Today’s Easy Dutch Oven Bread is a really simple one requiring very little work. Most of the time is spent ignoring it while it does its thing and you go about your business. This is a crusty bread on the outside with that wonderful hard crust and a chewy bread on the inside, which I love!
When I was expecting my Katy Rose, I got this hankering for these hard crusty dinner rolls with chewy innards that were sold at Atlanta Bread company. I used to ask my husband to stop by a few times a week just to get me two or three dinner rolls to munch on during the day. Well, this Easy Dutch Oven Bread reminds me of that, only it’s better.
I’ll probably bring you some other versions of it eventually as well.
For this Easy Dutch Oven Bread you’ll need:
- Hot water
- Bread flour
NOTE ABOUT BRANDS :
I prefer Red Star yeast when I can find it. It is easy to find in the packets here but I like to buy a jar because I use so much that I prefer less fuss, so I had to get Fleishmann’s last time I shopped. I have had better luck with Red Star yeast so if you see that, I’d suggest making it your first choice.
As for this bread flour, I usually use whatever I pick up first that is cheapest but there wasn’t a lot of selection where I ended up so grab some bread flour but don’t worry about getting this gold Medal. It works fine but one is just as good as the other.
You do need bread flour
All Purpose will work in some way but I’ve never made this bread with all purpose flour so you’re flying solo if you choose to go on that mission 🙂
I do love my Kosher salt but plain table salt will work just as well.
You’re also going to need a cast iron dutch oven, such as my Lodge Dutch oven here.
I got this for Mother’s Day a few years back and it is well used.
Also, it is dirty in this photo because I needed to do dishes in a bad way but the sink was too full of dirty dishes to be able to do them at the particular moment that I needed a photograph.
Life is just crazy like that 🙂
An enamel coated cast iron dutch oven is important here and the Lodge ones are very affordable. A lot of folks want Le Crueset but my Le Wallet can afford Lodge. Not to mention it understands my Alabama accent because it’s all made in Tennessee.
How To Make Dutch Oven Bread Step by Step
Place all of your dry ingredients into a medium sized mixing bowl. This means your flour, salt, and yeast.
Let me show you something about the yeast…
When I say a heaping 1/4 teaspoon of yeast, this is what I mean.
Just kinda use a 1/4 teaspoon to scoop it out and then add whatever decides to come with it 🙂
Now stir all of those dry ingredients together.
Stir all of your dry ingredients together really well.
Pour in your water.
Tips About Yeast Bread
Now remember that in yeast bread, if your water is too hot, it will kill the yeast. If your water is too cold, it will take ten forevers for your yeast to come alive. The trick is “baby bath water”. Anyone who has ever given a baby a bath knows just how that feels. Hot, but not too hot, more of warm water on the hot end of the scale 🙂
Stir that up until it is a glob.
You can use a mixing bowl for this but I have these handy little bread buckets I use that have a sealing plastic lid and plenty of room for the bread to rise. However, this particular bread isn’t going to rise very much so a large bowl will be just fine.
I have some breads that overflow an eight quart container!
Spray cooking spray in a bowl (or bread bucket) and cover to seal.
Set aside and let it rise for 12-18 hours.
Ideally, Let It Rise Overnight
This nice slow rise builds a wonderful texture for your bread but mostly it helps the bread’s flavor to develop.
This is what your bread will look like the following morning.
Dust a surface with flour.
Okay when I say dust, I mean coat 🙂
This is what your bread will look like from the top before you dump it out.
Now dump it out like yesterday’s troubles!
Sprinkle some more flour over the top of it.
Cover with a dish towel.
Let rise again for about 2 hours.
When you’re done letting your bread rise, preheat your oven to 475.
Please note: 475 degrees is hot.
Place your cast iron dutch oven into the stove with the lid on for 30 minutes.
A Important Note About The Dutch Oven Lid:
Please make sure the knob on the top of your dutch oven is heatproof. I purchased a new knob for mine because the original one was not. If your knob is not heatproof it will come out of the oven looking like a deflated balloon that fell on top of your lid. Trust that I speak from experience here…
This is my dough all ready to go.
And as you can tell I did make my bread in the morning so we have a lovely plant shadow from the rising sun.
Remove your hot hot pot VERY Carefully
Please note again: 475 degrees is hot. I’m sooo not kidding here.
Pick up your bread dough with both hands and kinda sorta shape it into a ball as you dump it into the pot, without touching the pot.
Be Very Careful to Avoid Touching the Pot
I know I sound like a broken record here but in case anyone missed it – this pot is going to be hotter than Hades after it’s been cranked up a few thousand years and gotten past the mild stuff.
Put your lid back on the pot and return to the oven.
Bake at 475 for 30 minutes, then carefully remove the lid and bake another 15 minutes.
Remove from oven.
This is what you have. Isn’t that gorgeous?
I could happily live on this bread the rest of my life.
But I’d be most content, I’m sure!
Think you might want to make this later? Save it to your recipe box!
Here’s some questions and answers from our subscribers…
What size dutch oven do you use?
Pictured here is my Six Quart Lodge enamel coated Dutch oven in Spice Red and my L Series dutch oven in Apple Green. You can click on either photo or name to get more information. I got my red one from Wal Mart and my green one last Christmas when I found an incredible deal on Amazon. Both of these can be ordered from Amazon and they usually have free shipping options. All you need is one and you’ll be good to go!
Common sizes are 3 quart, 4 quart, 6 quart, and 7.5 quart. Any of those sizes would work just fine.
What else can you use a dutch oven for?
Oh goodness, it is my FAVORITE pot to cook in on the stove top. I LOVE to make stews, chilis, soups, beans, spaghetti sauce, anything that you’d use a pot for you can use this pot for. If you’re making a soup or stew, brown your beef in the dutch oven, then drain it and toss everything else in for one pot cleanup. The reason why I love it so much is because of the heat retention and distribution qualities of cast iron. Regular pots just cook from the bottom but the cast iron distributes and retains the heat all around the pot so it actually cooks from all sides, which makes it quicker and more efficient.
THEN, once you’re done cooking, just put the lid on and turn off the heat and it will stay piping hot for at least an hour (much longer than that but I’ve never timed it or anything). Regular pots lose heat so fast and you end up having to heat things up if you cook a little earlier in the afternoon. Whenever I cook a little earlier, I try to use my dutch oven. I can get it done before the kids get out of school, put the lid on and go pick them up, then come home to a hot supper when my husband gets off work, even though the pot has sat on the stovetop with no heat turned on the entire time.
And yes, I have always used cast iron on my glass stove top. As long as the bottom of your cast iron pot is flat, it works perfectly!
Where did you get the oven proof knob for your dutch oven?
My dutch oven came with a regular knob that was just fine for temperatures on the stovetop but not for the high temperatures I subject it to in my oven when baking bread. I picked up a stainless steel replacement knob at the Lodge factory outlet store near me but you can order one online by clicking here. As someone pointed out in the comments, you can also pick up a stainless steel knob at a home supply store and use it as well.
I Don’t Have An Enamel Coated Dutch Oven? What Else Can I Use?
A regular cast iron dutch oven, like is commonly used in camping and such, should work just fine although I’ve only used my enamel coated ones in making this so I’m not telling you that for certain.
Many folks have talked about using a heavy dutch oven with a glass lid. While I know some of the old heavier ones will work, I would steer clear of putting a glass lid in the oven at these temperatures. Tempered glass is not made as well as it used to be and I’ve had one too many new fangled glass “oven proof” dishes explode upon taking them out of the oven to be willing to risk it.
If you have a thick and heavy dutch oven with a lid not made out of glass and an oven proof knob, it should work just fine.
Hint: If you don’t have an enamel coated dutch oven, Christmas is coming so put it at the top of your wish list! My husband and kids bought me mine. I took them to visit it several times and made sure they each knew exactly what I wanted to increase my odds, it worked! lol
Where Did You Get Your Bread Buckets and What Are They?
I bought my bread buckets at Sam’s Club for around twelve dollars back when I got them. They still have them every time I go in the restaurant supply section. Costco sells them as well and many places online but be careful because some folks are awfully proud of theirs! I’ve seen them priced as high as $30.
I’d expect to pay anywhere between $12-$20 for a set of three. The ones at Sam’s are labeled with their house brand but in the bottom corner it says they are made by Rubbermaid – those are the ones I have. They came in a set of three with yellow lids that seal. They are technically “food storage buckets” but they work beautifully for bread, giving it plenty of room to rise and allowing you to see through the sides to see how far it has risen. The lids seal airtight as well, which saves me from having to grab saran wrap and dish towels every time I make bread.
These also have markings every inch or so on the outside of the bucket, making it easy to tell if your bread has doubled in size because many recipes call for letting it double.
Can I use All Purpose Flour?
As I mentioned in this post, I’ve never made it this way so I can’t speak from personal experience. However, someone chimed in that they have made it with all purpose and it turned out just fine, yay!
- 3 cups Bread Flour
- 1 +1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Heaping 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast - not fast acting or bread machine yeast
- 2 cups warm water
- In large mixing bowl combine flour, salt, and yeast. Stir together until well mixed. Add water and stir until a sticky dough forms and there are no dry patches. Cover with plastic wrap or an airtight lid and place in a warm place to rise 12-18 hours.
- Turn risen bread out onto a floured surface and dust with more flour. Cover with cling wrap and then a dish towel and allow to rise for another two hours.
- Thirty minutes before bread is finished rising, preheat oven to 475 and place cast iron dutch oven, lid and all, into oven to preheat for thirty minutes.
- Remove dutch oven and carefully set on a heat resistant surface. Set lid aside on another heat resistant surface. Using both hands, pick up dough and shape into a ball before dropping it into the pot.
- Place lid back on pot and return to 475 degree oven for 30 minutes.
- After thirty minutes remove lid and continue baking bread for another 15 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely.
To Store: The trick to this bread is that you don't want to store it in a plastic bag. It has a lovely crunchy crust, one of those earthy crust breads with a chewy center that I just adore. If you put it in a plastic bag, though, you lose all of that crustiness. Instead, store it uncovered until it's ready to eat, or allow to cool completely and wrap loosely in a dish towel if you must. Once you cut into it, try to eat all you can (this won't be hard to do!) and then slice and save whatever is left in a plastic bag. If you toast each slice before you eat it later it will get crunchy and crusty again.
You may also enjoy these bread recipes:
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
– Ernest Hemingway
Submitted by Jenny (thanks, Jenny!)