My kids LOVE fresh bread. And they can eat loaves and loaves of it if I let them. But bread baking is so tedious, right? WRONG. Turns out this simple Dutch Oven Bread is so stinking simple you could make it every day.
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I will admit that having a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer does make this recipe unbelievably easy, but if you didn’t you could still mix the ingredients by hand! I just weigh/measure the ingredients into the bowl of the stand mixer and let it go until my ball of dough is formed!
You do have to let this dough rise. And yes, that does take time. But you can be off doing something else, so don’t let that stop you. Since it is still a little chilly and drafty up here in the North, I generally turn my oven light on to warm it up a touch and then let my dough rise in the oven (after turning the light back off). Pro tip: Place a note ON the oven, reminding you that your dough is in the oven. (Or don’t, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!)
After your dough has doubled, put it in the refrigerator. I know, this sounds weird, and I have skipped this step before. But don’t. Because it seems that this is where flavor is developed. Leave it in the fridge for a few hours, at least. You won’t be sorry.
Once the dough has gotten cold for awhile, it needs to be warmed back up. I know, I know…sounds like a pain in the a**. But here is where the good news comes in. You can keep it cold anywhere from 2 hours to 7 DAYS! And the longer you procrastinate, the better the bread gets! Three cheers for procrastination. Sometimes I make the dough, and bake the bread several days later. This whole wide range works very well for my crazy schedule.
My other tip is that the dutch oven needs to be hot when you put the dough in. Preheat it in the oven. And don’t forget parchment paper, which will keep your dough from sticking to the bottom of the dutch oven.
And when you get this wonderful Dutch Oven Bread- top it with salted European butter, a slice of cheese, or this Blueberry Jam with Lime.
This recipe is adapted from a recipe found on the King Arthur Flour website.
Dutch Oven Bread
This Dutch Oven Bread is unbelievably simple to make. One bowl, 4 ingredients, several hours, and you too will have delicious crusty bread for dinner (or lunch, or breakfast, or snack!). Don't be intimidated by the directions, they are all very easy. This recipe makes 4 small loaves (6 slices each).
- 7 ½ cups all purpose flour 910 grams
- 3 cups warm water (not hot!) 680 grams
- 1 ½ Tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1 Tablespoon salt
Making the Dough
Weigh/Measure the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large 6 quart bowl). If using the stand mixer, mix with the dough hook until you get a ball of dough. Transfer into a large, 6 quart bowl. (If mixing in a bowl, just combine until it forms a slightly sticky dough and you can leave it right in the bowl to rise). To make the dough easier to remove later, you can prepare the bowl with a tiny bit of olive oil, but this is totally optional-I do it when I remember, but it works even if I don't).
Cover the bowl with a towel or piece of plastic wrap. Place in a warm, non-drafty area and forget about it until it doubles -approximately 2 hours.
Place the bowl in the refrigerator. Don't skip this step. Leave it there for 2 hours or up to 7 days! (This recipe is so, so forgiving!).
Baking the Bread
When you are ready to bake bread, take ¼ of the dough from the bowl and roll it into a ball. It will be about the size of a grapefruit (this recipe makes small loaves). Place it on a piece of parchment paper. Allow the dough to warm to room temperature which will take about an hour.
30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the Dutch Oven inside the oven to warm up. Slice 3 cuts in the top of the dough.
When the dough is warm, and the dutch oven is to temperature, remove the dutch oven from the oven, place the parchment containing the dough into the oven, place the lid on the top. Place covered dutch oven into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove lid and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove dutch oven from oven. Take parchment containing bread out of dutch oven and place on a cooling rack (I use the grates of my gas range). Allow to cool. Slice and serve with butter, jam, cheese, whatever you like!
This recipe makes 4 small loaves (6-7 slices per loaf), but gives directions for baking 1 loaf at a time. If you are feeding a hungry crowd, you may need to bake several loaves.
The longer your dough sits in the refrigerator, the more flavor (tang) develops. This is a good thing. Feel free to leave your dough in the refrigerator up to 7 days. Just make sure it is covered tightly so it doesn’t dry out.
The calories provided are for 1 slice of the bread. This is assuming 6 slices per small loaf.
Store your bread in a Ziplock bag. Remember this bread has no preservatives so it won’t last long. If it has been 2-3 days and you haven’t finished your bread, use the remainder to make croutons. (like these Easy Brown Butter Parmesan Croutons)
What I used to make Dutch Oven Bread! (affiliate links)
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