Baking in a salt crust. I didn’t know about this.
Combine 4 parts flour, 3 parts water, and 2 parts salt into a dough. Knead until more or less uniform, then roll out at use it to wrap your food tightly. Bake at 180˚c for 1-1.5 hours.
The salt crust provides multiple functions. It keeps in moisture, allowing one to cook meats and vegetables while preserving a tender and moist texture, and it also seasons the food as it bakes. An added bonus – the salt crust hardens as it bakes, creating a shield that allows the food to keep for longer periods of time. This might have been the traditional impulse to bake foods in a crust.
I baked some beets in a salt crust for staff lunch one day. They came out with a wonderful texture, though too salty for my taste – I would reduce the salt from 2 parts to maybe 1.5 or 1.
Ben’s done it with a whole chicken, and put hay in the crust too.
The possibilities are numerous. Though I wouldn’t do it all the time (quite a bit of salt to throw away), it is interesting and always worth learning new techniques. Or maybe there’s a way to find a new use for the crust – pulsed and used as super-seasoned breadcrumbs perhaps? Or somehow made into a stuffing to garnish the vegetables or meat cooked within? Or ground back into a toasted, salted, flavoured ‘flour’ to be incorporated back into a bread dough?
Plus it’s super fun to peel the crust off and find the food hidden inside. The great childhood love of edible fun, gratified.