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! ❤️

Chocolate Bread

Chocolate bread with chocolate chunks in it? Count me in! The chocolate lover in me just couldn’t resist and every bite was instant happiness!

This bread needs to be started the day before so that it can rest and develop it’s flavor overnight. Makes it perfect for breakfast!

You will need the following:Enjoy!!!

2 1/4 cups water

2 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise dry yeast

5 1/4 cups bread flour

1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

Place water, yeast, flour, cocoa powder, sugar and salt in the Thermomix bowl. Set to dough/knead function for 2 minutes. Add chocolate chips and knead for 1 minute, reverse blade function.

Let rise, covered, for about an hour until double in size.

Tip the bowl over and remove the dough to a floured surface. Pull the edge and fold the dough over itself several times. Shape into a ball, place into a greased bowl then turn the dough over and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

Shaped and ready for proofing.

Remove from the refrigerator after the overnight rest. Leave to warm to room temperature for about an hour.

Divide dough into 3-4 pieces and shape each into an oval and place onto a baking sheet, leaving a few inches between the loaves. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for about another hour, until doubled in size.

Proved and ready for scoring.

Preheat oven to 450F.

Spray loaves with a fine mist of water and slash the tops at an angle 2-3 times. Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Hardest part is waiting until it is cool enough to EAT!

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Sticky buns

Buttery caramel topped cinnamon buns with pecans.

This is the stuff dream breakfasts are made of. I try to make these during the holidays for breakfast, with hopes that it will be an annual tradition eventually. It does take time and effort but the end result is so decadent. Of course it goes well with coffee and tea, specially when freshly baked, warm out of the oven.

You can also add raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, and/or chopped apples, on the dough right before rolling it up.

If cutting with a knife turns out to be messy, use a piece of string wrapped around the dough and pulled opposite directions, to cut the roll cleanly.

I adapted the recipe to be made in the Thermomix to save time and dishes to wash. Instructions for when using the Thermomix for this recipe are in the parenthesis, in bold letters.

Ingredients
For the dough
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3½ cups all purpose flour
For the topping
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
For the filling
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
Prepare the dough
  1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the milk and sugar. Heat until lukewarm, about 110F, stirring until sugar dissolves. Transfer the warm milk mixture to a bowl and stir in the yeast. Allow to sit for 10 minutes to activate the yeast, then stir in the salt. (Place butter, milk, sugar, and yeast in Thermomix bowl and secure lid.  Set to 2 minutes, 37C, speed 2).
  2. Stir the beaten eggs into the yeast mixture. Stir in the flour 1 cup at a time until the dough comes together and is still a bit sticky. Scrape onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth. (Add eggs, salt, and flour to the bowl and replace cover. Set to knead for 2 minutes.) 
  3. Grease a large bowl and transfer the dough into it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 – 2 hours, or until tripled in size.                                                                               
Prepare the topping
  1. Melt the butter with the brown sugar, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring continuously. (Place the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a clean Thermomix bowl and set to 5 minutes 100C speed 2, adding a couple more minutes if needed to fully dissolve the sugar). Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with butter. Pour the sugar mixture into the greased pan, spreading it in an even layer covering the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans. 
Put it all together:
  1. Punch down the dough and tip it onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a 15×12-inch rectangle.
  2. Spread 4 tbsp of softened butter for the cinnamon-sugar filling over the dough. In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle over the buttered dough leaving a 1/2 border along the edges.  Roll the rectangle up along a long edge.
  3. Slice the rolled dough into 1-inch thick slices. Arrange them cut side up, over the pecans in the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. The following morning, remove the pan from the fridge and leave at room temperature for about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350F. Place the pan in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Invert the pan onto a serving plate. Serve warm.