Baking Bread in a Chicken Brick
A few days ago in another thread, I wondered whether a chicken brick might be an alternative to some of the significantly more expensive options for baking breads in pots etc. So I said I’d give it a go as I have a couple of the things stashed in my cupboard… You all have to bear in mind that I’m still a bread newbie with a lot to learn, but I’m always up for trying something new. 😉
Here’s my oval chicken brick. The other is chicken-shaped, and perhaps a little heavier gauge than this one. I let it soak in cold water for about 15 mins before wiping it dry prior to use.
I made up a batch of bog-standard white bread; 750g white bread flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 15g lard, 1.5 teaspoons dried active yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, 450 ml tepid water. 500g of the dough went to make a fruit loaf, the rest was used for this experiment. Did a stretch & fold halfway through the bulk ferment (which I kept on the cool side, so it took a couple of hours), then deflated and shaped the loaf. I put it in the chicken brick after greasing and flouring the bottom.
I clapped the lid on and let it prove – I’d say for about an hour-ish. My impression is that it rose fairly slowly. After proving, I scored the loaf, but that didn’t go too well… It might well have over-proved while I was waiting for another loaf to finish baking.
The sealed brick was popped into an oven preheated to 230C (that’s as high as my neighbour’s oven will go). I gave it 20 minutes with the lid on, then 25 minutes with the lid off to brown the crust. Here is what came out of the oven. And it smelled really good too…
I got a very soft, springy loaf with a thin but crisp crust – probably springier than I’d get if I’d baked the bread in a tin. The loaf didn’t release from the brick right away; I left it to cool for a few minutes, put the board over the top, tipped the whole lot upside down and gave it a sharp rap against the work surface. That did the trick quite nicely. Here’s today’s bake sitting on the cooling rack…
On the left is the chicken brick loaf and on the right is a German rye sourdough. No crumb shot on the chicken brick bread yet, that’ll probably come tomorrow as I still have enough of last week’s bake for breakfast…
Would I try this again? Yes, definitely, but I think my lack of experience showed. There were things I could have done better, and maybe I just didn’t use the right recipe for this. I chose basic white bread to do this as I know it’s one that I have a good baseline for. As it stands though, I’m open to suggestions… 🙂
In any case, I’m hoping that you folks might find my experiment useful. As for the fruit loaf, I left it with my lovely neighbour as a thank you for letting me use his oven 🙂
Source: Fresh Loaf