Start with a large heavy pot that has a well fitting lid. The heavier the material the better. The pot will be used like an oven and cooked dry, so a cast iron dutch oven is absolutely the best, but a similar sturdy large pot will do. Lightweight aluminum is not recommended here. Understand that most stainless steel pots will discolor when used for dry cooking so you may want a dedicated pot for this process. Lightweight pots may also warp.
Create space in the bottom for your "bread pan" to sit on. This needs to be something fairly flat, but can be as simple as a few flat rocks. Other options are an empty tuna can or broken, flat ceramic tile. Hot air will need to circulate around your bread pan for the bread to bake evenly within the dutch oven.
Find a bread pan to fit inside the pot. Your bread is going to be a round loaf, not a rectangular one. You need to find a suitable baking "pan" to bake the bread in. A round Pyrex glass bowl works very well, but any round pan or bowl that can tolerate oven-type heat will work. It can't fit too snugly inside the larger pot because air needs to circulate around the bread pan to cook correctly.
Make sure the lid, pot, and baking pan all fit correctly, with a lid that is snug but has room under it to allow the bread to rise in it's pan while baking in the pot. As a last resort, you may be able to rest a large cast-iron or similar frying pan over the pot to act as a lid. Whatever covers the pot needs to hold the heat in. Heat rises and any space at the top of your cooking set up will allow heat to escape and the bread will not cook evenly.
Collect the ingredients for your bread. We have a recipe on our site for "English Muffin Bread" that works well as a stove top bread.
For basic bread you can use:
3 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of active dry yeast, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 2/3 cups of warm water.
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl, then fold in the warm water and knead for a minute or two. The dough will be slightly sticky when mixed well.
- Allow the dough to "rest" by placing the dough ball back into the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 2 hours to rise.
- After 2 hrs, place the dough on a floured surface and knead by pushing down and folding the dough in half at least 4 times, then place back into the bowl and cover with kitchen towel and let sit for another 2 hours to rise a second time.
COOKING DIRECTIONS (for our recipe or any bread recipe you choose)
- Place the empty dutch oven on the largest burner on the stove top.
- Place your thermal ballast (the barrier items you selected) on the bottom of the pot and place the lid on the pot tightly.
- Turn on the burner to high heat and allow at least 5 minutes for the pot to heat.
- After 5 minutes, carefully remove the lid, place your bread into the baking dish and then put that down into the dutch oven. Be very careful remembering that the sides of the dutch oven will be very hot.
- Replace the lid and leave the stove setting on high for another 5 minutes,
- Reduce the stove setting to medium.
- After 5 minutes, briefly remove the lid to release steam that has build up and will prevent the bread from baking as well.
- Replace the lid, leave the heat setting on the burning on medium and bake for the recommended time according to your recipe. (For the recipe above, the cooking time is approx 30 minutes after steam release).
- When the bread is done, very carefully remove from the dutch oven and turn the bread out onto a cooling rack to cool.
Dry cooking on a stove top creates a very hot pot, so use appropriate cautions, especially when cooking in a galley on a rocking boat!
Baking Flatbread (Naan) on a Stove Top.
This is a great bread to bake to build Greek or Middle Eastern style gyro sandwiches, or to accompany a Greek Salad or similar dishes. Some folks like to make extra and use it to make healthy lunch roll-up sandwiches the next day. Use your imagination and enjoy!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (plain flour, maida)
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 2 tbsps oil (canola, vegetable)
- 2-1/2 tbsps plain yogurt (curd, dahi)
- 3/4 cup lukewarm water (use as needed)
- Also needed: 1 teaspoon of clear butter (ghee) to butter the Naan and 1/4 cup All Purpose flour for rolling
- Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water and let it sit for 10 minutes or until the mixture becomes frothy.
- Add sugar, salt and baking soda to the flour and mix well.
- Add the oil and yogurt to make crumbly dough. Add the water/yeast mixture and additional water as needed to make into firm dough. Note: The dough will soften as it rises.
- Knead the dough until smooth. Cover the dough and keep in a warm place three to four hours, until nearly double in volume.
- Knead the dough for about one minute. Divide it into six equal parts. Roll each piece of dough, into eight ovals. Dust the surface lightly with dry flour to help with the rolling.
- Prepare your pan. Heat a skillet on the stove top. Set the heat to medium-high and allow the skillet to warm. A cast iron skillet would work best for dispersing the heat. If you don’t own a cast iron skillet, you can use any pan. Coat the bottom of the pan with oil or butter.
- Bake the flatbread. Place one circle of the dough in the pan and bake for 30 seconds.
- Use a spatula to flip the bread.
- Cook the other side for 1.5 minutes, then flip again and cook the original side for another 1.5 minutes.
- Set the baked flatbread aside in a kitchen towel while you repeat this process with the other 5 circles of dough.
- The bread should puff up while it is baking.
- You want each side to have little brown spots cooked into them.