Saturday, October 11, 2014

Dutch Oven Bread

I know bread is intimidating but this bread really was easy. I adapted it from The Lean Green Bean. It was very sticky dough so when you do take it out to knead make sure that your hands are well coated in flour. I let the dough rise next to the slow cooker while it was cooking this beef stew.

Oh my. This bread was so crusty and soft and chewy and just so easy. I will be making this recipe again. Ideas for future loaves include adding garlic, oregano, thyme, or rosemary to the dough.

When dealing with yeast I heat the water on the stove with a thermometer until it reaches 111F. Then I take it off the stove and pour it into a glass Pyrex. I figure 111F will be good because it may continue to get warmer in the pot and if the water is too hot it will kill the yeast. I add the yeast then and let is sit. You’ll know when it starts to activate as it will get a gloopy and start to have a scent.

It took about 10 minutes to get the dough combined then another 20 minutes of work with kneading it twice. There is about 5 hours worth of down time for errands, house cleaning, sports, and reading. Again, not a huge amount of time invested in this bread.

This is cooked the dough in this enamel cast iron casserole pan that has a cover. 
Dutch Oven Bread
Makes 6 large slices

1½ c warm water (110F-115F)
2¾ tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
3 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt

Heat water to 110-115F. Add yeast and pinch of sugar, let sit for 5 minutes.
Add salt and flour and stir until a shaggy ball of dough is formed.
Cover and let rise in a warm place for 4 hours.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface. With well floured hands, knead the dough 5-10 times.
Return dough to the bowl and let rise for another 30 minutes.
While dough is rising, place your dutch oven (uncovered) in the oven and preheat to 430F.
After 30 minutes, use floured hands to reshape dough into a ball and carefully drop into the dutch oven.
Cover and let bake for 30 minutes.
Uncover and let bake 10-15 minutes longer.
Remove loaf from dutch oven and let cool.

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