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Baking Bread in Cast Iron Pot - Homemade Sourdough Bread

Baking Bread in Cast Iron Pot - Homemade Sourdough Bread

Cooking and baking with cast iron have a millennia-long tradition in Japan. Using cast iron cookware is particularly advantageous when high temperatures are needed for a longer time for cooking, roasting, and baking. Due to their high quality and durability, cast iron products are increasingly finding their way into European kitchens.

For those who have already delved into the art of baking bread at home, they know how challenging it is to bake the perfect loaf. The heat distribution in a home oven is often too uneven to harmonize the crumb and crust of the bread. For a good crust development, professional bakers often use steam, created by introducing additional water vapor into the oven. The condensing steam settles on the surface of the dough through the heat, promoting crust formation. Wood-fired ovens and bakery ovens, with their even heat distribution and steam functions, are specialized in baking bread, putting them far ahead of the home baker with a household oven.

Why baking bread in a cast iron pot also works at home

The cast iron pot with a lid takes on the role of a professional oven in a compact form. The confined space inside the closed pot is small enough to retain the moisture escaping from the bread. Therefore, there is no need to add steam. The even heat distribution provided by cast iron significantly benefits the baking process and crumb development, ensuring that the bread is baked uniformly from all sides.

Recipe for sourdough bread

For the following recipe, you will need the following ingredients: sourdough, flour, salt, and water

Depending on your taste, you can enhance the recipe with bread spices. For beginners, we recommend trying the basic recipe first, perfecting it if necessary, and only experimenting with variations in the second step. There are three options for sourdough: you can buy it fresh or in dried form. You can also start it yourself, which is particularly useful if you plan to bake sourdough bread regularly.

No. of persons4 personsNo. of persons
Level of difficultymiddleLevel of difficulty
Kitchenware Kitchenware
Sourdough dough in cast iron pot before baking
List of ingredients for the dough
1kg flour (for example wheat type 550 or spelt type 630)
100g sourdough (this should be prepared a few days in advance)
25g salt
600ml water (a little more if using wholemeal flour. The finished dough should always be soft and tender)
flour cooking piece (20g flour, 100ml water)
Kochende Miss Oryoki
Cast iron pans view in the store »
Step 1

Step 1: First, prepare the flour cooking piece. It is easy to make. I put 20g flour (not wholemeal) and 100ml water in a pan and heat the mixture over a low to medium heat while stirring until the mixture becomes as firm as a pudding. The flour must not burn, of course. To give the ingredients time to thicken, allow the flour mixture to cool well (30 minutes or longer). Incidentally, as there are no leavening agents in the flour dough, it is also known as zero dough. During this process, the flour used absorbs five times its own amount of water. This increases the proportion of water in the entire bread dough, which contributes to longer freshness and a moist crumb.

Step 2

Step 2: Place all the ingredients, including the cooled flour, in a bowl and knead well. If you are using a kneading machine, this will take about 10 - 15 minutes. By hand, you will need a little longer. Then cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for the first 45 to 60 minutes.

Step 3

Step 3: Then fold the dough thoroughly. To do this, reach under the dough, stretch it and fold the dough flaps over the rest of the dough again and again. This works best if you take the dough out of the bowl beforehand and work it carefully on a floured kitchen board or pastry board. Then comes resting phase 2, again for approx. 45 to 60 minutes in the covered bowl. Then fold once more and leave to rest for another 45 to 60 minutes.

Step 4

Step 4: The dough should now have risen well and you can start shaping the bread. The technique used to form a round loaf is called "rounding". Dust the work surface, dough and hands, pull the dough from the outside into the center with the balls of your hands until an even, round shape is formed. Please do not "torture" the dough, i.e. work it for too long. It should not outgas too much and should remain loose. Place the finished dough in a proofing basket that has been well dusted with flour (alternatively a bowl with a dusted kitchen towel). Place the proofing basket in the fridge for 10 - 20 hours.

Step 5

Step 5: Now turn the dough into the cast iron pot and put the lid on. It is important to place the cold pot in the cold oven. Set the oven to 240 degrees top/bottom heat. After approx. 75 minutes, the sourdough bread is ready. Only now can the lid be opened so that a crispy crust forms. Leave the bread to cool in the cast iron pan. During this phase, the roasted aromas penetrate the crumb and enrich the taste. As soon as the bread is cold, it can be removed from the pan and eaten. Enjoy your meal!

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