I received an email from King Arthur flour touting a new book allowing you to make artesan bread in 5 minutes without kneading, and also an easier way to bake it in a cast iron dutch oven.
I have a dutch oven, a hand me down from my grandmother, which I love using. It is so versatile on the stove top, in the oven, on the grill, or even covered in coals for an outdoor bake. Grandma told me that people began developing anemia when they stopped using cast iron; the mineral was no longer leaching into their daily food. I’ve never had a problem with anemia, but her logic seemed, well, logical.
I requested the book from the library. Strangely, everyone else in Seattle who received the email also seemed to have requested it as I was 84th in line. I could wait to find out how to make the no-knead dough, but I had to try the Dutch oven technique as it saved spraying the oven to create a crust.
I made my favorite peasant bread (find the recipe at the “Emerald City Trifecta” post and look for X Marks the Spot bread) and followed the general directions for cooking, once the 2nd rise was accomplished. Oh my gosh. It was easy, the crust was everything you could want and the process was incredibly simple.
I should have grabbed the camera, but I grabbed the cutting knife and butter. It never made it to being dutifully recorded. Ah well, I consoled myself. It was easy and I’ll just do it again, this time with photos.
I will confess that I have made the bread about 7 times and each time we were too eager to cut into the crusty warm loaf.
Today, I did what I set out to do, although it is blustery and warm bread would have hit the spot.
Bread with the lid on
After the dough has risen, been punched down and allowed to rest, form it into a circle by tucking in the bottom and allowing the top to form a smooth dome. Place the circle on a sheet of parchment paper, cut the top into an X (or 3 parallel lines if you prefer), cover and allow to rise till doubled.
Grease the inside of a lidded Dutch oven. Preheat your oven, with the Dutch oven in it, to 500ºF. CAREFULLY remove the Dutch oven, remove the lid and CAREFULLY place the parchment paper with the risen loaf inside. Replace the lid and return the Dutch Oven to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes covered (the lid keeps the moisture in the bread trapped to create the steam for the crisp crust), then remove lid and bake an additional 5-10 minutes depending on the depth of color you like on your loaf.
Remove from Dutch Oven and cool on a rack. Remember to take pictures, if you can.