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Bread :-(

DavidHallDavidHall Posts: 19
edited 1:23AM in EggHead Forum
This past Saturday I cooked pizzas on our Egg. Sunday I baked bread. Because of size limitations (even the large Eggs are kinda small...), I did four small pizzas on Saturday and four demi-baguettes on Sunday.[p]For the pizzas, I used frozen dough from my local Whole Foods market. It's as good as anything I make myself and it's certainly more convenient. For the bread, I made dough from scratch.[p]I tried the pizzas and bread at various temps from about 600 down to 450. Whatever the temperature, though, the tops did not brown sufficiently. The pizzas were edible and we wolfed them down (the toppings were outstanding), but the bread was just awful. When the temperature was fairly high, the bottom burned and the bread/crust dried out. At lower temps, the bottom turned a pale brown, but the bread still dried out.[p]Frankly, I turned out excellent pizza on my old gas grill with quarry tiles. I was hoping for better results with my Egg. Am I doing something wrong? I have searched the archives, but they don't seem to be working.


  • Prof DanProf Dan Posts: 339
    David,[p]I've had good luck baking bread two ways: first, in a dutch oven on firebricks. Preheat everything to 400 and bake just like a gas oven.[p]Second, use the "beehive oven" technique. Cover the grid with firebricks. Heat it up to 500 or more for at least an hour. Slide the loaf onto the bricks and close up all the vents, putting out the fire. The residual heat radiates out of the bricks and the walls of the Egg and bakes the bread. A loaf takes about 45 minutes or so; a probe should give an internal temp of 190.[p]That "beehive" technique is how they used to bake in the olden days: heat a big clay oven, sweep out the fire, toss in the dough, and close it up. Great crust![p]But I have not been able to bake bread directly on the bricks with the fire going full blast. The bread gets too smokey and dry.[p]Good luck, and don't give up!
  • DavidHallDavidHall Posts: 19
    'buffy',[p]No, I didn't use a pizza stone. I used the "plate setter" (I think that's what they call it), covered with aluminum foil. I would imagine the effect is pretty much the same with the ceramic plate setter as with a pizza stone.[p]Since I did so four pizzas and four demi-baguettes, I had lots of opportunity to experiment with temps...for better and for worse. I tried temps ranging from 600 to 450, maybe down to 400. None of them worked.[p]I am definitely going to try Prof Dan's suggestions. I have a hunch he has nailed the problems for me.

  • DavidHallDavidHall Posts: 19
    Prof Dan,[p]Thank you for the suggestions and encouragement! You hit the nail on the head: the bread was dry and hard. I think your suggestion of closing down all the vents will solve the problem. I can't wait for the weekend now. :-)

  • ravnhausravnhaus Posts: 311
    <p />DavidHall,
    I have done bread twice and had pretty good luck. The first time I used a bread pan on a raised grill at 350° and it came out fairly well. That is the loaf in the picture. The second time was what you will see in the link below. The bread that I placed on the stone direct was a little burned on the bottom although you can not see it in the pictures. The loaf we did in the pan came out perfect. I think the stone gets too hot for the bread bottom. Try a bread pan next time and see how it goes.

  • PujPuj Posts: 615
    DavidHall,[p]I've read the posts in the thread and will second the advise of Prof Dan regarding techniques that can be used to bake the bread but I'm curious to the make up of the dough? Could you provide this data? I'm a believer that the dough - the formula, preparation, fermentation, etc. - has more influence on the outcome of a home-baked bread than the "oven" used. Don't get me wrong, the Egg can put the finishing touches on a baked bread. However, if the dough prep isn't done right, the Egg (nor any other baking method) won't create a miracle.[p]Puj
  • DavidHallDavidHall Posts: 19
    Puj,[p]The dough was that for a classic French baguette: bread, water, yeast, salt. I started with a poolish of (as I recall) a cup of flour, two cups of water, and a pinch of yeast. The next day I finished the dough with more flour, water, yeast, and salt.
  • PujPuj Posts: 615
    DavidHall,[p]My best advise right now is that baking bread is a learning experience that takes time, regardless of baking vehicle. The margin of error in practically every step is relatively small, requiring each of us who has a passion for this endeavor to pay attention to the details - from the formula used to dome temps, bake times, heat of the ceramic mass, you name it. Bottom line - "it ain't easy!", but once you get the hang of it is a ton of fun and very gratifying.[p]Keep at it, it's worth it.[p]Puj
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