Dutch Oven · life · recipe

Crusty Bread in a Dutch Oven

I was “gifted” with a Dutch Oven for Christmas, which I am thinking might be one of the best gifts I’ve ever received…and I’m not just saying that because the giver of the Dutch Oven reads my blog…because I’m not sure if she does. Let’s check: “Thank you, Tre, for the fabulous gift!”

Let’s see if she responds…I’ll let you know later.

Anyway you might be asking what a Dutch Oven is and thinking about why you might need one, too, so let me explain. A Dutch Oven is an enamel-coated cast iron pot that, when heated, maintains amazing temperature much like a slow cooker. I’ve been using a crock pot for years and years, which is why I never got myself a Dutch Oven before, but I will be the first to admit this was a silly mistake.

Slow cookers may *do* Everything a Dutch Oven does, but there’s something more “down home” and heart warming about using your oven to bake bread! It amazes your kids, too!

I know, I know…the gluten! But to be totally honest, unless you have a known allergy to gluten (aka celiac disease), I am just not convinced that gluten is a big horror. Perhaps it’s bad in processed/commercial breads, but even then I’m not sure the gluten is the culprit. Yeah, I’m talking to you high fructose corn syrup!

And while I’m on the subject of HFCS, can I just agree now with my European friends that American bread is SO sweet! It’s too sweet! IMHO, we’ve ruined our palates eating these over sweetened commercial breads.

Before you think I am pointing a blame finger, I’m just as guilty as anyone. I could never envision eating the New England classic Fluffernutter without fresh Country Kitchen Canadian White bread. By the way, the idea that there’s a different kind of bread called Canadian White is just a myth; my Canadian friend has confirmed that there is no such thing! (The horror!!)

Okay I hear ya. I’m done preaching, so I’ll get off my soapbox now and back to the subject: making wonderful and easy homemade bread in a Dutch Oven.

This is a great BASE recipe! Which means, you can experiment with variations. I myself am envisioning a nice Italian loaf with rosemary (my fave!), basil, oregano and a nice cheese blend of Romano and Parmesan. Doesn’t that sound awesome? Drool!

Also…Did I mention this is so easy to make? There’s no kneading and only one (overnight) rising! Couldn’t be easier!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 5.5 quart Dutch Oven
  • An oversized bowl
  • Six cups all purpose flour (I always use King Arthur, because it’s unbleached)
  • 3 cups room temperature water
  • 2 tsp. salt (adjust to your taste)
  • 1 tsp. Active dry yeast (this is about half an envelope if you are using the packets)
  • Extra flour for the pan and your hands

Instructions:

  • The night before, combine flour, salt and yeast in a big bowl then add your water and mix with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then a dish towel and let it sit for between 12-18 hours in a warm part of your kitchen
  • In the morning, put your Dutch Oven (with its lid!) in your oven and then preheat both to 450 degrees
  • Remove the plastic wrap from the bowl and gently shape the dough with floured hands. Don’t knead the dough, you want the yeast bubbles!
  • Remove your Dutch Oven from the oven, remove the cover, sprinkle a bit of flour in the bottom and place the dough inside
  • Replace the cover and put the entire pot back in the preheated oven. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then remove the cover and bake uncovered for 20 minutes more
  • Your loaf will pop right out of the pot. Cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing the round loaf in half. Cool completely before slicing the loaf or storing it in plastic, because the steam will make your bread soggy

See how crusty it is outside but fluffy inside? That’s your objective!

That’s all there is to it. REALLY!

Now go on and make yourself some bread! You’ll be glad you did!

P.S.

Teresa: Did you read all the way to the end? Just checking. Thanks again for my beautiful aqua colored Dutch Oven! I love it…obviously!

P.P.S.

My next post will Be how to use your bread to make these Open Faced Meatball Sandwiches, so do come back soon!

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