This is a no knead, dutch oven bread recipe that peeked my interest in the Dec/Jan'o8 Mother Earth News magazine. The end result is a brick oven type of crust that I’ve never gotten with home bread baking before, the results are wonderful -believe it or not!
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the flour and salt, stirring until blended.
- The dough will be shaggy and sticky.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rest at least 8 hours, preferably 12 to 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
- The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.
- Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it.
- Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
- Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or to your fingers, gently shape it into a ball. Generously coat a clean dish towel with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal.
- Put the seam side of the dough down on the towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal.
- Cover with another towel and let rise for about 1 to 2 hours.
- When it’s ready, the dough will have doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
- At least 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat oven to 475 degrees.
- Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats.
- When the dough is ready, carefully remove the pot from the oven and lift off the lid. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over into the pot, seam side up.
- The dough will lose its shape a bit in the process, but that’s OK. Give the pan a firm shake or two to help distribute the dough evenly, but don’t worry if it’s not perfect; it will straighten out as it bakes.
- Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the lid and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until the loaf is beautifully browned.
- Remove the bread from the Dutch oven and let it cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before slicing.
This has become a family favorite recipe! I have found that f the pan is not hot enough, the bread will stick. My oven seems to take longer to preheat than most so I add a few extra minutes. The other option is to use parchment paper. It also doubles well.
I have made this bread several times now and have never been disappointed. This time I did 2 cups white and 1 cup whole wheat. It was awesome! It was completely devoured. I use a ceramic finished cast iron dutch oven and coat the loaf with cornmeal. Next time I think I'll branch out and try some olives and roast garlic.
As an update to this review: We continue to make this awesome bread and now that I've bought a smaller dutch oven it's even more perfect. This is one awesome bread recipe. I followed it exactly and found the directions to be clear and easy to follow. Used all purpose flour and white cornmeal for dusting. I was really worried when I went to put it in the oven as it looked flat and I was afraid it wouldn't rise to anything. Boy was I wrong, I baked exactly as directed in my stone bread baker (don't know the right name for it), next time I might lower the uncovered temp a bit as others suggested as the tip was a little dark but it didn't hurt the taste. It rose to make a lovely round, crusty, bread with just the texture and crumb you want from a rustic bread. DH even claimed this as his new favorite - it'll be fun experimenting with this, think next time I might add some herbs or olives just for fun and maybe try with part wheat flour but it's perfect the way it is.