After our honeymoon in France, I came home ready to experiment with making some of the most delicious things we ate during our heavenly weeks away. First on the list was bread.
This no knead bread recipe has since made our Sundays taste like we’re sitting on the edge of the Mediterranean sea.
We ate croissants every morning and baguettes for lunch. No matter where we were having dinner, it always included a basket of freshly baked bread. Apparently the French government regulates ingredients in a baguette–the French take their bread very seriously.
This recipe is also inspired by my favorite wedding gift, our fire-engine red Staub dutch oven. I didn’t think it was going to be possible to make great bread in a conventional oven but our Staub has been a major game changer!
The crunchy, chewy exterior and fluffy inside is now a possibility because of how hot the cast iron gets and the steam it creates with the lid on. I got to testing recipes and I’ve found, with a few days of added cold proofing in the fridge, herbs de Provence, and this miraculous baking vehicle–the recipe below is close to perfect.
Next up is learning how to ferment bread the good old fashioned way–sans instant yeast. Until then, here’s the no knead bread recipe to tide us all over.
No Knead Dutch Oven Bread
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp fast acting instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Instant Yeast)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tbsp herbs de provence (combination of dried rosemary, thyme, oregano)
Combine dry ingredients. Add water and mix with a wooden spoon until no dry flour remains. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit in a warm room (60-70 degrees) anywhere from 18-24 hours (I keep my bowl on top of the refrigerator).
Here’s the great thing about this bread. If you go ahead and bake it after it’s risen for one day it’s good. If you pop it in the fridge and wait another 2-3 days, it’s even better. The longer the dough has to bubble away, the more flavor develops. Over the cold fermentation the flavor definitely deepens.
Set oven to 450 degrees and place the dutch oven, with the lid on, inside for 15 minutes. Pull out and place on stove top. Flour hands, pull the dough out of the bowl and place it on a floured cutting board. I like to fold the sides of the dough upwards and twist the seams together into a “nipple.” Place in the center of the dutch oven. If it’s not centered, you can shake the pan side to side until it spreads but it will also spread as it bakes. Sprinkle the top with more herbs de provence, cover with lid and place in oven.
After 45 minutes, remove the lid and allow the loaf to get beautifully golden brown, baking for 15 more minutes. Remove and let cool on rack.