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Dutch Oven Bread

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Level: Intermediate

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Description

There are 2 ways to make this classic loaf: the authentic way or the cheater’s way. I, obviously, take the cheater’s route. And look how lovely it is!

Ingredients

  • 1-½ cup Warm Water
  • 3 cups Bread Flour, Plus Another 1/2 Cup Or So For Dusting
  • 1-½ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 package Active Dry Yeast, 0.25 Ounce Packet

Preparation

THE AUTHENTIC WAY:

In a large bowl or mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the flour and salt and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest on a counter at room temperature at least six hours, and preferably overnight.

It’ll be loose and bubbly. That’s ok. You’re doing the right thing! Bubbles mean the yeast-y enzymes are doing their thing and developing a nice flavor in your dough. Work it enzymes!

Dust a cutting board with some flour and scrape the dough onto it (I suggest using a spatula and NOT your hands – you’ll spend 10 minutes trying to get the dough off! Not that I am speaking from experience… wah wah.) Sprinkle a bit of flour over the top of the dough, as it will be VERY sticky.

Don’t knead the dough, just fold the dough over onto itself a couple of times, and shape it into a ball. You can do this by pulling the dough around the edges and folding them underneath. Place the dough on the counter on a piece of parchment paper and cover with a towel. Let rise for another 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

THE CHEATER’S WAY:

In your bread maker… (Can you see where this is going already? Lazy much? Yes, yes I am.) Into your bread maker bowl, add warm water, then flour, salt and yeast. Make sure the yeast doesn’t come into contact with the water! Follow this order when adding your ingredients into your bread maker.

Put in bread maker on “dough” setting.

When bread maker makes it’s high-pitched beeping sound, that means all your hard work is done! Take the dough out (again, NOT with your hands. Bad idea.) and place on a piece of parchment paper that has been dusted with flour.

——-

Ok, so regardless of how you made your dough, you will follow these steps to complete the baking process:

Preheat your Dutch oven in the oven at 450 degrees F. Carefully remove the Dutch oven, take off the lid, and gently place the parchment paper and dough into the center of the Dutch oven. Use a knife to slash 3 slits in the top of the dough, diagonally. (Please note, the photo does not show the slits. I forgot to do them. Oops.)

Put lid back on top of the Dutch oven and place back in the oven for 20 minutes. Then remove the lid, and bake for another 15 minutes until dough is browned on top. Remove from oven and let cool for an hour before cutting.

*Fun little trick I learned: after you cut into the bread, I find that homemade loaves tend to dry out pretty quickly. This time, I kept the whole thing wrapped up in a towel after I cut it, and then put the whole thing (towel and all) in a Ziplock bag to store. The towel helped keep the moisture in without making the crust soggy, and the dough stayed fresh and soft! Try it!

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