I made it! After a long journey, missteps, desperation, and exploration, I made it. Here is a loaf of sourdough bread that is evenly baked with fully-formed ears.
I’m almost embarrassed how simple it was. I emptied the lava rocks out of my aluminum roaster pans and covered the loaf for the first ten minutes of the bake. Since I was making two loaves I decided to conduct a little experiment. On the left is one that had the cover for fifteen minutes, the other was ten minutes.
I think the additional time under cover let kept the dough soft and the loaf pillowed out and didn’t crust up as well. It also doesn’t have as dark or crispy a crust. Next time I’ll try 8 minutes under cover. The brilliant thing is the simplicity—no more pans of rocks, no more uneven heat distribution, and no more dangerous bursts of steam and water splattering on the glass oven doors.
Sheesh. It only took two years to figure this out.
Since it’s Saint Paddy’s Day, here’s a shot of some Irish soda bread I made last night. This still is one of the all-time best smelling breads in the oven. Now go drink some green beer!