So I’ve been seeing a variety of variations on this recipe for a while. I had pinned several versions before we moved to the homestead and I finally got things together to give it a test run.
Getting the ingredients together was simple enough as it was only four items: Flour, Salt, Water and Yeast.
INGREDIENTS & DIRECTIONS
To begin, I mixed the dry ingredients:
3 cups flour (I used bread flour but all-purpose flour is ok to use too)
More flour for the work surface
1/2 teaspoon active-dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
Then I slowly poured in:
1 1/3 cup cool water
Little by little as I mixed the ingredients together.
When ever I am making dough I always wish I had one of these on hand, but I can never find them at the store. Going to have to break down and order one.
Once all the ingredients are mixed thoroughly, you need to let the yeast work its magic and let it rest anywhere from 12 to 18 hours.
So I covered the bowl in Cling Wrap, made sure all the edges where pulled taunt without ripping it (took me two tries), and left it on the kitchen counter overnight.
After it had it’s rest, it looked like this:
Ii was amazed at how it had grown. I then prepared my pastry mat, like this one, but you can use any other work surface as long as you dust it liberally with flour. I like the mat because it makes clean up easier to manage.
I placed it on top of a clean flour dusted towel and then place another one on top while I waited for the Dutch oven to warm up.
I put the dutch oven in a 425 degree oven with the cover on for about 30 minutes to get it ready. It smoked a bit when I took off the lid. Then I plopped the dough into the hot dutch oven, seam side up.
Let it cook for about 30 minutes or until the internal temperature is about 200 degrees.
Then uncover and cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until beautifully golden brown.
Once you take it out of the oven it should plop right out of the dutch oven when you turn it over. I put it on a cooling rack like this one just to allow it to cool off before cutting into it with a sharp bread knife.
WHAT I FOUND
On my first attempt, I tired this recipe here but it makes an enormous loaf. We don’t have the self control to have such a huge loaf. Thankfully we had company and spread the wealth by sharing with the neighbors. It also says to let the bread rest once it’s out of the oven. We didn’t and we didn’t notice anything off about the bread but that’s just us.
The next time, I made the same amount but this time I divided it into two separate portions. For the first portion, I followed the directions as before but didn’t let it rest the additional two hours and we didn’t wait for it to cool to see if we noticed a difference. We didn’t.
For the second portion, I took 5 garlic cloves mashed to a paste and 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese and worked it into the dough to create an interior marbling of the mixture. I cooked it covered for 30 minutes then uncovered for 15. It turned out AMAZING with a delicate hint of garlic and Parmesan cheese.
The next time, I made the portions as detailed above. It made enough for breakfast and lunch which for us was just right. This is more of a treat for us and this Delicious Crusty Bread doesn’t last long around these parts. In the future, I plan to try to make the larger amount and freezing some to see how it turns out.
WHY IT WORKS
The Dutch oven is basically steaming the dough which gives it a wonderful soft inside with a stellar crunchy outside. You don’t have to have a dutch oven for this but it certainly helps. I have this one.
Now I’m excited to try some more variations. Maybe something with Rosemary or Tomato and Basil. I might need to get another Dutch oven!
Hmmm, The possibilities!
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