White yeasted loaf (Dutch oven method)

White yeasted loaf (Dutch oven method)

By
From
The Art Of The Larder
Makes
800 g loaf
Photographer
Mike Lusmore

From my previous book, but included here as an option when making some of these recipes requiring bread, should you not be using sourdough. A wet dough, this is a no-knead bread recipe. Yeast is an ally in baking should you want to bake in a shorter format than sourdough affords. As in sourdough baking, the Dutch oven method is great if you want a round loaf with the characteristic crust.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500g strong white bread flour
7g sachet of dried yeast
375ml warm water
5g salt
coarse flour, semolina, rice flour or fine polenta, to bake the loaf

Method

  1. Put the flour and yeast into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Make a well in the centre and pour in the water, mixing very well to combine. The mix will feel wet. Vigorously move the dough around the bowl with a spoon or with wet hands for about 45 seconds to 1 minute.
  3. Cover the bowl with clingfilm or a plastic shower cap and put aside somewhere warm for 30 minutes.
  4. After this time, add the salt to the dough, giving it a good mix with a spoon or wet hands. Leave the dough covered in the bowl until not quite doubled in size.
  5. Lightly flour your work surface. The dough will be less wet and easier to work with from now on. Remove the dough from the bowl, and scrape it on to the floured surface. Gather the round of dough and fold it approximately 4 times in on itself, retaining the round shape. Turn the dough over and place it seam side down. Using your hands, gently cup the sides of the dough and rotate until you have a nice round, tight loaf shape.
  6. Spread a clean cotton or linen tea towel (not a fluffy one) on the table and generously dust it with semolina, fine polenta or rice flour to stop the dough sticking. Place the shaped dough on it, this time seam side up. Fold up the corners and place in a bowl or colander to hold the shape and cover with clingfilm or a shower cap. I use a colander with a handle to make it easier to flip the loaf out and over when ready to bake – you could use a bread proving basket if you have one.
  7. Ideally, you want the loaf to be about a third off fully doubled in size when it is ready to bake. This way, the loaf will still have some unused energy to use up as it hits the heat of the oven. The surface of the dough should be smooth and cohesive, with no rips or tears.
  8. Preheat your oven to 230°C, or as hot as possible.
  9. Place your pot in the very hot oven for 5 minutes to heat through.
  10. Remove the hot pot from the oven and quickly and carefully turn the bread into it. It should come away from the tea towel; if not, give it a good prod.
  11. With the dough in the pot and before the lid is put on and the pot is returned to the oven, use a serrated knife, very sharp knife or even a pair of scissors to slash the loaf – 3 horizontal stripes or an approximate square are both good, with each incision 3cm or so long and 1cm deep. The slash allows the steam to escape and the dough to expand.
  12. Put the lid on and place the pot in the hot oven, reducing the temperature to 200°C. Bake for 25 minutes with the lid on.
  13. After this time, remove the lid and bake uncovered for an additional 12–15 minutes, or until the loaf is a deep, golden brown with a firm crust.
  14. If you have one, you can use a temperature probe to measure the internal temperature of the loaf. It is ready if the thermometer reads 95°C. Alternatively, remove the loaf from the pot and give it a good tap on the bottom. It will sound hollow if it’s ready.
  15. Cool on a wire rack before cutting.
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