Sunday 4 November 2012

Dutch Oven Bread, by Kira

I have been wanting to share how I bake my bread using a dutch oven,
using my everyday bread recipe.
To this Basic bread recipe, you can add whatever kind of seeds or flavouring you would like.
Also you can use any kind of flour mix you would like.
I mainly use fresh organic light spelt or red fife wheat flour.
For this bread I added hemp seeds.

Fully Loaded Hemp Seed Bread

2 cups warm water
6 cups spelt
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon yeast
1cup of slightly roasted hemp seeds.

These measurements may not be exact but very close because I go by the look and texture of the dough.
Also I usually use a stand mixer but you can easily achieve this by hand.
The kids and I have made several loaves this way.

Pour warm water into the bowl of the stand mixer, then add the yeast.
Let the mix stand until it bubbles and then add about two cups of the flour.
Set the mixer between slow and medium (3 on my mixer).
Once the two cups have blended in, add another cup and then add the tablespoon of salt.
Slowly add the remaining flour until you have a soft moist dough.
Add in your extras (in this case the hemp seeds).
My dough is generally too moist for it all to gather and stick to the dough blade. Once the dough is well combined let it rest in the mixer as is for a couple of hours. You may want to drape a towel over the whole business so that you won't have a crust form on top of the dough.
Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface to let it rest for between a half hour and an hour.
Divide the dough into two.
Gently fold each half into a round loaf.
Don't 'punch' it down, flatten it out and roll it up.
This crushes all the air bubbles and will leave you with a dense loaf.
Once your loaves are formed, preheat the oven with the dutch ovens inside to 410F.

The red dutch ovens in these pictures are 6 quart porcelain coated cast iron dutch ovens with replacement knobs which are made for high heat.
Another dutch oven I use is a combo cooker.
It is a cast iron combination deep skillet and fry pan that can be used with either half as the lid.
These are my favourite because unlike the porcelain coated cookware,
you can stick these right into a campfire or woodstove.

Once your oven and dutch ovens have come up to temperature,
score the tops of your loaves and carefully open the oven to take the lids off of the dutch ovens and place the loaves in (one loaf per dutch oven).
Quickly place the lids back on and close the oven door.
Bake for 12 minutes.
This holds the moisture in and steams the loaf.

You can also preheat and bake at a higher temperature.
The result is a more crisp, golden almost blackened-edge loaf.
Preheat to 500F then drop the temperature to 450F for the bake.
But this is hard on energy and better suited for an outdoor wood fired oven.
You can achieve a similar loaf if you use the combo cooker and the woodstove.
I use this method for special occasions.

After the twelve minutes is up remove the dutch oven lids and place them back in for another 12 minutes.
This brings the loaves to a crisp and brown finish.

Remove the bread from the oven and cool on rack.

One of my sources for bread inspiration.


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