A rustic bread flavored with fresh herbs, baked in a dutch oven. Crisp on the outside, soft and tender on the inside.
Are you nursing a sugar hangover? Too much Halloween candy? I figured, and so today I have a completely sugar-free (but still delicious) recipe for you. It’s an easy loaf of bread, scented with fresh herbs, and baked in a pot.
I baked this loaf in my beautiful new Martha Stewart cast iron pot. I’ve been cooking in a camp dutch oven outdoors for years and I’m so glad to finally have one I can use on the stove top and in my oven. I baked this bread in a heavy cast iron pot because it traps the moisture and gives the bread a crispy exterior. And it worked like a dream, the outside has such a pleasing crunch, while the inside is soft and tender.
I usually don’t make a lot of bread, but even this bread-shy baker found this loaf a cinch to make. I was quite proud when I pulled it out of the oven, it looked as pretty as the loaves at my market bakery. This loaf would go well served alongside soup or pot roast, but I’ve actually just been eating it by the slice with a little butter, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Dutch Oven Rustic Herb Loaf
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 heaping tablespoon fresh herbs, chopped (I used rosemary, thyme, and sage)
- 2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 4 cups (567 grams) bread flour
- Olive oil
- Combine warm water and yeast and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add fresh herbs. Let cool slightly.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the bread flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture and butter mixture and mix until dough comes together. If necessary, add additional water or flour a tablespoon at a time until the dough clears the bowl, but isn't sticky to the touch.
- Knead until smooth and elastic, about 7-10 minutes. You may also knead by hand, it will just take longer. Let rise in a grease bowl, covered, until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Pour enough olive oil into a cast iron dutch oven to coat the bottom.
- Punch down the dough and knead a few times by hand to redistribute the yeast. Reshape and place in the prepared dutch oven. Use a sharp knife to cut an "x" into the dough. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Let rise an additional 30 minutes, then bake for 30 minutes covered. Remove the lid of the dutch oven and bake for an additional 15-30 minutes until loaf is browned. Let cool completely before slicing.