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Baking: How to Make Dutch Oven Bread Recipe

Learn how to make this no-knead Dutch Oven Bread recipe just like an artisanal baker. Trust me, it’s much easier than you may think.

There’s something to be said about the aroma of freshly baked bread. Personally, I’m a firm believer that the wafting scent of bread baking can put you in a better mood, not to mention it definitely has the ability to make your mouth water. 

Artisan influenced bread recipe, the Dutch Oven Bread!

Fresh baked Dutch oven bread

Dutch ovens have been used for a long time to make bread, as well as tasty soups and stews, and other delicious recipes such as roast Thai Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

To take on a bread baking project might seem daunting to some, this is usually because some artisan bread can take anywhere from overnight to up to 3 days to plan, prep, and finally bake.

Let me assure you, with this recipe you can achieve delicious, gorgeous bread in a fraction of the time traditional artisan bread requires. It’s seriously a forgiving recipe, and be made the same day from start to finish, or can be kept ready to bak for up to 2 weeks.

Here’s my favorite basic no-knead, crackly crust, Dutch oven bread recipe, so you can bake like a pro. 

Loaf of artisan bread

Why use a Dutch Oven to bake bread?

When baking bread, a Dutch oven’s large heavy pot and tight-fitting lid are ideally designed to mimic the stone hearth of a bread or pizza oven by evenly distributing heat and circulating steam that is released by the wet (sticky or shaggy) dough in the covered pot. The secret is in the steam, creating a perfect crackly crust with an intense chew and nutty flavor that is typical of artisan bread. 

Whole boule loaf of white bread

What Equipment Do I Need to Bake Bread?

  • 4 quart (or larger) Dutch Oven is best for no-knead bread
  • Large bowl for mixing by hand or stand mixer fitted with a dough hook
  • Parchment paper 

What Ingredients You’ll Need for Baking Bread in a Dutch Oven:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Active dry yeast
  • Salt
  • Warm water
Crusty white bread

How To Make Dutch Oven Bread

Step One:

Prepare the dough. Combine wet ingredients first, and mix well with dry ingredients until a sticky dough starts to pull away from the bowl ( do not over mix if using the stand mixer, just enough to bring it all together).

Step Two:

Let it rise. The dough will take approximately 1- 2 hours to rise, depending on the temperature in your kitchen. At this stage, you can either continue to Step Three or keep it loosely covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days before baking.

Step Three:

Preheat Dutch oven. Place Dutch oven with the lid on in a cold oven, turn the oven on to 450°F.

Step Four:

Turn dough out onto lightly floured parchment and divide in half for two large loaves or into 4 pieces for mini-sized loaves, perfect for serving soup in. Reserve remaining dough in a lightly floured bowl and loosely covered until ready to bake. Shape each dough portion into a ball or oblong loaf, if desired, and allow to rest and relax for 15 – 30 minutes. Finally, cut 2 – 3 slashes or a cross shape in the dough using a sharp knife or bread lame.

Step Five:

Bake. Carefully remove the Dutch oven from the hot oven, remove the lid. Keeping the dough on the parchment, transfer both to the preheated Dutch oven, cover, and bake for about 30 – 35 minutes. Once baked, very carefully remove the Dutch oven lid, and lift the baked bread out by using the parchment paper.

Loaf of Dutch oven artisan bread recipe

I consider this to be an essential bread recipe to keep on hand. It’s quick to make, and best of all, this Dutch oven bread can be ready in just a few hours from start to finish or you can keep the dough in the refrigerator and ready to bake for up to 2 weeks.

Want to learn more tips and tricks to successful bread baking? Check out my go-to source, King Arthurs Flour. Note: In the recipe below I use the scoop-and-sweep method of measuring the flour.

Dutch Oven Bread Goes Great With:

  • Sandwiches
  • Pasta dishes
  • Make into a bread bowl for serving soups and dips
  • Toasted to serve with breakfast
  • Or simply on it’s own with your favorite jam as a wholesome snack on its own
Sliced white artisan crusty bread

Other Delicious Bread Recipes to Try:

How to Make:

Loaf of Dutch oven artisan bread recipe

How to Make Dutch Oven Bread Recipe

Yield: 2 large loaves

Learn how to make this easy bread recipe, Dutch Oven Bread. It has all of the flavors of artisan bread, with the wafting aroma of fresh baked bread, and that crackly crust and beautifully baked center.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 3 cups warm water (about 100 - 105° F)
  • 6 1/2 cups bread flour or all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting (using the scoop-and-sweep method)
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast and warm water. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, it should become foamy.
  2. Add the flour all at once along with the salt to the wet ingredients, then mix with a wooden spoon or on low speed until combined (do not overmix). The dough will be sticky or slightly wet at this point, this is normal and it will come together.
  3. You can keep the dough in the mixing bowl, then lightly dust with flour, do not mix in. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise in a dry warm area for about 1 - 2 hours, or until the dough has risen - don't be worried if the dough has not completely doubled in size. (At this stage, you can continue with baking in step 4, or you can place the bowl of dough loosely covered with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks).
  4. While the dough is still rising, after about 45 minutes, place an empty Dutch oven (with the lid on) in a cold oven and preheat to 450°F. I usually aim to preheat my oven for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour, this allows the Dutch oven to preheat properly.
  5. Once the dough has risen (at least 1 hour), tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with a dusting of flour. Fold it over few times (8 - 10). Divide dough in half for 2 large loaves or into 4 equal portions for four mini-sized loaves, working with one portion at a time, shape into a ball, tucking edges underneath the dough.
  6. Using a sharp knife or bread lame, cut 2 - 3 slashes or a cross shape into the top of the loaf.
  7. Place parchment paper on a clean surface or in a bowl, then place the flour-dusted dough on the parchment paper, cover with a clean kitchen towel and rest for 15 minutes.
  8. Wearing oven gloves, carefully remove the lid of the Dutch oven, lift the parchment paper with dough and transfer it to the Dutch oven, cover it with the lid and bake for about 25 minutes for the large loaf (if making the four smaller loaves, bake for 20 minutes). Remove the lid, continue to bake for an additional 18 - 20 minutes (smaller loaves - 15 minutes), or until bread is a rich golden color and if tapped on the bottom of the loaf, it sounds hollow.
  9. Remove from the oven, allow the bread to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Notes

For measuring the flour, I use the scoop and sweep method.

At step 3, you can either continue to bake or you can place the bowl of risen dough loosely covered with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Once ready to bake, remove a portion of dough to bake and bring to room temperature, about 30 - 45 minutes, then continue to step 4.

If you wish to add in seeds, dried fruits, or nuts, do this in step 2.

Freshly baked bread can be stored at room temperature in a covered storage container for up to 3 days. Best if served same day as baked for that crackly crust.

Day-old bread is amazing toasted!

This recipe makes 2 - 2 pound loaves or 4 - 1 pound loaves.

I recommend baking this recipe (either large or small loaves) in about a 4-quart Dutch oven to allow the dough to spread up for a taller loaf. You can use a larger-sized (6 - 7 quart) Dutch oven with no worries, just the dough will tend to spread out for a shorter loaf but with all of the same great flavors!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 185Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 320mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 6g

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