18 Hour Crusty "Slow Bread" Cooked in a Dutch Oven
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 1 loaf
This is the antithesis of a "quick bread" taking 18 hours or so to make, but with very little effort and the wait is worth it. The bread comes out crusty with a chewy interior and a slight sourdough flavor. Mix up this no-knead dough after dinner and bake it for breakfast or start it at bedtime and bake it for lunch or dinner. This is a simple, rustic bread with a hard crunchy crust that is perfect for sandwiches or dunking into soups and stews. <br><br>Please note the tiny amount of yeast used: if you use a full package the dough will rise too quickly and collapse before the 18 hours is up.
- 4 cups unbleached AP flour
- 2 teaspoons sea salt (preferred) or iodized salt
- ½ teaspoon active or instant rise yeast (about ¼ of a package)
- 2 cups water (divided)
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups water and mix with a wooden spoon until combined into a rough stiff dough. Add additional water if needed, but keep it as a stiff, shaggy dough. Get all the flour combined but don't worry about how bad it looks.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap (I like Press-n-Seal) and set aside in a warm place for 12-18 hours. Overnight works great.
- Set oven temperature to 450 degrees. While still cool, place a 12" cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the oven and pot/lid for 30 minutes.
- While oven and pot are heating, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface. You may need to put a little flour on top of the sponge to get it out of the bowl. Punch it down thoroughly with fingertips, and shape into a ball. Roll ball loosely between well-floured hands to smooth the surface of the dough ball.
- To keep the dough ball from drying out, cover with flour-powdered plastic wrap and leave on countertop while the oven heats. Or, just flip the mixing bowl upside down over the ball.
- Remove hot dutch oven from the oven, remove the lid, and drop in the dough. Replace lid and return to oven for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.
- Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.