Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dutch Oven Bread

I've made bread completely by hand, using a KitchenAid mixer, and using a bread machine. I've never had bread come out as well as this simple recipe, baked in a Dutch oven.

Step 1
1/3 c. warm water
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 T. sugar
1 pkt. Red Star Quick Rising Yeast
Mix together in a medium size bowl, cover and let stand one hour at room temperature.
When the mixture has set for an hour it should be bubbly.

Step 2
Beat together:
1 egg
2 T. vegetable oil
1/3 c. water or milk (room temperature)
Add this mixture to the yeast and allow to stand, covered, in a fairly warm place until the mixture is frothy. 

Step 3
Combine the dry ingredients so the salt is evenly distributed
1 t. salt
2 c. white flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
(can also substitute 1/2 c. cornmeal for part of the white flour)

Add the special flours and salt to the wet ingredients and beat until it appears a bit stretchy. Then gradually stir in the remaining flour 1/2 c. at a time until you have a nice elastic ball that isn't too sticky.

Turn out on to a lightly floured board and knead until no longer sticky.
Shape dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl, oil the top of the dough. Cover and let rise until double in size.

When doubled, turn out again onto a lightly floured board, knead until all the air is worked out, shape into a flat ball and place into an oiled 10 (or 12) inch Dutch oven (or loaf pan). (If the air is cold warm the oven slightly.) Allow dough to rise about 20 minutes, more if the weather is cold. It should nearly double before baking.

Use 12 (16) top coals and  9 (12) bottom coals. Keep the top coals toward the outside edge of the lid. After 12 minutes pull the bottom coals out to the edge of the kettle and continue baking with only top coals. Bake 20 - 25 minutes. (Numbers of coals and time are pure suggestions. So much depends on wind and temperature, you'll need to adjust to fit the situation.) [Bake 20 minutes at 375 F in a regular oven]

Serves 4 - 6. Don't count on serving more than four if you bring out the blackberry jam!

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