Making Bread-

… no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation … will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.

–M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating

This is so very true.

And for the past two days my thoughts have been pure.


I made a lovely couple of loaves of toasting bread.  I love this bread.

It cannot be burnt in a normal toaster- and my husband is notorious for burning the toast.  So for his birthday I made him some bread he can’t burn!


As a special surprise, I sliced it, too!

Then I made him a carrot cake for his Birthday.


It was quite lovely, as well.

And then- I made some sourdough bread- it doesn’t burn in the toaster either- and it has a greater appeal for my taste buds.


I tried a method of baking I’ve been hearing a lot about and decided to give it a try.  Actually, Joanna,over at ZEB BAKES, made some the other day and inspired me to try.

It is baked in a VERY hot pot inside a VERY hot oven.

DSC01366 This pot- an old cast iron pot I got at a garage sale many years ago.  I’ve used it to cook chili in the fireplace when the electricity was out- I’ve made coney sauce in it over the grill- and now it has baked my bread!  DSC01351

( I lined it with parchment paper)

DSC01352 – because the bread raised in a bowl in the garage all night and I didn’t want to disturb it- so I lifted it with the paper and gently dropped it into the VERY hot pot and baked it up.

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The bottom crust and the crumb shot.  I think I needed to degas it and let it raise again- but I really wanted it for my toast this morning.

Joanna also made some brioche and shared the recipe.

So I made it too.

I had made brioche years ago and then never made it again.

Now I remember why.


Brioche is a very buttery and eggy bread.

The dough is very sticky.

And to make it right- you have to give it a lot of time to develop.


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And then there is the shaping.


It turned out – not great- but acceptable-

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-except I remembered why I never made it again.

I don’t like egg-y bread.

DSC01375  I bought this book back in 1996.  And I made her breads- sourdough and artisan breads- great recipes- In fact- my sourdough baking started that year because of her delicious breads.

But she has them labeled by time allotments- and the brioche was a 3 day bread.

First a white starter, then a long time in the cooler- then a cold mix with the mixer going for about 20-30 minutes.  Then another long time in the cooler.

Then shaping- a VERY long raise and baked at 500 degrees F- and I didn’t enjoy the egg taste. 

But – I made it- gave it another try- and won’t be making it again.

Thanks Joanna for the challenge-

I’ll be taking this with some jelly to knitting class, tomorrow.

Maybe they like brioche!


Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery, (1996) is still available from Amazon Books.

9 thoughts on “Making Bread-

  1. You’ve been busy! Eggy bread is not for everyone, I tend to think of brioche and all those egg rich breads more like cake and eat it like cake and then it works for me. And I love your old pot, it looks like it did an OK job, did you take the lid off after 25 minutes or did you keep the lid on all the way through. I was quite surprised at the result I got when I did it. Anyway I want to know more about the non burn toast bread though…. what is its secret? And most importantly happy birthday to your husband 🙂

  2. Joanna-
    I really do love my cast iron pot! It worked so well- I did take the lid off after 25 minutes. I also tipped the bread out and pulled out the parchment paper.
    My husband really only likes white bread. And he does love his toast- but he walks away from the toaster oven and invariably burns it. The bread I make seems to have a much higher heat tolerance than what he buys in the store- and it browns more slowly- he hasn’t burned any yet! It is just AP flour, yeast, water, sugar and salt.- But for some reason it doesn’t burn! 🙂
    Elizabeth- that is exactly what I told him!
    Cynthia- it DOES smell rather delicious here right now. ( I also made some raspberry brownies and baked a ham!)

  3. It is calming making brea isn’t it. As long as I’m not doing 5 other things at once there is nothing quite like a quiet contemplative bread making session. If it’s in the quiet of the morning before anyone gets up, even better.

    All your breads look delicious, I love the idea of doing it in the pot. I’m with you too about the eggy bread, doesn’t work for me. When I made challah, waaay to eggy to be repeated.

    Happy Birthday to Frank too!

  4. Bread bread bread! I love it! So many people have great success with the pot baking – your ols pot is particularly gorgeous Heidi! Did you remove the pot lid for the second half of the bake? I seem to remember that it’s important to do that to let the steam out and allow the crust to finish setting…

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