Along with the other wonderful birthday gifts I received yesterday, (and the day before) Fran gave me my very own Emile Henry Bread and Potato pot! Emile Henry, France, is a family owned business manufacturing ceramic cooking product since 1850. This bread pot adds a nice glaze to the surface of the loaf and by retaining the moisture which turns to steam, it also imparts a fantastic crust to the bread.
Preheating the oven with the dutch oven inside to 450o F, adding the risen dough and quickly covering with the top locks the steam into the dutch oven, making it perform like a steam injection oven used by commercial bakeries.
Use any bread recipe you like, to date I have made no knead bread and NY rye. Next up is my standard sandwich bread loaf.
I found if the dough is a little dry, sprinkle a little water on the top of the dough after you place it in the Bread Pot. This will assure adequate water to create the steam necessary to generate the steam.
No Knead Bread – KAF
- 680g lukewarm water
- 907g King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour* or Organic All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 14g instant or active dry yeast
- 3 cups lukewarm water
- 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons instant or active dry yeast
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, or a large (6-quart), food-safe plastic bucket. For first-timers, “lukewarm” means about 105°F, but don’t stress over getting the temperatures exact here. Comfortably warm is fine; “OUCH, that’s hot!” is not. Yeast is a living thing; treat it nicely.
- Mix and stir everything together to make a very sticky, rough dough. If you have a stand mixer, beat at medium speed with the beater blade for 30 to 60 seconds. If you don’t have a mixer, just stir-stir-stir with a big spoon or dough whisk until everything is combined.
- Next, you’re going to let the dough rise. If you’ve made the dough in a plastic bucket, you’re all set — just let it stay there, covering the bucket with a lid or plastic wrap; a shower cap actually works well here. If you’ve made the dough in a bowl that’s not at least 6-quart capacity, transfer it to a large bowl; it’s going to rise a lot. There’s no need to grease the bowl, though you can if you like; it makes it a bit easier to get the dough out when it’s time to bake bread.
- Cover the bowl or bucket, and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours. Then refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, or for up to about 7 days. (If you’re pressed for time, skip the room-temperature rise, and stick it right into the fridge). The longer you keep it in the fridge, the tangier it’ll get; if you chill it for 7 days, it will taste like sourdough. Over the course of the first day or so, it’ll rise, then fall. That’s OK; that’s what it’s supposed to do.
- When you’re ready to make bread, sprinkle the top of the dough with flour; this will make it easier to grab a hunk. Grease your hands, and pull off about 1/4 to 1/3 of the dough — a 14-ounce to 19-ounce piece, if you have a scale. It’ll be about the size of a softball, or a large grapefruit.
- Plop the sticky dough onto a floured work surface, and round it into a ball, or a longer log. Don’t fuss around trying to make it perfect; just do the best you can.
- Place the loaf on a piece of parchment (if you’re going to use a baking stone); or onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sift a light coating of flour over the top; this will help keep the bread moist as it rests before baking.
- Let the loaf warm to room temperature and rise; this should take about 60 minutes (or longer, up to a couple of hours, if your house is cool). It won’t appear to rise upwards that much; rather, it’ll seem to settle and expand. Preheat your oven to 450°F while the loaf rests. If you’re using a baking stone, position it on a middle rack while the oven preheats. Place a shallow metal or cast-iron pan (not glass, Pyrex, or ceramic) on the lowest oven rack, and have 1 cup of hot water ready to go.
- When you’re ready to bake, take a sharp knife and slash the bread 2 or 3 times, making a cut about 1/2″ deep. The bread may deflate a bit; that’s OK, it’ll pick right up in the hot oven.
- Place the bread in the oven — onto the baking stone, if you’re using one, or simply onto a middle rack, if it’s on a pan — and carefully pour the 1 cup hot water into the shallow pan on the rack beneath. It’ll bubble and steam; close the oven door quickly.
- Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes, until it’s a deep, golden brown.
- Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Store leftover bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.
METHOD 2 – DUTCH OVEN
- When you’re ready to bake, measure out a two-pound ball of dough. If you don’t have a scale, it should look like it will fill the base of the Bread Pot most of the way.
- Shape the dough and let it rest on a floured kitchen towel or piece of parchment paper with the seam side up, covered, while it rises. (You can also use a brotform if you want to make some fancy rings on the surface of your loaf.)
- To ensure you get a burst of steam when the dough is put inside the pot, it should be preheated empty for about 30 minutes. Start preheating your pot roughly 30 minutes before your rising dough is ready to bake.
- Keep in mind the temperature of your kitchen will make a difference in how quickly the dough rises. The No-Knead Crusty White Bread dough can take anywhere from one to three hours to rise; I usually let it rise for at least one hour before preheating the pot for 30 minutes, giving the dough a total of a 1½ hours to rise.
- When your dough looks like it will be ready in 30 minutes, put the Bread Pot (both the bottom and the lid) into the cold oven, and set it to 450°F (or the temperature your recipe calls for).
- Half an hour later, the dough should be risen and the pot should be thoroughly preheated. Carefully remove the hot pot from the oven, taking care to place it on a neutral surface like a cooling rack, wooden board, or kitchen towel. (Avoid contact with anything cold, such as cold water or a cold surface; this may cause the pot to crack.)
- Apply a gentle coating of vegetable oil-based non-stick spray and sprinkle in some semolina flour or cornmeal. (Be careful during this step — the pot may smoke slightly when prepared.)
- Slide your hand under the towel or piece of parchment paper and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side down. You can gently shake the pot from side to side to help the dough settle evenly in the bottom.
- Don’t worry if your dough doesn’t look picture-perfect here; it will turn into a beautiful, golden loaf as it bakes.
- Make a few slashes in the top of your loaf (a lame works well for this), and then put the lid on. Bake for 40 minutes; remove the lid and bake for another 10 to 20 minutes, until the loaf browns fully.
- Remove the loaf from the oven and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing.