The first time I made Dutch oven bread, I was overwhelmed with how well the bread turned out.
I kept pointing at it and saying to anyone who would listen, ‘look how beautiful my bread turned out!’
I wanted to photograph the loaf, and pose with it as well!
As any reader of my blog knows, I love bread, in fact a good loaf of bread is worth its weight in gold.
Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but only a little bit!
I knew a couple where he was a professional baker, and she was a professional photographer.
He would make the most delicious bread, and she used to photograph his loaves, (and no that is not an innuendo!).
I understood their hobby immediately, given the way I feel about most loaves of bread I come across!
The Dutch oven technique elevated my bread baking to a level of creating beautiful as well as great tasting loaves.
The best cookware in the 17th century was made of brass, and the best of these as well as the cheapest was Dutch made.
The reason the Dutch had a cheaper process is because they used sand molds for their cookware.
The sand mold also gave the brass cookware a nicer finish than the loam and clay method.
A cookware producing company based in Bristol, England studied the Dutch method and adapted it to make cast iron cookware.
They patented the cast iron method and the name Dutch oven based on the process was born.
In Holland, a Dutch oven is simply known as a roasting pan, braadpan in Dutch.
What is Dutch Oven Bread?
A Dutch oven is a thick walled cooking pot, with a lid, that is oven safe, and can also be used on a cooktop.
Often used for one pot cooking and baking, it is well known as a slow cooker type of cooking pot.
Make soup in your Dutch oven, and you will never make soup in anything else, the same goes for pasta casseroles.
The Dutch oven is also one of the best pots to use when making your homemade bread.
Le Creuset is probably one of the most famous names when it comes to the manufacture of this kind of cast iron cookware.
The company is well known for making high quality enamel cookware that are beautiful as well as highly functional.
Dutch ovens were used by the early American colonists who moved out West looking for a place to settle.
Virtually anything you can cook in an oven can be cooked in this pot over an open fire.
This made it a very practical item to have on the trail to ensure your family got fed well.
An interesting fact is that the Dutch oven is the official state cooking pot in Utah, Arkansas and Texas.
I think it may be more of an interesting fact that states have official state cooking pots!
The fact that a Dutch oven is made of cast iron, and that cast iron holds heat so well, is why it cooks so well.
Why Don’t I Need to Knead?
The main reason we knead bread dough in the first place is to develop the gluten in the flour.
Making the structure of the gluten in bread dough is a most important function in making bread.
When the gluten is strong in your dough it is what will hold the gases released as the dough ferments allowing it to rise.
Gluten, as you may know, is what results from mixing water with the two proteins of glutenin and gliadin found in wheat.
The water along with the kneading of the dough allows for the two proteins to get together and become strong gluten.
The theory behind ‘no knead’ bread dough is that if you allow dough enough time.
The longer rising time will allow those proteins to find each other on their own.
This will then result in the development of gluten without kneading.
Which will in turn produce a good loaf of bread.
Why Bake Bread in a Dutch Oven?
We know that bread loves to be baked at high temperatures for best results.
I imagine it is just like a sauna for us.
It gives us health and vitality to roast ourselves every once in a while!
But really the Dutch oven acts as a constant hot environment for our bread dough to bake in.
This environment passes on the health and vitality so important to growing a great loaf of bread!
A Dutch oven is an oven inside the oven that because of its raw material will hold the heat our beloved loaf craves.
The other wonderful benefit of the Duch oven is that it has a top allowing you to close the lid and bake.
Enclosing the dough this way causes the steam to remain in the pot and to help create the most crunchy crusts.
So all around the Dutch oven is the perfect device to create artisan bread at home.
How to Make Dutch Oven Bread
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
If using active dry yeast remember to activate the yeast before use.
I prefer instant yeast because I can stir it in with all the dry ingredients and just get going by adding warm water.
Dutch oven bread recipes tend to be a bit wetter and stickier than some other types of doughs.
Once the dough has formed, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow it to sit at room temperature.
The dough rise will be at least two times its original size, this will take about an hour or so.
Once the dough has risen pour it out onto a surface sprinkled with a bit of flour to help keep it from sticking.
Shape the dough to make your loaf.
Cover the loaf shaped dough with a damp kitchen towel and allow it to rise to double its size.
Place your Dutch oven with the lid on in the oven, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Gently roll the dough into the Dutch oven.
It is optional to rub a bit of olive oil on the dough before closing the lid.
Return the Dutch oven to the hot oven and allow the bread to bake for 30 minutes.
Bake for 5 to 10 minutes removing the lid so the loaf can brown.
Remove from the oven and place the loaf on a cooling rack, and allow the bread to cool.
Tips for Making
- For best results allow your dough to remain a little bit on the wetter and stickier side.
- Allow your Dutch oven to warm up to the desired temperature as your oven preheats.
- Be sure that you have a tight fitting seal on your Dutch oven when making bread to help keep the steam in.
Dutch Oven Bread Recipe
- Add all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix until a dough forms.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise to at least twice its size.
- Pour the dough out onto a floured surface. Shape the loaf and place the seam side up on a floured piece of parchment paper.
- Cover with a damp kitchen towel, and allow to rise in a warm place for about an hour.
- Place your Dutch oven in the oven and preheat to 450ºF (230ºC).
- When the dough is ready and the oven is hot, remove the dutch oven. Spray the inside with a vegetable spray and sprinkle corn flour to prevent the loaf sticking.
- Roll the dough into the Dutch oven, cover and replace in the oven. Don't worry if your bread looks a bit deflated when it goes in the pot.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake a few minutes longer to brown the top if necessary.
- Remove, and place the loaf on a cooling rack and allow to cool.