Inverted Dutch Oven Bread

Loaf of bread with scored openings

A while ago I published an article for home-baked crusty artisan bread. The loaves produced since have been consistently great, yet I aspired to have better fissures, as well as rise. However scoring the dough was proving quite tricky.

I recently found the ideal solution … I just needed to turn things, literally, upside down …

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Crusty Artisan Bread

Crusty artisan loaf cut and ready to eat

I’ve been successfully baking bread for some time using a minimal knead method. However I recently switched to an even better way of bread making that produces a tastier loaf with a looser crumb and wonderful crust … and also looks fantastic. The trick? A casserole dish.

Up your home bread making with this simple recipe for delicious, crusty artisan bread.

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Making Fresh Bread On A Work Day

Freshly baked bread with crumbly cheese and tasty bresaola

A friend at work mentioned that he liked bread made using the minimal knead technique. However with work and children (and cats), it took too long on a work night, and the bread was not ready for their dinner time.

I altered the recipe so that dough is prepped before work and baked fresh in the evening. Or prepped in the evening for fresh bread with breakfast.
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Kick-Start Your Bread with a Pizza Stone

A loaf with loose crumb from using a pizza stone

Bread with a looser crumb (holes in the bread structure) looks good, tastes great and is the goal of many artisan bakers. I have learned that using a pre-heated baking stone (in my case a pizza stone) to kick-start the rise, or oven spring, is an important factor in achieving such hole-i-ness. Continue reading “Kick-Start Your Bread with a Pizza Stone”

Minimal Kneading – A Basis for Great Bread

Two small loaves baked with minimal kneading

Most bread recipes in this blog, such as for the the loaves above, use a minimal knead method. In this post we explore how and why this works …
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Easy Home-Baked Bloomer Loaf

A freshly cut home-baked bloomer loaf, ready to eat

One of my favourite aromas is that of freshly baked bread, even beating a good red wine. And it’s easy to make a crusty, tasty loaf at home with virtually no effort.

Impress your family and friends alike by baking your very own home-baked bloomer loaf.

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Short and Sweet – “A blueprint for great home baking”

Short & Sweet by Dan Lepard

My go-to home baking book is Short and Sweet by Dan Lepard. Not just a recipe compilation it is, in Dan’s own words, a “blueprint for great home baking”, imparting much wisdom in a concise and approachable style.

“I truly believe that life is improved by cake.”
Dan Lepard

The “eureka” moment was minimal knead bread-making. A slow, steady rise, interjected with 15 second kneads, it is a good fit for home baking in the maelstrom of modern life.

Dan is a master across the field of baking. His book covers cakes, biscuits, desserts, pizza and even beer-battered fish!

The book can be purchased from amazon.co.uk in either hardback or Kindle format.

“Which Flour Do I Choose?”

Which flour to choose to make bread?

Walk into any supermarket and head to the baking section. Once there, you will almost certainly be greeted with a bewildering selection of flours to choose from … supermarket brands, named brands, white, wholemeal, brown, organic, rye, seeded, pizza, the list goes on.

There will also be flours which, whilst they can be used to make bread, generally produce loaves that are inferior to those made with proper bread flour. These include plain (or all-purpose), self-raising and sponge.

So to make a loaf bread, which flour do you choose?
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Be a Fan of Non-Fan … Ovens

Bloomer loaf baked with an even rise

In the previous two posts I described the importance of scoring the dough and introducing moisture into the oven in baking bread. Yet even with these measures in place, the loaf can still split or rise in a lopsided manner. In this post, we look at the potential culprit … the oven itself.
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Adding Moisture to Bread-Making

Spraying the loaf in the oven

In the first post of this series we looked at the importance of scoring the dough to control crust expansion as the dough rises. Even so, the crust can still split and crack as it dries out in the oven.

To overcome this, and achieve a lovely golden, crisp crust, we add moisture to the mix.
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“Why Doesn’t My Bread Rise?” – From Dough to Bread

A loaf with good rise

That is probably the most common question asked by home cooks when making their first loaves of bread, the other two being:

“What is making the crust split and bulge? Why does the bread cook faster on one side?”

The baking attempts that lead to these queries are also the cause of budding and enthusiastic amateurs to give up early on.

Almost all cooks go through this in the beginning … including myself. In this series of posts, entitled “From Dough To Bread“, I share some of the tricks I have learned (and pitfalls I have dug myself out of) in baking a decent loaf of bread.
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