Dutch Oven Focaccia Boule

Last week I braved a bit of a Dutch oven bread experiment.  Starting with my recipe for High Rise Focaccia posted here some time ago, I adapted it for baking as a boule in my dutch oven.  My plan was to let the very wet dough rise for two hours, then to shape it as a boule and let it rest for 20 minutes while preheating the oven to 450º with the 4-quart Dutch oven inside.

But I got diverted off-task by an impromptu invitation from my husband to go out for lunch, so the rise was actually between 3-4 hours.  As it turned out, that was terrific.  The longer rise helped the dough develop just the light, airy texture I wanted, so I’ll do it that way again.

Very pleased with the outcome – a light, crunchy crust and a soft, airy, chewy interior.

Like almost every bread I’ve baked this way, it was another simple way to produce superb bread in your own kitchen.  Haven’t purchased a store-bought loaf in over a year!

DUTCH OVEN ROSEMARY-ROMANO FOCACCIA BOULE

INGREDIENTS:

1-1/2 cups lukewarm water

7 grams SAF instant yeast (or 1 envelope other quick yeast)

3 cups Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour

1-1/2 tsp kosher salt

2-3 tbsp grated pecorino romano

2-3 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

 PREPARATION:

In large mixing bowl, stir yeast into the water to dissolve.  Add 2 cups of the flour, rosemary, cheese, and salt and stir briskly until smooth. Add remaining 1 cup flour and the olive oil, stir again until well incorporated and dough pulls away from sides of bowl.  Cover with plastic and let rise at least two hours, preferably 3-4.

Pour out dough onto lightly flour bread board and use a dough scraper to coax it into a boule shape.  The dough will be very soft and sticky, so sprinkle a bit more flour to help shape it but do not incorporate that into the dough.  Place the boule on a sheet of parchment and place that back in the cleaned bowl.  Cover with towel or plastic and let rest 15-20 minutes while you preheat a 4-6 quart Dutch oven in a 450º oven.

Make three slashes across the top of the boule and sprinkle with a bit more flour.  Take the hot Dutch oven out and very carefully place the boule in its parchment sling into it.  Baking it in the parchment will assure that nothing sticks.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove lid and bake for another 12 minutes.

Use oven mitts to take the bread out of the pot and let cool on a rack at least one hour.