Over the years I have cooked a lot of sourdough using two basics methods. My dough proves in bannetons and then it is cooked directly on the floor of our wood oven or directly on a layer of terracotta tiles that live permanently in our gas oven.
I know a lot of fellow bread friends, including Celia sometimes cook their bread in various pots with a lid. Recently I decided I needed to try this method for myself.
My pots of choice were two cast iron camp ovens which we use regularly in our wood oven for cooking almost everything. Camp ovens are hardy enough to withstand high temperatures, they hold their heat for long periods and are perfectly suited to the sometimes unforgiving world of wood oven cooking. They are also heavy and need to be handled with care, especially when they are hot. Enter, welding gloves.
On this occasion I cooked four loaves directly on the wood oven floor and placed two loaves into cold camp ovens with the lids on. The camp oven bread and the bread that cooked directly on the floor all went into the hot oven together.
The loaves that were placed directly on the floor cooked and rose faster than their counterparts in the camp ovens. The loaves in the camp ovens spread out more and didn’t achieve the height of the other loaves. The camp oven bread also developed a more golden colour. The bases of the camp oven loaves were perfect thanks to an extra layer of protection from the wood oven floor. Perhaps my biggest challenge with wood oven bread is preventing the bases from burning.
Overall, I didn’t find a huge difference in the taste or crumb of these loaves. Although our camp ovens are always clean and thoroughly seasoned perhaps the loaves had a hint of lamb shanks or slow roasted goat about them. Not altogether a bad thing.
For anyone who is interested, the loaves on either end of this line up were from the camp ovens and the four loaves in the middle were cooked directly on the floor of the wood oven.
Happy Sunday friends, I hope you are baking something tasty x