Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dutch Oven Cooking... Bread Making

As I walk down my path in life, I find myself coming in contact with some real wonderful people. Some people like Stan, who does a lot of teaching others, has a passion for his work. He isn't in it for the money because he often volunteers his time for free. He doesn't lug around a case full of trinkets to sell or a selection of fancy cook books...

Instead, Stan carry's a couple of wooden boxes filled with a few pamphlets of bread recipes and tools to work his magical dutch ovens. A man that has walk down some rough roads in time, and has a humble attitude and is generally kind to every one. He enjoys speaking and answering questions and he really sets the tone for the class.

You can tell he is use to dealing with all different people from all walks of life... His steady teaching and answers really show off his teaching skills as every one stays focused on what he is sharing. Over the last two weekends I have spent time with him as a student. Even though I sometimes know what the task is and have mastered the task, it is always good to learn new skills from some one that has been doing it for 62 years like Stan has.

Stan is a regular volunteer at the Old Stone House in Slippy Rock PA  where he also dresses and performs time period dinners that include the correct period of dishes, cups, clothes, manners and food. When you stop by and visit there (a awesome historical place to visit with time period decor and people to explain everything) let him know you read about his awesome cooking skills here.

Here Stan is explaining the basics of no knead bread, the type of bread that we cooked in the dutch oven. As he explains, he shows samples that he made that students will start working with.

While Stan answers questions, he over watches his students repeat the technique of forming the bread to get ready to place on parchment paper.

Now that the bread doughs are formed, they sit waiting for the dutch ovens to warm up and get ready.

Adding the coals over and under the dutch of, and there are some rules as to how many coals to keep the dutch oven up to what temperature. But the hottest coals always go under the dutch oven when bread making. 

Some really hot coals that we started about a half an hour earlier in this quality chimney. Using a quality name brand charcoal ensures a more even burn when baking bread in a Dutch Oven. 

Using handles made made when cutting out the parchment paper, makes placing the bread dough into the 425 degree dutch oven quicl and simple.

As the bread cooks in the dutch ovens, Stan takes the time to explain the charcoal heating process and different times and approaches to baking it.

A QUICK PEEK, and I mean quick to see it baking, and hurry uo and place the lid back on the dutch oven so all the heat won't escape.

Now, it is ready to be removed from the oven as it shows browning, the smell is wonderful. Stan says if it smells like it isn't cooking, it isn't. If it smells like it is burning, it is burning. If it smells like it is cooking, it is.

How pretty is that!!! Perfection using primitive methods just shows you how luck we have it these days, but also how easy it really is. This loaf of white bread is hot and ready for butter and honey.

We also made this wheat bread, and I gotta tell ya, awesome.I do believe that Stan mention where he got these recipes, and I will share those with you later. He also said has made the Honey Wheat Bread recipe that Lewis and Clark used during their exploration

It was great and well worth the time to sit back and listen, I even learned a few things that I didn't know. I was in good company with like minded folks, and one couple that visited really found it a full on learning class. It was great watching them get excited and being amazed by a wonderful end product, by such a simple means..

I know that Stan took his 62 years of skill, trimmed off the fat and just taught us what is right. His cooking skills shined through the final end product. Every one left there more educated and amazed by his skills... 

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