The pictures show:
1. Wholemeal rolls, just after they've been shaped and before proving - covered with the roasting tin (2).
3. Now risen (you can see how they've spread to the edge of the baking parchment) and just about to go in the oven. Of course I replaced the roasting tin over the rolls.
4. After baking. The rolls completely filled the roasting tin, but the pic doesn't quite capture how flat the top and side of of the rolls actually are.
5. The crumb.
600g strong wholemeal
100g strong white
1 tsp salt
500g lukewarm water
10g fresh yeast
This made a soft and sticky dough which I kneaded at intervals several times – and then left (in a food storer with lid, saves messing about with tea-towels, etc) whilst I had dinner and watched a bit of TV, so it had rested for about two hours.
I was looking to make this into 100g rolls (after baking), so, with a little over 1200g of dough, I divided it into 10 pieces and shaped into rolls.
These I huddled together on some baking parchment, placing 4 down the middle and 3 on each side. Flouring my hands I held the paper with one hand and pushed the rolls gently in towards each other. My intention is to bake this as a loaf, then split the rolls apart and freeze them when cool.
The cover came off after 20 minutes at 220C - and they were baked after 35.
I have to say they rose as good as, or better, than any I’ve made before.
When a yeast-risen batch of dough is placed in a hot oven, the bread will continue to rise until the yeast is killed by the heat and a crust is formed.
Enclosing your bread inside the oven - either under a cover, or inside a casserole dish with a lid - slows the formation of a crust, and probably also prevents the heat from killing the yeast as quickly as it might otherwise do.
Elizabeth David mentions this method, and I remember my dad (a Master Baker by trade) telling me that this was one of the tricks bakers would use to enhance their loaves when entering competitions.
For the cloche method, you need a rigid baking sheet and something to cover your bread with.
I’ve been using a large roasting tin, since I make rolls rather than a loaf. But a large Pyrex bowl would do the trick.
You need to ensure that your baking tray is larger than your chosen cover, so that the bread is enclosed.
Here’s a fascinating conversation on both the casserole dish method and the ‘cloche’ method:
And another one here.
And more info on Dan Lepard's forum.
10th April 2011.
My latest thoughts and adjustments to this recipe:
I now add 60g of ground flaxseeds along with the flour - for the omega 3, mainly, but they also add flavour and texture to the bread.
The amount of dough I make now comes to around 1400g, which makes 12 rolls weighing roughly 115g.
I've also changed the timing of the bread, I take the cover off after 10 minutes, then give it ten more minutes uncovered.
Note: This morning, making some white rolls, the bread was ready to go into the oven before I'd even switched it on! I'd left it, covered with the roasting dish, in the warm sunlight. So I put the bread in a cold oven. It took longer to warm up, as you'd expect, so I had to keep an eye on temperature and timings, but the bread rose wonderfully.
I'll post a pic of the rolls, later.