Cast Iron Cooking: Rustic Whole Wheat Loaf

While we tend to lean low carb in our eating habits, we do like a piece of hearty toast in the morning before heading out to do the farm chores. Having taken a break from our sourdough to explore other options, we recently found an easy recipe for this rustic, crusty whole wheat loaf – baked in cast iron!

Note: though this post was written by me, the bread baking is done by Mr. fMf, as described here. Can I bake bread? Yes. But I have plenty of other interests to keep me busy.

I adore my Lodge enameled cast iron dutch ovens – they look great, work exactly as expected, and are easy to clean. We have a 6 quart and a 2.5 quart, and each is well-used. While we use non-enameled cast iron, too, I prefer to cook acidic foods like spaghetti sauce in the enameled cast iron to prevent the tomato’s acid from reacting with the iron. Following the recipe author’s lead, we used enameled cast iron, but I suspect that a properly-seasoned standard cast iron dutch oven would work, too.

Making the bread begins with mixing the flour, salt, and yeast (and we add 1 Tbsp psyllium powder to boost the fiber) with the water and letting the dough rise for at least 8 hours. We typically let ours rise around 10-12 hours.

The dough is then shaped – not kneaded – and dropped into the pre-heated (and very hot) dutch oven. The pre-heated part is important – follow the instructions to the letter.

The bread then bakes – covered for the first part, followed by an uncovered baking period. It develops a beautiful, rustic crust over its entire surface. It looks like it was baked in a bread oven on a 16th century rural farm (like on Tales from the Green Valley).

The loaf should slide right out of the dutch oven after it’s done. A knock on the bottom of the loaf sounded properly hollow, so we let it cool on a wire rack.

Lovely even on the bottom

This crusty bread makes fantastic toast and is hearty and soft for sandwiches. Comparing the loaves we’ve made with and without psyllium powder, we prefer the ones made with – they actually seem to have a lighter crumb. Plus, who couldn’t use a bit more fiber in their diet?

Tofurky sandwich on fresh bread

Why buy commercially-made bread and deprive yourself of the wholesomeness of homemade? Plus, there’s nothing quite like the fragrance of baking bread wafting from your kitchen. Start baking today!

2 thoughts on “Cast Iron Cooking: Rustic Whole Wheat Loaf

  1. I really want to try this! I don’t have a Dutch oven. Would a cast iron skillet with foil on top work?

    1. Hi! We haven’t tried it so we can’t say for certain, but would have a few concerns about this method. With a cast iron Dutch oven, both the top and bottom pieces are very heavy and fit together tightly – this is important because the steam generated during the baking process is what helps create the crispy crust. One of the key steps in the baking process is to put the Dutch oven in the oven as it preheats, bringing the Dutch oven up to temperature; because the pieces are of the same thickness, the heat is relatively uniform, but there would be a significant difference in thickness between the cast iron skillet and the foil on top, which could result in uneven baking or even burning. Further, the loaf is able to rise adequately as it bakes because there’s empty space in the Dutch oven. We’re big fans of our cast iron skillets and they’re very versatile, but this is a recipe where it would be difficult to duplicate the effect of the Dutch oven with another pan. If you do try it, though, best of luck – and let us know how it goes!

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