All grains contain peptides that mimic morphine or endogenous opioid substances. This is where I deal with my latest loaf craving. Get your bread-based exorphin fix here.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Everyday Bread #55 - Camp Bread in a Dutch Oven: Brenda's Loaf

Camp Bread #6: 
A Spent Sourdough Rye, Multigrain and All Purpose Bread Baked in a Dutch Oven by Brenda

"You've spoiled me for bread," Brenda said, reading the ingredients of Sudbury's Golden Grain Bakery's Light Rye Loaf.  Leah's mom and dad left the remainder of the loaf they brought with them in our camp, and we were using it up for breakfast.

We are told that this is the loaf that the Golden Grain Bakery's reputation was built on (although we read raves of their garlic cheese bread and their chocolate croissant online too).  Indeed, the Golden Grain Bakery's light rye is a good loaf.  You can tell it is a light-rye meteil; they obviously use a lot of all purpose or bread flour.  But the only other ingredients are rye culture (I take that to mean a kind of rye preferment, perhaps not a true sourdough), yeast and water.  We both agreed that it was very good bread, meaning it had no artificial ingredients like dough extenders or preservatives.  But it was, now, to us, very flat tasting.  It is not an artisan bread, and it is not a whole grain loaf.  Despite what some reviewers online have said, no, it does not taste like home baked bread.

Brenda followed Paul's recipe except she doubled up on the yeast and used only 1/2 the amount of sourdough starter (it worked out to be about 1/4 c).  This starter was even more spent than the one Paul used (way more sour, something Brenda doesn't usually like).


This loaf was set to rise for 24 hours.  It was a humid day, and damp, but it rained on and off all night and most of the day.

This made the lighting of the fire problematic, and the timing of the coals was extra difficult.  The pot went in early, probably before the coals were properly established.  This threw off the timing of the dough, so that the preheating was done before the dough had sat even an hour after folding.

Brenda put it into the hot Dutch Oven anyway.

She did not check on the loaf until 30 minutes had passed (there was some dispute over time, but I didn't get into it, as I wasn't wearing a watch).  By then, it was golden brown but because it sat directly on the hot coals for that entire time, it was slightly burnt on the bottom (though certainly not as bad as my first loaf).  But her bread even stuck to the bottom of the Dutch Oven when being turned out -- something that has never happened before.  She dug it out with a paring knife.

Brenda opted to keep the bread in the cooling Dutch Oven for another 20 minutes or so before taking it out again and letting it cool on a rack.

She was disappointed that it didn't rise more.  Probably the trouble was in her folding, which tore the dough, and a certain amount of over-handling of it while forming the dough (she was listening to my instructions, and I probably was a bit long-winded, so I must take some of the blame for that).  A longer proofing while the oven preheated another 30 minutes would also have helped. 

We toasted this bread on the Coleman Stove using the Camp Toaster, and it was good.  Brenda didn't care for it for jam, but she ate it with honey -- it was good with Board's Honey, locally produced in Restoule, and a family treat each year.  We usually stock up on the Basswood Honey when we visit the area, but the Buckwheat is also usually extra flavourful, and we always take home some of that too.  These breads require one of these extra flavourful honeys, I think.

Toasting Camp Bread

I loved this bread.

Notes to Myself
  • These Cast Iron Dutch Ovens should be kept from the rain. As soon as the rain began to contact the metal, rust began to appear. I think that I will have to temper the pot again with oil now.
  • I think we now have a pretty good idea of how to bake bread with the cast iron Dutch Oven over a wood fire. In short, these are the steps:
    • Get the fire started while you proof your bread.  
    • Expect about 2 hrs for the proofing, during which time you must let the fire burn down to hot coals, and preheat your pot for a minimum of 30 minutes.
    • Put lots of coals on the top of the Dutch Oven to heat the entire pot.  You might want even to place some on the lid in the middle of the baking process: plan for this.
    • The dough should be well hydrated, so that steam from the dough will bake the crust when the lid traps it there during the initial bake.  Getting the lid on fast once you put the dough in, is important.
    • The initial bake should be the hottest: 10-15 minutes minimum on the direct coals.  You can lift the pot from direct contact with the coals after that (setting it up on a nearby grate, for example, or just up on some unburned logs near the coals), but do not open the lid for 20-25 minutes.
    • At that point, decide whether or not your loaf can tolerate being put in direct contact with the coals.  You may have to turn it out to have a look at the bottom to know this.  You can stick a thermometer in it at this point to make sure that the interior of the loaf is 210 degrees F. (we didn't have one with us), or knock on the loaf to determine if it is done.

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