The fact that this rustic, crusty loaf came out of my kitchen and not out of a bakery was a bit of a revelation. I didn’t know it was possible.
Homemade bread, yes. Crackles-when-you-pull-it-apart-but-airy-and-chewy-inside crusty bread? Not a chance. I have two words for you: Dutch. Oven. A big sturdy pot with an equally sturdy lid and one of the simplest yeast doughs I’ve ever worked with and we’re in for a real treat.
Flour, yeast, salt, water. No kneading. You just let it sit… and rise… and rise… and rise… for about a dozen hours.
Preheat your oven to 450. Place the dutch oven and lid into the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Then, put your lovely little loaf into the raging hot dutch oven, put the lid back on and bake it for 30 minutes. Then, remove the lid and bake it another 10-15 minutes.
When you knock on the loaf it will sound hollow on the inside. This is what you want.
This is one of my absolute favorite ways to enjoy a good loaf of bread – with some excellent olive oil and balsamic.
Break bread and dip away. Or serve with soup. Or make garlic bread. Or do whatever your little heart desires with this glorious crusty loaf. Enjoy.
Dutch Oven Crusty Bread
Adapted from [Simply So Good|http://simplysogood.blogspot.com/2010/03/crusty-bread.html]
Yields: 1 loaf
- 3c unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1t yeast
- 1t salt
- 1-1/2c warm water
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and stir until a shaggy mixture forms (mixture will be loose and sticky; this is what you want). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours (up to 24). Overnight works great.
Preheat oven to 450. Place a cast iron dutch oven with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the risen dough onto a heavily floured surface (mixture will be sticky) and lightly shape into a round loaf.
Remove hot pot from the oven and carefully set in the dough. Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes. Then, remove the lid and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove bread from oven and from pot and place on a cooling rack.