Baking Bread Without Preheating The Oven

My beautiful loaf!

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!

DO=dutch oven. 😊

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.

Lovely isn’t it?

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.

35 minutes after temperature is reached, uncover and bake 15-20 minutes more.

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! ❤️

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