Broiled White Free-Form Loaf- #TwelveLoaves

by cakeduchess on January 1, 2014 · 25 comments

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.


{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz January 1, 2014 at 6:30 am

I would not be able to wait to slice into this loaf, either. This is a bread I’d love to try!!! Happy New Year, Lora! xo


Renee January 1, 2014 at 8:05 am

Nothing like a happy accident. I can imagine your family lining up to get at this bread. It reminds me of the first bread I ever baked and my husband got home from work right after I pulled it out of the oven. He sliced it up and ate half a loaf right then and there. Sometimes it’s great not to wait.


Alice // Hip Foodie Mom January 1, 2014 at 9:20 am

love this bread. . loved baking with you all last year .. overcame my fear of yeast and surprised myself with all the different kinds of breads I’ve baked! I’m with you on learning from your mistakes when baking. . and this bread looks fabulous!!!! just perfect! Happy New Year Lora!!!


Renee - Kudos Kitchen January 1, 2014 at 10:15 am

I’ve never heard of broiled bread before but I’m all about trying new methods when it comes to making lovely, yeasty breads. To me there is nothing better than home baked bread and thankfully I consider yeast my friend. That said, I’ve had my share of mishaps too, but that’s part of the fun! I’m going to try your recipe. It looks delicious!!! Happy New Year, Lora! Thanks for allowing me to bake along with the Twelve Loaves group. I’m having such fun!


Rossella January 1, 2014 at 10:18 am

Happy New Year Lora.
It’s great to be part of Twelve Loaves in the simplicity of January bread or the more creative challenges of other months. I appreciate even more your ability to overcome mistakes and learn from them. Thanks to remind us that important part of baking and life.


Stacy January 1, 2014 at 10:47 am

That is one gorgeous loaf, Lora! Whenever I bake bread, I have them lining up for the first pieces too, and everyone fights over the ends. Such a difference from store-bought bread where I can’t give the ends away and end up throwing them to the birds! Thank you for inviting me to participate in Twelve Loaves. I am looking forward to baking bread more often!


Laura (Tutti Dolci) January 1, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Gorgeous loaf, Lora! Sometimes mistakes are the best! :)


Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories January 1, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Don’t you just love dipping back into older cookbooks? Bernard Clayton’s book is like that too. I love your loaf, it is so pretty. One time my oven decided to break mid bake and would only cook on “convection roast” at 475 degrees F. The bread turned out amazing. Who knew?


Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen January 1, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Beautiful loaf, Lora! Loved reading this post. My favorite bread baking books are indeed older cookbooks, too. I’m with Karen, above. I adore my Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads (as it was my first cookbook dedicated to breads) and so many more. Thank you for sharing. And…Happy New Year and Happy Baking to you, too!


Anne@FromMySweetHeart January 1, 2014 at 3:59 pm

How fabulous Lora! You call this simple, I call it artisan! I’ve joined your wonderful group to push myself because I’m not always at ease when baking bread. And I’d be a nervous wreck with the broiling step…..what what an unbelievable result! I don’t blame everyone for digging in before it cooled! I absolutely want to give this one a try! Thanks for all of your inspiration and all that you do for this group! I wish you much health and happiness in the new year! : )


Felice/All That's Left Are The Crumbs January 1, 2014 at 4:23 pm

I am so glad to be baking with you this year, and hopefully 2014 is the year that I overcome my fear of yeast. I just know I am going to learn so much from everyone in the #TwelveLoaves group. Fortunately my library has a copy of this book so I have requested it, but in the meantime I am going to try your recipe. Wishing you all the best for 2014.


Dionne Baldwin January 1, 2014 at 7:44 pm

How exciting! I have never broiled bread (successfully or on purpose) before. This loaf turned out very beautiful. I *love* seeing what bread you will be making every month.

Mistakes can turn out pretty neat, but not at the time. At least for me, I’m never thrilled about my mistakes right away. I hope you have a great start to the new year!


Kate | Food Babbles January 1, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Love that how James Beard’s accidental setting on his oven turned into this beautiful loaf of bread. I adore the simplicity and will definitely be giving this a try. Lovely!


Holly January 1, 2014 at 10:05 pm

What a beautiful bread and even better that you shared it with your family. I just love that image of family members lined up and ready to dig in! I don’t think I’ve baked bread with the ratio of yeast to flour quite so high, looking forward to seeing how that works at my altitude. All the best in bread baking and in life for you in the New Year!


Bakingyummies January 2, 2014 at 1:06 am

Broiled bread that’s least for me and I’m going to try this for sure :) The crust looks absolutely amazing by the way.


Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes January 4, 2014 at 5:27 am

In spite of the hundreds of breads I’ve baked, I never even read about a recipe such as this one. Must try it asap Lora! Such a unique technique. Love it! So bummed I couldn’t make it in time to post.


Jamie January 4, 2014 at 7:57 am

What a stunningly gorgeous and perfect loaf, from the crust to the crumb! I would love to make it but can you tell me how much each of the packets of dried yeast weigh? 7 or 8 grams each? Thank you!!

Baking fresh homemade bread is such a great New Year’s resolution!


Johlene January 7, 2014 at 8:02 am

I love baking bread, it´s so therapuetic!! I´m keen to learn as much as I can this year about different methods of making breads :-) Thanks for sharing and all the best for 2014!! Xx


Nancy @ gottagetbaked January 11, 2014 at 10:21 am

Lol, I can NEVER wait for bread to cool before ripping into it! That’s the best part! Your loaf of bread looks exquisite, Lora. Perfectly formed and wonderfully rustic. I love the theme this month – after all the craziness of the holidays, January is always a time for going back to the basics, simplifying things and eating as cleanly as possible. Here’s to another fabulous year of #TwelveLoaves posts!


Kristina January 13, 2014 at 10:03 am

those bread slices look PERFECT! I need to go make some bread, it has been far too long, and I *do* need to see how this new oven works with bread… ;)

Happy New Year, my friend!


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