Broiled White Free-Form Loaf- #TwelveLoaves

broiled white free-form loaf |

“This was a mistake that proved to be extremely interesting.” James Beard, Beard on Bread.

I’m all about baking and learning from my mistakes. I’ve even posted about some mistakes and I tend to find mistakes in my baking to be a fun challenge. Well, sometimes, not so much fun. But with bread, I often make mistakes. A fumble here, a slight veer in the wrong direction there. In the end, it usually turns out not so bad. I may be frustrated because the process wasn’t as easy as I had hoped it would be, but I keep going with hopes of sharing my results and maybe even inspiring a baker or two to even try the recipe and to not be afraid of yeast. People…yeast is not that scary. I promise. It isn’t.

broiled white free-form loaf |

I also am not passing judgement at all on buying a ready made loaf. I often grab a baguette at my market. When my kids want bread with their dinner and I didn’t have time to make a sponge, leave it overnight. The next day, toss in a little more flour, knead, leave to rise, punch down…repeat. Basically, create an amazing loaf of homemade bread. I try to as often as I can. It is time-consuming to bake your own bread. You know my mother-in-law does this at least once a week and God I adore her and her ease at making the most incredible breads. So go ahead and buy bread. But when you have a little time, do try to bake your own bread. Guess what?!? This is a fun bread to bake even if you’re a novice baker! Really…it is!

broiled white free form loaf |


The #TwelveLoaves bakers have decided to ring in 2014 with a new loaf that is simple: Keep it Simple is our theme. Simple meaning laid-back in technique or even simple in the ingredients. I was checking out my Beard on Bread book from James Beard and kept going back to his Broiled White Free-Form Loaf.  Here is how James Beard arrived with this recipe: “I was testing another version of the free-form loaf, turned the oven to 375° without my glasses on, and placed the loaf in the oven.  I thought it was browning magnificently and then discovered I had turned the oven to “broil”.  I immediately switched it to “bake”, but by this time I had a beautifully brown, crisp top crust and the loaf had risen.  In the end the loaf tasted absolutely wonderful, and the upper crust was superb.”

#TwelveLoaves January – Keep it Simple! We enjoyed a delicious month of December with our Holiday Breads. January #TwelveLoaves is here and we are going to Keep it Simple! Choose a recipe that is not overly complicated, whether in technique or ingredients. Share your January Keep it Simple Bread (yeast or quick bread). Let’s get baking!

Have a look at what the other talented bread bakers have made:

Want to add your bread to the collection with the Linky tool this month? Here’s what you need to do!

  1. When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone’s posts. Please make sure that your bread is inspired by the theme!
  2. Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of my blog. It must be bread baked to the Twelve Loaves theme.
  3. Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this January, 2014, and posted on your blog by January 31, 2014.

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party. It was created by Lora from Cake Duchess and runs so smoothly thanks to the help of the lovely Paula from Vintage Kitchen Notes and Renee from Magnolia Days.

I should’ve waited a bit longer to slice my loaf. Impossible. Absolutely impossible to wait! You know the story: everyone was lined up awaiting their slice and then they ended up cutting chunks of it. Cheese and olives were paired with this fabulous bread.

broiled white free-form loaf |

What struck me as sort of funny is that a few weeks ago I was baking a banana bread and accidentally turned the oven to roast. I couldn’t figure out why the bread smelled, well, like it was roasting. It had a cinnamon streusel topping and let me tell you, roasted cinnamon streusel topping lingers in the house for hours! Luckily, I rescued the bread in the nick of time and so yes, the top was roasted. But, hey! It was not too bad with coffee!

  broiled white free-form loaf |

So back to this recipe. I had to try it Jim Beard’s baking mishap that he described as “absolutely wonderful”. This book is from 1973. I think that Jim Beard’s broiled and baked loaf is practically the same crust and crumb as this no-knead bread I shared (and LOVE).

A perfect loaf of white bread. A simple loaf, and it doesn’t require a mixer to put it together. You can shape it free-form into a mound and place on your baking sheet.  So here it is, a basic loaf from a quintessential food lover. I should’ve waited a bit longer to slice my loaf. Impossible. Absolutely impossible to wait! You know the story: everyone was lined up awaiting their slice and then they ended up cutting chunks of it. Cheese and olives were paired with this fabulous bread.

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” I couldn’t agree more with James Beard.


I am sharing this bread with Yeastspotting 


To my 12Loaves baking friends, I thank you for baking along all last year! To another year of baking great bread and a Happy New Year!

To my faithful readers and new readers that find me in the sea of a million food bloggers, thank you for stopping by! Happy New Year and Happy Baking!

This is the book where I got the recipe: Beard on Bread. It has 100 super recipes. For a novice baker, this could be the only book you’ll need to begin with!


Broiled White Free-Form Loaf- #TwelveLoaves


  1. 2 packages active dry yeast
  2. ¾ cup warm water (100 to 115 degrees, approximately)
  3. 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  4. 2 Tbsp. coarse salt
  5. 3 Tbsp. olive, vegetable, or peanut oil
  6. ½ cup buttermilk
  7. Cornmeal
  8. 1 egg white, beaten with 1 tablespoon water


  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let it proof. Measure the flour into a mixing bowl, add the salt, and blend well. Add the yeast and blend thoroughly, preferably with your hands. Add the oil, and then, gradually, the buttermilk. Mix with the hands or in an electric mixer with a dough hook until the dough comes off the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and resilient. Remove to a buttered bowl and turn to coat the surface with butter. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk.
  2. Punch the dough down, knead for 3 minutes, and let rise once more. Punch down again, then, using both hands, gather the dough into a big circular package, draw the top together to close it, and pinch the ends together. Turn the dough over, and set it, pinched-end side down, on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal, and let rise until doubled in bulk. (Cornmeal may be sprinkled on the top, too, for an extra accent.) Slash the top in three places and brush with the egg wash.
  3. Broil at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, then switch to “bake” for 25 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped with the knuckles. (If your broiler has no setting, place the bread as far as possible from the unit and watch carefully. You may have to switch from “broil” to “bake” more quickly.) Remove the loaf from the baking sheet and let it rest directly on the oven rack for a few minutes to brown the bottom. Cool on a rack.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *