Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Crusty bread in a Dutch oven (or Pyrex)

 Ever since I learnt how to make Ratatouille, as a teenager, I wanted to own a Le Creuset cast-iron pan. They last a lifetime and are so, very versatile. It wasn't until we got married that we could finally "afford" one, or, more precisely, that we got one as a present. 

 I knew you could bake bread in such a pan, but it wasn't until a few months ago that we tried, following this recipe by Simply So Good. (That post is great, it has step-by-step photos and a detailed description of the process). It was so easy, and so satisfying that we vowed to repeat it (and haven't since, but here's to good intentions).

 Bread is one of those food items that are so basic and yet so magic. You start with flour (3 cups), yeast (1/2 teaspoon, dried), salt (1-2 teaspoons) and water (1 1/2 cups) and end up with a fluffy, crusty, delicious base for any meal.

The first step is to mix the flour, salt and yeast. Then add the water until a messy, sticky mixture forms; cover the bowl with plastic film or a wet cloth and leave to rest, overnight is great because you are aiming for 12 to 18 hours. When you wake up the next day, preheat the oven to 230ºC (450ºF). That is when you take your beloved cast iron pan or pyrex and let it heat in the oven for 30 minutes.

  In the meantime, flour a work surface, pour your dough and make a ball with it (fore ease of maneuvering I floured some baking paper over a tea-towel as this dough is particularly sticky) . Then transfer the ball to a recipient, cover, and let rest while the pan is in the oven. After the half an hour has passed, put your dough-ball in the pan and return the whole thing to the oven for a further 30 minutes, with the lid. Then take off the lid and bake for an extra 15 min. Voilà, you are ready to take the bread out of the oven and let cool. 
What have been your latest adventures in the kitchen? I have been cooking rather simple meals lately, but I miss baking and I will try to make sure I make time for it. 


  1. That looks delicious! Speaking of food, I bought that baby food steamer and chopper the other day because you recommended it :)

    I made applesauce in my slow cooker yesterday. We have a couple apple trees and needed to use up the apples. I spent all morning preparing the apples and then went out to visit a friend. When I got back I saw that I had forgotten to turn off the slow cooker and they were burnt! I wasn't happy...

    I looove homemade bread. I might have to make some soon :)

    1. Thanks! IT was quite good, you can personalize it to add other flavours, like orange zest + raisins or gruyère + herbs or mixed seeds.

      I am sure you will love the Babycook, we use it everyday, sometimes twice a day, it really is great as it makes everything easier and fun.

      I am so sorry about your burnt apples... that is another great thing about the steamer / blender (sounds like I work for them.... doesn't it?)... it stops by itself when the "steaming" time / cooking is done.

  2. Iluminacióooon, no sabía que eso se podía hacer y ahora que sigo sin horno, qué maravilla, seguiré tus pasos :)

    1. Ahh, espero que tengas horno pronto. Yo sabía que se podía, pero no lo había intentado, ya tocaba!


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