HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Baking Artisan Bread in 5 WITHOUT a baking stone?

I have everything I need to try this method out except for a baking stone and a pizza peel. I read somewhere you can use an inverted cookie sheet instead. Anyone know if this will yield acceptable results? Or any other tricks or substitutions? Thanks for any help! I should get a baking stone by the end of the year, so I don't mind not having "perfect" bread till then, just wanna try it out.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. You can always try it.

    But I do think you want a really hot surface. I've used a cast iron flat pan that is made for pizza. It has worked great. (And it's actually easier to handle than a bulky pizza stone.) Have anything like that? Know probably not a common pan.

    1. The cast iron skillet method works very well. It's a little difficult to get the loaf squarely in the pan but using the parchment paper "sling" method helps in that regard.
      You can use a cookie sheet and there isn't any reason to "invert" the cookie sheet. Inverting it doesn't' change a thing unless you need to slide the dough onto it from a peel; and you don't have one so that's not an issue.
      You can do your final proof on parchment paper and, when the dough is ready for the oven, simply use the parchment paper as a "sling" and gently carry the raw dough to the cookie sheet and lay it in place.
      Just remember to place a rack low in the oven and have a pan with about half to 3/4 cup of hot water in it when you begin preheating your oven. the bread is loaded into the oven. Have your bread rack about midway in the oven cavity. You may hear a lot of nonsense about using ice cubes, ice chips, and other theories about steaming your oven environment. Remember that, in pure physics, water turns to steam at 212 degrees. Melting ice in an oven to create steam only delays the process.
      Best of luck and welcome to the bread baking vortex. It'll take over your life if you let it.
      Tricks? Well, not a trick per se. But it's worth including. I assume you'll be starting your bake at 500 degrees. Use a spray bottle and, every thirty seconds after the initial loading of the oven, open the door quickly and spray the walls with water, then close the door. When you've done that three times, allow the bread to bake at the 500 degree level for five minutes, then turn the oven down to 450 and finish the bake.
      One last point. When you do get your baking stone, unless you have it covered with parchment, never spray cold water into the oven (I wouldn't even spray hot water) because if it hits the stone you'll have two or more small stones where the large original once rested. Baking stones don't like the sudden shock of water that is colder than they are so the break up into pieces when you make that mistake.

      1 Reply
      1. re: todao

        Yes, the parchment sling method works great.

      2. Don't bother with the pizza stone but go to Home Depot or another store that sells tiles and get unglazed quarry tiles. I bought 9 but only need 6 for my oven, at about 40 cents a tile.

        5 Replies
        1. re: chowser

          I was wondering if you could do that. Are you certain they are actually food safe--no weird chemicals in the tile? It would be nice not to have to buy a pizza stone.

          1. re: Isolda

            You want to make sure it is not glazed because that might have lead so I asked to make sure. I've researched it and haven't found any dangers other than that. I do use parchment paper under everything so my food never touches the tiles. I leave them on the bottom rack of the oven all the time. They've been handy for spills above, too.

          2. re: chowser

            I've been using unglazed quarry tiles for years for my bread (usually baguettes). They work great, and are easier to store away when I'm not using them than some bulky, heavy pizza stone. No need to spend your money on the stone - chowser has it right.

            1. re: edwardspk

              I just leave mine at the bottom rack of the oven--they're great for spill overs, too.

            2. re: chowser

              Unglazed tiles are a great idea. Another suggestion is firebrick splits. I use the bricks on my charcoal grill for pizza, and also have baked bread on it. They hold heat very well, and I paid less than a buck apiece for them.

               
            3. I have been baking a few loaves a week using the Artisanal Bread in 5 minutes method for the past few months with no baking stone. I use the Bittman/Lahey baking method of baking in a covered preheated dutch oven rather than the stone/water in broiler pan method. I think my crust has been great and I don't risk steam burns with the water in the broiler pan. Also, I use a smallish round dutch oven and I think it helpds my boules keep their shape better. I do spritz a little water inside the dutch over right after I put the loaf into it and before I put the top on to help get more steam.

              It took some practice for me to get the loaf in there well so that I could actually keep my slashes at the top, but they're starting to consistently look pretty. But even the early attempts (some of which were folded on half or upside down) tasted good. I have found that being generous with the cornmeal really helps get the loaf in the oven. Oh, and I don't use a wooden baking peel. I found a large (maybe 7 inch) flat metal spatula at TJ Maxx which I use as my "peel" and that seems to work well and was much cheaper than a peel. It's just the right size for the boules I make.

              Enjoy!

              1. have you tried using a dutch oven?

                1. Sadly, I also do not have a dutch oven, but I do have a 12" cast iron skillet. I think I will try that! Thanks for all the tips hounds! Excited to make bread!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: esquimeaux

                    Think that should work fine. Let us know.

                    1. re: esquimeaux

                      a cast iron skillet should definitely work! good luck!

                      1. re: mattstolz

                        i have been putting dough on sheet pan sprinkled with a little cornmeal so it will release, let rise then bake. i haven't gotten a great rise so smaller ball loaves seem to work best, maybe 6 inches across. cool on wire rack or flip over as there is some moisture on bottom. my loaf does not crackle coming out of oven. water for steam does not seem to make a great difference. (though making pita on bbq grill steam helps to puff up). good flavor and texture.

                    2. I bought myself a Hearthkit for Christmas a few years ago but I have made my own bread for 35 years. It's ok to put the bread on a baking sheet and after 10-15 minutes, take it off the sheet and finish baking directly on the oven rack. Works for all bread and will give you a better loaf . I have that book so I'm familiar with the method. Just make sure to have the water in the pan in the bottom of the oven whether or not you have a stone. Regardless of what recipes say, I always proof my yeast in the water and when thats ok I always add 1/3 of the flour to the liquid and let it sit for 10 minutes and then continue. That's 2 cups flour in that book and it helps develop flavor and helps the dough absorb the rest of the flour without having to add too much flour. At least, that's what I read and that's what my grandmother and mother did. They just knew to do that. Here, everybody seems to know alot and are professionals but I'm just a home cook and can't give any advice except experience.

                      1. One way to get the steaming effect is to take one of those cheap aluminum pans that are all over the place especially at this time of year - the disposable ones - that is longer and deeper than your loaf. Turn it upside down and place it over the loaf on your pan or baking stone. Take it off after about 10 minutes. The steam released as the bread cooks will help the development of the crust without all that stuff about spraying the oven, putting rocks in a pan, etc etc, all the wild and crazy things people do to try to get that steam effect.

                        http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1990...

                        Go one better and get one of those handheld steamers with a pointy nozzle, they run about $30 or $40, poke a nozzle-sized hole in the cheap aluminum pan you are using for a tent (near the top) then after covering the bread with the upside down pan (and the hole at the front of the oven, zap some steam in there from your handheld steamer.

                        Here's a description of doing this, only the guy is actually using an upside down SS buffet pan. Also a video showing how it works. You can do the same thing with a cheap aluminum foil disposable pan, which you can reuse this way indefinitely.

                        http://www.breadcetera.com/?p=85

                        Go to

                        http://www.thefreshloaf.com/forum

                        You can search on "steam" or "foil tent" for lots and lots of steaming ideas. They have a ton of ideas on the forums there for that, and more.

                        Other ideas include using a shake 'n bake style oven bag, an inverted SS bowl, spraying the oven several times with a spray bottle (I haven't been able to get that to work, but others do), even up to people retrofitting there ovens so they can inject steam.

                        Here's a fish poacher one guy is using:

                        http://www.ttustore.com/Fish-poacher_...

                        Here's a steam pan for bread someone else is using:

                        http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4935...

                        Here's somebody's idea for generating steam with two pans:

                        http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/1832...

                        Also, I am using the Super Parchment for all my baking and I love it! It is not paper, it's something else, slick as all get out, nothing will stick to it, and it makes handling the unbaked loaf simplicity itself. I form the loaf on the Super Parchment and let it do it's final rise directly on the super parchment, slide that into the preheated oven onto the hot stone with the peel, no more fallen loaves from trying to move it from the counter onto the stone. You can jerk the Super Parchment out after a few minutes or leave it in, it makes no difference. Don't let it overhang your stone or pan.

                        This is the one I use:

                        http://www.amazon.com/Kitchen-Supply-...

                        This is another brand in a larger size:

                        http://www.amazon.com/Kaiser-Bakeware...

                        Hope that helps. I'm still trying to work my bread stuff out. I have got pizza down pretty well now, between my breadmaker auto-kneading the dough, the recipe from pizzamaking.com, and the Super Parchment for no-more-tears-transfers-to-the-oven.

                        I'm working on bagels and muffins this week . . .

                        2 Replies
                          1. re: chowser

                            Thanks for the link, I have bookmarked it.