In traditional bread making you knead the dough. In this method of Artisan bread making you DO NOT knead the dough.
The method of using a “Dutch oven” has been in use by South African families like for-ever. Just about every Native South African has a cast iron pot for cooking “mielie pap” (corn porridge) and bread. It’s the staple diet of millions of people there. Just a bit of background in case you think it’s something new. (and what did “thought” do? – he planted a feather and thought a chicken would grow?)
The recipes we follow come out of the amazing book ” 5 minute artisan bread” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë Francois.The sole objective is to bake in the top stove in the background and test in our cob oven.
One of the basic recipe’s is:
3 cups warm water
1 1/2 Tsp coarse sea salt
1 1/2 Tsp granular yeast
6 1/2 Cups All purpose flour. Unsifted.
Add all the ingredients to the water in a container that has a fitting lid. Mix with a spoon. DO NOT KNEAD. Let it raise on it’s own and collapse.
Put the dough in the fridge overnight and you can start using it when the sparrows wake you in the morning. Sprinkle with flour, take a handful about the size of an orange, cut off.
About the size of an orange?
Fold over to the sides and let it stand for about an hour.
Rotate 1/4 turn and fold sides under.
Pre-heat the stone and oven. Here we are using a terracotta clay dish (temporarily). About 20 minutes.
Thats the infra red heating. Set to about 450 F. (I later measured the temp. with a lazer gun to find that the oven was underbaking by about 50 degrees).
In the background, a glass jar containing corn starch solution and a brush for applying it to the top of the bread. If you wish.
Some recipes call for adding a cup of hot water to a metal dish under the stone.
I turn the bread over over about half way through the 40 min. bake.(See comment about actual temp. above)
There’s quite a lot more to it. But you bake bread in a heartbeat as the recipe you made up is sufficient for 3 to 4 one pound loaves. If you are into great bread with a minimum of prep time, get the book. You can purchase a new or good used one for about 10 bucks. (those green things that just get printed when the treasury runs a little low?)
Please note that this is purely an outline so you can judge if you want to bake great bread. (No endorsements or kickback for Mike – promise). There are a number of basic recipes and a whole bunch of other stuff. It’s one of the nicest things I learned to do. Thanks Zoë and Jeff ! (Like I know them? 🙂 )
The main purpose of showing you this is to experiment with this type of stove. The bous is the fantastic bread. I have tried a number of the recipes and it gets better by the bake.
Using the same dough, we built a cob oven and also bake fantastic bread outside as well. (Who is “we”?)
(see seperate menu of bread oven)
The Spelt flour/olive/yogurt bread was really fantastic. The yogurt used was home made from soy beans, with a touch of cardamom flavor.
The loaf pan was “greased” with Ghee. Added a nice flavor.
There’s more on the oven in the “cob oven” menu. including oven building.
Spelt flour turns a lovely brown color and is very tasty.
Now, if your dough is a little wet, you can spray a little “non stick gunk” (must have horrible stuff in it? think about it.. anyway)
on the inside of the cans then load with about 2/3 dough.
You could also try smeering with “Ghee” (fantastic, healthy … make your own – it’s simple) and load the cans. I tried the refrigerator trick mentioned in the book. Wow. That’s a super idea. Put the cans in the fridge – cover with plastic – about 12 hrs. before baking and take it out about an hour before baking. In future, when I make a batch of dough, I’ll put it straight into cans after the rise and fall of the dough. It rises so nicely. You can bake with absolutely NO prep. then….. the results are great!
Many thanks to Zoë and Jeff for sharing.