OMG! If it wasn’t enough to get another Le Crueset (we don’t get paid for product placements here at The Homemade Chef) on sale, the woman who cashed me out was telling me about Dutch Oven Bread. She described delicious, crunchy and tender homemade bread. She had me at bread! I came home, did a little research and went to work on my first Dutch Oven Bread. First time, but this (believe it or not), is a Homemade Chef original recipe! I love it when a first time trial works out!
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups very warm tap water
3 cups all purpose flour
1-3/4 tsp Kosher sea salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
In a large measuring cup, combine water, sugar and yeast. Let stand 5 minutes until the water becomes frothy, which indicates the yeast is active. In a large bowl, sift flour and salt. Mix in the chopped rosemary. After the yeast has bloomed in the water, add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined with a large rubber spatula. The dough will be sticky, but that’s okay! Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel, and allow to rise in a warm dark place for five hours.
While the dough is rising, combine the cranberries and walnuts in a small bowl. When the dough is risen, punch the dough down and turn out onto a floured board. Slightly stretch the dough and add about half the cranberry and walnut mixture. Knead by hand until combined, sprinkling the board with flour as needed. Add the remaining cranberry and walnut mixture and continue to kneed until combined. Wash the bowl, dry and spray with cooking spray. Return the dough to the bowl and turn into a bowl, covering the dough with cooking spray. Cover with another clean kitchen towel and place the bowl in an unheated oven. Turn the oven to exactly 170F, and as soon as the oven reaches temperature, turn off the heat. This will allow the dough to rise a second time.
Remove the dough after 1 hour and preheat the oven to 450F – make sure your oven is really clean! While the oven is heating, place the dutch oven (I use a 5-1/4 quart tall dutch oven) in the oven to preheat. 10 minutes after the oven reaches temperature, carefully remove the dutch oven. Very carefully, form the dough into a ball and place into the center of the dutch oven – be careful, it’s VERY hot! Put the lid on and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake for 10-15 more minutes until the bread is fully cooked and brown on the top. If you turn the dough over and tap the bottom, it should sound hollow.
Place the bread on wire cooling racks and cool. Serve with softened butter and enjoy!