I totally need a Dutch oven.

July 31st, 2009 | Posted by administratrix in Recipes

In which I might finally tackle the whole ‘learn to make decent bread’ thing this fall! Srsly!

Since bad bread isn’t even worth eating and good bread is expensive, I’ve been thinking for a looooooong time about maybe learning how to make my own bread. It’s not rocket surgery, so it can’t be that hard, right? Well, in preparation I’ve found the following items of interest on the Internet:

1. This recipe for Sicilian No-Knead Bread.

2. This article about baking your own bread.

3. This recipe, apparently from an issue of COOK’S (I found it as an image online and typed it out myself):

Almost No-Knead Bread

An enameled cast-iron Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid yields best results, but the recipe also works in a regular cast-iron Dutch oven or heavy stockpot. Use a mild-flavored lager, such as Budweiser. The bread is best eaten the day it is baked but can be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a cool, dry place for up to 2 days.

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting work surfaces
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1-1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mild-flavored lager
1 tablespoon white vinegar

1. Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.
2. Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with your finger, about 2 hours.
3. About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or very sharp knife, make one 6-inch long, 1/2-inch deep slit along the top of the dough. Carefully remove pot from the oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot with lid and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

The recipe also has an Olives, Rosemary, and Parmesan variation I might try.

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