Bread and Enameled Cast Iron, Who Knew…

Last Sunday when I met with my “foodie” group, one of the members brought a fabulous loaf of homemade bread. Not only did it look spectacular but it tasted divine. You would have thought it was made by a professional baker. When I asked her how she made it she told me she baked the bread in an enameled cast iron pot. She said it was so easy that I just had to try it. It sounded way too good to be true but even though that was my initial impression I began to research how to bake bread this way online.

5-6 quart enameled cast iron pot

5-6 quart enameled cast iron pot

Everything I read about making this type of artisan bread seemed to support what she said. Everyone wrote that the basic recipe was easy, forgiving, and produces the most fabulous loaf of bread. The recipe I chose was from a site called SimplySoGood.com. I liked the site for several reasons: 1.) It was written in a very folksy easy to understand way. 2.) The blog took the mystery out of making bread in this particular way and made you feel like you could really do it and do it well. 3.) I like sites that give you step by step pictures of the process and what the recipe should look like at all stages. This site may have overdone it a little with the pictures but better more than less I always say, especially where pictures are concerned.

And so, with my new found courage I ventured into the world of baking bread in an enameled cast iron vessel. The bread recipe was extremely, and I mean extremely simple – only 4 ingredients. If you use rapid rise yeast you don’t even have to fuss with determining the correct water temperature. You simply mix together the ingredients, cover the bowl, let it sit overnight on the counter, form it into a ball and bake it in a pre-warmed pot. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

3 Simple Dry Ingredients: Flour, Yeast and Salt

3 Simple Dry Ingredients: Flour, Yeast and Salt

So what lessons did I learn from making it. Lesson Learned #1: The blogger says this recipe is full proof and it is. I live in high altitude and absolutely no adjustments had to be made to the recipe. Lesson Learned #2: The dough is very sticky when you start to form it into a ball. The recipe calls for an over abundance of flour on the surface you use when forming the dough and for your hands. I actually think I put down too much flour on my counter because the bottom of my bread was loaded with it to the point I had to brush some off after it was baked. Just be careful and don’t go overboard like I did. But you will need a good amount of flour.

What the dough looks like when initially mixed

What the dough looks like when initially mixed

LessonLearned 3#: This is probably the absolute easiest way to make bread and be successful every time. The outside is crusty, the inside is moist and flavorful. I am looking forward to experimenting with different versions of this recipe, maybe using whole wheat flour or adding cranberries and nuts. When I do I will post the results.

I was so amazed to see the finished product and I was so surprised that I actually made this. So I guarantee that you will be equally successful when you try it. You would be foolish not too, this bread it just two darn easy to make. Click on this link: artisanbread for the recipe. Enjoy!

The finished produce: Artisan No-Knead Bread

The finished product: Artisan No-Knead Bread

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