vent from bottom and top)
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Len Ovens
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So my setup for making "nice bread" with an electric oven goes like this:

- Bottom rack as low as it goes covered with firebrick splits
- top rack as high as it goes with pizza stone and water pan
- vent blocked
- water pan was water in it during oven warm up so steam can soak into bricks
    (I figure a brick oven gets lots of steam from burning wood)
- oven gets preheated as high as it goes till about 15min before loading
- Then temp set to 450degrees on broil setting for baking.
    ( The baking setting burns the bottom of the bread. If an oven can't be set to
      broil at the lower temp, it is better to bake with it turned off or leave some
      lower bricks out so the heat can get to the air on top)

Ingredients:
(my mix... makes 4 and half 30oz loaves... I was making 34oz loaves but they won't fit my peal)

Wild yeast... made from 4oz flour and 4oz water, I can use tap water here but some people use bottled.

flour 71oz -I use whole grain, but often mix in barley, flax, rye, etc.
water 56oz
salt 1.5oz

The batch in the pictures was mixed at 4pm one day and bench at 8am the next with a house temp of about 20C(70F).

Pictures are my oven set up and the loafs benched (for about 15min, but longer ok).
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Len Ovens
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My peal is a cutting board made from bamboo... needs to be able to stand hot bricks. I ground off the bottom of peal at an angle, but I probably didn't need to... I have used a thicker one to launch pizzas. This one is too short for 35oz loaves and so am making smaller loaves and have some dough left over so make a half loaf or some buns. I use some cereal boxes cut off for bread forms. I could use bread pans but I can only fit 4 loaves in the oven if I put two loaves on the peal at once and two bread pans together is too wide. I put a dish towel inside then the loaves... note the seam of the dough is up. Proof time these days is about 1 hour to 1 and 15 minutes... when ever it is ready. I put the peal on top....
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Len Ovens
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And flip the whole mess over. Then I lift the forms and towel off and slash the loaves...
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Len Ovens
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Slide them into the oven (first picture) and remove the water pan. I had been leaving the water pan in, but found the crust tended to be thicker and chewier. I get a crisp crust this way. Bake 30 minutes... turn the oven off... leave the loaves in for about 15 more minutes or till done. I look for a centre temperature of about 200F.

Works for me...
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Jami McBride
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Wow, super Len what a great job of ingenuity 

I've always hated the size of my bread pans, so I love your idea - wonderful.
 
Len Ovens
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Jami McBride wrote:
Wow, super Len what a great job of ingenuity 

I've always hated the size of my bread pans, so I love your idea - wonderful.


The easy ones to get are the 5x9s. no toaster will toast them... Got a bunch of 4.5x8.5s then 4.5x10s... now ...as above. I am thinking I could get as many as ten in my oven if they all touch and I load them in just the right order...
 
Brice Moss
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I'm sure this is s dumb question. What keeps the bread loaves from sticking to the towel?
 
Len Ovens
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Brice Moss wrote:
I'm sure this is s dumb question. What keeps the bread loaves from sticking to the towel?


I dust it with flour before putting the dough in. Same with the peal, throw some flour on it first and the dough slides right off onto the bricks. This is old style, before they invented bread pans.
 
Jami McBride
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Boy, this would make a great youtube video 
 
Len Ovens
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Jami McBride wrote:
Boy, this would make a great youtube video 


Just a few problems with that... I am not multitasking enough to "film" and bake at the same time... My wife is doing school right now so she couldn't do it (she has enough on her shoulders already)... besides. she would never want anyone to see that much of our kitchen the way I keep it tidy (or don't)... Oh, and I don't have a youtube account... and don't really want one   Also, even though I have been careful to follow standard code practices in rewiring our stove... it hasn't gone through the CSA bake it till it breaks testing either. It is 25 years old... the next thing up is to re-insulate it... just got some Roxul to do that (and the heat riser in my RMH). I am not using the stove as it was intended to be used 
 
Jami McBride
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I hear ya 

Maybe you could explain your 'natural yeast' is that typical sourdough starter?
 
Len Ovens
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Jami McBride wrote:
Maybe you could explain your 'natural yeast' is that typical sourdough starter?


I guess so. 2oz water + 2oz of flour - leave it sit for a day or two till bubbles appear at least a little. Double it... wait 12 hours or so, throw half away and double whats left... continue for about a week.... the dough should be doubling about 3 hours after feeding... feed and throw in the fridge till ready to use. To use, split in half (as when feeding) but keep the second half instead of tossing. Feed the one half as normal and put back in fridge for next time. Feed the other half as well and wait at least three hours then use in bread... unless you need more... in which case double or triple it (up to 5 times at a time is ok). I stopped calling it sour dough because the bread doesn't have to be sour.

Any time I say water it means warm (110F or so).
 
Len Ovens
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Added a new wrinkle this time. I mixed the dough Friday afternoon as normal, but when I got up the next morning the air temp was lower than normal (or than it has been) at 17C. The dough felt cooler too. It benched ok, but I wanted good rise for the proof. Yeast and bacteria slow down by half for every 17F down so I was looking at a significant change from what I had been doing. I felt the dough should be a bit warmer.... Time to try a proofer. We have a food drier that seemed to be big enough to put bread on two shelves.... so I put a bowl of warm water on the bottom ....
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Len Ovens
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Then I loaded the bread on two shelves. Three loaves on the top and two on the bottom. I am thinking I could probably get four or even five to a shelf if pressed. As can be seen, the manufacturer feels 110F is a good temp to proof at. Notice I chose 95F.

The results are that the dough had a bit of a crust on top. While this would be bad if I was using loaf pans, it was not too bad here as the top becomes the bottom. (Note to self, next time need more sealing... plastic or wax paper) The bottoms were fine and though the bread had proofed a bit more than normal, it still had a good oven spring. My Yf's comment was that this is my best yet. good stuff. I used the same mix as last time, but instead of 4 30oz loaves and one small one, I did 5 27oz loaves.

Ok, so where would this be useful? Could be really useful for doing two batches ... from the same lump of dough. The proofer would speed the proof of the first batch just enough for the two batches to be peak rise in time for the oven... thats a lot of loaves! (at least by anything I have ever done)
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