If my dough is soft, I use a medium mixing bowl lined with a towel that is well-coated with flour. Just before baking I turn it out onto parchment paper for transfer to the oven.
But the real trick is to bake the bread in a covered dutch oven. Preheat it in the oven so that it's nice and hot. Then slash the top of the loaf and mist the bread heavily with a spray bottle. Lift it on the parchment to place it into the dutch oven and cover tightly. Bake covered for the first 2/3 of the baking time, then pull the lid to finish it.
The dutch oven retains the moisture and prevents the crust from gelatinizing early, which allows for more oven spring and then for a thin, crispy crust. Since I learned the dutch oven trick I have used it continually.
current weight: 284.0
Fitness Minutes: (131,990) Posts: 15,598 2/4/13 2:44 P
I love bread - any kind! (In fact I've just been looking at a recipe for a cheese and oat scone). So it's one thing that I don't do without - though I have to be careful how much I allow myself in a day. I have a bread maker, but I like to do it by hand as well - kneading is a brilliant work-out!
I don't think home ovens are hot enough for unshaped loaves. The hot clay ovens solidify the proteins in the crust right away for that crispy outside, and they have sprayers to keep the air moist. Thus, loaf pans. I bake soda bread in a cake round; maybe that would work for a yeast bread,too.
Nell Reston, Virginia (DC suburbs)
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I'm planning to bake bread on Saturday. I don't have regular loaf pans (note for shopping list), so I'm planning to make a round loaf. The problem I have is that my round loaves spread instead of rise, so they're only about an inch in height and useless for much of anything besides buttering! I seriously love the beautiful rustic Italian and French round loaves I see on TV. Is there a way to shape the dough so it will turn out at least resembling them? I'm considering baking mine in a small springform pan so it can't spread.
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