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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

From bread machine, to cast iron baked bread

I have a bread machine, which vastly simplifies the bread making process. It kneads, rises and bakes it all for you!

But, I had always heard that cast iron baked bread is wonderful. So how do I make the transition? Will it be a hassle? I would find out today.

Bread machines usually have a "dough cycle", which mixes the dough for you, and then you bake. But I wasn't sure if I'd have to let the dough rise on my own, or if it would be a hassle to transfer from the machine to the cast iron loaf pan.

My particular machine's dough cycle, however, has a timer that beeps after the appropriate rising time, which eliminated the guesswork. I have a West Bend model 41300, and am very happy with it.

I simply took the pan out of the bread machine, dumped the dough right into a cast iron loaf pan (sprayed generously with Pam), shaped it a little. No problem at all.

Then into the oven at 375, for 35 minutes. I was afraid the loaf would stick to the pan, but it just popped right out onto the cooling rack. No sticking!

The recipe I used was from the cookbook "Cast Iron Cuisine: From Breakfast to Dessert", called All Purpose City Bread.

This recipe yields 2 loaves, so I halved it, and used bread flour instead of all-purpose:

3 1/4 cups bread flour, 1 cup lukewarm water, 1 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp yeast, 1/8 cup olive oil. All ingredients into the bread machine, set machine to dough cycle, and push the button.

How about my recipe for wonderful meatloaf?

Very lean ground beef (has to be the leanest available), egg, bread crumbs (plain or italian), chopped onions, minced garlic, ketchup or V8, worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder. Mix all ingredients together.* Bake at 350.

*I saw another recipe that included fresh cilantro. I bet that would be great in meatloaf.

Unfortunately, Lodge no longer makes loaf pans*, but occasionally one will be listed on Ebay. Sante Cabin and Old Mountain still make them.

*You can order them from the Lodge Factory Store in Sevierville, TN.


  1. We love our cast iron loaf pans. Matt's city bread comes out with lovely crispy, yet tender, crust (he spritzes the loaves once, with water, during baking, which helps the finished result). We would never go back to the old loaf pans, now that we've made the switch to cast iron.
    You're spot on about meat loaf doing well in cast iron.
    I've even done Pan de Tres Leches in my cast iron loaf pans. They're a treasure.

  2. Evidently, Pan de Tres Leches is "three milk cake" a mexican delicacy. The recipe does look yum.

  3. I have another version that uses coconut milk as one of the three milks. Next time we do a reprint of Cast Iron Cuisine from Breakfast to Dessert, I'll include that version.