Herb No Knead Dutch Oven Bread

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Happy New Year!!

As we begin a new year, I am looking forward to stepping outside the box with some recipes I’ve never tried before.  I also want to talk about some of my favorite recipes to make (and why they’re my favorites).

Some of my recipes will be sweet, and some will be savory.  I want to dig a little deeper into the science of baking.  What makes a recipe successful and what can cause them to fail.

That brings us to this bread recipe that you bake in a Dutch oven.  Whaaat?!!! Yes, you heard me right.  But, what I found even more fascinating, is the fact that you don’t have to knead this bread.  All you have to do is mix everything together in a large mixing bowl until it is combined, cover it with plastic, and let it sit for 12 hours (or up to 18 hours) at room temperature.  This recipe is time consuming, so you will want to plan accordingly, but it is the easiest bread to make!!

You will place the dough into a very hot Dutch oven, and bake for 30 minutes with the lid on.  As the dough heats it gives off steam creating a humid environment inside the Dutch oven.  The condensation on the surface of the loaf keeps the crust soft.  This allows the the loaf to expand until the crust dries (a dry crust is harder to expand). Steam also causes the starches to form a thin covering that will eventually dry out, giving the loaf a shiny crust that will stay crisp! Yum!!  Once the crust dries out and gets very hot, the sugar molecules caramelize.  This reacts with proteins to form the amazing golden brown color and wonderful flavor that make a delicious crusty bread.  Because of it’s thick sides, heavy lid, and small internal volume, the Dutch oven is the perfect environment to trap and create steam.

After the bread bakes for 30 minutes with the lid on and you take it off…oh dear!!  The look and the smell are out of this world!!  As you close the oven door and wait for this delicious loaf of yumminess to finish baking, the anticipation is off the charts!!

Then it happens; the timer goes off…it’s done!!!!!  I removed this golden bit of goodness from the oven…Oh, the aroma wafting through the house.

I was so happy my sister,  Kathy,  and BIL stopped by not long after the bread came out of the oven.  I was so happy to share this loaf of bread with them.  Mind you, my sister is an amazing cook and baker, so I was very happy that she approved!  We are going to their house tomorrow and will be bringing a fresh loaf to share with our nephew Gil (who apparently wasn’t very happy he missed out on our little bread snack…sorry Gil).

So, as I am sitting here writing this blog, I am anticipating the bread I will be sharing with family tomorrow!

I hope you try this recipe, and if you do, please post a picture and tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi !

 Ingredients:

  • 3 cups bread flour (420 grams)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ tsp instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme
  • 1 ¼ cups room temperature water (295 grams)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (54 grams)

Instructions:

In a large bowl,  whisk the flour, kosher salt, rosemary, thyme and yeast together. Mix in the water and olive oil. Use a wooden spoon to combine; making sure to fold the flour up from the bottom of the bowl, forming a shaggy ball.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap for at least 12 hours (or up to 18).

Preheat oven to 450 F degrees. Place your Dutch Oven in the oven to heat up. While the Dutch oven is heating, uncover the dough and press down with your fingers. Put dough onto a lightly flowered surface. You do not have to knead the dough. You can turn the dough over itself a couple of times and shape into a round ball (or desired shape).   Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper brushed with olive oil. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and cover with a towel and let the dough rest for 45 minutes.

Take the towel off the dough and with a sharp knife gently score the top of the dough. Turn the oven down to 425 degrees.  Don’t forget this step…your bread will burn if you don’t!!

Remove pot from the oven and remove the lid (be careful…the Dutch oven will be VERY hot!!). Gently lift the parchment paper and place in the Dutch oven. Place the lid back on and put in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the lid from the Dutch oven and bake for twenty minutes. The crust should be a nice golden brown color (see picture).  If you’re not sure, an internal temperature of 190 degrees will tell you your bread is done.  Also, it will sound hollow when you tap on the bottom.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack (if you can wait that long). Enjoy!!

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