Friday, October 12, 2012

Dutch Oven Bread (Regular and Sourdough version)

This is a recipe my mother gave me.  I adapted it to be sourdough.  The above picture is the last few slices of one big loaf.  When its fresh this bread goes fast in my house!

Ingredients for Regular:

1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups flour (I use spelt, but it makes it not as high)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
Extra flour to form a ball
Sprinkle of cornmeal

Ingredients for Sourdough:

1/2 cup sourdough starter
1/8 tsp yeast (optional for added height but I feel it takes away a little sourdough flavor)
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 cups flour (I use spelt)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup extra flour to knead into dough to form ball
Sprinkle of cornmeal

1.  In a large bowl dissolve yeast or sourdough starter in the warm water and let sit 5 minutes
2.  Add flour and salt and combine well (it will be a little sticky)
3.  Cover and let sit 8-18 hours (I usually make this in the evening and let sit overnight, for sourdough the longer you let it sit the more flavor it has)
4.  The next morning ready a thin cotton towel, place on the counter and sprinkle a small handful of cornmeal on half of the cloth (this is where the dough ball will be placed)
4.  Punch down the dough and add extra flour to form into a ball and knead a couple times (when using spelt I find you need to add extra flour at this stage to form it into a ball)
5.  Gather up the edges of the flattened ball and pinch together, place pinched side down on the cornmeal on the towel.  Cover with the other half of the towel and let rise 1 hr or until doubled.
6.  Preheat oven and dutch oven (I use cast iron) to 475 degrees F, once heated to that temp remove dutch oven and flip dough into pan (the cornmeal will end up on top now.)  If the dough isn't even in the pay you can jiggle the pan a little to help even it out, but it will even out some during baking.
7.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes, remove lid and if not lightly browned cook for an additional 5-10 minutes uncovered.
8.  Remove and place on cooling rack and cover with the thin towel while cooling ( I do this so that the crust doesn't try out)
9.  This bread keeps for a long time in the fridge and also freezes well.

It sounds complicated, but really it is hard to mess this bread up.  I did one time when I used all whole wheat flour that may have been old anyway.  The bread baked into a hard was weird but has never happened again despite me making it out of spelt flour entirely.

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