Someone asked for the recipe I used to make the artisan-style Dutch oven bread I posted a few days ago. This loaf is a crusty, chewy, large air-hole artisan-style bread that is great with soups or for hearty sandwiches.
- 3 cups flour (I use about 3/4 c. whole wheat and 2 1/4 bread or all-purpose flour)
- 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- In a large non-reactive bowl mix the dry ingredients thoroughly and add the water. Mix by hand until just combined. The dough should be a little on the wet and sticky side, so add a few drops extra water as needed. Cover and let stand about 18 hours (a little less is okay).
- Turn out the dough onto a clean, tightly woven cotton towel that has been dusted with flour or cornmeal and form into a rough, wide, circular shape. Pull the right side across to the left then the left to the right; turn 90 degrees and do this again as if you were wrapping the dough up on itself.
- Dust the top of the loaf with flour or cornmeal and flip over so the seam side is down and pull the towel over the loaf. Let stand 15 minutes to one half hour.
- Preheat the oven to 500 F (260 C) with the Dutch oven inside (I put the lid on the top shelf to let air circulate inside while preheating). Let the oven heat a little beyond when it claims to be hot enough to insure the cast iron is ready.
- Place the dough seam side up in the center of the Dutch oven, cover, and close the oven door. The seam allows the loaf to expand and serves in much the same way a slit on top of the bread would in a traditional loaf.
- Cook for 30 minutes then uncover. If the loaf is not a rich golden brown, continue to cook with the lid off for 5 -10 minutes (ovens vary).
- Turn out the loaf onto a rack or a bread board (if you don’t use a rack let it cool upside down for the first 15 minutes or more). Cool thoroughly then eat.
This recipe has worked well for me in many variations over the years and can be modified in many ways. I have a multi-grain seed bread I make more often than this that is a bit more complicated and maybe I’ll share it when I get time.
I found this video which may help visualize the process. It’s nearly the same as I relayed above with a slightly different size loaf.