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baking breads : skillet bread | whole wheat and sorghum bread baked in a skillet

skillet bread
Whole meal breads have always been the breads at my home. Baking them in the skillet has been not so common but I keep doing it for the sake of experimentation and whenever I needed a smaller bread. So skillet breads can be baked in an oven as well as on stove top. They look almost the same and taste almost the same. The best thing I see in skillet breads baked on stove top is that they develop a nice crust, better than the same bread in the oven.

English muffins are classic skillet breads and I make buckwheat flour English muffins as well, both cooked on stove top, using skillets of different sizes. Breads with oatmeal, breads with ragi and other whole meals have also been baked in skillets as and when required. I started baking such small breads with sourdough when I was a teenager and had learnt to bake small breads in pressure cooker pans. Yes, pressure cooker pans are good for baking cakes and breads and I started my journey towards baking with them as we didn't have regular electricity supply back then and for small experiments I used an old pressure cooker pan so my mom wouldn't be mad at me. What I want to convey is, use a sturdy, thick base utensil that can be covered nicely for this skillet bread if you don't have a cast iron skillet like this. I am suggesting alternative skillets for this bread because many of you asked me about the skillet after seeing this skillet bread on my fb page.

I have 2 of these skillets in different sizes and this time baked breads in both of them together.

skillet breads
I would like to put in a word of caution here, I have burnt these skillet bread quite often as I get busy with something or the other and loose track of time while baking these. Since there is no timer on gas stove so it is easy to forget and you are alarmed only when the burning base of skillet bread starts spreading the smell across the house. But even if this happens, you can retrieve the bread by slicing off the base crust. The remaining bread stays fine.

I had this bread with my leek frittata that I made the other day, with a light smear of butter. The bread is dense due to smaller air pockets but there are more air pockets than normal white flour breads so the softness of the bread is good, if not comparable to white breads. On the scale of flavours these whole meal breads beat the white breads hands down.


Believe me when I say the bread is very easy to make. Use instant active dry yeast and the process becomes quick. These 2 breads took total an hour or so starting from scratch but that is because the room temperature is about 32-35 C around this time. In cooler climes the rising of the dough may take a bit more time but the baking time will be the same, about 20 minutes for a 220 gm ball of dough.

ingredients
(you can add the ingredients by rough estimate too, wont alter the results much)
whole wheat flour 225 gm
sorghum flour 100 gm
dry instant yeast 1.5 tsp
salt 1/2 tsp
sugar 1 tbsp
water as required

procedure

Add the salt and sugar to 1/2 cup lukewarm water, dissolve. Add the yeast and let it dissolve on it's own for a couple of minutes. This step is more of a play for me as I love watching the yeast granules dancing around and multiplying.

Add 2-3 tbsp of whole wheat flour to this and whisk using a wire whisk till the batter looks stringy and resists whisking movements.

Now add the remaining flours, knead a soft dough adding a little more water if required. Knead well for about 5-6 minutes, stretching the dough with each kneading movement. Keep the dough covered for 30 minutes or till it becomes doubled in volume.

Punch the dough and knead one more time briefly, divide into suitable sized balls** and place them over a flour dusted kitchen towel. Cover with another towel and let them rise again for about 20 minutes or till they rise again.

** By suitable sized balls I mean that the small bread should be about 1/3rd the size of your skillet and not too rounded. Making a little flattish breads works if the skillet edges are not too high. So adjust the dimensions of you ball of dough accordingly.

skillet bread
You can see the top of my skillet breads are not as brown as the sides. This is because it touched the lid while it rose during baking. That is the reason you need to make flatter breads while using skillets like these. If the skillet is deeper you can go ahead and make round breads or bread rolls.

Next step will be to heat the skillets over medium flame for a couple of minutes, place the risen dough balls inside the skillet and cover with a well fitting lid. These skillets don't come with lids so I used 4 steel quarter plates that fit over the skillet. Using 4 plates means a thicker lid that disperses heat well to make the skillet behave like a mini oven. Let the bread bake for about 20 minutes on very low flame.

Smear the bread with ghee or melted butter so the crust doesn't dry out. These breads in the picture are not smeared with any ghee and they were fine. Cool on a wire rack or anything perforated. Slice after they are cooled.


Enjoy the skillet bread as you wish. They made yummy bruschetta and taste great when toasted.You can make this olives and rucola oatmeal bread in skillet as well. You will be hooked to skillet breads after you bake one. That's a promise.

And while I am at whole meal and whole wheat baking, let me tell you whole wheat makes wonderfully tasty dry snacks as well. I tasted one whole wheat biscotti with almonds and fennel and it was too good. It really was.


Suhasini Sood who runs Sucré, a bakery that makes excellent stuff one can order. I found the prices reasonable and most important fact is that they customise a cake or cookie or biscotti for you. Suhasisni bakes the same biscotti with white flour too but she sent me some whole wheat fennel and almond biscotti as I wanted those. These were very thinly cut, perfectly baked and flavours that linger long after you have had them. Very addictive taste I must add.

Suhasini delivers all around Delhi NCR and can be contacted at her fb page here or call her at +91-9958577993

Coming back to the whole wheat and sorghum skillet bread. Please do share your experience with baking this skillet bread on stove top. I know many of you were waiting for the recipe, please read the instructions carefully, baking the bread will be easier that way. And do let me know how it came out. 
baking breads : skillet bread | whole wheat and sorghum bread baked in a skillet

8 comments

  1. Hi Sangeeta!

    What about the steam/heat that escapes from the spouts in the skillet. I have the same skillets, Lodge make in 3-4 sizes. Won't a dutch oven be better? And these days I see a lot of heavy bottom pans, handis that come with lid. You think that would retain the heat better?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Smita, dutch oven will definitely be better for this bread as they have the space to let the bread rise. I normally bake my regular breads in oven and use these skillets for occasional small breads.
      Yes some steam escapes the spouts of these skillets but the bread is not being steamed, the heat that circulates in the skillet with a lid (as described) behaves like a mini oven and is enough to bake a small bread. Hope it is clear.
      Handis with flat bottom will be good too. Round bottom can be tricky.

      Delete
  2. I tried the skillet bread. It was really simple and came out great. The only issue was that despite keeping it for 35 minutes for baking the crust wasn't really browned but the bottom had started turning black. I used a heavy pan and put 3 steel plates to cover it. How can I make this better?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rachna, I think your bread got burnt in the bottom because the bottom of the pan was not thick enough and the metal was not as good a heat conductor/heat distributor as cast iron. Using multiple heavy steel plates works if there is cast iron skillet but it wont work so well if the skillet doesn't distribute heat well. The aim is to let the heat spraa evenly inside the skillet or pot.
      Using a thick iron tawa could work better. Using a few heavier plates could work better or using the borosil or pyrex bowls with fitting lids would work better too. Place these glass bowls with lid on a heavy tawa, it should work better..

      Delete
  3. Instead of adding instant yeast can you suggest a procedure for natural yeast. atta or wheat flour contain gluten and need to be fermented for 24hrs before cooking.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Instead of adding instant yeast can you suggest a procedure for natural yeast. atta or wheat flour contain gluten and need to be fermented for 24hrs before cooking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are a few sourdough bread recipes on this blog too. Please search for sourdough in the search window above you will find them.
      Thank you.

      Delete

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