Thursday, March 17, 2022

Glass Bread for March

Each month the Bread Baking Babes are challenged by our Kitchen of the Month to bake a new bread. This month Kelly gave us a true bake Glass Bread. Why is it such a challenge...because it is a very slack dough, meaning that it is closer to soup than bread dough when you start out...and it doesn't get too much more dough like, even with stretching sessions every 20 minutes (I used the Sourdough measurements, but the regular directions). So why do this? Well, because it's fun to meet a challenge, but also because you finish with a delicious bread that has a truly artisan look to it.

I'm a pretty low maintenance person and I tend to avoid high maintenance people and situations if I can, so I probably won't make this again. It is very high maintenance in the world of breads, and also the messiest bread I've ever made. My work area in the bake center ended up with flour on the floor, flour all over the counter, wet flour in the sink from rinsing my hands after doing the multiple stretches and folds, and once the breads began to be baked, flour in the main kitchen from those. I also rolled up my sleeves, but still got dough on one of them, wet dough on the apron, wet dough on the shirt I was wearing before I realized that an apron was essential get the idea.

I did enjoy learning how to do coil folding and it was fascinating to watch the dough try to join together again when I cut it into pieces with the bench scraper towards the end. I thwarted that by a liberal sprinkle of flour in the area of the cut, between the two 'pieces'.

I think that I also put too much flour under the dough when I turned it out to cut it up, so that resulted in excess flour being incorporated in the bottom part of the bread in sort of chunks of raw flour that baked up into white masses of cooked flour. If you make it, I think a light coating of flour would work, or even a light coating of flour on parchment, pour the dough onto that and then cut it up, then cut up the parchment instead of cutting and then moving to the parchment.

See...high maintenance, with all the stretching, folding, flouring, cutting parchment, etc. I had to bake them individually, too because I was using a smaller oven, which took a while.

It was full of larger holes at the top and smaller ones below and was like an airy ciabatta bread. Still glad I met the challenge...because it's delicious! I used my sourdough starter, which might have added flavor. Thank you Kelly for setting this bread for the March challenge. I may have sworn at the oobleck like dough, but never at you.

If you would like to be a Buddy (and I do hope I haven't scared you off!), bake and email Kelly by March 29th with a photo and short description of your bake and your URL. She'll send you a Buddy Badge created by our talented Elizabeth and she'll include you in the round-up.

Also, be sure to visit the other Bread Baking Babes to see how their experience was baking this Glass Bread...I suspect that they were less messy than I was.

Glass Bread or Pan de Cristal

From King Arthur Baking website


    500g water
    500g King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
    2.5g (3/4 teaspoon) instant yeast
    10g salt
    15g olive oil, for the pan


    To make the dough: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. (To measure by volume, see "tips," below.)

    In a medium bowl, mix the water, flour, yeast, and salt until thoroughly combined and homogenous. Note: The dough starts off very slack and wet. That’s OK; it will transform itself through time and folds.

    Oil a two-quart rectangular baking dish (10” x 7”) with the olive oil. If you don’t have a 2-quart dish, an 8” or 9” square pan will work. Don’t worry about any pan you use being oven-safe; you won’t be baking the bread in it.

    Pour the dough into the pan. Check the dough’s temperature by inserting a digital thermometer into the center. If it's less than 72°F, move the pan to a warmer spot, e.g., your oven with the light turned on.

    Cover the pan and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

    Start with a bowl fold: Use your wet hands to grab a section of dough from one side, lift it up, then press it down into the middle. Repeat this eight to 12 times.

    Cover the dish and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

    Then do a coil fold: With wet hands, reach under the dough and stretch the middle upward until the dough releases from the dish. Roll it forward off your hands, allowing it to fold over (or “coil”) on itself. This is called a coil fold. Rotate the dish 90 degrees (a quarter turn) and repeat. Continue performing this folding action until the dough feels like it won’t stretch and elongate easily, usually four to five times initially. Note: You’ll be doing this three more times, each time building strength and developing the dough. See "tips," below, for more details,

    Cover the pan and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

    Repeat the coil fold. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

    At this point, the dough should be easier to handle and feel tighter. Repeat the coil fold using only two or three folds this time. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

    Repeat the coil fold one last time, using only one or two folds if the dough is relatively strong. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for about 80 minutes.

    To divide the dough: As gently as possible, turn the dough out onto a heavily floured surface, maintaining the rectangle or square shape – be careful not to deflate the delicate dough. Sprinkle a generous amount of flour on top of the dough, leaving no exposed sticky spots. Then, working as gently as possible, use a bench knife or other sharp knife to divide it into four pieces. Gently place two pieces on a piece of parchment, leaving space between them. Repeat with the remaining two pieces of dough, placing them on another piece of parchment.

    Allow the loaves to rest at room temperature for 2 hours, uncovered. While the loaves are resting, preheat the oven to 475°F with a baking stone or steel on a lower rack. (If you don't have a stone or steel, see "tips," below.) Allow the oven to preheat for 1 hour to ensure it’s thoroughly heated. The loaves are ready for the oven when there are a few large bubbles on the surface of each loaf and they feel light and airy.

    To bake the bread: Carefully slide the two loaves (still resting on the parchment) into the oven onto the preheated stone or steel. If space is tight and the full sheet of parchment won’t fit on the stone or steel, cut the parchment between the two loaves and arrange them as best you can. Allow the other two loaves to continue to rest.

    Bake the loaves for 15 minutes, then transfer them, from the stone or steel, directly onto a rack in the upper third of the oven for an additional 13 to 15 minutes. (Leave the stone in place.) Moving them to the rack allows the baking stone or steel to become hot again in preparation for the next two loaves. After a total of 27 to 30 minutes of baking, remove the loaves from the oven and allow them to cool on a rack.

    Repeat the process with the two remaining loaves. Cool the bread fully before slicing.

    Storage information: Wrap the bread loosely and store it at room temperature for up to several days; freeze for longer storage.


Formula for four:
400g strong flour
420g water (350+70)*
10g olive oil
11g salt
100g starter (100% hydration)

Total hydration: 106%

Mix 400g flour & 350 water.
Autolyse 45min 
Add 100g starter, fold/work,
60 min rest

Combine 70g reserve COLD water & 11g salt,
add half and fold/mix.
10min rest

Add remaining water/salt & mix,
add EVO & mix,
15 min rest

Folds: Oil glass pan,
add dough and do a few large (coil) folds.
45 min rest

Folds: Large (coil) folds in thirds, then rotate 90 and fold in thirds,
rest 45 min
Folds: Repeat folds,
rest 45 min 
Repeat folds,
rest 45 min 
Repeat folds,
Overnight in fridge for cold bulk

Room temp rest 60 min

Heavily flour table and pour the dough out,
divide into 4 & place on parchment.
60 min rest

Bake on steel at 500ºF for 8min with steam,
drop to 410 and bake for 20 min

*Note that the 70g is mixed with the salt and kept aside to incorporate after initial autolyse.


  1. Lol, I may or may not have used some choice phrases during one of my failed attempts! And I do agree about the caked on flour on the bottom. It's hard to scrape off after the bread is baked and not tasty. But I'm glad you did get a loaf with some flavor. I probably won't make this particular one again because just the slightly lower hydration is so much easier and just as tasty! And less stressful!!

  2. Oh, and turning it right out onto lightly floured parchment and cutting the parchment is a genius idea!

  3. It's so hard to find the right balance! At least you tried, right? That's what the Babes are all about.

  4. Your bread looks great!! I'm so envious of the holes you achieved, Elle.

    As for whether all of us were less messy than you, I certainly wasn't! There was flour everywhere.

    An apron!! Now why didn't I think of that?

  5. French farms often have an extra 'dirty kitchen' that is outside of the main house. Maybe it's for making this bread.... I loved your description lol
    Glad you liked the bread..

  6. Sounds like you really had a spectacular time in the kitchen with this one 😁 Doesn’t seem a total loss when you end up with good bread … and I did think this was good bread. I like your positive attitude here.
    I also had more flour on the bottoms than I would have liked even after brushing as much as I could off. It might help as you suggest to use less flour on parchment and then separate them and cut the paper to get them in the oven.
    Loaves look good.

  7. This bread was a bit of a challenge an adventure. Looks like you managed a preety decent loaf in the end. :D

  8. You got some lovely holes and your crust is beautiful.