Dutch Oven Artisan Bread

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The pain in my right thumb was well worth the minimal effort that went into baking this latest loaf of Dutch oven bread.  After heating my Le Creuset Dutch oven for 30 minutes  during the final rise of my loaf, I gently placed the dough in its parchment sling into the oven and then reached for the lid – without my mitt.  Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

But the rest of the process in turning out this loaf was a breeze.  Simply put – combined 3 cups Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour with 1/2 tsp SAF yeast, 2 tsp kosher salt, and 1-1/2 cups lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl.  Stirred with a wooden spoon and covered with plastic wrap.  Went about my business for the next 10 hours.

Put my 6-quart Le Creuset Dutch oven with lid into the oven to preheat at 450.  Turned out the dough onto a generously floured sheet of parchment, floured my hands, and shaped it into a ball.  It flattened a bit as I released it and then covered it loosely with plastic wrap for another 30 minutes.

Final handling step – sprinkling some more flour over the top of the dough, moved it in its parchment sling into screaming hot Dutch oven, and lightly scored the top with a sharp knife.  Piut the lid back on – this time with my mitt – and baked, covered for 30 minutes.  then removed the lid and finished baking for 12 minutes.

Why buy when this is so easy and beautiful?  The key is placing your dough in a preheated Dutch oven where the steam that’s released creates this gorgeous final rise. The final 12 minutes give you a golden crisp crust.  Waiting a few minutes before slicing – can’t wait!

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