Dutch Oven Baked Artisan Bread!
If you’ve ever been to Italy I’m sure you’ll remember the delicious bread brought to your table at lunch and dinner. Dark, crunchy, crisp crust, light airy dough inside, too difficult to slice with a knife, but perfect for tearing and dipping into rich green extra-virgin olive oil. There’s something rustic yet magical about the moment, that can only be experienced in Italy – until NOW! Now YOU can bake this bread, and have it hot from your oven, at home.
Unlike many breads, artisan bread making takes time, and specific techniques: fermentation, pre-ferments, autolysing (resting), proofing, punching down and folding. Accurate measurements, time, and temperature are crucial. These small batches of handcrafted breads with a thick and hearty crust, can be made with white or whole wheat flour, generally consisting of yeast, sugar, salt, corn oil, milk or water, requiring the dough to rise twice before baking.
The recipe below from Matt Carlson of Big Sky Bread and Pastry with its short list of ingredients – flour, water, yeast and salt, is best measured with a food scale for accuracy, then baked in a Dutch Oven. After reading about this recipe in an article posted by Sydne George, I was instantly intrigued and knew I had to try it.
My family avoids overloading on carbs these days, but this recipe was hard to resist. After reading over the detailed instructions 4 times, adding my own side notes, I was ready to tackle it.
I was nervous that it wouldn’t turn out perfect, it wouldn’t proof long enough or end up underdone or dry – I’m not a bread baker! Instead, the recipe, truly easy to follow, was perfection – dark, crispy crust, with soft fluffy interior. Oh, and my family gobbled it up for dinner!
You must try this Dutch Oven Baked Artisan Bread!
BASIC WHITE FRENCH BREAD
You will need a food scale for this recipe, as measurements are listed in grams. (I've added U.S.measurements if you don't have a scale but for best results a scale is recommended).
863 grams King Arthur all-purpose flour (3 3/4 cups)
634 grams water (at 80 degrees Fahrenheit)(2 3/4 cups)
3 grams instant yeast(1 tsp.)
17 grams salt(1 Tbsp.)
5. Divide dough in half (750 grams each). Then round them into balls placing them seam-side down in two bread-proofing baskets or two bowls with towels in them. (If using the latter, be sure to dust towels with a decent amount of flour so dough doesn't stick.. Cover baskets with plastic wrap). Leave bread to proof for 1½ to 2 hours. It will hold an indentation but also spring back about halfway after being poked.
Note: I started this at 10:00am and had to leave for the evening at 4:30pm. I allowed loaves to proof for two hours then prior to leaving, placed both bowls, covered, in refrigerator until morning. Removed from refrigerator at dawn, giving 1 1/2 hours to proof again, and come to room temperature before placing in oven..
6. Now that your Dutch Oven has preheated for 45 - 60 minutes at 450F degrees, remove it from the oven - you're ready to bake! Set pot on top of a hot pad, remove lid and set aside. Sprinkle inside bottom of Dutch oven with a dusting of flour. Working quickly, lightly dump your dough onto a floured counter. Seams should be up - you should see a cracked looking surface. (DO NOT flip dough over - you want cracks.) Using both hands, pick dough up gently, placing inside Dutch oven - remember it's hot! Place lid back on, and return to oven.
7. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove lid and bake for another 15-20 minutes until bread is dark brown and beautiful.
Recipe by Matt Carlson
I wish I could devour this delicious looking bread for breakfast 😀
I devoured one loaf last night for dinner.
What a beautiful artisan bread!
Thank you, it tastes delicious!
Your Artisan Bread is gorgeous! I bake bread quite often but haven’t bake one in an Dutch Oven yet. This is truly amazing.
I had never baked one in a Dutch Oven before either. It was simple and because it was baked in this container with lid on the bread came out with a crispy crust and moist interior. It was perfect. You should try it and let me know what you think.
Once I finish work I raelly have to get back to your recipe! Very interesting! Here Down Under many of us have madly gotten into making sourdough bread with starters, would you believe it, from NW US!! So, just want to see where the differences lie . . . such an interesting post just at this time!!!
Please share your sourdough bread recipe. I’d love to try it. Do you have a blog? Just wondered since it doesn’t link to one here.
At this stage I am no expert at all, BUT the true Fairy Godmother hereabouts is the wonderfully warm Celia from FIG JAM & LIME CORDIAL Sydney blog – please google her as she has had about 5-6 FULL LESSONS during the past few weeks – they are FABULOUS [sorry about the capitals, but!!] If you have reached ‘Priscilla’ [yes well, we all have named our starters!] you are home! If you have any difficulties, email me – and no, I do not as yet have a blog for many, many valid reasons 🙂 !
I have the fondest memories of having bread in Italy. These are beautiful loafs Vicky, something very rustic and homey about them!
Vicki this bread looks so inviting. You’re description made me flash back to our trips to Italy. I’ve never tried Dutch oven baking but now really want to. This bread would be great for dipping and on the side of soup. Thanks for sharing!
Great looking bread! Isn’t this method wonderful? We’ve been baking our own bread for several months now, using a similar method. If you want a bread with less of a crust (for sandwiches), you can bake it without preheating the Dutch oven. Or in bread pans. We often give the process a good 24 hours from the time we mix until we bake – the flavor is even better (it the bread rises too much, stick it in the refrigerator to slow it down). Good stuff – thanks.
Your bread is beautiful! I love making bread like this if not for the process then for the results. It’s SO good! I love that crusty crust!
What a magnificent loaf! I’ve baked bread in a Dutch oven just once…and it was so good! I need to try it again 🙂
Your bread looks just like the one sold in my village. Btw that day you mentioned that you had visited Kitzbühel. Well I am from there, more precisely from St.Johann in Tirol.
I guess you ll know what bread we have over there. Most of them are either dark, full corn or the white “semmel” bread. When I was in india first I had trouble because I am a huge bread eater and I totally missed my beloved bread. So glad you added a step by step picture guide. I am going to need it. Cheers Vicky. =)
I love baking bread at home and loved this recipe. Looks crusty and rustic. Will try this out soon 🙂
We lived for 2 years in Italy and this bread brings back sweet memories.
It looks so delicious and I’m sure it tastes as good as it looks 🙂
Love the pictures,so pretty!
I am not trying to be snobby but I only allow myself to eat bread when it’s really really good one (trying to reduce carb intake). I know that I’ll finish the entire loaf (easily) when the bread comes out of the oven like this! So beautiful and delicious. What a successful looking bread, Vicki! I need to learn how to make this so I can eat this everyday. 😀
Oh that bread looks amazing… I can almost smell the aroma, I would love to be smearing butter all over a warm chunk of the loaf now…
Vicki, This bread looks amazing…will definitely give it a try!
Just when my husband and I have decided to cut out most carbs from our diets too! It won’t be too long-lived though and I will certainly try this recipe!
Hi Vicki, your bread sure look awesome and very well baked. Nice crust, great to go with hot coffee. Thanks for sharing your recipe.
Hi Vicki! Just stopping by to say thank you for being a part of the YBR this month:)