I had previously shared Mrs C&S's favourite method of baking artisan sesame seed bread at home in a cast iron Dutch oven. It is simple but consistently produces fantastic result - crusty and flavourful bread with character, over and over again. Wife has been baking breads using this recipe a few times a week for family and friends with rave reviews.
Baking bread in a cast iron pot with the lid on is like an oven within an oven. The super high heat and steam within the enclosed pot provide an ideal environment for bread baking. As the baking temperature is very high, make sure you replace the original black plastic lid knob of the cast iron pot with a stainless steel one.
This is my younger daughter Audrey's favorite, a slight variation of the previous bread recipe, using matcha and dried cranberry. Festive season is just around the corner and I thought the red and green colour of the bread loaf is ideal for Christmas celebration and sharing!
Recipe adapted from 'Tartine Bread' by Chad Robertson.
Water 280 gm
Starter/Levain 70 gm (Natural yeast starter)
Bread Flour 242 gm
Wholemeal Flour 100 gm
Green Tea powder 8 gm
Cranberry 35 gm
Note: The amount of water relative to the flour is called the hydration percentage. Dough made with 60 gm of water and 100 gm of flour is 60 percent hydration. Thus, the amount of water is 60 percent of the weight of the flour. This is a 80% hydration recipe. You can adjust the water accordingly, as long as it maintains the overall water content. For first timers trying out this recipe, I will suggest using a 75% hydration and slowly increase the hydration when you are more comfortable in handling the dough.)
Add 70 gm of starter to the water and stir to disperse.
Add bread flour, wholemeal flour and green tea powder to the water and mix throughly until you do not see any bits of dry flour. Let the dough rest for 25 to 30 mins. Working with the nature of the dough, the resting period allows the protein and starch in the flour to absorb the water, swell, and then relax into a cohesive mass.
After the resting period, add 7gm of salt and 18gm of warm water to the dough. Incorporate the salt by squeezing the dough between your fingers.
Add cranberry after 30 mins. Using the stretch and fold technique, stretch and fold the dough.
Repeat stretch and fold method every 30 minutes for 6 times (3 hours).
Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Rest for 15 mins before transferring into a proofing basket. Leave it to proof in the fridge overnight. (I usually let it proof for at least 6 hours)
Preheat the oven to 260C with a cast iron casserole for about 30 minutes.
Place the dough in the cast iron casserole and cover it. Immediately reduce the temperature to 240C. Bake the loaf for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, open the oven and remove the casserole cover. Continue to bake the bread in the casserole until the crust is golden brown, about 10 minutes.