{Not Quite} Wood-Burning Oven Bread


Excuse the confusing title. Remember my post about a bread making class at a baking house last autumn? I’ve been meaning to use the recipe ever since, but never got round to it. Also, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out in a standard kitchen oven instead of a wood-burning one.

This morning I finally made this bread, and it turned out wonderful. It had a nice crust on top and was soft and a little moist inside. I’ll definitely make this again.


As you can see in the pictures, I placed the dough in a round pie dish for baking because I wanted it to keep its round shape. This was perfectly OK, but it kept the bottom of the loaf from having as nice a crust as the top, so I would bake it either on a wire rack or on my baking stone, I think the latter would give it a nice bottom crust.

What I did so it wouldn’t be a dry heat is put a pie dish filled 3/4 with water in the bottom of the oven. I put it there when I started preheating the oven 15 minutes before baking. I don’t usually preheat my oven for that amount of time, but my gut said do it, so I did. I think the water really helped making a nice top crust.

I used half the recipe we got at the class, because I only needed one loaf, whereas the full recipe would make either two normal-sized loaves or one huge loaf. The recipe below shows the original measurements as per the class.

Here in Germany we mostly use fresh yeast, which is available in supermarkets in 42 g cubes. I have no experience making this recipe with dried yeast. I used shop-bought wet (not dried!) sourdough for this bread.

As this was such a success, I’ll definitely be making more bread again, especially as there’s so little work involved.


When putting a water dish in the oven, you have to be really careful on opening the oven door – do not put your face directly in front of the oven as the steam will come out in a woosh and you could get hurt!

I’m aware that flour types are quite different around the world. I found this site on German flour types, hope that helps: German Flours. The type I used is 1050. This is apparently darker than your typical North American unbleached flour. The higher the flour number, the higher the minerals it contains.

I’d never seen or heard of using potato flakes in baking before I took the class, but I found potato flakes at a local mill.

{Not Quite} Wood Burning Oven Bread

  • Servings: 2normal-sized loaves or 1 large loaf
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1 kg flour, type 1050
100 g potato flakes
20 g salt
42 g cube fresh yeast
50 g wet sourdough
water as needed
extra flour for work surface
butter if using pie dish

Crumble the yeast and dissolve in 120 ml lukewarm water.

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and potato flakes, and make a well in the middle. Pour in the dissolved yeast, then add the sourdough. Mix well, either with a handheld mixer or a kitchen machine, and add water in small measures as required. The dough should come together to form a homogenous mass but should not be more than a tad sticky. [For my half recipe I added 3 x 120ml lukewarm water.]

Once you’re able to form a ball from the dough, place it on a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Place in a clean bowl (or proofing basket, if you have one) and let sit in a warm place until the dough has about doubled in size. This should take no longer than 1 hour.

After the first proofing, place a pie dish filled 3/4 with cold water on the bottom of your oven and preheat to 200°C / 400°F (non-fan).

If making 1 large loaf, proceed according to following instructions. If making 2 normal-sized loaves, divide dough into 2 and proceed.

Place the dough on a floured surface and knead again. This should be done in a “folding motion” – it helps to roll the dough ball forwards with your hands and then fold it in on itself. Knead for about 5 minutes, then with one last folding motion where the folds are placed beneath the dough ball, form it into a proper dough ball, place it in a bowl or proofing basket for another 15 – 20 minutes.

After this second proofing, place dough in a (lightly buttered) round pie dish, a baking stone, baking sheet or wire rack for allround crust. Either stick a knife into the dough in several places, or poke it with a finger to create little breathing spaces. Bake on middle shelf for approximately 40 minutes if making 2 normal-sized loaves or 50 – 60 minutes for 1 large loaf.

Leave to cool, but do try it warm!