Dutch Oven Bread

I grew up making soft bread from scratch. the crust was barely golden brown… we didn’t want it crunchy and hard! perfectly soft and fluffy and delicious! And its still my favorite kind of bread.
But.
I found this intriguing bread recipe a few days ago, and decided to try it. It is the epitome of simplicity. It is hole-y inside, with a very chewy crust. Very chewy. I recently discovered that My Cowboy like bread with a chewy crust. It was a real eye-opener to me, since I never was crazy about getting sore jaws from chewing. But hey, if he likes it, more power to him. :) So I decided to try this recipe. Plus – it sounded so simple, I couldn’t resist! Now, I took lots of pictures of the process, but it really isn’t hard at all. Simplest bread ever, and I thought I had already perfected the simplest bread in the world!  
Basically, you dump all the ingredients into the mixer (or bowl, and stir)and mix till well mixed.
2. Cover with plastic wrap overnight.
3. Turn onto a floured counter in the morning, fold a few times.
4. Plop into covered casserole dish or dutch oven.
5. Bake 30 minutes covered, 15 min. uncovered.
6. Cool one hour before eating.
But, here is the photos;
Put 1 1/2 cups water into a bowl. Add 1/4 teaspoon yeast. (yes, that’s right! 1/4 teaspoon! Its essentially a type of sourdough bread)

 Throw in 3 cups flour. White, wheat, or a combination.
Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Use a spoon if you don’t like to eyeball it. I hate measuring.

 Stir with a spoon if you don’t have a stand mixer.

 It is very sticky when its mixed. Do not try to make it like regular dough. Just put in the 3 cups and don’t mess with it.


 Once its mixed well, cover with plastic wrap.

 Let it set on the counter overnight, or 12-18 hours. In the morning it should look like this:

 See the bubbles on the top?

 Turn it onto a floured surface, and make sure you use a fair amount of flour, since it is so sticky. Use a spatula to take it out of the pan. Sprinkle flour on top, and…

 …fold it over 3-4 times. You’re not kneading it here – be gentle.

 Then sprinkle flour on a clean cloth. Place the dough on the towel, cover, and let it set 1-2 hours. (use a bit more flour than I did here…

 Or you will get this when you try to put it in the pan! When you put it in the pan, scoot your hand under the towel, and gently slide it in the pan upside down.

 Shake it a bit if needed, to get it centered in the pan.

 Bake, covered, at 450* for 30 minutes.Use a dutch oven, or any large covered casserole dish.

 After 30 minutes, take the lid off, and let it bake 15 minutes more, or until browned to your desired brown-ness. Even if the crust is really dark, the middle will be soft and chewy. here it is, starting the last 15 min.  uncovered.

 Done! Mmmm! I was surprised how much I liked this bread. It would make great garlic/cheese bread.

 Mmmm!

Dutch Oven Bread

1 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 teaspoon yeast
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Preheat oven to 450* with  the dutch oven/casserole dish inside the oven.
Mix the ingredients together. Dough will be sticky.
Cover with plastic wrap and let set in a warm room (70*) for 12-18 hours.
Turn onto a floured surface and fold over several times.
Place on a floured towel, seam side down,  and cover with towel for 1-2 hours.
Gently slide your hand under the dough, and lay in in the dutch oven, seam side up.
Bake for 30 min. covered. Bake an additional 15 min. uncovered.
Remove from pan and cool one hour before cutting.

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