I've made this bread once before and it came out lovely. It has this amazing hard crust. I've found I prefer the extra effort of putting it together the night before over the peasant bread I whip up in a couple of hours. I am just so thrilled, it looks like a loaf I'd pick up at the fancy bakery. And, it tastes heavenly. Apparently, keeping the lid on the pan allows the steam to create that outer crust that is just wonderful.
Tonight I made it to go along with beef stew for dinner and cut it in big chunks. Then I used the new Land o'Lakes olive oil and sea salt butter. Lordy, that stuff is so good, I could have probably eaten the whole loaf myself slathered in just that butter. Yum!
I will tell you, I don't have a dutch oven or even parchment paper. So, for me this is Roasting Pan Bread, lol. I used my small roasting pan and just used cooking spray so it wouldn't stick. While I would love a dutch oven, I can't afford a nice one just yet -- nor I have seen one at a thrift store. My roasting pan worked fine, so if you don't have a dutch oven, try it anyway.
Dutch Oven Bread
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1½ cups warm water
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour and a bit more for dusting the bread after rising.
- Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a bowl or mixer.
- Add the flour and salt (in that order) 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.
- Dust a cutting board with some flour and scrape the dough onto it.
- Sprinkle a bit of flour over the top as it will be very sticky.
- Just fold the dough over onto itself a couple of times, and shape into a ball.
- If the dough is too loose, just knead in ¼ cup of flour.
- Shape into a ball by pulling around the dough edges and folding underneath. Place on the counter on a piece of parchment paper and cover with a towel and let rise for another 1 to 1½ hours.
- When you are ready to bake the bread, preheat the dutch oven in the oven at 450 degrees.
- Carefully remove the dutch oven, take off the top, and using the parchment paper, lift up the dough ball and gently drop it into the dutch oven.
- Use a knife to slash 3 slits in the dough, diagonally.
- Cover and place back in oven.
- Bake covered for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and continue baking for 15 minutes until dough is browned.
- Remove from oven and cool for one hour before cutting.