During my reading about all things sourdough bread and otherwise I came across the concept of cooking the bread starting from a cold oven. This made alot of sense to me, my oven doesn’t keep the steam, it is made to vent any steam and it seems to do this very effectively, as all modern ovens are designed to do, that’s how we get our nice roast potatoes after all. And as such when my bread goes into a super hot oven it seals the dough and it then becomes a battle as to who is going to win the ‘oven spring’ war, will the crust have already hardened too much or will it still be soft enough that when the interior of the bread has heated up nicely and the gas bubbles expanded allow for those exciting few moments where the bread springs up an inch or so, I love to watch out for this. But if one was to put it into a cold oven, the yeast would love the warmth and the gas bubbles would expand gently and the crust would still be soft.
I decided to give it a go.
The bread was amazing – this is a walnut and sunflower seed loaf. It had a lovely texture, the density felt correct and everything about it seemed right and it tasted good too!
Quick recipe –
375g white bread flour
125g wholemeal bread flour
350g warm water
50g sunflower seeds
50g walnuts chopped
extra sunflower seeds for topping.
I later tried the technique on a sourdough bread. I’ve yet to cut into this as it was popped into the freezer.
Over all I think its an exciting development in my bread making skills. If you wish to try it in a modern oven, start timing from the moment the oven hits temperature, I baked these loaves at 190c but I think I pulled them out a few minutes early, as with all things you know your bread and oven better than I.
And next time I’m going to try a cold start in a dutch oven – that will be interesting as it will retain any moisture from the loaf and I won’t have the absolutely terrifying ordeal of handling a red hot cast iron dish that has been heating up the oven for half an hour whilst at the same time trying to slip a lump of dough into it as quickly as possible.