A new (to me) use for cast iron

by Patricia Eddy on May 31, 2007

I’ll admit I’m not that good at using my cast iron pan, but I’m getting better, something Patricia can attest to.  I’ve only been in a situation where I would have set off the smoke alarm once or twice in the past week few months.  And that’s just been during heating and cleaning moments.

If you know me, you know I read a lot.  And I buy a lot of books.

And, since we both like to cook, we tend to have a few cookbooks.  Or more than a few. 

But we haven’t had much luck with them.  Or I haven’t, at least.

Jump to a month or so ago, when I was at Crate and Barrel picking up some little things when I saw a cookbook called The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen and I thought of the two cast iron pans I have, and how little use they get, and how much I want to be able to use them.

So I bought it, owing to my total lack of impulse control.

We’ve made four recipes from this book.  And we’ve had four successes.

A fennel-seared pork tenderloin’s ingredients proved so good, we’ve decided the fennel salt itself is worth using over and over on whatever we can.

But the other three recipes were all breads; a fennel-ricotta skillet bread (which, while good, wasn’t our favorite), a moist cornbread (which was quite good and will be the basis for another recipe, a cornbread pudding), and tonights fresh baked bread:  herbed skillet bread.

Breads have always scared me, probably because I never had a Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  That makes it all the easier.  I’ve always had issues with breaking eggs too, but luckily, this recipe doesn’t call for any eggs.





The Ingredients

  • 1 tblspoon sugar (I used Diabetisweet) – Not local, not organic.
  • 1 cup 105F water – Really local.  Right out of the tap.
  • 1 package active dry yeast – Organic, Rapunzel brand Rize, not local.
  • 2.25 cups of flour – I used local, organic emmer flour from Blue Bird Grain Farms
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt – Not local, that I know of.
  • .25 cup + 2 tbl olive oil – organic, but not local.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced (by the recipe, I diced it) – organic and local.
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped – slightly organic, very local.  Our rosemary plant is right out the back door.  The starter was organic, the dirt likely isn’t.  I don’t remember.

Recipe is pretty simple.  Sugar and half the water into a bowl with the yeast for five minutes.

Add the other half of the water, flour, .5tsp of salt, 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Stir until it makes dough.  I actually added some extra rosemary the second time I made this, because I wanted a more thorough rosemary taste.  In the end, I’m not sure it actually made a difference. 



 Throw it in the kitchen aid (or knead it manually until smooth).








Ball it up and throw it in a well oiled bowl, saran wrap it and let it sit on the counter for 45 minutes.

Oil up the cast iron pan and press the dough into it. Score the top with a sharp knife and brush the top with olive oil.

Sprinkle the rest of the sea salt, the garlic and the rosemary on top.  The recipe actually calls for sliced garlic, but I minced it instead, thinking it might be better.  Not sure if it was, but I think it works better. 



Let it rise for another 45 minutes.

While it’s rising, or near the end of the rising, heat the oven up to 400F and put a shelf in the middle.

Throw the pan in and cook for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from pan immediately after cooking to maintain the crisp bottom. 

And believe me, it has a very crisp bottom.

Drizzle with olive oil and serve it up in wedges.



I like this bread. Even with the emmer flour.  It’s salty, rosemary-y, olive oil-y and all around goodness.

Also, before you make the bread, if you wash your cast iron pan and dry it in the oven, make sure you’ve given the pan time to cool before you put the dough in the pan.  Which I seem to forget.  Almost every time.

As for its effect on my blood sugar, it was pretty good to me.  Especially with the emmer flour. 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter
Print Friendly

No related posts.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: