There’s something really rather satisfying and relaxing about baking your own bread. The smell of a fresh loaf being pulled out of the oven is enough to get anyone heading out to buy some yeast and have a go at it themselves. While it may seem like an arduous task to bake your own bread, it really isn’t, especially with the right tools, it is so worth the effort and it’s a great one to do with the children too.
Staub’s Vertical Roaster is not only ideal for preparing whole chickens with moist meat and a crispy skin but you can also use it to bake an artisan-style loaf. Its smooth surface makes it easy to clean while the natural, even heat retention of cast iron makes it the perfect addition to your kitchen collection.
This delicious plaited loaf recipe from our good friends over at Staub can be adapted to make a denser loaf such as soda bread by adding bicarbonate of soda to plain flour, if you fancy having a go at creating your own delicious loaf, read on.
500 g flour (type 550 – for a denser bread such as soda bread, use plain flour with bicarbonate of soda)
20 g fresh yeast
80 g sugar
125 ml milk
5 g salt
100 butter (soft)
A little flour for handling, if required
30 g butter (melted)
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. milk
4 tbsp. granulated sugar
Place the flour in a large bowl and make a little well in the centre. Crumble in the yeast, sprinkle a little sugar over it and stir with the slightly warmed milk (It’s best not to heat the milk over 30° C).
Dust this starter dough with a little flour, cover and leave to rest in a warm place for about 20 minutes until it has risen slightly.
Now add the remaining sugar, eggs and salt to the starter dough in the bowl and mix everything into a firmer dough. Then add the softened butter and knead for about 10 minutes (preferably using the dough hook of a hand mixer or food processor) until it is a smooth and flexible dough.
Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and press each of these flat lengthways.
Then move the dough from the back forwards towards the body and press hard with the fingertips on the folded edge deep into the dough. Then again, take it from the back to the front and press firmly. Let the dough pieces rest for 10 minutes and then roll each of them to a 50 cm long dough strand.
Weave the 3 strands into a loose braid. Brush a STAUB Chicken Roaster generously with melted butter and place the braid carefully into the buttered dish. Here, push the ends under the braid and press them together into a wreath shape. Cover the STAUB Chicken Roaster and let the wreath rest in it for another 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 180° C (top/bottom heat).
Whisk the egg yolks with 2 tbsp. milk and brush the wreath with it. Then evenly sprinkle on the granulated sugar and bake on the lower rack of the oven for 40-45 minutes.