Home made Dutch Oven Bread: Kneaded Method
4 cups flour (All-purpose or bread flour work best. For whole wheat: use 2 cups all-pupose and 2 cups whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
olive oil for coating crust, if desired
5-6 quart Dutch Oven with lid
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix together the flour, salt, yeast, and water. Knead in mixer on medium speed for 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap or the lid of a pot and allow to rise for 2-4 hours until doubled in bulk.
Knead risen dough on a floured surface for a few minutes to remove air bubbles and to redistribute the yeast. Shape into a loose ball, set on a large piece of parchment paper, and cover with a towel for 10 minutes to allow gluten to relax.
Shape dough into a tight ball and lift the dough along with the parchment paper and place in the bottom of the Dutch Oven. Cover with the lid and allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes.
While dough finishes rising, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Using a sharp knife, make two slits in the surface of the dough forming an “X” shape, and brush with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt (if desired, I prefer without.)
Bake, covered for 30 minutes in 450 degree oven. After 30 minutes, remove lid and lower heat to 375 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes longer, until bread is deep golden and sounds hollow when tapped.
Allow to cool on rack for 15 minutes before slicing.
Note: You do not need to oil the pot if you are baking on parchment paper. I have tried it without parchment paper, and instead oiled the pot, but found the bottom crust to be too dark/crunchy/oily for my taste. The texture was far superior when only parchment paper was used.
**Also, check to make sure the knob on the lid of your Dutch Oven is safe for use at 450 degrees. If you’re not sure, just unscrew the knob during baking. (Metal knobs and handles are fine.There is one specific type of handle from Le Creuset that is not recommended at this high of heat. There is more info available on their website.
Adapted from lecreuset.com