Friday, April 19, 2013

Dutch Oven Bread

If you have a dutch oven, you should definitely try this. I did and it's amazing! If you don't have a dutch oven, you can use anything with a lid that can handle a 450 degree oven. A casserole dish with glass lid would work, but I've never tried it so I don't know if it would be the same.

This recipe and pictures came from Simply So Good

I must begin by saying where the recipe originated, if in fact it originated anywhere...really.  I think bread has been baked for centuries using flour, salt, water, and yeast or other form of leavening.  As far as I know the recipe for "No-Knead" bread dough was printed in the New York times.  I don't know what month, day, or year.  The originator is Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery.  That's all I know.  I found the recipe in a booklet using enamel cast iron pots.  At the time I posted the recipe I had no Jim Lahey even existed or I would have definitely given the man full credit for this wonderful bread and idea.  That said....

Remember before beginning to create, that this bread is highly forgiving.  Don't stress over the fact that you haven't proofed the yeast or that you're not giving the dough a second rising time.  It's super duper sticky and will stick to your hands, feet and hair or anything else it comes in contact with.  Play with the recipe for your location.  Altitudes differ and that can affect the bread.  This recipe is not your ordinary bread recipe.  Just chill and follow the instructions


You do NOT have to have an enamel covered cast iron pot. You can use anything with a lid that can take the heat.  I use a 5.5 quart cast iron pot.  My oval pots are about 7 quarts.
You DO NOT need to oil the pot. At least not in a enamel covered cast iron or regular cast iron pot.  I have never had problems with the bread sticking.

In a large mixing bowl add 3 cups white unbleached flour.

To the flour add 1 3/4 teaspoon salt (I use kosher I like it) and 1/2 teaspoon rapid rise or instant yeast.  

Note:  Regular active yeast can be used in place of the instant or rapid rise yeast.  It will need to be activated in 1/4 cup warm water.  Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  However, most of the comments I have received state that the rapid raise works the best.  You choose.

Whisk the flour, salt and yeast together.

Add 1 1/2 cups water. Mix in the water.  

That's it!  The dough will look like a shaggy mess.  That's ok. 

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it set for 12 - 18 hours on the counter top.  DO NOT REFRIGERATE.  This is NOT optional.  It takes that much time to proof the dough.  The reason why you need a large bowl, is because the dough will start to rise.

After 12 hours the dough will look like this.  It's pretty sticky, but that's ok it's supposed to be.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  As soon as it has heated to 450 degrees place your pot with the lid in the oven and pre-heat the pot for 30 minutes.

Right after you put the pan in the oven to preheat, dump the dough out onto a HEAVILY floured surface.  I love my pastry cloth.  Use it for everything.
Now, please disregard that this dough has stuff in it.  I'll get to that later.  I just forgot to take a picture of the plain version.  This dough has also been doubled so it's twice the size of a single batch.  After you dump the dough on to a floured surface shape it into a round ball.   This will rest for 30 minutes while the pan is heating.

After you shape the dough cover it with the plastic wrap that was over the bowl.  Yes, I know I have two loaves of bread.  It's because I doubled the recipe.  You can do that.

Remove the pot from the oven and carefully pick up the ball of dough and drop it into the pot.  You may want to flour your hands, because the dough is going to stick like crazy.  Remember the pan is now 450 degrees hot!  Be careful.  Put the lid on the pot and return it to the oven for 30 minutes.

I am baking two loaves at once.  Please notice how used my Le Creuset pots are.  Everything is my kitchen is heavily used.  If you have any advice as to how I can clean my babies, please let me know. 

Close the oven door and bake for 30 minutes.  Wait until you see the next picture.  This will blow you away!

Holy cow!  Can you believe how gorgeous that is.  When you put the dough into the pan, it looks like a shaggy mess and when you take of the lid, you have a masterpiece.  Remove the lid from the pot and continue to bake for another 15 minutes. 

This is the finished product.  Remove from the oven and carefully remove bread from the pot.  Remember the pot is HOT.  I use a couple of hot pads and carefully pull out the bread.

Place the bread on a cooling rack until completely cooled.  That's it!  

You can try different variations of this recipe by adding whatever you think would be good.  I add cheddar cheese, or different herbs like rosemary or italian seasonings.  You can also visit the blog link above to see some of the variations she tried.  They are a little fancy for my taste but you might enjoy them!

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