Seems like almost every magazine in the couple years features an article about bread made in 5 minute a day, rising slowly overnight, and baked the following day, often in a cast iron pot. I like making yeast breads . I like the calm repetitive motions of kneading bread dough, and the small of bread fresh from the oven.
I tried it the overnight 5 minute bread once, but was not impressed with my results. After thinking about what might have caused the failure, I decided to try again, with just a basic white bread recipe.
Since the bread takes 12-18 hours to rise, you need to plan ahead. It would be hard to make in one day for dinner tonight.
Some things I decides were important: my cast iron Dutch oven is too large to make a decent loaf of bread – the dough just spreads out too much. None of my skillets had a cover. So I found a 3 quart cast iron covered pot on Amazon -the perfect size. It makes a nice round loaf of bread 4-5 inches high. Make sure your pot has a oven proof cover, because you will need it for baking the bread. You could probably use a ceramic or metal dutch oven as well, but I wanted to use the cast iron because I wanted a crispy crust.
I decided to use a bit more yeast than the original recipe.
I left the dough a good 18 hours, by starting it one afternoon, leaving it set overnight and then baking at about 10 am.
And it came out perfect. A chewy, crispy crust and lovely airy, holey rustic bread inside. I waiting the required hour before slicing, and then got some soft butter out. I tasted wonderful.
Some of the variations below are of my own design. The original recipe was published in Grits Guide to Cast-Iron Cooking Aug 2017.
Basic Cast Iron White Bread
3 c bread flour
1.5 tsp salt
½ packet of yeast (about 1 tsp)
1.5-1.75 cups cool water
Coarse cornmeal for dusting
- Whisk flour, salt, and yeast together in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl.
- Add 1.5 cups of water and stir until you have a wet, sticky mass of dough. Add more water as needed. This dough will be shaggy and wet, not like a dough that you would knead.
- Cover the bow with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature, out of sunlight, for 12-18 hours (overnight is good).
- After the time has elapsed, your dough will be bubbly and may smell like alcohol, and it has doubled in size. It is still loose and sticky – do not add any more flour. Dust a board or counter with flour, and turn the dough out, using plastic dough scrapers to get it all out. Dust the top with flour, cover with a cotton or linen towel (terry towels will leave fuzzy’ s on the dough!). Let rest 1-2 hours.
- 30 minutes or so prior to baking, turn on the oven to 475 degrees F. place your 3 ½ quart cast iron pan inside to preheat as well. I used the middle of the oven.
- Once the oven finishes preheating, take out the pot – carefully, the cast iron is REALLY HOT. Sprinkle about 1 tsp of coarse cornmeal in the bottom.
- Uncover the dough, and using the scrapers, shape the dough into a rough ball, tuning it a few times. Then lift and scrape into the hot pan. Dust with more cornmeal if desired.
- Put the cover on the pot and bake at 475F for 30 minutes. Then remove the cover and bake another 15 minutes or so until the bread is browned.
- Remove the pot form the oven, and using a sturdy spatula (wood or metal), remove the loaf and place on a cooling rack. Let rest at least 1 hour before slicing.
Oat raisin: using some oat flour and garnish with rolled Oats on top, add raisins to the dough.
Rye or whole wheat: Use part rye/ whole wheat flour, (about ¾ c total in the recipe) and rye or whole wheat flour for the dusting top and bottom
Herb bread: add some dried dill, thyme, sage or a combination of herbs (about 2 tbsp) to the dough before rising.
Spice bread: rather than herbs, add in some cardamom, cinnamon, or pumpkin pie spice.
What kinds of bread have you baked in a cast iron pot?
Do you like the 5 minutes a day kind of bread, or would you rather have a more traditional hand kneaded loaf?