Have you ever tried baking bread but starting with a cold dough in a cold oven? Yeah I know, that idea turned everything I knew about baking upside down!
I read about this method from a group of sourdough bakers on Facebook. I asked to clarify as I never heard of anyone doing it this way and the wonderful lady replied in such detail that I believe I understood it enough to try it!
Most home bread makers will know that bread baking requires creating steam by spraying water into the hot oven, placing ice cubes in the oven, or preheating the dutch oven/baking vessel/pizza stone with covers in the oven. Most of the time, you’ll be placing the dough into something really hot. I had my share of burns this way, even though I try to be very careful. So this Cold Method is intriguing to me. I know that some people use this method to avoid getting burned when placing the dough in a hot dutch oven, others to protect their clay bakers/roasters from the sudden temperature change of adding a cold bread dough to a preheated clay pot, or placing the cool clay pot in a preheated oven.
I just got a beautiful Romertopf clay baker recently, so I decided to try cold start baked bread today. I would hate for this beautiful pot to break so if this method will work, I will definitely bake in it this way.
I started timing for 35 minutes, covered, after temperature is reached, then 15-20 minutes uncovered, or until desired dcolor on loaf is achieved.
I used a recipe I found in the same Facebook group and just winged the process. I made it fit my timeframe and I wrote it down here that way I can always go back and see it. It’s a very easy and very forgiving recipe. I hope you’ll try it!
400 grams flour
120 grams starter
250 grams water
9 grams salt
Mix everything in the Thermomix (easiest as it also has a scale) or a food processor with dough blade. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Cover and rest overnight to proof, stretching and folding at least once (I was tired and sleepy so i only was able to do it once!)
Shape in the morning. I shaped mine into a batard as it’s easier for to use for sandwiches than a boule. You can definitely shape it any way you want.
Place seam side up in a heavily floured banetton. Cover and prove for about 2 1/2 hours. Remove cover, place a sheet of parchment over the dough and invert onto your hand. Place in the clay baker with the parchment under the dough. Score the dough , cover with the lid, place in oven and set oven temperature to 450F.
Start timing after temperature is reached. I did 35 minutes with cover, removed the cover and baked for 15 minutes more. I think this works for the bread I made. The advice I was given on the Facebook page was to leave it for 55 minutes covered, with an option of leaving it for 5 more minutes, uncovered, to brown a little more.
The resulting bread was a beauty! And the texture was great that I believe I learned a new way to bake breads! I am thankful to groups online that unselfishly shares knowledge and personal experiences to others as I truly have learned a lot this way. Here’s to hoping that you learn something from my blog too! ❤️