I realize that asking a question and trying to get or even FIND the answer is getting a bit ridiculous on the Crusty Bread page. This is by far the most popular post I have with over 1.2 MILLION page views. Who knew???? Oh my gosh. I knew the first time that I made this bread that I had to share it with the world. It’s so easy, yet so delicious and has SO many possibilities. Here is your turn to share, ask, comment, complain, or rave about your bread success.
Q: Do I have to use an enamel covered cast iron pan?
A: NO. You can use anything that can take the heat. The following have been used that I know of:
Clay pots with lids, Pizza stone with a bowl to cover the bread, insert from a crockpot, pyrex baking dish with a lid, stainless steel pot with a lid, baking dish covered with aluminum foil, old cast iron dutch oven.
Q: Do I have to use unbleached flour?
A: I always use unbleached flour. You can try bleached flour.
Q: Can I use self rising flour?
A: I don’t know. I would just stick to all-purpose.
Q: What size is my pan?
A: My smallest pan is 5.5 quart and the loaf barely fits.
Q: What type of yeast do I use?
A: I use SAF instant yeast. Any yeast should work.
Q: Why is my bread turning out flat?
A: I don’t know. You could try using less 1/4 cup less liquid. Or add a bit more flour. Make sure your dough appears to be dry when you first mix it. It will have more moisture during the rising time. There are many determining factors when bread making. Is your flour old? It does make a difference. Sometimes store brand, sale flour isn’t so great and should probably be left on the store shelf. Make sure your flour is fresh and a good quality brand and make sure your yeast is fresh and active.
Q: Can my dough sit out longer than 18 hours? Does it HAVE to be between 12-18 hours?
A: No. I have let some dough sit as long as 24 hours and the bread was beautiful.
Q: Have you tried Gluten-free?
A: No. I’m still waiting for someone to venture into the realm of Gluten-free. If you try it, let everyone know.
Q: Do I have to grease or oil the pan? Will my bread stick?
A: No you don’t need to grease the pan. I have never had the bread stick when using a cast iron pot. I haven’t tried anything else. The best way to be certain that the bread won’t stick is to form the loaf on a sheet of parchment paper and lift the bread into the pan using the sides of the parchment. Leave the paper in the pan. It’s won’t burn. When the bread has baked, just lift the sides of the parchment out of the pan. Voila!
Q: What temperature should my water be?
A: I just use cool water straight from the tap.
Q: Can I add sugar?
My most recipe comment that will be so helpful to all of you. Thank you so much, Cory – Falling Star Lane:
Hi! Me again! I have some input – mostly add in ideas that have been huge hits! I found that using the parchment makes all the difference – to any loaf, it makes it easy to put in and take out and never burns.
Also, I reduced the baking time by 5 minutes for each step – more tender bred, and just as crispy crust.
I also add 1 T of raw sugar to each loaf – they rise higher for me.
As to add ins –
1. Turkey bacon and cheddar – huge hit
2. Rosemary, feta and sundried tomatoes – i found the ones in oil to bring a fantastic flavor
3. Jalapeno, and pepper jack – wow!!! used canned peppers – small can
4. Chocolate and cranberry
5. Rosemary and sharp cheddar
6. Chocolate chip and orange infused cranberries
7. Apricot, cranberry, and chocolate – I put too much in – so i had very dense bread – but it got eaten!!
8. Rosemary and Feta
9. Marinated artichokes and raw garlic – sliced 6 cloves very thinly – oh boy!
10. Orange infused cranberry, almond and orange zest
11. Lemon zest, feta, and rosemary
S0 far, none have been rejected, and I have become something of a bread baker to my friends – I bring a couple varieties to potluck, and they are very nicely received! I still need a 2nd dutch oven – days i bake 3-5 loaves it gets pretty hot around here! 🙂
I hope listing these is ok – i spent soooo long scrolling thru to see other peoples ideas, it seemed like this would be a good thing – found a few to try, and in fact making a pistachio and cranberry tonite, and an olive mozerella – new is good – but i get asked for the Jalapeno one most often!!
Thanks again for this blog post!
Most of the comments I receive are pretty fabulous like this comment. Keep them coming.