Steam is a crucial component to bread making. In crusty breads, it allows the loaf to expand while also producing a crispy crust. This process is simple to accomplish in a commercial bakery because they have deck ovens that can steam breads once they are loaded. This is a difficult process to achieve at home; however, because normal ovens can’t steam products.
A newer trend in at-home bread baking is using a Dutch oven to bake bread. When the lid is closed, it traps the steam inside which helps achieve similar effects to a commercial baked bread. I will be exploring this concept as I follow Joanna Cismaru’s recipe to make her No Knead Dutch Oven Crusty Bread.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups room temperature water
- I chose to combine all the ingredients in my Kitchen Aid mixer. I added the water first and then added the rest of the ingredients. Mixing on 1st speed until the dough came together and stopped sticking to the sides of the bowl.
2. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 12-18 hours. I left mine for 14 hours and it had doubled in size by that point.3. Preheat oven to 450 F and place your Dutch oven (I used a 3.5 QT) and its’ lid inside as it preheats. Once preheated, sprinkle a bit of flour into bottom of pot.
4. With floured hands, degas and shape dough into a ball. Put into bottom of Dutch oven. Cover with lid and bake for 30 mins.
5. Remove lid and bake another 15-20 mins until golden brown. Mine baked for 17 mins.
6. Immediately remove from pot and let cool completely before slicing.
I really enjoyed this bread. It had a nice crispy crust and a soft inside. While it isn’t quite the same flavour as bread made in a commercial bakery, it is still very good. Overall, I would make this bread again. Next time, I’ll let it proof for longer to develop the flavour further. As well, I would add some herbs or cheese.