EASY DUTCH OVEN BREAD (NO-KNEAD BREAD)
This Easy Dutch Oven Bread (No-Knead) is quick to prep and only requires 4 simple ingredients.There is nothing like the smell of fresh oven-baked bread on a Sunday morning. Why go to the bakery when you can find your inner baker! *Don’t have a Dutch oven? No worries, this recipe is still for you, you can use two loaf pans instead! A couple of years ago the thought of baking bread would send me running for the hills. After finally giving it a go, I couldn’t believe I had waited so long. If the fear of failure has been stopping you from trying, then this recipe is for you. Easy to prep, easy to make, it’s the perfect starter bread! Dense yet fluffy, remarkably moist, this bread seriously has it all. It’s the perfect base for my simple but delicious Guacamole & Egg Toast recipe. Also never underestimate the sheer perfection of freshly baked bread and a slab of melting butter.
YOU WILL NEED THE FOLLOWING;
- All-purpose flour (or bread flour)
- Active Dry Yeast
- Butter/Vegan Butter (optional)
1. GATHER UP YOUR DRY INGREDIENTSIn a large bowl, mix your flour, yeast, and salt together. Make sure not to dump your salt and yeast directly onto top of each other. We want to avoid killing the yeast, so opposite ends of the bowl is fine, until they are mixed in with the flour.
2. WATER TIMEAdd in your warm water. Make sure your water is close to 120-130°F, warmer than that could kill your yeast, and prevent your delicious bread to be from rising. Another handy trick if you don’t have a thermometer (or like to wing it like me) is placing your hand under the running water. We are looking for water than is quite warm but not uncomfortable for you to hold your hand under it. If it’s too hot for your hand, then its too hot for your dough.
3. STIR AWAYStir the water into your dry ingredients until a sticky ball is formed. Another great trick is using the thin handle on a wooden spoon to mix your ingredients, it acts similarly to a dough hook found on a stand mixer. The dough will remain quite sticky, hold a decent shape but still look a little bumpy, that is all normal.
4. COVER, REST AND RELAXPlace the dough in the bowl of your choice with a dusting of flour on the bottom and cover tightly with plastic wrap. I personally use my large Tupperware bowl that comes with a lid and place some plastic wrap between the bowl and lid. Place in a warm place area (such as your turned-off oven) and let it rest for at least 8 hours. The dough can be rested for up to 24 hours but I usually use mine within 8-12 hours and have always had great results.
5. PREP YOUR DOUGH FOR THE OVENAfter a minimum of 8 hours, your dough should have risen quite high inside the bowl. Sprinkle flour onto your clean countertop. Use a spoon or the handle of your wooden spoon to remove the dough from the bowl onto the floured countertop. Flour your hands and knead your dough 4-5 times so that the flour on the counter can nicely coat it and make it less sticky and easier to handle. The dough will however remain loose, do not expect a hard lump of dough. This is not a classic bread recipe that requires endless kneading, just a few times a required here to become less sticky and to shape it. Once that is done, place a clean kitchen towel over the dough and set your timer for 30 minutes.
PREHEAT YOUR OVEN & DUTCH OVENNote: While your dough is resting on the counter, start preheating your oven to 450 degrees F. Make sure to place your Dutch Oven (with its lid on) inside the oven during the preheating stage, this step should not be skipped. Once the oven reaches the desired temperature and the 30 minutes of dough resting are over, carefully remove the Dutch Oven. Remove the lid and sprinkle some flour or cornmeal at the bottom of the Dutch Oven. Gently lift your dough and place it inside the Dutch Oven and place it inside the hot oven. Your bread will need to be baked covered for 30 minutes and then an additional 15 minutes uncovered. If you don’t own a Dutch Oven, then you can use 2 same size loaf pans to bake your bread. Place one onto the other, using the top one as a lid.
EXTRA OPTIONSNo-Knead Bread’s tend to be quite hard on the outside. However, if you are looking for an even crunchier outer shell with a buttery flavor, try glazing your dough with some melted butter before popping it into the oven. Looking for a softer outer shell, then top your dough with a damp kitchen towel while its cooling on the rack. This bread has many options, once you’ve tried your hand at it, get creative with some extra ingredients like yummy sesame seeds on top. Some common classics to mix into the dough would be some fresh herbs or parmesan cheese. Interested in making your bread even prettier, look into scoring the top of your bread with a knife or blade into some beautiful designs.
COOLING AND EATING TIMEOnce the bread has finished baking, remove it from the Dutch Oven and place it on a cooling rack. It is always best to let the bread cool completely but given my love of warm bread with melting butter, that tip is one I often break myself. If you can resist, let it cool as long as possible for the best results but it will be delicious regardless.
Dutch is the author of Vanilla Nomad, Monday’s Not Coming, and Let Me Hear a Rhyme. A professional chef by day, and novelist by night. She received her bachelor of arts in film from Kingsborough Community College and her master of cooking from the New School. A Brooklyn native; she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches. Currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking. You can visit her online at https://vanillanomad.com