Baking bread in a dutch oven is nothing new. People have been doing for a long time. If you count clay pots as dutch ovens, then really they've been doing it for, like, all of bread baking history.
Can you tell I totally researched all this. Fact checked everything. Yeah...
But I had never baked bread in my dutch oven before. Until now.
And, it was GLORIOUS.
My mom and I fought over the heels of this loaf.
We both won. Thank goodness. Otherwise someone could have lost an eye.
It would have been her. I'm ruthless. ;)
What's that? You want see that divine crust again?
So here's the skinny: to make this bread you need a dutch oven (I think it's also sometimes called a french oven). I have a red one and I am smitten with him. It's a bit of an investment, and there are all sorts of brands out there. I won't endorse any specific brand (but I do love my Le Creuset ) but you might think about getting a dutch oven if you don't already own one. They have many many uses.
Like baking bread.
Ingredients: 1 package active dry yeast, 1 1/3 cup warm water, 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons salt and a pinch or two of sugar.
Proof the yeast by mixing it with the warm water until dissolved. In a large bowl combine flour, salt and sugar. Stir in water until a dough ball forms (you can use a mixer with a dough hook for this, but I do it by hand because I don't have a mixer with a dough hook. I spent all my money on a dutch oven.) Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes. Then place the dough ball in a large bowl that has been lightly coated with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 1-2 hours (until doubled in size).
Punch dough down, turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it a few times and then put it back in the bowl and let it rise again (for another hour).
Place some parchment paper in the bottom of your dutch oven. Place the dough ball in the center and using a sharp knife, make a few slices down it's belly.
Slices down it's belly-this is brutal stuff.
Cover with the lid and place in a preheated oven to 400 F. After 15 minutes remove the lid but let it continue to bake for another 12-15 minutes. When its nice and brown take it out and let it cool. Then eat the heels off before anyone else can get to them. :)