The Anthracite Special at platform 9¾ ….

The Anthracite Special at platform 9¾ ….

So with recent chat of steam moving to steam engines and so on, I decided to have a go at cooking some bread inside my multi-fuel fire that I have in my office…

I got it going, starting with the usual waxed milk cartons and kindling, and when it was hot enough to ignite the beach pebbles that masquerade as anthracite, on they went. I let it get hot for an hour or so and topped it up.

Meanwhile I made up some basic yeasted dough – 300g white flour, 180g water, 20g olive oil, 8g yeast and 8g salt. I threw it in the mixer and let it get on with it. An hour later, it’s risen, shaped into a boulle and placed in the smallest pot I have with a lid – a nice little stainless steel pan which has a thick copper clad bottom. I used a piece of baking parchment in the pot with the idea of being able to lift it out without it sticking. With hindsight this was  somewhat foolish idea…

It rose well again in the pan in-front of the fire which I’d damped down. My IR thermometer was off the scale, but it was about 450C on the sides – maxed out on the coals, so over 500C.


 Proving in-front of the stove.


in the stove

 In it went…

I gave it 15 minutes with the lid on, then took it out to remove the lid… Eeek! It had risen up more and stuck to the lid a little….

 I took the lid off, enjoyed the crust stuck to it and put it in for another 10 minutes or so …

out of the 'oven'

 Out of the ‘oven’

I was going to leave it in a little longer, but the smell of something burning was in the air, so I decided to cut it short and took it down to the kitchen at this point…

 And I was right about the burning:

Turned out…

The baking parchment had burnt – as had the bottom of the loaf.

upside down

Upside down on the rack …

Scraped the worst off it, cut it in half and here we are:


For a basic white loaf, slightly undercooked it actually tasted very good! It has the aroma of toast without being toasted – nice soft fluffy bread – what’s not to like!


So the question now – could it be cooked in the firebox of a steam engine? Well technically yes, but I have to say that I’d not like to be the one sitting in-front of it for all that time, and unless you can somehow put something in to insulate the base then the bottom is going to end up charred and blackened…. Ah, charred and blackened food – there’s a word for that – cajun 😉





Source: Fresh Loaf