On November 8 2006 the
Bittman’s piece – which I would have known nothing about as I don’t get the New York Times, had it not been for the wonderful Lindy at Toast – describes a breadmaking innovation that is nothing short of revolutionary for home bread bakers. Invented by Jim Lahey, of the Sullivan St Bakery in
Then comes the truly clever part.
Half an hour before you intend to bake, you put the oven on to heat to 220ºC. Into the oven goes a casserole with a lid, cast iron, Pyrex, ceramic or something heavy. When the bread is ready to bake you tip the dough (well, you practically pour it actually) into the dish, cover with the lid, and cook for half an hour. The dish acts as a little oven inside a bigger oven; the heat injects a whoosh into the dough; the lid stops it from drying out too soon. After half an hour you take the lid off and finish off the bread for another fifteen or twenty minutes.
I felt that my original dough was not quite claggy enough, so I did add a little more water. I think this is because I was a little cavalier with my cup measuring – maybe you should measure cups of flour level and mine were a bit heaped. And flour can be a bit capricious in its water absorbing capacity.
I worried a lot about whether I should smear a bit of oil around the hot dish, but in the end I didn’t, because it didn’t say anywhere I should. The loaf did not stick.
When it flipped out of the dish it was as light as a feather. It is wonderful to eat, will make great toast, and I simply cannot believe how easy it was. As someone has already said, listen up Le Creuset!