Monday, July 26, 2010

Dutch Oven Swirled Bread Redux

I did an experiment this weekend, one that worked really well.  OK, actually I did two, but I’ll save the other one for another post.

One of the problems I’ve had with baking bread is religious.  My church isn’t allowing me to bake bread. 

Now, before that freaks anyone out, let me explain.  It’s not so much my church as my church schedule.  I can hear a collective sigh of relief.  I love writing for shock value... 

See, with church happening right in the middle of the day, it’s tricky to time the mixing, kneading, rising, shaping, proofing, and, finally, baking and eating in spots where I can still go to church in the middle of it all.  It kinda became obvious when I went up to the hospital to visit Jodi and Jake this weekend.  I wanted to make bread, and we were going to attend church up at the hospital.  There was no way I was going to be able to mix up the bread and let it raise while I made the hour-long trip, attended a short church service, visited with my family, and then made the hour long trek back home.  I would have come home to a deflated, over-risen mess.

So, I thought to myself, “Hey, self, you’ve made bread and left it in the fridge for an overnight rise, right?”

Yeah, so....?

“Well, why not mix the dough, knead it, and then set it in the fridge for a 6-7 hour rise?  Cold temperatures slow down the yeast.” I thought this over while my self continued, “That way, you could go to church and be with your family, and then come home to nicely risen bread.  If it’s not risen enough, you could always pull it out and let it rise as it comes up to room temperature anyway.”

It was one of the few times when my self was actually making sense.  So, I decided to listen to him.  I really wanted to make my old swirled bread again, since it had been so long since I had.  I gathered up the ingredients and gave it a try, with my new procedure in mind.

Just so you don’t have to look it up again, I’m copying and pasting the ingredients from before, since I didn’t change them.

Dutch Oven Swirled Bread

12" Dutch Oven
10 coals below, 19-20 coals above

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 4-5 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  •  ¼ cup oil
  • 1 heaping Tbsp Cocoa
  • 1 heaping Tbsp Coffee or Coffee substitute (I used Pero)
  • 2 Tbsp Molasses
  • 1-2 cups Flour, for the kneading
  • 1 egg
  • Poppy seeds (or other garnish)

I started with all of the ingredients in the first set.  I got the water very hot, then added the honey, and finally the yeast.  Adding the honey cools the temperature of the water to a range where the yeast will start, but not get killed.

After about ten minutes or so, I added in the flour, then all of the remaining ingredients in that set.  I mixed it all up with a trusty wooden spoon, and dumped it onto a floured table top. 

With a pastry knife, I cut it in half, and set one half aside.  In the remaining half, I made a little well and poured in the the molasses, the cocoa, and the Pero.  I began kneading it, sprinkling it with flour as I needed, to get it to the smooth, and satiny feel of well kneaded dough.  I used fresh King Arthur bread flour, and it came to a windowpane pretty quickly.  It also turned a beautiful rich brown from all of the additives.

I sprayed my mixing bowl with oil and put the doughball in one side of it, spraying it also with oil.  Then, I kneaded up the other half of the dough, without an additional additives.  It kneaded faster.  I put it in the bowl next to the dark half, also spraying it with oil.  I covered the two halves with cellophane and put them in the fridge.

Then I went off to church with my family, for some spiritual bread.

When I got home, I opened the fridge, not quite sure what I would see.  But it was beautiful!  Two well risen dough balls, side by side in the now-full bowl.  Just ready to be shaped and baked!

Pulling them apart was easy.  There was a little that stuck together, but I didn’t figure that was a big deal.  I floured up the table and started with the light dough.  I spread it out into a rectangle (or close to it) without stretching it too thin.  I wanted it fairly even, not like a pizza dough that’s thin in the middle with big lumps on the sides.  Then I stretched out the dark half. 

I layered the two together, with no flour or oil in-between, and rolled it up. I curled it around and placed it into my oiled dutch oven.  I set it aside to proof.  As the proofing neared completion, I did a quick egg wash, sliced the top, and sprinkled on some poppy seeds.

All along this process, by the way, I had started the coals, and gotten the lid pre-heating like I spell out in this post .  I put the bread on the coals and baked it for about an hour, turning every 15-20 minutes.  When I hit the right temperature, I pulled it off and let it cool  It was sooooo goood!  I think the extra raising time even enhanced the flavor.


Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: Writing a Blog Post, Tenth and Main, Immigration

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dutch Oven Berried Chicken

My first encounter with combining fruit and poultry was at a sandwich shop that sold a turkey sandwich with raspberry jam.  I was skeptical, but my wife raved about it, so I tried it.  In a single bite, I was convinced.  Yum!

So, then I saw this recipe for raspberry baked chicken over at Dutch Oven Madness, and it really intrigued me.  She said she didn’t like her result, however, and I wasn’t sure why at first. The recipe drew me in, however, and made me want to experiment with it.  I thought that one of the reasons why it might not have had a good flavor, as she said, was that all there was to it was chicken and sweet.  I thought that there needed to be some savory flavors to add a bit to the chicken, then the sweet and tang of the berries would be another layer of flavor.  I did some web research and got some ideas of how to expand it.  A couple of recipes used some spices and the berries as a marinade.  That sounded kinda interesting.

My results were good, but not great.  I liked the taste, and so did my friends, but it didn’t look as great as I’d hoped.  The berry marinade ended up as a purple/brown soupy sauce.  I also wasn’t blown away by it.  It wasn’t as “Wow!” as I’d hoped.  They all had seconds, so that was a good sign. 

Still, I think that had I done it differently, it would have tasted better.  Instead of adding all the ingredients to the marinade, and cooking the chicken, I think I’d make the chicken separate from the berry sauce, and then serve them together.  I think that would make the savory and the sweet more distinct. Another thing I think I’ll do differently is to make sure that the chicken is fully thawed and patted dry.  There was a lot of liquid still in the chicken, and so the berry sauce ended up too runny, and I had to thicken it with some cornstarch.  I was hoping it would be more of a glaze, and that didn’t work.

So, now I’m faced with the dilemma:  Do I write it up as I did it, or as I would like to do it next time?  Hmmm...

I think I’ll do the latter, this time.

Dutch Oven Berried Chicken

12” Dutch Oven
10 coals below
14 coals above

10” Dutch Oven
12-14 coals below

  • 3-4 lbs chicken breast (I used frozen)

  • ~1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ~1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
  • ~1 Tbsp Pepper
  • ~1 Tbsp Paprika
  • ~ 1 tsp dry mustard
  • ~ 1 tsp chili powder
  • ~ 2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 cup blueberries + some extra
  • 1 cup raspberries + some extra
  • 1 cup blackberries + some extra
  • 1/2 can of pineapple juice concentrate
  •  1/4 cup honey

Start off with the chicken meat.  Since I used frozen chicken pieces, I’d recommend thawing them completely, draining them, and patting them dry in paper towels.  Then, mix up the other ingredients.  When I did this, I was guessing at amounts.  I’m basically creating a rub, so you could even use a pre-packaged meat/grilling seasoning.  I kept mixing at about these proportions, tasting with my finger along the way.  If you want more of one thing or another, you can adjust it.

Then, coat the meat in in the rub (I used a plastic ziplock baggie to shake it all up), then put it all in the fridge for a few hours.

Get the coals ready, and give your dutch oven a quick spritz of spray oil.  Then spread the chicken pieces over the bottom of the oven.  Put those on the coals to bake.

Toni, over at Dutch Oven Madness, just used raspberries, I used a mix of berries because the first store I visited didn’t have any raspberries.  I did finally find some, though, so I just decided to mix it all in.   I added all of the berries and the juice concentrate into a bowl and mashed it all up together.  After tasting it, I felt like it needed a bit more sweet in with the sour, so I added some honey. Another thought I had, however, later on, was to use apple juice concentrate instead of pineapple. 

At this point, I would do it differently than what I actually did.  Instead of blending the berries with the chicken and baking, I’d put the berry mix alone into my 10” dutch oven and put it on the coals to simmer and reduce.

As the chicken nears done, and the sauce is good and thick, I’d stir some full, raw berries into the sauce, so they’d just have enough time to come up to temperature (but not really “cook”) before serving over the baked and seasoned chicken.  I wonder how some chopped fresh mint leaves would taste in that sauce....  Hmmmm...

Now, in my mind, that sounds like it would look and taste much yummier than what I got (notice I didn’t take any pictures this time...  I will next time!).  Like I said, it was good, but not as good as it should or could have been.

So, many thanks to Toni for the inspiration and the motivation to try something new!  To experiment!  That’s what helps me to learn.

Note from Mark:  I tried this one again a few weeks later.  Here's the result!


Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dutch Oven Resources on the Web

There are a lot of really good websites out on the ‘net to help out Dutch Oven Chefs, both for beginners and the more experienced.  I really enjoy going out and finding new sites, and especially reading more and more posts and recipes.  I’ve met some really cool people, both face-to-face, and out on the web.

Here are just some of the other wonderful Dutch Oven recipes and resource websites.  Visit them!


Recipe Sites

Buying Gear


General Resources

If you want to include your site in this list, just email me, and link to me!


Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dutch Oven Pumpkin Cheesecake

I don’t do many desserts.  I don’t know why.  I love to make them, and I love to eat them.  But for some reason, I end up cooking more main dishes and breads. 

But today, our family was having a barbecue, and I was asked to dutch oven up some dessert.  I’d been wanting to try a cheesecake for some time.  After a bit of research, I decided on a pumpkin cheesecake recipe I’d found.

I’m not too sure how it turned out.  To my taste, it was bland.  I’m not sure I can fault the recipe, though, as I’d had some troubles with the prep and cooking.  So, you can learn from my mistakes when you try it out for yourself.

Dutch Oven Pumpkin Cheesecake

12” Dutch Oven
10-12 coals below
18-22 coals above

    * 1 pouch of graham crackers
    * 2 sticks butter, melted
    * 1/2 bag chocolate chips

    * 4x 8 Oz packages of cream cheese
    * 1 1/2 cups sugar

    * 1 29 Oz can of Pumpkin Puree
    * 2 tsp Cinnamon
    * 1 tsp Nutmeg
    * 1 tsp Ginger
    * 1/2 tsp salt
    * 4 eggs

    * 1/2 bag chocolate chips

First of all, I lit up some coals.  While that was getting going, I started out making the crust.  I ground up the graham crackers in a bowl, and stirred them in with the butter.  Actually, I used chocolate graham crackers.  I sprayed the inside of the dutch oven with oil spray, and then smoothed the crackers across the bottom to form a crust.  I sprinkled half of the bag of chocolate chips.

Then, in a bowl, I combined the cream cheese and the sugar, stirring it up with a big spoon.  I tried using a pastry cutter, but it didn’t really make it easier.  Then, I stirred in the can of pumpkin.  While I was mixing that, I added the spices and the eggs.

When that was all mixed in, as well as I could, I poured it in on top of the crust, and then topped it off with the rest of the chocolate chips.

Then, I put it on the coals.  It took a long time to cook, and there are a couple of reasons why.  One is that I didn’t take into account the time it takes to heat up the dutch oven.  So, I was anticipating about a 45 minute cook time, and it took much, much longer. 

Another problem was that I spent some of the cooking time inside, not paying attention, and at one point the breeze burned out most of the coals, and I had to scramble to reheat the oven. 

I think that next time I do this, I’ll pay more attention.  I might also add more spices and sugar, because the ending flavor just wasn’t there.


Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Quick Farmer's Market Pasta

I've been feeling like I've been in a slump with my dutch ovening lately. I've enjoyed it, like always, but I haven't been cooking any new stuff. I've been going back and cooking things from my repertoire, rather than learning new recipes.

The lamb I did last weekend was one attempt to break out of the rut.  And earlier this week, I was watching Tyler Florence do a show on Food Network.  He cooked up this pasta with all fresh ingredients, and including artichoke hearts and zucchini.  He also stepped through the process of cutting open the artichoke.  I was enthralled!  An ingredient I had never tried, and a new technique!

As my son says, "Ew, learning in the summer..."

So, I bought the ingredients, and then finally had a chance to actually make it today.  The results were great!  I would alter it a bit for the size of the dutch oven, so it will read different than the original.

Quick Farmer's Market Pasta
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

Serves 6, ~600 calories per serving.

2x 12" dutch ovens, 20 coals underneath
1x 10" dutch oven, 15-20 coals underneath

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 3-5 cloves fresh garlic, sliced
  • 3 pints cherry tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • lemon juice to taste

  • 3/4 pound turkey sausage, mild italian style
  • 2 to 3 small zucchini, sliced 
  • 2 fresh globe artichokes, trimmed to the hearts, cut into quarters

  • 1 pound penne pasta

I started out by lighting up a lot of coals.  I was going to be cooking three dutch ovens, so I'd need a lot.  It would all be bottom heat.  I put the olive oil in one of the 12" dutch ovens, and got it on an even spread of coals.

While that was heating up, I peeled and chopped up the garlic.  I tossed the garlic and the tomatoes into the dutch oven to begin sauteeing.  Now, there's a lot more oil in the dutch oven than you normally need to sautee, but that will all become a part of the sauce.

I set another 12" dutch oven over some coals, with just a little oil in the bottom, and put in the sausage.  With normal sausage, you don't need oil, but this was chicken sausage, which has much less natural fat.  This is tricky.  You'll be multi-tasking between the dutch ovens.

The third dutch oven was the 10", which I filled almost to the top with water.  A little salt in it, too, and on the coals, covered, to boil.

Next, I cut the zucchini into thin slices.  When the sausage was well-browned, I added in the zucchini, stirring it up.  Then, I sliced up the artichokes.  It's difficult to describe the process of cutting them.  There are youtube videos that describe the process, but none of them were exactly what Tyler showed.  Still, this video is close, and gets the same result.  I did what I remembered in the Food Network show, but next time, I'd trim the 'choke a bit closer, as this video shows.

So, I sliced them into quarters and added them to the sausage and the zucchini.  I put the lid on, to trap the heat and cook the 'choke a bit quicker.

Meantime, the tomatoes were pretty well cooked, so I smashed them up and stirred them into the oil.  I added the salt, the pepper, the lemon juice, and the honey, and stirred it all up.  I let it simmer for a while, uncovered.

By this time, the water was boiling, and I added the pasta.  As the artichoke and the zucchini cooked, I added the tomatoes. 

Soon, the pasta was al dente, the sauce and the veggies all were nicely simmered down, and it was ready to serve!  It was yummy!  The artichoke was a little wooden, but I think that's because I didn't trim the outer leaves close enough. 


Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: What Do We Know?, The Chapel 


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