Preparing to Bake Bread – An Introduction

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Last week my better-half and I competed in a 3-Pot Cook Off in Harper, Texas as a part of their 150 Year Celebration.   Check out the parade that went by our kitchen!  The day started out with  rain, which made life difficult as we set up our outdoor cooking, but nothing to slow us down.  (Given the serious drought, this rain was a precious blessing!)  We had all day to make a four-layer Spiked Up Carrot Cake, Four-Braid Challah, and Beef Wellington.  We met our goal to put all three out on time and baked according to the recipe!

After posting photos of our bread on Facebook to our local Dutch Oven Group, several folks asked for help about baking bread in a camp Dutch oven. What a compliment!

So, we decided to offer a “hands on” bread baking class this coming weekend at a Dutch Oven Gathering (DOG). I sent an email out to the group and posted a note on Facebook to let Dutch oven friends know about the plan and what equipment and ingredients to bring to the class.

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The recipe is adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s amazing cookbook The New Best Recipe (pp 752-753).  Our primary adaptation focuses on how to shape the bread and bake it in a  camp Dutch oven.  Managing the heat is the main challenge to any baking project.  I will share how we carefully monitor the charcoal to avoid burning the top and the bottom and how we use our Thermapen instant read theremometer to help determine when the bread is done.
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We served this Challah (baked in a 16″ camp Dutch oven) with freshly made strawberry jam and sweet compound butter.  Yes ma’am!  It was delicious!

In preparation for the hands-on class, I decided to do a trial run today to work out the details.  I’ll post details and would appreciate your feedback in the comments section.  In the next post I will list the ingredients and show how I prepared the bread.  I will end this mini series with a final post showing how I shaped and baked the bread and lessons learned.

What is the biggest challenge you face when you bake bread in your camp Dutch oven??

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One Response to Preparing to Bake Bread – An Introduction

  1. Pingback: Baking Challah Part One | Texas Iron Chef

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