Super Simple Crusty Dutch Oven Bread

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Making bread is one of those baking projects that I’m not bad at, but I don’t do nearly as often as I would like, just because it so often amounts to an all-day project. I don’t have the kind of habits to start a loaf at night, proof it while I sleep, and bake it in the morning. I end up starting something in the middle of the day, baking it in the afternoon or evening, and feel like I spent a lot of time on it that I could have spent on other things. I also don’t have any fancy sourdough starters or a breadmaker or anything like that.

So, when I see a nice, easy bread recipe, I have to try it out. This one couldn’t be simpler, really. It’s just four ingredients (one of which is water), it’s flexible enough in proofing that I’ve seen people say anywhere from 3 to 12 hours, and it turns into a delicious, fluffy, crusty loaf.

Don’t worry about the length of time on the recipe, either. Sure, it “takes” four or five hours to make, but you’re only actually doing anything for ten minutes or so, all told.

You also don’t really need to knead this dough. It really does do it all itself. You just mix the ingredients together, let it rise, toy with it a bit like a cat playing with a feather, let it rise again, and bake it. I can do everything with a mixing bowl, my dutch oven, and a couple of tools; no stand mixer even necessary. Seriously, it’s that simple.

The only possible issue with this bread is that handling it the few times you do can be tricky. It’s a very sticky dough, at least when I make it, but you don’t want to over-handle it and knock all the air out of it, otherwise you’ll end up with a flat, dense bread. That’s where the parchment paper comes in.

It’s also worth mentioning a concern I had, which is using parchment paper. Most parchment paper is rated for 400-425 degrees, and they say not to use it at higher temperatures. I use it in this recipe, and the recipe bakes at 450. So, what’s the risk? Thankfully, not much. According to America’s Test Kitchen (and parchment paper manufacturers), the paper browns and can turn brittle, but it won’t burn and there are no weird chemicals that could cause problems. If you bake it too long, it could crumble and leave paper shreds on your food, but that’s not an issue for the kinds of recipes I make with it.

So, how do you make this delicious, simple dutch oven bread? Check it out.

Crusty Dutch Oven Bread

A super simple four-ingredient, almost no labor bread made using a dutch oven.
Servings 1 Loaf
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Rising Time 3 hours 35 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 25 minutes

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowl
  • Dutch Oven Large; Mine is 7 quart.
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Parchment Paper
  • Dough Scraper
  • Plastic Wrap

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Flour
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • ¼ Tsp Yeast
  • Cups 120-125 ℉ Water

Instructions

  • In your mixing bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and yeast.
  • Add the water and mix to combine well.
  • Cover the mixing bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for three hours.
  • Once risen, the dough should be puffy and bubbly. Move this dough to a well-floured surface and lightly dust the top of the loaf with more flour. Use your dough scraper to fold the dough over a bit and form a ball.
  • Move this dough ball to a sheet of parchment paper and put that in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let rise for 35 more minutes.
  • Preheat your oven to 450℉ with the dutch oven inside. Do this as soon as you're done with the previous step; you want the dutch oven thoroughly hot.
  • When the rise is done and the ovens are heated, carefully lift the dough using the parchment paper. Transfer it, paper and all, into the dutch oven.
  • Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Then, remove the lid and bake for another 10-15 minutes to firm up the crust.
  • When done, move to a cooling rack and let cool a bit before slicing to enjoy.
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Bread, Dutch Oven

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