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Mixed Fruit Loaf


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So far, the cold oven method has worked well and I was curious to find out if it will work if the bread is loaded with fruit as in a raisin bread. It worked very well indeed. This is yet another surprise in my bread making journey. It's another instance of why books cannot tell you everything. My earlier surprise, or rather shock was that flour labeled "Better for bread" may really be unsuitable for bread making. Another surprise is that you don't really need to knead bread. Now the cold oven method turned all that conventional wisdom of pre-heating with a stone on its head.

After 3 rounds of testing, I can conclude that the cold oven method is brilliant and I did not see any significant difference in results in comparison with the pre-heat method. Even more surprising was that I did not even have to introduce steam into the oven. However, I believe this to be true only in very humid environments like in the tropics where I live.

I first learnt of the cold oven method from Dick Adams of Carl's Friends. Charles Perry, who sent me some of Carl's starter pointed me to Dick's web-page on frugal starter management. He mentioned baking in a cold oven somewhere in the site. However, at that time I did not even think of trying it because all the books were advocating preheating with a stone. Over time as I read about more people having successes with the method and with crazy rising utility bills, I decided to have a go at it and it was truly brilliant.

For my bake, I used 30% pre-ferment and 70% hydration. The final rise was in the fridge and I think I need a wine cooler for that now. The oven spring was as good as in the pre-heat method. No steam was injected. I did notice that the crust was not as shiny.










This site was last updated 05/26/07