Sheepherder Bread

LeadDog's picture
I have a friend at work that keeps telling me about the Sheepherder bread that his dad use to make when he was a youngster.  I had looked for recipes but there really wasn't a definitive answer.  When I made the light rye and took it to work he said that reminded him of Sheepherder Bread.  He also said that his dad cooked it over a fire in a pan.  I looked around again at the Sheepherder Bread recipes and found one with sourdough and also had some rye in it.  The recipe also had some oil and baking soda in it.  I made some calculated guesses and came up with a dough and then cooked it in my Dutch Oven.  This is what I ended up with.  

Sheepherder Bread

Sheepherder Bread Top View

This is a really easy way to make bread.  I'm curious how it tastes and what the crumb looks like.  I'm thinking of getting a rectangular Dutch Oven if this works out well.

352 users have voted.


LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2009 January 12
Yes I saw that the Basque are most likely the source of Sheepherder's Bread.  The bread I made is the worst tasting bread I have ever made.  I think the baking soda removed all the good flavors from the bread.  If I closed my eyes and ate this bread I would swear it came straight from the grocery store.  It is very plain and no flavor.  I'll try it again but without the baking soda.  That should make for an interesting bread.
Millciti's picture
Millciti 2009 January 13
Spain & France and The Tour De France... Bread wine and spanish paella.  There has to be a better recipe... Somewhere!

Keep trying it will get better!

LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2009 January 14
I have the recipe now that rocks.  This is the best tasting bread that I have ever made.  The looks of the loaf aren't bad either.

Sheepherd Bread part 2

The crumb shot.
Sheepherder Bread Cumb

This makes a nice crisp crunchy crush and a wonderful full of holes soft crumb.  There is already a taste of acid in the bread and it hasn't completely cooled off yet.  I'm not taking this to work until Friday.  I get to eat some of this first.  The first loaf I made that was so bland had people at work fighting over who would get to take it home.
LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2009 January 15
I noticed that many of the sheepherder bread recipes had rye in them.  So my first batch was based on Pierre Nury's Rustic Light Rye.  I just add 3% olive oil and 1% baking soda.  This time I just left out the baking soda.  The dutch oven makes a nice loaf if you put about 2,000 grams of dough into it.  This bread tastes like it is well beyond anything that I could ever make.
celia's picture
celia 2009 January 16

Duane, are you putting the whole dutch oven in your kooker?  The pot baking phenomenon was really big a little while back, but it always involved putting the dough into a blazing hot pot, and I got too chicken to keep at it.  I'm curious as to whether the bread might be similar if you baked it without the pot?  I guess the all over crispy crust might be related to the pot though...
LeadDog's picture
LeadDog 2009 January 16
Celia I'm just putting the Dutch Oven in the oven in the house.  You can put the dough in a cold Dutch Oven and then turn the oven on.  The baking time is a little bit longer I hear.  Cooking in the Dutch Oven really does seem to change the bread noticeably compared to how other breads have turned out.  I have now ordered a cast iron rectangular roasting pan for making bread in.  I'm thinking it will make a very nice loaf of bread.

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