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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Cast Iron Pan Cloverleaf French Bread Recipe



I love fresh-baked bread. The earthy scent of the yeast, the enticing aroma of the baking bread, there is nothing better on a cold dreary winter day. But I have to admit, I generally just toss the ingredients into my bread maker and let the machine do all the work. 



However after seeing this tantalizing recipe in a recent issue of Mary Jane's Farm magazine, I just had to try it. I mean, how could I not?  So I spent yesterday afternoon measuring and kneading and resting and baking.  The result was nothing short of delicious.  This recipe is a keeper for sure.  

One change I did make for future reference is to increase the amount of flour and to make the slits in the top of the loaf prior to the final rise instead of waiting until just before sliding the loaf in the oven.  Sadly when I slit the loaf just prior to baking, it deflated and emerged from the oven looking slightly like a fallen souffle. It still tasted wonderful, but wasn't nearly as beautiful as the photograph in the magazine.  

So after spending some time on the Mary Jane's Farm forum (yes I am a  card-carrying member of the Farmgirl Sisterhood!) and reading a few comments lamenting the same problem, I decided that increasing the amount of flour just a bit and making the slits before the final rise, should solve the problem for next time.  

Here's my slightly adapted recipe:

Cast Iron Pan Cloverleaf French Bread

2 Tablespoons yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar
2-1/2 Cups warm water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon coarse salt
6 Cups plus 2 Tablespoons flour
Butter to grease pan
1 Whole egg, fresh from the coop and whisked lightly
Coarse salt

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water.  Let sit for 15 minutes until yeast starts to bubble.  Add olive oil, salt and half the flour.  Mix well with a fork, then add the remaining flour.  Knead for 3 minutes, then cover with a clean dish towel and let sit for 10 minutes.  Repeat the kneading/resting four more times. 

Rub butter over bottom and sides of a 10-12" cast iron frying pan.  Divide the dough into four equal pieces and form into balls. Place balls into frying pan, cut a slit in in the top of each ball from center to outer edge, cover with the dish towel and let rise in a warm place until dough doubles (about an hour).  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush loaf with beaten egg, sprinkle with coarse salt and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.  Let cool for a few minutes, then remove from frying pan, slice and serve with butter.  Bon Appetit! 

~ Slightly adapted from Mary Jane's Farm magazine Black Skillet French Bread recipe~




Visit Mary Jane's Farm on Facebook

Bread Bag made from a Vintage Sears Roebuck Linen Cloth Calendar
~drawstring bread bag made from a repurposed vintage linen wall calendar~

Did you know that storing bread in a linen cloth bag extends its shelf life, keeping the crust crisp and the inside soft and chewy? Read more about how and why in this wonderfully information article from our friends at 1840 Farm.

And to purchase your own linen bread bag, check out our selection of drawstring bread bags made from repurposed vintage linen wall calendars HERE in our esty shop. They make a wonderful gift along with a loaf of freshly baked bread!

If you're looking for something to read, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese is a great book that I'm currently reading.  Part memoir, part cookbook, the book chronicles the author's personal experience attempting to make more than 100 common food items at home, along with her recommendations on which really are worth making yourself - and which aren't. Some of them might surprise you.  I highly recommend it if you're looking for a new book for your nightstand.



36 comments:

  1. I love the aroma of the bread making process from start to finish. I at one time would just make the bread in the breadmaker and bake it in the oven, when my bm broke, I began to do it the old fashioned way once again..there is something pleasing and satisfying about making bread. This looks delicious and the aroma I bet was wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. There certainly is and I had forgotten since I got so lazy with the breadmaker!

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  2. When my boys (I have 7), were small I baked bread nearly every day. My youngest is 31 yrs old now and it has been a while since I last baked bread. I always made bread the old fashioned way .. never even heard of a bread maker back then.. there was something comforting about making bread for my family. Maybe I should try it again. The boys and their families would probably love it.

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    1. Oh they would! It's a delicious bread. Chewy inside and crunchy crust.

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  3. Looks so good and seems pretty easy to make. I'm thinking I will try my hands at bread baking for the first time! Thanks for the additional tips too!

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    1. It was easy Jill and no special ingredients or contraptions needed! Try it. And I loved that I only had to knead for 3 minutes at a time and then could take a break.

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  4. That is indeed beautiful. Nothing like home made bread with melted butter. Yum you made me hungry for some.

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  5. I have been so lazy -- hate the hassle of anything requiring yeast...but this sounds so yummy -- and relatively easy. May have to make it (and I have a cast iron pan...and a cast iron pot, too!)
    Low-tech is soooo wonderful!
    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Me too Debra - well the yeast isn't so bad but the making it by hand part! But this was really easy and quick and SO worth it.

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  6. Well, I love homemade bread and I especially love French Bread, so this is definitely going to be made!!! Thanks for the tips!

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  7. Have you experimented with any whole grain flour? Just wondering...

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    1. This is a French bread recipe, so obviously white flour was the ingredient called for, but most of my regular bread recipes call for at least a portion of whole wheat flour and you could most certainly substitute your favorite bread recipe.

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  8. Lisa ,this is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing. :)

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    1. Thanks Lauren, my next loaf will look even better!

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  9. Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this on Wildcrafting Wednesday and The HomeAcre Hop!

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  10. I can smell it baking now! Yumm.
    Blessings,
    Susie

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  11. Yum, that looks delicious! Mary Jane's Farm always has great recipes. :)

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  12. Thank you for sharing a delicious looking bread on Foodie Friends Friday! Please come back on Sunday to VOTE!

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  13. I'll be right over, giggle. One of my favorite things. Happy New Year wishes and thank you for sharing at the hop. I hope you will stop by again soon. I posted the new giveaway! xo

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  14. I am making this today and the dough is SO WET even after adding extra flour. sure doesn't look pretty right now, but hopefully it will taste good!

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  15. Oh my, that looks amazing! I love freshly baked bread, and I love cast iron skillets -- win.

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  16. This sounds great! I am pinning this one!

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  17. It looks beautiful to me! :) I never really measure my flour because the amount you need will vary depending on how old the flour is and how humid it is in the house. Just add enough flour so that the dough begins to pull away from the side of the mixing bowl (sorry, I use my Bosch), then I let it mix for 8 minute (this eliminates one of the rising periods), divide it, pat it and form it into loaves, then let it rise until its double the size but no more than 2" over the top of the bread pan. Then bake! :) (Oh, and another trick is to use oil when you're kneading, not flour.) BTW, thanks for sharing this on Wildcrafting Wednesday! :)

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  18. This looks so yummy--so much so that I believe I pinned it earlier this week! Yep, I checked and I did! I love baking in cast iron. Something about using that medium ups the delicious-level, I'm not quite sure why. I'd love to try this recipe, and will take your advice and make the slits before the second rise. Thanks for sharing on Farm Girl Blog Fest #15!

    Kristi @Let This Mind Be in You
    http://thismindbeinyou.blogspot.com

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  19. This bread looks so good. I love my cast iron skillet and love fresh bread! What could be better? I have been spending a few minutes on your page. I love all of the chicken ads! We used to have chickens but had to give them up when we moved. I miss them so much!

    thanks you for linking up to Foodie Friends Friday! I look forward to seeing what you bring next week.

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    1. I'll be back and I sent your link to a friend also to link up to you.

      I hope one day you will have hens again! Cooking,baking and fresh eggs go hand in hand.

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  20. This bread looks perfect! I think I have never made such a "good-looking" loaf of bread :)
    Thank you for sharing this at Wednesday Extravaganza - Hope to see you there again this week with more deliciousness :)

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  21. hello
    can I do it in a bread pan
    I dont have a cast iron pan

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  22. Couldn't you let the breadmaker do the mixing & rising then put it in the oven?

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    1. I bet you could. I am usually lazy as I mentioned and use the bread machine, so it was kind of fun to actually to the kneading myself.

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  23. Yum! Thanks so much for sharing this on The Creative HomeAcre Hop!
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/02/the-creative-homeacre-hop.html

    Hope to see you again next week!

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  24. Hi,

    I am very impressed after reading through parts of your blog. With your cooking skills I think you could be interested in this competition I have found. You cook your national dish and then you have the opportunity to win an iPad mini or money. It could also be a good chance for you to let more people know about your blog since you will be shown on their homepage and in a cookbook!
    Here's the presentation about the competition:
    Competition: Win iPad or Money
    And here's their facebook page:
    Facebook Page

    I hope you will be win..

    Thanks

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  25. I just inherited some cast iron pans and will have to try this recipe! Glad you shared on the very first HomeAcre Hop! I'm going to feature your post tomorrow as we celebrate the one year anniversary of the HomeAcre Hop! - Nancy The HomeAcre Hop

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  26. I LOVE baking in cast iron, what a great idea! I'll be adding this to my "to-do" list for sure. Thank you for linking another great recipe to Fresh Bread Friday, I hope you'll link up more of your delicious recipes :)

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Thank you for your kind comments and joining along with Fresh Eggs Daily as we live our wonderful, natural country farm life.

Lisa/Fresh Eggs Daily Farm Girl
www.facebook.com/FreshEggsDaily