Bread Coming back to our Kitchens
“A table without bread is not a table but bread is a table on its own.”Scottish Gaelic Proverb
Bread making is back to the home kitchen, it has had a new resurgence in society today, why? Because it is an art, which rewards the setting of any table with a look and taste that can only be met by a fresh home-cooked loaf of bread.
I have always loved a good loaf of bread; it always makes the meal or the snack. Finding a good loaf was the challenge though. it wasn’t until I saw a cooking show that incorporated a fresh loaf of bread by cooking it in a Dutch Oven to accompany a meal they had been making. Well! that lit up my eyes so I started to research on the internet years ago to learn how to bake bread in a Dutch oven. Although I did find a great deal from many sites, that I will recognize later; but they never gave the whole process, there always seemed to be something missing. So I began my extended search in buying books reading recipes and making many flops; and eventually gave way to my own unique and consistent recipes that I would like to pass along. So this is my new mission now to give you some basic directions, end to end on making not just a loaf of bread but a great loaf with lots of taste and character. I will attempt to give you enough information so that you can make a really good loaf of bread for that occasional get together or if you wish, hopefully, help you grow to pursue your own particular signature.
As a culture, we have been baking bread for thousands of years. It has only been since the industrial age that we have veered from this home hearth as something, too time consuming, an unimportant task .. that is! until you have that piece of that bread (you know the one) in that restaurant or event that just made you drool! And that’s why you’re here.
Sites generally promote making a loaf of bread as “so simple” with more flavour than you can ever get from a store, & It can be, but it can also be a vexing avocation that will only tantalize you with diadems of success initially as even with directions you are bound to make some mistakes; it is an art. As I said there are some really simple methods of making a great loaf for the table and you will find a hundred variations for each step that will be preached to you; I will show you easy and tried and true recipes with step by step instructions that are backed up by videos and pictures. I believe this will be a great short cut for you from my research and efforts. I will also give you some options on what directions you can take and to help personalize it to your particular tastes. Eventually if pursued, it will ultimately be your creative signature that will make your loaf unique to you. BTW, this is why bread makers of old signed their loaves with scouring. It was their mark as it were.
So with a little planning some flour and yeast, you can bring some simple recipes’ to life in a Dutch oven; Dutch ovens offer a great cooking platform as they retain the heat and steam extremely well, which is perfect for baking bread.
I would like to thank the following people and site that helped me form my knowledge base for baking bread, with special note to Venessa Kimbell who has forgotten more than I will probably ever know, Patrick Ryan whos videos first inspired me, Joshua Weiss and his creative flair, King Arthur Flour for it instructional video’s, Jim Lahey for his no-knead approach to bread making & following web sites, thekitchn, thefreshloaf & bakerybits to name a few.
Cast Iron or enamel-coated Dutch oven is up to you. Here are some basic’s to help you make up your mind.
Cast-iron pots that are seasoned properly will be superior non-stick cooking wear; cast iron is more durable; cast iron will add iron to your diet; you will most certainly get a better deal with a cast. However! Cast Iron, loses its seasonings when you cook with acid ingredients; cast iron is also always greasy, this is why some people don’t care for cast iron; and what makes the enamelled the popular choice. Ultimately it depends on your cooking preferences in the kitchen on which one or size you come to decide on. Whether it is cast or enamelled make sure you buy quality.