Magical Dutch Oven Bread

Bread has always intimidated me.  What if it doesn’t rise?  How long do you knead it?  What does “proving” mean anyway?  I avoided making bread for years, which is incredible because I love eating bread.  It would make sense for me to figure out how to make it as soon as possible so I could eat fresh bread every day!  But I never attempted it until a family friend gave me her recipe.  She makes bread for my family at least once a month, and whenever she brings a loaf over it is gone within the hour.  Her bread is delicious, and never in a million years did I think that I could achieve such perfection.  But when I tried her recipe – magic!  It worked!  It looked beautiful, it tasted delicious, and it was super easy to make!  So I am here to spread the knowledge!

My mom was amazed when I showed her how to make this bread.  She has always had issues with getting the yeast to activate, and when I told her this recipe didn’t have any added sugar she was very dubious.  This recipe is very hands-off, so it is perfect for people like me (aka lazy people).

SEE HOW BEAUTIFUL IT LOOKS! THIS WAS MY VERY FIRST ATTEMPT!

Bettina’s Magical Dutch Oven Bread

Yield: 1 loaf of bread

 

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour (preferred: King Arthur’s)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon dry yeast (you can refrigerate or freeze leftover yeast, just bring back to room temperature when ready to use again)

2 cups of water

 

Directions:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Add (warmish) water and mix until a wet dough forms.
  3. Let sit for at least 10-12 hours (shorter in summer, longer in winter)
    1. You want the dough to be ~2x the size, with air bubbles, very wet looking
    2. I let it sit for at least 24 hours and it was fine … but the internet says that if you leave it to rise too long, it will lose all its air.
  4. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  5. Put Dutch oven (at least 5qt) in preheated oven (with the lid!) for 30 minutes.
  6. Use your judgment: if the dough seems super wet, add some flour and fold (not mix) it in (if you touch the dough and it sticks to your finger excessively, add more flour)
  7. Lift the lid off the Dutch oven and plop the dough in. Bake for 35 minutes, then take the lid out and bake for another 15 to brown the top.
  8. MAGIC!

 

There you have it!  Magic!  I’m not sure if you can make this without a Dutch Oven (any ideas?).  I actually went and bought a Dutch Oven for the sole purpose of making this bread!  (But I loooooove my Dutch Oven – it is pretty and red and I have made large batches of soup in it multiple times on the stove top).  Let me know if you try this recipe out, or if you have any favorite bread recipes/tips you want to share!

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