Is there anything better than homemade, fresh bread? Maybe a nice steak on the grill, or the perfectly chilled glass of bubbly, but not much. Our family has been using a new recipe of artisan bread that we just love! With a few tweaks you can turn it into more than just a loaf of bread, but let’s start with the basics of this no-knead Dutch oven bread.
I first found this recipe a year ago when stores were limiting shoppers and it was impossible to find some basics like meat, toilet paper and bread. I’ve tried making a few different bread recipes, and I was interested in a bread machine, but I didn’t like the way the crust turned out. I like a good crusty bread. Its so good for texture and for dipping into soups or getting very bit of sauce up from your plate.
This method, created by Jeff Hertzberg, a physician from Minneapolis, entails no kneading and can be prepared by the most novice of bread makers. If you have any inkling to learn to make bread or if you are a pro and desire a simpler method, buy this book: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking.
Download the PDF recipe here.
First, the tools:
You’ll need a Dutch oven, some type of container with lid (or press-and-seal wrap works) a large wooden cutting board or other clean work surface, parchment paper, and a little bit of faith.
- 3 cups lukewarm water
- 1 ½ Tablespoons (T) granulated yeasts (1½ packets)
- 1 ½ Tablespoon (T) kosher or other coarse salt
- 6½ cups (29.25 oz.) unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour, measured with the scoop-and-sweep method
Mixing and Storing the Dough
- Add filtered water to a tea kettle and warm to approximately 100 degrees fahrenheit (just warmer than body temperature).
- Add yeast to the warm water inside your mixing container (I used this resealable container, but I have also used a small Lowes bucket with press-and-seal wrap). I add the yeast, then flour, then salt on top of all that.
- Mix in the flour. That’s right, mix all of the flour in at once. Use a wooden spoon, or a dough whisk, but you certainly do not need one! A wooden spoon works just as well!
- Cover (not airtight) and let rise for two hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
Allow to Rise:
Give your Dough time to rise (about two hours, or once it has doubled). You’ll want to make sure your kitchen is warm enough for the yeast, warmer than 68 degrees. After this time you can refrigerate it for use anytime. The longer it sits in the fridge, the tangier it will be. We most often use our within four or five days.
For a Single Loaf of Dough
- Prepare your space; flour a large wooden cutting board or other clean surface.
- Prepare your parchment paper for baking by sprinkling cornmeal onto it.
- Next sprinkle flour over the top of your dough inside the bucket and take off a piece about the size of a grapefruit.
- Tip: Using a serrated knife may help get the dough way neater.
- Hold the dough in your hands, adding more flour if needed so it doesn’t sick. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. The correctly shaped final product will be smooth and cohesive. The entire process should take no more than 30 to 60 seconds.
- Place the shaped dough onto the cornmeal dusted parchment paper. Let rest uncovered for 40 minutes.
Time to Turn on the Oven
- 20 minutes before baking, turn on the oven to 450 degrees. Place your Dutch oven into cold oven on the bottom rack and the top of the Dutch oven onto the top rack.
- Dust the top of your loaf with flour, then using a sharp filet knife or other very sharp knife, make three slashes into the top of the loaf about ¼-inch deep.
- At the end of 20 minutes, carefully place parchment paper and bread into the hot Dutch oven and cover. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the outer crust is firm and has a slight brown color.
- Remove bread from the Dutch oven by carefully lifting it out by holding the corners of the parchment paper or holding the bread with a pair of oven mitts.
- Allow bread to cool completely, a wire rack works nicely for this.
If you would like a large loaf, consider baking all of the dough to make an impressively large loaf of bread!
We have also used the dough to make small rolls which the children love!
And in a pinch you can even make cinnamon rolls with this dough!
For a crispier crust, you can try using a pizza stone. But be sure to add a cup of water in a broiler pan to get a really nice brown crust. Let me know if you want this additional recipe.
I hope you enjoy baking your own bread at home!