Using cast iron for baking stone? + other rustic tips?
I'm having a bit of trouble baking the kinds of bread loaves I would like, and I am trying to work with whatever I already have around the kitchen to improve things. Please don't suggest that I buy anything, I cannot afford to spend ANY money on non-essentials right now, no matter how inexpensive they might seem to you. My fridge went out and my oven went out this winter, both needing replacement and I'm out of work right now so have zero income. Times are tight.
So, can I use the cast iron grill from our small Weber grill like a bread stone? It's very thick and doesn't have large gaps between the rungs. Or can I use the 10 inch cast iron frypan I got for Christmas like a bread stone? I think I read somewhere (maybe here) that you could use cast iron griddles in your oven like a bread stone so I'm wondering if I can get some of the effect using the grill.
Here's what the grill looks like:
If either of those will work at all, what can I put the bread on to bake it? I have some glass corningware type dishes, some cheapie metal bread pans (steel coated with nonstick), some small round cast iron pans (not pots though), some stainless steel baking trays (one round for pizza and one square) and some heavy gage steel baking trays. Also have parchment paper.
And what about moisture? I know traditionally you cover the bread, but is that necessary? Can I put a bowl of water in the oven? And what are the dos and don'ts of covering your loaf? I have some breads in my bread machine cookbook that are described as "country" and use the french bread cycle but don't mention covering since Beth says to bake them in the machine. I hate the hole the paddle makes in bread baked in the machine so I try to bake in the oven if I can.
Also, what temp. to bake at?
I'm anxious to try some bread today, as I finally have my new oven so am back to baking.
Thanks for the tips!