Overnight Dutch Oven Bread 8.000

(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Baking Basics Newsletter Oct 11, 2019

The keys to this deceptively simple loaf of bread are time and a Dutch oven. Time allows the dough to slowly ferment, developing both flavor and structure without kneading. The dough rests at room temperature for between 8 and 14 hours. A hot Dutch oven creates an oven within an oven, trapping precious steam around the bread as it bakes, leading to a crusty and golden loaf. Though the grits and flaxseeds are optional, I highly recommend adding them for texture.

This recipe is from Week 4 of Voraciously's Baking Basics newsletter series. For more recipes like this one, sign up here.

Storage Notes: The bread is best within 2 days of baking but will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 4 days.


Servings:
8 - 10

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8-10 servings; makes one 8-inch loaf

Ingredients
  • 3 cups (375 grams) flour, plus more for kneading the dough and dusting the counter
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons uncooked grits(optional)
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseeds (optional)
  • 1 1/3 cups (320 milliliters) warm water
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, salt, and grits and flaxseeds (if using). Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the water and olive oil. Using a wooden spoon, stir until a shaggy, wet and sticky dough forms.

Cover the bowl with greased plastic wrap — greased side facing inside the bowl — and leave at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 14 hours. The dough will rise and bubble and flatten across the top.

Toward the end of the rising time, place a 6-quart Dutch oven and lid on a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Generously flour a clean work surface and, using a rubber bench scraper or lightly greased silicone spatula, scoop the dough out of the bowl onto the counter. The dough will still be very wet and sticky, but there’s no need to knead it — just flour the top and sides to keep the outside of the dough dry enough to shape it into a roundish ball by pulling the edges to the center of the dough. You can use the rubber bench scraper to assist in the folding.

Flour a 14- to 16-inch piece of parchment paper. Cupping your hands around opposite sides of the dough, gently but decisively transfer the dough to the paper, fold-side down. Dust with more flour wherever sticky dough becomes exposed, and loosely cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Allow to rest for 30 minutes. The dough will have risen slightly and should bounce back when gently poked.

Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and set the lid aside. (I like to keep pot holders on the lid and handle of the Dutch oven to remember that it’s very hot.)

Lift the towel off the bread and, using a serrated knife, slash two vents into the surface of the dough to make a big “X.”

Holding two sides of the parchment paper, lower the paper and dough into the hot Dutch oven. Re-cover the pot and place in the oven.

Bake for 35 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the bread is golden brown across the top and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from the oven and let cool in the Dutch oven for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool for 1 hour before slicing and serving.

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Recipe Source

From food blogger and cookbook author Joy Wilson.

Tested by Richard Kerr and Olga Massov.

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