Happy New Year, everyone!
I hope 2023 will be a happy, healthy, and fulfilling year for you. I’ve spent the days since Christmas experimenting with the Dutch oven I got from my parents. We broke it in with Maya’s Sweet and Sour Holiday Brisket from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook when we invited Phil’s mother and stepfather over for a Boxing Day dinner. It was a great success! As we don’t really cook much meat in our daily life, the real reason I asked for a Dutch oven was actually to make better bread.
Me? I’m baking bread.
For a couple of years now, I’ve been baking my own bread. Since I have a bigger kitchen, I like trying to make all sorts of different things from scratch, some successful, some not so much – out of all of them, bread making is clearly the most useful. I’m German, I eat it all the time! For breakfast, for lunch, even for dinner if it’s really good. 😉 (Obviously, bread was the thing I missed the most when I studied abroad.) Here are a few of my previous posts about baking bread:
Consequently, I’ve made all sorts of bread. I baked it with wheat, rye, and spelt bread. With sourdough starter. Easy one hour bread, bread that needed to ferment for 18 hours. Bread made in a rectangular tin or made on a pizza stone. I even bought a banneton! But even all the fancy gear couldn’t help me with a key problem: You just can’t keep the moisture evenly distributed in a common household oven. This is crucial for baking bread though, especially if you want to get a nice crust. Here, the Dutch oven comes to the rescue!
Spelt wheat bread with five seed oats
Source: Brot backen by Anne-Katrin Weber
The spelt wheat bread with five seed oats technically only requires a banneton, but the dough was so soft that it melted into the strangest shapes when I put it in the oven on a normal baking tray. This is why I figured I would try to use my Dutch oven to get better results. You’ll need to following ingredients:
- 50 g five seed oats
- 11g salt
- 300g spelt wheat flour
- 75g rye flour
- 50g wholegrain spelt wheat flour
- 5g yeast
- 25g olive oil
- and a banneton (diameter: 24cm)
- Roast the oats in a pan without oil at a low heat. Then let the oats, the salt and 250g water simmer in a small pot for 2-3min. Let it cool down to a lukewarm temperature so the soak up more water.
- Mix the different flours in a bowl. Add yeast, oats, olive oil, and 160g lukewarm water. Knead it with your kitchen machine on the lowest setting for 5mins.
- Cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature for 1h. After 20min and then after 40min, stretch and fold.
- Dust the banneton with flour. Then turn out the dough on a floured surface and form it into a ball. Put it in the banneton, cover it up with plastic wrap, and let it rise again for 1h.
Changing the recipe
In the original recipe, you’re supposed to turn out the dough on a baking tray. To keep the moisture, you put another baking tray with 300ml water with the first one in the oven. Instead, I turned out the dough into the Dutch oven, then put it in the oven at 250°C with the lid closed for 30min. Afterwards I lowered the temperature to 230°C and removed the lid to bake it for another 15mins. This ensures a beautiful crust!
In hindsight, I might even bake the bread for five or ten minutes longer to make it even crisper. I’m very happy with my first experiments, though. There are so many other recipes to try out still! But first, I need to make a sourdough starter again. Sourdough bread in the Dutch oven are my next project!