At first, I got my sourdough start out, and refreshed it. Usually if I want to use it, I'll have to set it out the night before, but I'd not decided on that, so I just thought I could wake it up and see. I even crushed up a vitamin C tablet, and mixed that in, because it speeds yeast growth. In the end, it was quite frothy, but not soon enough, so I decided to use commercial yeast.
I wanted the bread to be different, too. I looked through some of my bread books for a bread I hadn't tried yet, and most of the really cool ones were two-day recipes, so I abandoned that and decided to wing it. I found a cool recipe online at The Fresh Loaf, but as usual, I tweaked it.
I do that.
And to make matters worse, I decided on some flavorful enrichments, like crushed red pepper and minced garlic.
The result was wonderful! As always, I strongly recommend reading my Squidoo Lens on Breadmaking to grok my basic process for kneaded bread. Here's my recipe:
Dutch Oven Hot Bread
12" shallow dutch oven
12 coals below
24-26 coals above
- 3 tsp yeast
- 1 cup warm water (110 degrees, or just about shower hot)
- 5-6 cups fresh bread flour (start with only 4-5)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp dough enhancer (optional, but I like it)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp crushed dried red pepper
- 1 pint buttermilk
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 beaten egg for glaze
- topping (I used kosher salt)
First, I added the yeast to the water, and set it aside to proof. While that was happening, I was mincing the garlic and getting the red pepper ready.
Then I mixed all of the dry ingredients (in the next set). I poured in the frothing yeast, the buttermilk, and the honey, and mixed it all up. I dumped all of that out onto a floured countertop and started kneading. Most recipes say to knead for 10 minutes. I use the windowpane test spelled out in the Squidoo Lens, and I find it can take as much as double that, depending on how fresh and good the flour is. Add more flour if it's too sticky. You can actually add more water to the mix, too, simply by getting your hands wet and kneading more. I had to do that today.
Once it's all kneaded, set it aside in an oiled bowl, covered, to rise. Let it rise until it's "doubled in bulk", whatever that means. For me, today, that meant about two hours.
When it was approaching the end of the raising, I started the coals. As soon as I had white on a lot of the coals, I took the dutch oven lid out and set a lot of coals on it, about 25 or so. I let the lid preheat like that.
Meanwhile, I did a quick oil spray of the inside of the dutch oven, and put the dough ball in it. I beat up the egg, and washed it over the top, and sprinkled it with the salt. I sliced it three times, to give it steam vents and to better allow for expansion. I let that sit for another 20 minutes or so, to open up a bit, while the lid was preheating.
After 45 minutes total, it was done (internal temp of 190 F). The crust was brown and soft, and the under crust was soft as well. I pulled it out and set it on my cooling racks. I gave it quite a while before I sliced it, too. Don't cut your bread too soon! It's still cooking while it cools.
The taste was great. The peppers gave it a little bite, and the garlic was more of a subtle addition. You might want to add more as per your taste. This bread is great by itself or with meat sandwiches.
Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.
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