Ten Bread Creations Worth Warming Up Your Cast Iron

An idea that often blows my mind is that a handful of ingredients like flour, water, salt and sugars can be blended together to form some of the tastiest food staples.

Bread is one of those few universal foods, and cast iron turns out to be a great way to cook it …in a whole variety of ways. Here are 10 Friday ideas for adding some gluten to your day.

1. Sourdough. Baked big and bold in a Dutch oven and crackling as it cools waiting for a dab of butter, slice of fresh cheese, or dipped in oils and vinegars.

2. Cornbread. Served on the side or to swipe up the leftover sauce from your plate, a hearty bread hot from the oven.

3. Biscuits. Buttery and buttermilk, light and fluffy and served with a hot stew or a big bowl of fresh homemade soup.

4. Banana Loaf. Browned bananas blended into a batter and baked in a cast iron loaf pan into a warm, sliceable serving, then toasted and topped with butter.

5. Rolls. Simple bread sides to make a handy sandwich or accompany a big meal.

6. Corn Tortillas. Squeezed thin and round in a cast iron press.

7. Doughnuts. Deep fried in a Dutch oven full of hot oil and sprinkled with sugar or drizzled with sweet glazes.

8. Naan. A little spicy and charred, washed with a bit of ghee and dipped in a delicious curry.

9. Yorkshire Pudding. Added to a rich roast meal, puffed and golden brown.

10. Discard Fry. A hot pan and a bit of sourdough discard destined for the bin, instead sprinkled with spices, or sugar & cinnamon and fried into a tasty treat.

People like lists. I like people. So I’m giving the people what they like. I ran a blog for 16 years and one of the most popular posts ever on that blog was a list of “100 things” that I’d compiled and posted. I’m trying to recreate something similar over the next couple months for the cast iron guy blog. This post will eventually form part of that mega list.

Dozens of Dozens of Sourdough

I woke up at 6 am this morning to bake bread.

It had been proofing overnight in my cast iron loaf pan, dusted with flour and lightly covered with a bit of plastic wrap to keep it from drying out for the twelve hour counter-top rise.

It was the one hundredth and fourty-fourth loaf I’d baked since that first pandemic lockdown began back in March 2020. One dozen dozen sandwich loaves.

Bread as far as the mind can see.

Had I not picked the “cast iron guy” as the name for this blog, a close runner up could have easily been something to do with sourdough.

As much as countless people have jumped on the sourdough bandwagon during these times of COVID restrictions and being stuck at home needing something to do I’m going to claim early-adopter status and say I have been dabbling in sourdough bread for half a decade now. My interest sparked after reading a book by Michael Pollan where he discussed the history of fermentation and other slowish food preparation methods. My research didn’t end there, though, and after a couple false starts with starters, I gave rise to my current levain in early 2019.

Yet a mere one year ago my two year old starter was nothing special. I’d been baking bread three or four times a month, usually when we needed a good dome loaf for a holiday or a party or to accompany a nice meal at home.

Then about ten and a half months ago I got sent home from the office to “temporarily” work from home.

On my drive the radio was talking about potential food shortages and the chance for panic buying as people stocked up for the long haul. I stopped and picked up a few groceries, including a big bag of flour. Upon arriving home I pulled the starter from the fridge to let it warm up for a batch of bread.

I’d been tracking my bakes with sharpie tick-marks on the lid of the starter’s container, but I switched colours to track the loaves I was going to cook while the pandemic passed us by. The Kid asked me as I was weighing out the flour if I could make “square loaves” (instead of the usual domes) because it was easier for her sandwiches. We baked those first loaves the next day after a long rise in a pair of cast iron loaf pans. We haven’t really stopped. Multiple times per week fresh bread comes out of the oven, usually two loaves in a batch, and there is always fresh sourdough to be eaten on our counter.

One hundred an fourty-four loaves later, a dozen dozens, sourdough has become our pandemic legacy.

So many sandwiches, breakfast toasts, afternoon snacks, and heels turned into garlic wedges.

A pair of pans.

A tub of cultured flour, water and natural yeast.

And one family fed on a reliable source of delicious bread.