Friday, May 29, 2009

Dutch oven bread

This bread was fantastic. Easy to put together, easy to bake. I used the dough hook on my mixer to knead it, but I think in the future I'll be ditching the hook and doing it by hand. I never get good results with the dough hook, and it's frustrating.
In any case, the bread was good despite my lack of bread baking skills. And that's saying something.

from Pioneer Woman

20 oz. of bread flour - about 4 cups
8 oz. of water - or 1 cup
4 oz. melted butter with chopped herbs of choice. (I used rosemary)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon active or instant yeast. if active, it would be best to sprinkle yeast over the water to let it start to work before mixing it in (this is a really good tip for a novice bread baker)

Combine all the ingredients either with dough hook or by hand.
Mix/knead them together for about 10 minutes or so until you can successfully achieve a windowpane with the dough. This is where you can pull off a small chunk of the dough you’re kneading and stretch it gently to see if it is somewhat translucent. If you can do this without it tearing, it’s ready.
Once this elasticity has been achieved, the dough can sit out with plastic wrap over it for 1-4 hours to double in size. (I left mine for 4 hours) After it’s gotten bigger, it should be kneaded for a minute or two so that the yeast can redistribute.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cut a large ‘X’ into the surface of the bread dough so it can bloom.
Bake inside a covered cast iron pan after coating the rounded dough with olive oil and sprinkling with kosher salt. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, then remove lid to finish it off for another 15 to 30 minutes.

I can't say enough how good the crust on this bread was. So, so good. The leftovers were good the next day for a ham sandwich, too.

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